March 22, 2020

"These weeks of confinement can be seen also, it seems to me, as weeks of a national retreat, a chance to reset and rethink our lives, to ponder their fragility."

"I learned one thing in my 20s and 30s in the AIDS epidemic: Living in a plague is just an intensified way of living. It merely unveils the radical uncertainty of life that is already here, and puts it into far sharper focus. We will all die one day, and we will almost all get sick at some point in our lives; none of this makes sense on its own (especially the dying part). The trick, as the great religions teach us, is counterintuitive: not to seize control, but to gain some balance and even serenity in absorbing what you can’t."

Writes Andrew Sullivan in "How to Survive a Plague" (New York Magazine).

127 comments:

rhhardin said...

Ordering from Amazon is most of it.

Timotheus said...

During the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, the hospitals were so full that they had to set up tents and treat patients outdoors. It was noted that the ones kept outside had better outcomes. Sunshine and clean air are good disinfectants. Spend time alone outdoors instead of holed up whenever you can.

Kai Akker said...

I have a bad reaction to this excerpt; I am not going to the full article. I am not interested in professional writers attempting to instruct others on this. Will I miss an insight or two by not reading this stuff? Maybe, but I will avoid much more pontificating with a high margin of error. I agree that this strange time is important, but I am not interested in someone else's package of material published so quickly. I want to find the parameters of my experience by myself, for myself.

Heartless Aztec said...

Good reading the first couple a three or four paras in and then Fox/Trump. Typical. Trite. Ordinary. I care for neither but less so for Sullivan's use of them to segway into... I don't know. I stopped reading.

sykes.1 said...

The economic impact of COVID-19 is bigger than the public health impact, and it will be much longer-lasting. The stock market is down 35% and falling. If that does not recover soon, every pension fund in the US, both public and private, is bankrupt.

Unemployment due to mandatory shutdowns is at least 25% and likely rising. Many businesses will go bankrupt. Goldman Sachs is predicting a 24% reduction in US GDP for the second quarter.

Frackers were losing money at $60/bbl. At $25/bbl they go out of business, many permanently. No American oil company can make money at current prices, some can't even pump existing wells at those prices.

The question really is whether there will be enough businesses left to restart the economy once the pandemic eases. If this shutdown lasts the rest of the year, it is likely that recovery will not occur for a very long time. The Great Depression lasted a decade until WW II jump started everything.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Surviving...or not catching AIDS is not the same thing as Surviving or not catching an airborne or surface contaminated virus.

Aids required a change in your own personal sexual lifestyle, I need not go into details on the sex part, but also in other things like sharing needles etc.

No one is going to get AIDS by standing next to you, or riding in a subway/airplane/bus that you happen to be on, or touch a package in the mail that you handled.

I'm glad that AIDs is not what it was, drugs have been developed, the irrational fear is less. BUT AIDS and Whuan Flu are not the same thing at all.

And ....YES the realization that we are all going to die, comes to everyone at some point. That it took AIDS in his 20's to get this is actually a good thing. Learn this early and you will live the rest of your life with appreciation.

Peter said...

The analogy to AIDS makes absolutely no sense.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Why would we take advice from Sullivan on how to avoid a plague? His track record is a little weak.

Michael K said...

I'm not sure the unemployed would agree. Our local Mexican restaurant is now open for take out meals. I picked one up last night and suggested to the girls at the counter that they might want their wait staff to deliver so as to collect some tips and a fee for delivery. They seem to be using GrubHub but why not their own staff ?

Amadeus 48 said...

You are born; you live for a while. You die. It is as natural to die as to be born.
That is our lot in life.
Each of us is dealt a hand, like a hand of cards. The question for each of us is, how will we play it? We can choose courage or despair, love or resentment, envy or joy. Usually it is all of the above. One approach is to live one’s life as though you were accountable to a person you love.
A few years ago I had cardiac surgery to fix a congenital problem, a surgery that was in no way elective. I made two decisions: I would treat everything that happened as interesting rather than frightening, and I would be as cheerful and positive as I could be in the circumstances to alleviate the anxiety of my family. And I would be grateful when I woke up every day for the rest of my life.

Fernandistein said...

Did I just feel gust of hot air?

narciso said...

some perspective the piece on how they miscalculated the casualties in Italy, seems to have been buried,

Robert Cook said...

Restaurants that use GrubHub and other such web-based order-for-delivery services have been conned, but they're starting to rebel. They have to pay a commission to these services for each order, which requires them to raise prices to make up the difference, or to realize less profit. I never use such services but always call the restaurant directly. (As I only order take-out from local restaurants only blocks from me, I go out and pick up the orders myself 99% of the time, rather than have them delivered.)

Shouting Thomas said...

We will all die one day, and we will almost all get sick at some point in our lives; none of this makes sense on its own (especially the dying part).

When I lived in San Francisco in the early 70, I told gay men friends they were going to die if they continued their behavior in the bath houses.

That was before I even knew that AIDS existed.

While I’ve prayed for many a dying sick gay man, I’m tired of pretending that AIDS was an accident that befell the innocent.

Howard said...

DBQ. As I recall, there was quite a bit of early misinformation about the infection mechanisms for AIDS. It took a while before people realize that you needed solid exchange of fluids. I remember just being glad that I had married young and during those days all my friends in their early twenties were playing the field rather aggressively and there was quite a bit of angst at that time whether or not they would turn up with the bug as well.

I can only imagine that the fear and loathing within the homosexual community was off the charts.

Curious George said...

HIV/AIDS wasn't a plague. It was an epidemic. How to stop it? Quit fucking dudes in the ass.

Robert Cook said...

"The stock market is down 35% and falling. If that does not recover soon, every pension fund in the US, both public and private, is bankrupt."

And the scheming crooks on Wall Street (and their lackeys in Congress) want Social Security placed in the stock market and turned into private investment accounts, subject to the vagaries of an unstable market.

"Frackers were losing money at $60/bbl. At $25/bbl they go out of business, many permanently."

Well, as we see, there may be some good outcomes from this catastrophe.

Sebastian said...

"to gain some balance and even serenity in absorbing what you can’t."

Serenity is not helping. #ResistTheInsanity.

narciso said...

well then

Howard said...

Amadeus 48. I've been there and done that far too many times than I'd like to remember. The devil May care attitude is fine for yourself but when you are considering the potential impacts that Coronavirus might have to your children and grandchildren and your spouse of 40 years that's a completely different level of concern. One in which it is very hard to be fatalistic when it's just yourself.

Howard said...

I have no idea Fred and Ethel Stein. I thought that feelings were beneath you?

narciso said...

what does this tell us

Amadeus 48 said...

The stock market will turn around.
This is a global panic that has influenced political actors to engage in extraordinary interventions, knocking economic activity to the sidelines. Soon, the panic will subside, and the pressure will grow to return to normal.
Our friends at Meadehouse have wisely chosen to avoid adding to the concern of their family and friends and the burdens of society by stepping back to minimise the chance that they will contract this virus. As Meade said the other day, they don’t want to be spreaders. My wife and I are doing roughly the same thing. Even if the restaurants in Chicago weren’t closed, we would be ordering for delivery and pickup. But we have this luxury. We are retired. Our younger friends have really had the economic props kicked away, because they need to work and earn.

I consider Gov Pritzker’s shutdown of bars and restaurants to be gross overkill, and his general shutdown order (which exempts nearly everything and therefore is panic-mongering showboating) as an abomination. We don’t do this for the seasonal flu.

narciso said...

well putting it more tactfully, the public health authorities in san Francisco and greenwhich village have a lot to answer for, but the head of the former is the head of amfAR, so you can always fall upwards, on a pile of bodies,

David Begley said...

Great comments by DBQ and Amadeus.

Carpe diem.

Wince said...

So, like AIDS, the answer is to blame the Republican president, not the factual cause of the spread?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Howard to me: As I recall, there was quite a bit of early misinformation about the infection mechanisms for AIDS. It took a while before people realize that you needed solid exchange of fluids.

True. I thought I touched on that in my post. There was a lot of unfounded fear and misinformation at first. Sort of like now, if you will, with all the draconian shut everything down measures.

We don't know what we know until AFTER the fact. Maybe all this hysteria is warranted? Maybe not. As in the beginning of the AIDS epidemic when people were afraid of catching a disease that they could not catch under normal circumstances, we found out the reality ....later.

AIDS and Wuhan Flu are not similar at all.

Other than to bring the fact of our incipient mortality to our short attention spans.

narciso said...

save us from rich virtue signaling scions, like Pritzker and newsom,

Lurker21 said...

The excerpt isn't awful, but not especially fresh. I wonder if "living in a plague" really is "an intensified way of living," though. It seems wearying and deadening. The intensity that Andrew Sullivan experienced because of AIDS in his 20s and 30s may have been a result of youth. For older people, coming into contact with mortality may not be a quickening, life-giving experience, especially under the condition of social distancing. Presumably, Sullivan was still going out to clubs and restaurants and the movies during the AIDS plague. His prescription of letting go and finding serenity sounds like it could be more a part of the malaise than a cure for it.

Lurker21 said...

People get tired of establishment voices - those who assume that they are experts on everything but aren't any more insightful than thousands of other people - preaching at them.

I thought the first two paragraphs weren't bad, not necessarily applicable to the current situation, but certainly descriptive of a possible situation:

It’s quite possible that by the end of all this, almost every American will know of someone who has died. A relative, a friend, an old high-school classmate … the names will pop up and migrate through Facebook as the weeks go by, and in a year’s time, Facebook will duly remind you of the grief or shock you experienced. The names of the sick will appear to be randomly selected — the ones you expected and the ones you really didn’t, the famous and the obscure, the vile and the virtuous. And you will feel the same pang of shock each time someone you know turns out to have fallen ill.

You’ll wake up each morning and check to see if you have a persistent cough, or a headache, or a tightness in the lungs. This is plague living: witnessing the sickness and death of others, knowing that you too could be next, even as you feel fine. The distancing things we reflexively do — “oh, well, he was a smoker”; “she was diabetic, you know”; “they were in Italy in February” — become a little bit harder as time goes by, and the numbers mount, and the randomness of it all sinks in. No, this is not under control. And no, we are not in control. Because we never are.


The rest, though, seems to be an emptying of whatever happens to be on Sullivan's mind, with the obligatory political attacks on Trump and FNC. I'm reading this in light of Jon Meacham's outburst last week. Just because somebody is a journalist doesn't mean that everything they have to say is of interest to other people or that they are more on-target in their observation than others are.

Amadeus 48 said...

Howard—You raise a fair point, but you can’t wrap future generations in cotton wool, either. And believe me, my attitude wasn’t and isn’t devil-may-care.

rcocean said...

Andrew sullivan continued to have unprotected sex during the AIDS crisis. He's the last person to take advice from.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Robert Cook Well, as we see, there may be some good outcomes from this catastrophe.

Really? Oil and energy production in the US goes down and hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs (this includes everyone affiliated and ancillary businesses)? We become dependent again on foreign oil and subserviant to the Middle East and Asia? People and small towns go bankrupt? Housing collapses because of this? The price of energy goes up and people can't afford to heat their houses or commute to work...IF they still have a place to commute to....????

Yes. I can sure see how this is a great thing.

/FACEPALM

Curious George said...

"Robert Cook said...
Restaurants that use GrubHub and other such web-based order-for-delivery services have been conned, but they're starting to rebel. They have to pay a commission to these services for each order, which requires them to raise prices to make up the difference, or to realize less profit. I never use such services but always call the restaurant directly. (As I only order take-out from local restaurants only blocks from me, I go out and pick up the orders myself 99% of the time, rather than have them delivered.)"

What a bunch of bullshit. Conned? The restaurants didn't know in advance about the fees? It's a fucking service dummy. For people who don't want to go out or pick up food them selves. The consumer pays for that one way or another.

narciso said...

misery loves company, Sullivan was all for the war on islamists, till it got a little difficult in abu ghraib, then he sided with those who would stone him,

rcocean said...

All this discussion of the "Deadly Chinese Virus" simply ignores the fact that only a couple hundred Americans have died from it, in the last two months. This isn't the black plague. Its not even Eboloa.

If it ever possible for people to do something and not get hysterical? We need to fight the virus, but we can keep things in perspective.

Curious George said...

"Robert Cook said...
Well, as we see, there may be some good outcomes from this catastrophe."

Well, you live in NYC right? So maybe one more.

narciso said...

in new York and los angeles, no, and other places,

Fernandistein said...

I thought that feelings were beneath you?

Your ignorance makes me ill and angry.

Wince said...

The stock market is down 35% and falling.

The major stock market indexes are still above any point prior to Trump's election.

rcocean said...

"Frackers were losing money at $60/bbl. At $25/bbl they go out of business, many permanently."

That's one reason OPEC is ramping up production and driving down prices. Once the Frackers have been eliminated, the price will go back up. Notice that contrary to the globalists and Losertarians there is no "Free Market" in Oil. Its all controlled by the various OPEC Governments.

rcocean said...

The underlying economy is sound. Business activity has been tamped down due to the Chinese virus. Once its contained the stock market will go back up. It was different in the 2008. The financial crisis crippled the banks, loans were cut back, and it took a while to recover. Further, it was time for a correction, since the stock market had been going up every since the 1991-1992 recession.

Huisache said...

"Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves. In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven't taken their precautions. Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything still was possible for them; which presupposed that pestilences were impossible. They went on doing business, arranged for journeys, and formed views. How should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views. They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences."

From The Plague by Albert Camus. Speaking of religion substitutes.

narciso said...

wisdom from an earlier time

grackle said...

From the article:

As Trump instinctually finds a way to identify the virus as “foreign,” he will draw on these lizard-brain impulses, and in a time of fear, offer the balm of certainty to his cult and beyond.

Will the Left ever be able to face life without the obligatory Trump Derangement Syndrome peeking through? The piece was very heart-rending and perceptive until I came to the above quote.

A “cult,” according to the first definition listed on Dictionary.com, is “religious worship” and is not a derogatory word.

But the author obviously does not have THAT meaning in mind. Reader, scan down to the 6th definition of the word:

a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

This definition is actually the most common meaning when people ordinarily use this word. Imagine, a “cult” actually elected a President! Why, those sneaky bastards.

You know what, readers? I’ll bet that damned “cult” re-elects Trump. Yes, it would be just like those devious assholes to re-elect Trump. They will furtively invade the polls and while the authorities are looking the other way will somehow throw the election to Trump, their “cult” leader.

So tiresome. So mind-numbing predictable. He cannot even exhibit sadness about possibility of losing a loved one without the Trump hatred.

rcocean said...

Even in the West, people up till the mid to late 19th century lived with death on a daily basis. Children died of disease, mothers died in childbirth, and no one knew what really caused all those contagious diseases. Everyone took it stride.

Now, we have a comparatively small heath crisis, and everyone goes crazy with fear and panic - especially our chattering classes. I wonder what would have happened if Manhattan or Washington DC had been bombed during WW 2. Would New Yorkers or DC-ites have reacted like the Londoners with a stiff upper lip, or gone loco. I suspect the latter.

MayBee said...

The fear around HIV/Aids had people afraid to have HIV+ kids at school with their kids (remember Ryan White?), had some people talking about a quarantine for gay men. One reason Princess Diana became such a huge celebrity was because she dared to hug people with HIV/AIDS.
It is only in retrospect we see: that was all so unnecessary. All that fear.

During SARS, people were started by getting as scared as they are now. In China, the disease was quite bad, and one woman brought it back home to Thailand (I think) and it wiped out her entire village. It was serious. BUT it didn't affect us the same way, it was later in the year so the virus died off before it got huge, and people have now forgotten how very scary that felt and how much some people were calling for similar measures.

It isn't all that dissimilar to terrorist attacks, and the cries to ban people or surveil groups of people, because so many people were very very frightened.

It is only in hindsight that we see many things weren't as terrifying as they seemed like they were going to be, even though *not* quarantining people (or banning people, in the case of terrorism) had real consequences. A lot of people *did* die from swine flu, though we didn't pay much attention to it. Aids did spread, although we've learned a lot about how. Terrorism did happen, though not in 9/11 numbers, though the Pulse nightclub victims surely took the brunt of erring on the side of freedom.

I don't have the right answer for right now. But the idea that other things that turned out ok for most of us were somehow not as scary at the time just isn't true.

Owen said...

Robert Cook is hereby awarded the Karl Marx Medal (Avec Mérite).

This most prestigious honor is given annually to the person displaying the most egregiously illiterate grasp of economics. If —as here— this can be combined with a joyously callous attitude toward those who will suffer from the policy in question, then the judges may add the Schadenfreude Oak Leaf Cluster.

Congratulations, sir!

rcocean said...

I dislike the term TDS, because it implies these leftists are having a unique reaction to Trump. And that once Trump goes, they will go back to "Normal". Which is incorrect. They hated Bush Ii too. The difference is that Bush didn't fight back and was a globalist. So they only hated Bush Chimp-Hitler 60% as much as Trump.

If Rubio or Pence gets elected in 2024, you'll see TPS syndrome or TRS syndrome. So, its not a "Syndrome" its a way of thinking that won't go away and has always been there.

narciso said...

actually pulse is an example of denying the vector, the iman who counseled it, the trainer who recruited the shooter, all the way down the line, so if there is another such incident it will come out of the blue, it's just about 'hate' that obscures the failure of federal policy like the ig report revealed,

narciso said...

it's a bug not a feature, and we saw just for eight of the last twelve years what a cult looks like,

Nichevo said...


Fernandistein said...
I thought that feelings were beneath you?

Your ignorance makes me ill and angry.

3/22/20, 9:03 AM


Careful, your anger and sickness gives Howie a chub.



sykes.1 said...whatever the Russian propaganda line is today.

Tell Vlad good job on suppressing news of the COVID outbreak in Russia, but in reality you guys must be getting hammered bad.

Michael said...

Robert Cook

Would be a nice lesson in environmental caring if the electricity in your building were turned off. For the earth. Because fracking.

Howard said...

Amadeus 48. Yeah I'm not suggesting that we wrap up our future generations in a protective cocoon. I'm very old school when it comes to raising kids and grandkids. I'm a vigilant nasty prick about situational awareness and not letting yourself be exposed to or victim of the stupid and careless behavior of strangers on the road and elsewhere. Given that level of intensive training I've always put the kids on a very long leash.

The trick is really about identifying real threats and taking appropriate action. I mean this is not like you know 911 where what 3000 people got killed because they worked in the twin towers and the Pentagon and they flew on a commercial airliner. Random act of violence. Our over reaction to that based on vengeance and fear and racism and religious superiority was a huge debacle that has resulted in tens of trillions of dollars of debt, 80 stabilization of a large region of the planet and the deaths of several hundred thousand innocent civilians.

it is interesting now that those same Conservative Republican pro-war pro-military pro George Bush people are arguing exactly the opposite in face of this pandemic. I hope we all survive to see the after-action reports on how this thing turns out.

Sebastian said...

The real lesson from AIDS is that disease gets politicized to fit favored prog narratives, at which point rational discussion of trade-offs and behavioral adjustment becomes moot. The very description of AIDS as a "plague" is part of the manufactured prog narrative.

Gays continued to have unprotected sex, and Italians were asked to hug a Chinese: compare.

Wince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichevo said...


"Frackers were losing money at $60/bbl. At $25/bbl they go out of business, many permanently."

Well, as we see, there may be some good outcomes from this catastrophe.



Cook, you ignoramus. How much of the various petrochemical feedstocks do you think go into the production of hydrochloroquine, azithromycin and remdesivir, not to mention Sullivan's AIDS cocktails? And the ventilator plastics? And the single-use tubes, masks, syringes, wrappers, gloves? Shut up, stupid.

Jack Klompus said...

Florida Man Cookie has to stay in character. Isn't he just sooooo edgy, folks? Such a dissident!

frenchy said...

Ironically the jejune drama queen still shines through.

Howard said...

It's very comforting to know that in the face of a dire pandemic you people still have room for keeping the gay hate alive.

Shouting Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
narciso said...

viral stupidity, can't be fixed like that. new York was the publication that covered for Weinstein and went all in on cosby and ailes, they employed mark Halperin, for an indecent interval, and allowed Halperin and heileman's unanswered slanders, they also defended the ground zero mosque and the predator frank lucas,

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm inclined to agree with Althouse that bitter argument over who's at fault no longer serves any purpose.

I'm also involved this morning in live streaming a Sunday service. The theme is very much the same... blame serves no purpose.

I play music for and pray with people every Sunday who disagree with me about lots of things.

It doesn't matter much. The important thing is that we sing together, pray together and offer peace to one another.

narciso said...

they fed this ridiculous peach ment travesty, that got in the way of any real preparation,

stevew said...

@ST, hear, hear.

Jamie said...

I deliberately didn't go to the original piece, because to my surprise I found that I kind of liked Sullivan's writing sometimes once he got over the Sarah Palin thing. I know he's replaced that obsession with the Trump one, so why would I put myself through that?

The excerpt here is, I thought, rather lovely. It's true that *his* plague is very different from this one - but his experience of living through a time when nothing seems normal but life still has to go on (even though the future looks dark and filled with high sharp rocks we have to climb) might be at least illuminating to those of us who haven't experienced it. Of course, I've been telling my kids that this feels to me like the immediate aftermath of 9/11 - remember when the planes started flying again and we would still flinch a little when we heard one overhead?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Howard said...
It's very comforting to know that in the face of a dire pandemic you people still have room for keeping the gay hate alive.

Shouting Thomas said...
I'm inclined to agree with Althouse that bitter argument over who's at fault no longer serves any purpose.


Civility bullshit for thee but not for me.

Shouting Thomas said...

Thanks for the offer, ARM, but I refuse to take the bait.

Mark O said...

Sullivan musing on a deadly pandemic as "a national retreat" makes one wonder how he would have characterized polio. He remains a one trick pony.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Wince said...
The major stock market indexes are still above any point prior to Trump's election.


Might want to check this out.




Wince said...

The piece was very heart-rending and perceptive until I came to the above quote.

That abrupt turn to pure partisanship was revealing of Sullivan's attempted manipulation of emotion.

There's a reason Sullivan didn't delve into the recent strength of the economy making it easier to weather the storm.

And not mention supply-chain dependence and establishment supplication to China manifested in Biden's "globalism" that makes Trump look prescient.

Sullivan always strikes this heterodox conservative pose to ease his return to the lefty bastion of Provincetown for the summer. While much of the town is entrepreneurial and artistic (and in that sense tolerant and "conservative"), the outspoken bullies are leftists and partisans who can make your presence unwelcome.

In that sense, I've found Sullivan's writing since W Bush much more like a politician positioning himself among various constituencies rather than the independent thinker he poses as.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Blogger rcocean said...
The underlying economy is sound. Business activity has been tamped down due to the Chinese virus. Once its contained the stock market will go back up. It was different in the 2008. The financial crisis crippled the banks, loans were cut back, and it took a while to recover.


I would guess this is close to correct. The stock market was most likely in bubble phase and the perception of lost wealth combined with the economic shock will suppress economic activity for a while. I don't think the stock market will jump back to where it was very quickly but the actual economy should be reasonably OK.

This uncertainty is why the current plans to throw money at businesses make no sense. Let it play out a month or two and see where we stand.

Francisco D said...

Howard said: "It's very comforting to know that in the face of a dire pandemic you people still have room for keeping the gay hate alive.

Can you do me a favor, Howard. I went through the thread and could not identify any "gay hate". Can you point out the comments that I may have missed?

Thanks.

Nichevo said...


Howard said...
It's very comforting to know that in the face of a dire pandemic you people still have room for keeping the gay hate alive.

3/22/20, 9:34 AM


You take a lot of comforting, don't you? What is your constant flow of accusations of weakness, wimpery, unmanliness, but fag-baiting?

Wince said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...
Might want to check this out.

The DOW was at 18,332.74 on election day Nov 8, 2016.

As you point out, it closed at 19,173.98 on Friday.

Still 4.6% higher.

Stocks are leading indicators.

What you, like the media, are trying to do is give Obama credit for the 8.2% rise in the DOW between Trump's election and inauguration.

Thanks for walking into the expositional trap I intentionally set.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Robert Cook said...
Restaurants that use GrubHub and other such web-based order-for-delivery services have been conned, but they're starting to rebel.


The only winners in the gig economy have been investors in a few select companies that gained early monopolies or duopolies.

Glad to hear you are well. You, much more than most here, are at significant risk. Containing the virus out where I live is relatively trivial even with a high level of non-compliance from the local idiots. The cities are in a very different situation, as shown by northern Italy. Stay well.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Trump was not president on election day or the day after. The DJI is down relative to the day Trump became president and down a lot from when his failed economic policies were enacted. As we are seeing, blowing up the deficit to a trillion dollar sized economic hole is not smart politics. He is a bankrupt and now the country is bankrupt, with limited resources to deal with a crisis.


NYC JournoList said...

People lived with the daily possibility of death long after the mid-nineteenth century. Death was looming up until antibiotics so until WWII. NYC should be taking a page from Hong Kong and taking the temperature of everyone as the exit and enter buildings and subways. If you are above 102 you are sent directly to hospital; any other fever sent home. No fever you allowed out.

Wince said...

ARM doesn't understand the concept of a leading indicator.

He's saying stick prices rose because investors could somehow make money in the waning days of the Obama administration before...?

Well, before it went up another 50%?

"Come on, man!"

Nichevo said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...
Trump was not president on election day or the day after. The DJI is down relative to the day Trump became president and down a lot from when his failed economic policies were enacted. As we are seeing, blowing up the deficit to a trillion dollar sized economic hole is not smart politics. He is a bankrupt and now the country is bankrupt, with limited resources to deal with a crisis.



The stupid and the evil within you war for mastery; it must play hob with your digestion.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Wince said...
ARM doesn't understand the concept of a leading indicator.


I understand it well enough. I also understand when Trump was elected, when his economic policies were implemented and what effects they have had on the robustness of the underlying economy. All the investors fleeing the market understand as well. He talked up a stock bubble and now we see how investors really value the market.

"When the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked."

Wince said...

I'll agree the markets at their recent 52-week high frothy and due for an eventual correction.

That's why I was already short the market, although I didn't make as much money off the drop as I could/should have.

In that sense, Trump was lucky the catalyst was exogenous.

But it is amazing how resilient the market has been so far in the face of all this.

As for Trump's actual economic policies going into the election, they look absolutely prescient compared to Biden's well-documented globalism.

The key here is avoiding a protracted financial crisis (like 2008), rather than just a demand-side down-turn that can spring back quickly.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Nichevo
stupid and evil


All you have is hate. You need to get out, smell the flowers. Go for a walk. I am worried for your cardiovascular health. All this hate eats away at a man.

Known Unknown said...

You can tell Sullivan and Company have never had to make payroll in their lives.

Meade said...

@Nichevo, ARM: your exchange above exemplifies the sort of thing we are trying to get away from here in the comment section. Will you help us by self-moderating, please?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Wince said...
That's why I was already short the market


I don't play the market but it was obvious that it was in a bubble a while back and I got out.

Your recognition of the preexisting fragility of the market somewhat undercuts your argument for Trump's economic success.

NYC JournoList said...

For those who think the financial crisis is not real: Companies are hrding cash by drawing their credit lines the same way that people are hoarding TP. The Fed promised large banks $1 trillion last week so they can keep lending. One of my company’s lenders reached out to say they have no money to lend against our credit line until next week at least.

Nichevo said...

Dear Meade,


As I've long said, I think little of ARM, but the point hardly requires repetition. In fact that's what I find so tiresome about his ilk; we already know they hate the President and everyone who doesn't, so what else have they got to say? I will attempt to accede to your wishes. If you could tell Howard to cram it up his ass as well, that would also save me some useless typing.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Meade, Sorry. I do my best to ignore personal attacks. Not always perfectly.

Meade said...

Thank you.

Paco Wové said...

"that would also save me some useless typing"

Not everything on the Internet must be responded to. Or even read.

Wince said...

What I said was the stock market probably had gotten too far ahead of its skis, too far too fast to be a "buy", but shown amazing resilience when tested.

I'd say a short-term demand-side recession has been priced in the market, reflecting still strong underlying economic fundamentals, not a protracted recession caused by a financial crisis.

I'm concerned by the elements within the establishment who might view the latter as a godsend.

John Borell said...

My wife and I are both working from home with two small children in the house.

This is not a retreat, trust me.

Iman said...

All good stuff, narciso!

MountainMan said...

"As we are seeing, blowing up the deficit to a trillion dollar sized economic hole is not smart politics."

US Government Debt:

1/20/2009: $10.627 T
1/20/2017: $19.947 T

Remind us: who was president during that time and managed to nearly double the US national debt? And I am sure you consider him to be the greatest president of all time. And this was during a time most of his admirers believe was a stellar period of economic growth and recovery.

Wince said...

Trump needs to convince people that a domestic supply-chain recovery is what's needed on two fronts, economic recovery and national security, and he's just the person to lead it against any opposition from the globalist establishment.

Iman said...

We’ll get through this.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

MountainMan said...
Remind us: who was president during that time and managed to nearly double the US national debt?


It was the Bush economy that produced the Great Recession. After the enormous costs associated with stabilizing the economy, which were passed on bipartisan votes, deficits steadily declined under Obama. They have risen every year since Trump was president to a projected $1.1 trillion this year. This has made it exceedingly difficult to respond to the current crisis. A complete lack of prudence and planning.

Michael K said...

It was the Bush economy that produced the Great Recession.

I see the left's lies are not slowing down. The CRA was not the whole story but it was a lot of it and Bush admin members were trying to get the Dims Congress to slow down the crazy actions of Raines and Johnson at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I used to have a video of Barney Frank and Maxine Waters telling them that "we will keep it going for a while longer." That's a quote from Barney.

I guess You Tube deleted those videos.

Michael K said...

Meade, at least you seem to have gotten rid of Ritmo. The tone is not good and I am coming by only a couple of times a day to see if there is anything new.

Nichevo said...

Paco Wové said...
"that would also save me some useless typing"

Not everything on the Internet must be responded to. Or even read.



So true. Chuck in particular is easy to ignore.

tcrosse said...

It was the Bush economy that produced the Great Recession.

Try reading Reckless Endangerment, by Gretchen Morgenson, or Michael Lewis' The Big Short.

Inga said...

Being productive and creative is a way of attaining a state of zen. Why not maximize the enforced isolation by doing something good for yourself, your family and society, especially the ones who need help? Order some groceries for those who are out of work right now, send frazzled stay at home parents ideas and links to help with their tasks of childcare, learn new skills, read more books, pick up long discarded knitting or drawings, hobbies, communicate to loved ones and friends more. Encourage each other. Be real, don’t minimize this virus, don’t minimize what we as a society are now doing to mitigate the spread of this virus. Feel proud that we are doing something proactive. Know that when this is over we will get back to work, school, our everyday lives. We’ve been through hard times before and come out of them intact.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

You know what else is becoming a fun and challenging activity? Spend some online time finding stores that have goods, let your friends and family who may be very short of these items know where to get them or order them yourself and have them delivered to their address. Order some food delivery from local restaurants near your friends or loved ones for their lunch or dinner, giving busy parents who are trying to work and care for their kids a break from making dinner while supporting local businesses.

FaceTime your loved ones, read a book to your grandkids while on FaceTime, play Simon Says doing FaceTime, be creative in ways to connect. Send your grandkids links to cute or fun educational YouTube videos, send your grown children tips on how to make food stretch, or how to make household items that they can’t get right now. There is so much untapped old wisdom out there to be had.

Robert Cook said...

"What a bunch of bullshit. Conned? The restaurants didn't know in advance about the fees? It's a fucking service dummy."

What is a "service dummy?"

But, anyway, the "service" is using deceptive web sites as a con to extract more commissions from restaurants.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Good advice and ideas from Inga.

mccullough said...

Now is the time to run up your credit cards. Chances of having to pay them off are getting lower

Robert Cook said...

Fracking is good for us...NOT.

Achilles said...

Over a million people die every year from AIDS in the world still.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
Fracking is good for us...NOT.

You should move to Afghanistan. Or North Korea.

Somewhere with less electricity and a lower standard of living.

Anywhere.

Achilles said...

Howard said...
Amadeus 48. I've been there and done that far too many times than I'd like to remember. The devil May care attitude is fine for yourself but when you are considering the potential impacts that Coronavirus might have to your children and grandchildren and your spouse of 40 years that's a completely different level of concern. One in which it is very hard to be fatalistic when it's just yourself.


I am thinking of my children specifically.

They are not in school.

The economy is being dismantled.

We have given our leaders dictatorial powers.

The only good thing to come out of this is that the media and their globalist masters plan to get rid of Trump has backfired spectacularly.

Michael K said...

The only good thing to come out of this is that the media and their globalist masters plan to get rid of Trump has backfired spectacularly.

Agreed. I agree with Neo. Globalization is the first casualty.

The suddenness with which this has happened is also stunning. The globalists who excoriated Trump as a racist xenophobe might have to face the fact that events have been proving him right: we do need to make America great again. It’s not academic, it’s not just a campaign slogan. It’s a reality staring us in the face.

Michael K said...

Anyone who wants to stop fracking is an idiot and should try living without fossil fuels.

tcrosse said...

Anyone who wants to stop fracking is an idiot and should try going back to coal.

ALP said...

If the cash payments to citizens is implemented - I am wondering if this will usher in the idea of guaranteed income? Will it make it a more popular idea?

hstad said...

AA, I don't know why you give Sullivan free publicity? I should have known better then go to his link. TDS is paramount! We don't need his garbage cultural propoganda masquerading as helpful knowledge.

AA - I point you back to your comment on celebrities - "...shows callow celebrities assuming that they are loved and wanted and welcome..."

That's "Andrew Sullivan" from my perspective!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

If the cash payments to citizens is implemented - I am wondering if this will usher in the idea of guaranteed income? Will it make it a more popular idea?

I wonder about this too, but the money is only there to do it if all the various welfare edifices are dismantled, and as those are typically staffed by clerical type Democrat voting women, I don't see that ever happening.

daskol said...

Joe Norman, who has been doing good work publicizing tail risk mgmt along with Nassim Taleb and Yaneer Bar Yam (all of the precautionary school, who think we should be under lockdown for several weeks), has interesting things to say about the opportunity presented for our economy rebuild project in his twitter feed.

One upshot of all this panic is that the fragility of our over-optimized globalist system is becoming evident to lots of people. You could say this pandemic is rubbing our faces in it. Localism, an industrial renaissance in the US. According to Nassim, he Bar Yam have the ear of the President's staff, and in fact attribute Trump's early China travel ban to a memo they circulated, because the academics and their models all opposed the ban as unhelpful or unnecessary. The twitter feeds of all three, and also of Harry D Crane are worth looking at frequently.

Francisco D said...

Order some food delivery from local restaurants ... while supporting local businesses.

Good idea! That is important if you want those restaurants to survive this pandemic.

Another idea: My (HS art teacher) wife and I are discussing working for one of the local grocery stores to help them stock shelves. They are really struggling. She will likely have little work to do with on-line classes (no grading allowed) as Arizona has shut down the schools.

Blogger is really a problem today.

Not Sure said...

The question Sullivan posed, then failed to address--what changes in our behavior and attitudes induced by the pandemic remain after it has ended?--would be an interesting one for the local commentariat, as long as it didn't go off the rails focusing on Trump the way Sullivan did.

Two things that seem likely to me right now are that a universal basic income will move from temporary expedient to ongoing policy, as will reform of the process for FDA approval of new drugs.

Oh, and regular audits of the strategic N-95 mask reserve, of course.

wholelottasplainin' said...

rcocean said...
"Frackers were losing money at $60/bbl. At $25/bbl they go out of business, many permanently."

That's one reason OPEC is ramping up production and driving down prices. Once the Frackers have been eliminated, the price will go back up. Notice that contrary to the globalists and Losertarians there is no "Free Market" in Oil. Its all controlled by the various OPEC Governments.
***********************************
There is no "Free Market" in Oil. Its all controlled by the various OPEC Governments.

Please explain then why the price of oil has fallen for the past ten years.

And also explain how a nefarious plan to flood the market with cheap oil will succeed if the world economy is knocked flat on its ass by the pandemic, reducing demand for that oil, cheap or not.

Do you think Russia can afford to have its oil and gas sold at rock bottom prices? After all, crude, refined oil and natural gas make up almost 90% of its exports.

n.n said...

Ah, evolution, a chaotic process, incompletely or insufficiently characterized and unwieldy, and the near-frame science of discovery.

The great religions? The Judeo-Christian philosophies teach us to recognize a separation of logical domains, to prioritize certain principles and principals, carpe diem and make the world ours... and on the Sabbath day to rest and reflect. There are other Philosophers, philosophers, and religions, and ideologies to realize them.

Michael K said...

If the cash payments to citizens is implemented - I am wondering if this will usher in the idea of guaranteed income? Will it make it a more popular idea?

I wonder about this too,


The Democrats, in this instance, may be on the side fo the angels. They are blocking the bailout to get funding for Planned parenthood and a couple of more leftist agenda items. We would do better with a corporate tax cut to 10% for a year than more deficit spending.

robother said...

Reading Deep Thoughts from Andrew Sullivan on the serenity of acceptance is like listening to Gal's Pals serenading us on the virtues of abandoning all property. Preaching in lieu of practice.

DavidUW said...

Oh Andrew. such a manly man living through the gay plague.

Gk1 said...

What does "Milky Loads" have to say about pandemics? Just joking, I couldn't give a crap. Perhaps he can contemplate what sort of tortured soul could question Sarah Palin's childbirth endlessly and to what good purpose? There is plenty of soul searching to do Andrew, try that on first before moving on to the rest of humanity.