Harriet Vane

Coronavirus: what it is; how you die so what you can do to protect yourself; Trump to US: f...k off

Friends and readers,

There is more urgency in my usual message: this week I'll put it: please open and listen to, or read these columns, which you might have missed.

An individual on a ventilator -- there are different ventilators so they can look somewhat different on a patient

In the US it has become apparent that the Trump regime will do nothing for average person, the latest being his outright refusal to use his power to make companies across the US manufacture test kits, ventilators, and material for medical workers to wear and to treat patients with. We've already seen his refusal to accept WHO's offer of tests.  Why did he get rid of the unit set up by Obama to deal with epidemics: because they might have spread care to populations without extracting profits for each "sale."  Nothing must ever interfere with anyone making a profit, it would seem from his behavior and what he has put forward his own (bailouts for hotels). Here's Di Blasio begging Trump

How can we then stop countless people from growing sick and dying. You've heard this already: social distancing and washing your hands. The following columns help explain why and offer more advice:

First important informative interview on what coronavirus is, how to control it if you are a gov't or agency. Amy Goodman interviews  Dr Michele Barry:


Angela Merkel told everyone in Germany to take this virus seriously; not to think you will recover from it easily or with difficulty; it hits all age groups; 50% of Americans are at high risk. Then here is what the experience of this illness is:

"The situation is serious. Take it seriously. Since German unification, no, since the Second World War, there has been no challenge to our nation that has demanded such a degree of common and united action," she said. ... Merkel had previously said that up to 70% of Germany's population of roughly 83 million people could eventually be infected .... It was the first time in her 15 years as chancellor that Merkel has delivered an unscheduled address directly to the German nation. She struck an untypically personal note and promised transparency. "I am addressing you today in this unusual manner, because I want to tell you what is guiding me as chancellor and all of my colleagues in the government at this time. That is part of an open democracy — that we explain our political decisions and make them transparent." [the opposite of Trump]


You are particularly vulnerable during sleeping and should avoid sleeping pills; here's why:


This puts together how you die from this virus so what you can do to try to protect yourself:


Natasha Little as Liz Cromwell (Wolf Hall, Episode 1)

It sounds very much like the "sleeping sickness" which is recorded as causing two epidemics in England in the 1520s and 30s. It seemed to people the person first sickened one morning and was dead by evening.  How the coronavirus works: a slealth attack turns into death. Liz Cromwell from Wolf Hall can be poster image.

Miss Drake

Harriet Vane

Trump trying to secure monopoly rights for himself & US over a COVID-19 vaccine


This has been reported in the Guardian and two German newspapers:  the German stories are in German so here is the Guardian article and CNBC:



A friend put it this way to me: "As so often when you think a person can't possibly sink any lower, you are proven wrong: news has just broken that Trump is trying to acquire exclusive rights to an anti-Covid vaccine being developed by a biotech company here in Germany. It makes you wonder if he and his minions are up to the same thing in other countries ...  The good news for the rest of the world is that said vaccine is being jointly developed between the CureVac company and a government-owned institute, which should hopefully prevent this shockingly self-serving and short-sighted deal taking place"

This is just the sort of thing tha one might expect. He seems so passive and awkward in public: he does not care who lives or dies and doesn't want to do anything in the least which disrupts anyone's profit . It is no less morally bankrupt to try to grab the vaccine and control it for the US -- it is weaponizing the vaccine, turning illness and death in means of coercing others to your will.

Here is the (machine) translation of the German article:

The Tübingen-based company CureVac is carrying out high-pressure research on a corona vaccine. According to WELT AM SONNTAG information, the US government wants to secure exclusive rights to the vaccine. The German government is trying to prevent this.

The corona crisis has led to a tangible - albeit indirect - economic policy dispute between the USA and Germany. The reason: US President Donald Trump is apparently trying to lure German scientists working on a potential corona vaccine to America with large financial contributions or to secure the drug exclusively for his country. WELT AM SONNTAG learned about this from German government circles.

The company in question is Tübingen-based CureVac, which is working with the Paul Ehrlich Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs in order to produce a vaccine against the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Daniel Menichella, until last Wednesday head of the company, attended a meeting of pharmaceutical managers with President Trump at the White House at the beginning of March.

The US president is allegedly offering the German company a large sum of money to secure its work. There is talk of a billion dollars in Berlin. Especially problematic is: Trump is doing everything to get a vaccine for the United States. "But only for the United States," the German government says.

The German government is now trying to stop Trump's actions. If it were only about the research work of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, it would not be difficult for the federal government to do so. Because the Paul Ehrlich Institute is owned by the state. The government could stop the sale at any time. But CureVac is a private company. A sales ban is only possible under special conditions.

However, the German government is currently taking a different approach: representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are negotiating with CureVac. "The German government is very interested in the development of vaccines and active substances against the novel coronavirus in Germany and Europe," confirmed a spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, WELT AM SONNTAG, adding that "the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac in this regard.

According to Berlin, Germany is trying to keep the company with financial offers. However, no agreement had been reached by Friday noon. CureVac itself refused to answer questions.

From the perspective of government representatives, the dispute extends beyond the specific individual case. The sale of a company with a drug that is vital for survival is a question of national security, they say. For the extreme case, reference is made to paragraph 6 of the Schengen border code.

This states that "border controls should contribute to combating illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings and to preventing any threat to the internal security, public order, public health and international relations of the Member States".

Indeed, a brain drain or a brain drain of research results is currently considered a public policy issue in some ministries. A ban on the sale of a company under the Foreign Trade and Payments Act is also not ruled out as soon as public order or security are threatened.

It is true that other companies are also researching a corona vaccine. However, the growing number of infected people is likely to increase the pressure on the German government to keep CureVac with its potential active substance in the country.

3/16, 8:30 am:  The New York Times has now picked the story up.

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

Mistakes of past eras being repeated; Sanders' Fireside Chat via live streaming


People propose that we remember (or reread) Defoe's Journal of a Plague Year or Camus' La Peste.  There are shorter versions;

Terry Meyers quoted a passage from Carlyle, Past and Present. We once read Past and Present together on TrollopeandHisContemporaries@groups.io:

A poor Irish Widow, her husband having died in one of the Lanes of Edinburgh, went forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help from the Charitable Establishments of that City. At this Charitable Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to the other, helped by none;— till she had exhausted them all; till her strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever; died, and infected her Lane with fever, so that 'seventeen other persons' died of fever there in consequence. The humane Physician asks thereupon, as with a heart too full for speaking, Would it not have been economy to help this poor Widow? She took typhus-fever, and killed seventeen of you!—Very curious. The forlorn Irish Widow applies to her fellow-creatures, as if saying, "Behold I am sinking, bare of help: ye must help me! I am your sister, bone of your bone; one God made us: ye must help me!" They answer, "No; impossible: thou art no sister of ours." But she proves her sisterhood; her typhus-fever kills them: they actually were her brothers, though denying it! Had man ever to go lower for a proof?

For, as indeed was very natural in such case, all government of the Poor by the Rich has long ago been given over to Supply-and- demand, Laissez-faire and such like, and universally declared to be 'impossible.' "You are no sister of ours; what shadow of proof is there? Here are our parchments, our padlocks, proving indisputably our money-safes to be ours, and you to have no business with them. Depart! It is impossible!"—Nay, what wouldst thou thyself have us do? cry indignant readers. Nothing, my friends,—till you have got a soul for yourselves again. Till then all things are 'impossible.' Till then I cannot even bid you buy, as the old Spartans would have done, two-pence worth of powder and lead, and compendiously shoot to death this poor Irish Widow: even that is 'impossible' for you. Nothing is left but that she prove her sisterhood by dying, and infecting you with typhus. Seventeen of you lying dead will not deny such proof that she was flesh of your flesh; and perhaps some of the living may lay it to heart.

Pamela Gilbert of Victoria wrote to her local newspaper, the Gainesville: Mistakes of past epidemics are being repeated:

Iran is now burying its people in mass graves. They have nowhere near the medical supplies or ventilators they need.  Guess who is at fault here? Boris Johnson proposed to let the building of herd immunity be his (!) goal for all the British people.


Here is Bernie Sanders's Fireside chat last night from Burlington Vermont:

You do have to wait 13 minutes for it to start: he proposes to do all that Trump and his regime are not:  testing for everyone who needs or wants it, ordering the pharmaceutical companies to make ventilators and all the supplies needed, making these available to all hospitals, doctors, and people who are sick (who will be tested), everyone to have access to heat, light, water, air conditioning, electricity.  Information available to all, cooperation with all of our allies and help to those people who need it.  In other words really to act to save thousands of lives. And much else

If the democratic candidate is Biden, we must vote for him because he too is humane and decent and pro-active and will put versions of what Sanders proposes into realization. On no account can we let Trump postpone any election. Meanwhile Trump has sent to the Supreme Court another challenge to ACA which will destroy it.


Harriet Vane

Trump's false analogies & indifference to the health of others

Last night on PBS Judy Woodruff parrotted Trump's false analogies and did not say using such false reasoning Trump is making false analogies and showing indifference to the health of other people. (I understand he did worry very much when he was told he shook the hand of someone who had shook the hand of someone who came down with coronavirus.)

The Washington Post today has described these tweets and said that Trump cannot by himself make the crisis into no crisis or go away as he cannot control natural processes. They put it that Trump doesn't actually have magical chaos powers. That is not to expose the false analogy.

Cartoons because they are pictures give an an emotional feel but don't explain the problem:

All his tweets depend on a false analogy beween all flues and coronavirus.  First and foremost, all flues are not alike; each flu is sui generis. You cannot extrapolate what happens from one flu for another. The literal number of deaths from projected percentages is much higher than intuition tells the person and cannot be numbered unless you use mathematical formula. This flu is by itself as an individual far more deadly than the virus which killed millions in 1918.

Second, to reason from the number of deaths in one case where say it has been high to say therefore it is okay that we have these same number of deaths again is profoundly inhumane. So what if the number of deaths turn out to be the same. It's that we want no deaths, few deaths, and the people he is trying to fool or delude care about their deaths. To say that another set of thousands of deaths are okay is to day deaths of all these people are fine. We can see here why he does not obey congress and stop supporting the Saudis murdering and maiming thousands of Yemenese.

Why does he reason this way? he cares about how he looks in public -- about say whether he wins re-election.  His administration will do nothing ever that interferes with anyone large making profits. One of his appointees responded to a senator that the Trump administration would not provide free test kits or free vaccine because that would ignore (and by implication could overturn) capitalism. There should never apparently be anything exchanged between people without a profit and the person wanting it having to pay money.

This is preposterous and cruel. It means you should never interrupt or make any exceptions to capitalism. Therefore you should not help people who are starving to death during a famine. (It is the false reasoning Anthony Trollope used to argue that no free food should be given to Irish people in 1847-48 during the height of the potato famine). It shows the same indifference to the health of thousands of individuals, to their very lives that we see in Trump's reasoning in his tweets.

Luckily the US is organized federally and within that by states. Thus local states can and are organizing plans and working to prevent, slow down and help people who are catching the coronavirus. The states and localities are taking care of sick people or people in danger of sickness. They are canceling events, offering helpful instructions, asking people to self-isolate so we won't have to go into any quarantines.

Let us recall two important statement by wonderful men who were also top-notch scientists.

Richard Feynman, at the end of his exposure of the corrupt culture at NASA and why the Challenger came down and killed 9 people,  in the closing clause of Feynman's Appendix F, his candid analysis of the culture at NASA and what went wrong with the Challenger: "For a successful technology," he begins, and then the relevant words for today:

"reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

On this minority report, which was put at the back of the larger report.

Primo Levi in his Periodic Table writes:

One must distrust the almost-the-same [thinking] (sodium is almost the same as potassium, but with sodium nothing [no explosion] would have happened), the practically identical, the approximate, the or-even, all surrogates, and all patchwork. The differences can be small, but they can lead to radically difference consequences, like a railway's switch points; the chemist's trade consists in good part in being aware of these differences, knowing them close up, and foreseeing their effects. And not only the chemist's trade.  (close of "Potassium, in the Periodical Table)

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

I just voted for Bernie Sanders

Today is the Virginia Democratic Primary.   I voted for Bernie Sanders -- around 7:20 am. I voted for him in 2016. I believe if he could win the presidency he has the integrity and strength and ideals in him to be another FDR. My daughters vote for Warren; Izzy has already voted (she was out of the house by 6 am): she voted for Warren as a woman and progressive (she might not use that word). I gather Laura will vote for Warren sometime today too

We used to have our primary in April. One year I crossed the imaginary aisles to vote for McCann in the Republican primary because I knew what a bad and amoral president George W. Bush would be. In 1984 I took part in caucuses -- it's Laura's first memory of a political event. I was 7-8 months pregnant with Isobel, sat with the Jessie Jackson people as long as we were viable. It was mostly African-American people. I felt good when someone from the Philadelphia Inquiry interviewed me because I apparently articulated the values of all around me. When the reporter went away, all around me were glowing and said they had liked what I said.

This is the essay I recommend for today:

The establishment, the powerful, the super-rich and rich hate the word "class" more than socialism. They are trying to make the word "socialism" a joke. Tee hee. See the man with the wild hair and arms flung out, he thinks he can institute socialism, what a card.

Harriet Vane

Fairly dangerous illness spreads across earth; Trump regime'll do nothing but lie & silence others

I presume many people here realize -- maybe a majority? probably do -- that COVID-19 is spreading across various countries and nothing, NOTHING, is being done by the Trump regime about it. What's more they are determined to do nothing. When the head of HHS says they have plan (s), it's a lie. Pence would have no idea what to do and would probably be against any measure that might irritate Trump -- Trump is against anything that might interfere with profits in any way. I gather he does not begin to understand or if he does, he does not care (who dies). 
On DemocracyNow.org, Goodman had an expert she's had before. It was she who said that Trump had fired 80% of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) budget, and eliminated (disbanded) a unit created by Obama as a central place for dealing with outbreaks like Ebola -- because it was invented by Obama. That one of the measures that should be done right now is to test all pneumonia patients in hospitals for the virus. A California hospital balked at testing one patient who it turned out had coronavirus because although the doctor thought he had it, the staff said it didn't git the criteria. That means they were saving money.
A Republican senator questioning Azar if a vaccine became available would be be amade available to all The guy said no as this would interfere with drug companies inventing important discoveries.
They are lying and intend to do nothing and keep lying. One idea Trump has is this is a democratic plot to make him lose the coming election and fake news. Anything Trump doesn't like that threatens him is a Democratic plot and fake news.
It's said on average 5% or 2-4% of people contracting this highly contagious virus will die == already a huge amount of people have sickened and considerable numbers died

No gov't agency is supposed to tell anything to the public about this until they get permission from Pence so I write this blog

2/28 update: Trump now going around saying all that is said about the coronavirus is a hoax: there is nothing to worry about; it's all intended to discredit him and prevent him from being re-elected. I kid you not. He said this.

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

The 2/5s judgement about Weinstein: about a woman's liberty to obtain employment w/o being raped


Numerous columnist and women (Rebecca Solnit in the New York Times for one) have been triumphing, rejoicing over the conviction of Harvey Weinstein as if it was a complete victory. It's true apparently powerful white men are rarely convicted when they are accused of rape (also white college young men), but the most important charges were dismissed. Yes he raped Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann but those are single instances. Several women have accused and brought forth evidence t court to show this man regularly (as if it's his right) pressured, harassed and raped women who came to his company for a job acting; he also assaulted some several times. A pattern of conduct was clearly revealed. If this be not a sexual predator, what is? He denies all guilt and will of course appeal.

The six women courageous enough to take their accusations to court

Here is a time-line (BBC)

We read of how his defense attorney drove one of the six women to such crying that the court had to stop to allow her hysteria to come down. What made her cry? well the attorney brought out how she came back again for another encounter with Weinstein -- as did numerous of these women. How is this, the jurors might have asked themselves.

The problem is the way the situation is presented.  It is presented as a woman carrying on going out (as if this were an ordinary date) with him -- I understand what once a woman goes out with the man again, she seems to be accepting the behavior. What is left out is these women came to him pursuing a career -- these were job interviews in effect. What no prosecuting attorney seems to say, make explicit is the way sexual life is conducted in this industry and by this man tantamount to denying her the right to to seek a career without sexual harassment and rape.  Why did they re-see him: because this was and maybe still in in some places the only way she can pursue her career. What used to happen (and still does) is it's understood you have to have sex with him. If you are upset by it, don't come back. But of course don't tell or you'll never work again.

I know of girls who wanted to get positions at theaters acting, on the tech side, on the business side, and were invited for an interview. They show up and find they are under terrific pressure to take off their clothes and submit to sex.
They have to work hard not to get angry and leave the place without being raped.  Many women might and do give up the career  in theater. They don't think to tell because there is no one to tell.  There's a new novel out by Anne Enright said to make this point (Actress). Whether it does or not, I read a review which said it dramatizes how a woman is trying to pursue a career and that's why she keeps coming back.

What is being fought for is the right to pursue a career without being assaulted. 
I'll lay a bet it was never put that way. Why not? I am so often so puzzled why people don't say the thing that is.  To me he got away with most of what he did -- only one count of a particular (egregious I suppose) assault and it took the jury a while to decide on that. 90+ women, 6 there, more in LA next week. On FB someone on my time-line said we were lucky to get that conviction.

Burke obtained a 1 million dollar grant for her #MeToo start up

On DemocracyNow.org, Amy Goodman has the black woman who is the head of #MeToo, Tarana Burke -- and Rosanna Arquette, a white actress who was one of the first to speak out. Arquette went on in a triumphant vein (similar to Solnit) except the toe was bitter. Why? Tarana Burke explained. Burke said that she was relieved, and and then added that the NYTimes said of the charges that were not deemed guilty "the jury must not have believed" the woman. Says Burke, the Times has no right to put out that explanation or narrative. The NYTImes has no idea why they didn't declare this man guilty on the other three counts.

What's the problem here? the way the law is construed and the way we talk about thee incidents. The judge directed the jury was narrowly focused. She agreed it's a start but only a start. Here is some of what Burke said:

I really don’t want people to rest on this verdict as an indictment of the whole movement, or a victory even for the whole movement, or to think that our work is done. What we have to do is look at people like Harvey Weinstein and unpack that. What type of power and privilege was he surrounded by that allowed him to do this, these things, these crimes, for 20 and 30 years, right? He’s an individual person who did this, but individuals don’t operate in isolation. You cannot — you don’t become Harvey Weinstein overnight without having systems of power around you to keep you in that position. So, really, as the new trial happens and as we get to his sentencing, we’re going to keep a close eye on that, but use that as an example to talk about the larger issue of sexual violence

Yes, the person who perpetrated the crime needs to be accountable for the harm that they caused. But other people are causing harm, and if we turn a blind eye to the systems that they operate in, then we’ll just have another Harvey Weinstein. Right now there’s another Weinstein being groomed, there’s another R. Kelly being groomed, to do the same exact thing. That’s why we have to upend the systems.

She does use the word system but does not explain that this system she is talking about is how to get a job.  As long as that is not said, newspapers can carry blithely implying the woman was lying and was complicit in the sex, was willing. Is it that ambition in women is not accepted?  I don't think that's it. What is happening is a refusal to properly contextualize and give the fuller array of people around Weinstein -- who themselves may get to take advantage of this women's career need.

Four years ago Cyrus Vance refused to prosecute Weinstein when one woman went back with tapes around her and taped him. These were not good enough. They were taken from her and almost disappeared. This is what Goodman said:

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance called Weinstein a “vicious, serial predator.” There are many right now who are calling for Cyrus Vance to resign, among the cases, around Dr. Hadden, the Columbia University OB-GYN that Evelyn Yang, the wife of the former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, spoke out against, saying that she went in, she was seven months pregnant, and he sexually assaulted her. Since she spoke out at a rally, 40 more women have come forward, bringing the total to 70 women who came out against Dr. Hadden. Now, unbeknownst to her, he had been arrested six weeks before she was assaulted, but allowed to go back and continue to practice. He never served a day in jail. So, many are calling for Cyrus Vance to resign over this or to bring charges around Dr. Hadden, who simply lost his license.

Burke: it’s ridiculous that it takes 90 women to get two convictions, 60 and 70 women to come forward to get attention to these issues. And the fact that Cy Vance didn’t bring a case against Harvey Weinstein over the years, when he’s had other evidence, is something that we do have to look at. I mean, his statement yesterday was great, but you can’t — that doesn’t erase what you didn’t do. So many of us will never see the inside of a courtroom. So many survivors will never have a moment like we had yesterday. We will never see this kind of justice, if you will. And part of it is because of people like that, who sit and they gatekeep so that powerful men like Harvey Weinstein never also have to see the inside of a courtroom. And that’s problematic. This is about — this is why I keep going back to the systems. He is a part of that system that perpetuates this continued violence against survivors of sexual violence.

What I am saying and it is the purpose of this blog to say is this system is about getting a job or keeping a job or getting promoted. Because acting is involved, the behavior seems glamorous as often the woman is dressed to look beautiful and the surroundings not that of an office. Nonetheless this is about the right to work in a place without being harassed, raped, assaulted. Goodman's instance adds the right to get medical help without being violated.  My reader may say, well isn't this obvious? I'm not sure it is. I am not sure what was in the minds of jurors who after hearing all about Weinstein for so long could conclude it was not proved he has been and might continue to be a sexual predator.

Harriet Vane

The way to stop Bloomberg is not to vote for him in the primaries

Friends and readers,

This week's important story: in the New York Times how Bloomsberg poured hundreds of millions into philanthropic and other causes, to individuals and institutions to build a web of influence, power, patronage:  Nicholas Kulish and Alexander Burns: now too big to offend

Deep pockets funnelling millions everywhere

In a nutshell, it is being said that Bloomberg is he only democratic candidate who can beat Trump. That he rather than Sanders can beat Trump. There is no proof whatsoever this is true. There has been no election. The man is buying ads and buying adherence, calling in his patronage network, his capitalist allies for many years and so this kind of thing is being heard. But where are the votes to prove this?  the sad example of Elizabeth Warren is before us. Everyone said she was a front runner; she was treated as such. Yes people came to her rallies and they were giving her money. But when it came to the first two elections: she came in third or fourth. If few or no one votes for Bloomberg, he can't win.

Primaries are the ordinary person's most important vote. This allows the people who will run for the office itself to run. Bloomberg can be stopped. If no one votes for him in the primaries, no matter how much money he spends & whatever complacent voices shout, he will be out. We do have that power.

I repeat:

"Everyone" said Biden was front-runner and Warren a real "contender" (remember that word). Well it turns out people are willing to give her money and show up for her rallies but they are thus far in these two small states not willing to vote for her. We cannot know why they are unwilling because people don't tell the truth to pollsters necessarily; they tell what is socially acceptable to say. Biden must start to get votes by South Carolina because he has been fifth -- behind Klobuchar!. We can stop Bloomberg by not voting for him in the primaries -- each of us has one primary to vote in.

Look at his record:  he worked to spread charter schools, and defund public schools so to privatize education; he presided over a huge inflation of housing costs in NYC (rent control, rent stabilization are not part of his agenda ever); he hurt African-American people by maintaing the stop and frish policy (which leads to incarceration for years for black people), his statement that lending money to African-Americans in 2008 led to the financial crisis is blaming powrerless victims of redlining when it was bankers' policies in many areas (unwise investments, speculations, ending of regulation which forced them to keep a certain amoung of assets on hand); I have never come across him being for public transportation until this campaign when he assures us he can get it done - then why did he not try any of this when he was mayor; now sexual harassment and a culture of discrimination against women in his companies is surfacing ... The man is a very very rich man and is opening trying to buy the presidency.

What this will do is reinforce all those forces and elements that are turning the US oligarchy in a dictatorship of the many by the few.

He may be a competent successful business man but that is not the same thing as governing a country. To govern one needs vision, one needs to represent the people in that country, their views, understand their needs, the lives they live. There is no evidence Bloomberg even thinks to do this. We are desperately in need of filling agencies to do social services, of putting the US gov't back on track to fulfill people's needs -- someone who can think what these are, and that includes measures to increase social community, public events for people to join. Has he ever thought of disabled people? Yes he believes in climate change, but everyone knows we are having climate break-up.

Do not vote for this man on the grounds he can beat Trump. There is no proof for this whatsoever. He has not gotten one vote outside of the votes he won to become Mayor.  As politician with a wide constituency he is like Pete Buttigrieg. Yes NYC is bigger than South Bend, Indiana. But it's the same office.

The cynical strategy/gamble is this. Bloomberg doesn't enter any contest until super-Tuesday. Meanwhile he spends grossly on TV ads, and he gets the backing of rich and powerful people, the well-connected, the comfortable.They all repeat the mantra he is the only one who can win and make like this is for sure true. Their endorsements are no evidence at all. But he hopes these endorsements and ads will fool people into voting for him and then if he gets enough he can begin to have evidence he's electable. Now his record, his past doesn't matter. Look he's a businessman -- successful. Have we heard that one before. Thus he skirts democracy, plays a game with it -- and relies on our fear of not beating Trump, our fear of Trump.

This is how he bought a third term as major in NYC: how for years he's been funding all sorts of candidates, officials, institutions, paying people off to silence them as well as win endorsements -- scroll to listen to Blake Zeff and Yasmine Taeb --  how he uses his money

Do not vot out of fear.  Remember what Roosevelt told us: we have nothing to fear but fear itself.  Do you act in your own life out of fear or is caution and planning and calculation to help yourself more your mode?  If you actually are for Bloomberg, that's another perspective. But don't pretend to vote for him because you are afraid Sanders can't win. He can win. He almost won the democratic nomination in 2016 - he was thwarted by the DNC, the newspapers, the media, the same people who are trying to end his campaign now. Crazy stories like he imported 7500 people into New Hampshire for his rally.  Those people at his rallies were New Hampshire voters.

It appears that Bloomberg, his millions, his powerful patronage network, and the adamant refusal of a substantial part of the Democratic party leadership to permit any genuine social liberal democrat to become president because they don't want fundamental change either in domestic or foreign policy, may lead to Bloomberg getting the Democratic nomination for president.  We have the power to stop them. Trump took his nomination over the protests of most of the party regulars at the time.

Worried I say, I write to say the argument we are hearing from new media, from newspapers, from pundits on mainstream media, from Democratic leadership and people is false.  They don't want fundamental change, don't want to do what is necessary to stop the increasing inequality, want imperialism abroad, mostly unqualified capitalism domestically There is no proof whatsoever that he can beat Trump

Think of Bloomberg's record: no effective rent control measures; I remember how Koch built housing for people; putting money in charter schools is to take  it from schools where children learn together, to take it from the public; his policy was was not just frisk people but terrorize neighborhoods with a heavy cop presence; his company has been sued for sexual harassment. Imagine blaming the vast recession of 2008 on loans to black people money to work to own some property.  What kind of ignorance or delusion or prejudice could lead him to say such a thing? or, to put it another way who was he aiming to please? He was for cutting social security, medicare and medicaid. who is doing this now?

Don't be suckered in by another con-strategy. Haven't we had enough of millionaire businessmen?

Miss Sylvia Drake

NB: Update after democrats debate: Bloomberg showed himself to be an arrogant creep .....!
Harriet Vane

The mindset actuating fascism is everywhere now in the US

I came to this conclusion after it seems to me a long while of confronting US culture as seen on public media -- movies, newspapers, mass market books, TV series, whole cable channels.

This culture was most thoroughly and originally described and defined by Klaus Theweleit in his Male Fantasies (2 volumes).

Recently in her Frantumalgia, Elena Ferrante frequently alludes to her sense that
it doesn't matter who is elected as all the political parties in Italy are (culturally) fascistic. Ahe muses about the context of her books and her life and other acts and the larger political world. For example, on p 27 of "Reinvention of Troubling Love" (her novella was made into a movie) she is talking about "an article that appeared in Il Manifesto that she says "I think captures well the relationship between the femininity of Alessandra Mussolini and Fascism as an 'anthropological' fact in Naples." Her point is the context for the whole relationship of the characters in the book is the cultural fact that Neapolitan life is fascistic. Much of the earlier part of the book has material on her earlier books -- talking about women's "entangled" bodies in this (troubling) culture. These ideas are not articulated as a definition in the way of the German book; they are felt and inform the book. Looking at it I'm struck that when a girl she must have been given the Aeneid to read and what she did was try to read it from Dido's standpoint as a woman and found it was a terrific struggle. She wasn't given books from and about women so she had to make do with the suicidal Dido.

What prompted my outburst? 
About 3 months ago Comcast said it was dropping Starz. It's about to drop it and guess what it now says I can have Starz if I just pay another $5 for a few months and then $10 or $20 a month hereafter. I've learnt once your fee goes up for Comcase it never comes down. The offer is good from February 5th to 28th: Outlander the fifth season begins February 16th. I pay Comcast a fat fee every month for 4 tiers and my internet access. That's enough.

So this morning I was tempted to subscribe to Starz just to see the fifth season of Outlander and looked at their other programming I was horrified by how it fit Thelweleit's book; it's just like FX. I find Outlander to be the only "odd" item out. It's odd because it is based on a woman's historical romance, centrally a woman's book, women's outlooks, the costume from the European past.  But I admit it too has fascistic tendencies -- here's a nugget definition -- highly sexual violence -- seen in the last two episodes of the first season of Outlander Writ Large, shockingly even. Listening today to DuMaurier's King's General (her books an unacknowledged central source for the Outlander universe) I recognize it's proto-fascistic (as are so many of her books), because she has again drawn a central character who is cruelty incarnate -- thought the "thrust" (the interpretation) of DuMaurier's books could go elsewhere. They could be on the side of the gentle souls vulnerable usually found in her books. King's General is also anti-war book (and Outlander has anti-war sequences) -- showing the misery, destruction, horror of death, senselessness of such violence.

At any rate I did not subscribe; I looked to see cancellation policy I could not find when I am allowed to cancel, only how to do it. I tried phoning and no one answered the phone within the time the tape said they would. Then I tried "contact us" and got a boilerplate about how to cancel, which did not tell me when, and also told me how sorry the service was they couldn't cancel for me. I must do it myself. This reminds me of Dickens's Circumlocution office in Little Dorrit.

I am not sure how many hours is the fifth season and then I read there will be a long hiatus between the 5th and 6th season as there has been between the 4th and 5th. So I am paying $10 and more each month for 10 programs and then nothing for a year and a half or more. And supporting fascistic programming.

I am taking a movie course where the third choice is a Cannes film festival winner, an Italian gangster movie, The Traitor. It's become if you want to join in socially, you almost cannot avoid such perfunctory cruelty, misogyny, and all that makes for fascism rolled together.

By the way, but related, Hillary Clinton's behavior over the victories of Bernie Sanders make me regret I voted for her. Or regret that I told anyone I did and said in public I supported her. I should have kept my vote to what it was: strategic against the vile depraved criminal type we now have a president.

It's everywhere in literary studies, from the serious treatment of celebrity to the castigation of Mary Beard's The Shock of the Nude.

Miss Drake

Harriet Vane

The impeachment show trial is almost over


Will Trump now take his win - for he has won -- as a green light to widen, reinforce and solidify his stranglehold on key aspects of power in the US gov't? A blog on why this impeachment trial by the democrats was so weak, chose such weak grounds, its designed incoherence, and possibilities of a frank coup

Today the Republicans carried on their mass stonewalling of the impeachment articles sent to the Senate by the House of Representatives. They have had lawyers arguing that Trump can do anything he wants if he deems his action "good for the country" -- and he need not consult anyone on what that is. There will be no witnesses called and they will now vote to acquit him of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, the two articles Nancy Pelosi allowed through.

I felt all along that to restrict the charges to two narrow cases was a restriction on the ability of the congress to make it plain to the American people the many breaking of laws, abuse of power, of authority to hurt and obstruct gov't laws and purposes set out in decades before Trump became president. At least they should have impeached him for making money out of his public office and used the finding of the Mueller report for a fourth article. By so restricting it, only a couple of witness came forth in the senate and far far fewer than would have come forth in the House. I know Pelosi was intensely reluctant to start this process and did it only because (she felt) that Trump had become brazen with the publication of the letter and transcript of what he was doing in Ukraine.

Why this reluctance? She knows very well this act of his is only one of numerous acts undermining the US gov't's democracy (such as it is). And in this act she and the democrats are not in disagreement with the imperialist premises and use of violent war and armament as a basis or strong groundwork for what's called diplomacy around the world.

Most deeply, by Aaron Mate:, why is the Democratic case so weak? and it is weak, kept deliberately so

Very few articles in the mainstream press have been willing to say that this process has worked to the favor of Trump's agenda, which appears to be to stay in power --- even if he loses in 2020. I have not written a political blog on LiveJournal for a while because I am so discouraged and find few willing to publicly voice what is happening before our very eyes -- on TV too. But tonight with with the senate endorsement of Trump's behavior for the past 3+ years, the US gov't took another step towards a dictatorship -- that's the explanation a dictatorship of the wealthy the ruthless with a wide base of white supremacists as what they have of a voting base beyond say the top 5 to 10% of the population in the US. Most of the 20th century they had an oligarchy with whites in charge; there were real ameliorations in the 1930s (social security, legislation helping unions, social programs), with a severe backlash after WW2; then a civil rights act expanding voting with another backlash defunding Johnson's war on poverty and moving to mass incarceration and destruction of unions. They worked for a reactionary and evangelical republican party to take over states and the congress.

Their way forward now is to suppress as many votes as they can to win in 2020. And to keep the average American deeply insecure in all sorts of ways. A good example of this effectiveness is the black woman who should be governor today in Georgia is not. Deep insecurity: all the attacks on the ACA, public schools, public transportation, the different agencies. If Trump doesn't win, I would not want to predict he will be made to leave. The ultimate aim is to put the US population in general back to the condition of the McKinley years.

Here is The Trump Coup to Come

The senators would not have been willing to get up on TV in front of the American people if a sizable number of Americans weren't indifferent to truth, law and a three-part elected congress a genuine democracy.  We didn't have a violent riot in Richmond Virginia but a huge numbers of people came to demonstrate loaded down with fearful weaponry to declare they are wholly against the least gun control. Governor Northam was said to have called in the FBI to arrest three leaders and a massive state police presence was also there. All this bodes very ill for 2020.

I have found a few in Truthdig, Common Dreams, the Nation, to make explicit what this show trial has done -- it has shown Trump that he is in effect above the law. He can function that way and today he moved to destroy medicaid by re-organizing the funds so states can do with the money they want.  HIs administration the other day moved in courts to stop the working of the ACA disallownig insurance companies form refusing to insure people based on pre-existing conditions. He banned yet more black and Muslim people from emigrating to this country. He endorsed an official apartheid programs for Palestinians in a deal with the Israeli gov't which ignores United Nations laws forbidding the taking over of the west banks by Jewish settlers. Bombings; a nuclear warhead now for an active submarine. Even such a small thing as washing the pieces left over from chickens' corpses with harsh chemicals before you sell them so you don't have to watch out for the chicken's welfare at all while it is alive. The list is just endless.

The Impeachment Defense is Incoherent by Design

On PBS tonight Woodruff, Brooke and Ruth Marcus were glad that the DNC is changing its rules to allow Bloomberg to be part of the public democratic debates on TV. They hoped he does something to stop Bernie Sanders momentum, which they dislike and fear.  The mantra is he can't win.  How terrible is a socialist agenda. Their voters will not vote for other people they averred. They were gladdened to see Amy Kobuchar doing better.  The DNC did not changes its rules to allow Cory Booker or Julian Castro to stay in the race.

To conclude, there seems to be no day in the year where Trump and his Regime are not about some bad and/or lawless act to hurt or to maim or to kill or destroy someone somewhere. All the time doing all they can (and refusing to do what they should) so that what is left of the US democracy and supportive educational social world is corroded, poisoned, erased. What will this US world be like 4 years from now if he wins or (worse) if he loses, refuses to leave and the US gov't as we've known it collapses. Oh yes it can and is happening here.

A rescued Koala bear in Australia

Miss Drake