News Update-Day 20

Now the reality sets in. Finally, just about everybody is on the same page. Yes, there are still states that are not on lockdown, but they will be, unfortunately after people die. For example, look at Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s reopening of Liberty University, it turns out that God is no match for the virus, assuming there is a God, but this is almost a foxhole moment, where you pray even if you always questioned his/her/its existence.

And in addition to the lockdown issue, there’s the issue of equipment and behavior. We still sorely lack equipment and hospital beds, but GM and Ford are at least on the ventilator case, and just like in China, buildings akin to the L.A. Convention Center are being repurposed as hospitals.

So now, it’s about the bigger issues, what happens when this is over.

Most people can only see what is in front of them, these are the same people who have no savings, who are one paycheck away from being broke. Ironically, it’s not only the poor, but those with good incomes who spend like a rainy day will never come. Then again, the economy runs on consumer spending, even though we’re constantly told by the titans that they’re the ones who make the money. Well, without customers you’re dead on arrival. In any event, in moments of crisis, that’s when you get change.

This clarion bell has been rung most recently by Canadian Naomi Klein, in her book “The Shock Doctrine.” Watch this video to get the idea:

“‘Coronavirus Capitalism’: Naomi Klein’s Case for Transformative Change Amid Coronavirus Pandemic”

But it’s not only Naomi recognizing this, today “The New York Times” featured a story on this:

“For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power – “Leaders around the world have passed emergency decrees and legislation expanding their reach during the pandemic. Will they ever relinquish them?”

In moments of crisis/panic, when the population is scared, the rulers impose new rules for order, which then never evaporate.

As for Ms. Klein, you should follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein Naomi is fighting for the people, and you’re one of them, even if you don’t consider yourself a leftie, you should read her, because she has her finger on the pulse of the intersection of government/big business and labor. The internet is unfiltered, unlike the newspaper, the only editing that is done is in one’s head, and despite hotheads bloviating, there are a lot of deep thinkers who never get a voice in the big media, Naomi Klein should be on every news channel, including Fox, but she’s not part of the media/industrial/pundit class, looking to sway opinion to make money, so she doesn’t get a seat.

Speaking of politics, you should read this article from “The New Yorker.”

“Reality Has Endorsed Bernie Sanders – Bernie Sanders’s proposals are especially apt now, when the coronavirus is revealing an economy organized around production for the sake of profit, not need”

To tell you the truth, the “New Yorker” article gets a bit boring, just a few paragraphs might suffice.

But, there are a small number of publications that affect the debate, ones that movers and shakers, the intelligentsia, the powerful, pay attention to, and “The New Yorker” is one of them.

And speaking of bottom-up power, I’m sure that in the last thirty six hours you’ve seen all the articles about the C.D.C. considering whether to tell everybody to wear a mask in public. This would be a reversal of policy. I believe this advisement will come to be. The point being, when everybody’s at risk, when logic and science come into play, those with power are wary of alienating the public. This is the same playbook Trump employs. He throws it out there, and if blowback is too big, he adjusts, and usually denies he ever took the initial position to begin with. I could delineate examples, but either you believe he contradicts his statements or you don’t. In business, unless it’s written down, people contradict and change their position all the time. But when you’re a leader, it eviscerates trust, you’re working for the people.

As for Fox News, Howard Stern had an excellent point yesterday. The average age of a Fox viewer is sixty five, aren’t these the people Fox should be warning about the evils of Covid-19? After all, Fox doesn’t want its audience to disappear.

But the big story of today is the coalescence of celebrity backlash.

It started with Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video. It’s been excoriated in every medium known to man. Not only is the singing terrible, but what is its benefit? The participants just demonstrated how out of touch with the public they are.

And then you had David Geffen posting on Instagram about self-quarantining on his yacht. It seems that David is always auguring for status, he needs to make sure you see yourself as inferior to him, but in an era where money won’t save your life, no matter how rich you are, in one where people are struggling to make ends meet, it’s just plain tone-deaf. And people remember your missteps for a long time. One must applaud Geffen for giving so much money to philanthropy, but if he really wanted to burnish his image he would have figured out a way to fight Covid-19 for all of us.

Then there’s Elton John’s Fox show. At first, reviews were very good, now the backlash has gained momentum. First and foremost, why are these rich people asking the hoi polloi to donate, can’t they open their own wallets? Second, Tim McGraw was singing from his diving board by a giant pool…meanwhile, people are worried about having a roof over their head.

But it’s not only the rabble-rousers, big media comes last, but the “Times” did a story today:

“”Celebrity Culture Is Burning – The pandemic has disrupted relations among the masses, the elites and the celebrities who liaise between them.”

Now the headline in print is even better, “You’re a Celebrity. Who Cares?”

This is the culmination of twenty five years of the internet. Despite old media telling us the star system is the same as it ever was, that is no longer true. Over the decades, the people have gained power and believe they have power and demonstrate it online constantly, if you don’t know this, you’re completely out of touch. The bubble is being pierced, be sure not to stay inside.

And all your movements, all your club memberships and whereabouts, are trackable online, mostly because you put them there! But attendance lists are revealed and… If you’re taking advantage of the largesse of bad actors, people are gonna find out. After Geffen put up his now deleted Instagram post, the internet was rampant with pictures of “celebrities” hanging out on his boat. Does this work for them or against them? I’d say the latter. Now is when teams matter… Are you on Team Trump or not? And did you do what was expedient to give Biden the nomination or..?

That’s another big story in the news now, how Biden is hurting for money, and it takes money to make it.

There’s a lot more happening, I’m sure you’re not calm and collected, and there’s no reason you should be. But if you obey the self-quarantining rules, the odds you will get Covid-19 are much less.

But plenty of people have already gotten or will get it.

The husband of one of my closest friends has got it, the test came back positive, he’s enduring the illness.

Once again, as that video from Dr. David Price said, the defining factor is whether you have difficulty breathing, if you do, go straight to the hospital.

And Tom Rush has it. He may be young at heart, but he’s seventy nine, and a good friend of mine, I worry.

And speaking of worrying, let me print some e-mails from my inbox:


Hi Bob

While we have known each other a long time and I’m a regular reader of your emails I have never felt the urge to write to you until now. I’m writing to thank you for continuing to write about the current situation. As you said in your opening “This Is Important,” and while initially people did not take this seriously, they are now but we can’t relax. We must all be stronger than ever and follow the advice of the Doctors and Scientists and experts.

Just as you mentioned that Sunday was an “off-putting day” for you, it was an incredibly emotional day for me and I cried often on Sunday. Unfortunately I had the Corona virus but I am now feeling fine. I was in Cedars Sinai Hospital here in Los Angeles for a week and then came home and was on oxygen 24 hours a day. It’s now been 2 weeks at home and I’m off oxygen and feeling good again.

Sunday was such an emotional day because like you, I kept getting the news about the deaths from the virus of Country Artist Joe Diffie, Actor David Schramm, Maria Mercader from CBS news and others. And then I watched the iHeart Living Room Concert and was crying watching the footage of the Doctors, Nurses and medical staff on the front lines and people in ambulances and it was just all too real to me. I was that guy in an ambulance just a few weeks ago and in isolation in a hospital room with these masked gowned brave medical people who are risking their lives every day. I was just overcome with emotion and realizing a lot of these people dying are younger than me and how lucky and blessed I am.

Bob, don’t stop! Keep writing as often as you feel necessary when you have important information to pass on. Stay safe and healthy.

Paul Farberman


My wife and I are ensconced in a hotel in Bangkok. We’ve decided not to return to Boston any time soon. On the advice from my doctor about the spreading contamination, the panic hoarding, and an incompetent leader, it is safer for us here. Thailand has been taking the virus seriously for months. Like most of the world everything is closed save supermarkets and pharmacies. Yet here you are thermo scanned for fever whenever you enter a hotel or grocery store. Hand sanitizer is abundant.

In Bangkok the hospitals are highly regarded, have plenty of tests and are not overrun with patients. Thailand’s population is ten times larger than Massachusetts but there are fewer cases! Virtually everyone wears a mask. (Asians are comfortable wearing masks; they wear them when they have a cold for the welfare of others.) Besides masks we sanitize our hands so often we might as well bath in the stuff.

Yes, it is Groundhog Day but with a VPN we can download music, books, films and series. Please continue with your contemporary curation.



From: Ross Mollison

I furloughed 350 people last week from our incredibly successful business – totally unexpectedly – I cannot tell you what is next. More bad news would be terrible. The political leadership in most countries including Australia and US is scary. Don’t they read the reports we pay for them to know what is coming?

I want my life back Trump.

Stay safe,



From: Tj Woodside

Hi Bob, I take Spanish lessons online every day and all my teachers are working from Colombia. I asked some of them how their quarantine was going, was it being respected.

All countries have citizens who feel like they don’t have to follow a ‘stay at home’ order.?Some countries are more serious about stemming the spread of the virus than others:

Penalties for Violating the Colombia Quarantine
Anyone who violates the measures adopted and the instructions given in the Decree of Mandatory Preventive Isolation, will be subject to a penal sanction provided for in article 368 of the Colombia Penal Code.?Article 368 indicates that whoever violates a sanitary measure adopted by the competent authority to prevent the introduction or spread of an epidemic, will be imprisoned for four to eight years.?In addition, a violator will have to pay the fines ordered by Decree 780 of 2016, issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
-Be careful of violating this quarantine. The police in the Aburra Valley are out in force and have caught over 2,300 people who have violated the quarantines in the metropolitan area, as of March 25.

TJ, 75 years, Louisiana


From: Morton Wilson
Subject: Re: Masks

Dear Bob,

Thanks for this. I have lived in HK for 35 years and experienced SARS first hand. We lost (I think) around 300 people here during that period. One day a few people were wearing masks – an odd sight. Within a week if you were not wearing a mask people stared at you.

Back in January, even before our lame administration closed schools and started to issue ‘work from home’ edicts, pretty well every person in HK was wearing a mask, and it remains that way today. Taxis here have hand sanitiser bottles on the back of the front seat, a lot of bars and shops have someone at the entrance taking your temperature, and people open doors with their elbow, avoid handrails and generally carry a small alcohol sprayer. That has been the ‘norm’ for over 2 months now. That said, life goes on pretty much as normal (albeit cautiously), as it does in in Singapore & South Korea.

As best as I am aware 4 people have died from the virus in a city about the size of NY with a population of 7.8m. Sadly, we are facing a recent uptick in cases (60 on the weekend) from the thousands of students returning home now that US & UK and others have FINALLY closed schools and colleges – a lot of these ‘tweens’ are not staying at home for 14 days – they’re out partying – a handful have been arrested and put into quarantine in less salubrious locations. Overall, though, we have been extremely fortunate and I despair when I see so many countries (including my own home, NZ) where masks are somehow considered useless or ‘wussy’ . . . even worse, where I see so many wearing them like a cowboy, over the mouth but not the nose – ridiculous!

Even simple masks can offer SOME protection from people around you, and they can also protect others if you should cough, sneeze or even just talk to volubly if you are a carrier. Wear a fresh one every day. Why wearing a mask should be an ‘issue’ is beyond me.

Best wishes to all,


So Irene, my ex and mother of my child, has been hospitalized with confirmed Covid.

You’ve met her with me, years ago.

I’d just like to let those sick assholes who have responded with all their vitriol and contempt and self-righteous selfishness and judgement that they should immediately punch themselves in the throat so they shut the entire fuck and fully up.

I’m not so small and cheap as to wish on them what we have been shoved into, but its crossed my mind for ANYONE that espouses this Trumpian Hoax or Hype bullshit.

I’ll just say this, it’s WAY fucking real, it AIN’T the fucking flu, and you motherfuckers are making things WAY worse!!

Stay the fuck home, get some actual science under your belts before you open your mouth, and until you DO get some facts – shut entirely the fuck up, cause you know shit.

Wade Biery


From: Richard Fairgrieve
Subject: Internet Ignorance



You know what the Native Americans say
The right wing and the left wing are both part of the same bird

Stevie Salas


“Drone Shot of My Yacht”

“If it’s stuck in my head, it might as well be stuck in yours. Here’s ‘Drone Shot of My Yacht,’ as featured in on last night’s @currentmood.”

John Mayer

The funny thing is, this is a hit, it’s the most commercial thing Mayer has done in years. It’s catchy in lyrics, changes and sensibility/humor.

Now you can’t get it out of your brain.


“This is How China Beat the Corona Virus – should we copy?”

This is a MUST-WATCH!

You might think it’s a bit slow at first, but hang in there, it’s worth every minute.

We live in such a bubble, we’ve got this idea that China is totally backward, but watching this your jaw will drop, because of the technology.

Of course, of course, of course, it brings up HUGE privacy issues.

But the funny thing is…we’ve already given up so much privacy. People have cameras inside and outside their home, many easily hackable, never mind the cameras in public that make you “feel” safe, especially in the U.K., watch any crime drama and they’re always looking at the footage from the security cameras, and it’s a rare occasion when there are not images.

So, this is where Naomi Klein comes in…do we want to sacrifice our privacy for safety?

Once again, watch this video.

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