Common Good Constitutionalism?

There is much to be said about Adrian Vermeule‘s provocative new essay, “Beyond Originalism.” In some ways, it taps into some real movements on the right. It envisions a world in which President Donald Trump has helped remake American politics that opens the way for a reformulated and revitalized conservative politics. It appeals to the desire of some on the religious right to use politics to reaffirm and reestablish an older social order. It hearkens back to an era before the election of Ronald Reagan when there were many different conservative camps “imagining a constitutional restoration” and originalism was not conservative orthodoxy. It embraces big-government conservatism and rejects any vestigial influence of small-government libertarianism.

The conservative movement and the Republican Party have sometimes been useful vehicles for marginally advancing, or at least preserving, classical liberal principles, but Vermeule’s version of post-Trump conservatism and GOP would put an end to that.

But for the moment, I just want to note Vermeule’s interesting opening to the essay. He says, originalism

served legal conservatives well in the hostile environment in which originalism was first developed, and for some time afterward.

But originalism has now outlived its utility, and has become an obstacle to the development of a robust, substantively conservative approach to constitutional law and interpretation.

Vermeule was never an originalist, and so it is no surprise that he would be happy to see it displaced. It is not obvious that he ever thought originalism served any useful purposes for his own particular political and jurisprudential commitments. He is not dropping the mask on originalism or even the conservative legal movement. He is hoping to reconstitute the conservative legal movement on entirely different principles, and he hopes that political coalitions and the intellectual landscape are shifting enough to make that possible.

But what’s interesting is how he evaluates an approach to constitutional law. A constitutional philosophy has “utility” to the extent that it advances his policy objectives, and does not to the extent that it gets in the way of constructing the ideal policy regime.

Of course, this is an extremely familiar way of thinking about constitutional jurisprudence. It has been the dominant way that the political left has thought about constitutional jurisprudence for decades. It has had adherents on political right as well, but originalism as a philosophy of constitutional jurisprudence resisted those kinds of constitutional projects on both the left and the right and resisted that approach to justifying the exercise of judicial review.

Originalists would urge legal conservatives not to evaluate their approach to constitutional law by the standard of how well it facilitates their getting the policy outcomes that they want. As Vermeule recognizes, originalism is not the friend of results-oriented jurisprudence. Originalists made limited headway in trying to persuade those on the left that results-oriented jurisprudence was not the best path the country should be pursuing. Originalists might have to spend more time trying to persuade conservatives on that point as well.

Winter is coming.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/2UxnbFv
via IFTTT

Airbnb Bails Out Highly Leveraged Superhosts As Travel Industry Crashes 

Airbnb Bails Out Highly Leveraged Superhosts As Travel Industry Crashes 

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote a letter to all hosts informing them that the company is committed to a $250 million bailout to cover some of the cost of COVID-19 cancellations. The canceled check-ins are for March 14 through May 31, Airbnb will pay hosts 25% of what they would’ve received via their cancellation policies, and the “payments will begin to be issued in April.”

Chesky said a separate $10 million Superhost Relief Fund would be designed for “Superhosts who rent out their own home and need help paying their rent or mortgage, plus long-tenured Experience hosts trying to make ends meet. Our employees started this fund with $1 million in donations out of their own pockets, and Joe, Nate and I are personally contributing the remaining $9 million. Starting in April, hosts can apply for grants for up to $5,000 that don’t need to be paid back.”

And here’s where the story gets interesting… 

Of the four million Airbnb hosts across the world, 10% are considered “Superhosts,” and many have taken out mortgages to accumulate properties to build rental portfolios. 

With the travel industry crashed, many of these Superhosts have seen their rental incomes plunge in March and risk missing mortgage payments in the months ahead. Chesky was forced to bailout Superhosts because some of these folks have overextended their leveraged in building an Airbnb portfolio and risk imminent deleveraging.

Highly leveraged Superhosts could be the first domino to fall that triggers a housing bust this year. Superhosts can have one property and or have an extensive portfolio, usually built with leverage. So when rental income goes to zero, that is when some have to make the difficult decision of missing a mortgage payment or having it deferred or liquidate the property to raise cash. These decessions are all happening all at once for tens of thousands of people not just across the world but all over the US and could trigger forced selling of properties into illiquid housing markets in the months ahead.

Some of the horror stories are already playing out on Twitter: 



And just like in 2008, when the rent payments stopped, landlords also felt the crunch and went belly up. What’s happening with highly leveraged Airbnb Superhosts is no different than what happened a decade ago. Again, no one has learned their lesson. And we might have discovered the next big seller that could ruin the real estate market: Airbnb Superhosts that need to get liquid. 


Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 21:05

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2X0AUGf Tyler Durden

The World Is Running Out Of Condoms As Factories Face COVID-19 Lockdown

The World Is Running Out Of Condoms As Factories Face COVID-19 Lockdown

Authored by Elias Marat via TheMindUnleashed.com,

We’ve all seen the jokes on social media about how nine months from now a new generation will be born that will eventually be dubbed “Coronials” – and once they come of age, “quaranteens.

After all, if we’re stuck working from home or self-isolating along with our partner or significant other, it’s only natural and healthy for us to seek solace through sexual activity – and the increase in baby-making activities can naturally result in a miniature “baby boom.”

But as it turns out, the joke may have some basis after all – especially because a global shortage of condoms could deprive couples staying at home from one of the more popular birth control methods.

Reuters reports that Malaysia’s Karex Bhd, a company that is responsible for producing one out of every five condoms globally, spent over a week without producing a single condom at its three factories after the government imposed a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

This has resulted in a shortfall of 100 million condoms which normally would be marketed worldwide under such brands as Durex, distributed through aid programs like the United Nations Population Fund, and the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).

On Friday, the company was granted permission to resume production under a special exemption for critical industries but with only half of its workforce.

Chief Executive Goh Miah Kiat said:

“It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity.

We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary.

My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”

The news comes as condoms rank among toilet paper and hand sanitizer as one of the most sought-after items during the CoViD-19 crisis, reports Highsnobiety.

Earlier this month, sex product retailer Promescent’s CEO Jeff Abraham confirmed that the company saw surging condom sales all month.

Speaking to Business Wire, the executive said:

“In fact, we’ve seen a 54 percent increase in our online sales since the beginning of the pandemic.

With the tremendous effort put forth by so many government and local organizations, we want to do our part to ensure people are continuing to practice safe sex and have adequate access to birth control in a time of social distancing and self-isolation.”

Condom factories in China, India, and Thailand have also faced disruptions in their operations. Similar problems have also been faced by regional manufacturers of critical protective gear like medical gloves in Malaysia.

A Durex spokesman reassured Reuters that operations would continue as normal, and no supply shortages are anticipated. They added:

“For our consumers, many of whom will be unable to access shops, our Durex online stores remain open for business.”

Goh added that while condom production may face interruptions, the demand for the contraceptive remains stronger than ever. He said:

“The good thing is that the demand for condoms is still very strong because like it or not, it’s still an essential to have.

Given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children. It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty.”


Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 20:45

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2xDOjK1 Tyler Durden

“Sailors Don’t Need To Die”: Captain Of Nuclear Carrier With Over 100 COVID-19 Cases Pleads For Help

“Sailors Don’t Need To Die”: Captain Of Nuclear Carrier With Over 100 COVID-19 Cases Pleads For Help


In an astounding plea for help, the captain of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has urged top command of the US Navy to take drastic action after more than 100 sailors aboard the ship have been infected with the coronavirus.

More than a week ago it started with a handful of COVID-19 cases, which by the end of the week spiked to 36, causing the West Pacific-deployed carrier to dock at a naval station at Guam, ordering infected crew members out of the some 5,000 total into makeshift quarantine facilities, including a basketball gym hastily transformed for that purpose. The San Francisco Chronicle has obtained and published excerpts of an unprecedented plea for help written by the USS Roosevelt’s Captain Brett Crozier to Pentagon leadership:

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” wrote Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, from Guam where his 1,092-foot carrier Theodore Roosevelt docked following a COVID-19 outbreak. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”



USS Theodore Roosevelt, via US Navy photo

In the letter Capt. Crozier warned that “Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space… the spread of the diseast is ongoing and accelerating.” The SF Chronicle described that the letter was issued Monday as the captain fears there will be possible deaths among crew under his command if more resources aren’t immediately allocated. 

It is unclear as yet how many of the crew have been quarantined on land at Guam, and how many still remain aboard the docked carrier. But it appears the ongoing attempts at quarantine and containment are not going fast enough, with less than necessary resources employed. Previously General John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said testing of the entire crew is expected to take a week minimum.

Crozier further urgently requested “compliant quarantine rooms” on shore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible”. He added“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure… this is a necessary risk.”

He outlined specific dangers of large amounts of the crew remaining on board the ship as follows, according to the SF Chronicle

The tight quarters on the carrier are “most conducive to spread,” he wrote, including large amounts of sailors in a confined space, shared sleeping quarters, restrooms, workspaces and computers, a common mess hall, meals cooked by exposed personnel, and movement constraints requiring communal contact with ladders and hatches.

The criticisms are aimed at the current strategy of merely moving the numbers of infected and immediate exposures off the ship, while increasing social distancing and disinfecting measures for the majority still on the ship, which he called “ineffective”.

And in perhaps the most unexpected and stunning section of the letter, the captain takes the unprecedented step of pointing out to top brass that focus on battle-readiness in this case will actually lead to potential significant loss of life:

If the Navy focuses on being battle ready, it will lead to “losses to the virus,” Crozier said. The second option, the captain recommended: “Achieve a COVID-free TR.” Methodically clean the ship, while isolating the crew in port with a massive amount of individualized lodging equipment.

The captain’s recommendation is to instead keep only 10% of the crew on board at any given time in order to initiate deep sanitization procedures and crucially to operate the reactor plant, according to the letter.

No doubt the captain’s letter was not meant to go public, especially given America’s enemies and rivals are surely watching very closely. After all it took an ‘invisible enemy’ in the form of a virus infecting over 100 sailors to essentially knock out of commission an entire nuclear aircraft carrier. 


Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 20:25

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2wGD1od Tyler Durden

As The Crisis Deepens, Keep An Eye On Illinois’ Unpaid Bills

As The Crisis Deepens, Keep An Eye On Illinois’ Unpaid Bills

Authored by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner via Wirepoints.org,

The depth of the financial and economic impact of the Coronavirus is impossible to predict since we don’t know how far the virus will spread or how long the economic shutdown will last. But we do know that pension shortfalls will jump, borrowing will increase and the state budget hole will widen dramatically. Unfortunately, it will take months before all those numbers are reported and summed up.

In the meantime, one number Illinoisans can keep an eye on is the state’s unpaid bill backlog, which currently stands at just over $7.5 billion. The state has been notorious for not paying its bills on time since 2005 and its backlog jumped to $17 billion in 2017.

As the Coronavirus crisis deepens, don’t be surprised if unpaid bills begin rising again.

Keep in mind that the unpaid bill number can be manipulated in many ways – we’ve covered that in detail – so the state can make the backlog look better than it really is. However, the backlog can serve as a limited gauge, in conjunction with other numbers, for how the state’s finances are holding up under the shutdown.

Illinois pols have constantly overpromised pension benefits, passed unbalanced budgets and hiked spending, all of which have left the state with a chronic bill backlog.

There’s a real human cost to that backlog, which has long been an indicator of Illinois’ deadbeat status. Those billions should have already been paid to thousands of contractors across the state, many of them small businesses and social service providers which are among the hardest hit by the shutdown.

The pressures on the state are going to be intense as sales and income taxes and a host of other revenues shrink along with the economic freeze. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability expects revenue losses of over $8 billion for the state over the next few years. Unless the government reduces its operating costs in line with the shutdown – which it shows no signs of doing – expect the backlog to jump.

Unpaid bills reached a high of over $16 billion in 2007, but the state government borrowed $6 billion via long-term bonds to bring the backlog down to just over $9 billion in November of 2017. This time around, unless the federal government steps in, borrowing money will be much more difficult. Barring some type of bailout, it’s easy to see the bill backlog rising again.

For sure, other numbers will eventually reveal the true depth of just how unprepared Illinois was for this crisis. But in the meantime, just follow the unpaid bills.

Read more about the impact of the Coronavirus on Illinois:


Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 20:05

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2JveiWw Tyler Durden

Is This What’s Behind Italy’s Outrageous 10% Mortality Rate From COVID-19?

Is This What’s Behind Italy’s Outrageous 10% Mortality Rate From COVID-19?

Italy’s 10% mortality rate has been one of the most disturbing mysteries of the global pandemic. Italy’s mortality rate is roughly 20x Germany’s (a relatively benign 0.4%), and many multiples of China’s (roughly 2.5%) rate.

As scientists puzzle over the reason, researchers have proposed a theory that’s being vetted by peers: Italy’s mild flu season left a larger victim pool for COVID-19. This would suggest that the US, which has struggled with more lethal flu seasons, won’t have as large a pool of potential high-risk victims, especially as testing suggests the virus is more widespread than many had expected.

A report by the Italian Ministry of Health found that elderly people and those with chronic diseases who were spared death by the flu from November through January are “outsize” targets for the more lethal novel coronavirus in March.

But thanks to the fact that there were fewer flu deaths , this “led to an increase in the pool of the most vulnerable,” according to the report, which analyzed data from 19 Italian cities through March 21. In other words, when taken alongside flu season deaths, the bump in deaths would be much beyond what would normally be expected for a developed country struggling with a COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 has been spreading in some parts of Italy since early February. In the northern cities that have borne the brunt of Italy’s more than 12,000 deaths, flu mortality among people age 65 and over was 6% below a baseline from previous years. In the cities of central and southern Italy, flu deaths were 3% off the baseline.

Could this account for enough deaths? It’s possible that it could account for at least some of the discrepancy.

A chart shows how deaths among the 65-plus population during the coronavirus outbreak through March 21 has already reached the levels of the previous two flu seasons, and were still below the total flu season deaths from three seasons ago (the 2016-2017 season).

Mild temperatures were credited with the drop in flu deaths.

Understanding the history of Italy’s flu outbreaks could hold the key to explaining its outlandish mortality rate from COVID-19. Italy has reported more than 105,000 confirmed cases, along with 12,428 deaths.


Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 19:45

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2xJ5M3t Tyler Durden

Common Good Constitutionalism?

There is much to be said about Adrian Vermeule‘s provocative new essay, “Beyond Originalism.” In some ways, it taps into some real movements on the right. It envisions a world in which President Donald Trump has helped remake American politics that opens the way for a reformulated and revitalized conservative politics. It appeals to the desire of some on the religious right to use politics to reaffirm and reestablish an older social order. It hearkens back to an era before the election of Ronald Reagan when there were many different conservative camps “imagining a constitutional restoration” and originalism was not conservative orthodoxy. It embraces big-government conservatism and rejects any vestigial influence of small-government libertarianism.

The conservative movement and the Republican Party have sometimes been useful vehicles for marginally advancing, or at least preserving, classical liberal principles, but Vermeule’s version of post-Trump conservatism and GOP would put an end to that.

But for the moment, I just want to note Vermeule’s interesting opening to the essay. He says, originalism

served legal conservatives well in the hostile environment in which originalism was first developed, and for some time afterward.

But originalism has now outlived its utility, and has become an obstacle to the development of a robust, substantively conservative approach to constitutional law and interpretation.

Vermeule was never an originalist, and so it is no surprise that he would be happy to see it displaced. It is not obvious that he ever thought originalism served any useful purposes for his own particular political and jurisprudential commitments. He is not dropping the mask on originalism or even the conservative legal movement. He is hoping to reconstitute the conservative legal movement on entirely different principles, and he hopes that political coalitions and the intellectual landscape are shifting enough to make that possible.

But what’s interesting is how he evaluates an approach to constitutional law. A constitutional philosophy has “utility” to the extent that it advances his policy objectives, and does not to the extent that it gets in the way of constructing the ideal policy regime.

Of course, this is an extremely familiar way of thinking about constitutional jurisprudence. It has been the dominant way that the political left has thought about constitutional jurisprudence for decades. It has had adherents on political right as well, but originalism as a philosophy of constitutional jurisprudence resisted those kinds of constitutional projects on both the left and the right and resisted that approach to justifying the exercise of judicial review.

Originalists would urge legal conservatives not to evaluate their approach to constitutional law by the standard of how well it facilitates their getting the policy outcomes that they want. As Vermeule recognizes, originalism is not the friend of results-oriented jurisprudence. Originalists made limited headway in trying to persuade those on the left that results-oriented jurisprudence was not the best path the country should be pursuing. Originalists might have to spend more time trying to persuade conservatives on that point as well.

Winter is coming.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/2UxnbFv
via IFTTT