2:00PM Water Cooler 2/24/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Here is a second counter for South Carolina, coming soon:

And for Super Tuesday:

Super Tuesday states: AL, AK, CA, CO, ME, MA, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, and VA.

* * *

* * *


We encourage readers to want to play around with the charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Today we have one new national polls from YouGov, and new state polls from SC, MI, and WI. As of 2/24/2020, 12:00 PM EST (three-day average):

And the numbers:

Hard to think this is what the DNC had in mind. Before we go to the states, some small multiples, helpfully annotated with arrows. Interesting!

And now to states, with the caveat that they are all small samples, irregular, and bad:

Next’s week’s SC:

SC numbers:

Sanders in striking distance. SC likes a winner, so NV may have an effect.

Now to the Northern Tier. MI:

MI numbers:


WI numbers:

Sanders running away with the race up there in the frozen north. Sanders should get delegates everywhere, though we don’t know how soft his support is. (My uninformed guess is less soft than average, because the media vilifies him; it takes a bit of courage to go against that tide.)

CAVEAT I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest I boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of collective push polling by herding pollsters. We should also worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before we get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, some of the horses are not in it to win but to interfere with the others, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands. Also, the track owners are crooked and the stewards are on the take. Everything’s fine.

* * *

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(1): “Bloomberg Killed the Best Chance at Justice for the 9/11 Attacks” [Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast]. “If it wasn’t for Mike Bloomberg, the alleged perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack in American history would likely have been convicted of mass murder by now. According to all the evidence available both at the time and in the nine years since Bloomberg’s intervention, a federal court almost certainly would have convicted the five co-defendants. A judge would have had to reckon with the torture the CIA inflicted on them, barring the prosecution from using tainted evidence—and showing, for the record, how torture jeopardized the case. Most importantly, there would have been closure, provided in open court and displaying the inheritance of centuries of jurisprudence, for the atrocity of 9/11 and the brutality America chose when confronting it…. Bloomberg at first backed trying the 9/11 conspirators in the city. But the NYPD and the big real estate developers central to Bloomberg’s vision of New York as a “luxury brand” viewed the trial as a national-security version of a Not-In-My-Backyard concern—all as a broader backlash to Barack Obama’s handling of the war on terror was brewing. By January 2010, Bloomberg reversed himself, and his opposition doomed the trial.” • Oh well. So much for the rule of law.

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(2): “‘Please disregard, vote for Bernie’: Inside Bloomberg’s paid social media army'” [Los Angeles Times]. “The Bloomberg 2020 operation is hiring more than 500 people at a rate of $2,500 a month to text friends and post on social media in support of the former New York mayor and billionaire media mogul…. Rather than create their own content, organizers often use the exact text, images and links provided to them by the campaign.” • And who could predicted this would happen?

Four out of the five organizers interviewed said the promise of money was the primary factor in their decision to work for the Bloomberg campaign.

One, a recent college graduate living in Sacramento, describes himself as an ardent supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the current front-runner for the Democratic nomination. But he hasn’t had a steady stream of income since October, and the Bloomberg gig seemed like easy money, he said.

The ambivalence shows up in his outreach efforts.

“Sam Donaldson just nailed it: Mike Bloomberg is the president we need to unite our country!” he texted one of his friends Monday through Outvote — the app organizers use to reach out to their personal networks. He drew on language provided to him by the campaign and logged the text as part of his Bloomberg organizer responsibilities.

But he quickly followed up with a personal addendum: “Please disregard, vote Bernie or Warren.”

I did point out last week that this cobbled-together effort would lack the discipline of the Sander’s campaign’s app…

Bloomberg (D)(3): “NCAI Condemns Mayor Bloomberg’s “Cowboy Hat and a Shotgun” Statement, Calls for Public Apology” [LRinspire]. “In 2010, New York City Mayor Bloomberg stated the following when speaking on a legal dispute between the state of New York and local Tribes, ‘I said, you know, ‘Get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun,'” Bloomberg told Gambling. ‘If there’s ever a great video, it’s [Patterson] standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, ‘Read my lips—the law of the land is this, and we’re going to enforce the law.‘” • Unsurprisingly, the National Congress of American Indians never got an apology.

Sanders (D)(1): “The Best Democratic Debate in Years” [Peggy Noonan]. Of Sanders: “In his affect: I’m the last lion.” • Not bad. As readers know, I have a soft spot for Nooners, although I think the day of her brand of Republicanism has passed.

Sanders (D)(2): “Centrist Dem Mark Mellman’s Pro-Israel Group Attacks Sanders” [The Intercept]. “Enter Democratic Majority for Israel. Mellman and several strategists close to the Democratic Party launched the group last year. DMFI aims to curtail criticisms of Israel from the party’s left flank by targeting primary challenges against pro-Israel Democrats. The group’s political action committee, which formed in July, has only spent money in Iowa so far. The PAC ‘does plan to spend in other races in other places, on behalf of pro-Israel Democratic candidates for House and Senate,” Mellman said. ‘We are still determining exactly which races we will be involved in.’ On Friday, DMFI PAC, which put out the anti-Sanders ad, released its donor list in a Federal Election Committee filing. The donor rolls include several overlaps with major AIPAC funders and activists. Though Mellman has denied that his new group is affiliated with the flagship Israel lobby, DMFI’s ties to AIPAC run deep, including a lucrative relationship between the lobby group and Mellman’s consulting firm.” • Sounds like election meddling.

Trump (R)(1): “White House fears coronavirus could shape Trump’s 2020 fortunes” [Politico]. “The fate of Trump’s response rests on Azar, who has modeled plans based on his experience fighting SARS and other pandemics as a senior health official in the George W. Bush administration. The health secretary — who is steering the response in addition to his other duties — has been near-constantly flanked by top scientists like CDC’s Redfield and veteran infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci at White House meetings, congressional briefings and televised updates… [T]he administration has kept in constant contact with Congress about its response efforts — a sharp departure for an administration that’s been in a near constant state of warfare with congressional Democrats, lawmakers and aides said. Officials including Azar, Redfield and Fauci have provided multiple briefings on their latest findings, in some cases spending more than an hour behind closed doors fielding questions and concerns. ‘The administration is fully engaged,’ Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said following a meeting earlier this month. ‘We’re holding our own right now, which is where you want to be. The administration also has quietly worked with blue states like California and officials in staunchly Democratic cities like New York City…. More substantially, both Republicans and Democrats have been struck by HHS’ refusal to seek additional funding to fight the disease, rather than shifting funds from other parts of the department.” • Worth reading in full. (Note that the easy answer is a “Coronvirus Czar.” Does that ever work? I’m having a hard time recalling a successful Czar. Note that in the Foreign Policy article below, Obama did set up a Czar after Ebola.

Trump (R)(2): “Why the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Continues to Raise Concerns” [New York Magazine]. “While some of the White House’s response has been praised, its approach has also included a mix of xenophobic policy, improvisation, and suddenly sharp turns in decision-making. And long before the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in mainland China, the administration had been putting off years of back-end work which may undermine the government’s ability to prepare for and handle a breakout of the scale that coronavirus may reach…. Specific to the U.S., the potential political impact of an outbreak in an election year shouldn’t be underestimated, and it’s something that is already reportedly worrying President Trump. For an example of another question the U.S. may face: How will disinformation about the virus spread in a country where health officials have already been combating a proliferation of unsubstantiated fears about the safety of vaccines?” • A very good question.

Trump (R)(3): “Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response” [Foreign Policy]. “In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure. In numerous phone calls and emails with key agencies across the U.S. government, the only consistent response I encountered was distressed confusion. If the United States still has a clear chain of command for pandemic response, the White House urgently needs to clarify what it isIf the United States still has a clear chain of command for pandemic response, the White House urgently needs to clarify what it is—not just for the public but for the government itself, which largely finds itself in the dark…. In the absence of a formal structure, the government has resorted to improvisation. In practical terms, the U.S. government’s public health effort is led by Daniel Jernigan, the incident commander for the Wuhan coronavirus response at the CDC. Jernigan is responsible for convening meetings of the nation’s state health commissioners and briefing CDC Director Robert Redfield and his boss, Azar. Meanwhile, state-level health leaders told me that they have been sharing information with one another and deciding how best to prepare their medical and public health workers without waiting for instructions from federal leadership. The most important federal program for local medical worker and hospital epidemic training, however, will run out of money in May, as Congress has failed to vote on its funding.” • Pretty damning. It’s reminiscent of George W. Bush putting a crony in charge of FEMA, which IIRC had not been bad under Clinton, who then butchered the job of responding to Katrina. However, I’m deeply unsure that getting the bureaucratic response — meant non-perjoratively — to #COVID-19 correct will be nearly enough. You fight an epidemic with the health care system you have. In any case, if #COVID-19 is Trump’s Katrina, that will solve some electoral problems, but at a cost only the heartless would have the country pay.

* * *

“The Democratic Nomination: It’s Getting Late Early” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “[Sanders] may be able to start building a lead that, because of proportional allocation rules, no other single candidate can reasonably surpass during the nominating season. So even if he doesn’t get precisely to 50% +1, the magic number of 1,991 pledged delegates to win the nomination, he could be both close enough — and far enough ahead of whoever ends up in second — that he’d have the only real claim to the nomination…. A Sanders win in South Carolina — which now seems possible — would represent the culmination of an incredible February for Sanders in which the Democratic Party’s insurgent, Sanders, would replicate the path of the GOP’s insurgent, Donald Trump, four years ago: second-place in Iowa and then a sweep of Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina…. Three days after South Carolina is Super Tuesday, which awards more than a third of all the pledged delegates. If Sanders is within striking distance of Biden in South Carolina, it probably suggests that Sanders is competitive enough with African Americans in the six other Southern states that vote on Super Tuesday… Nevada may provide a preview of sorts of California and Texas, in that the two megastates voting on Super Tuesday each have larger Hispanic electorates than Nevada does. At this point it’d be a shock if Sanders lost California, and at least a little surprising if he lost Texas.” • Sabato is totally mainstream, so no doubt this is causing a little panic in the Establishment.

“No, You Drop Out: Why Bernie’s Rivals Are All Stubbornly Staying in the Race” [Gabriel Debenedetti, New York Magazine]. “On Sunday, I checked in with a wide range of plugged-in Democrats of different ideological stripes to gauge whether any had heard stirrings of any organized, backroom efforts to try and shrink the field — or if that was just a tweet and chyron fantasy. The only people talking about it were “Twitter world & Dems who think they have power & don’t,” one texted back. Matt Bennett, the vice-president of the centrist Third Way think tank that’s been trying to galvanize anti-Sanders efforts since at least 2018, replied, “I have heard none, and if there were any, I would know about them.”

* * *


“After Nevada, uncertainty awaits as the 2020 Democratic race shifts to South Carolina” [Post and Courier]. “Uncharted territory awaits.” • The debate should be interesting.

SC: Maybe:

All Latins are not alike (as the campaigns will no doubt discover in FL).


UPDATE “Interview: Heidi Sloan on Running a Left Campaign in Texas” [Current Affairs]. What a great answer: “That is a great question. I think maybe the first thing, and this is true for so many people, more than it is even for me, that farmers do a lot more than grow food. That most farmers can rebuild their tractor, that most farmers can write a spreadsheet for crop rotation that would blow your mind, that most farmers are in charge of the sales of their farm, that most farmers are also raising their families onsite, and keeping ties with the community. That farmers are an exceptionally gifted and hardworking group of people, and I think that we sometimes just focus on one aspect of that work. Whereas, they, everyday, are running a whole ecosystem to itself.”

NV: Sanders ground game (1):

Readers will recall we supplied a podcast of Culinary Workers cheering Sanders’ #MedicareForAll presenation.

NV: Sanders ground game (2):

One wonders if the same has been done in CA, and how this strategy interacts with Bloomberg’s air war.

UPDATE “The Nevada caucuses were even better news for Sanders — and the Democrats — than you might think” [WaPo]. “In 2016, you may remember, nonwhite voters were Sanders’s Achilles’ heel. Hillary Clinton, who went on to win the nomination, regularly routed Sanders with nonwhite voters, especially black Democratic voters. She built up a lead in the South that Sanders could never overtake. In Nevada this year, Sanders won about 42 percent of the nonwhite vote. This was actually the same percentage of the demographic that he won in the state four years ago, as the graph above shows. But again, it comes in the context of his support dropping among other demographic groups. Among white caucusgoers, for example, Sanders’s support was 20 points lower this year than it was then. Among nonwhites, no change. Among very liberal attendees, he was down only 3 points, essentially unchanged.”

UPDATE “How Bernie Sanders Dominated in Nevada” [New York Times]. “For at least one day, in one state, the long-promised political revolution of Mr. Sanders came to vivid life, a multiracial coalition of immigrants, college students, Latina mothers, younger black voters, white liberals and even some moderates who embraced his idea of radical change and lifted him to victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. By harnessing such a broad cross-section of voters, Mr. Sanders offered a preview of the path that he hopes to take to the Democratic presidential nomination: uniting an array of voting blocs in racially diverse statesin the West and the South and in economically strapped parts of the Midwest and the Southwest, all behind the message of social and economic justice that he has preached for years.” • There’s a concept here that the Times seems unable to grasp, falling back instead on mush-mouthed, liberal, Democrat consultant-speak verbiage like “a broad cross-section of voters,” and “uniting an array of voting blocs.” That concept: The working class. That’s why the cross section is broad. That’s why the array us united. And the appeal, the “unique selling proposition” of the Sanders campaign: Universal concrete material benefits, as [lambert preens], I have been advocating for many, many years.


“Russiagate 2.0 Drowns Out Trump’s Reckless Escalation Of US – Russia Nuclear Arms Race” (podcast) [Aaron Maté, Pushback]. “US media is once again consumed with evidence-free claims that Russia intends to interfere on Donald Trump’s behalf. But as Democrats accuse Trump of being “Putin’s Puppet,” Trump is overseeing a hawkish agenda that has worsened US-Russia tensions. Nowhere is that more dangerous than Trump’s escalation of the nuclear arms race with Russia: abandoning arms control treaties while deploying and developing new nuclear weapons. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter joins Pushback to discuss the overlooked dangers.”

Our Famously Free Press

Editors write the headlines:

UPDATE This is violence:

I wouldn’t mind the hyperbole, if it weren’t so obviously wish fulfillment.

Realignment and Legitimacy

About that Democrat Establishment:

Josh Marshall denying there’s any such thing as a Democrat Establishment… That’s almost too rich.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please leave links in comments.

Manufacturing: “February 2020 Texas Manufacturing Improves Again” [Econintersect]. “Important subindices new orders significantly declined (and is in expansion) and unfilled orders improved and now is in contraction. This should be considered a better report relative to last month.”

Housing: “Home Prices: While Up In Most Areas, Some Places See Decline” [Econintersect]. “And while prices have risen in most places, the U.S. index masks the fact that many cities have had a dip in values over the last year and some will experience declines in 2020 as well…. During 2019 our index found more than 70 places that had an annual price decline, including the San Jose, CA and Bridgeport, CT metropolitan areas.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 29 Fear (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 24 at 1:21pm. Big move to Fear. Panic indeed!

Rapture Index: Unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. Finally, the Corona Virus shows up, but under Interest Rates, not Plagues. And then, under Plagues, no mention of an actual Plague of Locusts. What is this, end-time regulatory capture?

The Biosphere

“How to Plant a Fruit Tree” [Modern Farmer]. Five tips, this is the first: “Start early. It’s best to plant fruit trees in late winter or early spring before they emerge from dormancy. During this time, they may be purchased “bare root”—sans soil, that is—from mail order nurseries. How early you can plant depends on where you live, but it’s essentially a matter of the ground no longer being frozen. Give the nursery your ZIP code and they will tell you the earliest window that it’s safe to ship the tree.” • Others are: “Find the Right Spot,” “Dig the Perfect Hole,” and “Set It Up for Success.” • If you are thinking of starting a garden, or have already done so, I highly recommend you thinking about planting some trees now. In five years, you’ll be glad you did!

“Teck withdraws application for $20B Frontier oilsands mine” [CBC]. “Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd., has withdrawn its application to build a massive oilsands project in northern Alberta, citing the ongoing debate over climate policy in Canada…. The company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the project, which it said would have created 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 operating jobs, and brought in more than $70 billion in government revenue.” • Yeah, yeah. Leave it in the ground.

“OPP move in on rail blockade by Mohawks of Tyendinaga” [CBC]. “This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and key members of his cabinet — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, House Leader Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller — to discuss the blockades. On Friday, Trudeau said that the barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes must come down after two weeks of the government calling for patience and stalled attempts at negotiation.”

More knock-on effects from austerity:

Health Care

“WHO says it’s too early to declare a coronavirus pandemic: ‘Now is the time to prepare'” [CNBC]. “‘It is time to do everything you would do in preparing for a pandemic,’ Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said.” • Including canned goods, I assume. It strikes me that WHO is being reactive. In fact, the entire neolineral world-system is being reactive; one would think that there would be some institutional embodiment of the Precautionary Principle, with a decent budget and the best of science. Then again, perhaps that doesn’t enable elites to extract enough from death and suffering. And fear, just by itself, is extremely profitable.

“Offline: Facts are not enough” (PDF) [The Lancet]. Interesting:

[W]e must ask questions usually considered outside the scope of international health. A Public Health Emergency of International Concern gives us a unique opportunity. First, what are the supreme guiding values of global health? Hitherto, the answer has been equity. But, as we have seen from China’s efforts to contain COVID-19, perhaps we should consider liberty an equally fundamental value. Without liberty of expression—for health workers, policy makers, the public, and media—there is no means to forge a common view about the future (including the future health) of a society. Second, how important is the political system for health? Global health is typically agnostic about the kind of political system a country chooses to adopt. Global health and its institutions see health systems as separate—technically, socially, economically—from the political ideologies of nations. This view is not sustainable. We cannot say that the terms of political engagement within a country are irrelevant to our hopes for health. Third, what is prosperity? Conventionally, prosperity means monetary wealth. But could we redefine prosperity to mean something else, something more? Prosperity as the well-being of the community in synchrony with its environment. Fourth, how should we consider the place of the human body in society? How do we better connect the social to the biological? How do we incorporate the world in which we live into our biological selves? Our bodies and the illnesses they express tell stories about our lives. Our task is to uncover those stories and to link them back to our bodies and our health. Fifth, what do we mean by health anyway? Whatever we say about the absence of disease or a state of complete wellbeing, the idea of health is also related to our sense of what our lives have been and what they might be in the future. Isn’t health contingent on the purpose we envision for our life, and the possibilities we have for enacting that purpose? In other words, isn’t health also about our capacity to achieve meaning in our lives?

* * *

This Is The System We Are Going To Fight #COVID-19 with (1). Thread:

This Is The System We Are Going To Fight #COVID-19 with (2). Thread:

I see threads like this on the Twitter so often. They’re a [family blogging] genre for pity’s sake.

Suppose you had #COVID-19 symptoms but co-pays and an enormous deductible. Would you seek help immediately? Would you put the visit off as long as possible? Or would you to gut it out, at home? Would you self-quarantine? Suppose you had only $400 for emergencies, like most Americans. What if you were a retail worker? Or a server? Could you self-quarantine? (Waiting for the fingerwagging from PMCs on all this.)

Screening Room

Incredibly trivial, and really neat:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

From the archives:

Class Warfare

“Tracking Extraction” [Tracking Extraction]. “For Patel and Moore, as for LPE, “Capitalism is not just the sum of ‘economic’ transactions that turn money into commodities and back again; it’s inseparable from the modern state and from governments’ dominions and transformations of natures, human and otherwise.” Capitalism produces wealth in part by drawing human and nonhuman activities previously outside itself into its circuits of production, exchange and profit, without recognizing (let alone paying) the full social and ecological costs of their creation, maintenance, or extraction. Patel and Moore call this process making things ‘cheap,’ and they illustrate their argument with seven ‘cheap things:’ Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives.” • Lives, especially lives. Although data, too. Well worth a read.

“Beauty and the bloke: why more men are wearing makeup” [Guardian]. • See above.

News of the Wired

“More Libraries Are Doing Away With Overdue Fines” [New York Times]. “‘I think it’s an exciting thing,’ [said Eric Klinenberg, a professor of social science at New York University and the author of the 2018 book ‘Palaces for the People.’] of the new policies. ‘There are a lot of people who need a safe, warm place where they are treated with dignity and respect. We are short on that these days.'” • Libraries seem to be one of the few institutions to have avoided crapification. I wonder why?

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (SV):

SV writes: “On the heals of freezing fog, we now have this. Our friend Barbara writes: ‘Also called flowering quince. The apocolyptica isn’t supported by botany. It’s supposed to bloom much later.'”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. cnchal

    > . . . Including canned goods . . .

    If you are gonna panic buy, might as well do it now instead of later.

    Bunker futures are on fire!

    1. Daryl

      I haven’t panic bought food or water supplies yet, I did however just buy some medical equipment (out of pocket, of course, even though I have GREAT INSURANCE on paper like the rest of the babbling idiots on TV) which I suspect may be effected by the Chinese production shutdown, as well as some tech baubles. Guess this is as close as I’ll get to prepping.

    2. EMtz

      Here in México, no cases yet. But I’ve filled my freezer and larder for the doggies and me with enough for a least a month. Plus toilet paper. If nothing happens, I won’t have to shop for awhile. And this time of year, the garden is abundant. No worries.

  2. Wukchumni

    Planted 3x Sierra Beauty & 1 Sundowner apple trees, and a Craig’s Crimson cherry tree last week, bringing me up to a bakers dozen worth in cherry valley, by the river.

    The first blossoms of the year have made the Satsuma plum tree look like it’s a wedding tree-so brilliantly white, and the Cara Cara navel orange tree has about 20 on it that need another couple weeks of ripening, while the Loquat has lots of little ones on it now, it’ll be the first summer fruit in May.

    1. skookum red

      Regarding trees, now is the time to think about pollination and bees, a recurring topic at NC. This week UPS will deliver my shipment of mason bees and leafcutter bees. My experience with these bees the past two years has been quite rewarding as countermeasures to the severe decline of honey bees in my area. After two years of trying mason bees and leaf cutter bees, I can attest they made a remarkable improvement to my trees, bushes, plants. I am now embarked on building up our own mason and leafcutter bee population. That entails setting up a good number of bee blocks for them to nest in. For those of you who are concerned: these bees do not sting. – Footnote, last year the Wa. State Beekeepers Association successfully lobbied for a bee sting liability exemption for honey bee keepers in urban areas. I pestered my Olympia reps on behalf of that bill.

      I started out renting bees from a local outfit in the Puget Sound area. The second year I also ordered bees and materials (no renting) from an outfit in Utah. The web sites of both companies contain a lot of information about the bees, how to care for them and get them working for you.

      This is the web site of the Puget Sound based company that rents the bees — when season is over, you send back the baby bees the parent bees stored in your bee blocks. https://www.rentmasonbees.com/
      The advantage of using this company is supposed to be that the bees are native to the Pacific NW and flourish in our environment.

      This is the web site of the Utah company that sells, no renting. https://masonbeesforsale.com/
      The advantage is being able to keep the bee blocks with baby bees for next year. Some effort is involved with storing the baby bees over the winter and making sure they don’t hatch early.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          it actually worked for me, although in countries like the US where there were very few cases, the specificity right down to cross streets where the dots indicating a case were located was scarcely credible. the one in chicago did not correspond to a hospital, for example, nor I believe to a government building.

        1. urblintz

          Your welcome! It’s very good with all the details and as I’ve watched it the numbers often change so it seems to update as soon as new info comes in.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Thank you for the link!

        I note your site indicates 53 confirmed cases in the US.

        The John Hopkins site still lists 35.

        Both have the same number of recovered: 5

        I had no problem bringing up the John HOpkins site so it must have been a down server or something.

        1. urblintz

          Yes I have noticed discrepencies when looking at different sites but I have also seen those discrepencies corrected in timely fashion at worldmeters. Perhaps they get raw data that they post with some confidence but is either ahead or behind the official stat updates. Over several days watching it has tracked closely to the more familiar sites.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      It’s working for me too now. Last week I noticed it appeared to be assigning geographic coordinates for the map based on geographic centering e.g. the one case in British Columbia was represented by a red dot deep in the wilderness — probably the geographic center of the province. Oddly, or not, when I went to Google Maps to zoom in what exactly was there, besides rugged wilderness was an icon locating a software business on the same mountainside dozens of miles from the nearest road.

      So I’m thinking if a case is reported in a town, it is possible if not likely the red dot will appear at the geographic center of the town rather than in a more specific coordinate. A *lot* simpler to build the map that way.

  3. jefemt

    What is a PMC, finger-wagging, or otherwise? (Covid 19 scenario rhetorical question)?

    I did the google, lots of results, none that seemed spot-on.

          1. Dixon

            Profiteers or wanna be profiteers, or staff of the profiteers feasting on the American public who are worried about their jobs if Sanders is nominated and goes on to win.

            Think of the Pharma rep managers. I recommend
            “The Pharmacist” on Netflix for a horrifying look at the results of the Sackler empire.

  4. Andrewf

    Fruit Trees:
    It’s very common where I live to see someone plant a young fruit tree only to have it chewed up by deer followed by another attempt with a fence around it. My problem with fruit trees has always been Japanese beetles. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy when I’m out there in the morning with a hand held vacuum but it worked a lot better than neem oil or the white powder stuff.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Great idea on the hand-held vacuum but it sounds like work. Maybe these species of tree is not for you. Do you have an agricultural extension service?

      On deer: Not to set off a monster thread, but my strategy for dealing with those ugly and stupid pests was three-fold. Note that I never had a bad infestation, and the deer didn’t come in daylight:

      1) A border of white clover that they could eat instead of actually going into the garden (there’s a name for this sort of diversionary planting, but I forget what it is).

      2) Surround my 1/8th acre with black fishing line. Deer have bad eyesight, and when their thin legs encounter the fishing line in the dark, they don’t know what to do, and go away

      3) Hang up shiny tinsel that will blow in the wind. I think the stupid deer dimly connected the tinsel with dangerous blades, and so stayed away.

      These measures did work…

      1. Wukchumni

        All of my fruit trees have a triangular set of 9 foot posts each about 7-8 feet apart around the trees, with 7 feet of chicken wire surrounding them on the perimeter, and then 6 stakes keep the deer from getting to the trees from under the chicken wire. So far it has been effective.

        Not even remotely useful against bears though, ha.

      2. Off The Street

        CDs dangling in fruit trees also serve as deterrents when confronted by birds and possibly squirrels, when netting isn’t very practical. No deer nearby yet to see effects.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        In what sense are deer ” stupid”, “ugly”, and ” a pest”?

        In permaculture terms that sounds like a failure of vision. In permaculture terms, deer would be viewed as a renewable food source. The Indians used to manage landscapes as “deer gardens” on purpose in order to have renewable deer to eat. Suburbia and exurbia are being managed by accident as “deer gardens” yet again. Perhaps suburbia and exurbia should “go Indian” and view themselves as “deer gardens” on purpose, and view the deer as an annually killable/cullable renewable meat resource.

        1. inode_buddha

          The reason why deer populations are thriving in suburbia is because they won’t be hunted there. In most states, if you use a weapon of any kind within 500 feet of a dwelling, or 100 feet of a road, you are going to go to jail.

          The indians did not have to deal with that. They also did not have a population of over 320 million humans.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’ve found the evening to be an easier time to grab those little guys. They just fall right off and don’t get agitated the way they do in the morning. Also lemon juice or lemon soap in water knocks them out and they just drown.

    3. Alternate Delegate

      Rabbits killed an apple tree sapling by girdling the trunk, and lilac borers almost did in the young peach tree. Plastic armor around the base keeps off the rabbits, although it has to go high enough to account for the snow, when they are most hungry.

      A sticky trap with a scent lure for the borers worked reasonably well on the peach tree. But then we got too ambitious and tried applying dormant oil, and wound up doing it too late in the spring when it was no longer fully dormant and the buds were swelling. That did finally kill the peach tree. But we haven’t given up, and will keep trying!

      The Japanese beetles didn’t go after the fruit trees that I noticed, but they did go after the green beans. A scent lure and bag trap worked very well. Made the difference between getting no green beans and getting 40 lbs of green beans into the freezer.

    4. Titus

      All varieties of apples, are prone to rust, which ususally isn’t fatal, but does lead to smaller fruit.Other than making applesauce, I really just grow both the apples and cherries both for their blossoms and to provide birds with something to eat.

    5. Nat

      I always found the Japanese Beetle traps worked really well for me. They basically work on “high tech” “basketball technology.” Its just a “backboard” that you stick Japanese Beetle sex pheromones on and a sack underneath it. They go flying full tilt toward the “backboard,” hit it, drop, and its nothing but “net.” In my experience the sacks filled up pretty fast, and the few times I sifted through them the contents was 100% Japanese beetles, nothing beneficial or otherwise got caught in them, at least not in any noticeable amounts.

      If you want to try it be sure you set up a perimeter of the traps around your trees and sufficiently far from them. The traps actually attract a lot of beetles so if you just have like one or two traps and they are right under your trees you can easily make things worse. Set up a perimeter so that there is a area in the center with you trees that the beetles get “pulled out of” toward the traps on the parameter.

  5. Toshiro_Mifune

    Beauty and the bloke: why more men are wearing makeup

    You know, I’ve been reading various articles about men wearing makeup and how its either becoming or about to become a thing since the `80s. I have still yet to meet a man wearing any form of makeup who was not about to go on or just coming off a stage.

    1. roadway roy

      I did freelance “market research” summaries for Frost and Sullivan back in the mid-70s, and some people were trying even then to create a men’s makeup trend–hey, look at Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan…

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Good question. Although I suppose it isn’t so much makeup/not makeup as makeup/superfund site.

  6. zagostra

    >Democracy Now! Krugman/Richard Wolff Debate

    I don’t normally watch DN! anymore since it’s watered down coverage became apparent a couple of years ago, but this debate between Krugman and Wolff was on the “recommend” sidebar on YouTube as I was watching “The Rising.”

    What I found revealing was when Krugman said that he is in principle for M4A but fears that it would get in the way of what he considers more important, a focus on children’s issues…yeah lets protect the children and the hell with the parents who care for them, I wish Wolff would have been more the wolf and gone for the jugular of this “centrist” – it’s also curious that he took offense to being called a centrist instead of left/progressive.


    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I didn’t watch this knowing that Krugman would say something that would make me want to strangle him. Did anyone point out that M4A is a children’s issue as well?

  7. Monty

    Noonan talks about “banning private health insurance”. I dont think that will be the case. It will change to a much smaller “boutique” thing for people too posh to mix in the public hospital. In the UK there are companies like BUPA who provide the plush waiting rooms and hotel style hospital rooms for a fee (Much less than US health insurance). You can even get seen faster, if you want an elective procedure done. This kind of service will obviously be available here, to those who want to pay for it.

      1. Monty

        You think Kim Kardashian is going to be using the same hospital as the hoi polloi? No chance. There will be a parallel system in place. Think private jets, but for medical care. That’s fine by me, as long as it is not subsidized by some ‘school vouchers’ style tax rebate.

        1. nippersdad

          I think they are called concierge medical services. We have them already, no reason to believe that they won’t form their own private hospitals as well.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          no, private insurance will be able to pay for elective stuff, not basic essential medical treatment, and for perks like private rooms—NOT for better docs or quicker appts. Medical need, not ability to pay. It will be a DIFFERENT system, and the only way Kim Kardashian jumps the line is paying cash.

      2. Drake

        It’s quite obvious to me. Those with the money for it will demand it, and supply will materialize for the right price. There are plenty who won’t want to sit around in waiting rooms mixing with the plebes getting ‘public’ healthcare. They will want private services provided by well-paid, well-heeled private providers, for their plastic-surgery and all that. And it will suck up the best and brightest to provide those services, or at least the greediest and best-looking.

        And that’s IF we get public healthcare, which is not at all obvious to me.

        1. Shonde

          The better off already use boutique aka concierge medical practices. No waiting. Lots of personal service and appointments based on need and not just 15 minutes.

        2. a different chris

          >or at least the greediest and best-looking

          Bingo. Let them have it, as long as it doesn’t interfere with M4A in any way, shape or form. That is, it won’t be illegal to go to a boutique “hospital” and pay $$$ but it won’t be any different than if you didn’t go anywhere at all. No tax deduction, no government-negotiated drug prices, no nuthin’.

          The thing is the guys that will be dealing with the biggest mash of patients are gonna be the guys that are the best. Regardless of their backgrounds, regardless of published papers. If you have something that 99% of the population gets you are best treated at a place that sees 99% of the population. There is absolutely no substitute for experience.

          It’s fiction, let’s keep that clear, but still to illustrate what I’m saying watch the first couple of MASH episodes where Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, by all accounts a very capable doctor, was just a fish out of water.

        3. urblintz

          i remember a comment here, probably years ago, suggesting a future sci-fi scenario set at a time when only the wealthy could afford health insurance where hospitals and ER’s become the breeding ground of a deadly plague and the only people who survive are those without insurance, who could not seek professional healthcare because they couldn’t afford it.

          It’s ghastly and perhaps this is not the best time to recall it but…

          And let me be clear that I don’t wish a deadly plague on anyone, even the rich…

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            If ya wanna get sick, go see a doctor. Don’t forget to read the magazines in the waiting room and warmly receive the proferred handshake, too.

      3. MK

        Why? As long as everyone has access to Medicare, why can’t those who want to pay for extras be allowed to? Medicare for all can not be the end all, there has to be room for private pay. Otherwise, the next argument is why are there different classes on airlines & trains for those who wish to pay more? And after that, why do you get to live in a 4 BR/3 B ranch on 1/4 acre and all I get is a studio apartment???

        1. a different chris

          No jesus that’s not “the next argument”.

          Follow me carefully here:

          *First class upgrades, you pick your career as best, work as hard as you need to afford those
          *Bigger houses, you pick you career as best you can, work as hard as you need to afford those.

          You get sick, you can’t do s(family blog)t for yourself. Do you see the difference? Please tell me that you do. Because you saying “the next argument is”, is completely ridiculous.

          It just isn’t.

          And above you can see me agreeing that rich people can buy stupid stuff if they want to be conned.

        2. Titus

          Ah, comrade M4A is just to begin. You raise important points. So, here’s what we do – you pretend to talk, we pretend no listen, yes?

        3. carl

          “For all who want to pay for it” I like this, it has a certain ring to it. Seriously, though, this public/private system exists in many countries, apparently without a lot of downsides. We shouldn’t be afraid of it.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “We shouldn’t be afraid of it.”
            but this is america,lol.
            they’ll get it, if M4A comes to pass in any real sense…and i don’t have a problem with that, so long as they pay their damned taxes, and don’t get excused because of all the $$ they’re spending on their hoity toity private hospitals.
            I believe canada and the uk have this.

            oh…and i’d rather not mingle with the nose in the air class, either.
            isolate them.
            wall them off into paddocks.
            turn one’s back upon them.
            they’ve had their fun
            (‘verily, they have their reward…”)

          2. Tom Bradford

            As I’ve noted here previously lil’ ol’ New Zealand has a private health system alongside its M4A.

            So here’s the question. I have need for a non-urgent, minor procedure. I can afford to have it done privately, so do I:

            1. Ignore the private sector and have it done under the public system in due course, saving myself the $$$ to spend on a flash holiday, or boat or a case of 40-year-old malt, or

            2. Go private? Yes I might get into theater a few weeks earlier than I would have done under the public system and yes my stay in hospital will be in a private room rather than a ward with up to three others, but I will have saved the public system a few thousand $$$ to spend on something else and will have enabled someone else to get into theater earlier than they would have done had I been in the queue.

    1. marym

      House (Jayapal) bill:
      (a) In General.—Beginning on the effective date described in section 106(a), it shall be unlawful for—

      (1) a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act; or

      (2) an employer to provide benefits for an employee, former employee, or the dependents of an employee or former employee that duplicate the benefits provided under this Act.

      (b) Construction.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the sale of health insurance coverage for any additional benefits not covered by this Act, including additional benefits that an employer may provide to employees or their dependents, or to former employees or their dependents.

      Similar language in Section 107 of the Senate (Sanders) bill. The most recent HR 676 Section 104 didn’t include the item on employer benefits.


      1. Phemfrog

        This seems to clearly forbid insurance for identical medical services. It does not prohibit the provision of those services for cash. Remember, M4A is not government run health care. It is only insurance for all (with lots of other benefits related to that single market).

        1. a different chris

          Thank you!

          This is important to get out now, because it’s gonna be deliberately misrepresented.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          I don’t think providers outside the system can duplicate services covered within it unless they are completely set apart—no hospital privileges for specialty docs, etc., and yes they would have to take cash.

          private insurance will still exist for elective treatment but not basic medical care.

          everyone will have equal access to and wait times for the “best” providers but private insurance could work hand in hand with M4A say to put someone a private room. perks, yes, better treatment, no.

          as I understand it.

          1. The Historian

            I think you need to get a definition as to what “basic medical care” is. Is it like the medical care you would get if you were in prison? Seems to me that is what states consider basic medical care. Is that OK with you? It is not with me – I want universal medical care meaning we all get treated the same if we need medical care – that our illnesses and not our pocketbooks are treated – including getting needed advanced testing and advanced medications when necessary.

        3. HotFlash

          Here in Canada, our system does not forbid medical services for cash. My Libertarian friend was proud of his non-OHIP status, paid his Dr cash for all the checkups, etc.. Right up until he developed an abdominal hernia. He made a few inquiries as to cost to repair (eg, our famous *private* Shouldice Clinic) — and signed up for OHIP pronto.

          Some of my Michigan relatives go to Canada for medical treatment, they just pay cash to the Drs here. I never asked them whether/what their insurance companies reimbursed, I suspect most of them were un/underinsured anyway.

          PS I have linked to the Wikipedia article instead of the Shouldice Clinic website so you can see the setting and controversy.

      2. The Historian

        If this M4A plan is so great, WHY would it allow the selling of “health insurance coverage for additional benefits not covered by this Act, including additional benefits that an employer may provide…..” ? Does this mean, like I think it does, that this M4A is NOT going to provide comprehensive healthcare and that additional healthcare insurance will be required? Somehow that does not seem to me to be universal healthcare coverage.

        Frankly I would like to see a plan that actually gets healthcare insurers and employers OUT of a person’s healthcare needs. This plan apparently doesn’t do that.

        Am I missing something here or are we being sold another pig in a poke similar to ACA?

        And people wonder why I question all these M4A plans.

        1. marym

          From the House bill:
          (a) In General.—Subject to the other provisions of this title and titles IV through IX, individuals enrolled for benefits under this Act are entitled to have payment made by the Secretary to an eligible provider for the following items and services if medically necessary or appropriate for the maintenance of health or for the diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation of a health condition:

          (1) Hospital services, including inpatient and outpatient hospital care, including 24-hour-a-day emergency services and inpatient prescription drugs.
          (2) Ambulatory patient services.
          (3) Primary and preventive services, including chronic disease management.
          (4) Prescription drugs and medical devices, including outpatient prescription drugs, medical devices, and biological products.
          (5) Mental health and substance abuse treatment services, including inpatient care.
          (6) Laboratory and diagnostic services.
          (7) Comprehensive reproductive, maternity, and newborn care.
          (8) Pediatrics.
          (9) Oral health, audiology, and vision services.
          (10) Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
          (11) Emergency services and transportation.
          (12) Early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services, as described in sections 1902(a)(10)(A), 1902(a)(43), 1905(a)(4)(B), and 1905(r) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(10)(A); 1396a(a)(43); 1396d(a)(4)(B); 1396d(r)).
          (13) Necessary transportation to receive health care services for persons with disabilities or low-income individuals (as determined by the Secretary).
          (14) Long-term care services and support (as described in section 204).

          As ChiGal in Carolina has pointed out, private rooms or cosmetic surgery would be examples of care that wouldn’t be covered. Insurance companies can sell insurance for this. but M4A is proposed to be comprehensive for all essential care.

          See my comment @ 2:54 pm for links to the bills. They’re only about 44-45 pages, with a detailed table of contents formatted as links.

          1. The Historian

            That still does not explain to me why this statement is there: “(b) Construction.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the sale of health insurance coverage for any additional benefits not covered by this Act, including additional benefits that an employer may provide to employees or their dependents, or to former employees or their dependents.”

            Are you seriously trying to tell me that employers want to pay for cosmetic surgery? As for private rooms, seems to me all the hospitals I’ve been in already provide that except in rare instances. Maybe it’s different where you live but I haven’t seen a ward in a hospital in a very long time.

            It just seems to me that people need to pay more attention to what they are being promised and not assume anything. And people are assuming a lot about M4A without any real comprehensive descriptions about what it will and will not do. It is definitely the details that matter here. I think we will have at most, one more shot at universal health coverage. It behooves us all to make sure it is exactly what we want.

            1. Tom Bradford

              “Are you seriously trying to tell me that employers want to pay for cosmetic surgery?”

              Probably not, but there is a large middle ground between urgent, life-saving treatment and cosmetic surgery which I recently experienced first hand.

              I suffered an enlarged prostate and needed a TURP. Until I had the hour in theater for it I had to live with a catheter in my bladder and a bag of, ah, warm liquid strapped to my leg 24/7. It wasn’t particularly uncomfortable and for me, being retired, a great inconvenience but I really, really wouldn’t have wanted to do my old job – on my feet in court for much of the day – like that, and I think few jobs would accommodate it well.

              As I could afford it I went private, and had the op around three weeks earlier than the public service was promising me. For the self-employed, and for many employers with employees they need, those three weeks off the job could be very expensive and well worth insuring against.

            2. Oh

              You never know – The Clinton Foundation may want to pay for Hillary to periodically get a face lift as well as other liftsl OR for Bill to make “health recuperation” trips in a private jet.

              Jokes aside, you’re right that we shouldn’t assume anything. The devil’s always in the details.

        2. Oh

          Think of all the people who’d become unemployed and will have to seek employment at a business that doesn’t ripoff people if health insurance companies go out of business!

        3. scornforhealthcareprofit

          These are some examples of what I can imagine an intelligent and effective system would not cover but some people might still want to pay for, if they are among the few who can afford it unsubsidized.

          Keeping someone on life support long after they should have been taken off.

          Providing treatments for cancer or terminal illnesses that have a low chance of extending length of life, have a low % chance of working compared to placebo, extend life length at the expense of quality of life, and are extremely expensive. There are people who think that just because some crackpot treatment exists, it needs to be available to them. And the existence of crackpot treatments are not going to go away immediately upon administration of m4a.

          BS treatments for terminal illnesses that just make pharmas and medical device companies rich, don’t really work, but prey on desperate people who will believe they need them and want to pay.

          Giving birth in a 5 star hotel style room

          Using a surgeon to catch the baby when a midwife or nurse will do it better

          Scheduling medically unnecessary c-section

          Medications that are mainly for cosmetic or convenience, but pharmas have sold them to the public as if they are medically necessary, and the rest of the industry including the providers have be complicit in promoting the belief

          Medications that are a combo of two already existing cheaper medications, but have a new name/use and much higher price tag and the “customer” believes they need it

          Medications already existing for another condition, renamed and used for a new condition with much higher price tags. “Customer” still wants it.

          People who want to be seen (or have their children seen) for colic, common cold or other self limiting illnesses and even after examination, will not leave until a treatment has been given, even if there is no treatment for the ailment except rest, drink liquids, exercise, eat healthy etc. See also people and providers who demand/promote procedures and medications because consult alone is not profitable enough (for provider’s liking) or psychologically satisfying to customer. Single Payer system will still allow for competition between providers, and even if not-for-profits, the providers will still prefer to get the most they can.

          These are just a few that came to mind. Many of them are expensive.

          Over time the demand for this kind of crap will go down, but for now there is a lot of psychological attachment to them, caused by many years of conditioning by the for profit medical industry. A lot of people think that only insurance and pharma/device industry is the problem and they don’t realize the providers are also and have been complicit in the game.

          Part of the reason for m4a is to lower demands and costs for medical expenses that we’ve been allowed to believe we need but that we really not only do not need, but are harmful.

    2. skk

      I don’t know how the Sanders’ M4A implementation will pan out. We’ll have to see, but that’s why I want to see the word “quality” in the list of bullets that Sanders’ M4A webpage has.

      In the UK, the issue in the so called “going private” is two-fold –
      1. getting fed up with /find it stressful/painful with waiting for ages for your operation date to come up, or your GP to see you, (or the ambulance to arrive (!) no really ), so you go “private”.
      2. augment the service – denial of which is encapsulated in this advice from the NHS

      You can’t choose to mix different parts of the same treatment between NHS and private care.

      For example, you can’t have a cataract operation on the NHS and pay privately for special lens implants that are normally only available as part of private care.

      Instead, you either have to have both the operation on the NHS and standard NHS lens implants, or pay for both the operation and implants privately.

      Including the word “quality” in their plan statement would go quite some way to answering the issue. How to handle augment ? we’ll have to see. I hope I don’t have to argue the toss on these issues all over again in the USA. Here’s some NHS bumpf on how “going private” is implemented in the UK:



      1. HotFlash

        When a govt wants to sell you out (“privatize”), they first starve the service until the general populace is unhappy with it, and then promise that ‘business can do it better’. Mind you, my answer to people who tell me that is, “Really? You want Rogers (or Bell, or Comcast, or Amazon, or Sky, or Microsoft, or — name your most-hated private company) running your whole life?” It often gives them pause.

        But I digress. When a govt starves a govt agency, be it food safety regulation, IRS enforcement, FEMA, postal delivery, garbage collection, snow plowing, or education, the agency will stumble on, trying to do its job, until it no longer works. And there is always a private enterprise ready and waiting to take it over. Cost will go higher and higher but accountability will be slim to nil. We can find out what a govt agency is doing, but with Facebook, Google, Amazon, yada, yada, and yada — good luck.

    3. HotFlash

      In Canada we have been more-or-less successfully staving off a two-tier system, but there are always ways around it. There is a medical clinic high in the tower of a certain bank, very well staffed, I am told.

    4. Copeland

      Private health insurance could remain, it just wouldn’t be the middleman and gatekeeper it is now. Nobody would have an insurance card to present, no copay to pay to them (nothing at all at point of service), no bills or statements would arrive in a week or so, and then for months on end, the insurance companies would not negotiate prices with providers (the ‘single payer’ would do that with all of them, with immensely more bargaining power). What we have now is the equivalent of being required to have “brown rice insurance” rather than just buying food at the grocery store — a baroque & archaic system of crap, for some everyday thing that you just want to buy, in order to keep on living. That system would go away, but health insurance for the rich, just like yacht insurance, vacation insurance, and probably many other rich folks insurances (I don’t know because not rich) could easily remain.

  8. Carla

    Lambert: “Libraries seem to be one of the few institutions to have avoided crapification. I wonder why?”

    I suggest: Librarians.

        1. mrsyk

          “Our public libraries’ commitment to the principles of democracy is not merely an abstraction. In addition to providing print materials and access to technology and electronic media, they bring people together to discuss books, study English, learn new technologies, knit, play the ukulele, and much more. They help us become citizens, vote, and even pay taxes. They connect us with our own community and the wider world.”
          Great stuff Carla, thank you.

        2. geoff

          Correct! By the way, sounds like you have a great system up there– thanks for the link.

          I was recently shocked when I returned a couple of books I knew were a little late, and was told no fine was due as they had been eliminated. I think the thinking is that fines can prevent the return of overdue books indefinitely, and also that many of our patrons (I volunteer there, so hope saying “our” is ok) don’t have much money to begin with and potential fines can be a deterrent to checking out books in the first place.

          1. Carla

            “Our” is the best designation for ANY library– that’s what PUBLIC means. It’s Ours! Yes, we have a wonderful library system in our inner-ring suburb and it is the back-bone of the community. Our library system, like yours, recently eliminated overdue fines.

        3. Tom Bradford

          Our little town is replacing its current small, overcrowded, always bustling, always-on-the-verge-of-chaos-but-never-quite-there library with a new, larger, flashier, very expensive one.

          My wife, who works there as a volunteer freeing up the real librarians to help folk find the books they’re looking for (even if they don’t know it) tells me the new library will have less shelf space for books than the present one. It will, tho’ be lighter and probably quieter, and have a coffee-shop.

      1. Ranger Rick

        I’d be amiss if I didn’t point out that the person who gets to decide who gets an exemption from copyright law is the Librarian of Congress. Keeping librarians happy is in the best interest of a lot of relevant parties.

        I’d love to see a survey of people ranking what they think the most important services the local government provides are. I have a feeling public libraries are in the top three.

      2. Kfish

        I think they’re harder to blackmail. Here in Australia, when nurses or paramedics have threatened to go on strike, they’ve mostly been forced to keep working out of concern for their patients. Librarians are equally dedicated to their cause but since books don’t require 24/7 care, they can strike or take other actions. AFAIK, there’s also fewer layers of administration and regulation on librarians.

      3. dk

        Library science is a rigorous discipline, as was belatedly discovered by defense contractors (and later rediscovered among some in the commercial software industry) when they had to get serious about tracking old versions. In the early days of databases people developing theories about indexes found that librarians were ahead of them. And it can be very satisfying to be able to say (and prove) that this, not that, is the definitive version, but you’re looking for the other one here with the reference that was removed. Found on-shelf in the following locations. The item is checked out as these three other locations.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_science#Education_and_Training (fun article in other ways too)

        People don’t realize: counting thousands of things is hard, and tracking them is a serious science. Easy to imagine, hard to accomplish physically with accuracy and consistency. Even software has physical aspects, in the locations where instances of it reside. Do you know where and under what conditions your code is running? Kind of important for missile systems and such.

        I happened to study some library science during some DoD training. One day the teacher (a Navy vet turned department head at Grumman) wheeled in a large bag of medium sized-gravel. “I’m going to make it easy for you, you don’t have to count the whole thing.” We were in teams of 3, each team had to fill a bucket with gravel and count it, post the number, then count it again and get the same number. 200+ pieces per bucket. Out of eight teams, one got it right, mine came in second, off by 2. Why didn’t we count a different team’s buckets? “Bad for morale.” Because how would we ever agree on whose count was right?

    1. Peter VE

      Some libraries have avoided crapification, but the PMC* is moving in there too.

      Example #1) The Seattle Public Library, opened in 2004.

      Example #2) The Providence Public Library, now rebranded as the PPL. It is currently undergoing a $25 million renovation. In an article written by the local freebee monthly, the Executive Director of the Library is quoted: “The library was basically built to be a giant book depository in 1953. …. The building is unusable.” In the words of the article: Soon the library will be a destination, – not just for borrowing books, but for socializing, entertainment, refreshment, hands on education, and just spending hours downtown. I can hardly wait. They’ve already booted the DC Somervell abridgement of Toynbee, and I’m sure all that other old stuff will be soon to follow.

      *Professional Managerial Class

      1. porquoilefoi

        The PNW is a bookish place, due to all the darkness and rain perhaps, and the various library systems I used there were all phenomenally well stocked and managed. That said, the downtown Seattle flagship library uses the volume available for that sized building terribly, preferring a tremendous echoing 5-storey void built around a creaking escalator system. It’s a real shame.

        1. Greycat

          While I respect your right to an opinion, you are factually incorrect:

          From the Seattle Central Library website:

          “The current Central Library opened to the public on May 23, 2004. In its first year of operation, it attracted more than 8,000 visitors a day – double the average attendance in the old building. The new Central Library gives Seattle both a civic icon and a functional, user-friendly building that offers many different services and spaces.

          Central Library’s program area is 362,987 square feet. Designed with growth in mind, the Central Library has a capacity for more than 1.45 million books and materials. All of those books move around the building in a high-tech book-handling system.

          For public use, the Central Library has more than 300 computers, Wi-Fi Internet access, Wi-Fi printing, scanners, copiers and printers. You’ll also find private Skype rooms, music practice rooms, meeting rooms, quiet areas for reading and study, and tables for group work.”

          The library’s design increased use by 100%, and it did so by creating unintimidating, light filled spaces that were meant to welcome everyone in the city. As to your comment about wasted space, clearly you must visit more great libraries. I recommend The Library of Congress staircases and rotunda reading room, or the New York Public Library, or Asplund’s masterpiece in Stockholm for starters. They are great wasters of space, too, and have required fortunes to maintain.

          But perhaps your real argument is to “Make American Architecture Great Again”?

          1. Bill Carson

            The downtown branch of the public library in my fair city is a place for hundreds of homeless people to come in, warm up, use the wifi, and use the restroom. They really ought to install showers.

  9. Carolinian

    Re those nineties movie trailers–don’t forget the inevitable opener: “In a world….”

    Janeane Garofalo once did a comedy riff on it. “In a world” is actually an excellent description of what movies are all about.

  10. flora

    re: Peggy Noonan article

    Pete Buttigieg made a mistake in patronizing Ms. Klobuchar for forgetting the name of Mexico’s president. “Are you trying to say I’m dumb? Are you mocking me here, Pete?” He lectured a senator who is a generation older than he, more accomplished and a woman. It revealed a certain Eddie Haskell smarm.

    a certain Eddie Haskell smarm! Eddie Haskell. That’s the perfect description of PB.
    Nooners nailed it.

  11. urblintz

    I can’t find a link but I heard Tom Steyer say he would drop out when it was obvious he should, which at the time (during the NV caucus) I interpreted as meaning he was in thru SC because he’s polling well there. I think he’ll drop out b4 super Tuesday and I think it will help Bernie. Every little bit…

    As for the contenders-in-their-own-minds well, I think they’ll go into personal debt if it can keep them in thru the convention.

    1. John k

      Personal debt? Not a chance. But they can sack the staff and other expenses. So long as they have a delegate, they can continue watching their support drop all the way to the convention.
      IMO if Bernie does well in SC bloom pulls the plug after spurt tue.

  12. Aloha

    Being the cynic that I am these days leads me to think that this virus is the perfect storm for all of our “elected” officials to order a lock down and keep voters at home. Never fear!! Our trusty gov will hire an honest company to create an app that we can download and safely vote from our couch. Thus trump will get his second term because the votes can once again be rigged in favor of the richest 1%.
    Trump (R)(3): “Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response” [Foreign Policy]. “In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure. In numerous phone calls and emails with key agencies across the U.S. government, the only consistent response I encountered was distressed confusion.

  13. Arizona Slim

    About this article, ‘Please disregard, vote for Bernie’: Inside Bloomberg’s paid social media army, I’ve already seen this in action.

    Last week, I was at a Bernie Sanders organizing event here in Tucson. Was talking with a guy who had some sort of a paid position with the Bloomberg campaign. But he was still supporting Bernie.

    Methinks that Mike (Who Gets It Done) just hired a lot of people like my recent acquaintance.

    1. Jeff W

      John Iadarolla of The Young Turks (which I am not keen about and watch rarely) made the point after the Nevada debate last week that at least some staffers with paid positions with the Bloomberg campaign might not actually want the guy to win—they’re taking his money and rooting for Bernie Sanders. They might not be actively sabotaging the Bloomberg campaign (and, perhaps, some are) but they’re not putting in any of the discretionary effort that fully committed staffers (and volunteers) at other campaigns, particularly that of Sanders’s, are. You’re right—I think we’re seeing this in action.

      1. Tvc15

        Chuck Rocha, a senior advisor for Sanders mentioned during a Rising segment a couple weeks or so ago that they are losing people to Bloomberg’s campaign. He said it’s silly money, doubling their salaries in some cases. One of the staffers told Rocha they couldn’t refuse the money, but will still vote for Sanders. Do we need more examples why no one should have billions of dollars?

    2. a different chris

      Some famous land barron proudly declaimed “I can hire half the working class to kill the other half”.

      He has been proven wrong again and again and again and again. The Pinkertons* were gone long before the unions started their slide

      *Actually I think they still exist, but the fact that nobody really knows without googling (and I’m not going to) is probably sufficient for my argument

    3. Daryl

      Perhaps mini Mike is actually trialling universal basic income. Send a few tweets, get your check in the mail…

      1. notabanktoadie

        No, a UBI would not require one to lie or otherwise sell her/his soul for a paycheck.

        Otoh, a JG might – just as private sector wage-slavery does (ever see the disgusting pep-rallies WalMart managers have to endure)?

        What we need instead of either a UBI or a JG is a Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare, along with de-privileging the banks and land redistribution. All of these are along Biblical lines (or I should not dare to advocate for them) so no legitimate objections from Christians should be expected.

  14. neighbor7

    All the “czars”…..

    I’ve often wondered if this indicates serious long-term Russian infiltration. s/

  15. Bill Carson

    It appears that a conflict is brewing between Turkey and Russia over Syria. Turkey is closing the Bosporus to Russian warships.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its a bit of an empty threat. The Black Sea fleet was largely moved out and replaced with new corvettes capable of launching cruise missiles. Its probably Erdogan’s way of saving face.

      1. OIFVet

        The question is whether he is suicidal or not. He can close the Bosporus, and continue to pour troops into Idlib, while Russia would have a hard time resupplying its forces and those of Assad. In such scenario there will be a full scale war between Russia and Turkey, Russian interests in Syria are too vital to let a tinpot Sultan drive them out, and Putin won’t let that happen. NATO would likely stay put, it won’t have much choice unless the US is ready for a full scale nuclear war against Russia. It would be a terrible mistake by Erdogan, because it would result in massive casualties, and Turkey’s annihilation. He wants to save face, the quickest way to do that is to go and kiss the Tzar’s ring in Moscow.

        1. Carolinian

          Whazzup dude? You have a history with the Sultan, no? Geographically speaking.

          MOA has been saying that Erdogan is all bluff. That seems to be the consensus.

          1. OIFVet

            Sultans come and go, most after receiving a whipping by Russia. The current sultan seems to have taken himself a bit too seriously, and that’s a problem for all of us, but particularly for those of us who neighbor that maniac. I am in the process of moving back to BG, and I can’t say that I am happy about Erdogan trying to poke the bear. Will see what will happen, hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

          2. Plenue

            It is looking like a bluff.

            The Syrian army is on the move in Idlib again, this time in the south. It’s looking like they’re going to create another pocket (probably that the jihadis will be allowed to evacuate from through a narrow corridor, just like with the Aleppo suburbs), maybe all the way up to the M4 highway. Mostly the same as last time: Russia is providing heavy air support, and Turkey keeps hastily throwing up military outposts in front of the Syrian advance.

            Meanwhile Russia and Turkey have restarted their joint patrols in Northern Syria.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The US has been talking about reaching an agreement with “rebels” in Idlib. The only problem is that it means reaching agreement with both Nusra Front and the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Not only are they in the UN Security Council’s lists of terrorist organizations but for that of the US as well. Awkward! That is why these groups were never covered in the Idlib agreement but are open targets-


      And just to show you what these “rebels” are like, and who have been spotted wearing ISIS arm patches, here is one story-


    1. Amfortas the hippie

      feels a little alpha, to me,lol.
      in my (considerable) experience, it is sufficient to slice/rough up the “walls” of the hole(of whatever shape you like!), so that there’s not a barrier where the shovel cut the dirt.
      top dress in a wide circle around the planted tree with compost or horse manure(my favorite) to encourage lateral root growth. cover that with hay/straw/leaves, etc
      in really hardpan spots, i make a bigger hole(or direct my minions to do so), to loosen everything up…once the tree is strong, the roots won’t need help
      and in places where you really want a drought tolerant tree, but can’t stretch the hose that far, dig a bigger hole, and put diapers at the bottom….dryer the spot, the more diapers(i put as much as a half a pack of cheapy newborns in a few tree holes out on the levee(that could be easily misinterpreted!))…the hydrophilic gel swells up and helps retain water.
      (they’re going into a landfill any way, may as well put them to good use, and i don’t think they’re toxic or anything—been many moons since i looked that info up)

    2. Titus

      As someone who’s been planting trees and fixing mis-planted (odd way of saying…) trees for 45 years, yes making sure the roots don’t circle around the tree is important but there’s no peer reviewed study I know of that shows that making squares makes any sense. Clearly in nature roots grow in a fanned out circle. In general trees are planted too deep and in too small of a hole (radius).

      One also has to take into consideration the nature of the soil. In the suburbs, wth houses with basements, usually the dug out dirt, is spread out and leveled it around the house. This is a horrible if not an insane practice. Whatever, the case the hole (radius) should be to at least the drip-line of the longest branches and planted up so as to not drown the roots. Never leave a tree in a plastic wrap root ball. In fact never buy one. After the tree is planted backfill with dirt and cover with 12″ of shredded bark – I like oak best. Every year add more bark. The PH, should be checked annual – different trees like different levels. A balanced fertilizer should be used unless you know the specifics for a given tree. Yellow leaves are ususally a sign of the lack of iron. I recommend copper-sulfate NOT aluminum. Water 1″ a week unless it rains, but use a rain gauge to know for sure how much rain you’re getting. In general do not stake up a tree as this encourages shallow roots. Lately as the tree grows prune it. Prune when there are no leaves if possible. Learn to prune correctly. For insects start with insecticide soap. Be very wary of using strongly chemicals unless your licensed to do so. Most states provide courses on such use. Take them, not YouTube. Most community colleges have classes taught by Master Horticulturalists so try to take one if you can.

  16. martell

    The Lancet piece reminds me of The Enigma of Health, a collection of Gadamer’s essays and talks on philosophy of medicine. He notes that whereas there are many very well defined diseases, criteria for health are anything but clear. Health’s an enigma. I suspect that’s because the concept of health is a bit like the concept of justice: forever contested owing to its connection to various, ever changing conceptions of what’s good in life, conceptions rooted in different ways of living. It’s certainly possible to answer the question “What is health?” in better and worse ways, given broad agreement on what it isn’t (disease). But there’s never going to be any one best answer, since any good answer is really just an endorsement or recommendation for how those of us who already share an understanding of what’s good in life should go on.

    1. a different chris

      I remember some survey of a bunch of strapping young men, where the question was asked “would you accept dying by age 30 if that was the price of winning an Olympic gold?”. And the answer was, if not the majority, a pretty strong contingent for “yes”.

      So their definition of “health” was pretty different, for sure.

    2. Bazarov

      This is very interesting–it makes me want to read “The Enigma of Health”!

      But I wonder, what’s the problem of defining something by absence? So, can’t “health” be the absence of disease or disorder, allowing for a multiplicity of subjective (even contradictory!) experiences–all possible mostly or only in the absence of disease and disorder–to be a state of “health”?

  17. Seth Miller

    Re: Josh Marshall saying Bernie’s campaign is “1/2 against Trump and 1/2 against the Democratic Party”

    Why is that a bad thing? I’m no pollster, but I suspect that for the voters that Bernie wants to peel away from Trump, “Democrat” is a label with a large number of negatives, and he’s better off being rid of it. “Socialist” may well have fewer negatives.

    For years, the right has been hammering the Democrats as “elitist”, and, per Thomas Frank, there was and is something to that. When Bernie says “I’m not a Democrat” he immediately signals, to voters outside of coastal cities, that he is not an elitist. And he doesn’t sound like an elitist or talk like an elitist. Running against the Democratic Party, IMHO, will help him get back working class votes from Trump.

    Especially if he says, in the same breath, “I’m just like FDR, who saved this country.”

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Would this come out as “I’m not your father’s Democrat . . . in fact, I’m your grandfather’s Democrat”?

    2. Carolinian

      It would be the best thing possible.

      What’s weird is that Sanders is a lot more of a Democrat than Bloomberg who is all Republican. And yet the party stalwarts seem to prefer Bloomberg to become the standard bearer.

    3. Darthbobber

      The degeneration of TPM is nearly complete. And mirrors the degeneration of the allegedly non-existent democratic establishment. It always had a clear centrist lean (masked somewhat, like Kos’s, by faux militant anti-Bush rhetoric back in the day), but now it’s just a virtually closed reality bubble, useful only when you want to sample what the world looks like within that bubble.

  18. Deschain

    I said this in the AM – I think COVID shows that M4A isn’t just a social justice issue or a healthcare cost sustainability issue. It’s a national security issue. The USA’s ability to fight a pandemic shouldn’t be dependent on the vagaries of preauthorizations. Framing it this way could make M4A an even bigger winner for Bernie.

  19. curlydan

    Not only has Kansas City, MO gotten rid of library fines, the city likely is within months of making all the bus fares free, too. It turns out that the city needs to find $8M to make the buses free.

    1. a different chris

      Man they could just pimp for Bloomberg and get a few years in the bank for it!

      I would like to go back to like 1965 and tell somebody that a single person could pay for the entire bus lines of a semi-major city and not even be able to distinguish it from a rounding error.

  20. Este Profani

    Got coronavirus blues? Don’t despair, sport. You are a human. You have iron for blood. [Hemoglobin!] A species selected for extreme endurance. Nomadic, able to outlast antelope and other ungulates in a days-long pursuit, and then still have the prowess to take down prey several times your size. You are an omnivore…OMNI…vore. Kill everything. Eat everything. A little novel zoonosis, and you’d think the Black Death came to town. Although… when facing pandemics and Pazuzu, does the rationale for anti-establishment sentiment toward institutions becomes somewhat less attractive, and perhaps, even futile? Should there not be at least one scientist among the leadership roster?

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m feeling better about being a human already, and thanks.

      As far as outlasting an antelope, i’m not sure i’m up for it, usually I sneak down the aisle of the supermarket and saunter towards the meat counter and ask for pound of something or another, cut wafer thin please.

  21. JTMcPhee

    Re Patel and Moore, from Dune, out of the mouth of that unspeakable terminal capitalist, Baron Harkonnen, “A certain amount of killing has always been an arm of business.”

    One among so many acute observations by Frank Herbert.

    (I was loath to add his given name, Vladimir, given the associations the Wurlitzer attaches to it in current geopolitical lexicon…)

  22. Steve

    My fear of the Corona virus spreading to the US is not only the threat to people’s health but also the chance Trump, with the radicalized Christians, would use it to implement Marshall Law, as a convenient response.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      A medium/bad scenario for the Covfefe-19 virus might be a sharp economic/supply chain slowdown with bad headlines on unrest/social controls around the world…which I think could lead to a Trump re-election.

      People may not think the time is right for Big Structural Bailey/Bernie

    2. VietnamVet

      Today’s Water Cooler was the first mention of President Trump being worried about re-election because of the Wuhan coronavirus. He should be.

      Although corporate democrats will try to shift the blame for the federal government’s incompetence and woeful lack of a public health preparedness for the pandemic onto Russians, it is both parties’ fault. The kicker is that I don’t think China can get its economy back in gear at least until next year when the workers don’t feel like they are risking their lives to go to work. When the just in time supply chain runs out of stock, the US economy will plunge into a depression. Donald Trump in November will be Herbert Hoover squared.

      My looking glass is dark. But in the unrest, the War Party, Plutocrats and Media Moguls will rally around a bipartisan consensus Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and wash away both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

  23. dcrane

    “The Democratic Nomination: It’s Getting Late Early” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball].

    Sanders, would replicate the path of the GOP’s insurgent, Donald Trump, four years ago: second-place in Iowa and then a sweep of Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina….

    Last I heard not even all precinct results have been published, with Buttigieg holding the slimmest of margins in the SDE category (and having clearly lost the popular vote). So it’s frustrating to see the “second-place in Iowa” repeated without qualification.

  24. Shonde

    The CCP eventually stated that all medical bills for COVID-19 treatment would be covered by the government after stories of people denied treatment and dying on the streets started circulating.

    Considering the number of people in the USA without insurance who might not seek treatment if they become ill, I wonder if something similar is being discussed at the national level here. It definitely should be. It would be a sad way for voters to realize how important everyone having good healthcare coverage is.

  25. Keith

    Suppose you had #COVID-19 symptoms but co-pays and an enormous deductible. Would you seek help immediately? Would you put the visit off as long as possible? Or would you to gut it out, at home? Would you self-quarantine? Suppose you had only $400 for emergencies, like most Americans. What if you were a retail worker? Or a server? Could you self-quarantine?

    Realistically, even with health insurance, I would probably seek to take care of myself. I would assume first it was just a sniffle. But past experiences with doctors for both my family and myself has led me to believe it is better just to deal with these things myself. Doctors are often in a rush and seek usually to treat symptoms rather than underlying causes and are in a rush to go to the easier (mis)diagnosis.

    Also, my govt job with a union contract stipulates that you need a doctors note if you want sick leave on a Monday or Friday (or eve of a holiday), so there again, do I go out to the doctor for a note, or just grin and bear it for a day. I think that is a realitiy for most, regardless of what is in the bank account, as you need to maintain your reputation with your employer, until the pandemic hits your area.

    1. Oh

      They’ll want to do MRI’s, CAT scans, X-Rays, a whole bunch of blood tests to run up the bill and will never get to treating you. BTW, in the hospital, BP check, O2 saturation, temperature and other every two hours plus several pills. All this is paid for a la carte.

      1. Keith

        True, but govt run healthcare has its own problems. I was at the VA (only used it for my benefits claim) , and the doctor took my blood pressure (I do suffer the white coat effect) and started saying OMG, this is really high, then immediately taking it again, then start saying she might need to rush me to the ER before taking it yet, again. Basically, she was hyping the situation, agitating me then taking the blood pressure again. I was afraid to admit the real reason, I was hung over and had little sleep.

        1. ambrit

          I had a similar experience with a “low income” clinic MD here. When she said that I was to rush to the ER to bring my blood pressure down, I replied that I was not doing any such thing.
          “Why not,” she asks, “aren’t you afraid of dying?”
          “Yes,” I reply. “I’m afraid of dying, of poverty bought on by excessive and rapacious medical exploitation.”
          She just stared at me, and then went on with the examination. We have gotten along well since then.

  26. dearieme

    On Bloomberg.

    It occurred to me that I know how various politicians managed to dodge the Vietnam War: Slick Willie, W, Trump, Biden, Sanders. I thought I’d look up little Mike on WKPD. Would you believe it – silence. How can that be? Even Mitt Romney hasn’t censored the WKPD account of how he avoided it.

    Google turned up how Mike did it, though. Flat feet, apparently.

    1. Titus

      It was an immoral war and within the country a civil war. I was there by choice working for a 2star. Anybody that avoided going was a good thing. I find it best not to pass moral judgements on people unless that is my job, i.e., being a judge.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The difference between a random person and Bloomberg is Bloomie’s support of other similar misadventures.

    2. ronnie mitchell

      I’m proud of the fact that I refused to participate in the War on Vietnam (& Laos & Cambodia) and I wish hundreds of thousands of others had done the same thing. No doubt the people of those Countries have the same wish.

      However those that ‘dodged the draft’ but are the loudest cheerleaders for all wars, like Five Deferment Cheney, Anal Cyst Rush Limbaugh, or Bone Spurs tRump and their kind, should be immediately sent to the hottest war and in a combat role.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Thank you for sharing the article about Heidi Sloan in TX25. That is my (heavily gerrymandered) congressional district. I would have probably voted for Julie Oliver, had I not read that. Roger Williams is the worst. He only sends out his (say nothing) newsletters to constituents around election time.

    Nice also to see her mention Greg Casar, my city council member, who introduced Bernie yesterday at the Austin rally. Was really proud to see him up there. Wouldn’t say that about many politicians. I remember when he first ran for office. Had a great ground game. Has remained humble and hard working even after being elected. Imagine that. :)

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      howdy, neighbor.
      (100+ miles to your west)

      i have to pinch myself when i read stuff like that…happening in Texas, no less…and not just the big city.
      I’m in Texas 11th, often considered the reddest district in the country(thankfully, Mike Conaway(consigliere to the bush crimen familia) is retiring. no good prospects to replace him, so far that i’ve seen, since democrats usually don’t run out here)

  28. Jonathan Boyne

    Re News of the Wired “More Libraries Are Doing Away With Overdue Fines,” I’m a librarian retired after 25 years and while libraries continue to be one of society’s better commons, they have suffered from ‘crapification’ in cutting budgets, actual librarians, hours and worst, privatization.

    In addition to working 15 years in a large university library, I worked 17 years for the largest online library chat reference service, a .org that started at a reasonable level of traffic, but which became a sweatshop requiring us to (attempt) to help all live patrons simultaneously, often 3 at a time and often up to 6 or 10. Imagine trying to help 3 to 6 to 10 live people with complicated questions simultaneously. The service was free to patrons so was overused, management clueless and oppressive. The service has now been bought out by one of the largest library software .coms and I’m sure has gotten worse.

    All hierarchical organizations are totalitarian and oppressive. Unfortunately, non-profits have adopted the same hierarchical model as for-profits.

    The only good orgs are worker-owned coops though they too have politics. Thankfully I have been able to retire.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Thank you, Mr. Boyne, for your (actual) service.

      From a mope who was dumb enough to enlist in the Imperial Army in 1966, to go help kill Commies, and is sick of being thanked for my “service” by people apparently even dumber than I was who have no idea what us troopers did, and do, and think those actions have something to do with “protecting their freedom and way of life…”

  29. Biph

    I’m seeing NV at 100%
    Biden-20.4% (can you feel the Joementum?)

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        According to TheGreenPapers.com, which says it’s getting its figures from the NV Dems and doing its own rules-based calculations, the 36 available pledged delegates will be allocated

        24 to Sanders,
        9 to Biden, and
        3 to Buttigieg.

        The page also has a decent explanation of how the system works, including the key point 9which had been elusive for me, too) that the viability threshold applies first to voter preferences at the precinct level as the standard for being eligible to win county delegates, and then again to county delegates aggregated at the Congressional district and statewide levels as the threshold for winning national-convention delegates.

        1. Samuel Conner

          This is superb! Lumping the 12 NV superdelegates into the “not Bernie” column, Sanders is tied in this state with the “everyone other than Bernie” lanes, even if the rules were changed to allow superdelegates to vote on the first ballot.

          More like this, please. Sanders entering the convention with 60+% of the pledged delegates… I would question whether I was lucidly dreaming.

      1. Biph

        The numbers I’m seeing from AP has Bernie with 24, Biden with 9 and Mayor Pete with 3 delegates, no one else with any. Nevada has 36 pledged delegates to the convention so it looks like the final numbers.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Viability is judged at the precinct level, based on voter preferences, in figuring who gets county delegates — and then judged again based on county delegates at the Congressional-district and statewide levels in figuring who gets national-convention delegates. See my post above — and TheGreenPapers.com, my source.

      3. Jeff W

        “Does that mean #ciapete isn’t viable and will get no delegates?”

        No. The very short answer is there are delegates allocated at the statewide level (35% of the delegates) and at the district level (65%), usually, but not always, the congressional district. So a candidate might not reach 15% at the statewide level—Pete Buttigieg in Nevada got 14.3%—but he or she might make the 15% threshold at the district level—which Buttigieg did, getting three delegates. (You could also get above the 15% statewide threshold and still miss out on some district level delegates.)

        See, generally, fivethirtyeight.com here.

    1. Matthew

      I heard Rat Boy called the manager again and is trying to get a partial recount that will get him to 15%.

      1. The Historian

        Oh now, Mayo Pete wouldn’t do that, would he? That would be – to use his favorite word – divisive.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Coincidentally, the prospect of a functioning DoJ is far more frightening to the Bloomberg class than any wealth tax.

  30. Matthew

    I’m kind of surprised there hasn’t been much coverage or comment here (has there been any?) about the new attempts to tar Sanders with the Russia brush.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      When you cry, no scream WOLF! at the top of your lungs for 3 years with Russia/UkraineGate…and it all turns out to be a complete and utter fabrication…do you A: do it some more, or B: ???

      I’ll take ??? for the win, Alex. So very satisfying to see entire false narrative world views crash apart:


    2. John k

      Vladimir is trying to help both trump and sanders… he’s an equal opportunity kind of guy.
      The main problem for dem elites is they hate Bernie far more than trump, but can’t really say that… well, Hillary did, but had to walk it back. Lovely that her nobody likes him is shown to be, neither I or any of my friends like him….

    3. savebyirony

      I thought the latest was, “Bernie praised Castro!!!!” (and naturally this will cost him in Florida), a cry apparently Clinton raised back in 2016, too. If it did not work then, I doubt it will do much now, but I have heard and read people today fussing over the “news”.

      1. Bill Carson

        A friend of mine complained that it is just unacceptable that Bernie showed himself to be “soft on communist dictators” because he praised Cuba’s literacy program. What does that even mean? SMH

  31. Jeff W

    Now we can tell you that @BernieSanders campaign talked to Latino culinary union voters at least 22 times before caucus day…

    The ever-ebullient Sanders senior campaign adviser Chuck Rocha, whom I always enjoy, had said last week on Rising that we should “pay attention to Nevada” because he had some “tricks” in his “little bag of tricks” that we hadn’t seen yet. (It certainly made me curious.) The Sanders campaign made a “direct investment” [Rocha’s words] into Latino voters—“talking to them where they were, at their home, on their cellphones, on their radios—and that’s how we delivered it.” Bernie Sanders got 73% of the Latino vote in Nevada.

  32. TonyinSoCAL

    All Latins are not alike (as the campaigns will no doubt discover in FL).

    Florida is so yesterday, and frankly should be written off as a cherry on top if won and nothing more. NV, NM, CO, PA, WI, VA and the Dems win every time (Someone should have told Hillary…). And if Bernie keeps firing up the “non-Florida” Latinos, AZ is in play and will be more in play as time goes on with TX next at bat.

    NV was the big alarm bell; Tio Bernie went hard after the Latinos by going straight to grass-roots groups and organizers and avoided the “establishment” Latino politicians and their token endorsements. It’s a novel strategy and if Bernie wins decisively in CA, the strategy will be a demonstrable success.

    1. Samuel Conner

      It would be soooo sweet if in the general election Sanders were to win the election and win in states that in 2016 HRC wasted time in, imagining that she was burnishing a landslide. That would be soooooo sweet.

      I expect that there would be ways for establishment Ds to find sour grapes in the midst of this bounty … “yeah, Sanders won, but only with Russian help”

      Perhaps the Rs would default to this explanation as well.

      Could Sanders face Congressional “Russian interference” investigations supported by both parties?

      At first blush, that seems to me like tinfoil hat territory, but perhaps it’s a plausible scenario.

    2. Carey

      >if Bernie wins decisively in CA, the strategy will be a demonstrable success.

      The only way that doesn’t happen in CA is if the vote is massively stolen from Sanders (again). It’ll be harder for the Few to do that, this time. Typical response now when I offer
      someone a Sanders sticker: variations on “Hell yes!”.

      The natives are restless

  33. Amfortas the hippie

    from the sidebar of the Modern Farmer article:

    “After four years, the vines could withstand quitting insecticides, followed by a fungicide used against the fungus botrytis. Rose bushes were planted as a test for downy mildew, and the house started buying manure from organic cattle farms to make its own compost (“everybody thinks you feed the vine, but you feed the soil,” Lécaillon points out). Depending on the position of the moon, vines stressed by strategic cutting are soothed with chamomile tea, hand-sprayed from a backpack in the early morning. Turning to the winemaking process itself, Lécaillon began to use wild yeast from the fields to kick off fermentation, despite its inconsistency compared to the commercial yeast standard for sparkling wine. “Sometimes, the yeast wants to ferment in ten days, sometimes a month,” he says. “It’s fine, they do what they want.””

    lol. sounds like my kinda guy.

    1. meadows

      I use wild yeast in my cider shack, like the man said, sometimes fast sometimes slow, but the flavor is usually better after aging a bit than the commercial yeasts I have used… the commercial yeasts take about 3 weeks, the wild stuff about 2 weeks. Start out up to 90 degrees F then kick it down to 80 after the start.

      Still experimenting after 15 years. Grow my own apples, made my own press, drink my own stuff… about 200 litres…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve never had much luck with alcohol fermentation, whether beer, wine or cider.
        i think this due to not liking to share my kitchen in that manner,lol….perhaps if i had a designated area…a “fermenting shed”(in the Plan).
        but i have done that with sourdough…started many of those cultures from scratch with whatever yeasts are out there in the wild.
        takes a long while…and even longer to mature so you get good bread out of it.
        turned out to be a big hit at several cafe’s i’ve run, including my own(we just never told the health inspector,lol….they tend to frown on such things)
        and at my cafe, i procured wine that didn’t turn out right from the local winery people, and made a Vinegar Mother–big ceramic crock on the back porch, with a wooden lid over a cheesecloth, with a rock on top.
        took a summer, then we brought it inside.
        never got to the level of Modena, of course, but it was neat.
        an alien creature, lurking in there.

        1. meadows

          That’s what I’m talkin’ about… a place dedicated to the bacteria and yeasts where they can be in the furniture, walls, carpeting… I just read a great article re the Mongolians and all their milk products, even tho they are intolerant of milk! But their yurts were suffused w/the ongoing bacteria and yeasts necessary to produce the yougurt, cheese, and booze!

          You do need a fermenting shed… the French have specific caves for specific cheeses.

          Every Urban Farmette needs a fermenting shed!

    2. skookum red

      North of me up near Skagit Airport is Garden Path Fermentation, a brewery-winery-cidery-meadery. The brewmaster slow ferments local products — Skagit grains, honey, fruit, and Northwest hops using oak barrels. They use native yeast culture cultivated from the air, flowers, and fruits of the Skagit Valley. I have tried several of their different offerings – ranging from sour to sweet. I liked everything I tasted.

  34. Tom Stone

    For what it’s worth (Nothing) I’m getting a high quality mailer from the Bloomberg campaign every day, and have for a week.
    I re registered as a Dem ( Was NPP) and physically delivered my ballot to the registrar’s office.
    My crossover ballot wasn’t counted in 2016 and that was NOT going to happen again.

    1. Shonde

      Mayor Mike has been sending a high quality costly mailer once a week here in Minnesota. No party ID in MN so every, I suppose , registered voter probably gets the mailers.

      Tom Stone, did you get the letter in an envelope from a mother of the first firefighter killed on 9-11 saying how caring Mike is?

      Did my early voting last week right at the county admin building.

  35. Collapsar

    “This is violence.”
    The woman making that statement about Bloomberg clubbing Sanders is Lisa Lerer. Naked Capitalism did an interesting post about her back in early 2017.
    The title of the post IDs her as Lina Lerer, with an “n,” but the text in the article uses the name Lisa a number of times, so I’m certain it’s the same person. Her dislike of Sanders is not new.

  36. allan

    ‘Extraordinary’ fires burnt at historical size, beyond climate projections [SMH]

    Australia’s bushfires were not only “extraordinary” in scale but also exposed deficiencies in the climate models that are struggling to identify changes in rainfall and fire weather trends.

    In a series of papers in Nature Climate Change published on Tuesday, scientists found the size of fires in NSW and Victoria were larger than any recorded since European settlement in Australia. …

    The paper estimated that 21 per cent of Australia’s so-called temperate broadleaf and mixed forests had been burnt. That proportion was most likely an under-estimation because the tally only counted losses to the end of January and excluded those in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

    By contrast, average annual burnt areas for other continental forests were “well below 5 per cent” over the past 20 years. …

    21% here, 21% there, pretty soon you’re talking about real damage.
    Or, as Scott Morrison would say, “there are costs associated with climate change”,
    before saying, Talk to the hand.

  37. ewmayer

    “Bloomberg Killed the Best Chance at Justice for the 9/11 Attacks” [Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast] … Most importantly, there would have been closure, provided in open court and displaying the inheritance of centuries of jurisprudence, for the atrocity of 9/11 and the brutality America chose when confronting it…” — Justice and closure? Possibly true for the atrocity bit, total BS for the ‘brutality’ bit. Last time I checked, the U.S. refuses to hand over any U.S. officials to the Hague, and in fact passed a law in effect sanctioning U.S. military action against the latter entity in order to free any U.S. servicemembers and officials who somehow ended up on trial there – the so-called Hague Invasion Act, introduced by Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Tom Delay (R-TX), and passed by both houses with big bipartisan supermajorities. Also last time I checked, no U.S. official has been prosecuted for the post-9/11 gross violations of most of the Bill of Rights, nor have the likes of official creeps like James Clapper been sanctioned for lying their asses off to Congress about the nature and scope of domestic surveillance. Mr. Ackerman should be ashamed of employing blatant fell-good lies like the aforementioned one, especially as all the post-9/11 brutality and warmongering have slackened not one bit.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      I think the article was trying to say there could have been “closure” — an ending of the US brutality of torture — if the trial had gone ahead in NYC, with more open attention to how that brutality needlessly jeopardized conviction. I dunno how likely that is, but it seems possible . . . and if so, by this account Bloomberg could be said to share the blame for the impact of the difference in venue. (And — sorry, but I find myself unable to stop saying it — who is Bloomberg to deny the power of location, location, location?)

  38. Dwight

    Daniel Jernigan, incident commander for the Wuhan response, is a Captain in the US Public Health Service, a uniformed service. USPHS uses naval ranks, so a captain is equivalent to an Army colonel. Jernigan is also an M.D. and MPH. Foreign Policy should identify him as a Captain, I think, if only to spread awareness of our Public Health Service. Americans respect uniforms, and may be seeing more uniforms soon.

  39. Shoeless

    I lived in Australia for about five years. If you aren’t allowed controlled burns and you have a couple hundred arsonists, stuff is gonna burn.

    1. witters

      Oh not this. 1% of the area burnt in the recent fires was from human lighting. All but a couple or three were by people back-burning!

      And I’ve always lived here.

  40. Matthew G. Saroff

    Spencer Ackerman’s article is SEVERELY lacking in context.

    Bloomberg was presented a trial that originally looked something like the Gotti trial, where you had tight security at the court house, and in about a 1 block radius.

    For the proposed KSM trial, they were talking about setting up a cordon sanitaire that would encompass much (most?)of Lower Manhattan.

    Note that most of those measures were not security, they were security theater, but they would effect literally millions of people.

Comments are closed.