Links 2/11/2020

Everything we know about the pangolin — the scaly mammal that may have spread the coronavirus to humans Business Insider

Global CO2 emissions static for first time in 10 years FT

Vanguard is an anomaly in the investment world. Can it stay that way? The Week (UserFriendly).

Lawyers For Elizabeth Holmes Try To Have Theranos Case Thrown Out, Saying Indictment Too Diluted Gizmodo


Exclusive: Treasury to unveil equivalence vision for City in white paper City AM

Brexit: Orwellian inversions EU Referendum

Sinn Fein Pushes for Power as Irish Parties Limber For Talks Bloomberg

What is driving Sinn Féin’s electoral surge in Ireland? FT

Merkel’s job and Germany’s future up for grabs again Politico

After Germany’s far-right scandal, Left party surges as Merkel’s CDU sinks Deutsche Welle


Disinfectant theatre?


I have never seen a study saying that any corona virus can be removed from a surface by spraying it.

Therapeutic options for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Nature. So the globalists can deindustrialize America, industrialize China, create an enormous supply chain to deliver cheap consumer goods to America, but have never prioritized developing treatments for the diseases that inevitably result from the system they built. What’s wrong with this picture?

Emerging novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – Current scenario, evolutionary perspective based on genome analysis and recent developments Veterinary Quarterly

2019-nCoV transmission through the ocular surface must not be ignored The Lancet

Cruise Ship Rejected by Four Nations Runs Out of Options Bloomberg. Good premise for a horror movie.


China turns up state hero-making machine in bid to shift narrative around coronavirus outbreak Globe and Mail

Coronavirus: Heads roll in Hubei as Beijing axes health officials South China Morning Post

More Wuhan Doctors Say They Faced Official Backlash Over Virus Warnings Caixin

Barren streets but bustling stock markets in virus-stricken China Channel News Asia

BREAKING NEWS: China Releases Twelve Opinions on How Companies Resuming Normal Operations Should Treat Their Employees China Law Blog

Oil Traders Could Lose Big On Coronavirus Panic (KW).

Coronavirus to decimate server supply chain, analysts claim: Sales to fall 10% as factories stay shut The Register


Cow dung, cow urine and yagya to combat coronavirus says Hindutva group chief The Week. Read all the way to the end.

Outcry over reports of mass assault at New Delhi women’s college CNN

US Sanctions Venezuelan State Airline, Threatens Russian Oil Giant Venezuelanalysis

Chile’s copper output down in 2019 on declining grades

Chile drought enters critical phase Al Jazeera


Syrians scramble for refuge in last opposition frontier AP

Trump Transition

President Trump releases 2021 budget proposal, calls for cuts to social safety net programs ABC

White House budget doubles down on reorgs and benefit cuts Federal Times

Donald Trump’s Erratic Foreign Policy Is a Failure The National Interest (Re Silc).

Bigger than Vindman: Trump scrubs 70 Obama holdovers from NSC Washington Examiner

U.S. Justice Department files new lawsuits in renewed push to pressure ‘sanctuary cities’ Reuters


Good thing Bloomberg skipped South Carolina:


Makes Buttigieg look weak!

Mike Bloomberg doesn’t want Silicon Valley’s money. He does want its employees. Recode

Pete Buttigieg’s Policy Director Has Been Traveling the Country for Months to Meet With “Investors” in His Campaign The Intercept. Retail politics.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

U.S. charges four Chinese military hackers in 2017 Equifax breach Reuters

Personal Data of All 6.5 Million Israeli Voters Is Exposed NYT. Thanks, Bibi!

Software error exposes the ID numbers for 1.26 million Danish citizens ZDNet

How Big Companies Spy on Your Emails Vice

Police State Watch

Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool? ProPublica

Boeing 737 MAX

Pontifications: A few rays of sunshine emerge in MAX crisis Leeham News and Analysis

Boeing Refuses to Cooperate With New Inquiry Into Deadly Crash NYT. This 737 crash in the Netherlands, in 2009.

Audit Initiated of FAA’s Pilot Training Requirements Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation

Imperial Collapse Watch

World War III’s Newest Battlefield Consortium News

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Former Ohio State wrestlers call for investigation into university’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein NBC

Zeitgeist Watch

Name a cockroach after your ex and watch an animal eat it on Valentine’s Day CNN

Class Warfare

How America’s 1% came to dominate equity ownership FT

“You wouldn’t think you’d go to jail over medical bills”: County in rural Kansas is jailing people over unpaid medical debt CBS (UserFriendly).

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Geo

    “Cruise Ship Rejected by Four Nations Runs Out of Options Bloomberg. Good premise for a horror movie.“

    A gritty reboot of Gilligan’s Island?

    1. russell1200

      They would have to have been on their way to a bikini cheer-leading competition and a slasher on board as well. Add a little heightened tension as they get refused berthing at each stop. LOL

      1. MLTPB

        Have they asked China for berthing?

        Do they want to?

        One scenario : docking in Hainan and nations can evacuate their citizens from there.

        As the the cruise ship in Japan, evacuation by respective nations is an option. A hospital ship is possible choice.

    2. timbers

      Gilligan’s Island? Need to get a Zombie theme in there…everyone on the ship comes back from the dead and invades the homeland turning everyone into Zombies.

      Also some good horror flicks more specifically about doomed/haunted ships.

      This is a good time to watch Zombie movies…Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Dead (both have 2 versions each being good) and the very good Italian versions (many of which are English friendly BTW that were filmed intending the dialogue to be dubbed in after filming was complete usually in Italian and English).

      And don’t for get Stephen King’s The Stand.

      1. chuckster

        The Democratic debates often remind me of a zombie movie, seven people fighting over who gets a dead carcass.

    3. The Rev Kev

      When this is all over – and one day it will be over – I was thinking that there could be a great book or movie coming out of this based on the idea of a household of people being involuntarily quarantined for two weeks. You would have extended family, friends and a few strangers and/or neighbours tossed into the mix of this household.

      There would be old family feuds, arguments, unresolved issues, generational conflicts, etc. It could be quite good as people would be forced to come to terms with their situation and, more importantly, with each other. For American readers, it would be like having an extended family come together for Thanksgiving – but then being told that they cannot leave and would have to stay in the same house for a fortnight.

      1. CuriousConcerns

        I’ve seen comment that if coronavirus isn’t contained then it will become a permanent fixture. Just comment, don’t know the veracity, but I would think we need to see if it establishes permanent circulation.

        1. lordkoos

          I read that also. There are already other coronavirus strains that go around just as colds do. What I read is that the power of the virus eventually becomes diminished after the population builds up resistance to it. But with this new virus, I don’t think it is known how many people will die before that happens.

          The other concerning thing is that if the coronavirus is like SARS, about 30% of SARS survivors were found to have some kind of permanent damage. That’s a huge percent, and it sounds pretty horrible:

          The ocular transmission is a real thing – I remember a friend telling me how after he started wearing glasses, he noticed that he got fewer colds.

  2. PlutoniumKun


    Disinfectant theatre?

    The ADVChina youtube channel have been discussing this. They say that this disinfection is almost certainly the standard rodenticide/insectacide that is regularly sprayed around Chinese cities, possibly with some chlorine added. They have clips showing its definitely killing cockroaches. Needless to say, there is no connection between the coronavirus and rats/insects. Presumably they are not trying to wipe out urban pangolins.

    To my knowledge, there is no evidence that this (or any other type of outdoor spray) can have any effect on an airborne virus. It could possibly help with virus on hard surfaces if it does contain a lot of chlorine (although i believe alcohol is better).

    So yes, its almost certainly theatre.

    1. Ignacio

      Yes, theater. I find it sadly funny. They could be fumigating simple water since humidity reduces the half life of viral particles outside, but unless you kill all the suspicious human reservoirs you are not disinfecting anything. Pure propaganda effort.

    2. Some Guy in Beijing

      Things I’ve observed at my state-owned apartment complex:

      I’ve seen our guard spray a car’s tires with … something? … before it was allowed to enter the parking garage.

      Our maintenance people walk around with jugs on their backs, spraying the entrance steps and I’m not sure what else.

      Mail carriers aren’t allowed into the gates and their packages are sprayed before being handed to recipients.

      Are these things effective? Maybe some of them. I support their elevator-button strategy, although I don’t think that it’s something anybody in my building needs to be worried about.

      But … I have no idea how releasing a ton of chemicals into the air overnight in a city with nobody outdoors for weeks is going to change anything.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I was shopping that around to the repubs in the office saying, “trump just cut an ad for bernie. Most other dems wouldn’t bother, but bernie wil centralize his cmpaign around it.”

      If trump loses, it’s because he left too many establishment goons in charge.

    1. Geo

      Years ago I had a discussion with a buddy who worked for Leiman Brothers and he got defensive about my views on his industry. He was explaining how markets go up and down and that’s just how it works. When I tried to convey that’s not how it works for most people he asked defensively “You really think we’re evil?” and I replied, “Not evil. You just see the world in numbers on a spreadsheet and not in the human lives those numbers impact.”

      That’s my optimistic reading of it. I like to think they’re so removed from the reality of their actions they don’t realize the real world impact. But, part of me has come to feel that even if they did they wouldn’t care. They’ve truly convinced themselves they’re doing God’s work, and God had no problem wiping out humanity whenever he felt they were of no benefit anymore.

      1. Bill Carson

        That’s the only way to explain the enigma of the man that is Mitt Romney, who obsessed and worried about his oath to God when he was voting to convict the President, but showed no compunctions over the thousands of people he laid off from acquired and poached companies when he was at Bain.

        1. inode_buddha

          Nor the patients in the hospitals that Bain owns. This guy basically wrote his own paycheck when they passed Romneycare.

          I know how these people operate, I’ve known a few of them. It’s called “compartmentalization”. What they do at work is different to what they do at home is different to what they do at… because those are different places and circumstances.

          Never mind that they are still the same person. But in a way they are not, it’s almost like multiple personality disorder. Sort of like how a “corporation” can do things that a “CEO” isn’t responsible for, because s/he personally didn’t do it.

          The God that Romney professes to worship does not respect or acknowledge such things — one must be same everywhere, with the same set of morals everywhere, without justification or rationalizing.

      2. urblintz

        “They’ve truly convinced themselves they’re doing God’s work, and God had no problem wiping out humanity whenever he felt they were of no benefit anymore.”

        You should have answered your buddy’s question with a “yes.”

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        rich kid i went to high school with, and who was my pot dealer in college, found me somehow about 10 years ago….after 20 years of me being lost in america.
        he’s a derivatives trader, now(figures), lives in a modest house south of houston and is active in the gop.
        this was right after the GFC, so i was primed to be somewhat miffed at derivatives traders…so i (politely) let fly with the critique.
        he countered, as if speaking to a toddler, that he was doing god’s work, ensuring retirement stability for his clients, and that their kids went to college, and that their investments were sound(!).
        “God’s work”=his exact, unprompted, words.

        i said something about people like me with less luck, and nothing to invest, no healthcare(i was at the time practically bedridden with the hip and related), and no prospects…should we just go out and die?
        him “no of course not…but your bad choices are not my problem…and i shouldn’t be penalised if you didn’t learn from your mistakes”…and something about bootstraps…(my disability is from rednecks running me off the road, and my unfinished college is due to lack of money/bad parents…but, yeah…mea culpa)
        it’s a different world they live in…where everyone has the same agency and privilege as they enjoy, so there’s no excuse, and the water we swim in is of no account.
        he was a good, conscientious pot dealer…but i think of him and guillotines every time i see something about wall streeters behaving badly.

        1. inode_buddha

          I used to work with guys like that. They fall into a pile of shit, get bailed out and come up smelling like roses. And then tell everyone they pulled themselves up, and are always on the right side of everything.

          Guys like that are the reason I left the GOP when Bush Jr. I won’t subject myself to those types of people any more. I strongly recall being disabled out of my job, having to go welfare, and getting screamed at by strangers for being a bum and a leech.

        2. tegnost

          no of course not…but your bad choices are not my problem…and i shouldn’t be penalised if you didn’t learn from your mistakes”…and something about bootstraps…
          Well there you go, and their bad choices aren’t our problem either.

          1. Linda Amick

            This reminds me of a similar perspective while I was working with Sudanese refugees who were resettled to the US in the early 2000’s. One of the volunteers who happened to be a Republican and I were talking and at some point she stated “We made it” they can too.” I could not believe she would compare this group to her upbringing and support in the US coming from a Texas family that owned an engineering company in the oil business.

          2. notabanktoadie

            Well there you go, and their bad choices aren’t our problem either. tegnost

            Except they hold the economy hostage via a SINGLE* payment system that must work through privately owned depository institutions or not at all.

            *besides mere coins and paper CB notes

        3. notabanktoadie

          “God’s work”=his exact, unprompted, words. Amfortas

          One benefit of having read just the Old Testament ALONE sufficiently is to be able to refute that statement since, for example, Deuteronomy 23:19-20 forbids taking interest from one’s fellow countrymen.

          So anyone who makes that claim is, in effect, denying that he is a citizen of the same country as those he is taking interest from.

          1. lordkoos

            “We’re doing God’s work” is the exact phrase Lloyd Blankfein used when testifying to congress after the 2008 crash.

        4. Mark Gisleson

          Amfortas, let me brighten your day.

          Back in the 2000s when blogging was still king, a local centrist sponsored weekly get-togethers in his garage for Twin Cities political bloggers on the right and left to help bring us together. I think the right was more surprised by us than we were by them.

          But what I will never forget was that a couple of the rightwing bloggers were rolling in dough and that during one long conversation they insisted to me that an 18% return on investment was adequate, but not enough. No example of corporate sociopathy could deter them from insisting on huge returns.

          At some point a few years ago I learned both these jackasses had gone bankrupt.

          Maybe this doesn’t make you feel better, but I still smile when I think about it because these guys defined themselves by their expensive tastes in cigars and whiskey. No God about it, just them being specially deserving of other people’s money.

          With luck, sometimes it all works out.

        5. inode_buddha

          Trust me on this one. What these people are doing has *nothing* to do with God. They will find this out eventually.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!

            — Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

        6. David Carl Grimes

          If Wall Street hadn’t been saved, I doubt if he would still have a job as derivatives trader. Those were the first places to blow up.

        7. Ignacio

          …but your bad choices are not my problem…

          This is it. A reduction to bad vs good choices explains everything. The cavemen revolting in their graves. We were much more sophisticated, so much development for this?

        8. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          re: Amfortas’ Dealer McDope:

          It reminds me of Milo Minderbinder in Catch22 who needed a war to get his contractual juices flowing.

          … And the master sergeants in:

          “The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia” (1972)

          – in which hard-up “intelligence” services sour everyone’s patch (especially their own).


        9. Some Guy in Beijing

          Wow, that smug condescension. “Your bad choices are not my problem.”

          I wish people who only have bad choices available to them would make it his problem

      4. Stadist

        ‘Welcome to the neoliberal tomorrow, except you are already in it today, like most of us. Markets are pure and the only true thing. Every move, especially by the governments, to restrict the operation of markets is blasphemy and is to be resisted at any possible way.’

        Above is sarcastic. However I’m eagerly waiting when personal responsibility is extended fully to health:

        ‘Clearly we cannot expect the individual to conform to the totalitarianism of collective and the state to limit the freedom of the individual? How can the poor health and condition of one be a reason to restrict the movement and life of the other?’

        Again being sarcastic, but I’m seeing a lot of this ethos in comments (in media in general) calling for total abolishment of curfews and travel limits. We are currently so far in the neoliberal project that some start to view economy above human well-being. Your own health is after all your own personal responsibility. To me, neoliberalism seems to boil down to the responsibility of the individual to himself above everything and thus free from others. But the excessive concentration on personal responsibility abolishes the neoliberal state and compatriots from all responsibilities towards you. How could Neoliberal state be responsible for your well-being if you are yourself ultimately responsible for your own well-being?

        Sorry for rant, but I’m just sick of the world sometimes.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Please let’s not reinforce the idea that we have “markets”, what we have are run-of-the mill manipulators and unprosecuted monopolists in a completely rigged game. “Markets” is just the banner that the hyper-socialists (Goldman, Amazon, Lockheed, Exxon et alia) scurry under to try and hide the fact that they receive massive transfers of money from the State to their coffers.

    2. ambrit

      “Laugh In” had a joke about Von Braun in the long ago. Riffing on his autobiographical film, “I Aim At The Stars,” the joke, as told by Gary Owens went:
      Werner Von Braun just released a new film; “We Aimed at the Stars, and Hit London.”
      A direct precursor to the ‘Collateral Damage’ policy of the Pentagon.
      (“Great” minds think alike?)

  3. Geo

    “Pete Buttigieg’s Policy Director Has Been Traveling the Country for Months to Meet With ‘Investors’ in His Campaign”

    His policy director has a background on “philanthropy” and went from The Center for American Progress to Goldman Sachs to Google before ending up on Buttigieg’s campaign. Seems like a perfect fit for the position.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Sinn Fein Pushes for Power as Irish Parties Limber For Talks Bloomberg

    What is driving Sinn Féin’s electoral surge in Ireland? FT

    Just to restate what I posted this morning as a ’roundup’ post on the results of the election :

    Thee final figures are quiet remarkable, pretty much a dead heat. Bear in mind that 80 seats are needed for a majority:

    FG (Varadkars party). 35
    FF 38
    Sinn Fein 37
    Greens 12
    SD (an anti-austerity splinter from Labour) 6
    Labour 6
    PPP (far left) 5
    Others (mostly single issue independents) 21

    A quick summary: A huge success for SF, Greens and (quietly, everyone forgot about them), SD. A disappointment, but not a crushing one for FF (although for reasons too long and complicated to go into, a deeper dive into the figures shows very bad news for them). A ‘could be worse’ election for FG (they carefully managed expectations downwards). ‘Bad, but not entirely catastrophic’ for Labour. ‘Oh shit’ for the far left (SF scavenged most of their votes, they were lucky to get 5). A generally bad day for the independents and micro parties.

    The Greens and SD say they’ll negotiate as a block – Labour will probably have no choice but to join them. The Greens will obviously lead this block. Greens and SD’s benefit from having a core of very talented politicians.

    A quick look at the maths will show that 2 of the big 3 parties along with the Greens/SD are the only possible government.

    But the final results creates a huge problem – without one of the three parties being a clear winner, none will concede on the issue of who will be Prime Minister. None will accept being the ‘junior’ member of a coalition, as that is traditionally electoral poison (you get blamed for everything the government does, while the senior partner gets all the high profile media).

    The previous government worked on a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement – essentially the opposition (FF) agreed not to take the government down unless it was a point of principle. For reasons too long to go into, FF had no option but to do this, but its now seen internally as a mistake – so neither FF nor FG, and certainly not SF, will not agree to supporting a minority government on this basis.

    So essentially the only possible stable governments are:

    FF/SF (sharing PM) with Greens/SD (maybe a Green PM?)
    FG/FF with Greens/SD. Looks impossible, as neither FG nor FF could compromise on the PM post.

    So this essentially makes forming a government look nearly impossible, unless one of the major parties is willing to make major concessions in return for… well, I don’t know what. Its possible that something imaginative could be done, like a Green PM supported by SF/FF or similar (the leader of the Greens is widely popular among other politicians so this isn’t an outlandish idea).

    But otherwise, this looks like a Belgian style stalemate with no option but another election in 6 months. The politicians will dread this, because Irish electorates traditionally punish politicians who are seen as too keen to make everyone make the trek out to polling stations again. Another election would be a huge lottery for all the main parties, and maybe the minor ones too.

    As a final point about Sinn Fein’s success, what is overlooked in a lot of the comentary is that this is the culmination of a quarter century strategy developed by Gerry Adams back in the early days of the Good Friday Agreement. Having chosen the path of non-violence, they had two epic political fights – they had to dislodge the SDLP in NI into becoming the primary voice of nationalist people – and then they had to wait until demographics made nationalists in a majority. This task was more or less completed a few years ago.

    The second task, the much harder one – was to become a major player in southern politics. Back in the 1990’s they would poll well under 5% in any election. They focused laser like on local politics, aiming to displace other left wing parties and the major parties as a relentless machine for getting things done on a local level, even if this meant not necessarily keeping socialist purity. They allied this with a policy of expanding beyond their base, which could roughly be described as angry young men, into a broader based party representing regular wage earners. They deliberately recruited a generation of younger, more attractive and generally female candidates. Mary Lou herself was head hunted – she was originally in FF. Much to the disgruntlement of older candidates, they shoved, with mixed success, this young generation into the spotlight. This was part of a long hard slog into ‘decontaminating’ the brand from its association with northern ireland hard men and violence. Saturdays vote was the final spectacular victory of this strategy. In addition to sidelining the centre right, they have also more or less vanquished all opponents on the left (its hard to state just how much Labour and far left candidates hate Sinn Fein). Only the Greens have emerged as a real alternative power base beyond the right and centre.

    My feeling is that they will see the dangers of taking power and becoming tainted with having to make decisions with centrist partners. My feeling is that they will decide to push the centrist parties into an alliance, and so become the sole true ‘opposition’, as in NI. Its much easier politically to oppose than to govern when united.

    1. Ignacio

      I hope they are able to reach an agreement. It is so stupid to repeat elections like in Spain. If it is Greens + FG + FF this means more of the same but with an accent on sustainability, isn’t it?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, they would probably get one or two relevant ministries.

        However, I think its very unlikely the Greens would go for that (or if they did, they would insist on some other smaller parties like SD or labour joining in). Their last experience of coalition was disastrous, FF dragged them down in the crash, its taken 3 elections for them to recover. They will only go in as part of a broader green/left grouping and will prefer a left wing major partner I think, although the Green Party leader is no radical.

    2. chuck roast

      A few years ago I was at the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in NYC. We went to lunch and engaged in conversation with some people from the north. I said, “It looks like you have been propagating the faith sufficiently to be in the majority soon.” One of the fellows at the table replied, “It’s hard work, but somebody has to do it.”

        1. chuck roast

          Hah! That’s the sort of French that the Irishmen in my neighborhood would appreciate.

          The parish priests, looked for full employment opportunities in the guise of more souls on the heavenly track. It was permissible for a good Catholic married couple to boff like bunnies (in the missionary position only) as long as they produced, in proliferation, little soldiers of Christ. I’m sure the Feinian at the table would have loved your little bon mot.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Actually, Sinn Fein plus “everybody else” – outside the prior Big Two – add up precisely to 80. Trouble is, the Speaker (and tie-breaker?) is Fianna Fail. SF & e. e. could govern with an agreement with FF.

      It looks like the Left will at least be in government.

      Hope it works out.

    4. Oregoncharles

      Actually, Sinn Fein plus “everybody else” – outside the prior Big Two – add up precisely to 80. Trouble is, the Speaker (and tie-breaker?) is Fianna Fail. SF & e. e. could govern with an agreement with FF. It’s too bad Labour and far left hate them – but a chance at cabinet seats might cure that.

      It looks like the Left will at least be in government.

      I hope you’re right that the Greens will be cautious about a coalition this time – I remember the disaster last time. But the former duopoly parties have learned a hard lesson about that, too. Hard to predict how this one will turn out. A re-vote, with SF running enough candidates, might be the likeliest outcome – at least soon.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    So in my exploration of “Hardball” last night with the sound off, coverage switched from the get-of-my-lawn guys, Matthews and Carville, to the Trump rally. I ignored Trump but watched the crowd behind him. We’ve been gifted with links here about the atmosphere at Trump rallies. These are folks who never buy the scalped tickets to the Super Bowl or the Final Four. They’re never chauffeured to a stadium gate where they head for the corporate box to eat catered food. They’re at the point now where they have a hard time coming up with the cash to take the kids to a circus or Disney on Ice. A Trump rally is where they get the good seats. It’s where the snooty a–holes on TV aren’t welcome, but they are. It’s where the entertainment consists in Trump ridiculing the people they hate with more than a little skill. It’s positively Jacksonian.

    Then I watched the Bernie rally in Nashua with the sound very much on. Now I know that Jackson has some awful history when it comes to people of color. He deserves to be vilified for it. But when I was young, he was always touted by the Democratic Party as someone who had advanced democracy and brought the “common man” (white and male though he be) into politics.

    Now Bernie doesn’t engage in the kind of personality politics that Trump relies on, but he isn’t afraid to sound very Jacksonian in his condemnation of the billionaires. Can it be possible that as the months go on, and Bernie keeps slaying the dragons with the help of those he’s assembling around him, that those Trump rallies will start to empty out as Bernie’s get bigger and bigger?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          American Lion is the *highly recommended* biography of the man. It reads like time travel exactly to our times. Yes yes yes the Trail of Tears but My Dog the man knew how to battle the nexus of power in this country: the banks.

          Imagine a presidential candidate today making the centerpiece of his campaign the corruption of the money and banking system of the country, and explaining how it all works to the farmers along the way on whistlestop tours by train.

          1. notabanktoadie

            As much as I admire Andrew Jackson* (except for the Trail Of Tears; the love of my life is 1/2 Cherokee), he did cause the Depression of 1837 so he really wasn’t all that skilled with dealing with the banks, imo.

            But yeah, we could use a modern day Jackson and I’m not seeing one yet.

            Btw, your “Dog” won’t do you a bit of good when you die. Ever hear of hedging your bets, at least?

            *He took a bullet for his wife’s honor from a duelist who had killed 26(?) men and was a poor shot himself.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Read up. Jackson did not “cause” the Depression of 1837.

              Re: hedging of bets. I believe that when I die the assemblage of molecules I currently call “myself” will simply go into a less organized state than their current composition as a lumbering DNA-perpetuating life form. It’s called “entropy”. Others believe other things, that’s cool.

              1. notabanktoadie

                Well, at least we agree on the need for someone to take on the banks and btw that isn’t:

                1) the MMT crowd
                2) the Austrian School.

          2. jrkrideau

            Pretty impressive since Jackson got elected before the first common carrier railway in the USA (the B&O) was built.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            That was when Boeing was Seattle-based and respectful of its engineers and their engineering.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      my ad hoc surveys indicate that, however limited and hardly scientific they be.
      especially the lower down the pole they are.
      but there’s a definite language barrier, as it were.
      S-word scares them, due to the cultural milieu they came up in, etc
      lots of little things, both inherent and engineered.

    2. Dan

      I don’t think we’ll see too many hardcore Trump supporters change teams. The campaign’s strategy is to bring in as many new voters as possible, not to convert Trump’s true believers. So I don’t think Trump’s rallies will diminish. But I do think that Bernie will pick up many of the moderate Trump voters and undecideds.

  6. John A

    “I have never seen a study saying that any corona virus can be removed from a surface by spraying it.”

    Why not use baby wipes? That was the British government’s advice to disinfect surfaces suspected of being contaminated with ‘novochok’ in Salisbury. Surely the coronavirus cannot be as lethal as this dastardly ‘russian’ chemical weapon?

    1. Wyoming

      I think this spraying might come from folks reading the back of Lysol bottles as says on them it will kill human coronavirus (of course the company is not talking about the new epidemic, but rather a virus version that causes the common cold). So it is sort of easy to see how they might extrapolate to spraying.

      On the internet the crazies naturally come to the conclusion that Lysol already ‘knew’ about this new virus – it is a conspiracy you know lol

      1. cuibono

        zinc nasal gel always worked for me in the common cold. Likely those were coronviruses too.
        I am sorry some folks got anosmia. It meant it became unavailable.

    2. ewmayer

      Diluted-Bleach-based spray should be effective, it kills cold & flu viruses and is used in Ebola outbreaks as well.

    1. notabanktoadie

      The ancients put it well, “Only thieves nurtured at home can truly despoil a homeland.”

      Sounds like our government-privileged usury cartel.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Alternative headline: “Michael Bloomberg’s secret weapon: bribe and buy off anything that moves!”

    2. Carolinian

      A coupla years back Bloomberg gave a million dollars to my SC city to put up (mostly pretty bad) public art around town for a few months. Was he already plotting the big move back then?

    3. Dirk77

      Looking at betting sites right now and inferring, odds favor a showdown between Sanders and Bloomberg at the convention.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Cow dung, cow urine and yagya to combat coronavirus says Hindutva group chief”

    I have a coupla books on the Black Death of the mid-1300 and a lot of this guy’s advice sounds like the Hindu version of what medieval Christians were doing in reaction to their pandemic. India had better pray that Coronavirus never hits it then if this guy’s ideas are taken up.

    He did not say so but in the same way that certain people were blamed for the Black Death plague and were killed, I would expect there to be massacres of Muslims if Coronavirus cut loose as they would be blamed for it and this idiot would be at the forefront here. Probably the following measure would be as good as this guy’s advice-

    1. Bugs Bunny

      There are plenty of real doctors in India. These Hindutva kooks are dead set on proving that ancient Indian culture has the answer for everything. They even claim that ancient Hindus invented airplanes and flew them. I’ve talked to a few of them – it’s like fundamentalists anywhere. There’s nothing outside their bubble. I could go on.

      Jerri-Lynn probably has had some encounters with them as well. Mine were mostly in the south.

    2. Calvin

      “People should drink cow urine and plaster their homes with cow dung.”

      See, there are market based solutions to every problem, like animal waste ponds.

      Maybe they could become new health baths spas for the true believers?

  8. jackiebass

    Orwell in two places today. It should be mandatory for everyone to read Orwells 1984. It’s probably one of the most important reads ever.

    1. Clive

      Yes, and what strikes me is how his was a critique of both the left and the right. The current sins of the right are legion and probably don’t need restating here for this audience.

      But the current sins of the left — trying to get away with simultaneous peddling a message that it is guided by the working class but also seeking to impose an authoritarian centrism all of its own making — are an echo of Orwell rather than a direct repetition of the themes he exposed in 1984.

      What is laugh-out-loud ludicrous is how these very un-working class motifs from the left are trying to be disguised in a fairly well coordinated propaganda effort by metropolitan elite leftists — the credentialed classes playing at being weekend revolutionaries.

      It is here that Orwell would have been fairly surprised, I think, at how good the proletariat is now at spotting what the creators think is quite sophisticated propaganda but, unbeknownst to them operating as they are in their own little bubble and able to create their own echo chambers, variously ignored and derided by the intended audience.

      The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel amongst many others still seem to retain a faith in an Orwellian ability to manufacture both consent and protest along their chosen status quo-preserving lines. That hold on pseudo-radicalism through propagandising seems to get more tenuous by the day. The more they berate populism, nationalism and the more they defend untrammelled so-called free trade and the alleged rules based international order, the more they embolden the very forces they are seeking to discredit. I don’t think, visionary though he was, Orwell quite saw that as a possibility.

      1. Carolinian

        It is here that Orwell would have been fairly surprised, I think, at how good the proletariat is now at spotting what the creators think is quite sophisticated propaganda but, unbeknownst to them operating as they are in their own little bubble and able to create their own echo chambers, variously ignored and derided by the intended audience.

        Right. 1984 is a stretch which is why I’d say Animal Farm is the better book. One book is a kind of sci fi fantasy and the other about the universals of human behavior.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          My guess is that maximum 10-15% of people really are getting “good at spotting sophisticated propaganda”. The rest are told what to think from the telescreen, blaring at them from the corner of the sports bar or while they stand in line at 7-11.

          System flaw: we now have five branches of government but only 3 are subject to selection through the ballot box. Branch Four (FBI/CIA) and Branch Five (MSM) are unelected.

          There’s a reason that every manual teaching how to have a revolution start with Step 1: take over the radio and TV stations.

          1. False Solace

            They say they see through it, but they act like they don’t. Like if you talk to the average right winger they’ll tell you the government is owned by billionaires and Congress is corrupt, but they still vote for Republicans and love Trump. And Democrats, they hate Congress but still reelect their local grifting Demo critter.

            If you probe anything beyond “hey does Congress suck” you’ll immediately see their views are defined by the Overton window. Which means very pro-corporate and therefore right wing.

      2. Off The Street

        This just in. Memory Hole elevates greenhouse gases. New commission appointed by Inner Party to find solution.

      3. Ignacio

        Let me add to that list the Spanish branch of the NYT: El Pais and their magazines for hipsters. So pathetic!

      4. Aumua

        Well then what you are describing is not left, is it. It is faux left, ostensible left, neoliberalism etc… certainly philosophically it is not center-right?

    2. Dan

      Neil Postman posits in his “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that society is better described by Huxley’s “Brave New World” where everyone is so distracted by mindless entertainment and legally prescribed drugs that they don’t even notice how oppressed they are.

      I’d say both novels’ premises are largely correct and both are acting in concert against we the masses.

    1. Pat

      Did anybody else here think “you must not have gotten on Clinton’s bad side did you, Chuck”?

      Some of the nastiest stuff I have seen were from the Clintonites.

      That said, I wonder how many people who are being mean to our press elites aren’t doing it because of irrational loyalty to Bernie, but because they are sick to death of the arrogance, lies and stupidity shoveled out by our media daily.

    2. Grant

      Translation: We lie and say stupid things and people are sick of our nonsense, are frustrated and call us out. We need a return to normalcy, where I and my rich pals on TV lie and mislead people and there is no way for anyone to call us out. Oh, and class war is an election loser, unless of course our class continues to win that one sided war.

      1. newcatty

        Didn’t a compassionate billionaire say something like :There’s been a class war for the last 20 years ( this was not said yesterday) and my class won.

        I am looking forward to a new revelation. Whether it be by supernatural intervention or by Bernie actually winning the Democrat primary. Hmmm…if money is your God, then you may be aabandoned. If kindness and mercy are your god…God works in mysterious ways.

        St. Francis: Lord, Make me an instrument of Thy peace.

    3. pjay

      I tried to post a link to CJ Hopkins’ latest very relevant article here this morning, but it disappeared from moderation. Recommended. I hope the moderators realized his comments (and mine) were satirical.

  9. urblintz

    “…minutes after Pete Buttigieg finished speaking in an auditorium at Keene State College in New Hampshire on Saturday, a Pete for America official confronted me outside the building while I was handing out a flier with the headline “Medicare for All. Not Healthcare Profiteering for the Few.”

    “You can’t pass that out,” the man told me. I did a double take, glancing at the small “Pete” metal badge on his lapel while being told that he spoke on behalf of the Buttigieg campaign.

    We were standing on the campus of a public college. I said that I understood the First Amendment. When I continued to pass out the flier, the Buttigieg campaign official (who repeatedly refused to give his name) disappeared and then quickly returned with a campus policeman, who told me to stop distributing the leaflet. Two Keene city police soon arrived.

    The Buttigieg official stood a few feet behind them as the police officers threatened me with arrest for trespassing. Ordered to get off the campus within minutes or be arrested, I was handed an official written order (“Criminal Trespass Notice”) not to set foot on “Keene State College entire campus” for a year.

    So much for freedom of speech and open election discourse in public places.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Caitlin Johnstone sent out a wicked tweet about Pete-

      Things that are more real than Pete Buttigieg:
      – Milli Vanilli
      – aspartame
      – astroturf
      – boobs in LA
      – smiles at a Martha’s Vineyard cocktail party
      – the Gulf of Tonkin incident
      – Bryan Williams’ helicopter crash
      – Joy Reid’s time travelling hackers
      – Epstein’s suicide

    2. Bill Carson

      Don’t forget—Pete has hired Blackwater-style goons as his private security. They don’t care about your precious little Constitutional rights (how adorable!).

      Can you imagine the police state under President Pete? Yowzers.

          1. inode_buddha

            But how are you going to get them there?

            With a vehicle called “civil lawsuit” (if you are prepared and have the bucks… perhaps having a lawyer go with you posing as a member of the press…)

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?”

    I wish that I could find the quote again or who said it – perhaps Beria of the NKVD – but someone said that you only need a person to write several lines on a piece of paper and you would be able to find something in there to put them on trial for their lives. What they were doing here with this questionnaire was basically the same.

    1. curious euro

      It was Richelieu but apocryphal

      Qu’on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j’y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.

      If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
      As quoted in The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1896) by Jehiel K̀eeler Hoyt, p. 763

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that. I have been racking my brain trying to remember the source and began to wonder if it was actually from the time of the French revolution but it looks like that it was earlier..

    2. Alfred

      Left unexplored by this fascinating investigation is the question of why law enforcement apparently recruits in abundance the sort of mind that would find appealing this mishmash of vulgar Freudianism, an 8th-grade grasp of literary analysis, a much simplified theory of the parsing that attorneys and PR people learn in their schools, a blind faith in mechanism, an obsession with process, and just enough traces of New Thought to give the color-coded concoction a slight whiff of some religion that prefers to manufacture evidence rather than eschew it altogether. Perhaps we may hope for a sequel.

      1. S.D.

        It is also shocking that so many in law enforcement, who count on suspects being gullible enough to buy their slick lines like “I’m trying to help you” or “Don’t worry if you didn’t do anything” are in turn so gullible themselves.

        At the same time why would anybody in police custody act like they are in third grade writing a report about “What I Did on Summer Vacation”?

        Is ignorance so widespread and critical thinking so lacking that people don’t get that never saying anything to the cops also means never writing anything?

      2. ambrit

        A sequel of sorts “channeled” from the shade of Tom Wolfe by a New Age Centrist Progressive Thought Leader in a trance: “Bonfire Of The Vain.”

      3. Bruce F

        Speaking of cop language: I found this short video where an “investigative reporter” starts aggressively asking questions of a “cop”. Almost a literal man bites dog story. I’m not sure if it’s real, but it’s effective.

    3. Robert Hahl

      This is just a cheaper and dumbed-down version of the polygraph or lie detector. The printout is different but the method is the same. Interrogate the suspect, then believe the answers or not as you see fit.

  11. JohnnyGL

    So, morningconsult has its latest poll numbers out. Bernie is up 3 on biden. That’s two major polls with bernie leading. Assuming no weirdness in NH, bernie will win there.

    I’m very curious to see the propaganda effect on the narrative of all these ‘bernie leads” and “bernie wins” headlines.

    Cable news and print media have spent months saying nothing or saying he can’t win.

    What’s the effect going to be on people’s thinking, now that bernie’s very clearly winning?

    1. S.D.

      The effect will be exactly the same as it has been for “officially unfavored” candidates on both side for years. Headlines, charts, and stories will all be carefully crafted, banners, talking points and airtime manipulated to avoid reporting that Sanders won and go right on pushing the narrative du jour- which will be anything but the story of him clearly winning.

      To paraphrase Stalin: Who wins the votes means nothing, who reports who won means everything.

  12. notabanktoadie

    The widening wealth disparity has been driven by stagnant wages for many Americans, which held them back from partaking in the stock market’s gains of the past decade. from How America’s 1% came to dominate equity ownership

    Labor cartels were always doomed to eventually fail against a government-privileged private credit cartel because of unethically financed automation and out sourcing.

    The solution is to abolish all government privileges for private depository institutions – that and land and asset ownership reform to provide restitution to the victims.

    1. inode_buddha

      I remember vividly back in 2001 when I was living on 8 bucks an hour and the company was bragging about their 401k plan, and wouldn’t I like to join it?

      Right around that time a feeling of total unreality came over me and I began to wonder what planet people were from.

    2. HotFlash

      Where to those ‘stock market gains’ come from? Corporate profits, which are (duh!) worker productivity minus worker earnings, ie, earnings (mis)appropriated from workers. So, workers should be happy for the opportunity to eat their own tails?

      1. notabanktoadie

        So, workers should be happy for the opportunity to eat their own tails?

        Speaking of tails, where did you draw that (smelly) conclusion from?

        Because I said that labor cartels are doomed to fail against a government privileged usury cartel I am somehow against those forced to work for wages?!

        1. eg

          I think that HotFlash means that the 401k puts the worker in that awkward position — its profits having had to come of necessity from his/her own exploitation and that of his/her fellow workers.

          1. notabanktoadie

            If so, my apologies to HotFlash and it is a very good point, I now see.

            However, his/her comment should have been directed to inode, in that case, not me.


      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “Stock market gains” in the last 10 years have not come from higher corporate profits. Corporate profits today are exactly the same as they were in 2014 but stock prices are 75% higher.

        Thanks to the Fed, companies borrow money at 0% interest and buy back their shares. Fewer shares available automatically = a higher price per share.

        Until 1982 it was illegal for a corporation to borrow money in order to buy back their shares. Because it was so obviously share price manipulation.

  13. petal

    The LMIAL house had a new sign addition this morning: a homemade sign that said “KLOMENTUM!” 3x (like one above the other). Pretty sure a giant inflatable Amy is next.

    1. Pat

      I don’t know if I could resist painting LOSER on a life sized blow up Amy once her moment in the “anyone but Bernie” seat is over.

    2. Bill Carson

      Chapo Trap House floated a possible scenario where Klob gets named Bernie’s VP. I’m not sure it’s such a bad idea.

            1. JohnnyGL

              She’s openly disdainful of Bernie and his agenda. Like all of it. If he’s dumb enough to pick her (he’s not) then he’s already failed.

              Nina Turner or Tulsi for Veep.

              Take the anti-establishment gas pedal and push it to the FLOOR!

    3. ambrit

      Uh, down here in Patriarchy’s Redoubt, a life sized inflatable doll of a female is generally used for one primary purpose. (Will it be anatomically correct?) I do so hope that whoever put up that doll doesn’t put a blue dress on it. The message sent would be, unfortunate.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing Refuses to Cooperate With New Inquiry Into Deadly Crash”

    I don’t believe that any Dutch airlines were ever going to buy the Boeing 737 MAX which may be why Boeing are going to try to tough it out with them. But if those birds ever get back into the air, the Dutch will have say if any of them overfly their country. And I am sure that the Dutch safety board will be talking to their counterparts in the EU so why antagonize them so?

  15. dearieme

    “Cruise Ship Rejected by Four Nations Runs Out of Options”

    They should give North Sentinel Island a try.

    1. ambrit

      I nominate Bikini Atoll. Warm and sunny conditions with the added bonus of free, built in radiation therapy.

  16. Grant

    “Audio of @MikeBloomberg‘s 2015 @AspenInstitute speech where he explains that “you can just Xerox (copy)” the description of male, minorities 16-25 and hand to cops.”

    So, who is next in the anyone but Bernie train? My guess is that ultimately they will settle on Warren, as she is horribly problematic, but less so than the rest. She also already showed she’ll attack Bernie in the most dishonest way possible and isn’t really serious about the largest structural changes she pretended to support. And identity bonus points too. That is why she will try to stick it out until the end. She is banking on her being the “compromise” candidate, which is just mindless triangulation and isn’t workable in 2020. Pick a lane. She has, but she’ll pretend otherwise, cause it isn’t the same lane Bernie is on.

      1. jsn

        The alternative isn’t yet clear.

        The walls of the bubble have a distorting lens effect so strong as to make all the huge problems in the outside world appear tiny.

        “Why are you people so upset?”

    1. Jeff W

      “My guess is that ultimately they will settle on Warren…”

      Warren will collapse in New Hampshire today and the donors will abandon her. Her funding was always dependent on those “plans” she tirelessly churned out but her Medicare-for-All plans were disastrous so no one’s impressed by plans right now—and no one cares what plans you have if you have if you have no on-the-ground support.

      My bet is still on Mike Bloomberg, who, given his “philanthropic” machine (see Lee Fang on Rolling Stone’s “Useful Idiots”), has operatives all over the place and, of course, limitless funds—Bloomberg can smooth over his very problematic record pointing to “African-American outreach” as in Tulsa. (Money, as was said in a different context in Parasite, is an iron.) It’ll be spun as “our plutocrat can beat their plutocrat.” The “anybody but Bernie” crowd doesn’t have to win with Bloomberg—it just has to assure that Sanders doesn’t win on the first ballot at the convention.

      The other possibility I see is that the “anybody but Bernie” train will just derail, much as the GOP establishment couldn’t coalesce around a single candidate. But I think supporting Bloomberg is more likely.

  17. pretzelattack

    saw a video interview with the head of the new hampshire democratic party; he seems like a perez supporter, which makes me uncomfortable.
    no, perez has not been “successful”.

    1. Monty

      #1 skill for getting ahead in USA = Obsequiousness.

      If you can eat your superior’s sh1t, with a smile, then you’ll go quite far!

    1. a different chris

      That’s the same one?

      Anyway, I enjoyed it but not sure what the surprise was. Running away wouldn’t work, Mama Bears do not have a reverse gear anyway, and the size difference was probably in her favor at least on a one-on-one.

      There is a funny description, somewhere someplace on the internet, of a grizzly bear (!) running for its life. Hot on its heels was a Mother Moose, who had the (mistaken) impression that the grizzly bear was the reason why she couldn’t find her cub.

      When (us) Southerners wonder why people in Alaska are so afraid of moose, (mooses? what is the plural?) remember that. I suspect it would be preferable to be quickly dispatched by a grizzly than just pounded into a bag of mush by a moose.

      1. pretzelattack

        tigers are bigger than sloth bears. sloth bears, otoh, which are apparently highly aggressive, don’t immediately kill humans but chew on their arms and legs for a nutritional snack. maybe humans taste better alive.

  18. ambrit

    Just perusing the comments when real Urban Theatre happens outside on my street. I just heard, and watched through the porch windows, which face out to the street, as a line of ten new, plain white, unmarked, identical SUVs mixed with vans roared up my street towards the Main Drag. Roared is the operative word. The entire line of vehicles was accelerating, on a residential street. The weekly garbage pickup hasn’t made it to our house yet, and this. The unmarked car phenomenon is becoming ‘business as usual’ for the Organs of State Security in America.
    We live in interesting times.

    1. newcatty

      Whoa! I just am looking out my living room window and mostly all I am seeing , so far, is the 6 inches of snow on the residential street and on the trees and ground. An occasional truck or SUV meanders by. Surprisingly, the garbage truck did appear on schedule. Urban Theatre…a blockbuster production that is being released in a countrywide “market”. Uh…hope it skips my street. Be safe and keep the Faith.

      1. ambrit

        Exactly. Asked a neighbor who keeps her ears aimed at a police radio scanner what it was all about. Her reply; the local cops haven’t a clue. (I suspected that the local constabulary was in a “public private venture” with the local pharmaceutical entrepreneurs.)
        Enjoy the snow day!

  19. Synoia

    Brexit: The new IT system required to handle the volume of customs declarations will not be ready until 2025

    That’s 5 years, to me it means that there are no specifications, no development team, and no concrete plan.

    I’m betting on 2030 at best. It is after all at large IT project with no fixed specifications (The customs rule will change faster than the Programming).

    In addition there is the nature of UK Law, where the Law is a framework and the details subject to Civil Service interpretation and reinterpretation, and changed by lawsuits.

    1. John A

      In the meantime, Boris has greenlighted a high speed rail link from London to Birmingham for, current quote, 100 billion, and toying with commissioning a bridge to Ireland (as mayor his pet never got off the ground projects included wasting about 50million in a garden bridge over the Thames that never got built, promoted a new airport in the Thames Estuary by a rotting WW2 shipwreck packed with too dangerous to dismantle explosives and commissioned a double decker bus that is now being scrapped, having cost ridiculous sums. His predecessor, the unlamented May, answering a question by a nurse asking for more money for the Health Service, retorted ‘we don’t have a magic money tree’. Boris doesnt even get asked money questions. Probably because everyone knows he lies about everything anyway.

      1. Ignacio

        Oh my! But ya know, high speed rail sound like something a proud nationalist may like, not spending money to cure those lazy bones. One has to rebrand health care not as mere expenses but hey, “make us healthy and strong again”, “Ready for the syndrome coming from China” and so on.

    2. Watt4Bob

      N26 Bank is simply leaving the UK.

      “With the UK now having left the European Union, we will in due course be unable to operate in the UK with our European banking license. As a result, we will be leaving the UK and closing all accounts in the coming months.

      We want to take this opportunity to thank all our UK customers for believing in our vision to build the bank the world loves to use.

      Our determination to transform the global banking industry for the better remains stronger than ever. We started our journey with the goal to redefine standards in an industry that was consistently failing customers. For many, banking still continues to be slow, tedious, and full of paperwork. Our promise is simple. A 100% digital banking experience that’s fair, transparent and centered around you.”

  20. smoker

    Re: Outcry over reports of mass assault at New Delhi women’s college

    By Soutik Biswas 04/17/18 Why India’s rape crisis shows no signs of abating

    An awful sex ratio imbalance – largely because of illegal sex-selection abortions – means it is a country full of men. The country sees 112 boys born for every 100 girls, which is against the natural sex ratio of 105 boys for every 100 girls. A preference for boys has meant that more than 63 million women are statistically “missing”. Many believe such skewed ratios can contribute to increased crimes against women.

    (Warning, very depressing read.)

    1. newcatty

      Disclosure: did not read the article. Appreciate the pointer to it. Depressing, indeed. Not negating the skewed ratios of girls to men is not a contributing factor to India’s ” rape crisis. ” The ones who believe that the fact that there are more men than women in any society is nothing more than a sociological and cultural ( sex-selection for boys to be born) rationalization for men choosing, excused for and acting on using power ( physical and psychological) to exploit girls and women. It’s no different than the tiresome and selfish tropes: boys will be boys, men’s sex drives are “overwhelming “, it’s biology, damn it!, oh, girls like it too, why all of the fuss?, everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t I, and, the most insidious: girls are often still seen as property, possessions and slaves.

      Just Another headline today about a sex trafficking, exploitative, abusive “cult” being run out of a college student’s dorm in an elite liberal arts college…no, not in India. In Yonkers.

      1. ambrit

        Let’s be kind to the DNC and be “more inclusive” in our sexual abuse standards. Include Hollywood, and the District of Colombia.

  21. Frank Little

    Re: Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?

    One thing that not enough people realize about basically all “forensic science” is that these techniques were not developed scientifically and then applied to law enforcement. Rather they were developed by law enforcement to give the appearance of scientific method to their investigations. As such, they are really ways to build up a case against someone the police already suspect, not identify possible suspects from the larger population.

    They don’t talk about the SCAN technique, but there’s an excellent episode of the podcast Citations Needed about this history and the role of TV in helping perpetuate the idea that these techniques are apolitical, scientific ways of investigating crime:

    Episode 94: The Goofy Pseudoscience Copaganda of TV Forensics

      1. Dan

        In a few generations, if we’re still around, we’ll consider the vast majority of drugs the “mental health” field now prescribes to be barely better than lobotomy.

      2. pretzelattack

        no sh..

        but hey the american psychological association was there when the country needed help in torturing people.

    1. Ignacio

      The WHO has renamed it Covid-2019 and declared today a “grave menace for the world” “worse than terrorism” though they still consider “realistic” the possibility of being controlled. Wuhan closes buildings with suspected infected individuals.

      The incubation time (pre-acute phase) has been shown to be as long as 24 days => longer quarantines
      That may also explain many false negatives with PCR assay as in your example. Tomography is consider definitive for confirmation but I suppose this requires reaching acute phase. That, IMO has implications on who is “infected” vs. “confirmed”.

      1. MLTPB

        1. Will that be implemented immediately? People are being quarantined for 14 days currently.

        2. People have been let out after 14 days. Do they return now?

    2. Ignacio

      More on this:

      China’s Medical Expert Admits Serious Flaw In Coronavirus Diagnostics!

      This article from Thailand is a bit chaotic but chaos may well be what reigns in Wuhan right now. It talks about NATs (nucleic acid techniques) as being unreliable in China. RT-PCR is quite sensitive and real-time RT-PCR has shown that it really is very sensitive, detecting as few as 4-8 copies of viral RNA by the assessment made by a WHO team. It is so if sampling and processing as well as the test itself are done correctly so this spells various possibilities: 1) doctors/nurses are not taking the samples correctly. Two samples are needed per individual, one from the nose and another from the throat these have to be taken with precautions 2) diagnostics services in China are overwhelmed and/or do not have good equipment or proper training 3) both problems exist.

    3. smoker

      Mislabeled test results, according to this NBC report:

      Soon after the woman was discharged the CDC notified her that her test results were mislabeled and she, in fact, tested positive for the virus, according to a local health official with knowledge of the case.

  22. Humboldt Michael

    I remember reading, from the NC links some time last year, about how Pangolins were being pushed to extinction by people over-harvesting them for food and as a medicine (though one that may be no more effective than chewing your fingernails). Now it seems they may have struck back by passing along the new Corona virus. Reducing humanity’s consumption of animals makes sense from many perspectives.

    1. MLTPB

      News earlier had two new cases in a Hong Kong apartment building via possibly pipes.

      It would make staying onboard a cruise ship not a good idea.

      Also in the news was a family of 9 catching it from sharing a hotpot meal, which is typically hot, not cold, and humid, not dry.

      These developments show we still dont know much about this virus. How was the hotpot meal connected to Wuhan, via several hosts?

      1. Ignacio

        Mode sarc on/

        Beware the cruises lying in the horizon!
        By no means share hotpots!

        Mode off/

        This guy spreads easily enough not to need Daily Mash-like hypotheses.

        1. MLTPB

          Pipes being looked at as a possible route was reported by CNN, Newsweek, etc. If people want to leave no stone unturned, and evacuate a building partially,which they did, I won’t say those in charge are conjuring up Daily Mash type hypothesis.

          As for hotspots, the question is how did it get there – from a waiter, chef, other guests, one or more family members? Is it that pervasive? I dont have any hypothesis. Just trying to understand more.

          On the other hand I am still trying to confirm the cold over hot, dry over humid, hypothesis,

  23. g3

    Saw a poll yesterday showing Bloomie in 2nd place nationally among Black voters, behind Biden. Older Black voters are pragmatic when it comes to voting and go with whomever they feel is the safe choice , So there is a chance they could rally behind Bloomie. After all, fellow centrists too suck on their criminal justice record. Black voters rallied behind HRC and are now behind Biden so far.

    A slight detour: so centrists/moderates means nasty on the powerless/less powerful groups? Tough on non-violent offenders, easy on police officer who shoot innocent people, lax on Wall street crimes… And Amy Klo being nasty with her staff ……

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, I saw that. Two explanations come to mind.

      1) Black voters, especially in the South, especially older voters, are often very conservative.

      2) Black voters in the Trump era have become extremely cynical of white people and have lowered their expectations such that the best they can hope for is a president who’s less of a crazed loon. Think of media explanations of why trump won….racism, sexism, etc. They’ve spent several years beating it into everyone’s head.

    2. Grant

      Black voters aren’t a monolith and there are radical differences between middle ages/younger black voters and older black voters. Maybe get an age breakdown of those polled before declaring widespread support or that this is representative of anything. And try not to attach anything to a group of people, no matter if it is good or bad. A bit dehumanizing. Fact is, most people don’t know tons about him and he is an oligarch that is flooding the airwaves and trying to buy an election. How exactly is it pragmatic anyway to vote for a right wing recently Republican oligarch with a horribly racist record a pragmatic choice when our country is in this shape and we have such massive issues, such as corruption? Seems like an end game for this so called democracy and that party if it just lets a billionaire oligarch buy an election.

      In 2016, older black voters generally went to Hillary, younger voters generally to Bernie. Hillary wasn’t a good choice. Older black voters generally went for Biden, and that too isn’t looking good. Older voters in general do get their information from places like CNN, FOX and MSNBC. Not a good thing.

  24. JimTan

    “How America’s 1% came to dominate equity ownership…..Since 1990, the wealthiest have bought a net $1.2tn in company stakes, while the rest of the population has sold more than $1tn”

    This is a little misleading. Many of the wealthy did not ‘buy’ their company stakes but rather were granted them. Tim Cook received $123 million in vested Apple stock in 2018, and $115 million in vested Apple stock in 2019. Sundar Pichai similarly received $380 million in vested Google stock in 2018.

    This is an important distinction.

  25. Watt4Bob

    Garbage in garbage out.

    from Roboflow;

    A popular self-driving car dataset is missing labels for hundreds of pedestrians

    Sounds dangerous;

    We did a hand-check of the 15,000 images in the widely used Udacity Dataset 2 and found problems with 4,986 (33%) of them. Amongst these were thousands of unlabeled vehicles, hundreds of unlabeled pedestrians, and dozens of unlabeled cyclists. We also found many instances of phantom annotations, duplicated bounding boxes, and drastically oversized bounding boxes.

    these data sets are used by the people who ‘develop’ the software that controls self-driving vehicles.

    This falls in line with reading I’ve been doing related to the questionable quality of the packages being shared by and for developers on the web, many of which can and do contain malware and code with security issues.

    Link is to one of many recent articles highlighting this serious problem.

    Search for “packages containing malicious code”

    Sh*ty data, packages containing malware/malicious code, and careless developers, what could go wrong?

    1. RMO

      15,000 strikes me as a rather small dataset for developing something as complex as self-driving car software as well. The dataset 1 is even smaller. Then there’s the issue of the low quality of the data in the first place either.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Yes, and that, among other things I’ve read about robot vehicle development lead me to believe it’s mostly about duping investors, not really making vehicles that don’t need drivers.

        Uber’s involvement is also a tell if you ask me.

  26. Plenue


    Syrian army has fully cleared the M5 highway all the way to Aleppo city.

    They’re also continuing to push west along the M4 highway toward Idlib city, and have taken another town on the city’s outskirts. I have no idea when or even if they intend to stop.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Those Jihadists in the far south of Idlib must be getting nervous. If the Syrians cut west along the M4, all those forces would be trapped in a cauldron which is definitely not a happy place to be in. At the very least their supply lines to Turkey would be cut-

  27. xkeyscored

    It appears that the CIA for years was flogging encryption machines they could crack to friend and foe alike. This should make an interesting addition to the fuss about the possibility of Huawei having back doors in its stuff!
    ‘The intelligence coup of the century’
    For decades, the CIA read the encrypted communications of allies and adversaries.

    It’s a long article, but here are a few snippets that caught my eye:

    These were “the Dark Ages of American cryptology, ” according to the CIA history. The Soviets, Chinese and North Koreans were using code-making systems that were all but impenetrable. U.S. spy agencies worried that the rest of the world would also go dark if countries could buy secure machines from Hagelin [founder of CryptoAG].

    If “carefully designed by a clever crypto-mathematician,” he [different guy] said, a circuit-based system could be made to appear that it was producing endless streams of randomly-generated characters, while in reality it would repeat itself at short enough intervals for NSA experts — and their powerful computers — to crack the pattern.

    Two years later, in 1967, Crypto rolled out a new, all-electronic model, the H-460, whose inner workings were completely designed by the NSA.

    A Liechtenstein law firm, Marxer and Goop, helped hide the identities of the new owners of Crypto through a series of shells and “bearer” shares that required no names in registration documents. The firm was paid an annual salary “less for the extensive work but more for their silence and acceptance,” the BND history says. The firm, now named Marxer and Partner, did not respond to a request for comment.

    In 1977, Heinz Wagner, the chief executive at Crypto who knew the true role of the CIA and BND, abruptly fired a wayward engineer after the NSA complained that diplomatic traffic coming out of Syria had suddenly became unreadable. The engineer, Peter Frutiger, had long suspected Crypto was collaborating with German intelligence. He had made multiple trips to Damascus to address complaints about their Crypto products and apparently, without authority from headquarters, had fixed their vulnerabilities.

  28. ewmayer

    Name a cockroach after your ex and watch an animal eat it on Valentine’s Day | CNN — A rather mean-spirited way to spend V-day. May I suggest a more lovey-dovey-but-still-with-cockroaches alternative? Get cozy in front of the TV with your snoogums, and pop in a DVD of Joe’s Apartment. A very silly movie, but the cockroach song and dance numbers are hilarious.

  29. Winston

    Missed this big news. Has been going on since the 1950s!
    CIA controlled global encryption company for decades, says report

    Swiss government orders inquiry after revelations Crypto AG was owned and operated by US and German intelligence
    Ronald Reagan handed Margaret Thatcher top-secret Argentine info to boost the Falklands War effort after CIA coup that saw US spies BUY the firm that sold code-making machines

    US and German spies helped establish a Swiss-based encryption company
    The firm, Crypto, sold encryption equipment to 120 governments world wide
    US and German spies could then access those governments’ communications
    Ronald Reagan handed Margaret Thatcher intelligence during the Falklands War

    1. xkeyscored

      Swiss government orders inquiry after revelations Crypto AG was owned and operated by US and German intelligence
      Exactly. From my reading of it, the Swiss government knew for ages, but only ordered an inquiry after the revelations.

      “The Swiss government announced on Tuesday that it was launching an investigation of Crypto AG’s ties to the CIA and BND. Earlier this month, Swiss officials revoked Crypto International’s export license.
      The timing of the Swiss moves was curious. The CIA and BND documents indicate that Swiss officials must have known for decades about Crypto’s ties to the U.S. and German spy services, but intervened only after learning that news organizations were about to expose the arrangement.”

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