Links 2/2/2020

Happy Palindrome Day: 20200202. –lambert

Watch wolf puppies stun scientists by playing fetch Science

Vermont goat mayor in for a ‘dog’ fight at her Town Meeting Day re-election Burlington Free Press (Re Silc).

Glass frogs reappear in Bolivia after 18 years Phys.org

Jeanine Añez wants to be Bolivia’s president. She is betraying her vow to restore democracy Miami Herald

‘Immigrant Food’ restaurant owned by lobbyists for right-wing Latin American coup leaders who fueled migration crisis The Grayzone

While Trump cuts food stamps, USAID bankrolls Venezuela regime change with half a billion in tax dollars Unbalanced Evolution of Home Sapiens. Some of you may remember this blog from the Greek crisis; it’s still going strong.

How the Lawyer Who Beat Chevron Lost Everything The Intercept

WeWork appoints property veteran as chief executive FT

Brexit

Brexit day one: Johnson goes for broke with hardline trade deal Guardian (K).

Brexit trade talks: EU to back Spain over Gibraltar claims Guardian

A clean break for BrexitCentral at the end of January Brexit Central. “We feel it will be right to sign off at the end of January on a high note – a clean break, if you like.” Leaving the rest of us holding the bag.

#2019-nCoV

Global Times is run by People’s Daily:

How Bad Will the Coronavirus Outbreak Get? Here Are 6 Key Factors NYT

Should You Be Worried about the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak? American Society for Microbiology

Coronavirus Eclipses Trade as Global Economy’s Biggest Threat Bloomberg

‘We have no choice’: Hong Kong medical workers agree strike over mainland border closures Hong Kong Free Press. Note that they organized a union specifically to hold this strike, and the vote was overwhelming.

First confirmed nCoV death outside China is in Philippines PhilStar

Teachers stay home as Toronto school struggles to quell coronavirus fears Toronto Star

Timeline of the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak Wikipedia. This is interesting:

18 January

After the first 41 laboratory-confirmed cases were identified on January 2, 2020,[139] 16 days elapsed with no further confirmed cases before China reported 17 additional laboratory-confirmed cases, with three cases in critical condition. The number of laboratory-confirmed cases rose to 62 in China, with the ages ranging from 30 to 79, of which 19 were discharged and eight remain critical.[168]

On the same day, the Wuhan City government held an annual banquet that coincided with the Chinese New Year, of forty thousand families despite their knowledge of the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus. They shared meals and ate together.[169]

Why travel bans won’t prevent a flu pandemic New Scientist. From 2009, still germane.

China?

China reports outbreak of deadly bird flu among chickens in Hunan province, close to coronavirus of Wuhan South China Morning Post (KW).

China’s Vision for a New World Order National Bureau of Asian Research. From the heart of The Blob…

After Trump’s China Trade Deal, The Case for a Chexit Vanity Fair (Re Silc).

U.S. Dependence on Pharmaceutical Products From China (Re Silc). From August, still germane.

Trump Faces A Dilemma As Taiwan Pokes China In The Eye The American Conservative

New Cold War

Russian Government Bankrolls Leader Icebreaker Project Maritime Executive

Impeachment

How the House lost the witness battle along with impeachment Jonathan Turley, The Hill. “The hard truth is that House Democrats lost this case the minute they rushed an impeachment vote, and they knew it. With the approaching Iowa caucuses, they chose a failed impeachment rather than taking a few more months to work on a more complete case against Trump, a case more difficult to summarily dismiss. That is the hard truth.” A victory lap by Turley, and well-deserved.

Trump’s Impeachment and the Degrading of Presidential Accountability Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker. Sorkin. Too ironic.

Lambert here, admitting that he is perhaps too jaundiced: Working on the assumption that acts, once not impeached, are no longer not in scope for future impeachment, Pelosi, in 2006, did not impeach Bush for taking the country to war in Iraq, for his warrantless surveillance program (multiple felonies; destruction of the Fourth Amendment), or for torture (prohibited by international treaties, hence the law of the land). The Republicans did not impeach Obama for whacking a US cititzen with a drone strike and no due process. After 2016, the Democrats focused, laser-like, even before the inaugural, on impeaching Trump over an ever-shifting, never-proven Russia-adjacent “collusion” narrative driven by anonymous leaks from the intelligence community, which we were constantly assured would bring about Trump’s impeachment, or even his imprisonment. When that Democrat effort ignominiously collapsed with Hero Of The Resistance™ Mueller’s damp squib of Congressional testimony, the new Ukraine narrative miraculously appeared, articles of impeachment were instantly prepared, followed by several weeks of delay in delivering them to the Senate, followed by complaints that the Republicans would not call the witnesses that the Democrats themselves should have called. (Comic interlude: The uncalled Bolton boosting his pre-sales at Amazon.) Utterly predictably, given both their credibility and Republican venality, the Democrats than lost the impeachment vote in the Senate, thereby cementing Trump’s “abuse of power” into precedent. (To be fair, the Democrats may make a few 2020 Senate races more difficult for the Republicans than before.) So, let’s review: From 2006, due primarily to sins of omission or commission by Democrats, Presidents are not accountable for: (1) Fake intelligence leading to war, (2) felonies, (3) war crimes, (4) assassinating US citizens (this is down to the Republicans), and (5) abuse of power. Oh, and (6) epic levels of personal corruption, since Democrats did not impeach Trump over the emoluments clause, setting another precedent. And Sorkin bleats on about “degrading Presidential accountability”? Welcome to Planet Earth, Amy!

Trump Transition

Charities steered $65M to Trump lawyer Sekulow and family AP

2020

Iowa Poll canceled after a Pete Buttigieg supporter says the candidate’s name was omitted during a poll call Des Moines Register

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Front-Runner The New Yorker. Ah, the dreaded “front-runner” status.

Baristas For Bernie: Sanders’ Service Worker Strategy To Win Iowa Iowa Starting Line

Behind Bernie’s rise: A $50 million spending surge — and more where that came from Yahoo News

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Earn It Act: How to Ban End-To-End Encryption Without Actually Banning It Center For Internet and Society, Stanford

Imperial Collapse Watch

An empire that can’t pay its troops. Thread:

Guillotine Watch

Her parents said she had a month to live. The judge put their daughter in jail anyway PA Post

She Helped a Customer in Need. Then U.S. Bank Fired Her. NYT

A reply to the American Historical Review’s defense of the 1619 Project WSWS

Class Warfare

Who doesn’t like pie:

Painters’ union calls for consumers to boycott PPG brands including Glidden, Olympic Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This San Francisco apartment building’s parking spot will cost you $100,000 ABC7

How CVS Became A Health Care Tyrant Matt Stoller, BIG. Followup to yesterday’s NYT story.

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.

306 comments

    1. Clive

      Re impeachment, I’m just waiting to spot my first sighting in the wild of someone saying “there’s no point us now going over what might have been…”

      Reply
      1. Pat

        As far as I can see the only “high crime” Pelosi and Company recognize is something that would be seen as taking unfair advantage in an election. Russia! Russia!Russia! and Ukraine not emoluments or violations of the fourth amendment or lying to illegally attack a country that had not attacked us and posed no threat to us just aren’t bad enough.

        And even then it has to be done in a half assed manner that is more about fund raising than doing a full and comprehensive investigation.

        Reply
  1. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    One wonders whether, further to Brexit, the NC team and you should introduce a “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” segment.

    Farage has been on the airwaves all week-end, and in the days leading up to, in his words, “independence day”, advising the punters that the “EU is terrified of the UK as a competitor”, hence the EU wishing to bind the UK into alternative arrangements.

    I have just returned from Mauritius. Railways are being resurrected after sixty years. They were built by the British in the 1860s and 1870s. The new system is being supplied and built by Indian and Spanish firms. The new 5 G networks are being supplied and built by Chinese and Israeli firms. Power and water grids are being renovated by French firms. The UK is nowhere to be seen.

    If one visits the island’s sugar estates, there are ancient bits of equipment on display in the grounds. They were all made in Birmingham and Glasgow. The decline of British industry is chronicled over six thousand miles away.

    A friend attended the recent UK-Africa business summit in London. She reported Johnson ad libbing as if he was doing stand up comedy. There was no formal speech. Johnson said that the UK could now buy Kenyan tea, implying that the EU prevented the UK from such imports. We wondered where the EU tea plantations are that need protection. My friend said that it would have been impolite to ask Johnson, especially in the presence of the future William V, if he still thought of Africans as “picanninies with water melon smiles”.

    Apart from the Ghanaian delegation won over by British plans to fund airport and university development and the South African delegation won over by a commitment to open the UK food and drink market and loosen regulations on such imports, the others didn’t take Johnson’s gathering seriously and made the most of the jolly. There’s no need to take that stuff seriously as Johnson doesn’t and much of the British public does not either.

    Farage must wonder, especially at pillow talk or over a claret with his much younger French girlfriend, how long he can get away with this schtick. Johnson, too, with his equally much younger and latest partner.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Thanks for the report Colonel…

      Sounds as if the Brits are in as big of a hurry to secure African business alliances, as they were to dump African colonies in the 50’s, ha!

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        Not just Africa, but, in the 1970s, Australia and New Zealand.

        The African Union and Southern African Development Community, the latter includes former French and Portuguese colonies, are more interested in further negotiations with the EU, but South Africa scents an opportunity with the UK’s rapprochement.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The New Zealand I first visited had only been dumped by the UK less than a decade before, and to my young mind, seemed adrift w/o purpose, locked into the past as it were. On account of heavy import duties, there was de facto austerity on most everything in a consumer vein. The cars on the road were kind of concours of keep it going-as there wasn’t an alternative. My favorite was early 50’s French cars that just screamed ‘there’s a gangster on board’.

          I think it was this model:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_Traction_Avant

          I feel fortunate to have watched things go from there to now in perhaps a dozen visits hence.

          Reply
          1. lordkoos

            I believe that is the same car that is heavily featured in the 1981 French movie “Diva” (a really fun film if you haven’t seen it).

            Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I briefly owned a Traction, talk about arriving in style (irregardless of the fashionability of the conducteur).

            My favorite thing was the clignotants (turning signals), on a little lighted arm that popped out on the side you were turning towards

            Reply
        2. Wukchumni

          p.s.

          I’m about traveled out and wouldn’t relish sharing neat places with hordes of humans as is the custom lately, but it sure was fun to see how other people lived, their customs, ways of life, etc.

          Little did I know, that the one fleeting glimpse I caught was the zenith of regional clothing worldwide in the first world countries I frequented. I’d guess that every other adult male on Queen St in Auckland had this ensemble on in the early 80’s…

          …we all seem to dress the same now

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6614105/Target-Australia-ad-showing-businessmen-shorts-long-socks-ties-resurfaces.html

          Reply
          1. Greg

            Civil servant standard attire! I remember it from Wellington in the 80s.
            It’s still brought up occasionally as part of the local endless war on public servants, although your sighting in Auckland would imply it was just as popular with bankers…

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            What, no mention of 1970s leisure suits? If that outfit looks odd, then remember that in Australia (and I suspect New Zealand), they wore fashions after what was worn in London for much of its history. And that could mean woolen suits in the hot, humid Aussie summers. Crazy that.

            When the break came with the UK, men gladly dumped the heavy suits and opted for clothing that bore an actual resemblance to the reality of the weather here. If not for the adoption of general air-conditioning, then our businessmen would be still wearing what you saw in that ad.

            I talked about a break with the UK. I had to research through Australian newspapers from the early 1960s once and it was amazing. All the car ads were for British cars as was most of the stuff advertised in those papers. You could see the British mentality of a large part of the consumers back then. Another time.

            Reply
        3. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          The Tories have no memory, after all, who to needs to remember stuff when you have been in power so much of the last century.

          However, I am reminded by my Australian friends of how their nation’s products were dropped when the UK latched onto the “rich man’s club”.

          A long-soured relationship indeed – emphasised by the deplorable quality of British cars of the time.

          I half-jokingly counter that Australia (as a European culture) should have joined the EEC, but that cuts no ice at all – reliant as they are on the tenuous spiritual relationship with another formerly great manufacturing nation.

          Pip-pip!

          Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Your mention of ” 5G on Mauritius” makes me wonder about something tangential to your main point. And that is : why does Mauritius permit the existence of 5G on Mauritius? Given the possible health dangers of marinating the entire population in that much steady electromagnetic radiation and fields, why doesn’t Mauritius simply ban 5G from Mauritius and let other countries be the experimental test subjects for the next 50 years?

      Reply
  2. New Wafer Army

    > Her parents said she had a month to live. The judge put their daughter in jail anyway

    I really, really, really want Bernie to win. A social democracy USA is imperative to a more peaceful planet, never mind a more humane society for Americans. However, I just don’t think he will do it. Unfortunately, I believe America is just too inherently cruel. Wanton cruelty is institutional in America, as seen by the healthcare system, pathetically inadequate social programs, the carceral-gulag, huge homeless favelas, ICE concentration camps, hungry schoolchildren, constant war-mongering and the daily stories of sadistic cruelty shown by those with the power to torment the poor and weak. Every day these sad, disgusting stories appear of desperate people being condemned to hell in the world’s richest state.

    Americans have a stark choice between barbarity and civilization. Who they choose will decide whether they become a nation worthy of respect or contempt.

    Reply
    1. Lupemax

      plus most of the country’s voting is on electronic voting machines, basically without a paper trail, operated by the corporations that own them. The people no longer control the actual voting. And, as we all know, corporations don’t like Bernie – isn’t that what Killery said.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Re: “parallel sovereignty” as a form of non-violent resistance, I wonder whether it would be possible to conduct citizens’ opinion polling near (far enough away to be legal) election day polling places asking people who are on the voter lists to — after they have “cast their ballot” in the hackable systems — take anonymous paper surveys, hand marked, of course, of their candidate preferences.

        These could be hand-counted in public after the fact, as a check on the hackable electronic results.

        This is perfectly legal under current law, I think.

        Reply
    2. Otis B Driftwood

      It may seem that way, but if you go out and talk to people (as I have during my canvassing in California), you will find that the overwhelming number of people you meet are decent.

      The Sanders movement has successfully tapped into our frustration at being so powerless in the face the cruelty happening in our names. We are part of the largest grassroots organization in the history of our national politics. Collectively, we have a voice and a unique opportunity to change this awful system. People are responding, I’m seeing it in so many conversations I’m having.

      Remember this: the powerful count on our despair and our isolation from one another. It has worked so well for them in the past, and I firmly believe that it won’t this time. Not if we keep working at this as hard as we can.

      Reply
      1. Representative Democracy?

        Don’t forget that it is the electoral college, not your vote, that actually decide which President you choose.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Whoa, this Isn’t the Clinton campaign. For most of us elementary school was sufficient, and for people of a certain age, Gore 2000 was a fine example of this. Only Team Clinton forgot if they understood at all this.

          Reply
        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          Unlike the Third Way Democrats, everyone here is quite aware of that 230-year-old rule cleverly hidden in the Constitution.

          Reply
            1. Skip Intro

              Putin did it using Time Travel!

              He will stop at nothing to force the Russian form of government upon us. Using time travel he was able to impose rule by corrupt oligarchs on the US in time for it to impose it on the Soviet Union… causality can be so confusing when dealing with time travel.

              Reply
        3. Big River Bandido

          Don’t forget that because of the EC, no Democrat will win the White House without 6 states (IA, MN, WI, MI, OH, PA) that have slipped through the fingers of the neoliberal establishment.

          Sanders is the only candidate who puts those states back in play for Democrats, plus a handful of others (WV) that have not been realistic possibilities in the Reagan/”Third Way” Era.

          Reply
            1. Big River Bandido

              Of course, because everyone knows Bernie Sanders does really badly with poor people, unemployed people, service industry workers, and schoolteachers. And there are none of those in West Virginia…well except for those that went on a wildcat strike and garnered massive public support in 2018.

              West Virginia and Kentucky have long Democratic traditions and those voters could easily be lured back by good old fashioned concrete material benefits. This is really not hard.

              Reply
        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          Your vote decides the outcome in your state. The outcome in your state decides the assignment of the Electoral College Votes of your state. The adding together of all the separate stateloads of Electoral College Votes decides which President gets chosen.

          A vast surplus of votes for Clinton in California and New York did nothing about which way the votes fell in each of the other 48 states . . . state by state by state. Whereas the tiny margin of votes for Trump in each of several Brexit States of the Midwest gave those states’s Electoral College Voteloads to the Additive Multi-State Electoral College Vote Totals for Trump. So the ” your votes” for Trump in those 3 states counted extremely much.

          Reply
      2. barefoot charley

        Thank you Otis. I agree with New Wafer’s hopelessness, and even more with you that Bernie is our only hope.

        Reply
      3. New Wafer Army

        That is also my opinion of most Americans. Like I say, I fear it is the system which exists to benefit the wealthy and powerful.

        Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      Look at it from the other perspective, what Big Gov systems in place would you want to save as-is presently, if we were to start over with a clean slate?

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The US Post Office.

        The National Parks and Refuges and Monuments and Forests and Grassland Reserves and etc.

        and some other things too.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          There’s still a lot of real civil servants working at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Would require a complete sweep out of most of the Senior Executive Service and political appointees, however. And a lot of work to redo the internal agency guidance and strategies and so forth.

          Same might be true for OSHA, DOT and, as you say, a few others that might have salvage value. .

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well there you go. A lot of governance functions have real value if they are done in a worthwhile way.

            By the way, whether Sanders gets elected or not, states whose citizens vote heavily for Sanders should perhaps think of slowly and carefully building up pretty large and powerful National Guards within their state borders . . . just in case.

            Reply
    4. John C.

      This story out of PA sickens me in so many ways. The immoral sentence handed down, the for-profit prison services (like health services) dynamic, etc. This country has lost its way indeed.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        What is it with PA ?? … The State seems to excel in cruel masters – Petered Principles with perforated iron paddles, always throwing down the spiky gauntlet in front of the defenceless !

        Reply
        1. Trent

          In July i got a ticket for parking on my street “against the flow”. I didn’t pay the ticket, now i’ve received a summons and the price of the ticket has gone from 25 dollars to 90. I didn’t harm anyone, i didn’t block traffic on the street, my car was just parked in a different direction then the other cars. I could take a day off from work, appear in court and plead not guilty, lose but be satisfied by standing with principle. This is in a community where they can’t afford to pay for their own schools anymore and i pay large amounts in taxes so they can keep the lights on because most of the school board embezzled alot of money. None of them are in jail, but god damn it will be damned if you park your car in a direction that isn’t the same as all the other cars!

          Reply
          1. human

            You had to cross the median and drive on the wrong side of the road in order to park there. This is dangerous as even a parked car on the wrong side of a roadway can be confusing. A legitimate traffic infraction. Pay your fine and learn this lesson. Some rules and regulations are important.

            Reply
            1. rtah100

              we were stupid enough to vote for Brexit but we’re managing to survive in the UK parking on the opposite side of the street. Technically at night you need to leave a parking light on because you are not displaying rear reflectors but nobody does and somehow carnage on the roads just is not happening, despite higher urban speeds (30mph), narrower roads and denser traffic. Trent is right, this is a stupid law, like jaywalking laws, an example of authority for authority’s sake. Weird that the libertarians in the US don’t aim for these laws….

              Reply
              1. RMO

                That was a surprise for me when I was there last summer. I knew about parking partly on sidewalks but somehow missed noticing that it was OK to pull over to the right side of the street and park facing oncoming traffic. When we left Glasgow airport to go to the hotel we were staying in for one night before heading to Mull the nest day I got the fright of my life when our driver turned into a narrow street and I saw all the cars on both sides of the road were facing us – I thought we were going the wrong way up a one way street!

                Reply
        2. JBird4049

          Worse, the judge(!) said that it was out of his hands because reasons even though it was in his control, discretion, and frakking responsibility to change and especially delay for as long as needed to deal with the dying thing. The jail and, of course, the contracting company both either lied or just used their own guidelines for treatment to deny treatment. The judge, jail, and contractors all blamed the others for the dying, mentally ill woman’s suffering.

          When it takes a state paper, the frantic efforts of a family, the New Times Times, and the lieutenant governor to get the system to follow procedures that are already in place to deal with such emergencies because following them might, maybe be slightly harder than not things are truly unacceptable.

          Reply
    5. teacup

      Devastating story. Neoliberalism is an uber-radical, parasitic psychology/ideology that the human race needs to quarantine and exterminate. So basically, neoliberalism = Corona virus in policy form. Meanwhile over in Britain-
      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/28/disabled-man-starved-to-death-after-dwp-stopped-his-benefits
      And…
      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/21/stephen-smith-liverpool-seriously-ill-emaciated-man-denied-benefits-dwp-dies

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Jesus, just how does allow a grown man to get reduced to less than 70lbs. Seems like someone just wants to cut the deadwood.

        Of course in the United States, getting on some benefits is often a problem. IIRC, SSDI (disability) processes the claims at the county, state, and federal levels, which means that with processing times of up to one to three months due to submission, rejection, and appeals at each level, and it always takes more month, plus appeals with an administration judge and finally the ability to appeal to a national SSA court.

        At each level, you can be approved, or remanded for more tests (and the tests do not have to be in the same county) even when everything is documented by years of medical records. Also, a fraud prevention office can intercept the case and do their own magic, which can override the decisions of another office.

        Not to mention that the people most likely to lose are those with the least amount of documentation. Also the ability to be contacted reliably and follow all of the time sensitive demands for paperwork and to get to appointments that might be fifty miles. This means that the most severely disabled or disadvantaged like the homeless or the carless.

        Finally, while waiting for the approval which can take years, you flatly cannot have any income from a job. Notwithstanding that most people can do some work even if it is just a fews a week and those applying for aid usually have very little of anything. Any work is an automatic denial of a claim although they don’t apparently make any effort to find those working and getting income under the table. Lying is covertly and strongly suggested.

        If you know anyone applying for disability, ask them to follow the path of the case as it is sent to each office. The applicant has both the right and ability to see who wrote what, when, where, and why. Usually by mail, sometimes by phone and online. It is a trip to follow.

        If anyone is confused as why there are several layers, and trust me Americans get baffled as well, the federal benefits are often determined by going up the city/county/state/federal levels and then often back down again is that it the feds mandates the benefits and does much of the funding. Each level has some say. The individual states often, but not only, add their own set of benefits like California adding some amounts to SNAP and the requirements for them. The federal government checks on states, the states on applicants and the individual states have freedom to administer their portion of the various programs. Some states try to improve their system while others have tried to legally deny support to as many people as possible not matter how bad it is.

        After typing up this wall of text and thinking about my own experiences as well as the experiences of others, I think that I should not be surprised that someone starved to death in UK. Here in the USA we have people who die of exposure because reasons.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          On possibly giving too much information, my case ran through two states, six cities, seven offices (two of them twice), three doctors, one lawyer, and a judge over three years.

          No, this is only somewhat of an outlier, some have longer times, some people also have to appeal to a national court, and many, many more have much stronger, clearer cases, but not enough resources to get through the process. My own case could have gone another two or three years. And again, I am not unusual.

          Reply
    6. Wukchumni

      When we turned into a Conumissed country, the onus was upon us to figure out how we got scammed by both government & corporate charlatanizations.

      Reply
  3. carl

    Re: the Matt Stoller piece on CVS. Almost every day, there’s an article on NC about the US healthcare system that serves to reinforce my decision to relocate. It’s difficult sometimes to remember just how bad this system is when you aren’t in regular contact with it, which I think explains a lot of the denial I perceive amongst people around me. So thanks, NC!

    Reply
    1. Another Scott

      At the same time as CVS focused increasingly on becoming a monopoly on the healthcare side of its business, I noticed a major decline in its retail side. It used to provide reasonable prices on things like OTC drugs, personal care products, and similar products. Over the past 15 years or so, prices have gone up and selection down, not to mention their ridiculous receipts.

      Reply
    2. Quank

      +1. Yes. It was easy for me to ignore how bad the system was b/c I was a young healthy active person. Then my wife and I were pregnant and delivered a child and I am all in on Medicare for All. The system is a complete disaster from end to end. And the worst part is that most (not all, of course) of the providers are really good people trapped in a system they know sucks in ways we can’t even appreciate.

      Reply
    3. a different chris

      Sigh, you’re welcome I guess.

      (Goes back to waiting for his “takes 30 days” summation of his 2019 bills, which looks from his records to have went way past his “out of pocket” + “deductible” — oh despite having found out that this “out-of-pocket” limits do not include what he spent on his deductible, which apparently comes out of some other orifice rather than his pocket? but still has spent way past the sum combination unfortunately he can’t tell from even his own records what bills he paid in 2019 were from 2018 since it didn’t occur to him to record that but now he sees he’s getting bills up to 9 months after services so maybe he’s wrong. Yeah, be responsible for your own health care. Right, to be fair nobody else seems to want to do it. And this is in an area where the Highmark/UPMC battle gives you at least some attention and AFAIK avoids the “out of network” problem since neither can stand the thought of a single dime going to the other)

      Reply
      1. carl

        I’m not there yet. We’re looking seriously at Spain. I was referring to necessity of keeping the healthcare system in the front of my head, since on some level, I find the concept of having to move to another country for such a reason hard to grasp. Everybody around me acts like everything is going great, and this dissonance is an interesting challenge, if that makes sense.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          Everybody around me acts like everything is going great, and this dissonance is an interesting challenge, if that makes sense.

          “An interesting challenge” is such a positive way to look at it. I must admit it infuriates me. Let me just repeat what you wrote:

          Everybody around me acts like everything is going great

          Ugh!

          Reply
          1. carl

            I would consider it, but my partner absolutely cannot tolerate cold weather. We are confining ourselves to mediterranean climates.

            Reply
            1. rtah100

              Switzerland has brilliant medical care but the compulsory insurance is expensive by European standards (cheap by US!). Ticino is warm and sunny.

              My Italian colleagues all speak highly of Northern Italian healthcare in the major urban centres and cross themselves at the thought of anything from Rome south.

              Reply
              1. carl

                Italy is our second choice. My partner lived there for 17 years and is fluent. You’re correct, the differences between north and south are profound.

                Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Over the next few decades, the Mediterranean climates should become hot desert climates. If you-all are already over 60 years old, that need not matter to you.

              Reply
          2. fajensen

            Please consider the Culture!

            The nordic countries are not very “open”, we don’t necessarily talk to the people living 3 houses down the road and foreigners reside a longer distance away than that! Finland is the worst, the Finnish are happy to make only 3-4 sounds a day in the way of brisk conversation, and it is DARK half the year!

            In Denmark, they way around ‘the barriers’ is to actively participate in some of the ‘local Danish stuff’ and learning the language (People will use English at work if there is a foreigner present out of politeness, but, all the Danish present will be secretly annoyed by this because it breaks their “flow” and many are not very good at English).

            Spain, Italy and France are more “open” to strangers, IMO, depending on where one goes.

            And, Switzerland is a weird place filled with very strange people, but, the location and the many non-Swiss people there dilutes the weirdness a bit (if anyone wants to appreciate some of it, one can visit the Giger Museum which is clashing very dramatically with the extremely traditional town it is located in and the clothes worn by the townspeople. This is one of the last cantons allowing women to vote. In the very quite centre of Baden, I believe every 3’rd house is a swinger-club, a sauna-club … or something worse. Very expensive and totally not advertised. Just buildings, which could be anything, very weird and once “the signs” are seen, they cannot be unseen!. People will happily let their dogs run unleashed in the pedestrian-only streets, which doesn’t annoy anyone, and they pick up the dog shit also – another clash between chaos and order :).

            I like Switzerland but I am not sure I would like living there. It would be like living in a theme park where the attractions are designed by aliens.

            Reply
      2. Expat2uruguay

        Since relocating to Uruguay I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer. There was no bill whatsoever for the surgery. The entire cost of my entire treatment, including my monthly membership fee of $60 a month, was under $2,700

        Reply
        1. Expat2uruguay

          That total includes 16 months of the monthly fee and all of my treatments, including six months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of daily radiation, co-pays for medications and tests, $7 co-pays for doctor visits, and additional testing and consultation for heart damage caused by the chemotherapy. I also had a couple of problems during the chemotherapy that required visits to the emergency room, a four day hospital stay because of ultra-low defenses, and consultation in my home a couple times. They did a really good job, and they’re very good at cancer treatment here.
          But the very best thing about Uruguay is the peacefulness, the tranquility, the laid-back approach to life. My stress levels are way down from when I lived in the US.

          Reply
          1. carl

            Thanks for posting this experience. There are many countries where healthcare is good if not excellent and affordable. People who are living in the US are literally gambling with their health and money every day. Culture also matters, as you noted.

            Reply
  4. Altandmain

    I’m increasingly convinced judging by what I am reading in the news that the Democratic Establishment would prefer losing to Trump than winning with Bernie Sanders.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/31/bernie-sanders-election-trump-democratic-establishment

    I think that even if Bernie wins the nomination, the fight is just starting. The Establishment will try to cause Bernie to lose to Trump and if he wins, to make his presidency ineffective.

    Even prevailing in the primary is just the start. Once he wins, the next step will be fighting this:

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/11/so-what-would-really-happen-if-bernie-became-president/

    The ruling class will do everything in its power to preserve the status quo. So that may be the real battle.

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Sure it will be a fight. People don’t give up power voluntarily. I’m curious as to what Sanders has in mind for that fight – he’s been in the game long enough to know what’s coming for him, I think.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        Some here, it was mentioned somewhere here I think, Sanders should watch Bannon’s Frontline interview, to see what could be instore for him, and how Bannon helped Trump smash through the Establishment.

        I admire how the Tea Party razzed hell and took out some party leaders for being out of touch with the Republicans average Joe’s. If only the other side had that, too.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Well worth putting aside your prejudices and watching in full because it is a *roadmap* for how left populism can do what Trump and right populism were able to do

          Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        Sanders has done this before. His first term as mayor of Burlington was a political stalemate, so he settled down to do what he could and starve out his opponents. It took two years and a second election cycle for him to validate his first victory and consolidate his political support. At that point, the powers that had been recognized that they had no choice but to deal with him. So we can expect based on his past behavior that if it became necessary, Sanders knows just how to fight and win such battles. Indeed, the strategic leak of Sanders’ “plans” for executive orders this past week is a perfect example of how you win that kind of fight. He’s putting expectations in the minds of the voters, and that’s a very powerful strain of politics.

        In addition, any politician smart enough to win 15 elections has to have read Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, and Sanders clearly has. One has to read between the lines and transpose Machiavelli’s suggestions to the modern world…but his advice is still prescient. If you win election, you must immediately defenestrate your political enemies. Anyone with the ability to stall or stop your agenda must be rendered powerless to hurt you. All of the “Old Guard” must be purged — it’s not like they have any great skill or wisdom to begin with, otherwise they wouldn’t have failed so spectacularly. Retain just a handful of them — the ones who know where the bodies are buried, the ones who are not really loyal to anyone but whose competence can be used by you as long as they understand that you are now the one in charge and that going forward, they are indebted to you for their political survival.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          So Burlington’s deep state never swung into action. /sarc

          I think things are a little tougher, and potentially lethal, at the national level.

          But I agree that Bernie knows the game and his campaign has been strategically brilliant to this point.

          Reply
          1. Big River Bandido

            Sure everything is more dangerous. But the rules are the same. If he reaches the White House, the same principle applies to the foreign policy establishment. In fact, that will be critical. I’m sure Sanders knows that.

            Reply
      3. neighbor7

        Ian Welsh, “Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-Wing Government”–easy to find online–is a harsh but necessary real-world view of a battle for which we are totally unprepared.

        But “Not me, us”–we have to build a movement not for the next four years but for the next century, as AOC said in the December Los Angeles rally.

        Reply
    2. timbers

      “I’m increasingly convinced judging by what I am reading in the news that the Democratic Establishment would prefer losing to Trump than winning with Bernie Sanders.”

      With you 100% on that and so to my father yesterday. Another 4 years of Trump is a win-win-win for so much to the Dem Establishment fold to name just few like Nancy, Chuck, Hillary if she isn’t allowed to run again, and the usual Team Blue donors and donor beggars.

      Reply
      1. heresy101

        1% Nancy doesn’t want Sanders to win because it would effect her directly since most websites have her wealth at $120M.

        Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Any more a hostile environment and he will have to give his speeches behind five tons of two-inch thick bullet-proof glass. Both Obama and Trump have done so in the past.

        Reply
    3. Skip Intro

      Once Biden collapses after NH, they will go all-in on Bloomberg, proferring their “Only a good Republican real estate guy with a billion can stop a bad Republican real estate guy with a billion” theory.

      I think the Sanders campaign needs to start convincing various elected superdelegates to pledge to support the will of the primary voters in their states, in anticipation of Tio Tom Perez re-rigging the convention to allow them to vote in the first round. The optics would look better if it were done before the primary is actually held.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        You go with the haplessatchiks you have, not the apparatchiks you want.

        in anticipation of Tio Tom Perez re-rigging the convention to allow them to vote in the first round. The optics would look better if it were done before the primary is actually held.

        Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        I believe this fulmination is in regard to this poorly-sourced Politico piece from two days ago. Reading through that article, a pretty clear picture arises of what really happened: one or two Third Wayers appointed to the DNC board decided to spread rumors. The DNC’s own spokesperson denied any proposed change. Perez himself was forced to deny it and you can almost see the sweat on his forehead just from reading his tweet.

        The only significant part of that Politico story was the firestorm that it raised in backlash to the rumors. What this tells me is that gradually, the left is beginning to wrest control of the “narrative” from the media, as the Tea Party set began to do several years ago. That’s a tell as to where the energy in the party is coming from.

        Reply
        1. Samuel Conner

          Could the rumors have been a kind of “trial balloon” to see what kind of response would be elicited? There’s no doubt in my mind that the Democratic National Corporation ,,,, errrrr Committee … would like to make this change.

          Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ten thousand people outside the Milwaukee Convention who happen to bring along their motorcycle helmets.

        Live feed from inside as the procedural shenanigans progress.

        Coordinated decentralized action a la Hong Kong surging and flash mobbing and then disappearing.

        First strike media disruption action, mob CNN anytime they try to do a live “report”.

        This ain’t beanbag, the 1% have liberally used economic, psychological and actual violence for years as their MO

        Reply
    4. Big River Bandido

      In a general election, Sanders’ great strengths and advantages come to the fore:

      • fundraising operation
      • communications operation
      • political organization

      The first two of these have already been proven. The third one faces its first test tomorrow night. If it works in Iowa, his organization model and method will almost certainly “scale” well to other jurisdictions.

      Past the primaries, Sanders’ biggest threat is actually behind him. The Democrats of 1972 were huge, powerful figures at the apex of their control in a very structured and prosperous nation. They controlled vast amounts of political patronage and could write huge sums into the federal budget. They had the unwavering support of a strong labor movement, and a significant part of the voting public which still believed in them (for whatever that’s worth).

      Thanks largely to the establishment itself and its neoliberal policy, none of those conditions are present today. These are mostly self-inflicted wounds… Unlike 1972, today’s Democrat have no effective power base anywhere in the country. They have no money and no ability to raise any, except from the most hated industries in the nation. Their rigid, cruel ideology prevents them from using public largess…for the benefit of the public, so they lose out politically. The party’s leading players are all well past their prime, they are out of political energy, their lack of moral authority has long been apparent, and they’re not even able to project their self-vaunted “confidence” or “competence” anymore — they’ve been well into the “making mistakes” phase for quite awhile now, completely misreading the mood of the voters and getting schooled constantly whenever they venture out of their bubble. The “young people” they are grooming for future leadership come off like 3 day-old oatmeal, meaning this faction has no future, either.

      Further, the party and media establishment are now so weak and so widely distrusted that their clear opposition to Sanders gives him an advantage. At this point he’s pretty well inoculated from nonsense like Warren’s smear attempt. Safe to say that if Sanders prevails in the primaries, he’ll have the voters and the party base in his corner. The elites? Who cares about them? They won’t matter. They have nowhere else to go, ha ha.

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        If my circle of acquaintances is any indication, the anti-Sanders media push is having some effect. Last night I was talking with a friend who said “I like Bernie, but some of the stuff I’m reading lately, I don’t know…” There is all kinds of BS about Sanders (and his supporters) being propagated — the latest thing I saw yesterday on twitter, was the claim that Sanders once said nice things about governor George Wallace (who nobody under 45 even remembers).

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          where i roam, it’s only people my mom’s age who watch tv news any more, and they’re where i get the most anti-bernie hostility(she’s 78, likes mayo pete and warren)

          of course, i don’t run with the crazy religious folks around here,so have no finger on that particular pulse… but the two neighbors on that side of things would never vote D any way(one, conservative lutheran, the other cowboy church…has bible study ropings at his rodeo ring, within arrow shot,lol)
          neither of them cares for trump.

          Reply
      2. EGrise

        I can’t help thinking about something John Perry Barlow said (on a different subject) to the effect that the Dem party establishment knows it’s a dying dinosaur, but “[y]ou don’t want to be locked in a closet with a dying dinosaur.”

        I fear that they’re willing to bring the whole thing down, regardless of the cost, in order to preserve their own positions and what waning power and riches they possess. The warnings that if they do so, it will destroy the party? They think it’s all bluffing: if they get rid of this damned priest Sanders, then his voters will have no choice but to return to the fold, or get lost – either way is fine with them.

        All the things you point out re: the differences between 1972 and now are correct, but the strengths in 1972 allowed the establishment to both re-establish their authority and continue the Dem party as a going concern. This time it won’t; I think they can do one or the other, but not both. The establishment probably doesn’t understand that (or doesn’t want to), and I fear their short-term thinking (so prevalent among humans and so dominant in American society) will doom both themselves and us.

        I hope I’m wrong.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          The “primary” is well named, a fight for primacy among the party’s different factions. If the party has a future it will have to be completely remade. Naturally the Old Guard resents and resists this. That is the way of all things. But if he wins, Sanders will control part of the machine.

          Perhaps, thinking ahead of having to govern, this is why Sanders takes such a delicate touch with the dying dinosaur?

          Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and the one next to it was cathartic, almost: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/31/do-not-light-that-fuse-dnc/

          I reckon the dnc will do the Sampson Option.
          and i really hope sanders, et alia is ready to pull the trigger on the american labor party or whatever when they do.
          especially with the ballot access issue.

          should be exciting.

          get yer beans, bullets and bandaids in order.
          i’m trying to soft-sell/manipulate my mother into this for the loft:
          http://www.allamericancanner.com/ballhalfpalletjars.htm

          (instead of recovering the furniture or whatnot)

          Reply
  5. Fíréan

    The up-date to the US.Bank good samaritan callcentre employee and her supervisor being sacked story was a pleasure to read.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Yes, it was. If I may offer some satire in the Screwtape manner:

      Letter to Mr. Kristof

      My dear Mr. Kristof,

      You misunderstand USBank’s deep and abiding concern for its community economic wellbeing, our community of shareholders. It is our duty to increase our profits as much as possible by any means possible. To do any less would cause loss and economic harm to our shareholders, whose economic well being is our first duty.

      Now, you say it was wrong of us to fire a worker who helped a customer who was in financial distress due to our mistake. But you are wrong. That worker deprived us of a potential overdraft fees or a loan to the desperate customer, deprived us interest payments on that loan, deprived us of potential lucrative fines and fees and raising the interest rate if any payment on that loan was late or missed. The helpful employee’s $20 cost us potentially a large amount of money, the opportunity created by our mistake. This sort of cost to our shareholders, reducing our potential income, is bad business practice. In the bad old days a bank my say, ‘It was our mistake, we’ll cover it, don’t worry.’ Nowa days, a bank mistake is an opportunity to make that mistake pay. And pay. And pay.
      Nothing personal, it’s just business.

      Yr obd servant,
      Screwtape

      Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      Yes that was good news – hopefully the CEO will follow through on fixing it.

      The galling thing about this story is that there was absolutely no reason for this to happen. The problem was the bank put a hold on the check the guy deposited and didn’t make the funds immediately available. It would be nice to know where the check was drawn and how long the hold was, but regardless in this day and age it simply does not take very long for a bank to tell if a deposited check has cleared or not.

      I worked at a bank branch 20 years ago and bank policy forced us to put holds on checks, which was not a totally unreasonable policy per se. But I remember the holds being 10-14 days if the checks were drawn off out of state banks which was very unreasonable. This routinely pissed customers off as they were generally depositing the funds because they needed the money now, not in two weeks. When I had customers in this situation, I would simply call the issuing bank, ask about the check, and if it had cleared, remove the hold and make the funds available to the customer. After doing this repeatedly, I came to find that it generally took about 2 days for funds to clear, not 10-14. And that was 20 years ago before the scanning technology banks currently use was widespread. Back in the pony express days it might have taken weeks for a check to clear but that hasn’t been the case for a long time.

      The only reason banks continue to put lengthy holds on checks is so customers will incur more overdraft fees. In a just world that practice would be illegal because it is outright larceny.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        They also have funds that they can use for their own short term benefit. If the policy only concerned one or two checks, the amount available would be minor and not worth it. But it isn’t, in the case of a large bank this is easily hundreds of thousands of dollars daily.

        Reply
      2. notabanktoadie

        In a just world that practice would be illegal because it is outright larceny. lyman alpha blob

        In a just world, no citizen would have to deal with a private depository institution to begin with since they could use their Nation’s fiat in account form at the Central Bank itself.

        That they can’t violates equal protection under the law in favor of the banks themselves and of the richer, the more so-called “credit worthy”, at the expense of the poorer.

        Reply
  6. Kevin C. Smith

    nCov-2019 may hit ethnic Chinese harder …
    The article below is just one which mentions the pulmonary receptor molecule for corona virus is an angiotensin converting enzyme 2. The ACE2 is in higher concentration in ethnic Chinese lungs than it is in Caucasians. I think this will be a disaster for China, but may be less severe for western nations.

    Receptor recognition by novel coronavirus from Wuhan: An analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS
    Yushun Wan, Jian Shang, Rachel Graham, Ralph S. Baric, Fang Li
    DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00127-20
    ABSTRACT
    Recently a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has emerged from Wuhan, China, causing symptoms in humans similar to those caused by SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Since SARS-CoV outbreak in 2002, extensive structural analyses have revealed key atomic-level interactions between SARS-CoV spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) and its host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which regulate both the cross-species and human-to-human transmissions of SARS-CoV. Here we analyzed the potential receptor usage by 2019-nCoV, based on the rich knowledge about SARS-CoV and the newly released sequence of 2019-nCoV. First, the sequence of 2019-nCoV RBD, including its receptor-binding motif (RBM) that directly contacts ACE2, is similar to that of SARS-CoV, strongly suggesting that 2019-nCoV uses ACE2 as its receptor. Second, several critical residues in 2019-nCoV RBM (particularly Gln493) provide favorable interactions with human ACE2, consistent with 2019-nCoV’s capacity for human cell infection. Third, several other critical residues in 2019-nCoV RBM (particularly Asn501) are compatible with, but not ideal for, binding human ACE2, suggesting that 2019-nCoV has acquired some capacity for human-to-human transmission. Last, while phylogenetic analysis indicates a bat origin of 2019-nCoV, 2019-nCoV also potentially recognizes ACE2 from a diversity of animal species (except mice and rats), implicating these animal species as possible intermediate hosts or animal models for 2019-nCoV infections. These analyses provide insights into the receptor usage, cell entry, host cell infectivity and animal origin of 2019-nCoV, and may help epidemic surveillance and preventive measures against 2019-nCoV.

    Reply
      1. Susan the other

        I was gonna ask that question as I take an ACE inhibitor now for my BP. I couldn’t tell if the ACE2receptor-enzyme was enhanced by ACE inhibitors or hindered. I was guessing hindered. Funny, it gives me a dry cough.

        Reply
    1. Monty

      This post from someone in “the statistics field and have been working directly on the nCoV-2019 outbreak with local and international teams for the last 2 weeks.”. I think it paints quite a hopeful picture of the situation.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/China_Flu/comments/exe552/coronavirus_faq_misconceptions_information_from_a/

      So we think about infection phases in generations. The order can be roughly broken down as:

      1st Generation: Infections directly from the source, eg. Wuhan Seafood market. Roughly end of Nov to end of Dec.

      2nd Generation: Infections from those to people in Wuhan who did not visit the site. Roughly mid-Dec to likely peaking with Wuhan general announcement on Jan 15.

      3rd Generation: Infections across China and Internationally as Wuhan population travels. Roughly early Jan to peaking just before Wuhan travel shutdown, Jan 23rd.

      4th Generation: Local infections from 3rd Gen, in other Chinese provinces and h2h in other countries.

      Adjusting for the 95%ile incubation period and reporting lag in different countries, right now most of 3rd generation infections internationally should have reported and is in process of being tested, and we’re seeing the reports of 4th generation in early reporting developed nations with low reporting lag (Japan, Germany, France). 3rd generation was the most likely to lead to a surge internationally. And these numbers are fairly trustworthy, since they come from international CDC instead of China, and statistically they are roughly confirmed by our models (though with low population samples tbf).

      And without a 3rd generation surge, we wouldn’t see that large of a 4th generation surge, since each has to be infected by the previous generation.

      So the trajectory looks ok so far. Are some countries riskier than others? Yes. Is there overall non-zero risk of a global epidemic? Certainly. But so far we are not heading in that direction, data-wise.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I keep noticing how very recent the identification of this new epidemic is. Things are happening very fast, a bad sign in itself, and we really don’t know much yet. For instance, there can’t be a meaningful death rate until a substantial number of cases have cleared, one way or the other.

        And I would repeat Yves’ observation that the Chinese gov’t. shows signs of panic. They may know something we don’t.

        It just occurred to me that there are a lot of Chinese students at the local university. There goes my sense of being a bit isolated.

        Reply
      1. JeffC

        Certainly suggests it to me. Have to remember to look up which ones target ACE2 in particular. My wife and I are both hypertensive, and an adjustment to the meds might be in order.

        On the other hand, if this pans out there will be a shortage of ACE inhibitors within weeks.

        Reply
          1. JeffC

            That search and a few others are turning up nothing for me beyond the fact that SARS Coronavirus had surface features that bound to ACE2. That means there’s some research out there, but I’m finding it all paywalled with nothing in the abstracts giving away results. I’m not really competent to assess such work anyway.

            Reply
    2. Krystyn Walentka

      If you do not have sodium responsive hypertension (IE; Diabetic, high insulin levels) make sure you are getting enough salt. Contrary to popular belief, sodium will lower blood pressure by inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system. So more sodium means lower ACE2 if you have a normal salt response.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3214830/

      And looky here…

      https://www.journalofhospitalmedicine.com/jhospmed/article/127606/hyponatremia-pneumonia

      Hyponatremia (low serum sodium) is relatively common in patients admitted with pneumonia, and it is associated with higher disease severity. The precise mechanism is incompletely understood, but the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion is felt to play a significant role. Traditional options to manage hyponatremia in such patients are fraught with challenges.

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        You guys are better than my doctor by a country mile. Thanks for this info. I do take extra salt – but nobody ever tells me why it is important to keep my levels up.

        Reply
      2. notabanktoadie

        Thanks for confirmation of this:

        Salt is good … Mark 9:50

        I used to be embarrassed by apparent faux pas’s in the Bible wrt health (e.g. not washing one’s hands before eating*).

        Not anymore …

        Now if we’ll only recognize that the Bible is to be respected wrt to economics too then perhaps the End Times can be delayed for a generation or two.

        * excessive cleanliness can compromise the immune system.

        Reply
  7. FreeMarketApologist

    This San Francisco apartment building’s parking spot will cost you $100,000

    Maybe this is novel elsewhere in the country, but there’s been a parking garage condo in Park Slope Brooklyn since before the area became ground zero for urban trendiness. Parking slots have been selling for over $100k there since 2014. (and you have to pay monthly maintenace and taxes as well). Most recent sales seem to be over $200k.

    https://streeteasy.com/building/845-union-street-brooklyn#tab_building_detail=2

    Reply
  8. The Historian

    Re: the USBank story, the CBS video, the CVS story, and so many others.

    We definitely need a change of attitude in this country – back towards humanity and away from $$$$. THAT is valid reason, if you can find no others, to vote for Sanders.

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Exactly, comrade Historian.

      Electing Bernard Sanders in 2020 is *not* going to fundamentally remake the American economic system (barring the election of about 300 additional AOCs to Congress for about a decade). Executive orders will only do so much.

      But it will be one giant leap away from dog-eat-dog barbarism and winners-take-all oligarchy. And I think it will astonish people how much of the private sector will actually embrace this change, breathing a huge sigh of relief at the leveling of the playing field. Not all capitalists find it good business to squeeze, short change and discard their workers. In most businesses, they still work side by side.

      I walked and took buses across a good chunk of Singapore today. The hi-rise commercial zones of this clean, orderly, multi-ethnic city state are bursting with small businesses and startups, from biotech to organic farming. Why? Because these folks are backed by civilized social services, utterly dependable infra, and no-nonsense government that, get this! actually helps people succeed.

      People out here may be Capitalist to their Bones®. But they also accept that a stable social base lies at the root of a thriving private sector and a citizenry free to embrace the future however they choose (Sure, it also helps to have migrant Tamils fixing the drains, and Filipina nurses and maids. This place has its own issues).

      Americans need to relearn FDR’s Four Freedoms. Above all, wecan’t enjoy Freedom To unless we have Freedom From. All too few do today.

      [/pithy] (And hold the Freedom Fries)

      – Non-socialists for Bernie

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And a functioning DoJ.This would be effing revolutionary at this point.

        Besides locking up and deterring criminals, it would reduce their ability to organize or bribe elected and the DC courtier class.

        Reply
      2. John

        Socialism is just a scare word for the many and a scare tactic for the few. None of them would know real socialism, as it was in the middle of the 20th century, if it jumped up and bit them in the backside. What they also do not know, or do not care to know, is that what they call free-market-capitalism was akin to Marx’s end stage just before the proles rose up. Do they care that a system which accretes more and more wealth to fewer and fewer individuals, while denigrating the majority as lazy and unenterprising, is unsustainable and will destroy them?

        Or is it different this time?

        Reply
          1. lordkoos

            I predict that key will be turned when climate change and other forces begin to produce widespread social unrest.

            Reply
      3. Samuel Conner

        Count on President Sanders campaigning his butt off the first two years to primary uncooperative representatives and senators.

        (I think this is more or less what the NYT editorial board didn’t like — Sanders employing the presidential bully pulpit to energize the electorate in order to transform the ideological composition of the legislature)

        Years 3 and 4 might be miraculous.

        Reply
  9. Eureka Springs

    What happened inside the corporation/party this week, – committee assignments, several rule changes, and everyones lack of preemptive action, foreknowledge of it, and sustained pressure on the consistent corruption does not inspire confidence team Sanders is willing to beat that corporation.
    Raising cane at the convention while the supers eat shrimp and pass out money while the peeps eat tear gas and sanders supports the nominee, is not enough.

    Reply
      1. Calypso Facto

        still think sometimes about how Clinton couldn’t even come out and face the public after she lost in 2016 and sent John Podesta out to address the crowd at her hq. this person still thinks they’re a kingmaker or even a real force in us politics. this person owns the DNC via her foundation and probably thinks because of that she can declare herself candidate again or some other absolute lunacy. at least we know for a fact that women are just as capable of being corrupt, venal, and f—-ng losers as men are. Not to mention cowardly and cruel.

        Reply
      2. HotFlash

        Do not despair, nor place all your hope in one man. The Bernie-inspired revolution will continue, despite DNC and establishment obstruction, and even if he loses/is made to lose. He has shown it is possible to do an end-run around the establishment and go straight to the people. There are young candidates for office at every level who are adopting Sanders’ methods of on-the-ground organization, doorknocking, talking to people you know, and rallies instead of expensive TV ads; a network of empowered volunteers, a communication apparatus based on social media, which bypasses the DNC contact lists and the MSM gatekeepers, a fund-raising apparatus that bypasses the DNC $$$-keepers, and solidarity with each other. Here Mike Figueredo of The Humanist Report talks with 6 of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkcHIDRNvIM

        Well worth the hour and 7 minutes, and greatly comforting. The kids are alright.

        Reply
        1. Fiery Hunt

          Never forget that social media is a corporate controlled platform.

          Wait’ll Zuckerberg or @jack decide to limit or cut off or monetize access.

          The fight against the money class must be in real life.

          Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      As 2016, and countless foreign engagements demonstrate, the imperial forces believe they need only co-opt or kill the headman. They are usually wrong. Bernie’s support means nothing to a candidate who doesn’t support those policies, because his followers follow principles and policies, not a person.

      Not him, us.

      Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “A reply to the American Historical Review’s defense of the 1619 Project”

    A sign of the times I guess. At this stage of the game, politicians and used-car salesmen would have a higher rating for honesty than main stream newspapers but here is the New York Times trying to push to have a version of American history from a radical group be adopted as the basis of a new curriculum for the nation’s schools. Public schools that is.

    When questioned about their historical facts, the authors of the 1619 Project stated “Facts? We ain’t got no facts! We don’t need no facts! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ facts!'” Unfortunately Americans have an atrocious reputation in geography and it seems that some groups want American history to have the same status.

    Maybe the Washington Post could come out with a new curriculum for mathematics as taught in public schools. They could call it Patriot Maths. And the Los Angeles Times could come out with a woke version of English for schools as well. Inspired by Newspeak, they could teach a form of English in which highly defined words would make it impossible to disrespect or challenge any safe space that any possible person could possibly have. But no clapping at this idea – only jazz hands of course.

    Reply
      1. John Beech

        I begin from here; there are no such things as 10-y/o transgender youth.

        Instead, you have whackdoodle moms because (AND I’d give odds) there are zero fathers out promoting the idea their prepubescent progeny should be making life decisions about their sexuality before their gonads are even active! Put another way, and no offense to whacked out moms on NC, but this issue is 100% about crazy mothers. What’s amazing to me is society is coddling them, which I find even crazier!

        Meanwhile, if you’re some 20-25 year old guy and want to have your doodles cut off so you may ‘transition’ to being a ‘woman, then go for it big boy because I don’t care. I’ll even call you she if it makes you feel better, but if I know you’re XY instead of XX, then I’ll also know you’re nuts despite the absence of your nuts. But guess what? I ‘still’ won’t care because it’s your business, not mine.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I admire your Beech craft, and the courage you mustered to get trans-electional urgency taken care of when your prior politically minded peers mocked your appearance and told you it would never come to pass.

          Reply
        2. Plenue

          “Instead, you have whackdoodle moms because (AND I’d give odds) there are zero fathers out promoting the idea their prepubescent progeny should be making life decisions about their sexuality before their gonads are even active! Put another way, and no offense to whacked out moms on NC, but this issue is 100% about crazy mothers. What’s amazing to me is society is coddling them, which I find even crazier!”

          Yeah, you don’t begin to understand this. You’d also lose that bet, hard.

          Sex and gender aren’t the same thing.

          I have major problems with the child abuse that is claiming children are trans, but I don’t come at from the perspective of a neanderthal bigot.

          Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            “Sex and gender aren’t the same thing.”

            Less than 1% of the population will agree with that. You don’t get to arbitrarily change long standing definitions for everyone else. And for 99% of the population, sex and gender are indeed the same.

            Reply
            1. Plenue

              And transactivists are first among the illiterate. Sex is the biology; the chromosomes.

              Gender is what society says that biology ‘should’ wear and how it ‘should’ act.

              Reply
              1. inode_buddha

                And for most people there is zero distinction. My hormones and my chromosomes drive my mores, not society. I am straight and I prefer women because of that, not because of society. “Gay” grosses me out, but I do sympathize with them. Again, that feeling has nothing to do with society, it has to do with my own chemistry. Society doesn’t enter into the picture.

                Reply
                1. Aumua

                  We’ve been given two different words, “sex” and “gender”, with a separate definition for each. Disregarding what most people think for a moment, are you willing to accept as a basis for discussion these separate definitions for each word?

                  If not I would ask you what other word besides gender you think IS appropriate to describe societal conditioning about sexual roles.

                  Reply
                2. JBird4049

                  Inode_buddha, there would be some problems in cultural anthropology if cultural gender and biological sex were not counted separately.

                  Aside from the very rare conditions that might confuse things and usually causes sterility as well, there’s only two biological sexes and they can be identified genetically.

                  Social gender is created by the culture a person lives in with Western Civilization being weird with its having the only two. Two, three, five genders with some people changing theirs over time; sexual attraction is separate from biological sex and social gender.

                  True gender dysphoria is rare and (the mismatch between you sexy bits and what you believe or perceive should be) because for whatever reason, which they are not sure of any of the how, gender identity is created separately from everything else in a person.

                  God’s, Creation’s, or Reality’s perverse humor to make human sexuality so complex and interesting. Funny thing I remember from the 80s and 90s was some gays and lesbians saying that bisexuals either could not exist or or just were confused somehow. And I’m going whut?? In my head as I’m thinking about how their own existence was being denied. People are just weird.

                  Reply
                  1. JBird4049

                    If I mixed up sexual attraction with gender identity, I would be confused person, but many people honestly do have a very simplified mental map, and can be very stubborn about it. If this is in regards to some lesbians and gays insisting that there were no real bisexuals, think of the times.

                    I can recall of violent assaults on the San Francisco Bay Area with a few lynchings in some of the more retrograde states. Stonewall Riots was in 1968. Even into the early 80s acceptance of a homosexual’s to breathing was still being disputed by some and a reason for the delay in dealing with HIV/AIDS was because it was “the gay disease” and Reagan officials would laugh when the subject was brought up. Being tossed out by one’s parents was normal.

                    So we have a group of often very traumatized people whose right to exist and
                    the validity of their feelings, thoughts, emotions, of themselves were often, sometimes violently, denied; they had to fight just for the acknowledgement that they even existed and were human beings.

                    The existence of two biological sexes was certainly mainstream. Then there was the struggle to decouple biological sexes from sexual attraction. I am not thinking that gender identity and certainly gender dysphoria were hardly even thought about by the general community, but there were some. Within the community and among other accepting Americans, homosexuality was acceptable with IIRC gays being more acceptable or reviled than lesbians. (IIRC, The laws that were used to condemn Oscar Wilde didn’t apply to women. Like I said. People are weird.) Two sexes and the decoupling attraction into a separate category. Binary options of Man/Woman as an implicitly combined sex/gender and Heterosexual/Homosexual sexual attraction

                    So, you are in this gigantic struggle with trying to change fundamental, strongly rooted beliefs of an entire nation and maybe Western civilization while trying to stay alive and sane including themselves for they had internalized the same beliefs. And don’t forget the whole HIV/AIDS thing with people slowly rotting away and dying with their friends having to take care of them.

                    Along comes another group of people who are bisexual and blowing up the nice simple emotionally acceptable mental construct in their heads. Part of the defense used also is that who you are attracted too is beyond your control regardless of any other objections; here there is group of people who are attracted to both. What could that say about you and what will the local bigots with their baseball bats, your boss, or your family might say?

                    Hear those mental fuses being blown… Nope, no way, no how. There are gays and there are lesbians and no one who is truly bi. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

                    Reply
    1. pjay

      Yes. Thanks for this comment. As an academic (retired) familiar with these issues, I do not see the 1619 Project as relatively harmless. I see it’s effects as *evil* — however “well-intentioned” some of its supporters might be. Just one more contribution to the divide-and-rule consequences of extreme identity politics. On the other hand, my outrage is lessened somewhat by the knowledge that the NYT credibility is basically zero outside of a few remaining liberal enclaves. So I’m not sure how much more damage it can do.

      Reply
      1. marym

        The links below to a critique of the critics, by Alex Lichtenstein, editor of The American Historical Review and the wsws response may have been posted here already.

        I found the material in the NYT an interesting “collection of eighteen articles and many additional short essays—by journalists, historians, sociologists, poets, legal scholars, English professors, artists, playwrights, and novelists” (as described in the AHR).

        The AHR author also says he knows of no analysis to date of the curriculum materials. He offers a few examples that seem, like most of the NYT selections, more like food for thought than some nefarious distortion of history, particularly in a time of “the divide-and-rule consequences of extreme identity politics” of white nationalism propounded in the halls of power and on the streets.

        https://academic.oup.com/ahr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ahr/rhaa041/5714757
        https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/31/ahrr-j31.html

        Reply
        1. marym

          Apologies for not noticing that the links that “may have been posted here already” were actually the references that started this thread. 🙄

          Reply
        2. Plenue

          “He offers a few examples that seem, like most of the NYT selections, more like food for thought than some nefarious distortion of history, particularly in a time of “the divide-and-rule consequences of extreme identity politics” of white nationalism propounded in the halls of power and on the streets.”

          Not a distortion of history? The 1619 Project literally starts with a lie: the 20+ Africans brought to Jamestown weren’t slaves. They were forced indentured servants. It’s a subtle distinction, but there is a difference.

          The Project is selling a narrative, and hammering the facts to fit that narrative. It is itself a form of ‘divide-and-rule extreme identity politics’, just coming from a different direction than the white nationalists. But there’s absolutely no reason that we need to choose between only those two options.

          It’s also a very palatable message for elites to push. Because it ultimately doesn’t say anything beyond ‘racism exists and doesn’t that suck?’ It’s just the same tripe Ta-Nehisi Coates has made a career out of saying. It’s a deliberate message of powerlessness. It has no solutions, and it can never have any solutions, because it’s not actually attempting to get at the actual root of the problem: economics.

          Adolph Reed has lambasted it, but I’m really interested in what the Fields sisters have to say about it. As far as I know they’ve been silent on the issue.

          Reply
          1. martell

            The WSWS article includes a long quote from Barbara Fields regarding the project. Having described it in generally dismissive terms, she concludes by noting that “the packaged history they have assembled fits well with neo-liberal politics.”

            Reply
        3. pjay

          Marym, I always respect your comments because I know they come from a good place. I’ve also spent most of my adult life trying to educate myself on the many forms of racial and ethnic conflict that are central to US history – as part of my effort to educate others. Most of this effort has probably been directed at moving oblivious whites toward some knowledge of that history, about which they have been mainly ignorant. So I understand this sentiment.

          That said, there are a number of problems with the Hamilton… I mean 1619 … Project. The WSWS article covers many of them pretty well; some of the historians cited focus on specific issues. I like Victoria Bynum’s general summation, from an essay cited in the above article:

          “The 1619 Project claims to be a long overdue contribution to understanding slavery and racism over the course of 400 years of American history. It includes literary works of poetry, fiction, and memory that are revelatory and moving. They and many of the short research pieces evoke sadness, outrage, and anger. But they are not well served by the larger project, which sweeps over vast chunks of innovative and ground breaking historiography to tell a story of relentless white-on-black violence and exploitation that offers no hope of reconciliation for the nation. The project’s great flaw is its lack of solid grounding in the history of European colonization, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and racial and class relations throughout.”

          https://renegadesouth.wordpress.com/2019/12/22/a-historians-critique-of-the-1619-project/

          At the intellectual level, in my opinion, the effect of this project is not to enlighten, but to mystify, the sources of our most important social problems today. And these sources have little to do with a handful of White Nationalists or racist Trump supporters.

          At a more personal level; because of my background I have known proponents of white nationalism, including a few who consider themselves militia members. I have also known many liberal proponents of identity politics (in what I refer to as the “extreme” form here). While a few of the former are dangerous, most are relatively powerless. The latter on the other hand, because some of them do have power and influence over what the “reading public” believes (while dismissing their inferiors who question them as “racist”), are much more destructive to real historical understanding or progressive politics.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. i grew up in east texas piney woods klan country. it was all underground by then, but with roots and capillaries throughout local society and government.(80’s)
            a great many of those folks were quite powerful, but their klan ideology was not by that time….and has waned noticeably since then.
            it was the same throughout the south in the late 80’s/early 90’s, too, viewed from the bottom, at least…more visible in some places(Vidor, Texas….cleveland, texas…moss bluff, louisiana… Ugh.)than in others.
            and even in those places, it felt like something already dead.

            (broke down in vidor just in time for a klan parade, and it was pathetic…like a battle reenactment for a battle nobody’s ever heard of….all old, foul mouthed men with dirty clothes and scowls that say “everybody hates me and i no longer give a damn”.)

            Reply
            1. rowlf

              About a year ago there was a white power rally about thirty miles southwest of Atlanta Georgia. The sheriff’s department did a good job of keeping things peaceful but the I think it ended up being tough for the deputies and counter-protesters not have a Biggus Dickus fall-out. What a pathetic crew of about twenty pasty white blobs that were probably not keeping the perimeter’s of their mothers’ basements secure. ALPA or Mennonite style shunning is the appropriate response to these losers.

              On the flipside – while at a high school football game one of my sons was doing support work at, there was a group of local teens in, well, let’s call it a redneck club. Teenage girls and boys wearing cowboy or roper boots, denim shorts, camouflage hats, sleeveless flannel shirts, lifted pick-up trucks and apparently a very inclusive, diverse membership policy. It definitely blew me away. Hoodathought?

              Reply
              1. Amfortas the hippie

                where i live now, about 200 miles west of the Pine Curtain, it’s like that…at least with the kids.(usual caveats about tiny, isolated low population, etc apply.)
                visits home, and interrogations of relatives still there, indicate the same back home…just a little slower.
                in fact, i’d venture that even the “polite”, non-overt* racism is simply dying out…if certain political parties would leave it alone for once.
                there’s still eruptions, of course…and i think cop-hood in general still has major issues…but things have definitely improved in my lifetime.

                (*”polite”, as opposed to “a$$hole racist”. the “polite” kind keeps their racism more or less private, and…if you’re a white guy…will try to feel you out with codewords to see if you’re like them…
                similar to gay men, until relatively recently, in fact.
                the “polite” racists are well into their closets.
                the only young racists i’ve run across in the last 20 years or so, learned it in prison.)

                Reply
                1. rowlf

                  Here south of Atlanta the “polite” racism is dying out quickly. We’re not yet Ursula Le Guin’s “Lathe Of Heaven” gray but there sure are a lot of more people each generation in many families that can check of multiple boxes on government forms. Since this an area with a lot of military connections people stratify by class more than race and there is a sense of community.

                  We also have a great Sheriff that treats us as citizens instead of Palestinians. He really is focused on police work instead of SWAT solutions.

                  Reply
          2. marym

            Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I’m not an educator and don’t have kids in school, so am assuming too little about the project? I didn’t see it as replacing existing curricula, let alone any vast chunks of historiography, more as a supplement – a Sunday supplement (which it was), a Black History Month project, an add-on to some elements of a school’s US history curriculum. As such, using material centered on African-Americans’ experience and contributions seems like a thought-provoking exercise.

            I disagree about the powerlessness of white nationalism. The people who show up in public places brandishing guns are less powerful than they imagine, but authoritarian, racist, christianist ideology seems strong at all levels of government, and in the military; and one does read at least conflicting accounts of its influence on textbooks.

            Reply
    2. coboarts

      “Facts? We ain’t got no facts! We don’t need no facts! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ facts!’” And then I always enjoy watching what comes next.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a version of American history from a radical group

      They’re not radicals. They’re aspirational identity politicians (the new Black Misleadership Class based in the media and academia, as opposed to churches). Everybody should read “The Trouble with Uplift” by Adolph Reed, which places them very precisesly.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        No, they are liars using the same method as politicians like the Southern Dixiecrats and business people like real estate developers who fed and used racial hatred for their own gain. From that WSWS article:

        The 1619 Project is, first of all, intended to bolster the Democratic Party’s efforts to utilize racial identity, and the concept that blacks and whites have historically opposed interests, as a central electoral strategy. Ironically, this is a reworking of the political method that was employed by white supremacists in the South to maintain the dominance of the Democratic Party well into the 1960s, and which was later taken over by the Republicans in Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.”

        This has the same feel as the Red Scare of the 1950s and 60s where distortions and lies were used to gain political power over thousands of destroyed lives. Like with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his bogus numbers and accusation, at least some of the writers are knowingly using lies of omission, distortions of facts, and false narratives to create this odious propaganda.

        Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    No Soros on Happy Palindrome Day: 20200202!

    Lieutenant George Derby & the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers was here in 1850, and he named what is now called the Kaweah River, the Francis River, but it didn’t stick. Derby was posted all over the west in the 1850’s, and isn’t remembered so much for his job, but for being California’s first humorist writing newspaper articles under a few aliases, and was quite the influence on Mark Twain later, who made off with his tales, one of which was an 1850 story of the Yreka Bakery, an interesting palindrome, and see if this joke by Derby doesn’t sound like one of Twain’s later quips?

    “It rains incessantly twenty-six hours a day for seventeen months of the year” [speaking of Oregon and Washington Territory]

    I’m reading: Squibob, An Early California Humorist which was one of his pen names, and enjoying it. Recommended!

    George Horatio Derby (April 3, 1823 – May 15, 1861) was an early California humorist. He attended West Point with Ulysses S. Grant. Derby used the pseudonym “John P. Squibob” and its variants “John Phoenix” and “Squibob.” Derby served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. In his spare time, he wrote humorous anecdotes and burlesques, often under the guise of his pseudonyms.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Derby

    Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Iowa Poll canceled after a Pete Buttigieg supporter says the candidate’s name was omitted during a poll call”

    There are a lot of rumblings that this poll had to be suppressed because Bernie did so well in it. An RT article mentions that the ‘Register has published the poll for 76 years, correctly predicting the winner in ten out of the last twelve presidential primary races.’ Until now. There is a coupla interesting tweets on that page as well, including one by a self-professed FemaleBernieBro-

    https://www.rt.com/usa/479887-iowa-poll-withheld-bernie-conspiracy/

    Reply
    1. Lunker Walleye

      One does wonder if there’s chicanery. Maybe that will activate Peter’s turnout. They changed our caucus site — from the grade school we’ve been going to for at least 4 caucuses about 6 blocks away to a middle school over a mile away. The Bernie door-knocker says they can change locations up to the day of caucus.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        How convenient it is to be able to change locations until the day of the election. I’m sure that the party has updated contact information for everyone.

        Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      The DMR folks were pushing this right til the end. They even had people in the studio audience for the announcement/reveal. I’m pretty sure it was CNN bigfooting that canceled it. If you watched the debate they cosponsored, the Register reporter got to read a couple questions they gave her, otherwise it was all CNN-driven.

      The Iowa Poll is Lourdes for neoliberals in Iowa. It’s never measured the Caucuses well because that’s not possible, especially with a land line only poll. Its sole function is to let the DMR leverage their news coverage to promote favored candidates. If you’ve been checking them out this cycle, their front page invariably skews heavily towards establishment candidates. Bernie literally has to have a heart attack to get on the front page.

      I don’t know how the Register survives this. If Bernie crushes Iowa (and he will) it will be in stark contrast with the Register’s coverage this cycle.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding: I’m guessing Sanders won that poll by a huge margin. On the other hand, there’s no reason for caucus goers to be complacent and stay home on the theory their candidate is too far ahead to lose, and their vote won’t matter.

        Reply
        1. chuckster

          It’s pretty easy to win polls if half your opponents aren’t even listed. Please stop with the conspiracy theories. Bernie’s people are starting to sound like the Putinistas from the DNC.

          Reply
          1. flora

            Not CT. I read the story. Sounded like one or a few callers had enlarged the script text on their computers to read from, and the enlarged text caused the last name on the list to be cut off the open page unless scrolled. Also, the order of the name randomly rotated to avoid people choosing based on order.
            If that’s accurate and I didn’t miss anything, then all the candidates names should have ‘fallen off’ the script’ by rotation at some point.
            Also, there are more than 2 candidates in the race, so one candidate does not constitute half of the candidates.

            Reply
          2. Baby Gerald

            Exaggerate much, chuckster? One respondent complaint that Bootyjudge’s name wasn’t pronounced correctly by a poll taker. Conflating this into ‘half your opponents not even listed’ is what I’d classify as an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

            Reply
            1. chuckster

              And if it had been Sanders name that had been eliminated from the list, the conspiracy theories here would be off the charts.
              The comparisons of the Sanders campaign to Trumps are not so farfetched after all.

              Reply
              1. a different chris

                Um, this is not really worthy of NC:

                1) Make an assertion (“if”)
                2) Assert a conclusion from (1)

                I assert that everybody is suppressing news about me, thus I am The Worlds Greatest Person. See how that (doesn’t) work.

                Reply
          3. FluffytheObeseCat

            From the RT article: “The Register announced in a brief statement on Saturday evening that it received a complaint that a candidate’s name was omitted in at least one interview in which a respondent was asked to name their preferred candidate. Subsequent reports said that Pete Buttigieg’s name had either been accidentally omitted or mispronounced by a poll worker during at least one call.”

            Not “half [Sanders’] opponents weren’t listed”. Rather one confirmed instance of “a” candidate’s name.

            Reply
          4. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

            Contra that, wouldn’t it be a conspiracy to believe that the Des Moines Register, which endorsed Warren, created and paid for a poll that artificially promoted the candidate they hate the most?

            Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        I’m laughing at the Des Moines Register and CNN. Serves them right after that despicable debate they ran in Des Moines.

        If Sanders has opened up a big lead in the polls, it’s to his advantage that the poll was quashed.

        Reply
        1. chuckser

          The best part of the Bernie conspiracy theories is that if he doesn’t win, you can claim it’s because they “refused” to count his votes. Self-licking ice cream cone. Pick a flavor – they’re all the same.

          Reply
    3. anonymous

      According to the DMR, an interviewer enlarged the font on his computer screen, which resulted in Buttigieg’s name at the bottom’s being cut off and generating the complaint.
      http://archive.is/gOMtO
      “The poll was conducted by live operators from a call center where respondents are read candidates’ names from a list to determine which candidate a voter planned to support.
      CNN did an internal investigation and found that an operator had enlarged the font on their computer screen, cutting off Buttigieg’s name, which had been at the bottom.
      The polling methodology randomly cycles candidates’ names so that they are read in a different order, making it impossible to determine which other candidates’ names might have been left out — or how many times it might have happened.
      While the polling partners are aware of only one instance of a candidate’s name being omitted, the decision was made to cancel the poll because the same thing could have occurred with Buttigieg or other candidates.”

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        So, a “pollster” who is presumably a member of a population that puts its entire life on a tiny phone with a tiny screen–tapping, swiping, dragging and dropping, zooming in, zooming out, watching video, thumb typing, and, yes, endlessly scrolling–forgets to SCROLL.

        Yeah, I guess it’s possible, although you would think they could have figured out a way to throw a little blame on Putin bots.

        Reply
        1. chuckster

          What’s even more interesting is “why did they need to read names at all?” It’s 48 hours before the event. If you don’t know a candidate’s name by now. It’s unlikely they were getting many votes to begin with.

          Reply
    4. Samuel Conner

      My immediate reaction to the news of the poll suppression was “oops; Bernie must be projected to win”.

      Nice to see that I’m not paranoid.

      Could the Buttigieg supporter’s story have been a plant? OK, I’m not that paranoid.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        Let former Boeing technical writer Thomas Pynchon help you:

        ‘If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.’

        Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        The cancellation is a real egg-meet-face moment for the Register and the Iowa Poll. I’d bet they IDd the complaint as coming from the Buttigieg campaign as retribution for ruining their quadrennial promo party. Interesting to see whether that has any effect on Buttigieg’s numbers.

        Reply
  13. Craig H.

    > Russian Government Bankrolls Leader Icebreaker Project

    But that’s not all. The new vessel’s space age design offers an upgrade in aesthetics over icebreakers past.

    The illustration looks like something out of star wars. In particular the paint job is an amazing rendition of anti-rust-marine-orange-red (think: the golden gate bridge) done in multiple layers like one of those custom metallic candy-apple-red vehicles from the auto show, like a 1967 corvette or mustang. So imagination. Very gaze. Wow.

    Also I don’t think aerodynamic sleek is functional when it’s going to be cruising at 2 nautical miles per hour maximum but it is a beautiful concept ship! (Maybe they want to be resistant to getting blown sideways by those arctic gales?)

    Reply
  14. temporal

    My non-scientific explanation for fetching that doesn’t require canine-human evolutionary changes.

    Playing fetch closely approximates carrying food back to one’s young. So predators that are bonded to humans might bring things back to them with only a slight modification of their innate behaviors. Male and female canines both bring food to their young.

    We have had multiple cats that play at least a limited game of fetch. We currently have two rescue females. One will play for one or two throws and stop. Her sister plays fetch nearly every day for about a half hour. I’ve never seen a male cat do anything beyond the initial pounce. Among house cats only the mother brings food to their young.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Interesting, as I’ve always suspected the first thing dogs and cats learn (although their utilization of that knowledge is quite different!) is how hapless humans are.

      “you are slow, loud, cannot cover much ground and cannot catch anything but maybe grubs so I’ll bring you stuff, ok?” — dog

      “hey you need to just do s(family blog)t for me, you don’t have anything else going for you for sure. I’ll bring you an occasional mouse how’s that” — cat

      Reply
    2. Phacops

      Had a female cat that loved to play fetch. She particularly enjoyed foam earplugs and after fetching them would bring them back and play”kill” it in front of us.

      Reply
    3. DJG

      temporal: Thanks. The article is interesting for the description of how intelligent and engaging the young wolves are–which is already well known. It is also well known that wolves are highly social animals, that all members of the pack, but particularly the parent wolves, help to feed the pups, and that wolves will cache large game to eat later (which involves fetching it later). If I remember Barry Lopez’s articles correctly, wolves even bring gifts to each other–as do other highly intelligent animals like crows and ravens. Fetching and giving seem like variations of the same social behavior.

      So the study is at the level, in a way of “Wow. Who knew octopuses are so smart and such great problem solvers?”

      It is well known the wolves are intelligent–and because they are on their own, not being kept by humans, I suspect that they are more intelligent than dogs.

      One thing that struck me more than the fetching of the ball: Watch the video. The wolf’s gait is much different from that of a young dog. More tense–possibly more ready, more self-aware. More agile and muscular, I suspect. Many domesticated dogs have a bouncy, slouchy gait–but not that young wolf.

      Reply
    4. Jen

      Had a male cat who would play fetch for hours. He was a golden retriever in feline form. I used a signal of going towards him to pick up the toy to let him know the game was over.

      Reply
  15. marym

    The Trump administration has lifted a ban [implemented under the Obama administration]on the U.S. military’s use of anti-personnel land mines outside of the Korean Peninsula.

    The announcement represents a break with the scores of countries around the world that have banned the weapon’s use. More than 160 countries, including NATO allies the U.K. and France, are party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction — better known as the Mine Ban Treaty, agreed on in 1997 and implemented in 1999.

    https://www.npr.org/2020/01/31/801632498/trump-administration-loosens-obama-era-restrictions-on-land-mine-use

    Reply
    1. jef

      This begs the question WHY?

      Of all the things one could contemplate while ruling the free world he sits there and says “you know what, we should get more land mines going on out there”. I just don’t get it.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Why? Because he saw Obama’s name there somewhere. If Obama did it, it’s gotta go.

        Not that it’s always a bad thing. It’s just Trump’s mind. That evening at the Correspondents Dinner will never be forgotten. Or forgiven.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          It’s just my gut but my guess is that if Obama doesn’t roast Trump and publicly humiliate him at that event, there’s no Trump presidency. The eight years of no hope and no change and the resulting (healthy) disillusionment did the rest.

          Reply
      2. HotFlash

        Oh, he didn’t think it up. Some PNACer or a general who resents not being ‘allowed to win’ in Viet Nam did and put it on his desk or handed it to him on the golf course and he just signed it.

        Reply
      3. The Rev Kev

        My own guess is that land mines are a defensive weapon and after those experiences in Iraq, defensive weapons are sounding pretty good by now. But there are a whole new generation of land mines using high-tech that can do all sorts of tricks which the Pentagon would be dazzled at. For a price. Meanwhile, Princess Di heard to moan from tomb.

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            True. I was thinking more on those 64 US soldiers who received concussion injuries because during the missile attack that had to keep watch on the perimeter in case there was a follow on attack by land units. Mines might have helped here to secure the perimeter.

            Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This is outrageous!!!! and a direct result of electing the monster Trump, who is determined to degrade america from its virtuous days of only being willing to blow the arms and legs off Koreans.

      Reply
      1. marym

        During the Obama years, his followers would often respond to criticism from the left with examples of how Bush was just as bad/worse.

        Reply
  16. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “2019 Novel Coronavirus … Uncoating …”
    This link contained reference to Social Representation Theory (SRT) [https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/nor.2011.32.issue-2/nor-2017-0109/nor-2017-0109.pdf]
    “The theory offers a new approach for studying how the media and citizens construct societal and political issues colouring our age, or some specific time period.”
    I had never heard of this theory before. On first look it appears suggestive of ways to better understand the operations of agnotology. Perhaps agnotology constructs its batteries of confusion to deliberately confound the way Humankind assembles “collective meaning-making resulting in common cognitions”.

    Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    You can sense the worldwide travel industry is in for a slowdown if not shutdown, and English tends to be a second language in Sequoia NP, so the effect would be quickly felt with so many foreign visitors, and the knock-on issue of the short term vacation rental biz here feeling the pinch, and so on.

    It’ll be interesting to watch it unfold from my perspective.

    Reply
  18. TroyIA

    How the House lost the witness battle along with impeachment

    The biggest mistake Turley is making is thinking that the Democrats goal with impeachment was the conviction and removal of President Trump from office. As Lambert pointed out impeaching President Trump over the emoluments clause would have been a better choice than this Ukraine nonsense.

    The impeachment was a badly executed political act that has slightly increased the President’s favorability rating. As time goes by I am curious to find out why Nancy Pelosi agreed to go along with impeachment. It seemed like she thought it was a bad idea for quite some time and drug her feet for as long as she could. My initial thought was she knew impeachment was a losing move and would let Schiff and Nadler take the political hit when it failed. But then Pelosi was front and center of impeachment so who knows what she was thinking.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When Pelosi told Bill Maher a couple Fridays ago that the impeachment “Was for the children”.

      That’s your sign right there, that she knew how had she’d been.

      Reply
    2. kiwi

      I heard a commenter yesterday, Kimberly Strassel, say that the dems ultimate game is to win back the Senate, hence the impeachment effort.

      Reply
    3. shinola

      And now get this – ‘The Hill’ has a new article up this a.m. Here’s the 1st paragraph:

      “Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead House manager in President Trump’s Senate trial, said Sunday that there is nothing Democrats could have done differently during the impeachment process.”

      Is it an inability to learn or willful ignorance?

      Reply
      1. Geo

        I must admit I had no idea Schiff existed until his Trump hysterics started landing him in the media, so I have no idea what he was like before this. But, from the little I’ve seen/read of him, he seems like someone who is so sure of his own righteousness that he’s incapable of learning anything because he already feels he knows everything.

        The only way to remedy such a situation is to remove him from office like a tumor and hope another never materializes in office again. Of course, the same could be said for the “brain trust” running both parties right now. I usually try to avoid savior scenarios but like so many here it seems this current Bernie election will be a breaking point for which direction the Dem Party, and our nation, chooses to go: Continue allowing the cancers in our government to kill us, or extract them and try to revive the dying body of our nation. It’s gonna be a hell of a fight.

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          he seems like someone who is so sure of his own righteousness that he’s incapable of learning anything because he already feels he knows everything.

          That’s how beacons (of self-regard) work; light goes outward, not inward.

          Reply
      2. inode_buddha

        “Is it an inability to learn or willful ignorance?”

        He’s just a Schiff-head. He’s got Schiff-for-brains.

        Reply
    4. Susan the other

      2 things: It has been reported that the Ukraine has started an investigation into Biden and his unfortunate strong-arming of their former prosecutor who is now personally filing a lawsuit against Biden. This seems to be a compromise to provide cover for Zelensky – let the prosecutor do it himself. And the other thing is this: Schiff, as the chmn of the Intelligence Committee, might be the explanation for the whole impeachment fiasco. The Intel community is in shambles, their reputation trashed, but Schiff’s committee didn’t touch on any of that bad behavior. It was almost like a coverup of the whole shameful affair, and while they were at it try to do as much harm as poss to Trump’s reelection chances. The one really bright spot in all of this was Turley. I woke up to a midnight interview of Turley on the BBC wherein he explained, among other clarities, that the Senate itself had become weary of all the propaganda and had started to feel “manipulated.” That it was just too timely a coincidence that Bollton’s book was ready for publication with astonishing speed and that the NYT had leaked some of it already. The Senators, in short, were beginning to feel offended. Who wouldn’t? So finally. Not only did the dreadfully boring Schiff overplay his meagre hand, so now has the Intel Community. I’ll drink to that little unintended success.

      Reply
    5. montanamaven

      When Shiff, Nadler and gang kept mentioning the Bidens, over and over and over, I wondered if it was an attempt to get rid of Joe as a candidate. This is from “The Hill” :

      Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden aren’t on trial in the Senate, but that’s done little to stop them from dominating the conversation in the Capitol.

      The GOP feud with the Bidens has loomed over President Trump’s impeachment trial, from the dozens of mentions by the House impeachment managers to questions being fielded by senators amid the media frenzy.

      The pattern has become self-fulfilling: The more House managers mention the Bidens, the more Senate Republicans bring them up, the more Senate Democrats get asked about them as potential witnesses

      Bidens “dominate the conversation”

      Reply
    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think Pelosi convinced herself of her own importance to the 2006 election and never recognized how much effort was put into silencing the left under Obama, and she fully expected people to simply rejoice at her good fortune of being Speaker again. The people used to bludgeon the left were terrified night after night that Putin was going to steal their packages from Amazon right off the porch they kept demanding action instead of going against the left which was demanding Democrats get out of the way, be removed, or try to do something.

      When you see the financial health of the DNC and guys like Steyer running impeachment ads instead of funding Team Blue, Nancy knew she needed to do something without actually upsetting the wealthy.

      Reply
  19. chuck roast

    The hockey game started late last night, so I went “where no man has gone before” and turned on C-SPAN. They were doing Iowa. A young woman media stenographer was awaiting the Joe Biden (AKA Joe Not-Trump) juggernaught outside a Waterloo, IA venue. She took phone calls for awhile until the No Malarkey bus arrived. There were 3-400 people waiting in a full venue. Lots of home-made signs on the wall.

    All middle-aged and geezers with the exception of an African-American cheer leading squad that did the rah-rah upon Not-Trumps introduction. Not-Trump appeared with family and 3-ring binder around 5:30 local time to polite applause. He seemed compos mentis after what was probably a long day of spreading the blarney. He started with about 5-minutes of smarm introducing his charming family – many mentions of Beau – Hunter not so much. He then ad-libbed and riffed for about 15 minutes about how Trump is the worst person in what otherwise is a spotless American history, and remind everybody that himself had impeccably served to preserve that unique American wonderfulness for many years. Our moral fiber has been besmirched and we needed a man of integrity back in the office.

    He read his final 10 minutes or so of gob-shite out of his 3-ring binder beginning with “we have to do something about climate change”. He touched a number of other bases as well. It seemed that “touching the bases” was as into the weeds as he was going on policy specifics. However, he was able to spout several different sqadrillion “trillions over ten years” as the probable cost of M4A and his idea of a “public option” was a far superior creature. And those of you who love your health care will be able to keep it. After around 30 minutes he finally winded down with a “god bless our troops.” More polite applause. More than a few people were sitting on their hands as Not-Trump headed back to the No Malarkey machine.

    Mercifully, they dropped the puck a few minutes later. There was one side-splitting moment when he mentioned that he had no use for the bankers. Hoist the Guinness!

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      {Must include Beau in every cup of Joe}

      Laugh, Laugh by the Beau Brummels

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXblt-PLPzc

      The Beau Brummels took their name from the Regency era English dandy Beau Brummell. The group liked having a British-sounding name, and the legend has been, since it so closely followed The Beatles in the alphabet, the group also knew their records would likely be placed immediately behind those of The Beatles in record-store bins.

      Reply
    2. John A

      When touching the bases, did he touch on the 800+ US bases overseas? Not just as a drain on finances that could otherwise make the ‘probable cost of M4A’ look like a bargain, but also the massive environmental damage they cause along with all the military exercises designed to frighten Russia and China etc.

      Reply
    3. Mufftard

      “”He served to preserve that unique American wonderfulness for many years””

      48 years on the senate. Just the man to bring us fresh new ideas.

      Reply
      1. carl

        Have you seen the cheat sheet on SS he’s handing out to reporters now, rather than answer questions about his position(s)?

        Reply
    4. none

      From “Hardball questions for the next debate” (https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/01/05/hardball-questions-for-the-next-debate-2020/):

      Mr. Biden: Your son Hunter Biden was on the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, during your vice-presidential term. The Ukrainian government was investigating Burisma for misdeeds, and Hunter was allegedly one of the targets of the investigation. President Trump alleges that you used your clout as VP to shut down the investigation into Hunter, which if true would constitute an impeachable abuse of power.

      My question for you is: if your son had been a daughter, would you have named her Gatherer?

      Reply
  20. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert, for the link to Brexit Central. Unfortunately, their malign influence continues.

    Matthew Elliott’s brother in law, Alistair Heath, is an editor at the Torygraph. Isaby’s former underling Divya Chakrabarty, is also an editor at the Torygraph.

    The network’s tentacles are all over the media, think tank land and City, e.g. Elliott at Brexit cheerleader Shore Capital. Two of the more presentable squids are the American Kate Andrews and Australian Chloe Westley. Westley tweets as Low Tax Chloe. We lefties wind her up as Low Fact Chloe.

    The British left has nothing like that. Neither does it realise what is going on and “is to be done”.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      Thank you, Colonel, for the tantalizingly sinister cliffhanger. What is it that you think, “is to be done”? I wondered if you were hinting at an unspoken endgame.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Monty.

        Developing alternative media is essential. They are in their infancy and lack visibility.

        Electing leaders who are not afraid to mix it, unlike cheek turning Corbyn and Sanders, and have a better sense of strategy would help, too.

        Purging leftist movements of centrist fifth columnists is the most immediate task. Alternatively, organise outside their apparatus.

        Reply
        1. Clive

          Yes, this is gold dust and exactly what you think of when you are looking for some basic easily implementation-ready fixes for the left in general and the UK Labour Party especially.

          Of course, what’s actually happening is nothing of the sort but rather the left fighting, as usual, amongst itself while the right reasserts a steely self-discipline.

          Reply
    2. c_heale

      Friend of mine went to the Parliament Square Brexit Celebrations. Said there were The Orange Order, Combat 18, Falangists, and a lot of Trump supporters down there. He’s pretty shaken up. Saw people getting punched, racially abused, and verbally abused. None of this has been reported on any of the British media.

      Reply
  21. Geo

    “Añez’s Jan. 25 announcement on Bolivia’s state-run television that she will run for the presidency is the most selfish and short-sighted decision she could have made. It delegitimizes her interim government and will give new ammunition to those who — wrongly — claimed that Morales was the victim of a “coup.”

    Who would have thought a person that marched into office holding up a bible and claiming God is returning to the capitol after the elected leader was forced to flee by military threat would not be into democracy?

    And, not to make everything about us, but, who here expects, if Sanders somehow wins, to see in 2021 H. Clinton marching into the White House holding up a copy of the Bible and exclaiming “capitalism has returned to America”? Heaven knows she’s got enough experience staging coups.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Now there’s a plot worthy of Kafka! (Or the Dulles brothers.)
      The romantic second plot can be classic Hollywood. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Girl gets girl again.
      Do it as an absurdist farce. Nastassja Kinski can play Hillary. Johnny Depp plays Bill. George Clooney plays Trump. Willem Dafoe plays Pelosi.
      I’m sure that we can get financing from Russfilm.

      Reply
  22. DJG

    Antidote: After yesterday’s video of those wonderful, sleek, intelligent, problem-solving ducks showing that snow is only a minor hindrance, today we have outright duck worship.

    I will go out on an anatine limb here, with cherry blossoms, it appears, and say that I welcome our duckly overlords.

    Reply
  23. diptherio

    Lincoln the Goat, pet mayor of Fair Haven, has a K-9 officer running against her in the upcoming election. Lincoln won the last election on a platform of “She is a very nice goat.” This year, Sammy the German Shepard, last year’s runner up, is coming out hard, stating to the press, “Officer Sammy promises to cut the crap.” Lincoln’s raised over $3,200 for the playground during her term, which is the only issue anyone cares about, so it’s unclear what crap Sammy’s referring to. And imho Sammy’s promises to avoid conflicts of interest if elected ring hollow.

    The chief confirmed that Sammy would release her tax returns if asked and, if elected mayor, would recuse herself from all police business that came before the town to avoid any conflict of interest. He also said that feline residents of Fair Haven should not be alarmed by Sammy’s candidacy.

    All police business is town business by definition, and everyone will recognize her as the mayor when she’s out on duty, “tracking down missing persons, uncovering thousands of dollars of ill-gotten cash during a suspected drug trafficking stop [civil forfeiture?], and serving as the school resource officer” which all seems pretty conflicted, if you ask me.

    Reply
  24. Mufftard2

    About that Painter’s Union story; one way to fight this automation and cheapening of American labor standards would be for lots of people to logon to the website, make an appointment for a local contractor to come out and then lecture them on the evils of the scheme. Basically, clog it with false leads and make participation in it a waste of time.[1]

    We learned at N.C. how to do this to service providers who use robocallers to peddle their discounted windows, duct cleaning etc. Make sure and have them come out at the worst possible time for rush hour traffic and then let them know that you are on the DoNotCall list and they are participating in an illegal scheme and their company should not use robocallers.

    [1] On the other hand, the article bemoans the fact that non-union painters get “only” an average of $50 an hour. I’m sorry, but that seems like a fair wage to me. What does the union expect their painters should get? $100 an hour? 200 an hour?

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      With people willingly paying over a hundred grand for sardine cans, I mean tiny homes, can’t say I blame some painters for trying.

      I’ve offered local artist types 100.00 cash to just whimsically slap some of their leftover paint on my rural mailbox for years now. What 10 to 20 mins, max?

      “And I’m still waiting.” – Talking Heads

      Reply
  25. DJG

    On Jonathan Turley: In U.S. discourse, there is a lot of discussion of “strategies,” as if people had strategy. There is little talk of tactics–how one uses opportunities, even flawed ones, appropriately to further one’s goals. Turley’s article is a list of how bad Democrats are at tactics–and it occurs to me that the pampered upper classes may live in a tactic-free, liability-free, impunity-filled world where tactics are for the little people. Maria! Please clean the garbage disposal and find some tactics!

    One of the most bizarre tactics of this case was the attempt to make Eric Ciaramella, ostensible whistle-blower into L’Innominato, the Nameless One. Only fan clubs with secret handshakes do such things. Meanwhile, I just did a Google Search of his name, which came up with 214K responses.

    You don’t go into a major trial with a tactic this flimsy. Whatever we all think of Trump, and it isn’t all that complimentary in these here parts, the Democrats went into it to fail at their ostensible aims, much like our wonderful health-insurance companies (which talk about health and are only about liability-free money grubbing).

    Reply
    1. Biph

      There was never any chance Trump was being impeached I’m not even sure if the “dead girl, live boy” paradigm works in his case. The impeachment allows the Dems to go to their base and say “we did it”, it also allows them to throw the blame for it’s ultimate failure on the GOP controlled Senate rather than the weakness of their own case. Given the short attention span nature of US political coverage the impeachments effect on the 2020 elections will be negligible at best as they’ll be at least a dozen other “breaking news this the most important and relevant thing ever” stories between now and the election so that impeachment will be a distant memory by November.

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I couldn’t agree more.

        For what it’s worth, I keep an eye on a politics thread at a music message board I frequent, just to get the temperature outside of the political discussion forums. This is exactly he response I’m reading. Not that the Dems made a foolishly weak effort, but that the mean old GOP subverted justice, etc. It seems like everything else the modern Dems do. Put in a weak effort knowing the Republicans will shoot it down. Then go around saying they thwarted whatever it was the Dems really didn’t want to do anyway.

        Reply
        1. montanamaven

          Well, that’s discouraging. But I shouldn’t be surprised. This whole lame impeachment deal has lasted 3 years with one “bombshell” after another from Russiagate to Stormy to Ukrainegate that amounted to nothing. But what it did do was supply some kind of emotional satisfaction some righteous anger that fed them for awhile. Now it’s that the Republicans are cheaters and schemers (Pot calling Kettle black). Yeh, that’s the ticket! I was successful with a liberal friend of mine when I compared it to eating Chinese food (American kind with lots of noodles). “You gobble up the next meal they serve you, but soon you are hungry again. After this impeachment fiasco, they will try something else. But it will never fill you.” She actually thought that was a good point.

          Reply
          1. montanamaven

            Oh and lest we forget, Melvin Goodman has a good piece on what a despicable human being John Bolton is. Goodman was a CIA analyst and had no patience for the spooks. I interviewed him twice when his book “Failure of Intelligence” came out.
            The Real John Bolton

            Reply
            1. Tom Doak

              Someone in the UK asked me yesterday about John Bolton and I looked up his bio on Wikipedia, which was written by liberals before his recent rehabilitation.

              A supporter of the Vietnam War, he evaded overseas deployment by enlisting in the National Guard before his graduation from Yale [and start of Yale Law School – a classmate of Clarence Thomas]. His first government job was as a summer intern for Spiro Agnew!!

              After that, a stint as an associate at Covington & Burling; into the Reagan Administration for an unspecified role in the Iran-Contra affair.

              He is the Forrest Gump of the blob.

              Reply
            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Wait, what? John Bolton, the newest Ultimate Hero of the Resistance? The new truthteller extraordinaire of CNN?

              Next Bolton will go on Ellen, she will hug him and say what a great guy and tireless patriot he is. Then Bolton, Michelle O, Ellen, G. Bush, and Chelsea Clinton can meet and go over the menu for the next Hampton’s party, last time they had foie de volailles but this time little slices of filet of poor person with Wine Cave sauce might be just the ticket

              Reply
        2. urblintz

          I left FB last year specifically because of the irrational-bordering-on-insane responses from my “music” group friends. These are Classical musicians, mostly singers and pianists including high profile artists of the highest caliber and although some are Republicans most are Democrats and would be fairly described as liberal.

          They hate Trump and Russia (not just Putin, mind you, but “Russia”).

          They love Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler… Maddow… and mostly…

          Hillary.

          They love the CIA and FBI and are prepared to love John Bolton if necessary.

          It all left me speechless…

          “Those who invalidate reason, ought seriously to consider, whether they argue against reason, with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle, that they are laboring to dethrone; but if they argue without reason, (which, in order to be consistent with themselves, they must do,) they are out of the reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.

          ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

          Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      This was an amusing read. The writer has a WCTU mentality toward “booze”, and a curious fixation on “marijuana”, which received not one but two gratuitous references in a piece about a political rally. Perhaps it’s a friend of Maureen Dowd.

      Reply
  26. 3.14e-9

    Re: Palindrome day

    Numbers are fun, but more importantly, this is the time of year when the days have lengthened enough that the ground begins stirring to life in the northern hemisphere. The various festivals associated with today have evolved from this cycle: Imbolc, St. Brigit’s Day, Candelmas (crépes on Chandeleur!), Groundhog Day. By some accounts, the Celtic cross-quarter days actually were the beginning of the seasons, so today (or yesterday, or next week, depending on the interpretation) would be the first day of spring. And speaking of Groundhog Day, Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow, which means an early spring. NC gardeners, prepare to plant your indoor starts!
    https://weather.com/news/news/2020-01-30-groundhog-day-punxsutawney-phil-did-he-see-his-shadow

    As it so happens, this Palindrome Day also is my birthday. Maybe I should change my screen name to Sarah Palindrome. FWIW, my numerical moniker isn’t a reference to pi, but “one of the 99 percent.” Unfortunately, that concept meant recalculating the number every few months, which was a pain, so I stopped at “nano-pi.”

    HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY, IMBOLC, CHANDELEUR, PALINDROME, PI!

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      happy birthday.
      i’m starting with the saved seed this week.
      already got the little pots filled and wet.
      i rarely know what day it is, let alone date…so i can’t accurately target…say…beltane.
      but i plant inside in and around the first full week of february.
      then set out in waves in late march, in case there’s a late freeze.

      Reply
  27. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Wealth inequality shown with slices of pie.

    But Huey Long described it as a barbecue where one guy leaves the table with all of the food intended for the next 9:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hphgHi6FD8k

    I wish Bernie used more humor, he comes off as an effective legislator and movement builder but kind of a crank. Would prefer if he acted sometimes more as a leader inspiring us with lofty language about the simple redress of obvious economic injustices and the calling of an epic moment in history. That will lead to an economic rebirth.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      with lofty language

      Julius Caesar was known for his plain language compared to the lofty language of Cicero.

      MLK works because he was using fairly common religious imagery that’s somewhat shared, but if he leaned too much into that language, he would have been lost. Lofty and soaring language is easier to fake if you want to say nothing. See Obama or most politicians. Plain language is plain and clear. Its harder to have people point out nothing is being said.

      I would suggest the larger appeal of Sanders is the plain, direct language. It may not be high entertainment, but it sticks as its easier for the listener to take with them. Sanders isn’t there to soothe the crowd. He wants to create a cohesive force with a common language. Also funny is something not everyone can do. Obama never did funny. He just did the “hey, I’m supposed to dignified now laugh at my dad joke” routine. It was dumb. Even with access to good writers, he could never do funny. Its really hard.

      Reply
    1. flora

      Thanks for this link. Really enjoyed it. Very good.

      As an aside: appreciate how carefully and well Dean Wasserman’s introduction negotiated the terrain between the CAL Berkeley audience’s assumed stereotype of Iowans (and small towns in flyover country in general) and the reality that important work is done in these less glamorous places, work that’s important to the entire country.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding: filling in glacial lakes with sedimentation isn’t necessarily the reason for last winters massive flooding in the Red River and Missouri River valleys. On the other hand….

        Reply
  28. notabanktoadie

    while the right reasserts a steely self-discipline. Clive

    Perhaps the unifying principle of the right is a well justified distrust of the wisdom of the left.

    If only there was another way, neither right nor left but orthogonal to both.

    Something along Biblical lines of equity and justice such as land reform and an ethical finance system. Can the right in good conscience object to that?

    Reply
  29. smoker

    Has anyone else been having problems with comments that show as passing moderation and appear to be accepted, yet don’t end up showing up today? I’ve had it happen three times now.

    Reply
  30. smoker

    I turned off scripting to post that above comment to see if that would help (as I’m doing with this comment) apparently it did, but I’d rather not do that.

    Reply
      1. smoker

        Oh, I wasn’t suggesting that. I was just trying to find out whether what I was witnessing yesterday, that I hadn’t prior (comments appearing to post but not, versus the url normally showing the comment was in moderation), was a temporary fluke, or a change.

        Reply

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