Links 2/21/2020

The artistic wizard who brought Oz to life BBC (David L)

Bumblebees can create mental imagery, a ‘building block of consciousness’, study suggests (Kevin W)

Earliest interbreeding event between ancient human populations discovered Heritage Daily (Kevin W)

Fossil-Fuel Production May Be Responsible For Much More Atmospheric Methane Than Scientists Thought Bloomberg

France Shuts Down Oldest Reactors, But Nuclear Power Still Reigns Agence France-Presse

Powerful antibiotic discovered using machine learning for first time Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Chemotherapy For Cancer Could Soon Be Unviable Because of Superbugs MSN


Ukrainian villagers STONE buses bringing countrymen evacuated from Wuhan to coronavirus quarantine RT. Wowsers, look at the videos. They even brought in a tank! Kevin W: “A sign of things to come?”

Bats In China Carry 400+ Coronaviruses With The Potential To Spill Over Into Humans NPR (David L)

Coronavirus Has Temporarily Reduced China’s CO2 Emissions By a Quarter Carbon Briefing. Other analysts have said this level of fall in production means China is sure to have GDP drop in the first quarter. Whether they admit to that is another matter.

Coronavirus outbreak in South Korea linked to Shincheonji Christian sect (Kevin W)

An inside look at the debate around pandemic bonds, which have $425 million hinging on how deadly the coronavirus ends up being Business Insider (Dan K). $425 million? For bonds, that a curiosity, not a market.


China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters Wall Street Journal (Bill B)

EU deadlocked in budget summit as rifts laid bare Financial Times

Germany and right-wing extremism: The new dimension of terror DW

Irish leader Varadkar to resign, as parliament fails to find new leader CNN

Dáil adjourns for two weeks after failing to elect new taoiseach Irish Times

New Cold War

Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump New York Times (Kevin W). Kill me now.


Fighting mounts as Washington backs Turkish attack on Syria, Russia WSWS

Macron and Merkel call Putin over Syria Politico

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Will Now Pay You For Your Voice Recordings The Verge

UCLA Abandons Plans To Use Facial Recognition After Backlash Vice

Should Facebook, Google Be Liable For User Posts? Reuters. I can’t believe that they have gotten away this far with the pretense that they are not liable. If you moderate content, you as a publisher are liable. The only time in theory you aren’t is if you are a chat board (as in a truly neutral platform) and let everything appear. Google regularly takes sites down for all sorts of reasons; it happened to us early on with Blogger. The pretense that they have not been publishers (the basis for their exemption) is really strained.

Leaked Document Shows How Big Companies Buy Credit Card Data On Millions of Americans Motherboard. Erm, not sure this is a big revelation. According to Tom Ferguson, political campaigns have been buying credit card data for quite a while to target actual and potential big ticket donors.

Trump Transition

The Trouble with Donald Trump’s Clemencies and Pardons New Yorker (furzy)

Impeachment Didn’t Change Minds — It Eroded Trust FiveThirtyEight

Richard Grenell is a partisan propagandist. Trump is appointing him to run the intelligence community. Washington Post (furzy)

State-federal task forces are out of control Washington Post (Dan K)

It was the Democrats’ embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump Guardian (David L)


Trump edges out all top 2020 Democratic candidates except Sanders The Hill

The Democrats Are Finally Brawling Over the Party’s Future New Republic (resilc)

Don’t look now, but Bernie Sanders’s coalition is expanding Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Warren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her The Hill

MSM CENSORSHIP !Bernie was the ONLY candidate saying he would support the Democratic nominee whoever it will be. ALL OTHERS REFUSED to commit to do so. NBC/MSNBC have cut out this segment from their published video even though they advertise it as the “Full” debate! Reddit (Paul R). Below from your humble blogger

I saw the debate live and Sanders unequivocally said that. But on top of that, in its evening news, NBC played more dirty tricks by presenting Sanders as not willing to respect the Democratic party convention rules (as opposed to saying he though the person with the most delegates should be the pick, a much much weaker formulation), followed by Biden criticizing Sanders for what he didn’t say.

We Arab Americans and Muslims Are Voting for Bernie. Because He’s Jewish Haaretz

The Bloomberg Myth Explodes on Live TV Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

The Debate Exposed Bloomberg’s Downside — But It Was There All Along FiveThirtyEight (UserFriendly)

Bloomberg debate debacle spurs Democratic hand-wringing The Hill

Have Zombies Eaten Bloomberg’s and Buttigieg’s Brains? New York Times. UserFriendly: “Yes, and Krugman’s too!”

Our Famously Free Press

‘This should go well’: Trolling and worry as Twitter reveals plan to flag ‘lies & misinformation RT

Indignant journalists furiously fact-check obviously fake Bloomberg video Washington Examiner

Why Do Corporations Speak the Way They Do? Vulture (resilc)

Sweden Starts Testing World’s First Central Bank Digital Currency Reuters

IRS Sues Facebook For $9 Billion, Says Company Offshored Profits To Ireland Fox

How Blue Apron Became a Massive $2 Billion Disaster Observer. How about the simple version: “It was a stupid idea”? You’d never find enough people who’d want to minimally cook and pay the fully loaded cost.

The Reformation in Economics: Back to the Future American Affairs Journal (UserFriendly). Review of Philip Pilkington’s new book. He started out at NC!!! Congrats to Philip.

Class Warfare

Poverty Is All About Personal Stress, Not Laziness Noah Smith, Bloomberg. JLP: “One step in the right direction, next time they will hypothesize that maybe poverty has to do with wages.”

Antidote du jour. How handsome! From Brian B:

Shaggy and Poppy are Leonberger dogs – they are the same breed but they are not related. Leonbergers are knows as Gentle Giants as well as Lean-on-bergers given their habit of leaning into people so that they can get a good petting.

Shaggy is 6.5 years old and 185lbs. Poppy was 3.5 months old and 35lbs. Poppy is now 5.5 months and 65lbs.

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. PlutoniumKun

    Fossil-Fuel Production May Be Responsible For Much More Atmospheric Methane Than Scientists Thought Bloomberg

    I’ve been reading some analyses of methane emissions and its clear that these are the biggest ‘low hanging fruit’ for reducing emissions quickly. CO2 emissions are cumulative, while CH4 is relatively short lived in the atmosphere, but highly potent. This is why banning fracking and opposing gas pipelines is absolutely vital – any politician who does not sign up to this is not serious about climate change.

    And, btw, at least one source indicates that flaring (i.e. burning surplus methane) may reduce the climate impact by 12x. So it may be that encouraging flaring might be a necessary short term method of rapidly reducing its impact – not just of active wells, but of leaking abandoned wells, and the fracking industry has left thousands of those.

    1. Steve H.

      I suspect the article is a carrier mechanism for this …obfuscation:

      : Scientists aren’t challenging the top-line amount of fossil methane that enters the atmosphere every year—that number stays at about 194 million metric tons

      The weasel word may be ‘fossil’, as methane hydrates are often grouped with fossil fuels. I’ll tell you this, Peter Wadhams (Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge) sure as hell isn’t saying methane inputs to atmosphere are remaining stable. That ‘scientists’ is another weasel formulation, as it implies consensus among climate scientists, but could also mean two sociologists at the local pub.

    2. jefemt


      Powered by Clean-burning Natural Gas, thanks to the Blue Skies initiative.

      How’s the air-pressure in the bike tires this morning?

    3. heresy101

      One way that to reduce the entry of methane into the atmosphere is thru landfill gas electricity generation.

      Methane is about 22x more harmful than CO2, so using it to generate electricity is officially renewable in California. One of our landfill gas contracts was for 30MW of electricity from a large landfill in the Bay Area. There are three, eight foot diameter, and thirty feet tall flare stacks to burn the methane when the generator wasn’t working. Landfills are required to flare the methane if there is no generator to only release CO2, not methane.

      Anaerobic digestion is another, more expensive, way to deal with the methane coming from dairies and pig farms (manure) and other organic processes that create methane. There is one company implementing this process in Minnesota where there are lots of dairies.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    RE: nCOVID-19; Admittedly my knowledge of epidemiology comes from have done a bit of work on DeFoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year when I was an undergrad. However, up until now this has spread has been during relatively cold weather. Should we expect an acceleration of new cases as the weather warms and people move out doors with the heat? Obviously, 17 century London is not comparable directly to today but that’s what happened then. Or rather the reverse, plague transmission died down during the winter months. Of course the plague is a bacterial infection so maybe that changes everything.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t think anyone knows for certain, but I think the working assumption is that this type of virus is likely to travel much better in cold weather. There is some evidence that the virus doesn’t last so long in warm/humid conditions. Plus, in cold weather people are likely to cluster indoors which makes physical contact more likely.

      1. voislav

        Cold preserves the biological material in general much better, including viruses. Most biological material doesn’t survive well above 4 Celsuis, their cellular machinery becomes too active and they basically starve to death unless provided with lots of nutrients. At cold temperatures, most organisms and viruses go into hibernation, so they can survive for days and weeks without nutrients.

        A lot of the transmission is through surfaces, a sick person caughs or sneezes and deposits liquid droplets onto door handles, elevator buttons etc., which then the next person touches and absorbs through the skin. In cold weather viruses survive much longer on surfaces than in warm weather.

    2. Ignacio

      Airborne and fomites-borne respiratory viruses tend to spread in winter better than summer for two kinds of reasons:

      1) We are more suscceptible in winter, when the water content of the atmosphere is lower (do not confuse with relative humidity) and our upper respiratory tract is more sensible.
      2) Environmental: (and most important), virus particles are not very stable outside cells and their infectivity decays rapidly but the slope of decays depends on temperature and humidity. The higher the temperature, the faster decay. Regarding water content (not relative humidity) it depends but in the case of some Coronavirus it has been shown that water reduces the viability faster ant they can keep stable for longer times in dry surfaces (fomites).

      Bacteria are very different beasts and they are not as sensitive to temperatures as virus and transmit differently.

      So it is quite reasonable to think that in summer the spread of the new CoV will slow down respective to winter. I would even say it is almost certain it will do so. Anyway there are factors that might extend the seasonality of the new virus:

      1) It is very infectious, so it can spread with relatively small virus loads compared with other respiratory viruses. It might be the case it can spread also in summer but I would expect that since virus loads will tend to be smaller, and because we are less sensible, infections would tend to be milder. Another way to say it is that it would be better to become infected in summer rather than winter.
      2) It is new so 100% of the population lacks immune resistance.

      This said, as for a new disease, nothing could be said with certainty but one can reasonably count on this factors.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Thanks Ignacio, sounds very reasonable.

        FWIW, and that’s not much since it’s a tiny thing, but I think you meant “sensitive” or “susceptible” and not “sensible” in, “and our upper respiratory tract is more sensible.” It’s one of those seemingly identical words, like “actually” that mean slightly different things in Am English, French and Spanish (and often Italian). I’m sure everyone got your drift regardless.

        I havn’t checked the Oxford, but in Am. Eng. vernacular, sensible means: “of, pertaining to or having, common sense”

        1. Ignacio

          My bad BB. When I am somehow tired my English becomes more chaotic. Yes I meant “sentitive” not sensible. “This” instead of “these” etc…
          Sorry for mistreating your language!

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Thanks Ignacio – Am left wondering whether the virus could move around the planet with the seasons.

            Winter is coming ?

            1. Ignacio

              The virus moves with their reservoirs, basically infected humans, and why not, other mammals. In Northern summer the largest human reservoir are humans in the Southern hemisphere, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t reservoirs in the north. Little is known about this.

              1. Old Jake

                Does anyone have a clue why these novel viruses seem to originate (jump hosts) in China or at least (see Ebola etc) the Old World? Or is this just due to my limited view and knowledge of these matters?

                1. Ignacio


                  1) Population -> higher chances
                  2) Variety of bat species rich in coronavirus
                  3) Chinese farm and eat many kinds of mammals that can be intermediate hosts between bats and humans and under low sanitary standards.

                  In Southern Asia, other zoonotic outbreaks have occurred, and in Africa, both Americas and Australia but these, so far, have involved more “exotic viruses” (vector-borne or through intermediary hosts) that usually happen to spread human-to-human in a very limited manner or are totally unable to spread between humans..

            2. Ignacio

              This question is for epidemiologists the big not known. You can find an excellent discussion on this in a Lancet (2004) opinion article that was arguing on the posibility of SARS recurrence that looks prescient in perspective: Seasonality of infectious diseases and severe acute respiratory syndrome-what we don’t know can hurt us. Of particular interest is the information starting on page 706 on what is known about some other animal infecting virus and persistent infections. Persistent For instance, feline flu, typically stablish acute infections but can be persistent for up to 7 years in some kittens. I haven’t read about this regarding SARS Cov2, but if it is able to stablish persistent infections as it has been shown for other human coronavirus, whether in humans or other pet/farm animals, quarantines could be totally useless. This spells against the repatriation of infected individuals from the cruises. It is a risk, and we have been too easy with critiques on the handling of the Princess quarantine. If you repatriate one or two the risk may not be high, but the more you repatriate, the higher the probability that some individual that can host a persistent infection and become a spreader well after the quarantine.
              I think that something like this might be at play with SARS CoV2. It seemed controlled in Japan, North Korea or Singapore but suddenly new cases appeared. Persistence in some humans might be what makes this virus so slippery.

              1. Ignacio

                The procedures for quarantine are being questioned now after the outbreak in Korea and in Italy. In Italy a man was hospitalized after he contacted a friend repatriated from China that was released not testing positive after 14 days quarantine: asymptomatic and negative by NATs. The case that in some persons SARS Cov2 infection can be persistent without acute phase, undetectable by NAT looks plausible. Repatriation was not that good idea after all.

        2. Ignacio

          You are welcome BB in the past, besides being a Virologist, I have been recipient and issuer of courses on Infectious Diseases And Clinical Diagnostics (my last update was in 2015 for a course for unemployed people). My problem is that I follow rules and text issued by Spanish institutions and so I am not that familiar with the English terms and I don’t look professional in English. Diseases of the Respiratory Tract have been my pet issue since I studied Biochemistry in a distant past (in an intellectual rather than practical way). That is why I comment so much on this.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Your comments are VERY appreciated! And my nit pick was just that, a nit pick which I mentioned in case you were unfamiliar (I’d forgotten about just plain being tired). And, btw, it’s been very clear, and probably more so to professionals, that you know what you are talking about in depth.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks, its very useful to know that at least one person commenting here is qualified to do so! Your comments are always very interesting and insightful.

          3. Susan the other

            Thank you Ignacio. Very good info. (And your English is perfect.) I just bought a handle of vodka – as in a double fifth. My reasoning is that if viruses are as fragile as I’ve heard, maybe when the drug store closes down I can maintain my body at a sub toxic level and survive. What a way to go. Self embalming. I certainly hope Corona19 is a flash-in-the-pan.

      2. xkeyscored

        in the case of some Coronavirus it has been shown that water reduces the viability faster
        Do you have a link for that, please? And thank you for your comments, they are illuminating and informative.

        1. Ignacio

          Sorry, xkeyscored, I read that a couple of weeks ago and did not save the article, neither the link (it was from a few years ago and with SARS1). Unfortunate because I later found more papers on this but nothing as good as the former. This one scored infectivity of particles on various solid surfaces with different ambient water contents. The effect of humidity is complex and varies with temperature. But if I recall correctly, under low temps, the less humidity in absolute terms, the more stable the virus. At high temperatures it could be the opposite! Bear in mind that at high temperature the absolute amount of water on air can be much higher.

          1. xkeyscored

            Thank you very much.
            A question for you. Given how many of us live and work in air-con environments, how relevant do you think all this preferred temperature and humidity stuff is to the spread of this virus?

            1. Ignacio

              Air-con AND ventilation are both important. To keep clean air inside in buildings were we work we have not only air conditioning but ventilation and this means a closed environment with air movement on it that might help the spread of air-borne pathogens (within a room, rather than between rooms). In some but not all places humidity is also controlled. This is good in dry environments and helps us to be less sensitive to infections. In larger spaces, air currents is less of an issue but it will depend on the design of the vent/air-con system.

            2. Expat2Uruguay

              It’s ironic to consider how much the planet would benefit from humans being separated from their air conditioning units because they don’t want to get a deadly virus.

      3. Ignacio

        I have done the exercise to find, with reported cases in China, if there are regional differences related with the severity of the disease, and the severity of winters. I excluded Wuhan for obvious reasons.
        I have taken data from every province and analysed %recoveries and %casualties reported assuming that for today the counts reflect episodes that have been almost sincronous in time. I have grouped somehow arbitrarily Northern&colder provinces (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Shanxi, Ningxia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Tibet, Shandong, Shaanxi, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Chongqing) and Southern&warmer provinces (Sichuan, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan) and these are the results:

        North China: 6438 cases, 3318 rec, 68 deaths.
        Recovery rate: 51.5% – Death rate: 1.1%
        South China: 6367 cases, 3475 rec, 26 deaths
        Recovery rate: 54,6% – Death rate: 0.4%

        If we assume similar health care in North and in South China (there are for sure differences but these might not depend on latitude, but on state of development) and some many other assumptions, we could conclude, with all uncertainty, that the disease is somehow milder in South China than in North China. Particularly the death rate looks much lower in the South while recoveries seem to occur just a little bit faster in the South. This could be consistent with the hypotheses that with lower temperatures susceptibility increases and/or higher initial virus loads that result on higher severity.

        1. xkeyscored

          With new apparent centres of infection springing up in South Korea, Lebanon, Italy, Iran and wherever, we’ll soon be getting more data on such matters.

          1. MLTPB

            I would ask if bats migrate, if those two (see Rod’s comment 12:38pm) in Iran hadn’t been to China.

          1. Ignacio

            This is more tricky, but absolute moisture is generally lower at low temperatures. Take a look at a psychrometric chart. At 0ºC the max amount of water (100%RH) on air is about 4 g water/kg air and at 25ºC and 100%RH there are about 20 g water / Kg air. At sea level. Moisture also tends to be higher the closer to the sea, lakes and rivers and the more dense plant cover…

            1. Swamp Yankee

              Thank you so much for all your wonderful and illuminating comments, Ignacio. Your English is splendid and very easy to understand, and your base of knowledge and depth of research are a gift to all of us here at Naked Capitalism.

              1. Ignacio

                Hahahahahahaha! Follow me to the bottom of nowhere. My account is: ESXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX readable only for true believers.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    The Reformation in Economics: Back to the Future American Affairs Journal (UserFriendly).

    Great to see Pilkington back in the public eye. His deep dives into economic thought are fascinating. I’ll certainly be ordering his book, although it will no doubt take a lot of concentration.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “The Democrats Are Finally Brawling Over the Party’s Future”

    Look, I know Bernie has a lot of people that oppose him but do some people have to be so clueless in doing so. At the near end of this article was the following line-

    ‘Far less time has been spent contemplating how the party arrived here in the first place, on the cusp of awarding the nomination to someone who rejects many of the premises that have guided Democrats for the last 30 years.’

    As Matt Stoller says on a tweet in Link’s today – ‘Are you f’ing kidding me?’ The last thirty years has been an unmitigated disaster for the Democrats and the country. Their local support has evaporated, their finances are in the toilet and have been brought up first by Hillary Clinton and now by Mike Bloomberg. They refuse to change course in offering one centralist candidate after another even though they are being rejected by voters. And the New Republic thinks that they were good years? Gach! The Stupidity! It burns!

    1. marcyincny

      Wow. I guess those previous sixty-one years of uninterrupted Democratic control of the House were like the Democratic Dark Ages, eh?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nope. Only the neoliberal Democrat years. You know those ones. The ones where NAFTA was signed, American industry was shipped to China, several score media companies were shrunk down to six, imprisonment of poor and especially black people took off like a rocket, the blue collars were dumped by the party in favour of rich donors. Stuff like that. The Republicans were just continuing the policies brought in by the Democrats. And in the present Democrat party, FDR has achieved the status there of he-who-must-not-be-named. That may be why they hate Bernie so much. He reminds them too much of their past.

        1. inode_buddha

          I think the reason they hate him so much is, he can’t be bought. And therefore he cannot be controlled by them. People who have actual principles that are not for sale are anathema to those who have sold their souls at the altar of Mammon in their quest for Power over others. As opposed to having Power over themselves —

          “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs 16:32, KJV

          This Mastery of Self is what Sanders has, and his opponents lack, and they hate him for that. Needing any proof, just look at the services offered by Epstein to our ruling elites — pandering to the powerful’s lack of self control. Look further at the political hypocrisies chronicled daily here. Compare and contrast with those who are principled.

        2. inode_buddha

          Re-posting due to previous version eaten by skynet for some odd reason…

          I think the reason they hate him so much is, he can’t be bought. And therefore he cannot be controlled by them. People who have actual principles that are not for sale are anathema to those who have sold their souls at the altar of Mammon in their quest for Power over others. As opposed to having Power over themselves —

          “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs 16:32, KJV

          This Mastery of Self is what Sanders has, (among others) and his opponents lack, and they hate him for that. Needing any proof, just look at the services offered by Epstein to our ruling elites — pandering to the powerful’s lack of self control. Look further at the political hypocrisies chronicled daily here. Compare and contrast.

        3. inode_buddha

          I think the reason why they hate him is because they cannot own him nor control him. A man with principles who cannot be bought is anathema to those in Power if they sold their souls to get it.

      2. foghorn longhorn

        And it only took bill and hill two, count em, two years to wipe out that majority.

        They been swinging the wrecking ball ever since.

        1. flora

          Bill and O both ran their first campaigns as FDR New Deal type Democrats who would roll back the ‘Reagan Revolution’. Then they won election and did a U-Turn. Now, the Dem estab wonders why their core voters are, uh, skeptical of mere talk by candidates.

      3. Darius

        Another centrist troll thinking they’re so brilliant. Democratic dominance of the House was built on the New Deal. It was eroded in the 80s when Tony Coelho turned to corporate America to fund the House Democrats. It was killed when Bill Clinton forced through NAFTA, to please corporate America.

        If you have a point, it is ahistorical.

        1. Oh

          ” It was killed when Bill Clinton forced through NAFTA, to please as a payback for bribes from corporate America.”

          There, Fixed for ya.

    2. jef

      “…awarding the nomination to someone who rejects many of the premises that have guided Democrats for the last 30 years…”.

      Thats exactly why everyone wants to vote for him and why he can beat tRUMP.

  5. timbers

    Macron and Merkel call Putin over Syria Politico.

    From the article:

    “The situation in Idlib, in the northwest of Syria, is so catastrophic that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel broke away from the extraordinary European Council budget summit in Brussels on Thursday to call Russian President Vladimir Putin to suggest convening a meeting to try to broker a ceasefire.”

    It’s only catastrophic when the terrorists America supports are losing. They never thought to call Obama when he was bombing Syria to pieces (or Yemen or Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya or Ukraine) and flooding Europe with refuges?

    “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the active support of Russia’s air force, which has targeted hospitals, launched a renewed assault at the end of last year to recover control of Idlib, the last province in the hands of the opposition.”

    Oh my, Russia is bombing hospitals again. And no doubt hacking the DNC again, too. Do you suppose those hospitals are the same ones Obama kept bombing accidentally on purpose?

        1. jo6pac

          GEEEE would think this would come under meddling in Amerikas election. I guess it’s OK if it’s good friend like aipac. I doubt any one in congress would call them out on this practice;-)

        2. Wukchumni

          It’s more of an anti-semantics assault, as it’s really difficult to call a Jewish person anti-semitic when your organization is of the same faith.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I’ve got my Russki in my anxiety closet! But checking under the bed…, hmmm, now that’s not a bad idea.

      2. Winston Smith

        Reminds me of a cartoon from the late 60s: a grumpy man is taking a large garbage bag to the curb. Before he gets there the bag breaks open, spilling the smelly content everywhere. He pauses, stunned, and then screams to the heavens “godamn communists!”

    1. Plenue

      The Syrian war is either effectively over, or about to escalate massively. The Syrian army completely took back all of Aleppo city and its suburbs a few days ago, mostly without a fight. The only thing significant the militants still control is Idlib city itself, which the Syrian army continues to slowly push toward.

      Turkey is now continually providing coordinated artillery support for the ‘rebels’ , who are openly revealed as Turkish proxies. Erdogan was also openly warning people a few days ago about equating the extent of Turkey with only its modern borders, and that northern Syria is within the ’emotional’ limits of Turkey, thus laying bare his Ottoman nostalgia.

      The ‘rebels’ launched an offensive from Idlib city yesterday, with Turkish support, which failed miserably. Syrian state TV has published video showing Russian aircraft destroying Turkish army M60T tanks, with fatalities. There’s also video of Turkish soldiers firing anti-air missiles at Russian aircraft (no hits though). A Russian jet also scared away a Turkish F-16 north of Aleppo yesterday.

      So Russia and Syrian are now in open combat with Turkey.

  6. zagonostra

    >Offshoring of Profits/Facebook

    This reminds me of the exchange between Bloomberg and Bernie in Nevada Debate. When Bernie accused Bloomberg of paying lower taxes than the middle class and Bloomberg shooting back that he, Bernie, wrote the tax laws.

    The exchange was revealing, and although Bernie pointed to Bloomberg’s control of the politicians that write the laws, he should have laid more heavily into the betrayal of politicians and the money that poisons public policy like taxation.

    The “Panama” and “Paradise” papers seemed to have hardly registered in the public mind or resulted in any changes in the a corrupt political system where corporation and individuals with vast amounts of wealth openly engage in tax avoidance.

    1. smoker

      Yes, and not at all inspired that Obama, who was (most likely still is) so very chummy with Zuckerberg, appointed the judge who’ll be presiding next week, Cary Douglas Pugh, to the Tax Court in 2014, after the Facebook IRS Audit began, in 2012.

      It’s been a Bipartisan push to let Multi-Nationals increasingly off the hook of Government Tax Revenues while both Federal and State legislators viciously allow the IRS and State Taxing Entities to go after the increasingly impoverished with unreasonable taxes, fines, and penalties. E.g. the penalties for cashing in retirement funds to pay the mortgage, or rent, even when one has been effectively retired from the job market due to age discrimination; and astronomical Sales Tax Rates.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Haven’t seen many analyses of Bloomberg’s dig at Bernie that he has 3 houses.

      So a man who owns seventy thousand million dollars is saying that’s comparable to a man who toiled tirelessly his whole life, took out mortgages, and finally made some money when he wrote a book. His net worth in 2013 was $330,000. Uh-huh.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    Like rock’n’roll, Russiagate will never die. The problem is that the boogeyman button isn’t working any more. It might have something to do with their overusing that button for 20 years, including 5-6 years after 9/11 where they just sat on it non-stop.

    1. marcyincny

      I guess a lot of people grow up nowadays never having the learned the lesson of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Would that be a Eurasian wolf, a Caspian Sea Wolf, a Tibetan Wolf, or a Tundra wolf? They are the only types of Russian wolves that you get, you know.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          In my experience it is the wolves in sheep’s or Armani type clothing that most people miss.

    2. Olga

      Twenty years? Try almost immediately after the end of WWII – thus, more like 75 years. Red scare, a commie behind every corner and under every bed, Joe Mc, duck and cover, the Russians are coming… No end to inventive, spooky slogans – all to malign an entire nation. (Come to think of it – maybe at all started in 1917, although the Brits did a good impression of russophobia back in 1852-3, to prep the nation for the Crimean war – a minor conflict between Turks and the czar, helpfully escalated by the French, and into which the Brits conveniently inserted themselves, resulting in a bloody, 3-yr conflict.)
      It’s not “thank G for little girls;” it’s “thank G. for Russia!” If Russia did not exist, they’d have to invent it lest we’d be forced to default to peace.

      1. Plenue

        I’m amazed by Putin’s apparent ability to be both a Communist and a Nazi, depending on whatever the fear-mongering speaker needs him to be at any given time.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Unfortunately, a lot of people I’ve met are still to some degree paralyzed by, or perhaps a better description would be, “sickeningly susceptible to” Russiagate as a bogyman phenomenon used to keep the flock within the fence of increasingly indefensible political choices. Even repubs have come up with their own, equally paranoid and yet simultaneously weaponized, version of it where dems are in direct cahoots with the great Satan himself.

      A mere 60 years ago, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and the Blob (to name three), used to be for teenage and pre-teenage titillation and they at least had some artistic merit. Now we have an entire teenage-on-the-far-side age group, shelf life challenged adults for short, (some seemingly intellegent) enthralled if not petrified by one guy with short hair who gets up bare back and bare breasted on horses. Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. lordkoos

        I think the people most susceptible to the Russia scare, along with with people who recoil at the word “socialist”, are primarily of my generation, the boomers. If you grew up in the 1950s and 60s, the portrayal of communism and socialism as evil incarnate was impossible to escape. I don’t think those younger than 50 have the knee-jerk reaction to socialism that many older people do.

        1. JCC

          I agree, although I never quite understood why it set in so deeply Time and and a little critical thinking should have erased a lot of that, I would have thought.

          I grew up in that era, too, the whole “tuck your head between your legs and kiss your a** goodbye” stuff. Then a friend of mine’s older sister came back from a college “summer semester abroad” trip to Moscow and told us that many of the Russians she met called America the Land of the Wolves.

          I thought, “That’s odd. How does that make any sense?” (I was 16 at the time, around 1968/69)… until I looked around a little closer.

          Viet Nam, along with Richard Speck, Charlie Manson, dogs and police with truncheons set upon peaceful minority protesters, Chicago Police riots while the Ku Klux Klan marched in the Chicago suburbs, domestic political assassinations, and other things were right there staring me in the face.

          It occurred to me over a short period of time that the Russians had a point, we were no better than anyone else and because of the constant “capitalist/democracy/will of the people” propaganda, possibly worse in some ways. Definitely an apropros description, though… The Land of the Wolves… and my fear of communism dissipated pretty rapidly… to be replaced by a whole new set :-)

          1. RMO

            The US “Land of the Wolves”… I consider that a vicious, unjustified and uncalled for insult to wolves everywhere.

  8. QuarterBack

    Re TheHill Bloomberg debacle article (and others).

    “many in the party were hopeful the former New York City mayor would emerge as a strong competitor”

    Translation: those selling campaign ads and consulting want the unprecedented cash river to keep flowing. The MSM in particular has a huge interest in promoting the illusion of a horse race “Come on Mike! You can do it! Let us help you get your message out.”

    Stop beating the dead horse.

  9. Toshiro_Mifune

    Re-posting since my original was black-holed
    RE: Krugman’s Have Zombies Eaten Bloomberg’s and Buttigieg’s Brains

    From the article;
    Although few saw 2008 coming
    This still annoys me. There were lots of people who saw it coming, We still have the existing web archives of the various discussions about it not only here at NC but thehousingbubble, NJREREport, calculatedriskblog, and a large number of others. The posts from 2005, 2006 & 2007 are all still there. You can see large number of people warning about it. Just because mainstream economists didn’t see it doesn’t mean “few” saw it.

    1. flora

      Yep. I’m not a finance person and even I saw it coming. I remember the moment in the fall of 2007 when I realized things were not as they seemed: Ben Bernanke giving a report to Congress saying that eliminating mortgage insurance for low down payment mortgages did not indicate a problem in the housing market. wtf!?! Eliminating mortgage insurance for the riskiest loans doesn’t indicate a problem in the housing market?!!! Seeing what was coming wasn’t rocket science.
      (That’s when I started looking for information online, and found NC. )

    2. John k

      Few of the people krugman listens to saw it coming.
      Similar to Hillary’s ‘nobody likes him’, which means nobody in her circle likes him.
      We’re all in a bubble of sorts, some bubbles are more insular than others.

    3. Jim thomson

      The FBI warned in 2004 of an epidemic of mortgage fraud.
      Response by The Committee to Save the World?

  10. allan

    George Washington sought honest British workers over ‘slovenly’ Americans [Reuters]

    George Washington, the first president of the United States, praised the honesty of British farmers and sought to entice some to his estates because local tenants were so “slovenly”, according to a handwritten letter he wrote in 1796.

    In a three-page letter to the Earl of Buchan, Washington asks the Scottish nobleman if he knew of any “honest and orderly” farmers who would like to emigrate to the United States to work on his land.

    “My sole object is, if there are persons on the move, who may incline to associate and become tenants on such a plan as I offer, that being apprised of the measure, they may decide how far their views would be accommodated by it,” Washington wrote.

    “Nor would I wish to do it with the slovenly farmers of this country, if I had a well founded hope of obtaining this class of Men from any other (particularly from Great Britain) where husbandry is well understood, and the language similar.” …

    Like H1-Bs, but for tobacco.
    Giving new meaning to a shortage of stem workers.

  11. John Mc

    Thank you for the Naomi Klein article link. The Neoliberal left and their responsibility for paving the way for Trump. It kind of reminds me of how Warren cleared the field for Sanders (mostly herself) in Vegas debate.

    TINA (there is no alternative) around policy is suddenly finding many alternatives. I hope Sanders finds a way to utilize and to offer Naomi Klein some sort of position in his cabinet, as her coherence and ability to take complexity and explain it is really top notch.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Irish leader Varadkar to resign, as parliament fails to find new leader CNN

    This will go on for weeks. Its all kabuki theatre for now. Sinn Fein will go through the motions of trying to put together a left wing government, but the numbers are not there. FG and FF are all acting like the lovelorn boy, proclaiming that he really prefers to be single and really, really isn’t lonely and isn’t into that girl at all. Both desperately want power, but are pretending that a dose of opposition is good and healthy (it certainly is not for failed leaders). The Greens are sitting smugly, knowing that whoever wants power needs to do a deal with them. But they are split, as a significant minority don’t want to be in power with a FG/FF government that will blame them for every unpopular decision.

    The obvious solution is another election, but FF/FG are terrified that this would lead to an even bigger vote for SF. SF wants that, but can’t be seen to trigger an election as Irish electors never thank the people responsible for a premature election.

    So, it will all look like a 1950’s ballroom dance consisting entirely of very shy people. The most likely outcome is FF and FG together, with the Greens/Social Democrats) extracting a very high price for power. This will leave SF in their perfect position, as the only real opposition.

  13. QuarterBack

    Re the FiveThirtyEight article, I strongly agree. The impeachment trial only expanded the gaping wound that is public faith in government. When people lose that faith, human nature sends people into an urgent search to fill that essential void. As the Dylan song goes you “Gotta serve somebody “. Is it any wonder that so many are choosing tribalism and cults of personality? This is what a mass crisis of faith looks like.

    1. flora

      Noted above, nobody in the economic ‘important people’ bubble saw the GFC coming in 2008, which doesn’t mean nobody outside the bubble saw it coming.

      The same bubble thinking is in full force in the Dem estab, imo. None of them can see the world outside their bubble. The world notices.

      1. Trent

        Its not so much they don’t see it, they just deny it. It’s good to be at the top and if signs are pointing to you losing that, well you’re going to deny it at first

        1. QuarterBack

          To be fair, they are “fighting for their way of life”, which is to be the arbitrators of everything. The HBO docudrama “Chernobyl” had a great quote

          “Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid.”

          The panic that we’re seeing from DNC and other establishment powers reminds me of the “Turn those machines back on!” finale of “Trading Places”.

        2. newcatty

          Isn’t denial one of the stages of grief? It is time for acceptance that the Dem establishment is not just in their bubble, but are still playing their game of pretending that ” centrists ” ,as candidates , are winning hearts and minds of people. The last debate was painful to watch. Warren played well this time. Bernie is clearly the real thing and shows who he is in his actions and policies. Remember the old saying: when people show you who they are believe them.

    2. zagonostra

      Yeah “Gotta serve sombody” but “When you gona wake up

      God don’t make no promises that He don’t keep
      You got some big dreams, baby, but in order to dream you gotta still be asleep
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      Counterfeit philosophies have polluted all of your thoughts
      Karl Marx has got ya by the throat, Henry Kissinger’s got you tied up in knots
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      You got innocent men in jail, your insane asylums are filled
      You got unrighteous doctors dealing drugs that’ll never cure your ills
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      You got men who can’t hold their peace and women who can’t control their tongues
      The rich seduce the poor and the old are seduced by the young
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      Adulterers in churches and pornography in the schools
      You got gangsters in power and lawbreakers making rules
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      Spiritual advisors and gurus to guide your every move
      Instant inner peace and every step you take has got to be approved
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      Do you ever wonder just what God requires?

      You think He’s just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      You can’t take it with you and you know that it’s too worthless to be sold
      They tell you, “Time is money,” as if your life was worth its weight in gold
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
      There’s a Man up on a cross and He’s been crucified
      Do you have any idea why or for who He died?
      When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
      When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?

  14. Brooklin Bridge

    FWIW, I looked at the Johns Hopkins CSSE site yesterday morning (or perhaps Tuesday morning) and noticed that United States cases had jumped overnight from 15 to 29. The 14 additional “confirmed” cases were all located somewhere in Nebraska or S. Dekota. I looked again about an hour later and the total was back down to 15 (now it’s 16). Simple error, or are we being treated to info tamp down?

    1. Monty

      I think its the 14 sick evacuees from the Diamond Princess. There is some debate as to how to categorize them.

      1. Ignacio

        That is. We now have to count at least three new cases confirmed in Ukraine. At Ukraine arrived a plane with Southamerican evacuates from China where they are being quarantined. The bus was received with stones. Panic In Ukraine Over Coronavirus As Evacuees Arrive From China. More than 200 hundred confirmed in S. Korea. Possibly a superspreader there. Meanwhile in China only hospitalized are counted as confirmed.

        Now pray no mistakes are done with all evacuees to Australia and US.

        Does anybody still think this can be contained?

        1. dearieme

          I dare say the villagers thought that a better place to store the evacuees was the dachas of the ruling class. Who’s to say they are wrong?

          Some of those huge billionaire-owned estates in California would be just ideal for isolating people!

        2. Monty

          I am agnostic about this. On the one hand, the financial markets didn’t seem to be too freaked out until today, on the other, if it’s “nothing to see here” “seasonal flu is worse”, why all the hazmat suits and city wide lock downs?

          1. xkeyscored

            I am no longer agnostic. It is no longer contained. Iran, South Korea, Spain … – and which other countries already have it but don’t know or aren’t saying?
            There’s been a lot of criticism of China, Japan, Cambodia, etc. Let’s see how the rest of the world copes, even with a couple of months’ notice.

          2. Ignacio

            Imagine this, the US brings about 20 confirmed cases amongst evacuees from the cruise and some many more that test negative. The negatives (around 200?) are quarantined but released in 14 days if still negative. Could it be the case that one or more amongst them had an undetectable persistent infection but after the release, and under some circumstances, goes back to acute phase and unexpectedly becomes a spreader, or a superspreader. Good job!

            1. Ignacio

              Antibody tests should be developed and used. If one develops Anti-SARS-IgA/IgG but test negative by NAT should be under surveillance, at least until we don’t give a [family blog] about virus spread.

              1. xkeyscored

                Wouldn’t antibody tests necessitate working with ‘live’ virus, whereas the NAT could be, and was, developed based on genetic code, which could be sent safely all over the world via the internet and didn’t need containing in (supposedly) super-secure laboratories? My guess is antibody tests are being investigated, but cautiously to say the least. Most labs wouldn’t exactly want a vial of this stuff arriving in the post!

            2. Unfinished

              Here in Oregon we have just such a potential scenario, and thus far it is receiving precious little attention. This is my first time posting a link, so apologies if I haven’t done so correctly.

        3. Rod

          And then there are the two deaths and 13 new cases in Iran.
          Curious that Iranian Medical says neither of the fatalities had travelled outside of Iran and had no visitors that had done such either.

    2. marieann

      I saw that and also wondered if the numbers were being doctored. I was still working as an RN (Canada) during the SARS episode, we didn’t have any cases in our hospital but our isolation protocols were so severely lacking that I (and others) were so stressed until the outbreak finally subsided.

      I keep my eye on all the news coming out and I don’t trust anyone to tell the truth about it.
      I hope it is just an accounting error

      1. Dan

        Given what we know about stress and the immune system, I imagine it can be logically inferred that a given percentage of otherwise healthy people become infected simply as a result of these types of stressors. In other words, without the stress of worrying about the virus, they may have come in contact with it and not become infected. But, due to the stress, their “normal” immunity becomes lessened, even somewhat, and they succumb.

      2. rtah100

        The posters to Reddits Coronavirus and China_Flu say that only Duck Duck Go returns them as search results, even with Reddit specified. The WHO had a meeting with major internet companies (Google, Facebook, Tencent etc – only Apple and another missing) to “fight misinformation”. Make of that what you will….

    3. pasha

      now up to 35 cases in us: 1 each in ma, wa, wi, az, 2 in chicago, 3 in tx, 11 in ne (quarantined from diamond princess), and 15 in california.

      a week ago there were 12 cases in the us.

  15. Olga

    The Reformation in Economics: Back to the Future American Affairs Journal (UserFriendly):
    “The plurality of thought that existed in economics from roughly the turn of the twentieth century to the 1960s was impressive and rather beautiful to behold. Reading books from that era not only gives the reader a vision of what economics had been and what it could potentially be again but also opens doors to so many novel ways of thinking about things.
    —Philip Pilkington, The Reformation in Economics”
    I had to stop at the beginning. A correct observation – and one that could be applied to almost all other aspects of our current world. Where are all the great writers, philosophers, poets, painters, sculptors, film-makers, actors, leaders, scientists, inventors? Where is a new generation of Frantz Fanons or Edward Saids, Sukarnos, G.A. Nassers? (Of course, there may be great minds that are simply not translated into English, German, or French.)
    It’s as if the more physically prosperous we’ve become, the less creative and innovative we are as a species. Or has the hunt for money swallowed our best creative instincts?

    1. amfortas the hippie

      “the best lead lives of quiet desperation ”
      you can’t have a revolutionary art/music/poetry… or economics….if you, or the ptb, fear change

      where’s the protest music?
      in the interstices online
      where’s the radical art?
      scrawled on subway walls
      “….and concert halls”(rush)
      and painted over in inoffensive taupe as soon as possible
      tina is not limited to political economy
      it seeps into everything as people are trained to keep their heads down and self police

      1. Olga

        Yup, TINA is it… you reminded me of an advice I once got from a (good) boss, when starting a new job (a place populated with economists, engineers, lawyers, policy wonks – and support staff) – “keep your head down.” It was, no doubt meant well, but OMG – no better way to deflate a (potentially) soaring spirit!

        1. skippy

          @Olga …

          Was surprised that you did not respond to my comment below, especially since it questions both your dismissive based on ignorance [did not read past opening para] and at the same time forward a perspective that is “correct”.

          And that correct’ness seems again to run afoul of what you decry.

          Per se Philips – “marginalist economics transferred metaphors from physics to the social sciences. Levi-Strauss introduced the idea of the ‘bricoleur’ as the person who engages in such constructions.”

          The above passage from the second link seems to contradict what your ascribing to his work E.g. mindless money seeking, which you originally referred to.

          Honestly at bit at a loss considering your usual rigor associated with historical perspectives – would appreciate further clarification.

          I would add Philip has taken it on the chin more than a few times, as my self, in wrangling with the very types you seem to misidentify in this specific case. Pushing against doctrinaire orthodoxy in economics and other disciplines and I mean serious threats.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Maybe it’s the crapification/worsening theme.

        When things are on a general uptrend you might think “hey some change could make things improve even faster. We could even get a better world out of it, you know, peace, tranquility, social harmony”.

        But when every last little thing for 30 years has steadily gotten worse maybe your instinct is to hang onto the status quo with everything you’ve got. 50% of people can’t scrape together a lousy $400 for an emergency…but maybe they think “hey if anything changes that would probably be $300, not $400, given the way things go”.

        When I studied political science they had a thing called “the J-curve of rising expectations” in emerging economies, and maybe that’s now inverted in submerging economies

        1. Spoofs desu

          How about :

          Caesar’s palace, morning glory, silly human, silly human race,
          On a sailing ship to nowhere, leaving any place,
          If the summer change to winter, yours is no,
          Yours is no disgrace.
          Yours is no disgracE

          Not sure what this has to do with macroecomics. But I am sure there is a there there somewhere:-)

    2. skippy

      What Philip is denoting its the very thing you decry … the decent into doctrinaire orthodoxy … which leads too an artificially induced scarcity or desolate place.

      Had you read further you might have discovered [tm] how that came about and the mechanics of thought that claimed ownership [tm] of the admissible framework for introspection.

      Here is an NC post on his book –

      One would think unpacking the tools used by neoliberalism to advance its perception – of reality – and why – would be right up there with climatic science.

      This would be a good start –

      In ending, understanding the manufacturing of the tools used against the unwashed, used to indoctrinate minds in academy, by those that seek a reality they choose, would seem imperative. Otherwise you can have some like in the Keynesian post a few day back inform you that you can be modeled and cop that.

      Dogs at me to go out, respond later.

    3. Susan the other

      “plurality of thought… from turn of the century to the 1960s” – makes me assume Phillip will say ideology and dogma have become too sclerotic. Pretty sure that’s true. Not just sclerotic but not actually even perceptive anymore. I usually hate book reviews, but I used to love PP’s comments here on NC before he went AWOL. Hope he’ll come back. So I’ll look for The Reformation in Economics at my Library. Or order it.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Fighting mounts as Washington backs Turkish attack on Syria, Russia”

    A fair description of what is happening but I will add in some more stuff. The Jihadists attacked Nayrab and a Russian drone filmed Turkish weaponry firing on the Syrian Army. The Jihadist were equipped with tanks, armored personnel carriers, “technicals” and artillery from Turkish stocks and were reinforced by Turkish commandos. The managed to overrun some positions and I saw one video from these ‘moderate fighters’ after they had cut off the heads of dead Syrian soldiers and let a flock of chickens peck at the bloodied stumps. The Russian Aerospace Forces rolled in and turned many of these vehicles to ash and the Syrians beat back the attack. At this point Turkish soldiers (commandos?) in the “observation point”, which was coordinating this attack, tried to shoot down a Russian Su-34 using man-pads but the Russian dodged them using flares. At this point the observation point became fair game so an airstrike hit it which was what those two killed and five wounded Turkish soldiers were all about. What a jerk.

    So now Erdogan is desperate. He wants the US to deploy Patriot missiles which means that the US and Russians would get into a shooting contest with each other. He also wants the US to do air patrols to protect the Jihadists but this also involves the US and Russia getting into fights with each other. Russia will not let the Turks destroy the Syrian fores as that would lead to all the lives and treasure they have spent over the past coupla years going for nothing. Erdogan also want to have NATO attack the Syrians if they attack him in, well, Syria but nobody is stepping forward to help him. France and Germany are trying to organize a cease-fire but that would lead them of being in the position of protecting al-Qaeda which is kinda embarrassing. And just to make it worse for Erdogan, he is getting serious fightback over his latest adventures in Syria and is facing challenges in Parliament.

    1. Roland

      This is a very dangerous situation. I think that there is a 50-50 chance that NATO actually does back up Erdogan. Here’s why:

      1. Turkey already finds itself with a new substantial Arab minority that they don’t want. Erdogan hoped the rebels would win–that failed. Many of the refugees will not voluntarily return to a Ba’athist Syria. Now Erdogan will settle for a rebel rump state in Idlib, in which to dump several million unwanted Arabs. But the Syrian government is determined to fully restore their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

      2. If Turkey pushes refugees to EU, that puts pressure on an organization that already has unity troubles related to migration. Merkel & Macron both face right-wing domestic challenges. Then there are things like Brexit and Hungary. I see a possibility that the typical stupid neoliberal elites in Europe might want to do something to make Europe look more united and effectual…

      3. USA might be tempted to play a big wheeling-dealing linkage game over Ukraine & Syria. In an election year Trump could completely castrate the anti-Russia hawks. What could those all those neoliberal idiots do, except praise his presidentialness?

      4. I’m NOT saying this suddenly erupts into a world war. Instead it will just steadily slide down into all hell. A major war between peer opponents today will not look like anything we’ve seen before. The pacing and proportions will seem weird. The underlying principles of war will still be true, but only afterwards will anybody understand the specific application.

      5. The main thing here is that we might be looking at a situation in which no one backs down. Erdogan’s Syrian policy may be in tatters, but he’s no chicken–he’s a cucumber (remember the coup attempt and how he handled himself?). Besides, can NATO just stand by and let Turkey get beaten in an open fight against Russia, even if the whole thing was Turkey’s fault? Of course not: NATO would start to unravel, and the Eastern Europeans would be screaming. Therefore I expect Erdogan to escalate with aplomb. Moreover a war would consolidate AKP control of the armed forces, and offer the possibility of obliterating the Kurdish nationalists afterwards.

      6. Bashar Al-Assad is indomitable. It’s no accident that he’s held his own through ordeals that would overwhelm most others He will restore Syria, or perish in the attempt. Don’t forget that it was Bashar who exhorted Putin to join the fight, not the other way around. The Ba’ath cannot accept a running sore in Idlib–how can they ever rebuild Syria with that going on?

      7. You already mentioned that Russia is committed. They made the decision to risk war against NATO five years ago. Are they going to back away now and let their stalwart ally get crushed? Are they just going to lie down and accept a future of endless colour revolution BS? If NATO escalates, Russia might say, “well, why not now…”

      8. The more parties committed, the harder it gets to stop. The more committed they are, the harder to stop. There needed to be a roundtable conference to deal with the Syrian War seven years ago. But the world’s elites have really screwed the pooch on this one.

      1. a different chris

        Good stuff.

        Arrgh, I need to go back and find out what the coup against Erdogan was really about (if it is possible to find actual information in Western Media, not hopeful…). If he wants to commit the military into doing something serious he had better have completely flushed not only the perpetrators but really, really addressed the underlying conditions that led to the uprising.

        Shorter me: can Erdogan really “escalate with aplomb”?

      2. Alex Morfesis

        Putin will arrange a coup against Al-Assad as he can not afford to lose Crimea to a Turkish offensive since that is how Prince Erdo would play it. Russia does not have the capacity to go toe to toe with Turkey as their supply lines are long and despite his capacity to kill off his opponents at home, he holds power by force not by openness. Putin would find himself in danger of removal if he escalated with Turkey. Al-Assad will never bend as he is an Alevi, the chosen ones, who will be there to greet Jesus when he wakes up John the Baptist in Damascus. Syria is just as much a theocracy as Iran. Putin backs out of his corner by Bashing Bashar or by having him accidented in some helikrasher oopseez. He will be offered and allotted an extra million barrels of oil sales per day in the global market to help ease his pain…

        1. ewmayer

          So Russia’s commitment to Syria is threatened by long supply lines? You mean for instance the distance by ship from the naval base in Sebastopol through the Bosporus/Dardanelles and down the coast to Turkey? And similarly, long supply lines from, uh, Russia to Crimea make Crimea vulnerable to a Turkish invasion? LOL, whatever you’re smoking, I want some in time for the next Dem debate.

    2. VietnamVet

      The problem is that no one sees reality anymore. Bashar al-Assad can’t stop from retaking Idlib Province any more than “War is Hell” William Tecumseh Sherman would have halted his March to the Sea at its start after taking Atlanta. The Jihadists encircled in Idlib are an existential threat if transferred to the Muslim areas of the Russian Federation. Russia cannot back down. Saudi Arabia and the USA with Turkey’s aid were too enthusiastic to expend its Sunni proxy force to force a regime change on Damascus with absolutely no concerns for the consequences. It backfired. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gotten himself in an unwinnable cauldron with his dream of an Ottoman rebirth of the Sunni Caliphate. If he gets into a war with Russia, Europe will blow up.

  17. Wukchumni

    Pompeo, Taliban announce plan to sign peace deal at end of month

    The U.S. secretary of state said in a statement that the signing would go ahead provided that a week-long reduction in violence holds across Afghanistan. (WaPo)
    How funny, we’re worried about a week’s duration after nearly 20 years in the graveyard of empires.

    For what it’s worth, the last of the Soviet forces left Afghanistan around this time in 1989, and not long after the ‘bloc party went kaput.

    1. Wukchumni


      I was at an L.A. Kings hockey game with my dad in 1973, when over the PA came the announcement that the Vietnam War was over as far as American participation was concerned as a peace treaty had been inked, and for a few minutes the cheering was as if the lowly Kings had won the Stanley Cup.

      Will anybody give 2 shits about the new news of this peace treaty?

      1. neo-realist

        No unwilling conscripts were sacrificed in the lead-up to this present day peace treaty unlike the previous one. Less emotional investment in whether it happens or not.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I would think the surrender of The United States of America to a ragtag band of goat herders after spending $2 trillion over 19 years would be news…but that’s just me.

        The surrender of the U.S. to a ragtag band of guys in black pajamas in SE Asia certainly was news. Maybe all that’s missing is footage of helicopters evacuating staff from the roof of our $1B Baghdad embassy fortress or million dollar Humvees being pushed off of Afghani cliffs.

        And just think: instead of day care, medical care, trains that run and bridges that don’t fall down we got a heaping serving of NOTHING. Oh, except humiliation…so there’s that.

        1. TheHoarseWhisperer

          you should visit the DC suburbs in Virginia some day. a few people got some very fancy real estate.

    2. cm

      Hopefully all foreign nations now finally understand US “treaties” are meaningless until the Senate ratifies.

  18. Economic Inequality for No Fun

    So now economic stagnation, low purchasing power due to indebtedness and low salaries is a hedonistic problem? The most important thing is to never call economic inequality, low salaries and economic precarity by its real name, only by over-glossing euphemisms.

    May I offer you a glas of “Indulgence Gap”.

    Page 52
    “Who participated in the financial recovery? Largely it was older Americans — Gen Xers and baby boomers, who had both jobs and assets. The younger millennials were frozen in place, without assets and looking for work, unable to take advantage of the asset reflation during the period. To make matters worse for them, they were also loaded down with student debt. These are the consumers we’re depending on for growth.The uneven financial recovery that had millennials stuck in time, and older generations moving ahead, has created a tear in the evenness and flow of consumer spending we’ve termed the “Indulgence Gap.””

  19. Watt4Bob

    While visiting Trump-supporting family last week, I discovered they are increasingly conscious of, and angry about, being put upon, and derided in political ‘discussions‘ by supposedly ‘woke’ anti-Trump family members, as being ‘stupid‘ or ‘ill-informed‘, on the basis of their watching Fox News.

    While I myself blame FN for playing an overly large part in nurturing the national divide, I find it ironic that my supposedly ‘woke‘ siblings consider themselves well-informed when they cling to the myth of ‘democratic centrism‘, blame Trump’s success on Russian interference, racism, sexism, and then go on to argue that if you don’t agree with them you are stupid.

    It was widely agreed that the end of the ‘discussion’ always came when the ‘woke‘ contingent declared that the reason for their opponents ill-informed stupidity was that “you watch Fox News”.

    Considering the necessity of solidarity with the working class to heal our nation’s ills, it seems clearly counter productive to expect open derision and name calling to be effective tactics of persuasion, no?

    1. petal

      Have tried for years to explain this to a few friends and it fell on deaf ears, so I stopped some time ago. I would nicely say that this probably isn’t the best way to get people to come over to your side. Finally figured out they didn’t care about changing other people’s minds. I think they do it to feel superior, nothing more. It’s not about getting people to join your party or to vote for your candidate. They’re insecure and see an opening to make themselves feel better. Think elementary/middle school.

    2. a different chris

      You’re rarely going to get people to do both what you want and do it for the exact reasons you want them to. Just be happy if the outcome is somewhat roughly in the ballpark.

      It’s why so many of us prefer dogs.

    3. flora

      The wokeratti’s inclusiveness, tolerance, and diversity limits itself to other wokeratties. Wokerattists. /s

    4. carl

      Yeah, that. I’d like to write on every one of those people’s foreheads in ball point pen, the words “stop calling voters names.” It never, ever, works.

  20. John A

    Ukrainian villagers STONE buses bringing countrymen evacuated from Wuhan to coronavirus quarantine.

    I wonder if any of them are the Ukrainians who were somehow flown to Hong Kong to join in the protests. Poetic justice if they were.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “The Bloomberg Myth Explodes on Live TV”

    ‘Bloomberg stood in mute fury as his $400 million campaign investment went up in smoke.’
    Well that goes to show what an amateur Bloomberg is. So far, he has managed to blow only $400 million dollars. Not the sort of bj that he is used to. Hillary, on the other hand managed to set fire to two billion dollars in her time with not much more to show for it. Maybe after he bows out, he can find a real nice wood to go walking through.

    1. Dirk77

      I recall Bill Gates first performance in front of Congress about possible antitrust action against MS didn’t go well at all. His next one though was very polished. Bill was brought up to win. Idk much about Bloomberg but if he has the same drive, then expect a completely different guy at the next debate. I’m not sure that will help, but his advisors must think they should give it a shot. Should be entertaining.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I suspect Gates as not a politico was more open to coaching. Bloomberg already thinks he was mayor of the world.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Gates made an unforced error: he appointed his Dad’s law firm to set up for the anti-trust stuff. Your opening arguments frame your case and Dad’s firm didn’t have the first clue, it was too late when they handed if off to a firm that actually knew something about anti-trust

      2. nippersmom

        Bloomberg was allegedly coached in advance of this debate. Not sure he is coachable. If that was the “coached” version, I’d hate to see what the raw, untutored Bloomberg would have been like.

        1. Monty

          *look at camera* “I’m giving it all away!” *pained attempt at smile* *throws arms wide* “g-g- giving it all away!” *fake smile*

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “I was nice to some women!” was my favorite line.

            Maybe #MeToo can make that their rallying cry. “We want men who are nice to some women, some of the time!”.

            Repub Party will have $900M to spend, the Dem Party coffers are currently chock full of: $8M. If Bloomer’s hostile takeover fails they will need another purchaser, I’m sure Zuck’s and Darth Bezos’ phone lines are burning up

  22. Frank Little

    RE: State-federal task forces are out of control

    Kafka was downright optimistic compared to the realities of police impunity in the US. From the piece:

    In 2009, the Obama Justice Department tried to conduct a cost-benefit study of these task forces. But the study had to be stopped, because the task forces kept little to no records. The authors concluded, “Not only were data insufficient to estimate what task forces accomplished, data were inadequate to even tell what the task forces did as routine work.”

    Balko also describes the shell games that these task forces use to dodge state open records laws and FOIA as well as legal claims against those abused. He also describes a man who was stopped by plain-clothes officers (who did not identify themselves) because he supposedly matched the description of someone suspected of stealing some liquor from someone’s house. He thought he was being mugged and fled so they beat him up and then charged him with assaulting a police officer.

    It’s ironic that the same people who lament about unaccountable government bureaucrats getting involved in health care or other social services are often the most ardent defenders of the government’s least accountable and most abusive arm: law enforcement.

  23. John Beech

    Fat broads and horse-face lesbians . . . we’re no longer in the land of free speech.

    Have I told off color jokes? Yes. Did I, and those present laugh like hiyenas? Yes. Was it in poor taste? Oh heck yes, then again, that was the point of the joke. Don’t like it? Tough titty! Me? I’m just sad Bloomberg didn’t respond, “I didn’t say you were horse-faced Elizabeth.”, because that would’ve brought down the house and defused her before she got wound up. Honestly, I don’t care whether an old man like Bloomberg likes a joke at someone’s expense. Quick, think of a joke that isn’t at someone’s expense. Understand? That’s how humor works. Ugly? Yes. Is what it is.

    1. a different chris


      You can say whatever you want. Expect to get called on it if it isn’t politically correct. The real problem is if it isn’t actually that funny, it will boomerang rather viciously. And then you become the one everybody is laughing at.

      Bloomberg barely has a personality, let alone the ability to actually say something funny. My wife, given her extensive softball career, could pull off a joke like that. He can’t. And he doesn’t know that, which is…. interesting.

      PS: “I didn’t say you were horse-faced Elizabeth” isn’t really funny at all, it’s more jaw-droppingly stupid, as it totally misses what she was saying. (Hint: it had nothing to do with her personally). He was better off just standing there.

      You say you are a business man, a creator of jobs. Do you maybe think people were “laughing” because you were the boss, not because you were funny. It, you know, happens.

      1. Monty

        Allegedly, they were laughing because he was a grown man who drives a Mercedes G-Wagon, when everyone knows that is usually a vehicle for spoiled, daddy’s girl, princess types who just passed their driver’s test. It was wrong of them to judge, but I am a free speech absolutist!

    2. GramSci

      The point is can the butt of the joke bear the expense? When the power imbalance is billionaire vs peon, a joke becomes assault. Man against woman just makes it an archetypal assault.

    3. flora

      The question is: did you tell these off color jokes in the presence of and at the expense of subordinate employees? I doubt it. Guys making raunchy jokes privately among themselves or in the locker room is no concern to me. How I’m treated in the workplace, especially by a boss, someone who can fire me, is a concern to me.

    4. John A

      Maybe he should have updated the old joke where a horse goes into a bar and the barman asks ‘why the long face?’

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      Free speech doesn’t mean free from consequences. He’s a big boy. If he thinks he was in the right, he can take the heat for it.

    6. nippersmom

      I don’t recall the government threatening him with imprisonment or loss of his livelihood over those comments, so I fail to see the relevance of the First Amendment right to free speech to criticism over his remarks.

    7. Cas

      Oh please. No way do women get financial settlements and sign NDAs because they were told an off-color joke. That’s what made Bloomberg’s response such a groaner. Read the laws and regulations on workplace harassment–there’s a much higher bar than bad taste.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The public record includes the boss telling the employee to “get the deal done by giving a bl*wjob”.

        The blowback should include an examination of the Dems who have already received oodles of Bloomberg cash: precisely why did they agree to receive cash from a source such as this?

        And it was odd to hear Bloomer say that both “men and women” had signed harassment and sexual misconduct NDA’s. Equal opportunity…or telegraphing that the boss perhaps took his own advice on closing deals?

    8. kareninca

      “Quick, think of a joke that isn’t at someone’s expense.”

      What’s the difference between a one winged bird and a two winged bird?
      It’s a matter of a pinion.

      That really wasn’t very hard; it immediately came to mind.

      You shouldn’t generalize from your own inabilities.

      1. Dalepues

        Pretty good joke! My suggestion is downright childish: Why is ten afraid of seven? Because seven eight nine….

  24. Wukchumni

    This location not far into Sequoia NP backcountry is by far the most popular place to die in the park. I think this is the 7th or 8th death there in the past decade. A beautiful spot with a 100 foot waterfall (Panther Falls) you can hear-but can’t see, combined with sloping slick granite above and one slip and you’re a goner.

    Sequoia National Park rangers received a report on Saturday, February 15, 2020, of an adult male who fell off a rock slab along the Middle Fork Trail in the vicinity of Panther Creek. The Middle Fork trailhead is located two miles east of Hospital Rock via the road to Buckeye Flat Campground (currently closed) in the foothills area of the park; Panther Creek crossing is three miles from the trailhead.

    1. coboarts

      And it looks like they plucked the body out before the panthers got the chance to eat him, too bad. We should respect the needs of wildlife to feed. Now, I ask, is this humor?

      1. Wukchumni

        About 5 years ago a fellow committed suicide in the NP, and a ranger friend told me a bruin had made off with one of the deceased limbs in the meantime of a few days before they found the body, posing the question: is it ok to arm bears?

      2. Eclair

        ” … we should respect the needs of wildlife to feed.”

        Of course. We eat them, they eat us. It’s reciprocal, a balancing dance, the circle of life. But now Western humans insist on pumping poisonous chemicals into the bodies of our dead ‘loved ones’ thus rendering them inedible.

  25. a different chris

    Well to me the…. I don’t know of a good word for it, the material maybe sciences haven’t really made as much progress as we think when we look around. We’ve shrunk the transistor a zillion times and everybody has an iPhone, but a lot of it is manufacturing rather than new discoveries.

    Not a criticism, just pointing out where (again, IMVeryHO) I think we are on that curve.

    The fleshy (?) sciences, however, seem to be accelerating. I’m not comfortable around GMOs, but can’t deny the progress. Hey Einstein didn’t like the atom bomb, either so I’m in good company.

    But when you read stuff like the “interbreeding event” and how no longer does anybody even think about the days, not very long ago at all, when an anthropologist more often than not would go all red faced and shouty at even the casual mention of humans and Neanderthals getting it on. Now it’s “hey who else is in our genome?”.

    Love it.

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard my ancestor got a pre-nup with a Neanderthal, you have to be careful with sub-species, especially cavemen.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters”

    Those journalists referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.” The Turks before WW1 used to be called “the sick man of Europe” and I think that there is a subtle dig at the Chinese here and their economy. Maybe they should have gone for broke and called Coronavirus simply Yellow Fever 2.0 and be done with. Racism was respectable when people talked about Russians and now it seems that racism against Asians is getting a free pass.

    1. MLTPB

      From what I read, the three are Asian Americans, who did some reporting on Xinjiang.

      As for using the offensive term, did China say that about Egypt? I thought I read it, but could not corfirm.

  27. jefemt

    Shipt. Saw my first (that I recollect) Target ad featuring a diverse Shipt T-shirt clad smiling delivery staff last night on the Tele.

    We have a bazillionaire gated community within 50 miles, near a ski resort, both of which are major drivers of the local economy. A bajillion issues, but I must say the mayIwipeyourass,sir implications apparently are getting under my skin- some days the depth of my overt resentment and anger of income and asset disparity surprise me.

    The tines on the hay fork are filed and oiled, kerosene can brim-full.

    1. Eclair

      In October, we visited my spouse’s mother’s cousin, who lives in a gated community in Naples, Florida. On the other side of the two lane road bordering one side of the area, (along with a muddy river), is a shopping area, anchored by a Walmart.

      Cousin told us that they have all their groceries, etc., delivered, so they don’t have to go outside the gates. Insinuating that it is dangerous out there. All their activities center around golf and the Club House. Staffed by an all Black crew imported from Jamaica (?), who, Cousin’s wife assured me, really know all about ‘service.’

      I did walk out early on Sunday morning, in search of caffeine. The guard at the gate house, where I stopped to be sure he would let me back in, cautioned me to ‘be careful out there,’ as if I were entering a war zone. The Walmart, filled with early morning shoppers, mostly Hispanic, provided caffeine. At no time did I feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

        1. eg

          Wait — aren’t the Morlocks the descendants of the “servants”? The Eloi (presumably descendants of the gated community dwellers) live above ground.

          Mind you, the Eloi get “served” in the end …

  28. cm

    “Poll: Trump edges out all top 2020 Democratic candidates except Sanders”

    This article should not have seen the light of day, as is evident in the first paragraph:

    Sanders edges out Trump by a 51 percent-49 percent margin in the poll. Meanwhile, Trump leads former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg by 2 points. All those margins are within the poll’s margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.

    Let’s repeat: All those margins are within the poll’s margin of error of 2.7 percentage points

    In other words, we don’t know anything except it is close.

    1. Chris S

      Thank you! This kind of malpractice in reporting statistics is pervasive and maddening. “We don’t know anything except it is close” should be the headline.

    2. Grant

      Well, if we want to pretend that polls (which polls, since they often show great variation) are a perfect reflection of reality, then let’s let them guide all our conversations. I am now very much in the habit of looking at the polling methodology, which is where you start to find problems. For example, at the bottom of that poll is this note, “The data was weighted based on 2016 voter model of gender, education, age, mode, party registration, ethnicity, and region. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n= 772) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n= 478).” Think there is a problem with the people they are going to reach using that methodology? I would like to see the age, race and income breakdown too. Other polls, as you probably know, show Bernie winning by a wider margin. With those too, I tend to look at the methodology. With many polls, there are clear differences between the leading Democratic contenders and Trump. IF Bernie’s strategy of targeting young voters, people of color and working class people is successful in the general election, then the polls will be off. And, beyond that, the Republicans seem to overwhelming support Trump and turnout is likely to be high for him. So, in addition to data, how enthused people are for a particular candidate will be very important. On that alone, most of those running should be non-starters.

    3. John k

      But there is a weak indication that Bernie has a better chance than the others… but actually the poll has a stronger apparent positive for Bernie in that he has been shown to outperform polls more than most, not just recently but back in 2016, too.

      1. cm

        But there is a weak indication

        Nonsense. Margin of error is 2.7, so anything less than 2.7 is noise. Sanders +2 and the others at -2 are within margin of error. I now suspect the reporter (or headline creator) doesn’t understand what “margin of error” actually means.

        1. Grant

          You are basing that it is that close on a single poll, when other polls show a wider margin for Bernie. No poll I am aware of shows him down versus Trump. And, you didn’t address my comment about how the methodology of the polls might give a clue as to how useful that poll is. What you are saying is true, in that it is within the margin of error, but the difference between Bernie and some of the others versus Trump is four points, and the value of that poll depends on the methodology and whether or not things can happen (like turnout being higher than the historic norm among groups of people the candidates are targeting). What we know is that Bernie was up two points among those they polled, which is within the margin of error. Whether or not that reflects objective reality is another matter. You aren’t making a comment just on the poll or how it is summarized, you are saying that we don’t know anything except that it is close. Yes, it is somewhat close, but other polls show that it isn’t as close as this one. What we can say is that polls often vary, sometimes by wide margins, and some of the methodologies are logically problematic.

          1. cm

            You aren’t making a comment just on the poll or how it is summarized, you are saying that we don’t know anything except that it is close.

            I am commenting solely on the post from the article, where it appears many people don’t understand what margin of error is. Because the deltas in the poll are less than the margin of error, we can say NOTHING from this poll about standings.

            I’m not addressing methodology, since margin of error exceeds the differences. If/when the spread is greater than the margin, then I would address methodology. I have (in other days) posted about how in general all these polls are garbage, since no one under 50 answers a landline.

            I have not mentioned anything about other polls, just this one where the margin of error is higher than the point spread between the candidates.

          2. cm

            What we know is that Bernie was up two points among those they polled, which is within the margin of error.

            ??? At this point I don’t think you understand what “margin of error” actually means.

    4. a different chris

      >In other words, we don’t know anything except it is close.

      And even given that, all that tells us is that the voting total itself should be expected to be close. Which says nothing about the Electoral College.

      Who even cares how many people in California are going to vote for the Democrat, or in the Deep South are going to vote for Trump? Not me. Five states matter, if even that.

  29. zagonostra

    >Dems reveal plan to steal the nomination from Bernie

    Doesn’t it strike one dumb that Bloomberg when asked how the DNC selection should play out if no one has a majority of delegates responded that “what ever the rules of the DNC are they should be followed” when the reason he was on stage is because he had the rules changed!?

    It’s no wonder the below clip from “The Rising” that was posted yesterday has 232K views as of this post…

      1. flora

        A history of the Superdelegate system. The old party, smoke-filled room decision, and which gave the nomination to Humphrey in ’68, over the objections of rank-and-file voters, lead to disaffected in the party. GOP candidate Nixon was elected pres. A dem commission was formed “… to make the composition of the Democratic Party’s nominating convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast in primary elections. ” That worked. However…

        By 1980, the party leaders decided to roll back the voters power in the primary and re-enforce the party leaders influence in the nominations.

        “Further soul-searching took place among party leaders, who argued that the pendulum had swung too far in the direction of primary elections over insider decision-making, with one May 1981 California white paper declaring that the Democratic Party had “lost its leadership, collective vision and ties with the past,” resulting in the nomination of unelectable candidates.[11″

        Letting the party insiders, the superdelegate, determine the nominee gave us “electable” candidates who governed like Republicans on all economic issues. That’s not ‘winning’.

        1. John k

          Is if you’re a donor.
          Bloom reinforces the thought that dem elites want the party to which they have title to be up for sal, or rent, to the highest bidder.

    1. Pelham

      It does! Given his awful performance, maybe the DNC will helpfully change the rules back to spare Bloomberg another drubbing.

      The bigger issue, though, is his attempt to take over the party itself, which desperately needs his money. Whether he wins the nomination or not, he could end up with his own personalized major political party.

  30. BillF

    “Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump”

    So the spooks go to Capitol Hill one day after this:
    Trump Names Richard Grenell as Acting Head of Intelligence
    The move places a loyalist atop the intelligence agencies that the president has long battled.”

    You would think they would have waited a few days before attacking Trump with another Russia! Russia!! Russia!!! routine. This (and Trump and Bloomberg, etc. etc.) is what the death throes of a republic looks like.

    1. ewmayer

      Methinks WaPo’s real problem with Grenell is not that he’s a partisan propagandist, rather that he’s not *their* kind of partisan propagandist.

      BTW, I think WaPo gets unfairly maligned over its “Democracy Dies in Darkness” slogan, by people who simply mistake it as something WaPo is fighting against, rather than what it in fact is, the paper’s mission statement.

    1. liberal mole

      More nasty little shenanigans from the MSM. Control room told to make him look unhealthy and hype the paleness of Cooper, who looked like a ghost. Glaringly obvious to me, who plays a little w photoshop.

  31. Heidi

    Fossil-Fuel Production May Be Responsible For Much More Atmospheric Methane Than Scientists Thought

    I’m not an expert in this area, but this study doesn’t seem to account for e.g. contemporary methane produced by dam reservoirs, which over the last decade has been shown to be wildly underestimated. While it may be that fossil fuels are where the methane shortfall in their model is being made up, it’s also possible that they’re ignoring “clean” energy sources that produce GHGs.

    1. Grant

      Just to be clear, the video is about what happened in 2016 and the attempt by Bernie and his supporters to entirely eliminate superdelegates. There was a reform commission, it was overwhelmingly stocked with appointees by Perez and Clinton. The commission had no power, could only give recommendations. Those recommendations went to a committee that actually made the rules, and that committee was overwhelmingly dominated by Perez and Clinton flunkies. Perez, as people know, named absolute ghouls to run that rules committee this time around a few weeks ago. The rules committee refused to eliminate superdelegates, and supported simply eliminating them in the first round. And these same people have pushed a large number of Democrats to run for that very reason. Her video was uploaded yesterday, I highly recommend it. She was on the reform commission and gave great speeches at the time blasting the Clintonite hacks and their plutocratic arguments they were giving.

  32. xkeyscored

    Bats In China Carry 400+ Coronaviruses With The Potential To Spill Over Into Humans NPR (David L)
    I don’t know where that title sprang from; it’s definitely not the title I see on that web page now, which is “New Research: Bats Harbor Hundreds Of Coronaviruses, And Spillovers Aren’t Rare.” Nor can I find the sentence, or even the idea, within the article. Indeed, the author writes about observing the researchers at work in Borneo: “The evidence comes from hours of painstaking sample collection sessions, like the one NPR witnessed in Borneo.”
    For more about how and why bats are so virus-ridden, minus the anti-Chinese xenophobia, try this:
    “Coronavirus outbreak raises question: Why are bat viruses so deadly?
    Bats’ fierce immune systems drive viruses to higher virulence, making them deadlier in humans”

    Brook was curious how bats’ rapid immune response affects the evolution of the viruses they host, so she conducted experiments on cultured cells from two bats and, as a control, one monkey. One bat, the Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus), a natural host of Marburg virus, requires a direct viral attack before transcribing its interferon-alpha gene to flood the body with interferon. This technique is slightly slower than that of the Australian black flying fox (Pteropus alecto), a reservoir of Hendra virus, which is primed to fight virus infections with interferon-alpha RNA that is transcribed and ready to turn into protein. The African green monkey (Vero) cell line does not produce interferon at all.
    Borneo, Egypt and Australia all now part of the dirty, evil Chinese empire? Can we have a link to that, please?

    1. MLTPB

      Ironically, bat in Chinese is a homophonous with the character for good luck or fortune.

      See Fu (character), Wikipedia, and also Homophobic Puns in Mandarin Chinese, Wikipedia.

      You see upside down (more auspicious) bata even in imperial vases, and imperial dragon robes.

      1. xkeyscored

        Forgive my ignorance, but does homophonous in this context mean they’re pronounced exactly the same, ie. with the same tones? Wikipedia doesn’t explicitly say.
        (PS I take it homophobic is a typo?)

        1. MLTPB

          Yes, I believe it means ther are pronounced the same, and thanks for catching the typo.. it should be homophonic.

    1. xkeyscored

      “One [the one in question], which the researchers named “halicin” after Hal, the astronaut-bothering AI in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, looked particularly potent.”
      I’m surprised the anti-AI brigade aren’t going to town on this!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        response = json.load(urllib2.urlopen(request))

        I am HAL and I approve this message


    2. solar hero

      I read this as a new powerful antibiotic discovered with a degree in computer science implementing machine learning.

  33. Grant

    “Warren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her”

    She also spent yesterday again blasting Bernie’s supporters and even made horrible comments on him releasing his medical records. She also used identity to justify that super PAC supporting her. She gutted Bloomberg, which is great. She is a very manipulative careerist that shouldn’t be trusted. She at least focused on policy when she started her campaign. Although that is still there a bit, she is very much now into dirty attacks, lying, and wants to overturn the will of the voters if it benefits her. People can blame advisers of her all they want. She hired them, didn’t have to follow their advice. Bernie would have never hired them and even if he did, they couldn’t talk him out of supporting single payer, doing to her what she did to him and basing her election on identity. It’s ultimately about character, as well as class and ideological biases.

    1. Monty

      This messaging is aimed at her prospective “employers” in the ruling class. She is telling them, “I will do as I am told.”.

  34. Pelham

    Re Should Facebook, Google Be Liable For User Posts?: YES! And for all the reasons Yves points out. I’ve been saying this to anyone who would listen (only my poor wife, actually) for at least 10 years. These platforms were exempted from libel laws on the basis of their neutrality, BUT THEY’RE NOT NEUTRAL!

    Now in addition to strip mining content from legit media they enjoy an enormous legal advantage that was no longer justified the minute they began fiddling with or barring content. It doesn’t matter whether they cite “terms of service” or whatever. And it doesn’t matter that their content providers are unpaid. If a newspaper publishers a letter to the editor from an unpaid reader and the letter defames someone, the newspaper is liable. That’s how it works.

    Of course, social media would either vanish in a puff of digital smoke if the law were applied evenly or they’d become pretty rough, hostile places to visit with unfettered content. Personally, I hope it’s the former.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Methinks it should be ‘subscribe to feed’. I noticed it last month and wondered if I was creating extra work by not creating a WordPress account. I only checked the URL now, and you have relieved me of a small anxiety.

      All the combo boxes on these themes…

  35. Wukchumni

    Suggest new Olympic events for the 2020 games:

    Viral Gymnastics



    Synchronized Coughing

  36. John Powell

    Regarding the Noah Smith article in Bloomberg (Poverty Is All About Personal Stress, Not Laziness), people who are barely able to pay the rent or the utility bill or afford groceries, and are deeply worried or anxious or stressed about that and as a result are functioning at a less than optimal level as they try to deal with that, and more academic research is needed to confirm this theory???

  37. xkeyscored

    Ignacio, hoping you see this.
    I keep wondering whether all this stuff about coronaviruses’ preferences for certain temperatures and (relative) humidities is so relevant to its geographic spread, given how many of us live and work in air-conditioned environments nowadays. Do you have any insights?

    1. MLTPB

      Ignacio above makes a distinction btw water content or moisture content, and relative humidity.

      When people use the word humid, I assume they mean relative humidity. Maybe I or we have to look at some of the discussions again, if its moisture content and not relative humidity we should examine.

      For what it’s worth, moisture content refers to water in liquid form, whereas humidity, relative or absolute, relates to water in vapor form. Usually you get the latter in weather reports.

      1. xkeyscored

        It’s relative humidity you usually get in weather forecasts. It’s a measure of how much more water vapour the air could hold at that temperature.
        Absolute humidity is a measure of how much water vapour is in the air.

        1. MLTPB

          And you are right.

          By ‘the latter,’ I meant humidity, and not moisture content (the former ).

          Should have been more specific, that is, we get relative humidity in weather reports.

  38. none

    NBC played more dirty tricks by presenting Sanders as not willing to respect the Democratic party convention rules

    Yeah, and what about the DNC respecting the party’s debate rules instead of letting in Bloomberg? Or the party’s rules about primaries, and being impartial instead of tilting the election to favored candidates?

    Meanwhile, NBC now claims chopping that segment of the video was “inadvertent”, lol:

    1. Typing Chimp

      Take it for what you will, but these criticisms are good, not bad for Bernie.

      Every candidate gets hazed, fairly or not. Bernie’s criticisms have been things like this, the idea that people don’t like his supporters (“Bernie Bros.”, etc.) and the whole three house thing.

      I can virtually guarantee that every single candidate running in this election or the previous ones going all the way back to Bush Sr. (I didn’t follow politics before much then) would love to have to deal with these types of attacks as opposed to what they actually deal/dealt with.

      This is actually a sign of tremendous strength for Bernie, and the response from his supporters–to firm up resolve and energize his base rather than increase doubts about him–shows a remarkably strong base.

      All these weird fantasies about getting screwed in brokered conventions, etc, aside, Bernie is very obviously the front-runner (unless Bloomberg figures out a real media strategy), and this election is Bernie’s to lose.

  39. MLTPB

    Ignacio above makes a distinction btw water content or moisture content, and relative humidity.

    When people use the word humid, I assume they mean relative humidity. Maybe I or we have to look at some of the discussions again, if its moisture content and not relative humidity we should examine.

    For what it’s worth, moisture content refers to water in liquid form, whereas humidity, relative or absolute, relates to water in vapor form. Usually you get the latter in weather reports.

  40. Jeff W

    …by presenting Sanders as not willing to respect the Democratic party convention rules (as opposed to saying he though the person with the most delegates should be the pick, a much much weaker formulation)

    I wouldn’t even say it’s “a much, much weaker formulation.” The first is simply an inaccurate representation; the second is what he said. The Democratic party convention rules say that, if one candidate fails to have a majority of the delegates, the superdelegates weigh in on a second ballot. All the other candidates said the superdelegates can do whatever the heck they want; Sanders just advocated a decision-making rule—one that happens to be democratic: the superdelegates should vote for whoever has the plurality. That decision-making rule isn’t counter to the Democratic party rules—it’s apart from them.

  41. Oregoncharles

    ‘MSM CENSORSHIP !Bernie was the ONLY candidate saying he would support the Democratic nominee whoever it will be.”

    Whoever? i understand why he has to do this (because he isn’t really a Democrat), but why would anyone think this is a GOOD thing?

    it’s a high price to pay for a ballot line, and it’s giving up any hope of a REAL ‘”political revolution.”

Comments are closed.