Links 2/25/2020

Bumblebees remember objects they see and recognize them by touch Agence France Presse

Colombia has a hippopotamus problem – thanks to Pablo Escobar AP

Three charts on private equity FT Alphaville

World Bank’s pandemic bonds sink as coronavirus spreads FT


Lambert here: Today’s links are a bit heavy on #COVID-19. But it does seem to be a big story, with a lot happening at once. I’ll try for better balance next Links.

Potential Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, Zhejiang Province, China, 2020 Emerging Infectious Diseases CDC

Characteristics of and Important Lessons From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China JAMA. From the “Response to the COVID-19 Epidemic” section:

The timing of the COVID-19 outbreak, prior to China’s annual Lunar New Year holiday, was an important factor as China considered how to respond to the outbreak. Culturally, this is the largest and most important holiday of the year. It is the expectation that people return to their family homes, which is the cause for the several billion person-trips made by residents and visitors during this time, mostly on crowded planes, trains, and buses. Knowing this meant each infected person could have numerous close contacts over a protracted time and across long distances, the government needed to quickly act. However, it was not only the speed of the government’s response, but also the magnitude of that response that were influenced by the impending holiday travel time.

Remarkably, or not, the debacle of the CCP’s initial response goes undiscussed.

* * *

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE Johns Hopkins. This is the ArcGIS map that required a log-in yesterday. It is working for me as of this writing. We weren’t the only ones asking:

Why does the US have so few confirmed coronavirus cases? AEI

* * *

You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus The Atlantic. Deck: “Most cases are not life-threatening, which is also what makes the virus a historic challenge to contain.”

Spreading Across Continents, a Lethal Virus Tests a Fraying Global Order NYT

* * *

Collect 620 kg of used medical masks (Google translation) VN Express (Re Silc). Speaking of the rules-based international order, whose key rule is that you can screw people like this:

Scoop: Coronavirus threatens shortages of about 150 drugs Axios

Moscow targets Chinese with raids amid virus fears AP


Analysis: Coronavirus has temporarily reduced China’s CO2 emissions by a quarter CarbonBrief. Handy chart:

Useful proxy.

Xi’s Response to Virus Foreshadows an Even Tighter Grip on China Bloomberg. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Why some experts are questioning China’s coronavirus claims CBC

Protecting the Truth About the Coronavirus in China The Nation

Virus epicenter Wuhan revokes announcement easing lockdown Reuters

The Koreas

Coronavirus: infected health official leading South Korea’s fight against Covid-19 is member of Shincheonji Church of Jesus South China Morning Post. Oh:



The coronavirus is wreaking havoc across European health services as Italy becomes the most-infected area outside of Asia Business Insider

Italy’s Far-Right Seeks to Gain from Coronavirus Outbreak Time


Railway Station Employee Near Tokyo Infected With Coronavirus Bloomberg. Uh oh…

Preparedness and vulnerability of African countries against importations of COVID-19: a modelling study The Lancet. Could be worse.


C.I.A. Names the ‘Dark Prince’ to Run Iran Operations, Signaling a Tougher Stance NYT

Lithium coup?

Protesting Haitian Police Exchange Gunfire With Soldiers Outside National Palace Time

Chilean gov’t braced for March protests, says president Xinhua

New Cold War

The Politicization of Russia Policy Is a Massive Mistake The National Interest

Grenfell public inquiry delayed again over evidence concerns Guardian


FBI official warns Russia ‘wants to watch us tear ourselves apart’ amid intel briefing controversy CNN

Russia Isn’t Dividing Us — Our Leaders Are Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Intelligence Sources: All Candidates Are Russian Agents But Pete Buttigieg Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

Trump Transition

Supreme Court allows ‘public charge’ rule to take effect nationwide The Hill

Market plunge over coronavirus fears underscores political risk to Trump WaPo. Headline, top left. Priorities!


Mike Bloomberg prepares media onslaught against Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders CNBC

Bloomberg called Warren ‘scary’ and vowed to ‘defend the banks’ in closed-door 2016 event CNN

Bloomberg’s Investment Portfolio Includes Bets on Private Equity, Fracking The Intercept

Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders — immediately Joe Lockhart, CNN (Nippersmom). Open grifting. Lockhart was a founder and managing director of the Glover Park Group, a snake pit of Democratic strategists. (Motto: “Own the conversation“.) They think Bloomberg is a mark, and who’s to say they’re not right? They are, after all, subject matter experts in that area.

Sanders says he would ‘absolutely’ be willing to use military force if elected president The Hill

Finally, Can We All Agree? Everything We Were Told About Bernie Sanders Was Wrong Mehdi Hassan, The Intercept (Re Silc).


Julian Assange and his Australian lawyers were secretly recorded in Ecuador’s London embassy ABC Australia

REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office Declassified UK

Assange’s Persecution Has Exposed Media Depravity The World Over Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

ASSANGE: A Tale of Three Extraditions Consortium News

Yanis Varoufakis – Julian Assange: “We are here so that unarmed truth has the final word” Brave New Europe

Class Warfare

The Robots Are Not Coming for All of Our Jobs Jacobin

Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital and Ideology’: scholarship without solutions FT

Nations seek biodiversity accord to stave off mass extinction Agence France Presse

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote, a lovely story:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Steve H.

    Turchin: The 2010 Structural-Demographic Forecast for the 2010–2020 Decade: A Retrospective Assessment

    Findings are that social instability increased during the decade, as predicted. However, the only asymptotic location looks to be France, with increased riots and anti-government demonstrations. The most interesting correlation is the drop, in the US and UK, of instability mid-decade. imo the election of Trump, and implementation of Brexit, may have provided an expression of displeasure that acted as a pressure release.

    Again, a model has general bounds while the world has discrete anchor points. January 20, 2021 is Inauguration Day. We’ll know more January 21.

    1. dearieme

      “the election of Trump, and implementation of Brexit, may have provided an expression of displeasure that acted as a pressure release.”

      (i) Would you credit it, there’s still a case for democracy.

      (ii) Except in the eyes of those who lose elections or referendums – the Dems, the Remoaners.

      Really we need a word for those who reject the results of free votes. “Fascists” has been abused so much as to be useless.

      Aha, got it! But not to be used on a family blog, alas.

      1. Anonymous 2

        ‘Really we need a word for those who reject the results of free votes’.

        Depends what you consider the proper definition of a free vote. I do not know about Trump but there is no way I would regard Brexit as a truly free vote. It was a manipulated vote. The UK public have been deluged with false information about the UK’s relationship with the EU for the last thirty years – inspired among others by the habitual liar Johnson but masterminded by the ‘evil genius’ (to use MIchael Foot’s words) Murdoch and his allies. As a result there is no way the Brexit vote was a properly informed vote.

        If you are worried about fascism you should follow the activities of the current UK government with anxiety – they appear to be taking aim at a large number of people who might be expected to act as checks and balances in the UK system – the BBC, Channel 4, the judiciary, the Civil Service. The UK government have been described as operating from the ‘radical right’ which I suppose is a little different to the ‘extreme right’ but uncomfortably close IMO.

        The UK really is no longer a properly functioning democracy.

        1. Roland

          The 2016 British referendum question was as plain and stark as it gets. There could be no possible misunderstanding of the choices presented to the voters.

          One should compare the wording of the two secession referendums (1980 & 1995) held in Canada’s province of Quebec, if you need an idea of what obfuscation looks like.

    2. russell1200

      Turchin dances around the immigration issue. It is one of the inputs that was strongest in his modeling for relative and real wages in his 2016 “Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History.” I am not seeing that quote in the piece. But note that both Brexit and Trump are associated with anti-immigration policies. It’s not (just) a racist thing, it’s an immiseration thing.

      1. Steve H.

        > it’s an immiseration thing.

        Far more immiseration than racist. The counties that went Obama, then Trump, may have been the critical factor in putting Trump in the White House. Liberal/Democrat friends really don’t want to hear about Obama’s numbers: -5% homeowners (10 million households), +50% billionaires (approx).

  2. John A

    RE The Politicization of Russia Policy Is a Massive Mistake The National Interest
    “Vladimir Putin continues to claim progress on new weapons systems, but nobody can seriously argue that Moscow is able to go toe-to-toe with the United States in terms of defense spending.”

    Nor would Russian want or need to. Their weapons systems are for defence and spending is based on efficiency and ‘bang for buck’, unlike ridiculous and worse than useless US boondongles such as the F35, the Gerald Ford aircraft carrier, and the Zumwalt class destroyers, for example.

    1. Samuel Conner

      JM Keynes famously remarked that in conditions of economic depression, it would be beneficial to the macroeconomy to pay some workers to bury bottles filled with money and then to pay others to dig them back up.

      (his point, I’m sure, is that productive expenditures would be even more useful)

      Perhaps we can console ourselves about the unproductive spending on weapons systems that don’t work through contemplation of the reality that they may be functioning as a form of Keynes’ above mentioned mode of stimulative expenditure under conditions of significantly less than full employment.

      Maybe the people who design these systems are actually closet peace activists?

      The PTB are continually gaslighting us; perhaps it is fair play turnabout to try to gaslight them back.

      1. Pat

        When I can come up with half a dozen things that would benefit American society without thinking about it, and figure that we could hire 100s of additional people at a living wage with benefits for what the top management is getting the real conclusion is that we aren’t even doing as well as we could with Keynes plan.

        No it is largely a keep the rich rich and make them richer with a few crumbs to some workers on society’s dime plan.

      2. JP

        Exactly, even wasted money goes somewhere. However it depletes the value of money. Productive investment increases the value. That is to say, builds social wealth. Are we better off spending money (productive capacity) on military items that are expended globally or health care that increases our productive capacity locally?

        It is a major failing of macro-economics that all money expenditures are imagined to be the same. The Bernanke helicopter money drop is a perversion. Education and infrastructure is probably a real investment in the future not just a short run stimulus.

        1. a different chris

          Yes I believe Keynes was talking about emergency resuscitation. You don’t do the same things to a patient when he’s sitting up and speaking as you did to get him back to that point. It would be counterproductive, in truth.

        2. BlakeFelix

          Eh, money dropped from a Bernanke helicopter would do more good than if you gave it to Harvard or PENNDOT I bet

      3. xkeyscored

        Bottles of money aren’t quite as dangerous as weapons galore and their delivery systems. The former might be futile, the latter fatal.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Agreed, provided that the weapons systems work.

          Maybe there really are peace activists salted throughout the MIC. Or maybe “inability to fight and win wars” is an unintended consequence of how the MIC (or MICC) is structured.

          Of course, it is very easy to imagine better uses of the public expenditure that is funding these “will never function properly in a serious war” systems.

            1. Wukchumni

              Just how stealthy is a F-35 if radar can’t see it, but anybody can hear it coming, a country mile out?

    2. John Wright

      I remember reading some years ago that Communist Russia had some parts of the economy that added “negative value” to raw materials.

      The example was leather shoes in which labor and material were added to good leather to make shoes that no one wanted and would be eventually be scrapped.

      The USA military boondoggles appear to me to represent negative value added to good raw materials.

      If one believes that climate change is occurring as a result of human activity, one can argue that ALL economic activity should be judged with climate change side effects in mind.

      The F35 represents many barrels of oil pumped and burned to fabricate an object that has limited use.

      When latter day history is written by non-USA historians, I believe the USA will be judged harshly for its profligate use of the world’s resources.

  3. vlade

    Austria and Croatia report cases of CV in regions bordering Italy.

    A school in the UK where pupils were on a ski trip to northern Italy has closed, as some of the are sick with flu-like symptoms, test are in progress.


      1. Ignacio

        A full hotel quarantined in Tenerife (Canary Islands) with 1000 hosts. An Italian tourist tested positive. Priness3?

        A woman tested positive in Catalonia. She had travelled to Italy.

        Come on, this virus spreads so easily!

        1. MLTPB

          Take one’s mail for example.

          The letter you are holding, what has it been in contact with?

          Did anyone along the route sneeze in its vicinity?

          Maybe other letters in various processing center along the way, knowing the virus can survive on the surface of things for some time.

          The letter itself may not have to be from an area or a nation with many cases.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Has anyone documented computer-human transmission yet? I keep getting all these virus warnings from mine. And I read that my iPhone can get viruses too — do I have to worry about that, too?

            1. mpalomar

              I’ve found those viruses to be non-lethal though once contracted they may make you wish you were dead.

          2. Ignacio

            Long-distance mail contagion may be the least of the risks I can imagine. But good as an idea for a film. “The post-card killer” or so.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              If the virus can live that long, then thankfully I already have the plot, just need to pick out the stone. Granted, the mailman might expedite the inevitable.

          3. Shig

            MLTPB, I would microwave it for 15 seconds.
            However, if there’s any metal, like a paper clip, staple or those metal wings that hold larger envelopes closed in or on it, you’ll get sparks and a hole burned in it.
            Works for hats or clothing with the same no metal restrictions:
            Bonus, kills lice, chiggers, spiders, scabies, fleas and bacteria.

            Any microbiologists that can comment on Covid19 microwave mortality?
            How about freezing or placing items in the refrigerator? How long to kill the virus?

            I’m concerned about items purchased at the market, handled by who knows who, the cashier who has touched thousands of coins and bills, put on the belt, handled by bag boy etc.

            1. xkeyscored

              Freezing or refrigerating the virus would probably have no effect. It’s not alive in the way bacteria are, and anyway, refrigeration doesn’t kill bacteria so much as slow their growth, hopefully to near zero, but then they wake up on warming. You’d probably only succeed in preserving your SARS-CoV-2 for later use.
              As for microwaves, I don’t know, though they seem more likely to work, but consider this advice regarding masks:

              Q Can I microwave my disposable mask so that I can use it again?
              A Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, programme leader for infectious diseases at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said there are viral videos on how you can steam masks. These are not recommended. The masks are meant to be used once, and microwaving or steaming is likely to damage them and reduce their protectiveness.

          4. Wukchumni

            I’d venture to say that the only letters I receive that weren’t generated by a machine come from my mom, who likes to send me news clippings.

            …should I be worried?

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          I recall the Tenerife hotel had approx. 100 guests, not 1000. Lets not oversttae things and cause even more panic and handwringing.

    1. MLTPB

      One case in Croatia.

      And the immediate concern is to look for the local patient zero, and to contain the cluster in the area.

      In the same way, even if there were only one new case in China today, it would not simply be about that number, but also the context of it. We should ask, would it start a new cluster somewhere in China, and turn into another Wuhan?

      It seems in China, we just look at the numbers, when we should also look at the where, down to a city, a district, a street or a buliding.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Democratic epidemiology? Crowd-sourced infection control?

        Seems to me there are no hard and fast rules for how this thing spreads, how it behaves, how it mutates and what are the best ways to minimize infection and as a result, no social institutional wisdom exists to forestall transmission, let alone how to contain it down to “street or building” granularity.

        Looks like lots of ugly stuff is going on, reminiscent of how we humans have behaved in past plague events. On the Black Death, And on “Justinian’s Plague,” from earlier,

        Gaia is annoyed.

      1. Shig

        “Go forth and multiply.” Didn’t God create all creatures?

        Mike Pompeo is going to roast in hell for interpreting the word of God for political purposes!

        He’s probably a subscriber to Yahweh’s version that’ll give him a pass.

      2. vlade

        That said, even broken clock is correct twice a day, and Iran almost certainly did supress info – because if the first two cases you announce are two deaths, it’s either a lie, or a total indifference (unless you’ve the global Patient 0, which is not the case) . No idea which is worse.

      3. xkeyscored

        he called on all nations to “tell the truth.”
        Is that the latest euphemism for imposing sanctions and preparing for war?

    2. Ignacio

      Numbers of deaths from Covid-19 reported so far in South Korea, Italy and Iran strongly suggest that the numbers in China are… manufactured? The yes-men-and-women at the WHO must be worried about this.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    as per usual in wintertime, i awoke at 3am(would be a reasonable 4am, if they’d stop messing with the clocks twice per year)…tended the fires…drank coffee and wandered around the web.

    Came across this in the sidebar of a link from yesterday:

    and it hits on a recurring theme around here…especially lately, when the Doom manifests itself a little more clearly than usual: as I put it a week or so ago…if Doom is a given, then what matters is How we enter that Doom…as a pack of howling firemonkeys, or as the Best Humans we can be.

    So I’ll give y’all a couple of clips from one of my favorite movies…one that has afforded me the opportunity to hold forth with my boys on such heady subjects…subjects that even the Catholic Church(they are at least nominal congregants) doesn’t really get in to with any depth or regularity(orthodoxy vs orthopraxis):

    and, just for grins, here’s Odetta, with the best version of my favorite song since I was a tiny, precocious proto-weirdo:

    “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” -Marcus Aurelius

    Plumber’s hat, carpenter’s hat and farmer’s hat are all lined up in a row(it’s really all one hat, with feathers)…striking things off the long list of $hit needs doin’.
    Shantih. Shantih.

    1. human

      I don’t know. Sam Cookes’ version, following Odettas’, was pretty good, however, Odettas’ introduction was positively precious.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      More words to live (or die) by — An old favorite quote from an otherwise guilty-pleasure-of-a-cheesy-historical-movie:

      “…Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many things.

      This was not among them.

      But, at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well:

      For all we ought to have thought and have not thought,
      all we ought to have said and have not said,
      all we ought to have done and have not done,
      I pray thee, God, for forgiveness….”

      I’m basically an atheist, but if I can manage to remember this quote…I’m gonna say it right before I die. Seems like some kick-ass last words, and sure beats the stereotypical ‘ugh!’, or ‘ouch!’, or ‘huh??’ as last words….

      1. xkeyscored

        Leonard Cohen’s Here It Is seems appropriate in these times.

        And here you are hurried,
        And here you are gone
        And here is the love,
        That it’s all built upon.

        Here is your cross,
        Your nails and your hill
        And here is your love,
        That lists where it will

        May everyone live,
        And may everyone die.
        Hello, my love,
        And my love, Goodbye.

      1. Wukchumni

        For what its worth dept:

        The last several times i’ve stayed @ a motel/hotel, there was no Gideon bible, did they get raptured?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          that’s how i got mine.(from a friend)
          prolly a socioeconomic indicator of some kind.

    3. Foy

      Great clips Amfortas

      “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21). One of my favourite lines in the bible.

      And I know it is one that some Catholics (dare I say many/most?), even strict Latin mass Catholics who’ve gone to mass for 70+ years and studied religious books incessantly, don’t even know is in it (I know one who said ‘no way’ when i mentioned it to them and the next day when he turned over his religious monthly calendar, there was the verse in big bold letters!) … But I have my own conspiracy theories why they rarely heard it in sermon readings or read it elsewhere…

      I haven’t seen that movie, I must get it out, thanks!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        it’s in the Apocrypha, as well…Thomas, and maybe one of the one’s that start with “P”.
        I’m not a Christian, by any stretch…maybe a mystic agnostic jesus fan…but I think of that one often in the woodlot.
        ” Lift the stone and there you will find me. Split the wood and I am there.”

        1. Foy

          Yep, I’m with the mystics, it all makes a lot more sense when read that way. There are many rooms apparently…

  5. The Rev Kev

    “FBI official warns Russia ‘wants to watch us tear ourselves apart’ amid intel briefing controversy”

    I think that the Russians may be practicing a more neutral position. In fact, I heard that so many truck-loads of popcorn have been going into the Kremlin the past several months, that it has almost become a national dish.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      related, insofar as all such things are of a piece:
      wife said something about this, so i looked it up—

      I’ve thought for a long time that the Cuban refugee community—as well as the other Latin Americans who “fled left wing regimes”—should rightly be in the Republican Party.
      after all, they are, by definition, those who benefited from the Right Wing Regimes that the Lefties overthrew.
      but we are supposed to ally right up with the descendants of casino owners and the feudalist owners of banana plantations.
      we conveniently forget WHY those folks “fled”…because the People, once empowered, were mad as hell, and wanted to exact revenge for decades(centuries) of rapine and plunder.

      a remarkable datapoint about Cuba: their number one export, for many years, was doctors and nurses.
      not patriot missile batteries and attack helicopters(or debt, for that matter).
      as (the real) Hitler wrote:” what luck for the rulers that men do not think”.

      (Amfortas then cinched up his flame proof bathrobe and wandered off)

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        but we are supposed to ally right up with the descendants of casino owners and the feudalist owners of banana plantations.

        Thank. You. For. This.

        In addition, we are supposed to summarily REJECT any AMERICAN politician who, 50 or 60 years after the fact, dares to suggest that teaching the indigenous Cuban slaves to read and write back then was a GOOD thing.

        We really need to heed the warnings of those wise, ousted oligarch Cubans in their million dollar South Beach condos–teach a person to read and write, and pretty soon they’ll figure out how royally you’re screwing them and show you the door.

        1. Dan

          It was only Cuban oligarchs who were ousted? The purge was clean and neat, eh?
          Bad guys out, good guys in.

          If only life were so simple.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Let us ignore, of, course, the US “hair on fire” CIA and other Absurd Agencies’ and Great Political Figures Of Our Times response to “only 90 miles from our shores,” a trade embargo (‘now “sanctions”) and constant efforts (annoyingly failed, failed, and failed) to Regime Change the Castro success. Interesting how Castro’s Cuba managed to survive, even after losing Soviet support. And I always remember the delicious irony of Cuban troops in Angola protecting American mining and extractive corporate assets against attacks by the CIA-sponsored UNITA, a “terrorist” organization if ever there was one, in one corner of the Great Cold War Game Board…

            As you say, it was not so simple, but maybe not in the way you implied?

            And south Florida is seen by a lot of folks as a separate country, these days — where in a lot of places you will see, instead of “Habla Espanol” signs on commercial establishments you MAY see “English spoken here.” Lots of corruption flows out of south Florida — “the capital of Medicare fraud.” (Of course our former Governor and now Senator Rick Scott defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of $4 billion or more, on his way up the ladder…)

            Yes, not simple. But the ex-pats and their offspring are a significant if maybe unruly voting bloc:

          1. Monty

            It is certainly a very complex question. Is sovereignty worth the struggle the Cuban people have had to endure, or should they have rolled over and potentially become Haiti MKII? Maybe they could have been Las Vegas on Sea, but would they have shared in the wealth, or continued to be subjugated and exploited? I think it varies from generation to generation, but the Cuban families I know are quite pragmatically on the side of saying ‘family blog politics’ and wanting their kids to enjoy a better life that the cruel embargo denies them. What could they have become if they were allowed to thrive instead of being suppressed? Who knows.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            looks like…initially…relatives and comrades(sic) of the Little Cuba in Florida.
            then Castro put a stick in the eye of El Norte by ‘encouraging” the immigration of the homosexuals, mentally ill, and criminal.

            an anecdote: my dad gave me a shortwave when i was 10-12…and the only english language on there at the time was BBC, VOA and the Overcomer(insane preacher guy yelling)
            I dug Latin American music even then, so i ended up knowing where all that was on the dial.(and all over, really, it was a searchable, if random, audio version of Natgeo)
            including Granma(one of numerous things that made my dad nervous about me,lol)
            they had an english service at the time, so i listened late at night to Fidel going on and on…4 hours at a time…like a Springsteen concert.
            I had no idea of the politics or the history…so I looked it up in the giant Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe(macro and micro)(1976 edition).
            …and was forced to reserve judgement…because even that hallowed set of tomes felt incomplete to my young mind…(and didn’t cover the boatlift, it being too recent)
            took the internet, and being good enough at spanish before i understood the Cuban Revolution.
            I’m a fan of Fidel and Che…even though i don’t agree at all with some of their actions over the years(although i can “walk a mile” and understand those reactions.)
            my point in this digression is that it is exceedingly difficult…especially without the language skills…to get a clear idea about any of that history—paraphrasing Yoda:”the Cold War clouds everything”—and US Gov. propaganda ensured that only the approved story made it into print…at least where i was.
            I remember trying to educate myself…by getting all around it…about curious words i kept hearing used, but never defined: communism, socialism, marx, lenin, stalin, ussr, the history of russia, and on and on at the local branch of the Houston Public Library…and being stymied at every turn…either they didn’t have it, couldn’t find it, or interrogated me as to why i wanted such subversive material.
            I wanted “the other side of the story”, as Paul Harvey used to say(because i had read plato, etc)….but it was unavailable.
            end hopefully relevant digression.

      2. Dan

        we conveniently forget WHY those folks “fled”…because the People, once empowered, were mad as hell, and wanted to exact revenge for decades(centuries) of rapine and plunder.

        But did “the people” know precisely who to exact revenge on? Not everyone who fled was an evil oppressor. Life doesn’t work that way.

        1. GramSci

          As I see it, “the people” usually exact revenge more justly than “the leaders” who exact revenge indiscriminately, if not preferentially, on the poor, the weak, the women, and the children.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          no one said it did.
          Jefferson owned People.

          but nevertheless, the Cuban Exodus was generally people who had been aligned with, or who had been a part of, or who had simply benefited from while looking the other way, the Batista regime…and they’ve been very vocal about it ever since.
          They identify with that…it’s the root of their whole political program.
          I’ve certainly never met a Lefty Cuban-American,lol.
          because they stayed.
          i’m sure there was injustice in a lot of that…because nothing is perfect.
          were the Batisteros wearing gold stars or signs around their necks? no…but they lived better, drove nicer cars and displayed their wealth more or less ostentatiously, relative to the lower orders.
          kind of like …say River Oaks, or Clear Lake, in Houston.

          another thing we’re not supposed to consider is the influence of USA on the whole deal.
          Fidel and the Gang saw CIA under their beds, in the same manner that we’re supposed to see Commies…er…Terrists…er…Russians! under ours.
          except their under-the-bed monsters were quite real.(exploding cigars, etc)
          this certainly had a deleterious effect on choice making, re: who is welcome or not.
          but engendering paranoia was the point of all that skulduggery.

          1. Wukchumni

            We relocated Vietnamese immigrants all over the country instead of one place in the 70’s. precisely because of what happened when the Cubans became Florida Men & Women.

          2. Monty

            “Fidel and the Gang saw CIA under their beds”

            Blockades, invasion plans, Gordon Campbell’s CIA Caribbean fleet, Bay of pigs, poisonous diving suits, exploding cigars etc etc etc

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              from yours above:”I think it varies from generation to generation, but the Cuban families I know are quite pragmatically on the side of saying ‘family blog politics’ and wanting their kids to enjoy a better life that the cruel embargo denies them. What could they have become if they were allowed to thrive instead of being suppressed? Who knows.”

              I knew a few in the Houston area, and i agree…but more likely to be Reaganites, nevertheless.

              what sticks in my craw is the meddling by my government…not just in Cuba…but all over the world, whenever there’s some not-so-right-wing bunch elected, who mean to help their own people.
              what would the last 60 years of Cuban history be like without that malign influence?
              for that matter, what would the early history of the USSR look like without the (Western Funded) White Army?
              even the emergence of the Khmer Rouge was only possible because we blundered all over that part of the world meddling and bombing and regime changing and not minding our own damned business.
              as i’ve said before, every, single foreign policy problem i can think of…from Illegal mexicans and alquaeda to MS 13 to Iran to russia!…is of our own making….our Hubris…. whether intentional or not.
              (and of course, even though a New Deal has traction in the feed store, there’s no way i could get away with talking about US foreign policy in this way, there. It’s mostly unknown history, and conflicts directly with what these folks want to believe)

              1. Monty

                I had some pretty strident views on the subject myself, but now I am related to quite a few recent Cuban immigrants and I realized my opinion in meaningless, having not experienced it myself.

                If a powerful gang keeps beating me and my family up, because i wont pay homage to their leader, should I be a hero and let them slowly starve and beat us all to death, or is it better for me to acknowledge my weaker position in the relationship and just bow down and stop the beatings.

      3. mpalomar

        I point out to Americans, who are often hazy on what their imperial leaders have been up to and why the US is involved in conflicts around the globe, that Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa at the time of Gaddafi’s assassination.
        “In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

        After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. “

        1. xkeyscored

          After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles.
          Wasn’t that the intention? There certainly wasn’t much of a plan to maintain Libya’s wealth and social benefits. Bomb them and leave them to it was the grand design.

      4. Kurt Sperry

        Yeah, the Floridian ex-pat Cuban community should be shunned by the left rather than courted, or even listened to. Their politics are crazier than an outhouse rat, and they make the John Birch Society look left-wing by comparison. Let the Republicans deal with that hot mess of crazy from inside their own house and run screaming away.

          1. Balakirev

            You just conjured for me an image of Chuck Schumer done up as Patton, with Nancy Pelosi as a bodyguard in fatigues, hoisting a semi. Make it a PK machine gun for the irony factor.

                1. WobblyTelomeres

                  God, don’t get me started on Erik and his evil sister. Poor Jules has to keep zapping my rants.

      5. lordkoos

        Obama won Florida, and he also praised the Cuban education system, although that was after he was elected, when he visted the island. I wonder how many Cuban-Americans under the age of 50 really give a shot about this kind of stuff?

    2. Polar Socialist

      Yes, this is the one thing I really don’t get — why would it be in Russian interest to “sow chaos” or “watch US to tear itself apart”?

      I gather they have much bigger need for a stable, but “agreement capable” USA. Actually, I bet every nation would prefer a big, powerful nation that follows international rules to one acting out chaotically and unpredictably.

      1. MLTPB

        That is not how things work.

        For example, when a country exports to the US, they are not thinking if jobs here will be lost, if the US employment will be torn apart, if many of our drugs will be one day choatic or overly dependent on them.

        That example’s country does not think it prefers a nation full of stable, well to do customers steadily buying its exports.

        It, Russia, or any state thinks and acts for it’s own interests.

        Russia will shut its Chinese border or track down possible covid 19 spreaders if Putin thinks that is what is best for Russia, not whether that is overreacting or not.

        For whose benefit – that is still a useful question.

    3. urblintz

      If Russia wants to “watch” us rending the fabric of democracy and of ourselves it could save a lot of money and just watch cable news!

  6. dearieme

    “Why does the US have so few confirmed coronavirus cases?”

    American exceptionalism, of course.

    What strikes this furriner is that the US has a huge military and a huge Securitate. Yet neither seems to have kept the Executive and Congress equipped with a policy for reacting to the inevitable occurrence of a serious pandemic. But the Wuhan virus is far more likely to kill lots of Americans than Mr Putin, be he ever so vile. It all seems so intellectually frivolous. A friend in Singapore keeps me apprised of how intellectually serious people do these things: most impressive.

    1. Louis Fyne

      the US lucked out in that Wuhan (kinda like the Indianapolis or Columbus, OH of China) isn’t linked to the US as Shanghai, Hong Kong.

      For South Korea, lots of business/tourist connections with second-tier-sized cities like Wuhan.

      1. MLTPB

        One wonder if one factor is that people in N America keep a larger personal space. The small town Italians in the recent stories I’ve read seem to socialize a lot more too.

        Or if we visit see doctors in smaller medical buildings, instead of larger hospitals (depending on your plan, I guess),

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          I am afraid that it has nothing to do with personal space and that the numbers are not showing up yet because they are not being counted, from what I have read. Plus it might be that we might be more in the pre-symptomatic phase.

          As I see the lack of hygiene of most people in my travels, frequenting places like Starbucks, I can only say it is just a matter of time and it will explode. That couple with the obesity epidemic will cause a burden. And then what we have seen in South Korea will be expressed in the U.S. as well..”But ‘mah Freedum!”

          IMHO it has already started. Straight from the CDC’s website:

          However, it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. In that case, the risk assessment would be different.

          I am concerned if this is true because the sudden revelation will lead to more panic. But for once I feel lucky to be homeless in a van and I am looking for less populated areas to spend my time.

    2. Expat2uruguay

      The US has so few confirmed tests because it doesn’t test. The US has conducted 414 tests for the new coronavirus in the United States. South Korea has a lot of cases because they’ve conducted over 20,000 tests. You can’t have an epidemic if you don’t test for the epidemic. This is covered at 22 minutes into the attached Peak Prosperity video.
      Also, it’s crazy that the WHO, instead of declaring a pandemic, has now decided to retire the word “pandemic”- See 14:45 of the video.
      Our leaders are worse than useless.

    3. Shig

      “the US has a huge military and a huge Securitate.”

      Nothing that $30 worth of box cutters can’t defeat…

      “They pretend to tell us the truth about 9-11, we pretend to believe them.”

    4. Cuibono

      Because we arre NOT testing for it. CDC recalled all the test kits from mthe states and has not announced a date to resume testing. Mind you in australia 4 out of 7 states had testing up within ONE WEEK!!!

      Here in the USA? Crickets. Incompetance? Conspiracy? Take your pick

      1. Harvey

        I’m not convinced that Australia is testing to catch the virus. And an eye opener that the US isn’t testing, that explains the lack of cases. The US is such a 3rd world country.
        Does anyone know what is happening in Canada?

    5. Glen

      Some guy in Florida went to get checked, and it cost like $6K. So nobody is gonna go get checked.

      Too bad all you PMCs that the guy that just served you food is sick, has no health care, and has to go to work or lose their job.

      Pandemic? I don’t see how we avoid it. Public health has been decimated in our country.

      As for Russia or China, most of us have long ago concluded that American health insurance will kill us long before any terrorist would. M4A is a much better investment in America’s future than budget busting defense budgets and endless stupid wars.

  7. Big River Bandido

    So, Bloomberg decided to take Joe Lockhardt’s fool advice. I wonder how they’re going to decide, write, shoot, and buy time for all those ads with only a week before Super Tuesday.

    And I wonder if this will be handled as poorly as Bloomberg’s text messaging screwup. You can buy all kinds of things but not loyalty, and there’s no way to ensure quality control.

    Last, I had to do an eye roll at this article. Pray tell, what disqualifying fact could possibly come out 7 days before the primary, when Sanders has been running for 5 years, that could possibly destroy his candidacy? I really have to laugh at this. These people are pikers.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I hope that the Sanders campaign has anticipated this and has relevant responses already produced and ready to air.

      It was noted a couple of days ago in comments that in NV, Sanders’ media adverts were on radio rather than TV. That makes loads of sense; drive-time radio is probably the news source for many workers, who simply don’t have time to watch TV at home.

      Radio is cheaper and may be more flexible in terms of scheduling, too.

      1. lordkoos

        I’m sure Sanders knows that the knives are being sharpened for the next debate and is preparing accordingly.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Agree with Michael Hudson that Bernie needs to broaden the language, even though it is the correct formulation using the term “working class” doesn’t acknowledge enough said class members’ aspirations to move from that tranche to “middle class”. Even Lyin’ Liz’s formulation “working families” is better.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Isn’t it like a stock broker? It isn’t about winning and losing, it’s all about the churn.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: infected health official leading South Korea’s fight against Covid-19 is member of Shincheonji Church of Jesus”

    There might be another worry with that Shincheonji Church of Jesus. I was watching the news a few hours ago and they were talking about the rate of infections with the members of this church. But then came the real story which made me stop and listen though I missed a bit.

    It seems that this Church has branches all around the world. And in the the past few months, that Church had two events which caused members to fly in from all around the world and straight away I was wondering if one was from Italy. I missed what the second event was but the first was the funeral of the brother of the Church leader. And a bit of research showed the alarming circumstances around his death-

    1. MLTPB

      Sitting like that closely…that’s not unusual for various religious gatherings.

      For hours…how many? Not unusual if it’s one hour here. Not sure how long in say, Albania.

      There is one gathering that is that closely packed, for many hours , and with spittle flying – club/concert partying.

      1. John k

        About 150k people in the us play bridge regularly ar clubs and tournaments. Maybe 6,000 players, including me, from mostly us but all over the world, will be in Columbus oh in late March for a ten day tournament. This will all stop on a dime if cv spreads here.
        And most other conventions, too.

      2. Foy

        Maybe COVID19 will get Christians, after 2000 years, to finally follow Jesus’s advice on how to pray (Matthew 6):

        “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues [i.e. churches] and on the street corners to be seen by others….
        But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

        Perhaps he said to go to a room by yourself and don’t babble because it’s easier to understand and realise that “the Kingdom of heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21), when by yourself in silence rather than in a packed noisy congregation. Perhaps it’s a bit hard to see what is within when the focus is on everything without.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Related to that – the protests by all those old folks in Gwanghwamon Square (this is the main mall through the heart of the administrative heart of Seoul). I was in Seoul in October and saw those protests every day – locals were dismissive about them being rubes bused in from the countryside (and yes, they gave every appearance of that). They were also super obedient – all given identikit banners and flags to wave and I could see anything vaguely unauthorised been taken away from them as they joined the main gathering. There is a very strong association between the right wing protestors and the cult Christian churches of Korea. If I was in Seoul, I’d be giving those protests a very wide berth. I’ve no doubt if they did spread the virus to Seoul they’d call it Gods judgement on the government or something like that (funnily enough, cults like that never consider that maybe the virus is Gods judgement on them).

  9. John

    All the Russia! Russia! nonsense reminds me more and more of Henny Penny and Ducky Lucky. I just looked outside and the sky was not falling nor were the Russians coming.

    Seems to me that the purveyors of this rancid nonsense have lived in their bubble for so long that they are convinced that any swill they serve will be swallowed with gusto by the incredibly stupid populace whom they disdain.

    1. Arizona Slim

      For me, it is motivational. It inspired me to begin learning the Russian language. And to study Russian history and culture.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      swallowed with gusto by the incredibly stupid populace whom they disdain.

      This has been my attitude all along, but I’ve run into far too many people who are otherwise fairly smart and worldly falling for this nonsense. If people weren’t buying it, they wouldn’t be selling it. My take away from this is that propaganda is incredibly powerful.

  10. juneau

    Why does the US have so few confirmed cases? Because we have decided not to test. Seriously. Dr Anthony Fauci made a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations last week and said we are only sampling to get a prevalence rate in 5 cities and only patients who are negative for flu and have fever and respiratory symptoms. It is an epidemiologic study and not meant to find people to treat etc…the video is on youtube at at around 11 minutes.
    It looks like we are waiting for things to become obvious to avoid spooking people, the economy, whatever.

    1. Samuel Conner

      It’s hard to know the motives. I have the impression that this is definitely “surveillance” to ascertain whether “spread in the community” is taking place. The reason for doing that is to know when to switch from “containment” to “mitigation” measures.

      Given the literally millions of patients who exhibit respiratory symptoms caused by known flu and cold viruses every flu season, one cannot at the moment test every such patient for a new pathogen, particularly if the test kits are not yet in sufficient supply.

      There may be “keep the public calm” motives at work here, but I think that the policy is still sensible at the moment. And I have the impression that the program can be expanded to other cities.

      This next is not a happy thought, but I have the impression that epidemiologists are not optimistic about the prospect of forever preventing spread in the community within US, given the likelihood that the virus is destined to become endemic in some other parts of the world. The question is “how much time can the containment measures gain us”, time that one hopes will be wisely used to prepare the medical system for the high demands that will be placed on it, and to identify useful medications for supportive or even anti-viral therapies.

      1. xkeyscored

        Are there any indications that the time gained is being used wisely, to prepare the medical system?

        1. The Rev Kev

          And remember that time that armed police blocked all the roads going in and out of your city so that you could not leave? Good times.

      1. urblintz

        In Florida, I have two friends, a couple, go into the hospital 3 weeks ago. They were diagnosed with Flu-A and one had “asthma-related pneumonia” (so he told me – its unclear how precise he was being) kept overnight discharged early next morning after a day of iv something and tamiflu and felt recovered after 10. They told me the ER was jam packed with closely huddling masses yearning to breathe free through ineffective masks (apparently) and persistent coughing. My friends forbade me to visit them. Sounds to me like the system is already hard pressed to treat a lot of sick people.

        Both had flu shots. Me too. We are all 64 yrs old.

        I have escaped illness this year so far. Publix has a cheap store brand alcohol based hand sanitizer. And I don’t get out much…

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          According to the rather vague Axios link, one of the classes of drugs that could be impacted as a result of China’s shutdown is antibiotics. No one who’s paying attention doesn’t know that the practice of american medicine depends so heavily on this drug class that superbugs are being created, and that hospital borne infections are a dire problem.

          It’s my understanding that corona has a rather limited lethality–mostly in compromised patients. But the real problem may well turn out to be a knock-on effect of the supply chain interruption–shortages of drugs to treat other conditions that are either life-threatening in their own right, or create compromised patients more susceptible to corona.

          And as a political aside–some are almost gleeful about the economic disruption a China shutdown could cause, since the “booming” economy is seen as key to Trump’s reelection. Dunno. Trump has repeatedly insisted that manufacturing be brought back to america, something Steve Jobs famously assured obama “was never going to happen.” I can’t think of a better demonstration of the urgent need to reshore manufacturing than american deaths resulting from a shortage of critical Chinese made antibiotics.

          How does Lambert put it? Oh, yeah–clarifying.

          1. lordkoos

            Trump has repeatedly insisted that manufacturing be brought back to america

            Talk is cheap, especially from that source. He hasn’t actually done a thing AFAIK.

          2. lordkoos

            The article would have been much more useful had they included a list of the drugs, which it seems they had access to.

            1. Tom Bradford

              Agreed. I went to it wondering if the list included lamotrigine, an anti-epileptic. Coming off it suddenly if unavailable – as with many other pharmaceuticals – can be a severe shock to the system and potentially fatal.

              I intend pursuing this with my pharmacist as, if shortages are possibly, it might be wise to start reducing my dosage now to spin out what I have and lessen the severity of a shock.

      2. vlade

        or put it differently – less than 2% hospitalization (lowest flu number vs highest flu hospitalizations), and 0.2% mortality.

        if the numbers in China (which are almost certanly wrong, but we don’t know how wrong and in which direction) would be applied to the above, you’d have at about 6-8m hospitalizations, of which about 1-1.5m would require ICU bed, and between 600,000 and 800,000 deaths.

        So deaths alone would be more than the flu hospitalizations. And that ignores the fact that of the 1m+ ICU requiring hospitalizations, not all of them would get it (there, the spread over time would matter very much).

        1. xkeyscored

          And more than just ICU beds. All medical staff attending the infected, and potentially infected, not to mention cleaners and wotnot, would need pretty extreme protection measures too. (And a plentiful supply of replacement staff for when those measures fail.) How prepared is the glorious US health system for that?

          1. Wukchumni

            The last time I ventured near our hospital in Visalia accompanying a friend going to the emergency room, I had to excuse myself as the prospect of hanging out with 44 sick people waiting for what seemed like forever, was weirding me out, and that was before Covid-19.

    2. MLTPB

      How are we different from other countries in testing for flu first in 5 cities?

      In Canada, do they test every patient?

      Yesterday, Lee wrote he cancelled 2 doctors appointments. How many who think they only have a cold will do that in order to avoid catching the more serious sickness? How do we then catch them early?

      1. Monty

        UK population 60m tests 6000+ Tells people with flu to self isolate for 14 days.
        US population 360m tests 426. Tells people not to worry, it’s all under control. CDC doing a heckofajob!

          1. Wukchumni

            There are really not too many Chinese-Americans here in the CVBB, more Hmong among us.

            If Fresno County is doing this, why aren’t LA & SF?

            As fear spread around the world early this week over the new strain of the coronavirus, local officials said at least 55 people in Fresno County have been quarantined at home and monitored for symptoms.

            No Fresno County residents have tested positive for the virus and none have even shown symptoms, health officials told The Bee.

            The residents were monitored as a precaution because they either traveled to China or were in contact with someone who traveled there, according to Joe Prado, division manager of community health for the Fresno County Department of Health.


  11. Samuel Conner

    Regarding the problem of pharmaceutical supply chain disruption, the thought occurs to me that this is another opportunity to “not waste the crisis”.

    That supply chain is what feeds US for-profit pharma industry. They are going to be sweating, me thinks, if they cannot source inputs for the drugs that they sell at such massive markups.

    Surely there are numerous public-spirited retired chemical engineers who could start up a boutique not-for-profit synthesis/purification laboratory (I feel confident that they could find public funding, perhaps even from the military, which has ongoing combat-medicine needs) that could be scaled up to a full-blown alternative source for certain critical inputs.

    Retained earnings from such an enterprise could be re-invested into expansion into other inputs.

    Some of the inputs may be derived from ag products not grown in US. Another opportunity to on-shore. An example (related to a medicine that is not a priority at the moment but that may become in not distant future) is reserpine (which can be converted into syrosingopine, which you should be aware of:


    1. a different chris

      >perhaps even from the military,

      The military isn’t even allowed to clean its own toilets, anymore. Has to be done by a PPP, dontcha know otherwise how will Richie Rich pay his mistresses?

  12. timbers

    The Anderson Cooper interview when he asked if Bernie can think of anytime U.S. military action is warranted, is such a sign of the times.

    I wished Bernie had the wits about him to responded by asking Cooper….

    “Anderson, can you think of anytime we were told military action was absolutely positively warranted, and in fact is was not? Actually, can you think of ANY fairly recent example of US military force being used, where it did not make matters worse and in fact not being needed at all? Anderson, shouldn’t you be emphasizing the rampant over use of military force in the world today, instead asking questions that look under every rock, nook, and cranny, and using all possible pretext, not to encourage peace but to encourage military force, wars, and conflicts? Don’t you think your militaristic attitude might have contributed to the fact we are bogged down in so many unwinnable expensive conflicts that have nothing to do with our national interests when we should be finding peace and providing for MedicareForAll Americans and advance the well being of Americans here at home? And them maybe America can look past her boarders and see what she can do to advance peace of all people?”

    1. Samuel Conner

      “How blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called ‘sons of God’ ”

      I’m a former evangelical, shaking my head in disbelief at how far the main-stream of the movement I once considered myself part of has departed from the spirit and letter of the words of the person they claim to regard to be “Lord and Savior”.


      Lk 13:1-3

      that’s one to think on long and hard, at so many levels.

      1. Robert S

        Amen, Samuel.

        While they are at it, maybe they can ponder “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.” Matthew 5:5

        And then consider the meaning of “… woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” Luke 6:24

        Now, I’m not saying that St Peter’s Basilica in Rome is the best exemplar of those two ideas (ha!), but Pope Francis has been leading the counter-argument against the trends that concern you. See e.g.:

        1. mpalomar

          “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.”

          -I always prefer to take that dictum sardonically, as in what inheritance results in succumbing meekly to the powers that be? That would be earth will a small ‘e’.

          1. Wukchumni

            Covid-19 will be the acid test for dogma as it loses group synch power and weakens even further.

            Congregating together during the Black Plague probably seemed like a good idea to ward off evil spirits, etc., but that was then and this is now.

        2. Tom Bradford

          And also ponder: “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Matthew 27-29.

          Wall St. doing the good work.

      2. Foy

        One interpretation of “Blessed are the peace makers” is that it is talking about making peace with one’s self, losing the ego, or making the ego subservient to the True Self/The Witness. If the ego is lost, attachments and all the things that cause conflict are lost, one becomes at peace with oneself and with the world.

        This isn’t often considered as most people read a ‘peacemaker’ as like a mediator/third party bringing peace to other conflicting parties. It’s being at complete peace within one’s self that brings peace to others.

        1. Tom Bradford

          One should be very wary of interpreting anything written in the 16th Century purporting to be an interpretation of a Greek phrase written down 1500 years earlier, as in both cases the worlds in which they were written, and from which those words took their context, were very different to our own.

          1. inode_buddha

            I’ll have to disagree. Human nature has not changed since Old Testament times, nor had it in New testament times.

    2. Lee

      So long as Bernie promises to invade and occupy Wall Street, I’m totally down with his use of military force. Just kidding. Or am I?

      1. timbers

        Bernie should ask to be guest on Chris Matthews show (does even still have one I never watch TV or cable anymore?) so he can assure Chris he has nothing to worry about being executed in Central Park…because he only plans to do that to billionaires, and since Chris isn’t a billionaire, he won’t be among those rounded up and shot.

        But….he just might change his mind and include the corporate media if they continue to act as they do…

        1. Copeland

          Bernie on Hardball: “Don’t worry Chris, you’re safe…the cutoff…pun intended…for public executions, will be $20 million”

  13. Wukchumni

    As fear spread around the world early this week over the new strain of the coronavirus, local officials said at least 55 people in Fresno County have been quarantined at home and monitored for symptoms.

    No Fresno County residents have tested positive for the virus and none have even shown symptoms, health officials told The Bee.

    The residents were monitored as a precaution because they either traveled to China or were in contact with someone who traveled there, according to Joe Prado, division manager of community health for the Fresno County Department of Health.

    Imagine if they quarantined all of those in LA/SF that had contact with someone who had been to China?

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      To date, there are 8000 in self quarantine throughout CA. They are being monitored (allegedly) by public health officials.

  14. sd

    It’s the timing I wonder about…

    Univision Sold To Investment Firm Of Former Viacom CFO Wade Davis

    Giant Miami-based Spanish language broadcaster Univision is being acquired by two private investment firms, ForgeLight and Searchlight Capital Partners, and will enter a new era led by Wade Davis – longtime media executive, former Viacom CFO and ForgeLight founder-CEO – and marked by enhanced collaboration with core programming partner and remaining shareholder, Televisia of Mexico.

  15. Louis Fyne

    –LIVE IN SEOUL’S GWANGHWAMUN: This is absolute madness. Conservative groups have defied the ban on protests re: containing the spread of coronavirus in South Korea, —

    On the scale of Korean street protests the video shown on Twitter is an office water cooler meet-up. just saying.

    when Koreans mobilize for a political protest, they mobilize—ie, that same area filled shoulder-to-shoulder with people for blocks (or kilometer+) in every direction with no room for traffic.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It does seem lightly attended (very hard to tell with a short clip like that), but those protests are not necessarily very crowded. The ones I walked through back in October in Seoul in the same area tended to be broken up by the roads (the police did not shut down traffic), with pedestrian access maintained on either side. They would extend all the way from Gyongbokgung palace to the new riverside park, a length of around 500 metres, with smaller gatherings on side streets or on minor roads around the palace, with several stages and podiums at various intervals. One I estimated had around 40-50,000 people, but I could walk through easily and unimpeded.

      The one thing that struck me about them was just how tightly organised they were. Literally not one person had a discordant flag or placard, everyone was politely following instructions (I saw small piles of signs that had been discarded, presumably because they were considered inappropriate – a lot of them had pictures of Trump).

  16. Craig H.

    > C.I.A. Names the ‘Dark Prince’ to Run Iran Operations, Signaling a Tougher Stance

    1. article is from 2017.
    2. isn’t this guy the one that supposedly died in Afghanistan the other week that people were saying he was personally targeted by Iranian spooks? The CIA wasn’t saying that. They usually don’t say anything about what they are doing. Unless they are trying to sell the civilians some propaganda.

    1. xkeyscored

      You beat me to it.
      1. Yes.
      2. Iranian spooks? Could be, but Ansarullah claim they recently shot down another Tornado jet over Jawf in northern Yemen, and that the pilots were from a western country.
      A Houthi source who wished to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak on the subject, told MintPress that after the fighter jet went down, Saudi Coalition warplanes launched airstrikes hoping to kill the crew of the jet before they could be captured, he added that captured crew were, in fact, not Saudi nationals, but he refused to say where they were from, saying only that it was a “western country.” The Houthis were eventually able to capture the crew and move them to a secure location. One of them is seriously injured, according to the Houthi source, who said the attacks reveal that other countries are directly involved in the war not only by providing Saudi Arabia with internationally-prohibited weapons but also with military pilots.
      (Don’t ask me where ‘British’ comes from, though it wouldn’t surprise me in the least)

      1. Craig H.

        Have you seen the slideshow

        Peter Zeihan on The New President & the World Challenges & Opportunities?–FmUXHPKE

        He is a complete tool and I could not watch it except in painful intervals, but one take he was offering up is that Brexit is part of a decades strategy to re-orient the British as a global security service for clients like the Saudis and the Malaysians and similar countries. They can’t play pirate if they are under EU jurisdiction. Piracy is their core competency!

        1. xkeyscored

          Talking of pirates, this article is considerably less painful than that video. Lovely photo of Boris; I don’t know if it’s photoshopped; just as likely how he spent his time at Oxford. For peace keeping I read what you term piracy. Offshore banking, another close relative of piracy, is also likely to prosper without EU oversight

          Mr Johnson has written a foreword to a Global Britain report by Tory MP Bob Seely.
          It recommends the UK’s development funding is refocused to include areas such as peace keeping and the BBC World Service.

    2. Stephen Gardner

      Why is this old article here? I’m puzzled. It almost made me think that d’Andrea was still alive. Not a word has been said by the CIA about him since Iran claimed that they killed him. That seems unusual unless he really is dead.

  17. Parker Dooley

    “Market plunge over coronavirus fears underscores political risk to Trump”

    Dow drops 1000 points as investors learn Fidel not totally evil.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus”

    ‘Lipsitch predicts that, within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19’

    Thought that I would run some numbers here for a bit of context. There are approximately 7,700,000,000 people or more living at the moment on our planet. If we take the low figure of 40% as a working basis, that means that there will be 3,080,000,000 people that will get infected by this virus. And when you work the current death rate of 2.3%, that means that you are talking about 70,840,000 deaths which is massive.

    But of course it will be much higher. I believe that about 10% of all infected people go on to be seriously sick. No way will medical care be able to proved ventilators, hospital beds, nurse and doctors for all these sick so you would expect a much higher death rate so you might have at a minimum one hundred million deaths

    But if the virus mutates to a more lethal variant, then all bets are off.

    1. Paradan

      In general, pathogens tend to mutate to become less lethal. Lethal strains are self limiting. HIV is a good exception to the rule though, but its got a long incubation/symptom free phase to make up for it’s lethality.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘In general, pathogens tend to mutate to become less lethal.’

        That is true and it is not. From what I read, pandemics come in three waves with the initial wave – which we are in – then a more lethal second wave, and finally a less lethal third wave. Hopefully Coronavirus will not evolve into this deadly second wave.

    2. xkeyscored

      You’d not only want ventilators, hospital beds, nurse and doctors; you’d want isolation and protection. The UK has around five thousand intensive care beds, but could it also isolate the patients, and protect the doctors and nurses?

  19. Wukchumni

    Relax everybody, the latest Presidential Medal of Freedom winner tells us Corona is merely a beverage that ought to be served cold.

  20. Wukchumni

    Our winter of missed content continues apace, with a little hot hot hot.

    From NWS Hanford:

    Maximum temperatures Friday
    afternoon will be near record values for the warmest temperatures ever measured on February 28th in Fresno and Bakersfield. The current record for maximum temperature ever measured in Fresno on February 28th is 79 degrees, set in 1926. Temperature records at Fresno date back to 1888. The current record for maximum temperature ever measured in Bakersfield on February 28th is 81 degrees, initally established in 1905 and last observed in 1926. Temperature records at Bakersfield date back to 1893.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Not sure why but I get an error message attempting to connect to the domain. I tried it in Chrome, Opera and Firefox and got similar error messages. The FF error was the most informative:

      Secure Connection Failed

      An error occurred during a connection to SSL received a record that exceeded the maximum permissible length.


  21. xkeyscored

    Analysis: Coronavirus has temporarily reduced China’s CO2 emissions by a quarter

    It’s also being said that demand for exotic animals to eat has plummeted. Rich Asians especially are noted for paying, if not actually liking, to eat endangered species. Understandably, this passion has cooled somewhat of late, and may be hard for the illegal traders to rekindle once WURS has died out or whatever. Good news for pangolins, who used to be one of the favourites.

    1. vlade

      I do wonder how long will it last.

      Few months back there was a discussion here on NC where someone way saying how we’d learn from China/others how to farm animals vs. the extensive farming practices in the West. If memory serves, PK (apologies if misattributed) replied that China’s farms are bioweapon factories due to their total disregard of any health measures, and while the western farms leave a lot to be desired, they health practices in this are way better.

      Guardian has a story on it just today.

      The cultural predisposition of Chinese to “wet meat” over refrigerated doesn’t help. I do wonder whether this incident will change that.

        1. Procopius

          Referring to him as “Jinping” is a little jarring to me. You do know that’s his given name, right? So calling him “Jinping” is kind of like referring to President Macron as “Emanuel,” or Chancellor Merkel as “Angela.” His family name (surname) is Xi. Most Chinese family names are a single syllable. I know a lot of “centrist” Democrats refer to President* Trump as “Donald” or worse to demonstrate their contempt/hatred for him, but I can’t tell if that’s your intent here.

  22. Wukchumni

    A year after this Marine disappeared on a hike, his family is still unsure what happened

    Matthew Kraft, a platoon leader with the 1st Battalion/7th Marines at Twentynine Palms, part of the 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton, disappeared after taking leave from the Marine Corps for a two-week backcountry ski trip along the High Sierra Route starting Feb. 24, 2019.

    Better headline:

    Idiot ventures out on solo ski in the highest climes of the Sierra Nevada in one of the biggest winters in history-goes missing, causing much distress and an untold amount of money and effort to find his body.

  23. xkeyscored

    Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital and Ideology’: scholarship without solutions FT

    Almost a defence of orthodox marxism, from the FT of all sources! Raghuram Rajan wonders if ideology can really be behind inequality, as he claims Piketty says.
    Marx argued the plough gave us the feudal manor and the steam engine gave us the capitalist mill. Piketty claims instead that the nature of property rights and their distribution is largely driven by the prevailing ideology, a vague term that seems to imply a kind of public brainwashing.
    And if ideology underpins the social structure, what does that mean for those who would change it? If inequality stems primarily from ideology, all the reformer has to do is to change the prevailing ideology. So why, then, in ostensibly democratic societies do voters not do more to curb high and increasing levels of inequality? The Marxist explanation was “false consciousness” — essentially, the working masses did not understand where their true interests lie. Piketty does not address this question directly but hints at a more prosaic answer: they merely lack the data.

    I haven’t read Piketty’s latest offering, and I suspect a degree of straw manning here. And this criticism of Picketty’s tax proposals seems extremely dubious:
    Also, one virtue of the entrepreneurial rich retaining control over their wealth is that they have already shown an ability to put resources to good use — which is why they are wealthy.
    Hmmm. Pablo Escobar and Mark Zuckerberg grew rich by putting resources to good use? Perhaps Rajan will enlighten us in a forthcoming article.

    1. vlade

      “they have already shown an ability to put resources to good use” And all the heirs and heiresses etc.

      This alone suggests he has, at best, massive bias.

      1. xkeyscored

        He does assert that today’s rich are mostly the ‘working rich’, though I’m far from convinced.

        Piketty’s assumption in this and his previous book is that today’s rich are largely the idle rich — people like the late Liliane Bettencourt, the L’Oréal heiress, who collected returns on enormous amounts of financial wealth but allegedly paid tax on only a small part of her fortune. What could be the harm in taxing people like her?
        Recent studies suggest Bettencourt is not representative of today’s rich, certainly not in America. Much of the increase in top incomes in the US stems from the 1980s, after the Reagan tax cuts. As my colleague Eric Zwick and his co-authors show in a paper published by the National Bureau for Economic Research, businesspeople moved towards corporate structures such as partnerships, where what was earlier shown as wage income was now misleadingly shown as profits or income to capital. Correcting for this, they find that most top earners in the US today are the self-made “working rich”, such as lawyers, doctors and car dealers, deriving their income from their skills rather than their physical or financial capital.

          1. eg

            I was going to say — even the occupations of those who did not inherit their riches feature a heavy dose of rent extraction, and that’s before the tax avoidance/evasion shenanigans which treats their income so much more favourably than labor

            Which is to say that Rajan is an abject apologist who can bite me …

  24. chuck roast

    I haven’t seen any Officer Candidates around my little navy town lately. They are usually out and about on weekends with their big hats and nicely creased browns. Maybe they locked them down to prevent contamination. Dumb as a rock. Hundreds of civilians going in out of the base everyday. They must all be studying “naval intelligence.”

  25. Wukchumni

    Sporting events have been feeling the pinch when it comes to people not showing up all that much. MLB had a million less people in the seats last year, compared to the previous season.

    Combine the cheating debacle with young adults not being all that interested in diamonds & throw in a pinch of Covid-19, and you have the perfect storm brewing, and by the way this virus kills older people, and seeing as the average fan age is pushing 60, all the more reason to stay away.

    1. Carolinian

      If this keeps up they’ll have to go back to charging $5 to watch some guys throw a ball around. A crisis!

      Some of us are old enough to remember when baseball was the people’s game and the wealthy were into polo.

      1. petal

        A former coworker and I used to go to Fenway back in the day. I believe it was a 10 game package deal, so we’d each get one and go together as it was just down the street. That was our “fun”. After 2004, we got priced out and stopped going. Other than one game as a last hurrah with a friend that was moving far away, I haven’t been back. It morphed into a status symbol for yuppies trying to show off instead of a fun night out for regular joes to cheer on the local team.

        1. Carolinian

          I can recall going to see the Braves for five bucks–not the best seats obviously. That was quite a while back.

        2. pasha

          in the fifties, bleacher seats to see the tigers, at briggs stadium, were 50 cents for day games, and after 7th inning stretch it was ok for kids to go down to the dugout and get autographs, from my heroes al kaline and rocky colovito!
          i refuse to pay the prices they now charge

    2. ewmayer

      Growing up in NE Ohio, I recall being able to get $1 bleacher seats for Indians home games in the old municipal stadium, the one featured in Major League. July 4th games followed by really good fireworks were a special family treat. Also recall Lenny Barker’s perfect game vs Toronto and the infamous Dime Beer Night riot, though was not physically in attendance for either of those. Nowadays, as with the NFL and NBA, it’s just another money-grift by the looter elite class. Especially shameless when leading members of the latter pull their-now-routine “build us a multi-$billion new stadium on prime public land with taxpayer monies or we leave!” hostage-taking stunt. (Latest example of the latter in my current neck of the woods is the Oakland, erm I mean, Las Vegas, Raiders. Oakland As also ongoing-basis-engaged in similar shenanigans, so clearly being a winning team matters not a whit in regards to such extortion schemes.

  26. xkeyscored

    Better late than never?

    Drugmaker Moderna Inc. has shipped the first batch of its rapidly developed coronavirus vaccine to U.S. government researchers, who will launch the first human tests of whether the experimental shot could help suppress the epidemic originating in China.

    Moderna on Monday sent vaccine vials from its Norwood, Mass., manufacturing plant to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., the company said. The institute expects by the end of April to start a clinical trial of about 20 to 25 healthy volunteers, testing whether two doses of the shot are safe and induce an immune response likely to protect against infection, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said in an interview. Initial results could become available in July or August.
    or, shorter but with no paywall,

    1. Yves Smith

      I didn’t read the article but what you have isn’t correct.

      Phase 1 clinical trials are about safety. Those are 20-25 people.

      You then have Phase 2 and 3. You don’t get to test efficacy until you test safety.

  27. bondsofsteel

    It’s not the 2% death rate for the Corona virus that worries me. It’s the 15% ‘serious’ case rate. Most of these cases required hospitalization… some 3x! With my silver Obamacare plan… once would be like the whole 6 grand deductible. Thank god I didn’t sign up for the bronze plan. Some of those are over 8 large.

    Our whole healthcare system is designed to encourage people not to seek care by creating high deductibles. The idea is people would only seek treatment when they really, really need it. What happens when many people really, really need it at the same time?

    I can pay. Most of my friends on Obamacare can not. This is going to cause a sea of people to go under financially and huge hit to the insurance and healthcare industries when people who can’t pay don’t.

    1. John k

      To say nothing about what happens when people stay away from hospitals bc they can’t afford to go.
      China figured out early they had to tell people gov would pay. Of course not here.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Remember that episode of Seinfield where Cramer takes dog medicine because it had the same cough?

        Maybe if we’re lucky, dogs will get Corona virus too!

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      The idea is people would only seek treatment when they really, really need it.

      Or seek Food Stamps. Or whatever is left of Welfare. I can’t imagine a conservative person in real life arguing that recessions are caused by millions of people suddenly deciding that six months of unemployment are easier than maintaining a job. But then we have Bloomberg literally blaming the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 for the GFC of 2008. Somebody please tell our elites that Paul Harvey is dead.

  28. lordkoos

    Here’s an interesting link, “Law Enforcement Funds Raining Down On Milwaukee”:

    Details how the DNC gave a grant of $50,000,000 to law enforcement agencies in Milwaukee. It certrainly looks like they are planning for a brokered convention and the attending protests. It’s also interesting that this is how they choose to spend their money. Seems like $50 million would help defeat Mitch McConnell, but priorities…

    1. inode_buddha

      What if protests occur all over the country and not just Milwaukee? DNC is gonna come out with a *yuugge* black eye if they try anything…

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        What if a plurality of delegates go to somewhere other than Milwaukee? I’ve seen at least six impossible things before March and I think ‘expect the unexpected’ is the only sensible vantage point.

        Although I do expect something from Hillary. And I also feel fairly certain that our particular time-stream may soon be getting too interesting for Obama to even consider dignifying it with his calming, unifying presence.

  29. rd

    There has been speculation that smoking makes the coronavirus symptoms more severe and may be a major contributor to the probability of dying with it. The list of countries by cigarette consumption per capita is interesting.

    Countries with a significant number of severe cases include China, Japan, North and South Korea, Iran, and Italy. All of these have average per capita cigarette consumption over 900 per year as well as having recent Chinese workers moving in and out.

    The US and Canada are around 1020 cigarettes per year, a little higher than North Korea and Iran but much less than China, Japan, South Korea, and Italy. American cigarette smokers may be the canary in the coal mine to warn the rest of us if it has moved into the US en masse.

  30. ook

    As for the coronavirus numbers, I believe a large number of people have figured out that if they go to the hospital, the following will happen:
    1 They will be more likely to catch the disease at the hospital than if they stayed away
    2 The hospital has no effective medicine, just a quarantine

    So people stay away from the hospitals and the quacks, and if they’re smart, stay at home as much as possible.

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