Links 2/29/2020

Happy Leap Year Day!

Freeman Dyson, Visionary Technologist, Is Dead at 96 New York Times

Accidental discovery: Some cat food manufacturers regularly change ingredient composition PhysOrg (Robert M)

Alaskan Roulette Grist

NYC bodega owners to fight imminent state plastic ban New York Post (J-LS)


“This Crisis Will Spill Over and Result in a Disaster” Der Spiegel (J-LS)

Photos of deserted, nearly empty airports around the world show how coronavirus has decimated air travel Business Insider (J-LS)

Key Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect the Potential Spread of Coronavirus ProPublica. Longer-form discussion of the tests and the CDC response. Mind you, this is NOT about the initial round of test kits the CDC distributed to state and it then had to recall. This is about the test kits the CDC is using now at its centers.

2 new coronavirus cases emerge in Washington, in King and Snohomish counties Seattle Times (furzy)

How coronavirus has hit life in Switzerland as car shows and football matches are cancelled The Local CH (Rev W)

Coronavirus Precautions: International Travelers Arriving At NYC Airports Concerned By Lack Of Screenings CBS (resilc)

Saudi Arabia blocks foreign pilgrims as Japan plans school closures amid COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak (Kevin W)

UK’s 20th coronavirus case is first to catch illness in Britain Guardian. Vlade: “If a GP in Surrey has CV, then chances are quite a few of his patients, who are virus-vulnerable to start with (being patients), do as well by now. A perfect cluster, not to mention Surrey being London commuter belt.”

Do not violate the International Health Regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak The Lancet (Dr. Kevin)

Coronavirus Has Come to the U.S. and Lawsuits Won’t Be Far Behind Bloomberg

Lack of paid sick days and large numbers of uninsured increase risks of spreading the coronavirus Economic Policy Institute

Studios Moving Films, Canceling China Premieres as Coronavirus Spreads Variety (J-LS)

Explainer: How U.S. markets will function if coronavirus breaks out in NYC Reuters (resilc)

Trump administration considers a centrally planned economy to deal with coronavirus Boing Boing (resilc)


China factory activity shrank at its fastest rate on record in February CNBC

Senate Unanimously Approves Bill To Ban Purchase of Huawei Equipment With Federal Funds The Hill


UK races to find extra 50,000 staff for post-Brexit paperwork Guardian (resilc)


Turkey’s invasion of Syria turns sour Asia Times (Kevin W)


This Assange “Trial” Is A Self-Contradictory Kafkaesque Nightmare Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W): “This is so fucked up. He is in a glass booth and cannot hear what is going on. The judge says that he can only talk through his lawyers. But then the judge says that he is forbidden to talk to his lawyers, even with notes. But also that he cannot sit with his lawyers as he is so dangerous he might kill someone.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google’s Black Box Algorithm Controls Which Political Emails Land in Your Main Inbox Markup

Trump Transition

Appeals Court Blocks Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico Asylum Policy Wall Street Journal

Amid Coronavirus Mayhem, Trump Takes Time to Meet With Actors in ‘Deep State’ Play Daily Beast (resilc)

House panel launches inquiry into Trump’s attorney general over possible interference Guardian (furzy)

Trump seeks a ‘miracle’ as virus fears mount CNN. So this is why Pence is in charge.

Trump wins appeal to block McGahn testimony Politico

US Army Plans ‘Guerrilla Freedom Fighters’ Exercise in Rural North Carolina Towns Sputnik (Kevin W)

FCC Approves Plan To Pay Satellite Companies To Give Up Airwaves Bloomberg

Ted Cruz tried to mock AOC’s scientific knowledge – it didn’t end well Guardian


Tulsi Gabbard: Presidential candidates must also condemn election interference by US intelligence agencies The Hill (martha r)

Young Democrats Have Rejected Biden — And It Could Cost Him The Nomination FiveThirtyEight (UserFriendly)

There’s a New Artist in Town. The Name Is Biden. New York Times

Bernie Sanders Has an Audacious — and Hugely Expensive — Climate Plan MIT Technology Review. Sigh. No one worried about what it cost to fight WWII.

Sanders Offered Praise for Cuba. Young and Old Voters View It Differently New York Times. This is important to treat as an issue? Seriously? For any groups other than NatSec hawks and Cuban expats, this is a nothingburger.

The one way Sanders is the new Trump Columbia Journalism Review (resilc)

When the Billionaire Family Behind the Opioid Crisis Needed PR Help, They Turned to Mike Bloomberg ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Member of ‘Central Park Five’ rips Bloomberg: ‘Don’t be bamboozled’ New York Post

Bloomberg buys El Paso Times, fires editorial staff following Buttigieg endorsement Beet Press (UserFriendly)

Home state candidates risk losing primaries The Hill. The two candidates the paper of record endorsed, BTW.

Past Strains Between Boeing, FAA Threaten MAX Simulator Plans Wall Street Journal

Media Vapors Over Vaping Cloud Public Health Goals Fair (UserFriendly)

Printing’s Not Dead: The $35 Billion Fight Over Ink Cartridges Bloomberg

Avant toi Lars P. Syll

Class Warfare

When AI Can’t Replace a Worker, It Watches Them Instead Wired. Note the effective lack of agency….AI is replacing workers or spying. It’s the bosses.

Antidote du jour. From Liz in Dallas: “My beautiful cat, Tita.”

And a bonus antidote, from guurst. Verges on an anti-antidote, but impressive. Wish there was a quick shot of the python post procedure:

To make up for that, a bonus bonus courtesy David L:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ignacio

    Australia declaring pandemic and WHO Ghebreyesus being Jinping yes-man: I wonder how many Diamond Princess-like buildings in quarantine and not being analysed because the strongman wants to show control.

    1. Dave

      As I understand it there is also a strong financial reason the WHO won’t declare a pandemic and thereby causing default of the pandemic bond structure that was set up in 2017. Something like $450M? The articles I saw were a little sketchy, fact check anyone?

      1. urblintz

        I read elsewhere that WHO has to call it a “pandemic” before the money is released and a “pandemic” has to be declared before July or the investore get their money back plus interest and a bonus.

        And Yves wrote about pandemic bonds last year:

      1. Bill Carson

        The U.S. numbers have still barely budged. We’re only up to 66 active cases. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TESTING.

        1. MLTPB

          Excluding the evacuees, the cases are fewer.

          Compared our number to Canada, European nations, to Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, ours is around the same order of magnitude.

          People were and probably still are speculating 10 times the numbers from China.

          If we had over 600 cases here today, it would have been hard to cover that. The media would have been all over that last week.

          1. False Solace

            A guy on Reddit came back from Japan with covid/flu-like symptoms 4 days ago and the hospital refused to test him. There have been almost no CV tests available in the US so that’s not really a surprise. (The governor of CA complained to the media there were only 200 test kits available for his entire state of 40 million people.) As of a couple days ago the US had only run tests on 445 people.

            CDC added Japan to their test criteria two days ago. They are still not doing community testing. The number of labs that can run the test supposedly increased today. There are new cases reported yesterday/today in WA and OR with no known source. The situation is changing rapidly but the testing being done is nowhere near sufficient.

          1. rd

            There is a good chance that the recent spike contains some COVID-19 cases. Now that there is some testing capability they may be checking that, just like testing is now showing some random community cases. Most flu and cold diagnosis is just from symptoms, not lab testing, so COVID-19 could easily have slid through undetected over the past couple of months.

            There is a good chance that the death rate is much lower than 2% if there are quite a few un-diagnosed mild cases out there. That would be a best case scenario.

          2. False Solace

            Hospitals routinely test for flu. If you don’t have it you’re not included in flu statistics, though if you have pneumonia symptoms you might show up there.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Up to 24 day incubation. That per China’s CDC which has an incentive to exaggerate in the other direction.

            One case of 94 days.

            5 to 7 days of cold/flu symptoms before it turns to viral pneumonia when it does.

            In other words, if the coronavirus has gotten out in the US in a non-trivial way, it is 2-3 weeks too early to see it in pneumonia data.

    2. Krystyn Walentka

      For everyone exposed to people saying things like; “Why are you so worried about the coronavirus, the flu kills 60,000 people a year in the U.S. and only 3000 people have died worldwide!” (By the way, I heard this on Rush Limbaugh’s show yesterday. Don’t ask why I was listening to it.)

      Please tell them this:

      The death rate from influenza in 2018 was 0.1%! Yes, that is it! The death rate from SARS-CoV is 2%. If 45 million people (the amount of people who had the flu in 2018) get Coronavirus that means almost ONE MILLION people could die! So the flu killing 61,000 measn SARS-CoV could kill ONE MILLION people.

      And that is just the deaths, never mind the serious health cases!

      Also we have an influenza vaccines that prevent about 50% of flu cases, will will not have a vaccine for SARS-CoV for at least a year and a half. That means even more people will die and get sick enough not to be able to work.

      Plus since it is extremely more contagious so I was being CONSERVATIVE with the amount of people who will be infected. And it might be the only reason that the death rate in China was 2% was because they locked down like 10 million people.

        1. notabanktoadie

          “We would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” Azar told members of Congress.

          So we spend unlimited $ to defend the entire US population against a largely non or self-inflicted human threat but can’t spend enough to defend the entire US population from a very real viral threat?!!!

          1. JBird4049

            The former is profitable while the latter is not, This rather like all those diabetics who died, use veterinary insulin, or GoFundMe to pay for the (usually lower quality) human insulin. It is more important that maximizing short term profit Is more important than human lives. He reminds me of Marcus Lucinius Crassus who had much, although not all, of his wealth with questionable means. Legal but morally and ethically evil.

        2. AdamK

          Always market solutions. Why no one talks about the advantages of national health care to combat situation like these. The reasons that people weren’t been tested was also because of the test kit price. A person who has high deductibles need to pay large sums of money to pay for a test, and not to mention the homeless people in the streets, who will pay for their test kits? I heard a recording somewhere of the vice health minister of Iran who was infected by the disease saying that the illness is “democratic”, what a surprise? well it is democratic and it has proven to have no boundaries…

      1. MLTPB

        If there is any age bias in this disease, the ‘for whose benefit’ analysis would point the potential culprit to young people.

        While we sometimes reflectively jump on such conclusions, using any event to suit what we have long believed, I dont that is the case here.

        I’d focus on globalism, and mass tourism.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          Pretty much looks like anyone under 60 who did not think that their stock portolio was actually “money in the bank” will benefit.

      2. Monty

        I am allowing the possibility that we will get through this OK. I think people are starting to pay attention, and the door is open for radical measures to contain it.
        e.g. No chance they are sticking me in a quarantine for regular flu, but for this i would gladly stay home.
        If it sounds scary enough, intelligent people will take precautions and just mostly stay home anyway.
        In Wuhan they had a massive finger food buffet for 40,000+ residents when the virus first started spreading. That was likely the crucible where so many got sick.

        I think appealing to miracles and associating it with a political hoax, as Trump has been doing, is highly counter productive. My hope is the number of cases are kept under control by people taking appropriate care of themselves. If they think its just a hoax or that Jesus will save them, we will have people neglecting themselves and posing a danger to everyone else… (see South Korea)

        Any amount of deaths are tragic, but it will be the influx of severe / critical cases vs. regular flu that buckles global health systems. No way they can cope with so many patients needing isolated ICU care, without deploying field hospitals.

        1. xkeyscored

          If they think its just a hoax or that Jesus will save them, we will have people … posing a danger to everyone else
          The USA is, it seems to me, chock-a-block full of people who believe one or the other, if not both. And half of them are heavily armed.
          How dangerous? We’ll soon see.

        2. MLTPB

          I agree that it will be very helpful for all sides to be as non partisan as possible.

          Not lacking, nor excessive – in responding, in criticising etc.

      3. Ignim Brites

        It is time to start thinking about hitting the snooze bar on the alarm over the Covid19 pandemic. The virus is not going to be contained in all likelihood. But it does not represent anything like an existential demographic threat even if we project somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 million fatalities (appox 1% of world population). If anything it is the opposite given its age correlated mortality and morbidity. True, when life expectancy takes a sudden plunge this will be something of a black eye for political leaders and national health systems throughout the world. But the calming effect of rationality will ameliorate the level of anger and hostility directed at the politicians in democracies. At least it could.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          I have a hard time understanding this line of thinking.

          The fatalities, if they even are between 1 and 2% (some are saying it is as high as 5%), well the only reason that this is so is because of the draconian measures China took to limit the spread.

          How do you all think those measure will fly in the US of A?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, 2-3%.

            China CDC says case fatality rate is 2.3%. WHO says 3%.

            China has worse air than here which could increase death rate but we have 9.4% of the population who are diabetics, which puts them at more risk of serious complications from flu. So I suspect it nets out.

        2. c_heale

          If China and the rest of Asia is closed for business you aren’t gping to have enough pharmaceuticals for all the sick people who don’t have Corona virus.

        3. clarky90

          That’s (1%) IF our infrastructure does not collapse; (Police, garbage removal, internet, food supplies, the BANKING system, clean water, transport, electricity……public order (panic)……)

          Being philosophical and “above it all”, is not really much of a plan. I am guessing that you are counting on everything staying exactly as they are today, only with less crowding and shorter?

          1. Ignim Brites

            The point is that there is no reason for infrastructure to collapse. Only if government gets involved in massively quarantining populations will things start to fall apart. Now I am assuming that a single infection will cause one to build upon sufficient antibodies so that re-infection is unlikely with the same variant of the virus. If re-infection rates are very high then matters will be more serious. But so long as mortality rates are low among children and people if child bearing age then there is no existential threat.

            1. The Rev Kev

              It is not the infrastructure but the workers who are serving it. As an example, imagine a power plant where suddenly a few workers catch Coronavirus. How soon until you do not have enough workers to do a shift in that plant? How about the problem of trying to clean that power plant of all traces of that virus? Pretty soon maybe the power supply gets pretty dodgy. Automation will only take you so far as any infrastructure must have constant maintenance or it begins to break down. Bonus points for the fact that those workers can get it again and again as reports indicate.

      4. clarky90

        The sobering snippet of information about COVID 19 is “NOVEL”. We (humanity) are encountering this virus for the very first time, everywhere. We know very little about it.

        The flu in it’s various iterations has been with us for millennia. The 1918 flu (called the Black Flu in NZ because it often was hemorrhagic) killed a few percent of the NZ residents of European descent. However, Maori people died at rates 10x or 15x higher! Their ancestors had not had prior exposure. In other words, the 1918 flu was “novel” for them.

        The 1918 flu had similar effects on indigenous American peoples. I have read reports of 90% death rates in isolated villages……!

        1. clarky90

          “1918 Influenza hits Samoa”

          20% of the population dies.

          “The second wave of the global influenza pandemic came to Western Samoa on board an island trader, the Talune, on 4 November 1918. The acting port officer at Apia was unaware that there was a severe epidemic at the ship’s departure point, Auckland. As a result he allowed passengers ashore, ‘including six seriously ill influenza cases’. Within a week influenza had spread throughout the main island of Upolu and to the neighbouring island of Savai’i. Approximately 8500 people – one-fifth of the population – died.”

      5. Aumua

        It’s all still speculation though isn’t it. The pandemic part I mean. And rampant speculation at that. It could be bad. I’m not saying it can’t be. It’s just… prophets of doom don’t impress me much.

          1. davidgmillsatty

            And your credentials are?

            I would doubt any of the posters here have the credentials to speak with authority as to how bad this will be. Probably true for 99% of the posters on the internet.

            1. BlakeFelix

              I like that you think that there are people who have credentials that let them know how bad this gets. Isn’t it pretty to think so…

            2. Briny

              Just because Tedros (WHO head) is refusing to do his job, to declare the pandemic nature of COVID-19 as well as violating his Hippocratic Oath (Primus no nocere = First do no harm), isn’t our problem. It is well past the pandemic criteria as taught in epidemiology at med school while I was there and the definition hasn’t changed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          A week or so ago, it was only a handful of countries. As of yesterday it was about fifty and even countries like Iceland have it now. That is almost a definition of a pandemic.

          1. davidgmillsatty

            How contagious something is does not determine how harmful it is. Pandemic only refers to how many people are catching the disease.

      6. Cuibono

        Wuhan city of 11 million and 2000 deaths.
        That in a city that for 40 years has bombarded citizens lungs with incredible pollution.
        And was the epicenter.

          1. Monty

            According to this article, those high flu death numbers you hear lately about the US are a load of baloney.


            “The numbers differ wildly from the sober tallies recorded on death certificates — by law every certificate must show a cause — and reported by the official agencies that collect and keep vital statistics.

            According to the National Vital Statistics System in the U.S., for example, annual flu deaths in 2010 amounted to just 500 per year”

            US 350m people. 500 deaths. Hmmmm!

      7. Procopius

        I’m afraid we really don’t know what the fatality rate overall is. The number 2% has been thrown around, but that’s based on the number of patients who have been hospitalized. If we ever get a handle on the total number of cases (and I don’t know how they will do that) it’s certain to be much lower. It also is reported to be about as contagious as flu, but that’s still based on shaky statistics. Look, it’s been basically one month since the first reports came out. Is is too hard to say, “We really don’t know. Yet.”?

        1. Cuibono

          Totally agree. My point is that htis is clearly NOT the back plague. 2000 deaths that we know of in a city of 11 million is not insignificant to be sure.

  2. Wukchumni

    Trader Joe Coulombe passed away, and what a visionary.

    We started going to Trader Joe’s in the early 70’s, and what a trip it was for so long, you really never knew what sort of goodies Joe had come up with, but you’d get an inkling from short radio spots (“I just bought 10,000 cases of the best French cherry jam you’ve ever tasted, once they’re gone, that’s it”) and the turnover of product was something else.

    Its not really like that anymore, when I go into TJ’s, I pretty much know exactly what i’m going to purchase, although they do always have a few new products, and it remains pretty much the only reason I ever venture into Fresno.

    1. mle detroit

      Great staff too. The nearest TJ’s is 5 miles into the burbs from my home so I’m not a regular. The first time I took only inexpensive smoked salmon and tawny port to the checkout, the cashier said “Just the essentials, huh?”

      1. Carla

        I have to say, TJ’s staff seem to be uniformly good. They say the (now German-owned) company treats them very well.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      My issue is that you get to really like a particular product only to have it disappear some time later. This happened several times to me with several different products and I finally gave up on them. Also the closest store to me is just far enough away so that, at this point at least, I would only go there when in the area.

      1. Wukchumni

        I find Grocery Outlet to be a similar experience to days of old, call it TJ’s runs into The 99 Cent Store.

        About half of the inventory is fairly static, while who knows what you’re going to buy as far as the rest goes, it’s a shopping safari (and always check the use-by dates) that has you trying all sorts of foodstuffs & wines @ great bargains.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Can’t find one closer than PA. We probably have something like this, but I’m not aware. There is a smallish super market in a town nearby, an area otherwise poorly served (no major chains nearby) but it is (as usual) more expensive than the big chains – it’s clipping the customers who have the hardest time with mobility. Only a couple of years ago, it was run by another chain that was quite reasonable, but of course profit profit profit, not enough, time to move.

      2. Donald

        My wife and I joke about this. We figure they track our purchases for some sadistic reason, see what we like, and stop carrying it.

        We still love the place, partly because the staff always seems happy.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Yeah, we joke about that all the time, and we don’t even patronize TJ’s much. At least at the Co-op, my complaints have some effect, and I can order things they drop.

      3. richard

        That happens to me all the time! I remember really liking schweppes diet ginger ale: my store stopped carrying that but continued with the putrid raspberry diet ginger a. version. It boggled the mind! And nobody ever bought the r.berry kind; i was in there all the time and they were always well stocked with that grim brew.

    3. fresno dan

      February 29, 2020 at 7:42 am

      Used to have a Trader’s Joe real close at Blackstone and Barstow, but they moved it to where all the fancy people live in the far north of Fresno. It is such a pain to make the trek I scarely go there anymore.
      Its not nearly as much as an adventure as it used to be, but they still have some interesting stuff.

      This wine used to be only 2.99 a couple of years ago…and they say there’s no inflation
      Panilonco Chardonnay / Viognier Blend, $4.99

      Trader Joe’s Grecian style eggplant with tomatoes and onions in a can is just wonderful. I can never cook eggplant so that it is eddible…
      I also really like their variety of Indian frozen foods as well. And its the only place that I can find Gyro meat for a homemade souvlaki.

      1. Jfreon

        I was looking for an artist on craigslist and craft stores to paint a custom wedding plaque, a family tradition going back 60 years, and a lady in a store suggested going to TJs and ask one of their artists. Each store has at least one on staff.

        Worked out perfect.

        Of course they are so popular now they received three X family established 2019. My son was still proud to have one in the family style like mine, his uncle and his grandparents.

      2. Laughingsong

        Mr. Dan, where have you been? Lovely to see you back!

        We have a Grocery Outlet up here as well. Doesn’t have a TJ funky (in a good way) vibe, more like a baby food-centric Costco, but I love browsing and finding nifty munchies.

        1. Wukchumni

          Our Grocery Outlet plays a steady diet of contemporary evang music, and I can tell you after being serenaded for well over a dozen years by it, that you’d better include the word ‘praise’ in the lyrics somewhere, what if Sky Daddy caught you not putting out, where would you be then?

      3. ChrisPacific

        2 buck (3 buck) Chuck was never sustainable – it was a consequence of temporary oversupply in the California wine market. $5 is still pretty good.

        Welcome back by the way! Say hi to Putin for me, if the bunny slippers still work.

      4. ChiGal in Carolina

        Dan the Man—is it really you?? we have wondered about you in comments more than once this last year or so. where ya been? didn’t you notice your bunny ears tingling?

  3. urblintz

    Trump considers a centrally planned economy…


    Bernie 2020!

    Our commie is better than yours! hahahahahahaha!

        1. MLTPB

          A general tio.

          Play the man.

          Study your opponent.

          A flexible adversary can be more challenging.

          It also offers a good lesson.

          ‘How do I enter the Way?’

          ‘Hear the babbling brook?’


          ‘Enter there.’

    1. JTMcPhee

      Reminds me of what happened to “our” government in the months after 9/11 — centralization of all kinds of power into DHS, etc. The PATRIOT Act, from the Department of Unholy Acronyms.

      Never let a crisis go to waste.

      And the kinds of people that framed that notion are the ones our “democratic form of government” has sorted and dealt into all the “legitimacy-conferring” checkpoints and choke points of the political economy.

      Now “rising to the occasion,” like the Horned Beast from the Sea…

      1. polecat

        It’s always the same neoCON/Dueling citiziozens mucking things up !! .. with a little complimentary HELLp from the evangers, of course …. lastly, are the Demonrats of which, latching on in cahoots .. like ticks to a mad dog !
        Prove my wrong.

      2. Parker Dooley

        We almost had the Agency for Suppression of Science Conceivably Related to Operations of Foreign Terrorists (acronym = ASSCROFT) when it was proposed that the gov prevent research communications in a variety of fields post 9-11. (Apparently research into the anatomical features of Lady Justice was actually suppressed for a period of time).

    2. Cynthia

      I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather sick and tired of how the corporate news media very narrowly defines socialism. They wrongly assume that socialism is only designed to benefit the non-wealthy. They leave out the obvious fact that the rich are huge beneficiaries of socialism. Oh sure, the poor benefit from socialism, but it’s minuscule compared to how the rich benefit from socialism, which is more specifically defined as corporate socialism. My guess is that a large amount of wealth on Wall Street wouldn’t be possible if it were for corporate socialism.

      And as far as the workplace is concerned, it is not just the top-tier managers who benefit from corporate socialism, it’s the entire managerial class who benefits from this as well, often at the expense to the labor class. No doubt that many jobs in management clearly meet David Graeber’s definition of bullshit jobs. By contrast, there are very few jobs in the labor class that meet his definition of this.

      However, something that’s hardly ever mentioned by Professor Graebers, as well others in his field of study, is that most people with bullshit jobs get paid more, significantly more, than the people who do actual real work, with nothing to show for it in terms of adding value to the workplace. If anything, bullshit jobs are a huge drain on the workplace. Needless to say, all these overpaid, top tier managers and overpaid people doing bullshit work, some like to call it “fake” work, is driving up the cost of doing business, unnecessarily so and by a huge margin. For instance, the administrative cost of running your typical state college or teaching hospital has well surpassed the thirty percent mark, and a large chunk of that cost is due to the explosion of bullshit jobs!

      So my argument goes like this. If we were to rein in corporate socialism, or simply decouple corporatism from socialism, the need for all these bullshit jobs would quickly go away. At least that’s what would happen in colleges and teaching hospitals across the US, thus dropping college and hospital costs down to more affordable levels.

      Decoupling corporatism from socialism is really a win-win for everyone who wants to pay less for college and healthcare, directly or indirectly. That’s assuming that non-corporate types of socialism don’t create a whole other slew of overpaid management and bullshit jobs. Socialists in Sanders’ camp must convince voters of this who are highly skeptical of socialism in general. I’m pretty much convinced that Bernie will clamp down on overpaid management in places like state colleges or teaching hospitals, but I’m not so convinced that he will do the same with regards to overpaid bullshit jobs in either setting. He and his economic advisers really do need to address this problem and how socialism has a strategy to fix it, something that corporatism has failed to do. At least it has never tried to do it, for whatever reason. I suspect it has something to do with protecting the managerial class from job losses, no matter how worthless, unproductive and thus costly these jobs are to all involved.

      Bottom line: Shifting more money, power and resources from the managerial class to the labor class is key to bringing down business costs, thus resulting in more affordable products and services for everyone, especially when it comes to higher-ed and healthcare. That is something a non-corporate form of socialism can do for us. Needless to say, corporate socialism has failed miserably at this, thus it is high-time we rein it in, now, if not, yesterday!

      1. fresno dan

        February 29, 2020 at 10:38 am

        I agree a billion percent.
        It is astoudning how NOTHING BUT “material benefits” e.g., are promised to the wealthy (apparently they can’t do ANYTHING) with being paid (incentivized) for it. ANY benefit to someone in the 90% is class war, communism, socialism, and the end of civilization.
        war is peace
        freedom is slavery
        ignorance is strength
        people love their health insurance

      2. fresno dan

        February 29, 2020 at 10:38 am

        I agree a billion percent.
        It is astoudning how NOTHING BUT “material benefits” e.g., are promised to the wealthy (apparently they can’t do ANYTHING) without being paid (incentivized) for it. ANY benefit to someone in the 90% is class war, communism, socialism, and the end of civilization.
        war is peace
        freedom is slavery
        ignorance is strength
        people love their health insurance

      3. JTMcPhee

        The trick is to keep the labor class members who get all that power and money that a “healthier’ version of socialism might redistribute from becoming the “Animal Farm” (“Some animals are more equal than others”) Pigs that eat dinner and play poker with the Men, and end up being indistinguishable from the previous ruling class.

        Interesting side note: It seems the CIA pigs, as part of the CIA’s “Cultural Cold War,” , funded an animated version of “Animal Farm” that turned it into pure propaganda — at the end, the Animals call in NGOs to help them free themselves from the oppressing Pigs, “ How the CIA brought Animal Farm to the screen,” I bet the Ivy League elitists that came up with that idea just chortled at the inversion of Orwell’s message, re-purposed to continue beFUDdling the masses…

      4. rd

        Safety nets like Social Security and unemployment insurance are what allow for people to not save as much and to spend more. Social Security, food stamps, etc. also provides a huge spending flywheel where that money is spent on basics every month providing a steady cashflow to many businesses. Smoothing out consumption provides predictability to businesses that they didn’t have a century ago.

      5. Stephen V

        Yes Yes! Living in a university town full of butt ugly student gulag apartment buildings–I would add something hidden in plain sight: Student loans drive up tuition prices as well as funding said buildings and as you mention b.s. admin *jobs.* Another form of subsidy.

      6. cripes


        But…but…but, that’s class warfare, it’s divisive!
        Like eliminating administrative waste in health care, it’s not possible. Think of the golden parachutes, and the children, and the children of the golden parachutes!
        We have to bring everyone together, not tackle actual problems.


      7. Off The Street

        Overheard from a 20-something guy:

        My generation likes Bernie because everyone else lies. Politicians, media, businesses, you name it, they all lie.

        When did telling the truth become such a radical act?

  4. Ignacio

    “This Crisis Will Spill Over and Result in a Disaster” Der Spiegel (J-LS)

    Tourism has been the bright spot of the economy in countries like Portugal and Spain. In Spain tourism is estimated to represent about 10% of the economy. It will be a disaster.

    1. BhamDan

      We have Catalan friends with an AirBnb flat near Park Güell in Barcelona. With the MWC nixed plus every Chinese booking they had for 2020 cancelled they are in hurt mode

      1. MLTPB

        We have seen gatherings over 1,000 and 5,000, and quarantines in Italian towns so far.

        It doesn’t seem optimistic short term.

        I read Korea has many tested. Compared to that, and N Italy has many cases as well to date, have as many Italians been tested?

        Just the numbers of cases in many other nations traceable to Italy would suggest that the need to assess the extent of this.

        For one Greek visitor to Milan for a show to have caught it, I would think about the millions who actually lived there all the time.

      2. David

        It’s been estimated that one in four apartments on the ultra-touristy Ile St Louis in Paris is being used solely for Air BnB. Because the price of property in Paris is now so insane, people have been buying them speculatively to rent, and so far it’s been a licence to print money. That may be about to change, though. Few of these properties are owned outright, and even with current low interest rates, the mortgage payments, not to mention service charges etc. are significant. It won’t take much of a downturn in tourism before they become unprofitable. General hilarity will then ensue. The same is true in some other areas of Paris, and in certain parts of the rest of the country.
        Paris is dependent to an almost frightening extent on tourism: one in ten Parisians is directly employed in the industry, and there’s nothing much else in the centre of the city except government and banking. Over half the nights stayed in hotels last year were by foreign tourists, and a substantial number of the balance were tourists from within the country. Many of the low-paid workers in the tourist industry (restaurant workers for example) are illegal immigrants from places like Mauritius, paid a pittance and living crowded together in slums in the north-east of the city. A significant downturn in tourism will be really, really bad news for a city that’s already struggling.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          We had illegal hotel (aka Airbnb) owners in our city claim to the city council that if short term rentals were banned, they would not be able to afford the mortgages on the houses they bought to rent out if they could only rent at long term monthly rates. The city reiterated the already existing ban on short term rentals anyway.

          It is not the government’s job to protect people from bad investments.

          Airbnb has broken local ordinances across the globe, pitting neighbors against each other, and in a just world, Airbnb executives would have taken up residence in the slammer years ago. But instead they sit back and watch the fun as the precariat fights over scraps.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          There is a huge boom in hotel construction around Europe. I’ve been waiting to see when someone will realise that a newly opened hotel with no customers would make an ideal short term hospital. There are at least two in my neighbourhood that would be suitable.

          I’m currently thinking of a start up app for renting out self contained isolation units, formerly used as AirBNB’s. I’m thinking of copyrighting the name Qwarant. Or maybe FluJust4U.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Empty hotels as short term hospitals? That is not a bad idea that. I had been thinking in terms of school gyms but those hotels would already have beds in place.

        3. steelyman

          A significant percentage of the Parisian tourist visitors are from mainland China. I was last there a couple of years ago and the number of Chinese tour groups descending on Galeries Lafayette and other major Parisian department stores was quite staggering. Almost all the major branded stores (Chanel, Vuitton, Prada etc.) in Paris have a sizable Mandarin speaking staff to handle this influx.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its always been an interesting question as to who would win and who would lose if everyone turned to the model of holidaying at home. Looking at the raw data, it does seem that Spain would be the biggest loser, closely followed by Italy. Proportionately, I assume Greece and Portugal would also be big losers. The big winners would of course be Germany, the UK and most northern countries. I was surprised to see that Ireland is a net ‘loser’ in tourism, I must quote that every time I hear a businessperson on the radio here bemoaning how the virus will mean they will need government help.

      Perhaps I’m being excessively optimistic, but I’ve been feeling that Europe desperately needs a crisis to push fiscal reform within the Eurozone, whether it be through a Jobs Guarantee or an ECB funded Green New Deal or similar. Maybe this virus will be a catalyst, as the immediate results of reducing travel will be on the most vulnerable regions.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      It might not be a total train wreck.

      You will probably see more people vacationing making car trips, to small places they trust. More in country. Big cities will take the biggest hit.

      But yes, it will be way off.

    1. JTMcPhee

      That bloody monster, Churchill, was quite the artist, too. Quite a few painters among that class of people

      Biden in court to “tell all he knows?” Attorneys prepping their clients for testimony always tell them that “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” are perfectly good answers, of course after advising them to “tell the truth…”

      1. clarky90

        Biden needs to get a walking frame, pronto! The prop of choice amongst the elite for entering and exiting The Courtroom.

        Also, have a deluxe hospital bed on constant standby, for any needed emphasis.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      And here I thought it was an article about artistic license with the truth granted to the duffer because of dementia.

  5. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Tech Review article and dismay about the “cost” to keep the ecosystem healthy — that’s just the American approach to population health, applied to the planet as a whole.

    But disappointing. I thought that there were economists at MIT who understand MMT.

    1. Mel

      But they’re economists. “Ecosystem health” are just two words that sit as placeholders in the theory. The words could have been “avocado toast”, or “California soul” — the theory would remain the same. Now, cost is a well-defined economic term that they can work with.

    2. xkeyscored

      I didn’t get that impression at all. Sure, they reeled off the amounts Sanders says he’ll spend on various things. They did not say we may not interpret costs as resources.
      For example, “he wants to spend more than $500 billion on modern transmission and distribution systems. He has also proposed a $30 billion research and development effort to create cheaper and longer-lasting forms of energy storage. Sanders wants to spend more than $3.6 trillion to help households, businesses, cities, and schools replace their cars, buses, and trucks with electric vehicles.” This sure sounds to me like a relative allocation of resources (~15 times more on transm. & dist. than R&D, etc)
      And the article doesn’t portray these costs as excessive. It does point out that “The scale and expense of Sanders’s proposals will make them extremely difficult to enact. [B]usiness interests are going to fight back hard on any bans and regulations that would ravage their bottom lines.” Personally, I don’t doubt that for one moment. I expect serious, co-ordinated, powerful and well-financed obstruction at every turn. If MMT gurus like Michael Hudson are right, bullets.

      1. Susan the other

        MIT – James Temple. This article was positive imo. It didn’t bother me that it pointed out the necessity to phase in the GND – that is not to shut down the economy but keep it running as energy sources are replaced. That’s a good point – I’m sure Bernie won’t have a hissy fit over accommodating these considerations. The article said “audacious” and “expensive” but not ill-conceived. It made good suggestions I thought. And their position on not replacing nuclear wasn’t really too reactionary either. I personally would like to never see another nuke plant anywhere on the planet, but we will need to keep some of them going as we achieve our goal. And strangely, MIT of all places, didn’t mention the research in Europe on fusion energy. They are supposed to be online in a few years. Their very practical point, was that we will need to clean CO2 from the air/atmosphere – is a very good one. It deserves to be part of the budged, earmarked in R&D somewhere.

    3. JCC

      It seems to me that the cost of trashing the ecosystem has been extremely high in every way imaginable. For example, just the amount of money it takes to produce various forms of trash and the cost of the various militarys and and other government expenditures (and lives) in order to protect those producers is through the roof.

      Maybe I’m missing something…

  6. Wukchumni

    Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern urges calm as panicked shoppers empty supermarket shelves

    Panicked shoppers forced the closure of a major food wholesaler today as the Prime Minister urged New Zealanders to go about their daily lives after the country’s first case of coronavirus.

    Gilmours was forced to close its North Shore Cash and Carry store due to overwhelming demand from customers. The wholesaler announced on social media its North Shore and Manukau stores will be closed tomorrow and reopen on Monday.

    Be it Coors beer east of the Rockies in the 70’s or Cuban cigars around the turn of the century, if something is restricted to you, it makes you want it all the more.

    We’re early in the manic panic game, and it looks to be worldwide.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Looks like we have Coronavirus loose in Oz now. I mentioned a story in Water Cooler where a woman hair-dresser returning from Iran had 40 clients in the hair-salon where she worked at before getting sick. In other words, its on. Not far from us is a city that has about 200,000 people living within its boundaries. The main Public Hospital has about 350 beds which gives roughly 570 people to every hospital bed. Uummm, yeah. Time is quickly running out.

    2. Clive

      I think it depends a lot on the baseline levels of neurosis in the nation’s psyche. Here on the south coast of England — and Britain / the British are generally in a rather cliched but not a million miles away from truth way known as a pretty stoically inclined bunch — a large fairly upscale cafe just inland (about 300+ couverts) was heaving by 12 noon, we’d have struggled to get a table if we’d left it any later and, at the other end of the social moire, a rough-and-ready retail park with lowbrow “big shed” units was similarly packed.

      No shortage of items in supermarket shelves and I just checked Waitrose (sort-a like a UK Whole Foods but with an overtone of Watch with Mother patrician snobbery) which can do an online order delivery slot at my home address in more ordinary lower-middle class North Hampshire from tomorrow at 10 am (very early slots booked out but then these always are if you leave it ‘til the day before) thru’ to lunchtime then there’s two more free slots mid afternoon and then all slots are available from Monday. Soup, baked beans (multipacks) in stock, including sale offers on some lines. So no middle class or elite panicking visible yet here.

      Of course, things can change. But unless someone sees body bags being stockpiled in the local library and people dying in their own vomit in care homes, there’s nothing that’ll shift the dial.

      Oh, and Prime Minister Johnson is chairing an emergency planning committee meeting on Monday. So we’re fine. If it turns out that pregnancy offers immunity to COVID-19, he can just go round and impregnate every woman inside the M25. Sometimes it seems like he’s half way to doing that, anyway.

        1. Clive

          I ate mine months ago. But I am the world’s worst panic buyer. Turned out I had every conceivable flavour of Häagen-Dazs, but as for other food groups, I’d have had to subsist on beans on toast and frozen peas.

      1. David

        According to the Independent, at least, Johnson is standing up the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR, no relation to the snake). In spite of its name, it’s a process rather than a piece of real estate, a permanent crisis committee, usually chaired by a Minister, with representatives from various government functions depending on the nature of the crisis. It is typically used for major short-term crises, such as terrorist incidents or major disasters such as aircraft accidents.
        It sends a very confused message: either the problem is minute by minute urgent (in which case why wait until Monday?) or it isn’t, in which case the drama isn’t really necessary. But then this is a very confused, not to say incompetent, government.

        1. Clive

          Yes, I’ve always been of the view COBR was purely for optics, PR and something-to-feed-the-media purposes and nothing else. Doing something genuinely useful, like scaling up 10-20,000 additional ICU beds and associated staffing, isn’t within COBR’s gift to suddenly wave a magic wand over and put in place.

          And as you say, non-urgent things like legislation to allow statutory limits on class sizes to be lifted and resilience measures like military augmentation of infrastructure key nodes can be done via BAU civil contingencies management committees.

          Why bother?

        2. Monty

          David, you often away to have a window on the UK civil service. Have you any comments on Sir Rutnam vs. Priti Patel story?

      2. The Historian

        I think it also depends on the amount of money one has to prepare. I took $1000 from savings to stock up for 3 months. This is just for one person. I probably could have done it for half that but I do have my favorites, like expensive coffee and two very fussy cats, including one that needs to be on a special diet. 58% of Americans don’t have $1000 in savings. I’m not sure what the numbers are in other countries.

  7. Elizabeth Blumberg

    “Gmail putting political begging into promotions tab”
    Why wouldn’t they? It should be spam unless you personally add it to your list. Millions of people have marked as spam the sometimes ten times daily emails that state “If you don’t send us $10 the sky will fall, democracy will be forever destroyed and children will be ripped from incubators.”

  8. TalkingCargo

    Re: Bernie Sanders Has an Audacious — and Hugely Expensive — Climate Plan MIT Technology

    From the article:
    “Then there’s the question of practicality. Immediate prohibitions on the energy sources that fuel our vehicles, heat our homes, and power our businesses, before we’ve developed cleaner replacements, would almost certainly cause major economic disruptions.”

    Articles like this never seem to mention the economic disruptions that will be caused by climate change. I’d hoped for better from MIT, but I guess they’ve read too many papers by Nordhaus and think several degrees of warming won’t be all that expensive.

    1. grayslady

      Our area school systems show how MIT is truly out of touch. An article in today’s local paper (part of the Chicago Tribune) reports the following:

      "Through soon-to-be installed solar photovoltaic technology, CLC will be capable of producing nearly two megawatts of electricity at its Grayslake campus, said David Husemoller, sustainability manager.

      “This (will) save over 20% of the campus’ electricity needs,” Husemoller said."

      CLC is our county community college. Meanwhile, even our local grade schools and high schools are pursuing solar power (from the same article):

      “The solar developments at CLC reflect efforts by school districts in Lake County to tap into the sun’s rays for renewable energy. The roster includes Waukegan District 60, which, pending approval from city officials, could start building a solar field as soon as fall on the former Yeoman Creek landfill.

      Gurnee School District 56 is currently in talks with village of Wadsworth to install a solar farm made up of approximately 1,144 PV panels at Prairie Trail School, which is located on Wadsworth Road west of Green Bay Road in Wadsworth….

      Lindem said the school plans to finance the estimated $1 million project in part through rebates and solar energy renewable credits. He estimated the school will get $500,000 back in ComEd rebates and solar renewable credits.”

      But hey, we’re in flyover country and obviously backwards, according to MIT.

    2. xkeyscored

      Why should they? It’s a technology publication; they take it for granted their readers are aware of the consequences of climate change, and they’re interested in a wider picture than economic disruption. They’re well aware of the likely disruption to everything that sustains us, which many so-called economists toss into some ‘externality’ bin to forget about, while others try to assign numbers to the well-being of future generations, subject of course to an appropriate discount rate. Why should they attempt to get their heads round such nonsense?
      “Finally, most climate studies show the world will need to remove a massive amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to avoid extremely dangerous levels of warming.” The last five words say it all.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Plus they talk about ‘the cost’, but don’t talk about the net cost over and above other likely expenditure. Over a 20 year period, trillions would be spent on electricity and other power infrastructure anyway, whatever options are taken. The ‘cost’ of decarbonising is the cost over and above business as usual. I’m not convinced that the net cost of decarbonising is all that much greater when you take account of the massive existing subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear.

    4. Kevin C. Smith

      Bernie had 3 Gulfstreams lined up to fly him and his entourage from SC to Myrtle Beach the other day. Wonder if he was giving a climate change/carbon footprint talk?
      We should be told!

  9. carl

    I thought the piece on Bloomberg buying the El Paso Times was a parody, but no. Honestly, life in this country just keeps getting more and more surreal.

    1. Donald

      Re the Sanders-Cuba-Nicaragua issue—

      If people keep pearl clutching about this, point out the hypocrisy. In fact the truth is almost the exact opposite. It is mainstream politicians who support massive human rights violations.

      In the 80’s, for instance, Republicans and conservative Democrats supported their contra terrorists who targeted civilians. Reagan and underlings like Elliot Abrams ( raked over the coals by Ilhan Omar last year on this issue) supported and regularly lied about the mass killings by the military in El Salvador, most notoriously at El Mozote. Reagan openly brushed off accusations against Rios Montt in Guatemala, when he was committing genocide against Mayans.

      And in the modern era, it has been Sanders pointing out Saudi atrocities in Yemen when many mainstream politicians and pundits were still praising Bonesaw.

      I could go on and on. After the Israelis killed dozens of Gazan protestors in May 2018, the NYT carried 4 opinion pieces supporting Israel and putting all the blame on Hamas. The pieces were by Tom Friedman, Matti Friedman, Brett Stephens and Shmuel Rosner. There was a piece about this at Mondoweiss. Can you imagine the NYT carrying four pieces supporting a massacre conducted by some US enemy? But with Israel they don’t even blink.

      Then there is the recent Bolivian coup, but I am getting tired.

      The NYT piece on Sanders writes as though the young supporters don’t care about ancient history and makes it seem like the Sanders critics are the ones who care about human rights, but chances are many of those young supporters know the Cold War history and the critics are supporters of hard line brutal policies like those of Reagan. Tgey probably support the Bolivian coup and the sanctions in Venezuela.

      If this Castro issue has any legs, we need to be pointing this out.

      This wasn’t supposed to be a reply. I thought I was starting a new thread.

      1. nippersdad

        On threads where Sanders was being trashed I have been asking what it is about the Batista and Somoza regimes they like so much. The Slavery? The death squads? What was uniquely better about the killer dictatorships that were revolted against than the dictatorships that were rebelled for? Should we invade those countries to reinstate the plantation owners, etc.

        No one seems to have answers to those questions. I would love to see Sanders ask them at a debate.

        1. polecat

          No one under the age of 40 is perusing what ever noxious tripe the corpserate msm is spewing. Even I, as a younger 60s boomer, haven’t read, nor viewed anything but alternative sources, for years ! Is everything that I come across forthright and honest ?? No, but neither are mine eyes wide, nor shut, nor my ear cupped !

        2. Anon

          Yes. While Batista was “elected” Cuban president in the 1940’s, he returned in the 1950’s through the connivance of the US and made himself Generalissimo Dictator. The Cuban student protests of the 50’s led him to kill ~20,000 “dissidents”. Batista’s general repression gave rise to the rural guerilla Fidel Castro. Who overthrew the US backed Batista in 1959, and who moved Cuba away from crony capitalism toward a socialist economy.

      2. Plenue

        If you really want to cause them distress, refuse to even accept their basic anti-red premises:

        “No, Castro was a good guy. In fact, I wish he had murdered more of the Cuban ruling swine rather than letting them flee to Florida.”

        In all seriousness though, the Sandinistas were genuinely good people. Certainly miles better than the literal terrorists the US leadership engaged in blatantly illegal gunrunning to fund. I wish Sanders would at least point out Iran-Contra when these smears are used against him.

  10. a different chris

    Ok isn’t this our second look at lovely young women working with a snake that men like me, twice their size and of chiseled jaw, would run away screaming from? The other being the amusement park worker just grabbing one off the pavement and walking it back to the bushes? Love it. In a world of monster machinery and over-the-horizon missile tech, being a big human is pretty meaningless. It’s what’s inside.

    And speaking of that, me except for the “cumulative years” part, replace that with “immediately”:

    1. rowlf

      A couple of months ago one evening I heard my wife in the living room making the sound of someone having a terrible nightmare and not being able to scream. I rush in and see my two cats staring at something that looks like six inched of rope or thick twine, moving. My wife is standing on top of the back of the couch and trying to back-crawl up the wall. On one hand my monkey mind starts to go, well, ape, but on the other hand the ice water starts to flow. The baby snake didn’t show characteristics of local poisonous snakes and was actually pretty mellow, so I got a headlight and a container, scooped up the snake and put it in the far corner of the backyard, taking a real good look at it too. Later research showed it to be a grey rat snake, real docile. In my wife’s defense she comes from a country with about 28 types of snakes with maybe 26.5 being poisonous.

      About what’s inside, consider T.D. Smith:

  11. OIFVet

    Tulsi Gabbard in The Hill: her plea is falling on liberals’ dead ears. In an argument yesterday I cited her article, the response was to shoot the messenger and to ignore the message. And to label us both Russian assets. The new McCarthyism instilled in the MSDNC viewing class is stunning in its toxicity. They won’t listen to reason, they only repeat what Rachel maddow told them, and throw accusations. I thanked my liberal friend for proving Gabbard’s point, reminded him that both me and Gabbard had put our behinds on the line while wearing the uniform, and told him no ad hominem will ever shut me up. But it will others, no one likes to be called an agent of foreign power just because they passionately believe in the need to overthrow the establishment and ensure that Washington serves the needs of the people. I am thick skinned and that hurt nonetheless. I am sure there are reasonable liberals out there, but a sizable number are beyond redemption at this point. Best way to deal with them is to not back down, but to keep reaching out to more and more people and win them over for the cause.

    1. Donald

      A lot of liberals instantly go for the ad hominem. At another blog, someone cited Matt Taibbi on Russiagate and instantly someone pops in and links to a piece claiming Taibbi was a woman abuser in Russia and a notorious anti anti Trump liberal. Pretty sure the first accusation had been made and discredited in that very blog months earlier, but a good smear never dies.

      The second claim was also false. Some liberals think you must swear fealty to the Russiagate narrative or you support Trump.

    2. urblintz

      Here’s agreat article you can point them to even if they’re like my liberal friends and won’t read it.

      “For more than three years, US audiences have been flooded with fearmongering about a supposed “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference campaign, and even more intense speculation—since shown by Robert Mueller to be baseless—that the Trump camp conspired with it. A core goal has been to help US elites, particularly in the Democratic Party, avoid challenging the corrupt system that gave rise to Trump’s presidency. Such a challenge would threaten their own status and power inside that system. For national security state officials, it doubled as a means to undermine Trump’s calls for better cooperation with Russia and stigmatize the appeal of his campaign-trail promises, however insincere they were, of ending regime change wars abroad.

      The Russiagate playbook has been a mirror image of what its adherents ascribe to Russia: to “sow chaos” and “undermine confidence in American election systems” by spreading disinformation and hyberbolic warnings.”

  12. Wukchumni

    Photos of deserted, nearly empty airports around the world show how coronavirus has decimated air travel Business Insider

    Here’s the long awaited rapture, an emptying out of shared public spaces, with just a few left behind.

    Jesus Just Left Chicago by ZZ Top

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Awoke after a disturbing dream of Celine Dion in a slit skirt strutting across the stage singing “Legs”. End times, man.

  13. thoughtful person

    Bernie Sanders Has an Audacious — and Hugely Expensive — Climate Plan MIT Technology Review.

    Sanders plan is probably less than needed, if you check out the past few months of methane levels in Barrow Alaska. Bad as losing WW2 would have been, or losing 2% of world population to a pandemic, extinction is worse.

    On the methane levels, it appears to be a very large rise, greater than in the past 12 months than total since 1983 (~1700ppb to 1950ppb, in 2019, 1950ppb to 2100+ppb today)

    1. xkeyscored

      I don’t understands why he rejects geoengineering, assuming that is his plan.
      Geoengineering is generally taken to mean something like “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change.”
      Methods include:
      Albedo enhancement. Increasing the reflectiveness of clouds or the land surface so that more of the Sun’s heat is reflected back into space.
      Space reflectors. Blocking a small proportion of sunlight before it reaches the Earth.
      Stratospheric aerosols. Introducing small, reflective particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect some sunlight before it reaches the surface of the Earth.
      Afforestation. Engaging in a global-scale tree planting effort.
      Biochar. ‘Charring’ biomass and burying it so that its carbon is locked up in the soil.
      Bio-energy with carbon capture and sequestration. Growing biomass, burning it to create energy and capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide created in the process.
      Ambient Air Capture. Building large machines that can remove carbon dioxide directly from ambient air and store it elsewhere.
      Ocean Fertilisation. Adding nutrients to the ocean in selected locations to increase primary production which draws down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
      Enhanced Weathering. Exposing large quantities of minerals that will react with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and storing the resulting compound in the ocean or soil.
      Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement. Grinding up, dispersing, and dissolving rocks such as limestone, silicates, or calcium hydroxide in the ocean to increase its ability to store carbon and directly ameliorate ocean acidification.

      You may not like all of them, but I can’t see how we’ll solve this problem without some of these. I also think it wise to keep our options open, eg by continuing research into methods we’d prefer not to use. Stratospheric aerosol injection gets many people’s backs up, but it’d buy us time, like the mass quarantining in China did for WURS. And Sanders won’t be president for another year, which’ll mean another 30-40 billion tonnes of CO2 already up there making our grandkids’ lives hell.
      I haven’t noticed many people recently saying we mustn’t use AI or genetic engineering in the search for tests, medicines and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, though both are frequently viewed as dangerous technologies. Do we need to wait until we’re in full-on climate emergency before we consider all the solutions?

      1. c_heale

        I think the people who want business as usual aren’t going to consider small scale local solutions until it’s too late. Similar yo the inadequate response to covid19.

      2. JTMcPhee

        All sounds so attractive. Let us just let the billionaires decide, since these actions will not be subject to democratic choice, let alone balanced scientific enquiry in areas where there’s no way to really gather meaningful data at appropriate scope or begin to understand all the unintended consequences. “Buy us time?” Maybe throw gasoline on the fire, but who knows? There are a lot of likely flies in the ointment:

        “We did the best we could do in a difficult situation,” of course with no liability constraints, no consequences for those who put these efforts in motion. So no problem, mate!

        1. xkeyscored

          “We did the best we could do in a difficult situation,”
          We carried on making the problem worse, since it’ll mainly affect the poor and generations yet to be born, more like.

          Some of those flies in the ointment are a bit dubious. Other research suggests that SAI would result in far fewer climate disruptions than global warming without SAI. Most regions would not return to pre-industrial climates, but they’d generally go in that direction. And ozone depletion would only be a result of injecting sulphur dioxide; calcite, another candidate, would have the opposite effect, tending to restore stratospheric ozone.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I agree with you that its wrong to entirely dismiss it, but there is a rational reason for excluding it – quite simply, it appeals to the wrong sort of person (i.e. billionaires and autocratic leaders) as a false sticking plaster for the real problems.

            There is also an issue about the overlap between real solutions and geoengineering – to an extent, for example, rewilding and reforestation is a form of geoengineering.

            The big problem as I see it is that geoengineering is absolutely certain to be tried – most probably by China. They are already doing major experiments in the Himalaya. The problem with this is that countries will do it according to their own interests. Something that benefits water flow from the Himalaya is not necessarily something that benefits the rest of the planet.

            But I absolutely think that major investment is needed in the science, if for nothing else to make sure that we have a better idea of the likely downsides of any geoengineering ‘solution’. I also would not rule out that there may be a genuinely useful outcome of experiments – for example, ocean enrichment using iron or olivine. Personally, I think the potential downsides of using olivine are so low that its stupid not to be mining the stuff right now and using it for coastal protection.

            1. xkeyscored

              Keith et al (of Scopex infamy) make the same point as your first paragraph, even if some doubt their sincerity. SAI will not solve our problems and is absolutely not ideal, but we’re thirty years late for ideal solutions to climate change.

              Afforestation is considered a form of geoengineering, though even that isn’t as straightforward as some seem to think – wrong trees in wrong place, land that could be used for crops, etc.
              “Afforestation. Engaging in a global-scale tree planting effort.” – above

              I agree entirely about olivine. I’ve even thought about the possibility of powdering some of this country’s and chucking it in the rivers. It’s not even expensive to do (probably a significant cash earner for this country, with grants and credits and stuff). Perhaps writing this will spur me into investigating further, or at least putting the idea about a bit more.
              Zircon xenocrysts from Cenozoic alkaline basalts of the Ratanakiri Volcanic Province (Cambodia)

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Ted Cruz tried to mock AOC’s scientific knowledge – it didn’t end well”

    I must have a vivid imagination or something. While having a good laugh at the details in this story, I was reminded of a scene from the “comedy/horror film “Tucker and Dale vs Evil. A guy, who kind looks like Ted Cruz, tries to kill another guy while he was operating a wood-chipper and it did not go well (some gore)-

    1. Pat

      Although it was always a high bar to think that a sensible response would make anyone following this on Cruz’s side think differently, this one is going to be portrayed as a “win” by both sides. His response will work to her burn will work for them.
      (Not that I think Cruz writes his own tweets.)

  15. anon in so cal

    Apologies if this has already most likely been noted here, but kudos to Tulsi Gabbard, for her editorial in The Hill, denouncing the ongoing and increasing interference of US intel agencies in US politics:

    And, especially, for denouncing the current US support for Turkey’s Erdogan, as he tries to rescue his terrorist mercenaries in Idlib, Syria, and seems intent on igniting, if not escalating, a hot war with Russia:

    Tulsi Gabbard: ““The corporate media needs to stop referring to Al-Qaeda in #Idlib as “rebels” in a deceptive effort to make them seem like “freedom fighters”. Turkey’s been supporting Al-Qaeda and ISIS for years now in an effort to overthrow #Syria’s government.”

    1. Shonde

      Send her a donation to let her know she does have support. She may be feeling very lonely right now. My donation went out last night.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Just sent her a sawbuck. I hope others do too. Pretty obvious why the Usual Suspects are burying her in a cone of silence through this thing we call for convenience a “campaign.”

    2. polecat

      Well, we .. meaning our instigators and enablers within the Deep State, who blew up Iraq & Co. were their creators, after all, no? Erdogan is only taking advantage of Unka Sammy’s ‘largesse’, afterall …..

    3. Deschain

      It’s a good sentiment. She needs an editor, though. The length makes it tip over into manifesto land.

      1. urblintz

        In her defense, if the previous Democratic nominee for POTUS, a woman who lost that campaign to Donald F. Trump, had publicly called me a Putin Puppet (linking me to Clinton’s pitiful and self-inflicted defeat) I’d be writing manifestos too. And If I were an elected Congressperson running for President I might even sue…

        1. Stephen V

          Just my opinion here, but just as Bernie as Nominee is criminally unthinkable in some minds, I think Hill was also threatening Tulsi about going 3rd Party.
          DNC’S only saving grace in this is that our duopoly has made this incredibly difficult. I don’t care how many candidates we seem to have, it all boils down to tweedle D vs. Tweedle dumb.

    4. Plenue

      The ignition may have happened this morning. Turkey bombed the hell out of the Syrian army, much more than it had before, including with drone strikes.

      1. ambrit

        What happens when Turkey shoots down a Russian aircraft? Will we see offensive actions to take out the missile batteries in Hatay Province? Then NATO will have a really difficult decision to make.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “UK races to find extra 50,000 staff for post-Brexit paperwork”

    ‘A race to hire 50,000 people in the next six months to process Brexit paperwork is under way after the government confirmed they would be needed for border operations.’

    Well, since the vote for Brexit took place back on 23rd June 2016, they have only had 3 years, 8 months and 7 days to prepare for this which we all agree is not very much time. I suppose what stopped them was the thought of giving actual paying jobs to unemployed people that held them back. Austerity is a hard habit to break.

  17. ptb

    Re: Spiegel / Roubini / virus / econ / trump / iran

    Whoa, how many beers in were they when they did that interview?

    It is (not will be) a huge global shock. Normal market action will be effectively replaced with a centrally managed scheme to try and freeze valuations (modulo profiteering for insiders), prob starting April-May would be my guess based on 2 week virus incubation period (i.e. guessing 4 more generations of it before the US panics), and going for a year or so after that. That’s fine. But war with Iran and China to get rid of Trump? wtf.

    The thing to remember is that the federal govt has been dropping the ball all too often on disaster response. A couple of friends just flew back to town here, cross country. They observed no precautions in place whatsoever during their air travel. Someone I run into at a local gym is off to visit the Vatican. Oh and the first two were remarking abouy cheap airline tixx. Do the math… Maybe just letting it take its course its for the better, I don’t know.

    1. dcrane

      Yeah I’m struck by his seeming certainty that Trump would be foolish enough to get into a hot war with Iran in an election year. Wag the dog worked in the past but there is a weariness towards war now and a greater public cynicism these days….or am I just projecting my hopes onto the greater population?

  18. shinola

    Local TV nooze just reported that 9,203 cases of the flu have been reported been reported in the county where I live (close in ‘burbs of Kansas City).

    I’ve not seen people around here wearing surgical masks, in person or on TV. Traffic at stores seems normal. Report on the popular bar/club area showed what appeared to be normal Fri. night crowd.

    Is this coronavirus/covid-19 thing so much worse than the “normal” strains of flu that it justifies the current freak out? Or is it just the way the msm reporting is making it seem?

    1. Wukchumni

      Gustave Le Bon wrote an amazing book about us in 1896:

      The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind

      He couldn’t have ever imagined online, which is isolated and yet widespread in it’s reach to The Crowd at the same time.

      by the mere fact that he forms part of an organised crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian — that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings, whom he further tends to resemble by the facility with which he allows himself to be impressed by words and images — which would be entirely without action on each of the isolated individuals composing the crowd — and to be induced to commit acts contrary to his most obvious interests and his best-known habits. An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will.

    2. Chris

      I keep seeing this focus on face masks. Social distance is better. Also, the typical sort of painter’s masks that are commonly available won’t protect you, but they might protect other people from you if you’re sick.

      To use a mask to prevent you getting sick in a case where you think you’ll be exposed to a virus you need a respirator. To use a respirator, you need to have one fit tested to your face. Before you can have a fit test, you need to be medically cleared to wear a respirator. So let’s drop the fantasy that masks are useful in this instance even if we have enough and could distribute them efficiently.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Just more “security theater,” like the leaky sieve of TSA shakedowns at airports… to let the mopes believe “steps are being taken.” While adding another brick to the edifice of population control (not the Malthusian version.)

        Don’t forget to thank the person in front of you for sharing their toenail fungus with you in the shoe-change queue… Not to mention whatever pathogens get passed from putting your threatening valuables in those tubs that get passed through the x-ray machines.

        Cultural death wish in action…

      2. Kevin Hall

        What masks can do is help you maintain self discipline to not handle your face with potentially unclean hands.

        They say the virus is not airborne, who knows for sure. I suspect there is still much to be learned but if it truly is not then people are becoming infected through hand to mouth, eyes, nose, or least likely ears.

        So yes, masks are useful as would be any other physical barrier of similar nature. A couple of examples are motorcycle helmets and face shields (like the kind used for splash protection on a hard hat).

      3. polecat

        Exactly How does one practice ‘social distancing’ … well, other than not participating in Fbook, Twit, and the likes … when one has to go about procuring life’s necessaries, such as food and other sundries.. and don’t tell me that drones are the answer ..that’s just a bezos et al crackpipe-dream !
        Short of enforced mandatory quarentines, people have to be out, getting what they need for daily sustenance .. the basics anyway.
        Que up in a line at the local supermart/box store, with number tag in hand …waiting all day for your turn to practice ‘distancing’ .. dressed to the hilt for contagion .. whilst tossing that mac-n-chesse into your just chemically spray-sterilized cart ?? I highly doubt that freedom fries will be had from the frozened-out aisle. Those will be hoarded by the rapture-ready crowd.


        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This is why readers and even the CDC recommended stockpiling, so you don’t have to go out at all/as much.

          You could also try going to your store when it is late or really early so fewer people are there. Use a big cart. Wipe down the handle with alcohol, or use a tissue to grab it, or go get a thin plastic bag from the veggie section and put each hand in one. Staying a meter away from people helps.

          Definitely hands in bags or tissues at checkout. I prefer bags to gloves because the bags are so weird you’ll replace them often and toss them pronto. With gloves, too tempting to leave them on, then they get contaminated and you touch your face with them.

          Wash your hands before going to the store. Wash your hands as soon as you get back. Sterilize (using 60-70% alcohol) the steering wheel, door handles, and indicators you touch when you’ve gotten back. Carry tissues so if you really have to touch your face, you do so using tissues.

        2. Chris

          This is why our culture with its JIT focus is ripe for an infection of this sort. We’ve created a situation where most people can’t avoid the situations we’re going to tell them they have to avoid if there’s a quarantine. This latest virus is going to find a ready home among the precariat and the poor and the “can’t stop won’t stop” cult of the PMC.

          But I am not concerned about what’s going to hit us in the USA this spring nearly as much as what we might have to deal with this coming winter.

      1. Monty

        It’s not the deaths which are a concerning to me. It is the number of people requiring isolated ICU/oxygen support, the worldwide stats put this at 15-20% of cases. If it spread like seasonal flu, that would cripple every hospital in very short order. There just is not the slack or facilities to deal with that many cases at once. Then the deaths sky rocket, because there is nowhere to treat people with coronavirus or other critical health issues.

        1. Deschain

          We had a baby last year and he contacted RSV at 2 weeks. He needed respirator support for another two weeks after that. (He’s totally fine now.) Can confirm that hospitals are not geared to deal with that on a wide scale.

          The smart money play might be to contract it as quickly as possible and beat the crowd.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The problem with the ‘get it over with’ argument is that the evidence so far is that you don’t develop an immunity to it, even if you’ve had it. So yes, you might get a bed first, but that won’t mean you won’t be back looking for another hospital bed in 6 weeks.

            1. False Solace

              There was a study a couple days ago that did DNA/RNA analysis of the virus and based on that, this likely isn’t a virus that mutates quickly enough to allow reinfection. I mean that may turn out to be wrong but based on comparison to other viruses it looks like the immune system will detect the virus just fine. Stories about reinfection are very scarce on the ground — there could be any number of other things going on.

          2. xkeyscored

            Did your baby’s RSV necessitate isolation, with full protective clothing etc and elevated risk of infection (and death) for everyone who went near him? If not, you may be understating our unpreparedness.

        2. Redlife2017

          I try to explain this to some people and some just go, yeah but I won’t be dead. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Be. On. A. Respirator.

          It probably helps that I’ve been to hospitals enough dealing with proper sick people that I know I don’t want to experience that. And that doesn’t even cover the fact that here in the UK we do not have the beds to handle this. At All.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              A year before….must remember to check & edit.

              Probably tighter for staff also due to Brexit.

            2. c_heale

              I’m from the UK, now in Korea, and my brother works in the NHS. He was in a meeting with a lot of A&E doctors recently, and he said they couldn’t get anything done, because the doctors kept interrupting to have covenversations with colleagues about how it was impossible to do their current jobs. The NHS had already said in as many words they will use triage when (not if) there is an outbreak of covid-19.

    3. Larry Y

      We don’t have solid numbers, because it’s novel…. but, appears to be more contagious and higher hospitalization rates and higher death rates.

      China and Japan governments don’t panic easily (unlike cover-ups and inertia), nor do either cultures watch Fox News (any Murdoch media) or MSNBC, being insulated from English-language media. I can’t see either government preemptively shutting down an entire region of tens of millions of people over a “freak out” by “msm”.

  19. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Bodega owners to fight imminent state plastic ban

    “It’s going to be chaos,” said Francisco Marte of Bronx-based Green Earth Grocery, which will be named a plaintiff in Friday’s lawsuit. “We are in favor of the reusable bags, but there has been no education to the consumers or to the businesses,” he said.

    Education needed for the use of paper bags?!?! And what if a customer bought some chips and soda and had to – the squeamish may want to look away here – leave the store with no bag at all!?!?! The horror….

    There’s a lobby for literally every special interest and it’s the reason the rest of us can’t have nice things.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Yep, the lobby can concentrate resources to small point of attack — the great unwashed don’t begin to have the necessary internal structure to defeat the organized few. Was it de Tocqueville who pointed out that if only 2% of the “democrats” in the America he observed pressed for a policy, that policy was inevitably implemented?

      The concentration of wealth has taken an inflationary toll on that “2%” figure — hence the assumption of the 0.1%…

      Usual question is what, if anything, can be dome about it? In the wider ecology, stuff like this ends up pretty quickly being remedied by other means and effects…

    2. mraymondtorres

      What a weird thing to knot up your panties about! Yep. The Bodega Lobby is up to its usual tricks.

      I mean, who could argue that the “education” comment is anything other than complete boneheaded nonsense? But still, we (PRs) consider it unseemly to carry things in our hands out of a store, especially if you’re a female. Seriously. It’s a real cultural thing. But also, it’s probably not the best safety tip for Bronx streets either.

      Have a nice day!

    3. Rod

      but there has been no education to the consumers or to the businesses,” he said.
      said the business owner.

      So you own the business and those are your customers???

      Sorry, in my world, he would now have to relinquish the Business name Green Earth Grocery, for being an irresponsible Human Being.

  20. Carolinian

    Re Biden–he was here yesterday in the same venue as Sanders the previous day. The paper said a smaller crowd for Biden but didn’t say how much smaller. Dead campaign walking?

    And our new voting machine is a printer that prints the candidate’s name and a bar code that is then scanned by a different machine. So there is a paper trail.

      1. Rod

        I was at a Buttigieg event in the new event space(fir$t cla$$ for us) here in upstate SC for a Thursday Rally.
        1200+/- attended a summer event in town for the same candidate.
        Excitement for this event was high amongst the Campaign staff.
        Official room count(not sign in attendance–so everyone: cops, facilities service, stagehands, etc were counted) I was told was 496.

        And today I used our brand new voting machines without a glitch–

        Step 1 on Machine #1–find candidate and push touch screen-confirm selection-confirm your confirmation and PRINT. Yes there is my candidate and TWO bar codes–one big and one small printed below candidates name. I do not know what the bar codes said.
        Step 2 on Machine #2–take printed ballot AND FEED PRINTED SELECTION side PRINT SIDE UP
        into slot under watchful eye of poll worker there to assist.
        As in poll worker by my side for both steps.

        Because my wife and I were voting together before breakfast and needed something to chat about during breakfast, I: using my best Teachers Voice, asked the 3 poll workers if they thought this new expensive machine system would be more secure and less costly than hand marked ballots hand counted in public?

        That yielded two lookaways and two eyerolls–one from my wife.

    1. carl

      I voted early last week in Texas. Same setup. Didn’t fill me with confidence; kept thinking “hand marked paper ballots, hand counted in public.”

  21. MillenialSocialist

    Australia has better healthcare for snakes than America does for humans.

    Maybe because we’re governed by snakes.

  22. neighbor7

    Among the many strange and wondrous things I saw during a year in Texas was a herd of javalinas (around forty) trotting slowly up a freeway on-ramp. They’s taken it over, essentially, and had my admiration.

      1. polecat

        Maybe some enterprising soul can arrange a sizable herd to be driven up northeast … to be released into lower Manhattan, to do their worst .. being omnivorous and all – the pigs .. not the other ‘PIGs’ !.

    1. inode_buddha

      Way up north here, we have a herd of ~200 white-tail deer in the north-central part of the county…. completely stop traffic in the mornings when the cross Rte. 78 (a major 4-lane connecting a couple of counties). It’s a no hunting zone.

  23. Pat

    New York City is going to be in a world of hurt. Tourism is a big part of the city’s economy. We’ll see soon. Spring breaks are the start of the ramp up to the summer influx. That should be starting in about three weeks.

    A whole lot of businesses and yes speculators with Airbnb will not survive.

    And yes our inadequate but expensive medical system will guarantee that once it hits it will hit here hard.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Our one trip to NYC and the Metropolitan Opera to fulfill my wife’s bucket list desire to see La Bohème occured after 9/11 when flights and hotels were very inexpensive. Bought her a glass of champagne at intermission, staggered at the cost, and sadly informed her, after her first sip, that I had spent our cab fare.

      File under Rube in the City.

    2. Carl

      Well, if we’re tallying up the losses, San Antonio’s economy depends a lot on tourism as well. Perhaps not as much international visitors, but still. We have a citywide event in April called Fiesta, which contributes quite a lot to the economy; remains to be seen whether it will still be held or not. It’s still quite a working class city; many people live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t expect anything good to come of this pandemic in my neck of the woods.

    3. MLTPB

      Imagine no gatherings over 1,000 or 5,000, as we are seeing in Europe, what would that mean for

      1 caucuses
      2 party conventions??

  24. Chris

    I really hope that Sanders wins today in SC and that he runs the table on Tuesday. I am so tired to listening to so-called liberals about this election.

    I am so tired of hearing that there is no difference between Bloomberg, Sanders, Warren, Biden, or Buttigieg, because no one will accept a radical agenda and the Senate will not allow anything to pass.

    I am so tired of hearing that Joe Manchin is the king who determines what is possible.

    I am so tired of hearing people complain about all the things Trump has done to make the country worse, all the Justice Dept positions he’s seeded with cronies, all the regulatory bodies he’s hamstrung, and then hearing the same people turn around and say that nothing would be better if we had someone like Sanders in the White House.

    I am so tired of having people tell me that the DNC will allow Bernie to win if he gets the votes to win and disregarding all the problems with the “debates”, super delegates, polling bias, voter access issues, or state party organizations being biased against his campaign as evidence that no, the DNC isn’t going to let Bernie win.

    I am so tired of hearing people say we can’t afford Medicare for all or decent infrastructure for our citizens and then hearing people complain about the government not doing enough to stop Covid-19.

    I want Bernie to win so big he offends the DNC. I want them to sweat before they take away the nomination. I want to watch the entire party organization and everyone cashing in on it burn in the fires of populist revolt as the voters stop behaving as they tell people they should in PowerPoint presentations. I want to hear talking heads on TV tell campaign consultants and health policy analysts that they should learn to code if they want a better job.

    I have no illusions any of this will occur. But I want it to. I’m just tired of seeing the world as it is so consistently murder the world that could be. Yves asked about cracking the seals the other night. I think all the demons have already been released and are stalking us right now :(

      1. marieann

        “we gonna take back what was taken from us”

        My God it brought tears to my eyes…and I’m a Canadian

      2. richard

        yes, i filled out my mail-in ballot today (wa), and was very much in the same mood
        reasons to be joyous
        and also also very watchful
        things are happening pretty quickly now, it seems to me
        masks off, daggers out

        1. Dan

          I’m getting different ground reports. Some staff and volunteer reports indicate support for Biden is really soft and they’re getting a lot of Sanders and Steyer mentions. The most optimistic are still not counting out a win, but they’re in the minority. The overall tone of the campaign at this point seems to be happiness that they significantly closed the gap over the last 10 months and a focus on Super Tuesday and the future. One such report:

          Don’t be concerned. We expected to experience challenges in SC. Anything short of a 20% loss is not too bad. Stay focused on the positive. We won the first three states, which has never happened before. We’re poised to sweep Super Tuesday, including CA and TX. Stay positive.

          As to the voter suppression issues (polls closing at the last minute), this is what I’ve gotten so far:

          Staff and volunteers are on the ground trying to get as many people to polling locations as possible, so that’s a silver lining. This is still going to make the process harder, including for those trying to manage the higher turnout than they’re prepared for.

          Nothing particularly earth-shattering here. Basically, Biden will probably win but by less than he would have if Sanders hadn’t put together their ground game in the state.

          The voter suppression, while expected, is still hard to fathom.

          1. petal

            My bf (lives in Charleston) said he was still deciding between Steyer and Sanders. He may not be able to make it to the poll today, though.

            1. Dan

              I didn’t think he came off so well. MSNBC does everything in its power to absolutely destroy the Sanders campaign.

              1. Brooklin Bridge

                Arrg, I missed it. Oh well. Can’t find anything on the net. Just have to wait. And thanks for your updates!

    1. OIFVet

      I am tired of this [family blog] too. But it only stiffens my determination to do everything that I can to help usher in the change, in any way that I can, however small. I’ll be damned if I let them shout me down, I won’t allow them to tire me into resignation and acceptance of the status quo as permanent and inevitable.

  25. mraymondtorres


    Hello, all.

    Here in Austin, Texas, where we will host the 2020 South by Southwest Music, Film & Technology conference, March 13-22. Expecting about half a million people from all over the world to descend on our fair city. Nothing on the conference website home page about Coronavirus. (There’s this completely anodyne advice about general health safety and that’s it as far as I can see.)

    And nothing in any of the major media outlets:

    Austin American-Statesman (only newspaper)
    Austin Chronicle (“alternative” weekly)
    Texas Tribune (legislative & political news)
    MSNBC (news that all the best Austinites live by—genuflects)

    Any comment I could possibly make would only confirm my priors. Anybody else think it’s…um…strange?

    1. carl

      That should make for some exciting vectors coming out of that one. From what you’re saying, seems like the official policy is “full steam ahead” (hey! what’s that iceberg-thingie?).

      I guess Fiesta San Antonio is still on too.

    2. urblintz

      I’d book a hotel room outside the red zone just in case they’re shortsighted enough not to cancel. perhaps that’s harsh but sheesh! How do they spell s-o-c-i-a-l d-i-s-t-a-n-c-i-n-g?

    3. The Rev Kev

      Just wait until next year’s Superbowl is canceled due to Coronavirus! On the bright side, “Hamilton” the play also gets cancelled.

      1. Plenue

        Can we keep Hamilton on, in the hope of killing off some of the type of person who goes to see Hamilton?

  26. Woodchuck

    About AI spying article, I have a software company and I’ve been seeing this as a pretty disgusting trend. Some bosses (not all) are obsessed with controlling and knowing everything employees do. A partner offered us lately some chip that you put on employee cards and that you have a log of everything the employee does at all time (“you will know who has long bathroom breaks!” Ugh).

    We’ve done business in the middle east and it’s a very in-demand thing over there. There’s a big payday for companies coming up with the best way to spy on employees.

    And you’re totally right, there is an agency here and it’s the bosses. It’s not because the technology is possible that it is required or desirable in any way.

    There will probably be some regulations over time because it’s clearly going overboard from what I’m seeing. But in the meantime I can easily see stories coming out of women employees having bad periods getting called into the manager’s office because some graph says they’re in the bathroom too long.

  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: This Assange “Trial” Is A Self-Contradictory Kafkaesque Nightmare

    Definitely worth noting this bit regarding the magistrate presiding over the hearing, which is really quite chilling –

    It’s pretty clear by the way Baraitser is even more biased against Assange than the actual prosecutors that she made up her mind how she’s going to rule long before the trial even began. This is made all the more shady by the fact that there are apparently no photographs of this public official anywhere online, and indeed no documentation of her existence outside of the court.

    “Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet,” wrote [Craig] Murray after noting her anger at someone photographing the courtroom. “Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy.”

    How can this be? And why the silence? Do the Chuck Todds of the world really think this sort of behavior would never be directed at them?

  28. Pelham

    Re The one way Sanders is the new Trump: Kyle Pope makes a sound case that the media today are repeating the flubs of 2016 with Trump, this time with Sanders, by routinely dismissing Sanders’ supporters and demonizing Bernie. One reason, he says, is the concern among journalists that Sanders will be a weak candidate against Trump.

    That’s all true, but the perfidy goes deeper. There have been several polls over months now that show Sanders beating Trump nationally and, more importantly, beating him in swing states. Somehow this inconvenient fact (for journos and pundits) never bears repeating or commenting on. The assumption — now provably incorrect — is that Sanders MUST be a weak candidate. The fact that this insistence persists despite mounting solid evidence to the contrary suggests not just a blinkered PMC worldview but an outright hostility to Sanders and his backers.

    1. Dan

      The fact that this insistence persists despite mounting solid evidence to the contrary suggests not just a blinkered PMC worldview but an outright hostility to Sanders and his backers.

      They hold an outright hostility to any truth that doesn’t directly benefit them, which translates not only to a hostility to Bernie Sanders and his backers, it translates to a direct attack on any progressive legislation that materially benefits the masses. It’s ultimately an outright hostility to humanity at large.

        1. flora

          Those wily socialists like: librarians, fire fighters, school teachers, ss and medicare recipients and future recipients, scientists working at the CDC for less than “market rate” wages, people who expect clean water from their faucets, people who expect decently maintained public roads, people who expect the govt CDC and state health agencies to get ahead of pandemics or other health threats … oh wait. You’re talking about PMC and Country Club members… right. Public service is anathema to that crowd.. /s

        2. PhilK

          No, at the Country Club, they’ve got plenty of socialism, and they love it. They just don’t want the peasants to get any.

          1. polecat

            Can’t let all those dirty hippies in .. they just might soil the rims of the annointed’s sparkling champaign brunch glasses .. can’t have that.
            Can you imagine – they’d be clutching their pearls so hard, the cords of high privilege would snap, throwing those priceless little orbs all over the green !

    2. Matthew

      God, if the reason for all this nonsense is just that elite reporters are out of touch, that would be absolutely pathetic. I would almost prefer a conspiracy, to be honest.

  29. anon in so cal

    “Sacramento County’s top health official says he expects a few of the UC Medical Center employees exposed to the coronavirus last week to test positive themselves in the coming days.

    That’s not as alarming as it may sound, Peter Beilenson, county health services director, said on Friday. Those employees, if infected, stand a good likelihood that they will not become sick or will only be mildly ill, and may not need to be treated…..

    …Beilenson is among those predicting the coronavirus will eventually take its place “among the constellation of diseases” in the world that people will deal with like they do other colds and flu.

    “I think there will be more cases. That is not a horrible thing,” he said. “Once the disease gets into the population, with so many mild symptoms, common cold-like symptoms, people will be spreading it unbeknownst to them. It gets it to be more a common variety.”…

    “The best guess is that there are people who are not showing symptoms, but, are, nevertheless, infected. That’s a very normal way for diseases to spread,” Matyas said. “To public health officials, this is what disease does. The issue is that it’s not alarming, but we have to move to the next phase.”

    Maybe it’s just my cynical attitude, but Beilenson’s statements seem questionable.

    1. cnchal

      Total fail. Constellation of diseases my ass. Air travel is still a thing, ffs.

      Step one, limit travel.

      Step two – there is no step two if you don’t do step one.

      And by the way, where is tech wasteland brilliance now? Why isn’t there a back track app, that retraces your steps and automatically notifies you if you have crossed paths with someone that later becomes officially infected? But, hey, ads for underwear are moar important and what pays the bills.

      1. xkeyscored

        Did your baby’s RSV necessitate isolation, with full protective clothing and elevated risk of infection (and death) for everyone who went near him? If not, you may be understating our unpreparedness.

      2. xkeyscored

        “As coronavirus cases surge in South Korea, the country is turning to smartphone apps to avoid the contagion.
        Recently developed apps using public government data allow users to see how close they are to where a confirmed Covid-19 patient has been. They can also see the date a patient was confirmed with the disease, demographic data about the patient, and, crucially, some of their location history.
        At least one app, called Corona 100m, will also alert a user if they come within 100 m (328 ft) of a location visited by someone who’s had Covid-19.”
        (Hmm. US government data?)

        On the other hand, there’s this:
        “Coronavirus Spending Bill Could Be Used to Cement Spying Powers, Surveillance Critics in Congress Warned”

    2. MLTPB

      Thanks for quoting him. I was going too meself.

      There seem to be diverse opinions. See for example, Yves post about whether to prep or not.

      I dont know Beilenson personally. But he is a public official, non partisan, presumably a profession, as in education, training and experience in that field. So, that is one viewpoint from a professional, public figure. There are other viewpoints, giving the world still has much to learn about this.

      We expect those in charge to urge calm, while those not, to criticize (a proper role). So, we keep this point in mind.

      One more point – as long as he does not hand washing soes not help, practically, we all agree on a most effective, or the most effective preventative measure. I assume he recommend hand washing often.

      1. Anon

        I dont know Beilenson personally. But he is a public official, non partisan, presumably a profession, as in education, training and experience in that field.

        Well, he had better hope he’s a young buck, because the symptoms presenting in 60+ y.o. patients are not mild. In fact, that is where the fatalities are. The Chinese population is not the US population, but Covid-19 is likely to be deadly enough to cause widespread concern if it gets into the broader population.

        Imagine you’re a 60 y.o school teacher who is going to a workplace full of people (students) who do not present symptoms of Covid-19, but make repeated contact with you. You are very likely to catch the virus AND be hospitalized, if any few of them are carriers.

        The fact that the virus does not have or present unique symptoms in a portion of the total population is NOT good. It means there are unidentified, stealth carriers.

  30. Cuibono

    “The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples.”

    Hmmm. False positives…

    1. xkeyscored

      No worries. IIRR, they simply don’t do the control test.

      (To be more accurate, until recently. Now, with Pence in charge, god knows what is going on.)

  31. Louis Fyne

    from the camp of in an emergency something is better than nothing—-Korean gov’t found that homemade masks *can* be as effective as factory-made N80-N95 masks. Assuming the proper use of electrostatic filters.

    Alas I’m assuming that any tips floating around the internet on making your masks at home are in Korean.

    1. marieann

      Hmmm! I’ve been wondering if I could make my own masks.A quick search says that the electrostatic cotton is not available at the moment. I will investigate further

      Thanks for the information

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      we wear bandannas when we clean the chicken house.
      i have no science at all as to their effectiveness(particle size, etc).
      but even my youngest(he of the bad allergies) doesn’t sneeze when we wear them.
      best part is we look like train robbers.

      for this pandemic…i still think surfaces are the main issue. touching them, then rubbing your nose.
      i’ll be avoiding crowds as best i can regardless.

      1. Dan

        I’m trying to get some updates from Bernie’s people on the ground there. Will post when I find out more.

    1. Daryl

      > Belangia told the Prospect that the change was made because the 52 original locations were in schools, and they couldn’t host voters while the school year was in session.

      Brilliant. If only the school year was predictable, instead of being a random event.

      1. sd

        Growing up, polling was always set up in the school gym. It just meant students didn’t have gym access for the day.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Elections in Oz are on a weekend as the high school halls are empty and most people have the day off work. If any government tried to change elections to a weekday I do believe that they would be annihilated at the polls.

    1. Daryl

      It is cool that the mayor involved the city in this. To me, most endorsements from politicians are meaningless (anti endorsements even for a lot of them), but this is impressive.

      1. judy2shoes

        I was impressed by that, too. I think the mayor is part of Cooperation Jackson, a group that self-describes as one dedicated to building a solidarity economy. I love what they are trying to do; here is a link for anyone who is interested in finding out more:

    1. The Rev Kev

      Next headline-

      ‘Uber Air’s plans for 1000-strong Melbourne personal jet-packs fleet revealed’

  32. Steve H.

    Taleb: Principia Politica: Politics under Scaling & Uncertainty

    1. Cuibono

      So are they using the CDC test kits to make this call? Or a case definition?
      After the propublica artcile one would want to know…

  33. Tomonthebeach

    Amazon travel halt is pure gaslight. Inhale, get sick.

    Act now, if you enroll in Amazon Prime, our staff will sneeze on every package they deliver so you can get Coronavirus delivered right to your door. LOL

          1. Bill Carson

            And isn’t it probable that Mayor Pete was working for the CIA’s opium trade group in Afghanistan?

    1. skk

      You’d think, well actually I reckon, the coronavirus issue should be a boost to Sanders – what with his M4A and all. With the possibility of loaded rolls of the dice for large hospitalization bills it would concentrate minds for sure.

      We’ll see.

  34. xkeyscored

    Did U.S. Sanctions on Iran Help Coronavirus Spread Undetected?

    The U.S. Treasury announced on Thursday morning that it was lifting some terrorism-related sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, which re-opens a channel for humanitarian trade that had been closed since September 2019. The announcement does not lift the restrictions on humanitarian trade with other Iranian banks under terrorism-related sanctions.
    “Several international companies are ready to ship the coronavirus diagnosis kit to Iran, but we cannot pay them,” said Ramin Fallah, vice president of the Iranian Union of Importers of Medical Equipment, in a Monday interview with Iranian media. “They also insist that the money should only be sent through banks. Although there are ways to get around [sanctions], it is time-consuming.”

    (Iran has now received test kits; 20,000 from China, I heard on the radio.

  35. giantsquid

    Oddly, I had to cast a provisional ballot when I voted in California today. I’ve been a registered Democrat in California since I was 18 (a long time). All the State and County materials concerning this election were sent to me at my current address. And I vote regularly. Fortunately, the people working at the voting center were extremely helpful. They were a little perturbed as apparently they have had to provide provide provisional ballots to a fairly high percentage voters at this particular center today. Not to be foily (as Lambert might say)… but the neighborhoods nearby are heavily Latina & Latino.

  36. Oregoncharles

    It’s here: the second or third non-travel-related Covid 19 case is in Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland, OR. 80 miles from here. (Not at OSU, as I expected.)

  37. OIFVet

    Bernie shows a killer instinct in going for the kill in MA and MN, predictably gets called a “sexist” by Howard Fineman for daring to try to win. The responses are predictably fitting. David Sirota: “We’re one news cycle away from being told that Bernie has no right to campaign in New York City because Mike Bloomberg was mayor.” Krystal Ball: “He should probably avoid California out of respect for Kamala just to be safe.” My favorite from a regular Joe: “Really unbelievably petty of Bernie to campaign in the US, the home country of every single one of his rivals.”

    Really though, the MSM pundits should keep doing what they are doing. All it does is boost Sanders. So take a bow Fineman, heckuva job!

  38. Pelham

    Honest question re coronavirus: If China, Italy, Iran and S. Korea all have hundreds or thousands of cases and a test is needed to confirm that patients have the disease, does this mean that all those countries have plenty of test kits and the US is alone in not having enough?

    1. xkeyscored

      Not exactly. The USA (CDC, I think) developed and made its own tests, which didn’t (& still don’t?) work reliably. Iran may have had trouble until recently getting hold of tests due to US terrorism sanctions (see my comment above, February 29, 2020 at 4:05 pm), though their government may also rival the USA’s for uselessness.

  39. antidlcr

    MSNBC predicts Biden as we winner right after polls closed. Salivating over Biden’s big win. These people make me ill

  40. antidlc

    MSNBC predicts Biden as winner right after polls closed. Salivating over Biden’s big win. These people make me ill

    1. Dan

      Every major outlet called it for Biden before any results were in, based on exit polls. They could have done that for Bernie in Nevada, but didn’t.

      1. flora

        The Dem estab knows it has a fight on its hands. They’re pulling out all the stops to create a narrative. I watched a MSM 5:30p.m. evening news. Segment with reporter talking to voters in SC about how they voted. The reporter couldn’t seem to find anyone to talk to who voted for Bernie. odd.

        No voter suppression either in closing 50 polling place with no notice.

        As for predicting Biden the winner right after the polls close, I thought that was mayo pete’s trick. heh.

        Just sent another donation to Sanders campaign.

        1. flora

          adding: this week’s MSM reporting, punditry, polling was so over the top…. Biden was always considered the front runner in SC, but the MSM is so crazy over the top it’s almost like they’re trying to convince me “resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.” Well, no I won’t. ;)

          1. The Rev Kev

            I am betting that at a brokered convention, that the DNC will have Coronavirus as their Presidential candidate rather than Bernie. There is no doubting how quickly the Coronavirus ‘movement’ is spreading and is also bipartisan as well in it’s converts. What’s not to love?

            1. Bill Carson

              Coronavirus could be the ultimate opportunity to demonstrate the importance of single-payer healthcare. If only there were a candidate who was proposing that type of system….

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      No offense to any of the SC residents here, but….big deal. As even msnbs admits, biden was always going to win SC and Bernie is still the front runner going into Super Tuesday.

      If anything, this “massive” victory is damaging bloomberg. The msnbs talking heads are saying that bloomberg should get out because he’s making it hard for biden to challenge Bernie, taking votes in states that biden would like to claim, and possibly keeping him below the 15% threshold. If I’m understanding them correctly, bloomberg and biden are fighting it out for old, black voters, presumably because biden and bloomberg have REALLY come through for them.

      Go figure.

      1. OIFVet

        Let Bloomie run! Let him and the candidate for the Senate Joe Biden both fail to get 15% in California. S. Carolina is chump change in terms of national delegates. And the good thing about the olds, be they white, black, or Martian, is that they die, and sooner given the falling life expectancy in the US. Sorry to be so crass, and sorry if I offend Lambert’s rule on generational warfare, but having lately spent a lot of time with many Gen Z’iers and Millenials of all colors and persuasions, I am inspired by them. They are active, dedicated, informed, and not willing to go down without a fight. The future will be good with such kids getting steeped in the warfare thrown at them by the old guards and the organizational lessons they absorb from Our Revolution.

        1. cripes

          Sigh, another boomer-basher.

          The thing is, see, for each “old” that passes from the stage, another Millennial or GenZ takes their place, and ages at the same rate as those who came before.

          See how that works?

          If having kids and mortgages means avoiding uncertainty and risk, a big chunk of them will be invested in the status quo and vote for horrible people.

          Pete Buttgieg’s youth hasn’t improved his politics.
          And Bernie’s age hasn’t damaged his.
          Why are you supporting the “olds”?

          I am however disappointed that comatose old-ish black voters in SC handed racist criminal Sleepy Joe his first, hopefully last, primary win.

          Should I blame their age or their skin color or musical preferences for that?
          Or maybe their corrupt political leaders and clergymen sucking at the DNC teat?

          1. Debra D.

            The older black voters in South Carolina have decided to continue consigning their children and grandchildren to misery. That was their decision in the face of decades of oppression. No one else to put the blame on, but themselves.

            1. judy2shoes

              No one else to put the blame on, but themselves.

              I put the blame squarely on the MSM’s relentless onslaught pushing Obama-surrogate Biden over Bernie, painting Bernie as dangerous and unable to beat Trump, etc. It is non-stop, and the the democrat and Black misleadership classes are pushing the same drug. Not everyone has access to the information that we do; being connected via the web takes money, in some cases lots of it, as well as computer savvy. As someone else said to me on this board, better the democrat you know than the socialist you don’t. Fear of the unknown can be a powerful motivator.

  41. Tom Stone

    Onr thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the effect Covid-19 will have on the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables.
    They are primarily harvested by Hispanics, many of them undocumented and living in crowded quarters, ideal for spreading the virus.
    They aren’t going to skip work because they feel a little off and they aren’t going to show up at a hospital for fear of La Migra.
    This virus can survive up to 9 days on smooth surfaces such as the skin of an Apple…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that’s why i went long on the seed order.
      longer than i would have otherwise

      in related coronavirus news:
      cousin in houston called.
      said things like tylenol and advil and hand sanitizer,etc are unavailable in the northern half of the greater houston area.
      all sold out.
      as in those shelves are simply empty.
      other shelves are apparently emptying, too.
      so i’m going to walmart(ugh) bright and early in brady, texas…to stock up on stuff…but also to surveill.
      see if the panic has spread way out here yet.
      i guess that whole “warehouse on wheels” thing wasn’t too smart after all…

      1. Daryl

        I am in Houston, TX. I went to the store and aside from sanitizing supplies being completely sold out, can’t say I noticed a shortage of anything. Lots of regular shopping still going on, definitely some people buying more big crates/palettes of things though.

        I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to become a prepper, since I don’t know how to replicate my normal diet with canned foods. Buy a freezer, a generator and a whole cow maybe. Or learn to make pemmican. Guess I’ll have to figure something out.

        1. BlakeFelix

          You might want to take the opportunity to try and eat more veggies lol, an all beef diet is likely more dangerous than the Covid19. An efficient chest freezer and a generator are a great place to start, both of those things will very likely come in handy anyway. Once I got my chest freezer I started cooking bigger batches of healthy food and freezing most of it in Mason jars. Cheap and good. Don’t get it near the shoulder though or the ice expansion will break the jar.

      1. judy2shoes

        It boggles my mind that people could vote for him after seeing him in the debates or at whatever events he’s held. He’s clearly impaired (honestly, as much as I don’t like him, I feel sorry for him for that). He’s combative, incoherent, and clearly displaying entitlement. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

        1. Chris

          Better the devil with dementia you know rather than the commie you don’t I guess…

          Seriously can’t see it either. But I’m not a resident of thoroughly conservative state. I’m also not in a demographic that will be blown out of all proportion by the media. It is important that candidates speak to and be someone who black citizens can vote for. It is a mistake to think that the black citizens of South Carolina speak for anyone other than themselves. But that is clearly what the media punditry will make it out to be after tonight.

    1. Chris

      I’m impressed with their conviction in the exit polls. Not surprised that they decided to share those results nigh instantly after polls closed. I wonder how things will shape up by the time all the votes are in?

        1. urblintz

          The TV numbers are different than Politico and The Guardian.Tv has higher percentage precincts reported but lower numbers for Sanders.

  42. kareninca

    Here is a report from Silicon Valley; an email from a friend of mine who lives here too. It is re how people are reacting. I wouldn’t know about Costco myself since I find it unbearable to shop there under ordinary circumstances:

    “Re. Corona virus, local panic is setting in. I drove to Costco in Mt View this morning but couldn’t get within three blocks of it as the cars were all backed up trying to get in. Now I’m a patient person, but I noticed some people getting really agitated, honking and doing fast angry u-turns and trying to cut off others. I went home instead and right away emailed a friend of mine who shops there every Saturday to warn her off. No sooner had I finished emailing her than the phone rang and it was (a relative) in (major city), OR telling me not to go to Costco. She said hers had run out of carts and the parking lot was completely full and more trying to get in. A worker at Trader Joe’s told me that several Costcos have run out of toilet paper as people started stocking up. Is that made in China? Or do people think they will be quarantined for months? I don’t get it. I think the sudden panic is because a woman (65 yrs) is being treated at El Camino Hospital in Mt. View and has had no known contact with anyone from affected region, therefore it is now considered a “community based transmission”. “

    1. lb

      Anecdotally I heard similar stories about a San Jose area Whole Foods last night.

      As to why, there’s also this story out of Palo Alto yesterday:

      Santa Clara County public health department leaders have reported a third case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the county on Friday, the same day Palo Alto school district officials learned a parent of two students may have been exposed to the virus. The two students, who attend Palo Alto High School and JLS Middle School, were sent home as a precaution, Superintendent Don Austin said.

      I think non-panicking folks are worried that we’re seeing breaks in containment in their locales (nothern California and the Seattle area, most notably) each time a story comes out lacking an explanation tying the patients back to previous infected groups.

    2. jrs

      Well, I can’t imagine the U.S. actually carrying out a quarantine of healthy people, even if it was the rational thing to do. Sick people where do you quarantine them? In a hospital, sure with manageable numbers maybe, but then they will be fed hospital food or by IV if needed, so no need for supplies. At home, most of the time that hardly means they are really that isolated, so they are quarantined in their apartment, and potentially infect the rest of the building?

      I guess if you stock up you maybe can avoid grocery shopping for awhile and any germs you may be exposed to at the grocery. It’s a horrible way to live for very long though IMO, unless you have a garden your pretty much eating no fresh produce etc.. Yea you can survive but if you still have to go to work your not even going to avoid germ exposure, so you avoid supermarket germs, but sick coworker germs … no escape. So it’s sacrifice but for only some protection.

  43. Bill Carson

    Grocery Store Report: Visited a large Kroger-based grocery store this afternoon, and while it was busy, there was still plenty of food on the shelves. Grocery store had a lot of employees on hand, and it was clear to me that they were working hard to keep shelves stocked to prevent the appearance of scarcity.

    This morning I visited the local Sam’s Club, and it was pretty early, but it was busy and people were filling up carts with lots of stuff. There were extra pallets of bottled water, paper towels, and other staples. Supply looked good for now.

    1. jen

      Granite state report. Could be an odd coincidence, but the 10lb bags of basmati rice were all sold out at our local coop, and 30lb bags of dog food looked low at my local pet store.

      1. petal

        Ugh. Good to know about the dog food. I can’t afford to buy some until I get paid. I hope it is still available then. Was shopping for something else(I think at same store) this morning and didn’t think to look at dog food supplies. I have everything else kind of put away except that because it is so expensive.

  44. Chris

    The good news – we are one step closer to my dream of an angry buddy road trip comedy starring the Klob and Mayo Pete.

    I think they’re both going to have to consider staying in after SC. They’re certainly not getting any donations after their projected poor showings tonight

    The bad news – Team Blue’s machine is alive and well and they’re probably strong enough to fight anything Bernie does on Super Tuesday :/

    1. Hamford

      One other encouraging tidbit was the CNN exit poll that showed SC approval for Bloomberg at 26%. (Biden was in the 70s and Sanders the 50s I believe)

    2. flora

      speaking of team blue machine and MSNBC – but I repeat myself. ;)

      Repeating Aaron Mate` :

      In reality, among black voters, Bernie finished #2 in NV & is #1 nationally! He’s systematically leading.


      Aaron Maté
      Replying to

      Just like Moscow is the blank canvas boogeyman on which to project US elite failures — Clinton’s loss, POCs not voting, Bernie’s surge — here maddow
      disingenuously uses black voters to serve DNC elites goals: one vote in SC is deemed representative despite the *national* data.

  45. Bill Carson

    With 33% of precincts reporting, it appears that the polls that suggested that Bernie Sanders was only 4 or 5 points behind Biden were woefully wrong—-right now Biden is winning by 32 percentage points, 50.8% to 18.7%.

    A couple of you guys were saying that the latest polls showing a 20-point Biden advantage were outliers and bad polls, but it looks to me that they underestimated Biden’s support by 12%

    This is b***s**t. Bernie’s going to lose all of the Southern states…again. Chuck Rocha can eat my shorts.

    1. OIFVet

      Don’t be discouraged, rural precincts usually report before urban precincts. The gap will narrow. TPTB want you to feel hopeless, it drains the fight out of people. Don’t let them do that. It is a long road, and no one ever said that overcoming the establishment would be easy. Keep fighting, you got company. I know all of this may sound like empty platitudes, but it ain’t so. I will never forget a timed run at the beginning of basic training, where I was struggling to keep going at the halfway point. An older soldier out on his own morning run saw that, and started running with me, encouraging me all the while to keep going, to fight the urge to just stop. Guess what, it worked. And thought me a lesson I will never forget. So keep going Bill, you, we, are not alone, and we will pull it off. Together.

      1. Plenue

        64% reporting now. The gap isn’t getting any smaller. Sanders was annihilated; at least a thirty point loss.

        One of the things Republicans like to say is that the Democratic Party is a reservation for black people. They have a point.

        Biden is a ludicrously bad candidate, both in general and specifically in regards to African Americans. He’s supported policies that were terrible for them, and simply will not stop lying about his civil rights record. Meanwhile Sanders actually did march and was arrested in support of civil rights.

        If you are a black American and you voted for Joe Biden, you are a moron. Pure and simple.

        Yes, I’m voter shaming, but this primary so far is making it very hard to not blame the voters. Voting is and should be a universal right (no other system could be fairly or justly maintained), but there should also be an expectation of responsibility on the part of voters. Yes, the media and your ‘community leaders’ are lying to you constantly, but the internet exists (and besides the internet, and going back to the decades before the internet; libraries and dissident media sources).

        At times it is very hard to resist using the sheeple smear. This is willful stupidity on the part of voters. Being an idiot is an activity, not a permanent state of being. Any of them could stop being a dumbass at any moment, if they simply resolved to. If someone is casting a vote for Biden (or Buttigieg, or Sreyer, or Bloomberg or…), and it isn’t firmly in their selfish class interests to do so, they are a fool.

        1. OIFVet

          See my post and link below. It’s true, and Super Tuesday will bear it out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and Biden has put all of his eggs in one basket. It simply ain’t enough.

        2. Chris

          Well, this is where some of the ideas behind intersectionality might prove useful. I don’t believe any demographic in the US is monolithic even if many members of a given group can be shown to have similar concerns. There is any number if reasons why someone might not vote for Bernie. I can say that I disagree with them personally but that doesn’t mean someone else is wrong or stupid for disagreeing with me.

          My brother and I had a discussion the other night about some of these topics. He is involved in a lot of the social circles and academic circles that MSMBC draws from. His position is that the truth of “Vote Blue No Matter Who” means it doesn’t matter who you vote for – no democrat will be allowed to deviate from the established program. I heard him tell me with a straight face that there would be functionally no difference between Sanders and Bloomberg.

          Now, it goes without saying that I think that point of view is a steaming pile of [family-blog] and egregiously wrongheaded. But if you believe that, if you really believe we can’t get any different than what we had under Obama and that was the best you could get, why wouldn’t you vote for someone like Biden? He’s someone you know and he has one more link to that ideal condition.

          So I don’t think any one of any demographic is stupid for voting for Biden over Bernie. I just think it’s sad that they’ve been conditioned to expect that Buden is the best they can get so why vote for anyone else.

        3. flora

          I think Clyburn endorsing Biden had a big impact on the SC vote. Can Biden repeat that anywhere else? Maybe Stacy Abrams in Georgia, unless she’s ready to endorse hizzoner.

        4. Hamford

          That’s a stretch- calling people morons. C’mon. I know it’s irritating but we are not going to win anyone over that way. Furthermore it just feeds the tiresome “bullying, bernie bro” trope.

          1. Plenue

            I kind of don’t care at this point. I’m right, they’re utterly wrong, and are acting like fools. And their foolishness could potentially affect me in a negative manner.

            That Biden was going to win South Carolina was always pretty certain. But that he won by thirty points means he’s going to be boosted with PR and money, staying in this race longer, and will likely undercut Sanders Super Tuesday performance.

        5. Carolinian

          If you are a black American and you voted for Joe Biden, you are a moron. Pure and simple.

          Oh c’mon. I didn’t vote for Bernie. I voted for Tulsi. There’s a lot more to it than just saying all the right things about the issues. After all Bernie has said lots of bad things about foreign policy. Does that make his supporters morons? Of course not. Just as Bernie supporters look the other way at his shortcomings those Biden voters have decided that the establishment likes Biden and they need the establishment on their side. It’s not an irrational calculation.

          Also politics is so very much about personality. Obviously his didn’t appeal to that set of voters.

          1. RMO

            “those Biden voters have decided that the establishment likes Biden and they need the establishment on their side. It’s not an irrational calculation.”

            If they think voting for someone the establishment likes will put the establishment on their side that pretty much means they are morons, pure and simple.

            1. flora

              Oh, I don’t know. Being a black American living in one of the old Confederate states might have it’s own unique political considerations of solidarity.

            2. Carolinian

              It’s an election, not an IQ test. You have to appeal to people’s imaginations, not condemn them for giving the wrong answer.

              And btw South Carolina is about 70 percent white and 30 percent black. If it’s the blacks who are confused then where were all those whites? Sanders just simply didn’t turn out his base which is, let’s face it, not black people but middle class white people.

          2. jrs

            The establishment doesn’t seem to really like Biden though. Just they are running out of options. Klobi and Pete are very sorry choices, at least Klobi has experience but no popularity. Meanwhile Pete has no experience.

            They might like Warren, that may be lukewarm with many too, but she’s at least as much the establishment choice if not more than Biden. Like I said running out of options. I don’t they they actually like Bloomberg (because he’s a literal Republican among other things, so how much does the Dem establishment really like him).

        6. jrs

          I don’t think you are right. I suspect it’s culture. They are surrounded by HARD red (as in right wing) 24/7. Sanders may seem too radical (at least to the older one’s maybe not the younger ones). I mean if all you hear is conservative blather all around you, you think that’s what most people think, and so you are lucky to get what you can (Biden). Because at least he’s not crazy prejudiced nuttery, he’s Obama 2.0 or at least you hope so, and that crazed prejudiced nuttery is what most of the white folks around you seem to objectively support with Trump etc. (white folks elsewhere may differ but that’s not there …). And so if that’s what most people support how could a “socialist” possibly win? But maybe Obama 2.0 can as Obama did, and that’s a matter of history (Biden of course lacks a lot of the attributes of Obama).

          I mean in California we have socialists running for things (under Dem or no party labels), now challenges from the left often lose, mainstream liberals usually win, but I’m not sure they have that in South Carolina.

          1. Carolinian

            People here get the same national media diet as everyone else. But without a doubt voters tend to respond to politicians who they can relate to and Sanders, a Jewish person from Brooklyn, is not a familiar type around here to blacks or whites.

            Those regional prejudices cut both ways. Jimmy Carter didn’t much appeal to New Yorkers back when I lived there for awhile.

    2. Dan

      I was one of those guys saying that the polls were wrong. I will now continue my naive positivity: South Carolina is an outlier. It always has been.

      I don’t know how this is going to affect Tuesday. I imagine Bernie will still crush CA, but this probably puts TX back into play for Biden and increases his slim margins in VA and NC.

      The media is also now playing up the fact that polls show Biden leading Sanders in the all-important PA contest.

    3. Daryl

      It seems to be going down as the actual results come in. Bernie is now at 20, Biden less than 50. Will be interesting to see where it actually ends up.

    4. jrs

      But literally noone thinks the south is winnable for Dems in the general pretty much no matter the Dem. People talk about the midwest (often rather liberal but cautious values), the rustbelt etc. Where there is a chance.

      But the south? No it’s a lost cause, fighting a lost cause from over 100 years ago, dragging this country radically right for decades, even though the rest of the country doesn’t want it.

          1. OIFVet

            Her political instincts are terrible. Let’s assume for a minute that Biden gets the nomination through a brokered convention. What, pray tell, does Warren think she brings to him electorally, that she thinks makes her a viable pick to run as his VP? Nothing, she will even lose Massachusetts. She will not get the nod, and will be left to feel like a complete fool. Like I said couple of days ago, she is a snake. And to add to that, she is one of the dumbest smart people ever.

            1. Dan

              She is a snake. But she’s not very good at that either. I mean, she’s vile, but there’s not even anything attractive about her vileness. We at least give a nod to the bad guys in the movies. They have character. Liz Warren is like a bad actor trying to make a performance out of a woeful script. She’s dumber than dumb politically. Stick to policy Liz. Help us all.

          2. Aumua

            Ugh she sucks so bad. How sad she is. Almost as sad as Clyburn tonight. They both know inside, how they have no principles that they will stand for any more.

        1. Bill Carson

          Part of the blame for Bernie’s poor performance is Steyer’s attack ads. That’s doesn’t make me think that he will endorse Bernie. Maybe Bernie should have been a little warmer to Steyer on MLK Day.

  46. Deschain

    Not gonna lie, it’s discouraging to see Biden outperform even the most optimistic polls (from his perspective) by such a wide margin. Is it as simple as Clyburn said ‘vote Joe’ and so people went out and voted Joe? Because it’s hard to come up with another explanation.

    1. Dan

      That’s it. And it’s downright scary.

      Clyburn epitomizes what writers at the Black Agenda Report call the Black Misleadership Class.

      1. Carla

        Clyburn looked so miserable tonight. Does he always look that way? He could barely get his hands together for ole Joe. I can hardly imagine a less enthusiastic endorsement. Who is pulling his strings?

        1. Deschain

          Exit polls suggested that 47% of voters considered Clyburn’s endorsement an important factor in deciding who to vote for, and 24% cited it as the most important factor.

          Basically, until progressives take control of the party fundraising apparatus, the Clyburns of the world are going to keep endorsing the Clintons and the Bidens. If your represent a population that has very few resources to fund you directly, you’re going to have to look to the party for campaign funding, and that enforces loyalty.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          Could be he was gifted with some exclusive time with Joe Biden right before the presser. And realized he’d made a long term bad choice. He’s begun the repenting at leisure part of the game I’d reckon. Clyburn is a very smart man. Even smart men make mistakes.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Well, those “Holder precincts” — the ones that didn’t hold (still), but moved with no notice — might have had a bit of impact, too.

  47. curlydan

    Sanders performed best in the counties with the smallest percent of black residents. He got 28% in Pickens county with a black population under 10%.

    In Orangeburg county with over 55% black residents, Biden got 70% of the vote, and Sanders came in third in with 11% behind Steyer’s 13%.

    I kind of agree that the Gulf states in the next two weeks (possibly even Texas) may now all go to Biden. I haven’t looked at the polls too closely though.

    I am hopeful Bernie takes the biggest Super Tuesday prize, California.

    I found the following article kind of helpful:

    I did some mapping between the above and the Politico maps here:

    1. Dan

      The positive outlook is this: Bernie pulled a solid 20% in a state both Biden and Steyer broke their banks on. Steyer’s gone and no one else got any delegates. Biden has virtually no ground game in CA and apparently not much elsewhere either. And, as Chuck Rocha has of course already pointed out, there aren’t too many Latinos in SC.

      1. Bill Carson

        This was what was frustrating in ’16—-HRC won all of the southern states all at once, and when the MSM added her pledged delegates from all states to the delegates from the southern states, it made her margin seem overwhelming very early, and you know how people love a front runner. The same thing is happening now, I’m afraid.

        The extra frustrating thing is that all of those are red states—-the DNC is letting the states who won’t elect a Democrat in November decide who the nominee should be. That is an awful strategy.

        1. Dan

          44% of SC voters opposed M4A and 70% were over 45. Young voter turnout in South Carolina was still up, but the average age in SC is 39. The state is an outlier, and while it’d be foolish to say it’s not going to help Biden at all going forward, it’s not going to help him enormously.

          Interesting NY Times comment:

          SC is representative of what I call Machine states, states where the decision as to who gets elected or nominated comes from the local entrenched political machinery: local officials, union leadership, etc. Since the purpose of Sanders’ political revolution is to return power to the people, we can measure and anticipate his success according to the degree to which the Machine has been weakened in each distinct state. The fact that Sanders lost South Carolina by 20 percentage points less than in 2016 is suggestive. Likewise, that he managed to dominate in Nevada, a Machine state if there ever had been. I will be looking closely for Biden’s strength in NY, another Machine state where the union and Party leadership etc. have been considerably weakened, though perhaps not enough to give Sanders the lead.

  48. Anon

    South Carolina is not representative of the black vote nationwide. SC is an older, politically conservative state, where ministers, and other people of stature (Clyburn) have real followers. When you’re on the edge economically and politically people tend to go with what they are familiar with. SC voters know Joe; simple as that. They don’t expect Joe to be a savior; they expect Clyburn to “bring home the bacon”, when Joe is the boss.

    Nationally, Biden’s organizational and political support is much thinner than in SC. Super Tuesday will be telling.

  49. cripes

    Sadly, but not accidentally, Bidens strength in southern states that will go mostly for Trump anyway, will do nothing in the general.

    But that’s the point.

  50. VietnamVet

    I agree with Nouriel Roubini that Donald Trump is facing a huge black swan event with the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and a global economic depression with the shutdown of Chinese and South Korean manufacturing. NBC News reported that South Korea Is sheltering in place its whole population of 51 million. Nations don’t take these draconian measures unless they are facing an existential crisis. The death of the first patient in the Kirkland WA and community transmission in all of the West Coast States plus finally expanding virus testing; the real extent of the contagion in America will be exposed. If he loses reelection, Donald Trump faces indictment in NY state. This will get extremely dicey. Where I disagree with Roubini’s analysis is that if USA and/or Turkey get in a shooting war with Russia and/or Iran, it will be catastrophically worse, it will be End Times.

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