Links 2/4/2020

Behind Amazon’s HQ2 Fiasco: Jeff Bezos Was Jealous of Elon Musk Bloomberg

YouTube Reveals Revenue for First Time: $15.1 Billion in 2019 Hollywood Reporter

Citi suspends senior bond trader over alleged theft from canteen FT

Small, modular nuclear reactors in Eastern Washington could balance more renewable electricity, power agency says Seattle Times

Japan tries to explain to embassies merits of releasing Fukushima water into ocean Japan Today

Brexit

Brexit: a spat in the making EU Referendum

Journalists walk out of No 10 after bid to impose selective briefing of Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans Independent

Britain’s Productivity Decline Is the Worst in 250 Years Bloomberg

Scottish Independence is Within our Grasp if We Heed the Lesson of Toom Tabard Craig Murray. Toom Tabard.

Death of a movement Open Democracy. On Italy’s Five Star movement.

#2019-nCoV

Coronavirus has put globalisation into reverse FT. I would disagree. I think election 2016 (and to a lesser extent, Brexit) put globalization into reverse, aided by the subsequent world-wide round of protests. But Coronavirus stomped on the accelerator.

China offers force majeure escape clause for factories that breach supply contracts as coronavirus shutdowns leave assemblies idle SCMP

Kerala declares coronavirus a state calamity, Hong Kong reports first death The Hindu BusinessLine

Wuhan Coronavirus: What About Central Asia? The Diplomat

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Wuhan: a tale of immune system failure and social strength Chublic Opinion. Detailed media critique, well worth a read.

Meet the Chinese crowdsourcers fighting coronavirus censorship Technology Review

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To fight coronavirus spread, the U.S. may expand ‘social distancing’ measures. But it comes at a cost STAT

More social distance:

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Mining coronavirus genomes for clues to the outbreak’s origins Science. From last week, but solid tech.

Quick retraction of a faulty coronavirus paper was a good moment for science STAT

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2019-nCoV: What the Public Should Do CDC

Novel Coronavirus(2019-nCoV) WHO

How to invest during a pandemic Macrobusiness

China?

China stops couriers from shipping black clothing to Hong Kong amid protests Reuters

Syraqistan

Turkish Forces Suffer Casualties In Syrian Army Attack On Idlib The Saker (Re Silc).

The US–Saudi Story, Through the Eyes of an Aramco ‘Brat’ NYRB

Impeachment

The Incomprehensibly Weak Case for Acquittal Without Witnesses LawFare

Trump Transition

Army, Navy facing critical moments as deployments of modern contract writing systems near Federal News Radio

Can the government stop fake comments on its rules without alienating citizens? Federal Times

2020

Iowa results not expected until Tuesday, leaving campaigns without answers The Hill. Utterly shambolic. The Iowa Democrat Party blames “quality checks” and “inconsistencies” for the delay. Unsurprisingly, the app that was supposed to record and relay caucus results to tabulation failed (this was the app with an unknown developer and security issues). Summarizing what I saw go past on the Twitter, Klobuchar and Buttigieg gave victory speeches, Warren said the race was “too close to call”, and Sanders said he was sure his campaign “did well.” The Sanders campaign then released the results from their own, parallel app:

(40% was as much as they had). Leaving open the question of why the Sanders campaign developed an app that worked, and the Democrat Party did not.

App Used to Tabulate Votes Is Said to Have Been Inadequately Tested NYT. “The app used by the Iowa Democratic Party was built by Shadow Inc., a for-profit technology company that is also used by the Nevada Democratic Party, the next state to hold a caucus, as well as by multiple presidential campaigns. Shadow’s involvement was kept a secret by Democratic officials through the caucuses.” “Shadow, Inc.”? Really?

Democrats’ public relations disaster in Iowa FT

Boeing 737 MAX

Pontifications: 777X certification, MAX market deficiencies, NMA and what’s an insider Leeham News and Analysis

Ryanair makes new offer to Boeing for bigger MAX planes RTE

Our Famously Free Press

Nazi collabo families and racist propaganda in the New York Times Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Researchers Find ‘Anonymized’ Data Is Even Less Anonymous Than We Thought Vice

New ransomware doesn’t just encrypt data. It also meddles with critical infrastructure Ars Technica (DL).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Toxic ‘black goo’ base used by U.S. had enriched uranium. More veterans report cancer McClatchy

Guillotine Watch

Who’s Afraid of Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop? NYT

Class Warfare

Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior PNAS

How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class The Atlantic

Urban Institute: Thirty percent of student debtors are enrolled in Income-driven repayment plans Condemned to Debt

Sadness And Worry After 2 Men Connected To Butterfly Sanctuary Are Found Dead NPR (DL).

Red Scare Leans Into Nothing The Cut (UserFriendly). A podcast.

Truth decay: when uncertainty is weaponized Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

Not for the first time, I missed Groundhog Day!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.:

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About Lambert Strether

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

191 comments

  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    Iowa results not expected until Tuesday, leaving campaigns without answers

    Well… I was pretty certain once I heard about ‘the App’ that it would be used as a means to invalidate any results that weren’t pre-approved by corporate donors. I hope that I am wrong.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      First the Des Moines Register poll and now this.

      When the “results” finally come in, who’s going to believe them? All that money and all those volunteer hours and the person who’s poised to benefit, according to the current narrative, is the one who didn’t lower himself to participate.

      I think you’re absolutely right about the “app” by the way. Introduce “technology,” and the myriad of “excuses” write themselves.

      Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          And now Buttegeig declaring ‘victory’.

          I think this will turn out to be a colossal rookie mistake on mayopete’s part. Apparently he was sick the day that hillary took her pre-victory lap.

          Even msdnc is now “reporting” pete’s connections to the company that created the app, not to mention the shitcanning of a venerable and respected poll based on whining by his campaign.

          At this point, mayopete should be hoping to have made a good showing in Iowa but not to have “won.” If he “wins,” that #MayorCheat thing won’t be going away any time soon.

          Reply
    2. QuartrtBack

      The “Shadow” app was funded by a company called ACRONYM. Having an epic fail is one thing, but then add in a pile of cutesy glibness, and you have a formula for history book level blowback.

      DNC, here’s an acronym for you – FUBAR.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Nevada now says it will not use the Shadow vote reporting app in its vote.

        https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/481411-nevada-democrats-scrap-plan-to-use-app-at-center-of-iowa-delays

        Interesting detail about the Shadow app from more investigation in Iowa.

        ““As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound,” he continued. “While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system.” ”

        If Sanders campaign insisted on all vote tallies being recorded on paper first before being reported in to the central tabulation site, he and his campaign showed a lot of foresight. How else would the central site worker have known that the app was reporting out only partial data? So, kudos to Sanders campaign for anticipating problems with the new, unverified app.

        Reply
    3. Chauncey Gardiner

      That the Sanders campaign anticipated the app problem and has developed one that works is another indication that Bernie Sanders would be a very good president.

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        Sanders’ folks haven’t panicked and shouldn’t.

        All that has been accomplished is that the news cycle is now about DNC incompetence/corruption (altho major media trying very hard to blame this on Iowa Democrats alone). #MayorCheat is trending on Twitter. Joe Biden has been exposed.

        While this is churning, we’ll get the actual results which will be much better for Bernie than the partial results (very clever how they chose to extend the wait instead of fighting, this is called sandbagging and it extends the story life).

        All before New Hampshire votes.

        Media had been planning to run nothing but Stop Bernie stories this week. DNC screwed that up.

        I’m not happy this morning, but I still see the light (it’s the tunnel that’s an illusion).

        The DNC is so clever they make my teeth hurt.

        Reply
          1. Mark Gisleson

            I wanted to read that but have maxxed out my free reads.

            I wish the newspapers would figure out that I don’t mind paying, I just refuse to identify myself so they can track and sell my data. If ‘news via VPN’ was a premium option, they might regain some readers.

            Reply
    4. The Historian

      I’m sorry, but I find all this angst about apps and Iowa’s vote count hilarious.

      First you have a caucus at 7PM on a Monday night – which leaves out a whole lot of people from even attending. So the caucus consists of mostly 9-5 ers, hardly representative of Iowa’s population. Maybe that is why only 16% of Iowa’s voters participated in the caucuses in 2016. Then they vote on their choice and delegates are selected – but, those delegates get winnowed down to a second set of delegates later who aren’t bound forever to the person they are supposed to represent – they can change their minds to select a more “viable” candidate, so no matter who gets the most votes during the caucus, it means nada when it comes time for the national convention.

      So you have a system that is biased and unrepresentative of Iowa voters from the start, a vote that means nothing when it comes to picking a person to be the Democratic Presidential candidate, and we should all be concerned and get spun up about an app or how those biased and unrepresentative votes are counted?

      Yea…….

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Agreed. I think it’s a fun show to watch, but I’ve seen some comments around the ‘net that make me concerned that the commenter isn’t going to make it to the general. You’d think it was Nov 3rd, not the symbolic but ultimately small potatoes caucus this was. Pace yourself, people! It’s going to get a lot worse here on out.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Politics is similar to MLB, long and drawn out with plenty of stealth in between, pitchers tipping their delivery by exclaiming the same thing over and over again to potential catchers until it becomes rote.

          I only start to watch baseball when the playoffs begin…

          Reply
        2. Susan the other

          The Iowa Caucus is more like an election festival, along the lines of a halloween festival. It’s nice they get together and chat. And costumes would be very dada. But the reality is, they make no difference in how Iowa is treated as a state by the federal government at all. Iowa is weighed politically not by its extraneous political opinions but only by its product. That being some pretty impressive agriculture. It is one of the smallest states in terms of population (it even surprised me to learn it was only c. 2 million). So it’s easy to see why they think their silly opinions matter. They live in a state of very few people which makes a huge contribution to our traded balance. And this happens because of automation, chemicals and easy money. It’s easy to afford good schools and hospitals in Iowa. If Iowa’s agriculture industry were decimated by climate change nobody would give their political fantasies a second thought. Get real Iowa.

          Reply
          1. Copeland

            OK, I’m confused. Are y’all saying that the Iowa delegates “awarded” or gifted as the case may be, don’t actually count towards deciding who gets to go up against Trump?

            Reply
  2. Chris

    I’m so excited to see the innovation in ratf#cking from the DNC. Weaponizing selective incompetence to destroy any perceived legitimacy for their nomination process. Brilliant!

    When they get to the convention it will seem like the best option is to have a compromise candidate because of the many flaws in the primary process. It just wouldn’t be fair to all the moderates who participated to go with a progressive who has the most votes and delegates…

    Waiting to hear from our pundit class how the old caucusing process and paper ballots would be worse than what we’ve got.

    Reply
    1. JacobiteInTraining

      In 2016 I used to flip the occasional article or screed my big brothers way to explain why I was so disgusted with the powers that be messing with Sanders chances. My bro being a traditional Clinton voter at the time, works for country government in an ultra-liberal/D state (Oregon) and being rather fond of poo-poo’ing the thought of conspiracies, Bernie blackouts, and incompetence.

      After Trump was elected, he wavered a bit….and you could really tell his world-view was being readjusted and recalculated as the news rolled in. I worked on him (and my Mom, and some other relatives all cut from Clinton & now Biden cloth) over the last few years to evangelize my position that only a true FDR is gonna cut it, now that the 2020’s are rhyming so much with the 1930’s.

      So I thought about sending a link to Iowa debacle to him this morn but….meh…no point to that since this is such big news. I think he will have already gotten the point. I’ll talk to him on the phone in a few days for some idle chit-chat and see what he says.

      My bet is that he asks if he can borrow some of my old Bernie merch. :)

      Reply
      1. Grant

        Well, for one, I don’t think all of this is just rigging, which is obviously part of it. If anything, while they may give Bernie the win he obviously deserves, it denies him his big moment. Iowa doesn’t have many delegates, and even if Bernie wins, it won’t mean tons as others will get delegates too. What this denies him is his big moment, his victory speech and even more actual momentum. However, some of this is straight up incompetence, which reveals how destructive the corruption and the consultants are, and how much they control the DNC.

        What I find amazing is the fact that these parasites in the Democratic Party (the best of the parasites were recently nominated by Perez to control things in the coming months) need a good host, and they are destroying their host. What value in society does Tanden, Perez and people like that have if they cannot latch on to the Democratic Party? None. The entirety of their existence and wealth is their connection to that party, and they have utterly destroyed it, openly, in front of the country, when everyone saw this coming. And this following what they did in 2016. There is a rationality, in that they deny Bernie a win, which could help to preserve this failing economic and political system broadly, but they destroy the host the parasites are sucking the life from. If this is a sign of what is to come, that party and the convention are going to be destroyed, possibly beyond repair. And there isn’t another host in the political system to latch on to.

        I have to say too, as someone that has a solid background in coups and election rigging overseas, sociopath mayor Pete Guaido’s work is really third rate. Remember, he was part of the anti-Bernie Democrats that the NY Times profiled last year. Was apparently one of the funders of this app, pushed to not have the poll released on Sunday, and is now declaring victory when none of the data showed him winning or being in the top two. What he is doing should be illegal, in a sane and just world, he would have ended his political career. But, we live in an immoral and decaying society, so he will certainly be a regular on CNN and MSNBC in the years to come, and we will have to deal with him running for office in the coming years too.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          >What he is doing should be illegal

          Fortunately it is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

          How is he going to look on video next week when his victory proclamation is being played over a chryon of real data? This doesn’t really show good judgement.

          Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      if they are competent enough to pull of such a sophisticated display of mindf^^kery, then that’s pretty impressive,lol.
      since 9-11….and the cheney/bush response to it…that’s been the biggest ontological question mark for me: given the long history of skulduggery and insane shenanigans of the “deep state”, and including the known(admitted to, often at some remove) failures of same, and considering bill gross and cw wright mills, et al., just how competent are our elite?
      at a loss for a better method, i observe what’s around me…the local elite-dom of my east texas youth, for instance…and mentally scale all that upward…and apply occam’s razor as best i may.
      these observations of local power people—powerful enough to have long term deleterious effects on regular people’s lives—show that power often operates obliquely, and mostly in a kind of portable darkness in broad daylight. I’ve accidentally eavesdropped on local power people at the greasy spoon that doubles as a town hall…they obviously expect the local people all around them to be oblivious.
      with the national, let alone global, elite-dom, it’s hard to observe the players in such detail….and i am left expecting the worst.
      is the delegitimizing of the dnc/demparty deliberate?
      that we even entertain that question is pretty crazy, and says a lot about the civilisation we live in.
      my fervent hope is that WHEN they steal it, that bernie is ready to turn the key on a Labor Party, even if it fails this time around(ryan grim yesterday)
      the reaction to such a hubristic affront to PTB may just clarify things a bit.

      Reply
      1. notabanktoadie

        that bernie is ready to turn the key on a Labor Party,

        With respect, a Citizen’s Party is better because:
        1) It is inclusive of ALL voters and is thus, in principle, completely non-divisive.
        2) A Labor Party carries a lot of leftist baggage.
        3) Automation is rapidly eliminating the need for human labor.
        4) A Citizen’s Party could quite naturally campaign for equal protection under the law, a very powerful concept wrt dealing with injustice.

        Reply
          1. Off The Street

            That isn’t the productivity you’re looking for.

            Said in memory of Alec Guinness. The productivity is in capital account.

            Reply
          2. notabanktoadie

            US Labor Productivity and Costs

            Labor productivity WAS increasing rapidly until 2007.

            But automation requires investment and, as Yves points out, businesses invest only when projected sales justify it.

            Apparently then, looting potential customers via unethical fiance has its limitations. Whocouldanode? /sarc

            Reply
        1. John Steinbach

          Barry Commoner ran as the Citizen’s Party candidate in 1980, & Sonia Johnson in 1984. Commoner, who wrote the ground breaking environmental work “The Closing Circle”, received less than 1%.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            Commoner didn’t have the huge movement behind him that Bernie does. Hard to say how many would transfer to a 3rd party effort, but enough to get him on ballots, at the least. Remember, as we saw in Iowa just now, in a fairly even 3-way race someone can win with about 34%. This happened in Mexico not long ago – they actually had a tie at just over that. And Clinton won with 42%, IIRC. The joys of plurality voting.

            As someone else pointed out, the Electoral College poses a separate conundrum and could throw it into the House. That one’s a hall of mirrors. Depends on just how the votes are distributed (the EC is, IMHO, the worst botch in the Constitution.)

            PS: Iowa. With multiple candidates, Bernie can claim a win with 25%.

            Reply
        2. notabanktoadie

          a very powerful concept wrt dealing with injustice.

          Make that “BANISHING injustice”, please, since injustice is not something to make deals with but to banish as light banishes darkness.

          Reply
        3. Procopius

          3) Automation is rapidly eliminating the need for human labor.

          If this was true, we would already have a ten-hour work week. This despite the fact that the nobility have sequestered so much of the wealth. See Dean Baker at Beat The Press. He points out that if robots were really replacing workers, measured productivity would be much higher than it is. Actually, the nobility have invested relatively little in plant and machinery since 2000.

          Reply
      2. Potted Frog

        The staggering vanity, incompetence and mendacity is on show again, as it has been since since the end of WWII. On average, people are average, including members of the ruling class and their courtesans.

        Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        ” bernie is ready to turn the key on a Labor Party”
        Seriously, Amfortas? He was offered an existing party – more than once – and turned it down. For whatever reason, Bernie has no intention of wrecking the 2-Party; if anything, he’s trying to revive it. Beats me why, but that’s the record.

        And, minor point, I can’t imagine a worse name than “Labor” Party; if only because organized labor is now so reduced that they’re practically a non-factor. And don’t have a great reputation, even among lefties, because of repeated episodes of extreme selfishness.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          lol
          not married to the name.
          the us party…whatever.
          and i’m not certain that sanders is married to the two party duopoly.
          like when he apologized to biden, and we wnet “huh?!”…but biden proceeded to step in it.
          with the building out of the organisation….media, canvassing, volunteers, and communities on the ground…it sure looks like a movement, to me.
          but to come right out with that right now would be counterproductive…msm and team dem would howl at the moon.
          i suspect that it’s in the holster, though…and by the time of the convention, it will be obvious to everyone that the dnc, etc cannot be trusted, and the party apparatus they control may as well be lost.
          then again, he might sheepdog it again.
          i’ll hang on to my thin raft, for now.

          Reply
    3. zagonostra

      >Selective incompetence

      Good phrase, and used very effectively last night. On may way to work I switched to NPR to see how they reported it and not surprising they did not mention that going into the caucus Bernie had all the momentum. Not one word.

      On the upside this should be a warning to the Sander’s campaign that right up front they will and have all ready begun using with tactics, selective incompetence, to keep him from the nomination.

      I’ll will contribute an extra $5 this month to his campaign, and I hope that we see a more aggressive tone coming out of this from them.

      Reply
    4. Bob

      The FBI and CIA interfere in the last election. What makes anyone think that they are not going to do the same this time. Forget Russia or Trump, they are amateurs compared to our unelected bureaucracy.

      Reply
  3. Sionnach Liath

    Re: The Lawfare article. A ridiculous waste of print. The entire process of impeachment in this instance was political, period. While admittedly undefined, the law had nothing to do with it.

    Reply
    1. russell1200

      I agree. I haven’t really been keeping track, but their earlier pieces were pretty much the same.

      From the piece: “Why exactly would senators vote to proceed on a matter of grave national security significance ill-informed when the evidence remains available to them?”

      I mean really? Is this part of that whole “We support Ukraine so they can fight the Russians over there, rather than fight the Russians here” meme? is the purpose to linking to the piece to keep us informed of what the current DNC-NYT consensus is?

      Reply
    2. Jesper

      Strange timings. Only hearsay presented in the official proceedings. Then once that was over, and not before, then someone announced a book where supposedly more than hearsay was presented. That someone did not(?) volunteer the ‘evidence’ to the ‘prosecutors’ for reasons yet unknown.

      It almost come across as staged to make it look like something ‘the deplorables’ hate the most – guilty but got away on a technicality. Or possibly it comes across as incompetence by the ‘please vote for us’ prosecutors. Or maybe something completely different :)

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I got the impression from articles about Bolton’s book that, in fact, all he has is his unsupported assertion. Given his past record I consider that even less trustworthy than hearsay.

        Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    Boeing 737 MAX

    Pontifications: 777X certification, MAX market deficiencies, NMA and what’s an insider Leeham News and Analysis

    Ryanair makes new offer to Boeing for bigger MAX planes RTE

    This is typical Ryanair bluster. They have lashed themselves to the Boeing mast and will go down with them. This announcement is typical O’Leary (the CEO). He’s trying to spin it all as a positive – making it seem that he can use Ryanairs position to push for an even better deal with Boeing (he is known for screwing them down on price when Boeing are vulnerable, although Boeing have had their revenge on at least one occasion). In reality, they are in the mess together, Boeing will not feel the need to give him a better deal than anyone else, they know he has nowhere else to go for aircraft.

    Reply
    1. John A

      TBF, O’Leary is open about this:
      “We expect to reprice the (MAX) 200 order we already have….

      But then again, O’Leary very definitely has kissed the Blarney stone.
      I remember a documentary on Swedish TV about him and Ryanair – at the time Scandinavian governments were arguing ryanair employees in Scandinavia should get their T&Cs, not the Irish version.
      O’Leary was on a publicity blitz tour of the capitals. In Stockholm, journalists asked him if he was flying by private jet around Scandinavia. Absolutely never, always Ryanair, he said. A camera crew followed him to the airport. Sure enough, he got on a private jet.

      Reply
  5. PlutoniumKun

    Scottish Independence is Within our Grasp if We Heed the Lesson of Toom Tabard Craig Murray. Toom Tabard.

    In pretty big news today in Ireland there may well be a huge boost for Scottish independence. To general astonishment, Sinn Fein are topping the polls. There are lots of possible outcomes, but this makes it all the more likely that they will be part of a future Irish coalition government. This means an Irish government dedicated to a border poll and forcing through an Irish Sea border, and one very sympathetic to destabilising the UK through encouraging the Scots.

    The Constitutional Assembly that the SNP seem keen on creating could be exactly the vehicle by which Scotland asks Ireland to allow it some sort of interim EU membership (via Irelands seat) to ease the way to independence. The EU has might just decide this would make a wonderfully strong leverage point if Bojo insists on trying to rile things up in the negotiations.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It’d be a real comes around goes around gig for Scotland, which joined England in the aftermath of a giant financial rumble in the jungle bubble went bust.

        As the Company of Scotland was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union (completed in 1707).

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

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          From here, I don’t see it. Doesn’t Scotland already print pounds? And as supposed co-equals, don’t they also have an equal right to use them? So just keep using them, stamp a particularly thorny thistle on each Scotland-printed pound as it comes through the bank ( collectors will be thrilled), and let the Bank of England stew. They wind up with their own currency without all that ATM-changing rigmarole.

          It can’t really be that easy (before Yves jumps down my throat), but I don’t see a case that it’s prohibitive, either.

          Reply
          1. paul

            Indeed we do, and atms and shops that take them.
            Y bp@entropia.co.ukarofalkus described this a great plus recently.
            The long suppressed mccone report suggested it would quickly develop into one of the hardest currencies in europe, but there’s always going to things like that to deal with.

            Reply
            1. Kurt Sperry

              Of course it isn’t a problem now. The problem begins when Scotland is no longer a part of the UK and suddenly has no sovereign currency and also no viable Plan B.

              Reply
              1. Oregoncharles

                I don’t think you read my response.

                I see no reason they couldn’t go right on using British pounds and carry out a gradual transition. It’s supposed to be an equal union, isn’t it? They have as good a right as the English.

                Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          That was Canute (respelled in case anyone misses the connection)? It unified Norway, Denmark, and (at least) England. It’s fun to speculate on how European history would have changed if that had held, but of course it didn’t last long. Not something you could hold together with wooden sailing ships.

          Reply
    1. paul

      The Constitutional Assembly is at least an interesting approach, though pretty easy for the unionist parties to boycott (aspecially where there are labour/tory coalitions in councils such as aberdeen).

      They had better get a wriggle on though, the revamped Scotland office (westminster in Scotland) will be emerging from its chrysalis this year (from around 10 staff to 3000 in the past 5 years) and I doubt westminster will be able to resist taking just about everything devolved back into their safe keeping.

      Plus the car crash potential for the current SNP leadership of the salmond trial and their dreadful gender recognition focus means a testing time.

      Reply
      1. paul

        Incidentally, I got a nice email from our first minister containing a video about the history and achievements of the SNP the other.
        Not a mention of Salmond, the man who put them all where they are now, and certainly the most talented politician in Scotland since Willie Macrae got whacked.

        Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      Hmmm – and I thought a Celtic Union was just my fantasy. Might be interesting. And with BoJo at the helm, might also get ugly.

      Are there a lot of Scots in the UK military?

      Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    Small, modular nuclear reactors in Eastern Washington could balance more renewable electricity, power agency says Seattle Times

    The article is notably quiet on what type of modular reactor. This is unsurprising as there are none commercially available – the closest to a viable one seems to be a Russian design. Most seem to be essentially stripped down PWR’s, which ensures that they are likely to be very expensive in terms of power output and cost and only viable in very particular cirumstances (such as very isolated areas, hence the Russian interest for Siberia). Even the combined US/Russian/French/UK/Chinese militaries can’t make small modular reactors viable for anything but the most expensive submarines despite half a century of pouring truckloads of money into various designs.

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      What Richland, WA does NOT need– more nukes.

      Hanford is the he-whose-name-shall-not-be-spoken Amerikan Fukushima.

      Maybe with Japan releasing all tat water (spit in the ocen) it will be a threshold of rational behavors for Trumps new EPA to let the Richland waste out into the Columbia some Spring when we have a good snowpack.

      Said the Coho to the Chinook— dahling you are positively glowing today!!

      Reply
    2. Chris

      Do you have any history in the US domestic nuclear industry? What you’re saying doesn’t check with my experience.

      Reply
    3. Susan the other

      The Hanford Nuclear Site is right next door. It was appraised by Bechtel about 10 years ago to be impossible to “clean up”. Bechtel is big and their opinion – a virtual capitulation to reality – is amazing. So nothing can really be done to clean up Hanford. Ergo there’s gold in them thar hills. If these reactors can take the waste from Hanford and turn it into electricity, and in the process make it less toxic (?) then it’s the perfect site. But the whole plan sounds like eastern Washington state will be deserted except for this project. And the new downwinders will be the beautiful western slope of Montana and all points south and east.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        You forgot downriver.

        One of the main culprits is a company called Nuscale, based in my town and coming directly from Oregon State’s nuclear engineering dept. I believe their test site is in Idaho. They’ve been trying to change the law in Oregon; a referendum back in the 80s requires whole-state voter approval before a power reactor can be sited in Oregon – their home state.

        The law they push would literally allow neighborhood nukes. .About a hundred people turned out to oppose it the last time it reached the Oregon leg., and the House turned it down out of hand. I was there.

        Building them at Hanford would actually miss the point, which is to get them fairly close to the electricity markets. Judging by the reaction here, I suspect it’s ultimately a non-starter. Useful as a scam, though.

        Reply
    4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Yes by all means let’s use unbelievably toxic materials and highly complex technology to recreate the processes on the surface of the sun to…wait for it…boil water

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        Even better Idea, lets use minerals we don’t have ready access to, the mining of which leaves vast areas toxic, to overbuild wind and PV by at least 30% so it can charge the batteries, because you know it really won’t be a problem powering and heating Minneapolis in the middle of winter for a week straight off batteries.

        Reply
    5. UserFriendly

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2020/02/04/washington-state-intends-to-be-the-clean-energy-state-and-nuclear-is-key/#7729d79744ae

      While there are several excellent designs for small modular reactors, NuScale Power, out of Corvallis, Oregon is the farthest along in development and regulatory approval of its SMR. It’s walk-away safe, can’t melt down, can withstand any extreme weather, can’t be used for weapons, can load-follow renewables as well as gas, and never has to shut down, even to refuel.

      It’s the most reliable and resilient energy source ever designed, perfect for a low-carbon future. It’s significant that fuel for nuclear plants, especially the new SMRs, can be fabricated right in the State of Washington, in Richland, in fact, at a company called Framatome.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Behind Amazon’s HQ2 Fiasco: Jeff Bezos Was Jealous of Elon Musk”

    Well if this is all about being a d*ck-waving competition between two billionaires, Bezos has an advantage as he already has the pixs on his mobile to send Musk.

    Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          For what it’s worth dept:

          The pike was the ad hoc weapon of choice in the French Revolution. It was longer and easier to stick the point.

          It’s gone out of fashion thanks to sounding more like a fish dinner.

          Reply
          1. jefemt

            Pikes were mentioned during in the impeachment ‘trial’.

            What , no torches?

            I don’ need no stinking torges… (circling back to Soot/particulates)

            Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Cutting-edge technology! A Chinese community worker uses a drone to measure the temperature of residents.”

    What’s the point? I mean really – what’s the point? It has been established that you can spread Coronavirus before you show any symptoms including having a temperature. You don’t need a drone to tell you that you have a temperature and likely then Coronavirus so what is this? At best it would only be a confirmation that you have it already and it is in full swing.

    Reply
    1. Romancing The Loan

      If you had a fever for a while and then you stop showing up on your balcony for the drone, maybe it’s time to send someone to check on you?

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      >What’s the point? I mean really – what’s the point?

      To look like you are Doing Something. Look what happened to Scotty Of Australia when he basically admitted his uselessness during the fires. He wasn’t chastised for being useless, he was chastised for not looking like he was busy on the problem.

      Fortunately China has so many resources in people and technology I doubt that this is actually detracting from Real Work.

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      Most of the Chinese actions are for show. I mentioned here a couple of days ago that I’ve seen videos from Wuhan with security men haranguing passengers for not wearing masks – meanwhile the security guys had bare hands and were shaking hands, etc.

      Reply
    4. Monty

      “It has been established that you can spread Coronavirus before you show any symptoms including having a temperature. ”

      FYI It is now being reported the case in Germany that they thought proved that turned out to not prove it at all. The woman in question reported that she did have symptoms similar to a cold, and felt ill. It just got misreported and the rumor mill ran away with it.

      Study claiming new coronavirus can be transmitted by people without symptoms was flawed

      Reply
    5. carycat

      Just visit your local airport. The DHS security theater has been keeping us safe in the War On Terra. No one was harmed by WMDs (including the dreaded shoe bomb or nail clippers) once they are on the job. That show has been running for close to 20 years now with no end in sight (although the affluent has now been spared the delay and inconvenience visited on the little people).
      At least the Chinese is using low cost, locally sourced off the shelf technology. The US on the other hand throws dollars at Chertoff Porno Scanners.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        The affluent, or purely random passengers. We found ourselves given express status (shorter line, minimal inspection) for no apparent reason. I actually went into the office and asked why, was told it was random – and got a very funny look.

        We were sort of offended, as both my wife and I have been doing our best to irritate the PTB. Apparently we failed.

        I think the real reason is to shorten the lines – so someone in the agency knows it’s just theater.

        Reply
    1. sleepy

      Yeah, he should drop out after New Hampshire which he will lose. But he’ll wait to make his death rattle after South Carolina.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I got the feeling the only reason Joe kept going was somebody in the party told him he had to. You sensed his heart really wasn’t in it, especially with the new ‘i’m as mad as hell and i’m not gonna take it anymore’ approach that totally wasn’t him, you could almost see the puppet strings, but they used a no-see-em fishing line.

        Reply
    2. Bill Carson

      This explains the John Kerry phone call from Sunday. The DNC expected he might not win, but 5th place?? They’re going to need to white knight.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Fat, rusted and ruddy.

        After all, otherwise a candidate could be accused of being fittist, restist and readyist.

        Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      A Chinese friend here spent a day with four Beijingers on business last week. She asked me if I’d go out to dinner that night. I asked her what she wanted and she said ‘meat, whiskey’ (she is nothing if not direct). She ordered two whiskeys and dipped her fingers and washed her hands with one, and drank them both. ‘For the virus’ she said. And she added that steak boosts the immune system.

      Reply
    2. cuibono

      it is at least as objective as the various pseudo-scientific articles coming out that so called cocktails of drugs saved lives.

      Reply
  9. ObjectiveFunction

    Possibly an artifact of the heavy traffic? but I notice any comment I make containing a link is simply vanishing into the ether (no ‘awaiting moderation’ notice or timer).

    Reply
    1. SpringTexan

      Not today, but I have had this happen to me on nakedcapitalism several times – though by no means always – it’s very frustrating.

      Happy to know I’m not the only one, though.

      Reply
    1. Cuibono

      based on TSLA analysis on this forum i surely hope no one was short this monster.
      Sometimes (make that nearly always) being smart and being stock smart are incompatible

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I lost so much on my mental short of TSLA that I had to go into foreclosure on my imaginary beach house in Malibu.

        Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Lord Rothschild once quipped “I only know three people who really understand money…and none of them has much of it”

        Reply
    2. bob

      It’s unreal. Looking at the end of the day chart it looks like a classic blow off top. Will I short it? No way in hell.

      It didn’t break 600 until late last week. It was as high as 968.99 today. 61% run on no news.

      Reply
  10. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to Nazi collaborators, readers may be interested in https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-11-20-dame-margaret-hodge-mp-a-very-british-apartheid-profiteer/.

    As her ladyship (sic) waged her campaign against Corbyn, heaven knows why he failed to return the favour with interest, especially when his sympathisers offered to assist, to the point that he would not have to get his hands dirty.

    In addition to her business interests in apartheid South Africa, her businesses were “creative” with their approach to tax in the UK and India and treated their Indian employees abominably. Her tenure as council leader in Islington and MP for Barking were marred by racist dog whistles. As council leader, she victimised whistleblowers, including on child abuse.

    Reply
  11. zagonostra

    >Iowa DNC-Rigged

    The manipulation of the results in Iowa is clearly directed from the top. The Democratic National Committee sent dozens of top operatives, including software and cybersecurity experts, into Iowa in the weeks before the caucuses. Even before Monday, there were efforts to develop the line that the vote might not be legitimate.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/04/iowa-f04.html

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for that link. Maybe it’s *better* that the Donor Class and their DNC™ operatives are doing this right off the bat.

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    New word for the era:

    ‘Appotage’

    As in, what a sordid bit of appotage the DNC did in Iowa yesterday by throwing the works in the spanner.

    Reply
  13. Louis Fyne

    modern supply chain fragility: Hyundai closes Korean factories due to scarcity of Chinese-made wire harnesses, which makes cars impossible to assemble even if you have all other 99.9% of the parts available.

    US is in the same boat—as nearly all of the essential, but seemingly inconsequential, little things (wire harnesses, capacitors, etc.) are no longer made in the USA.

    http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3073403&cloc=joongangdaily

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      to the point about “fomites” as virus transmission vectors made by Lambert recently, I believe that large numbers of small purchases on Amazon and Ebay are fulfilled by air-freight shipments from China.

      Is there a valid concern that packages or their contents might be contaminated? If asymptomatic infected persons can spread the virus, and if the virus can persist on surfaces, this looks worrisome to me.

      Reply
        1. Samuel Conner

          The Ebay shippers I am thinking of are direct from China. Search on DDR RAM, for example; most of the sellers are located in China

          Re: Amazon, I was thinking of the Marketplace sellers that use Amazon to advertise, but do their own fulfillment.

          A mitigating factor may be that these are low-freight sellers and the shipping method is slow, so presumably plenty of time for live viral contaminant to degrade.

          Still, the thought is a bit alarming.

          Reply
      1. Lee

        FWIW, I read something, somewhere recently that the virus can persist up to 5 days on surfaces. This paper on other coronaviruses uses the vague term “several days”.

        Cargo ships take several weeks to get to the mainland U.S. from China. However, if a ship’s crew members are infected, then they and the surfaces they touch could keep the virus in circulation for a longer period of time. In my completely inexpert opinion, the likelihood of this happening seems low to me.

        Air freight shipping is probably the greater concern.

        Reply
        1. carycat

          All those doodads are packaged and living inside a standardized shipping container which are lashed together on deck and exposed to salt spray on its Pacific passage. So unless an infected crew person touches the container close to port and then a distribution center person touches the still infectious surface and then the package while unloading the container, this posited transmission path is extremely low probably. I’d be much more concerned about sources much closer to the end point of the delivery chain. Have you taken the temperature of your Amazon delivery person lately?

          Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    V for Virus

    Was in Visalia (pop 136k) the other day and didn’t notice even one covered up countenance in my travels to procure sundries on a Sunday.

    What numbers of masked men & women are you seeing in your city as of late?

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I have two housemates that work on the SF ferry and come in close contact with the public all day. I called the advice nurse at my primary care provider and she advised that they wear masks at work. If nothing else, that might scare off passengers and reduce the work load.

      Frankly, I’m pretty spooked at the moment. I’m older and have a lingering cold (nearly a month now) that’s been going around. It would be nice to get well for at least a little while before catching the coronavirus.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        {adjusts Reynolds wrap toque into a rakish tilt}

        Not too spooked here on just the other side of nowhere, but i’d be plenty weirded out if I was surrounded by human beans in close proximity all the time. My wife & I were even talking about the potential of going to the cabin and hiding out if things got way stupid in terms of potential infection rates, which in this drought-like winter we’ve been having makes it an easy get, requiring a 6 to 7 mile snowshoe or ski in. The only malady we could get is cabin fever.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Wukchumni, if things go stupid and you and wife snow tail it to your cabin in the woods, then it would be so generous and way cool to host a NC meet-up. All able bodied persons will , of course, be asked to snow shoe, or ski, to appointed destination. The rest of us will patiently wait for the one horse open sleighs to provide transport from lower elevation gathering point. Advance planning should be started now. My spouse and I will contribute real Arizona delicacies: tamales ( green corn), prickly pear jelly, manzanita flour cookies, homemade salsa. Also, our two cats will be happy to join your cat harem. Also, we are easy going guests…takes a lot for us to get cabin fever. Like to read and mellow reveries. Spouse is likely to participate in group discussions to save the world or just excellent advice on many topics ( like water, solar, etc.) He would also join some snow shoe too. Oh, no ski masks or other masks seen here in our neck of the AZ north.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Mineral King is much more fun in the summer (that is if we survive Coronavirus), and a nice get together would be car camping @ the Atwell Mill campground, the only one with Sequoia trees in it in Sequoia NP. There’s 24 camping spots, and as no rv’s or trailers are allowed on MK road, it’s all oldtime tent camping, no people hidden away in wheeled metal boxes. There’s a couple sets of 3 sunken granite basins nearby, here’s what they’re all about:

            Origin of Meter-Size Granite Basins in the Southern Sierra Nevada, California

            https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5210/

            It’s across from the Paradise trail which winds into the upper haunts of the Atwell Grove, which has the highest altitude Sequoias @ nearly 9,000 feet, and a few over 300 feet tall.

            Reply
    2. Craig H.

      Went to Castro Valley Safeway at 9:00 A.M. this morning, which is by far the best location to collect this data here about.

      15 unmasked Chinese shoppers
      0 masked Chinese shoppers

      It is 50-50 to see a masked Chinese shopper on a random day regardless of what the fake news CNN, fake news New York Times, and Center for Disease Control are giving us.

      Reply
      1. carycat

        My wife reported that the staff and many shoppers are masked at the local Asian grocery store which has hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere. A friend reported that her brother is one of the confirmed cases in HK and the doctors have already told the family no more treatment is possible. HK folks are much more spooked due to their recent SARS experience.

        Reply
    3. kareninca

      A scattering of Asian (or Asian American) people here in Silicon valley are wearing masks. But there are always some anyway; I’m not sure why. The young white guy cashier at Sprouts was wearing one; that was something different. So overall not too many, even though this area has got to be a giant petri dish. One person (who as it happens is Asian American) suggested we cancel the large public nonprofit monthly event that she and I volunteer at, but her suggestion was not taken up.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Japan tries to explain to embassies merits of releasing Fukushima water into ocean”

    Meanwhile, when international teams go to the Tokyo Olympics this July, many will be bringing their own food and water with them.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      It’s all good until you know what wakes up…

      Godzilla is depicted as an enormous, destructive, prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation. (Wiki)

      Reply
    2. Pat

      I haven’t gotten too far into the results from the Sanders team, but it looks to me like Mayo Pete was the biggest beneficiary of both the impeachment shenanigans and the low viability of Amy and Joe.

      I may not understand how he appealed to anyone, but he had people show up to caucus. And he gained as the process went on.

      Reply
    3. Susan the other

      That came from the Ministry of See No Evil in Japan. What a whitewash. None of the Embassies objected? That’s not the same as ‘the embassies all agreed it was a good plan.” The statistics coming out of Fukushima cannot be trusted as far as you can throw them. And that includes a 30,000 foot deep ocean trench. Why – please tell me why we do not get the scientific community calling bullshit on this? And why should we trust the Japanese to treat and store this toxic water without checking up on the site? If I were a dedicated nationalist Japanese patriot I’d have burrowed a drainage system into the Pacific long ago. Nothing to see here.

      Reply
  16. DJG

    Coronavirus. I checked the Johns Hopkins real time web site this morning, and the statistics are dire. The number of cases has doubled in a week. Yes, it’s possible that the disease is going to have a flaming start, as cases “ripen,” but we are not yet near a leveling-off point.

    https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

    China is a hot zone for diseases. We know that SARS came from China, and this year brought swine flu. An avian flu is circulating. There are other hot zones–Ebola arose out of the African bush, and Ebola also came from eating bush meat (at least this is one of the hypotheses), also suspected of Novel Coronavirus.

    Lambert Strether makes the excellent observation above that we are going to have to start re-thinking globalization. We being the groundlings. The elites are sequestered in the first-class lounges.

    With regard to hot zones, I recall reading two classics of pop epidemiology (if there is such a thing). MacNeill’s Plagues and Peoples. Zinsser’s, Rats, Lice, and History. Zinsser focuses on typhus, which arises when populations are disrupted and start moving–and isn’t that what mass tourism is? MacNeill, if I recall, mentions that measles, which is likely to have been the famous Plague of Athens, came out of China, where people had immunity, and caused mass deaths in the Mediterranean world, where people had never enountered measles.

    The one evolutionary factor working in our favor–although don’t count on it–is that some microbes become less virulent, because killing the host means killing off dinner. Measles has had this tendency–but that doesn’t make measles much less dangerous. At the start of the AIDS epidemic, some people expressed hopes that the HIV virus would become less virulent–and that hasn’t happened.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >Lambert Strether makes the excellent observation above that we are going to have to start re-thinking globalization. We being the groundlings.

      We have — not my 10% so much, but some, and the lower 90% quite a lot for quite a while. So what? Nobody who could do anything, cares to.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Globalization is not self realizing. It has no agency. Thus, it is at the mercy of those with agency.
        A major pandemic will disrupt the global supply chains and reformat local population’s consumption habits. That will affect globalization.

        Reply
    2. John Steinbach

      “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” by Laurie Garrett is the best one I’ve read.

      Reply
    3. Expat2uruguay

      China is a hot zone for diseases. We know that SARS came from China, and this year brought swine flu.

      I thought the swine flu came from Mexico. ?

      Reply
  17. timbers

    So, I’m reading the Dem Iowa App used for the caucus, was developed by a company named Shadow (wouldn’t “Keep Them In The Dark” be a better name?), a firm owned by a hedge fund manager and pro-Israel settler who supports Buttigieg, and staffed by former Clinton and Obama campaign folks.

    Didn’t Buttigieg almost declare victory? Does he know something we don’t?

    How is that possible? I can’t think a reason. Can you?

    I hope this is just wrong and I’m reading unverified stuff on the internets.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Remember when W was sure he had victory in Ohio?

      Btw it wouldn’t surprise me if the CIA also funded these companies. It launders a lot of money ..

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Journalists walk out of No 10 after bid to impose selective briefing of Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans”

    No 10 could simply have not invited these journalists but instead decided to try to humiliate them by sorting the journalists into two groups and to send the ‘unfriendly’ journalist packing. It is not stated if Lee Cain was going to stand on a ladder at the doorway to give the departing journalists a golden shower on their way out but it was implied.

    This is real amateur hour stuff but it is a Boris Johnson government so I would expect to see a lot more of this sort of stuff down the track. Trump has only singled out a few newspaper journalists and to be fair, he does have a point with their blatant bias, but he never tried a stunt like this one. I would expect that Boris will be a lot more heavy handed with the British Press as the year goes on and final Brexit hoves into sight.

    Reply
    1. paul

      They rather embarrassed their pet ‘journalists’ (dame keunnssberg and lord peston) by identifying them as safe hands.
      Their ‘solidarity’ was tactical, rather than principled.

      Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    Antidote:

    Was skiing out to the Pear Lake ski hut in Sequoia NP in the spring about 15 years ago when a marmot decided it was time to end a slumber party that started in September, by poking through the snow in time for me to see it happen, almost akin to a chick breaking out of a shell, kinda sorta.

    Marmot Cong in the summer are a force to be reckoned with, mostly hidden away in their granite bunker network, able to go into action on hit and run a salt missions, and the nearest natural source is our sweat & urine.

    You have to hit the MC on their weakness, being that the ‘cong can’t climb. Always store everything overnight out of their grasp.

    Reply
    1. petal

      We have Marmot Cong in our community garden. They don’t bother my plot too much, but seem to zero in on a certain few. They are wily. There used to be a fat couple of them that would graze in the yard near my house but I haven’t seen them in a couple years, sadly. I enjoyed watching them.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Local prophylactic against their fellow varmints, gophers, is to dig out garden, install wire mesh bed and refill soil. More extreme versions include vertical mesh, chicken wire or similar at fence line below and above ground. That also works against rabbits, although it just displaces them into the neighbor’s patch.

        Reply
        1. petal

          Quite a few plot renters have done the chicken wire/fencing below and above ground. They (the MC)don’t really bother me so I don’t worry about them. I have 4′ fence around my plot. My biggest garden problem is deer jumping the fence and feasting(and bathrooming-so not cool). Last growing season they went to town eating my glads. I then put in tall bamboo stakes around the perimeter and wrapped white string around. Seemed to help some.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            You could specialize in poisonous flowers – and herbs: they don’t eat the mint family, which includes most culinary herbs. Not sure about hardiness in New England, though.

            The deer repellent I use is mixed bone meal and blood meal, tossed on the plants, preferably when they’re wet. Not pretty, but fairly effective. Washes off, if you want to eat the produce. And very effective fertilizer; helps if you like the jungle effect.

            We have nutria instead of groundhogs, but they mostly stay down by the river. So far.

            Reply
      1. newcatty

        Woodchuck Day just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Subliminal message: Groundhog is funny to say and has “hog” in its name. Geez, the iconic comedy and social satire film would be weirdly called: “Woodchuck Day”. Please no lame jokes from the nuts gallery.

        Reply
    2. jefemt

      The MC are hell on parked late-model vehicles at trailheads. Something simply irrisitible in the new plastics/ wiring harnesses. Multiple thousands of dollars in repair and a very disappointing return to the car.

      Some folks are reverse-tarping their car to try to prevent under-chassis invasions.

      Delayed Burger and Beer post trip gratification!

      Quelle Damage Domage! !

      Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “Turkish Forces Suffer Casualties In Syrian Army Attack On Idlib”

    Erdogan is getting desperate trying to protect his jihadists. The coupla thousand that he sent to Libya must be already missed and the Syrian/Russian drive is relentless. The Turks surrounded Saraqib with four “observation posts” but that is not stopping the Syrian Army and eventually these will join the other Turkish posts stuck behind the lines in Syrian territory. The Jihadists must be getting nervous that the Syrians might try for an envelopment movement which will leave them in a fire-sac.

    The Turks declared the M4 highway a “Turkish military zone” but nobody is listening to them at this stage. They have sent about 320 vehicles into Idlib, including score of tanks, but this area is awash with ATGMs which could cost the Turks dearly if it came down to an actual battle. I doubt that the Russians will let the Turkish Air Force to fly over and bomb the Syrians either, especially after four Russian soldiers were killed recently by these militants. The US has been pumping in ATGMs into Idlib via Turkey for the Jihadists but that will only slow down the drive – not stop it. Lots of pleas about people fleeing the battle lines but I do not think that Erdogan will let them into Turkey this time. Time for a “chemical” attack.

    Reply
    1. dftbs

      I’m not trying to assign any benevolent intentions to Erdogan, but the man isn’t an idiot or he wouldn’t have survived this long. Similarly, the Russians are adept long-game players, who don’t make agreements with those who can’t/won’t uphold them (EEUU). Perhaps the Libya move, and the current action in North Syria are part of a necessary (from Turkey and Russia’s pov) “kayfabe”.

      Turkey controls the various Jihadis, but with the Russian/Syrian victory and the Turkish re-alignment these elements have outlived their purpose and usefulness. Unfortunately you can’t just decommission this irregular army. You have to get rid of them. But you can’t do this through simple abandonment. First, they will feel betrayed, and Erdogan doesn’t want to end up like Sadat did if his current hatchet men perceive betrayal. Second, they may just find a new patron on the Potomac, rather than the Bosporus, and land on the Golden Horn.

      So you move them to Libya. This presents an opportunity for Turkey/Russia to be rid of a portion of the problem at a low cost and minimal risk to themselves. Haftar is no push over, and has no compunction slicing through these tafrikis.

      For the ones that didn’t take the cruise, now they’re Turkey’s problem in Idlib. He can’t make it seem like he is abandoning them, but he can’t let them survive. Both outcomes could be fatal to him. So he performs this charade, thunders loudly, says he’ll move pieces on the board. And the Russians, just keep their side of the bargain.

      Or then again, maybe he’s just crazy.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        If you’re running a sports team and you actually want to win, one of the first things you do is teach your players not to put the ball into your own net.

        The converse is also true.

        So: billionaire donor class wishes to continue winning. The status quo is that. Trump is that. Not-Trump in almost any flavor holds the risk of being not-that.

        Ergo

        Team Not-Trump executes a sustained series of own goals. Hilary. Stormy. Kavanaugh. Russia. Impeachment. Iowa.

        You can conclude that these are all unintentional, unconnected and incredibly incompetent. Or you can conclude the opposite.

        Reply
      2. newcatty

        But, it’s not a surprise! Instead, that Trump has announced it so. I just read it! I think Kirk was favorite ( he may have just watched “selective” scenes. Number Two…(who?) Make it so!

        Reply
  21. Ignacio

    RE: Small, modular nuclear reactors in Eastern Washington could balance more renewable electricity, power agency says Seattle Times

    Washington with about 65 gCO2eq/kWh according to this electricity map, is not that worrying. What about Midwestern states with 421 gCO2/kWh?

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Lots of hydroelecticity in the PNW.

      Unfortunately, lots of nuclear, too. Hanford already all but glows at night.

      Reply
  22. yelladog

    ‘The results look good so far:’ Thai doctors tout promising treatment for Wuhan coronavirus Fortune.

    From yesterday.

    Surprised no one mentioned the HIV drugs being used in this cocktail for a virus not related to HIV. As said, waiting for journal publication.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Did you read the article? I didn’t find it encouraging. Three patients treated with the cocktail. One of them developed rash and was discontinued…

      Reply
    2. Susan the other

      I’ve been wondering about this Thai cocktail too. It is obviously one of those things that cannot be mentioned. Especially with a success rate of 100%. And this little blackout happens simultaneously with the adamant WHO disclaimer that those snippets of HIV dna are just the usual cross-overs that happen in nature everyday. Like in a “wet market”. Etc.

      Reply
    1. samuel conner

      I was following along with the SST item until I got to the prediction that nations will dump their dollars later this year. We’ve been through this with China in the past. Dollar FX and Treasury holdings are not easily liquidated at scale.

      I’m not saying that US is not abusing it’s exhorbitant privilege, but the solution is probably longer-term and slower than a soon repudiation of the USD.

      Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Nazi collabo families and racist propaganda in the New York Times Yasha Levine,
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    No fan of Freedland, and good sleuthing there, but…

    The youngest Nazi to have been an important cog in the Third Reich must be 110 now if they’re still living.

    Do we go after their progeny until the end of days, or at some point can we move on?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      They changed the laws not long ago so that they could keep this circus going on. The change meant that if you even had a peripheral role, you were guilty of genocide by association. Last guy I heard of caught up in this was an accountant or something stationed at one of these camps. This law could also apply to a janitor for the guard barracks by the same token.

      Reply
  24. Ignacio

    RE: Wuhan Coronavirus: What About Central Asia? The Diplomat

    Important for westwards ‘slow motion’ propagation. One wonders if preparedness is as good as required. I have read an article from The Asian Age on measures taken and it looks messy:

    “Till Thursday, 4846 passengers were screened for coronavirus at the Mumbai International Airport. Twenty-seven patients were kept under observation. A total 10 patients were admitted to three different hospitals across the state. Thirteen samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology, out of which nine samples tested negative for novel coronavirus while the reports of four samples are awaited.”

    Similar messy reporting as for Kazakhstan by the Diplomat.

    “Health Minister Yelzhan Birtanov told reporters that of the Kazakh citizens who have returned from China since the outbreak, four have been hospitalized with suspected infections but no cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed yet”

    No news is not good news in this case.

    Reply
  25. Code Name D

    So, what happens if the Coronavirus takes out your vaccine facilities?

    “China is currently producing nearly all of the commonly-used vaccines for viral diseases such as influenza, measles, rabies (for humans), mumps, rotavirus, hepatitis A and B and for bacterial diseases, including typhoid, tetanus and diphtheria,” says Dr Xu Ming, Vice President of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products.
    https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/92/9/14-020914/en/
    Please note the post date: September 9th, 2014. So, this is six years old.

    Reply

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