Links 2/5/2020

Coyote and Badger Spotted Traveling Together Under Bay Area Highway NBC Bay Area (joe6pac).

Woman sees missing dog on beer cans promoting shelter dogs AP

Deep ocean oxygen levels may be more susceptible to climate change than expected

Electric or Not, Big SUVs Are Inherently Selfish Vice

GM reviving Hummer brand with 1,000-horsepower electric truck Globe and Mail

Phantom Attacks Against Advanced Driving Assistance Systems Ben Nassi (DL). Oy.

The Battery Supply Problems Faced by Electric Air Taxis Avionics

Shale pioneer John Hess says key U.S. fields starting to plateau Reuters


The UK is about to shoot itself in both feet FT

UK regional productivity gaps as wide as in 1901, no easy fix seen: report Reuters

Sinn Féin leads way in Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll with highest support ever Irish Times (PD).


The New Coronavirus Is a Truly Modern Epidemic The Atlantic

Experts envision two scenarios if the new coronavirus isn’t contained STAT

Study claiming new coronavirus can be transmitted by people without symptoms was flawed Science. Science progresses…

Novel coronavirus’ death rate going down – WHO CNN

Calling all coronavirus researchers: keep sharing, stay open Nature

* * *

Millions in China banish virus blues with online games, video apps Reuters. Go long games and video apps!

Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific asks 27,000 staff to take three weeks of unpaid leave as coronavirus crisis hits the industry Daily Mail (J-LS).

Africa ramps up coronavirus preparations as fears grow FT

Coronavirus: India cancels valid visas to Chinese, foreigners who visited China in last two weeks Times of Indial (J-LS).

U.S. Readies for Coronavirus Pandemic Some Experts Now See as Likely Bloomberg


The Big Missing Piece of the Kushner Plan: Water Foreign Policy

Trump’s Lopsided Mideast Peace Plan CFR

How an Army veteran became “Cyber Rambo” during alleged coup in Bolivia Business Insider


Yogi Adityanath: ‘Muslims did no favour to India by staying here’ BBC

Women Can’t Be Given Command Posts as Army Men Won’t Accept It, Centre Tells SC The WIre

Trump Transition

Read the full text of Trump’s State of the Union speech Vox. Highlights include Guaido’s recognition, tributes to veterans, Rush Limbaugh being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Pelosi tearing up the speech at the end.

Stunts, Stagecraft and National Security in Trump’s State of the Union Defense One

A Demagogic And Dishonest SOTU The American Conservative

Trump Is Winning Like a Napoleonic general. John Authers, Bloomberg

Americans say they don’t like to talk about Trump at work but they do it anyway USA Today


It Matters Why Republican Senators Vote to Acquit Trump Bloomberg

Donald Trump will be acquitted. American politics will be convicted. Ezra Klein, Vox


“You mean, on top of everything else, this ship is rigged?” — Stan Freberg

New Details Show How Deeply Iowa Caucus App Developer Was Embedded in Democratic Establishment Lee Fang, The Intercept. Acronym and Shadow shared office space, appeared together on same org chart, go to the same staff retreats, etc.

The Unreality Of The Iowa Caucuses Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker. “The word from the state Party was that about as many voters participated as had in 2016 (a hundred and seventy thousand), when the Democratic base was pretty listless, and far fewer than had in 2008 (two hundred and forty thousand), when Iowa voters were excited.” I don’t see how we can know this. The votes, thanks to the Clintonite apparatchiks who designed “the app,” have not been counted, so we don’t have a total. I’m so old I remember when the New Yorker had a fact-checking department, and fact-checking wasn’t a bad joke.

DNC Blames Iowa Caucus Problems On Single F*ck-Up Senior Citizen Volunteer The Onion. Oddly, the senior citizen wasn’t of Russian ancestry.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Imperiled information: Students find website data leaks pose greater risks than most people realize Harvard School of Engineering.

[I]n less than 10 seconds she produced a dataset with more than 1,000 people who have high net worth, are married, have children, and also have a username or password on a cheating website. Another query pulled up a list of senior-level politicians, revealing the credit scores, phone numbers, and addresses of three U.S. senators, three U.S. representatives, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and a Cabinet member.

Researcher: Backdoor mechanism still active in devices using HiSilicon chips ZDnet. Read all the way to the end.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Social Determinants Of Suicide In The Military Health Affairs

Some Things We Could Have Done With the Billions Wasted on a Broken F-35 Vice (Re Silc).

Legendary Africa mercenary ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, who inspired movie Wild Geese, dies aged 100 South China Morning Post

Class Warfare

Homeless US student population ‘highest in more than a decade’ BBC

Altruistic food sharing behavior by human infants after a hunger manipulation Science (dk). n=48. From the abstract: “In a nonverbal test, 19-month-old human infants repeatedly and spontaneously transferred high-value, nutritious natural food to a stranger (Experiment 1) and more critically, did so after an experimental manipulation that imposed a feeding delay (Experiment 2), which increased their own motivation to eat the food. Social experience variables moderated the expression of this infant altruistic behavior, suggesting malleability.” dk asks: “But were the test subjects the babies of elites? At 19 months, some patterns may have already been acquired…”

Anatomy of a rental phishing scam Jeffrey Ladish

The long road to fairer algorithms Nature. An installed base is very difficult to change (“code is law.” See here, here, and here).

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: Iowa and this app controversy.

    I have yet to see a positive application of high tech to voting. First Diebold, now this catastrophe. This is why nothing beats paper ballots and public hand counts. I don’t care how long it takes to finish counting the results. The media also deserves much of the blame for turning elections into horse race spectacles where people cannot be patient enough to wait for results to come in.

    Furthermore, this debacle will make the public even more skeptical about our political system. I thought that was impossible but the political class always seems to find new lows. I could see this controversy depressing turnout, including for the general election which will help Trump. Good job Democratic Party, you are literally worse than useless.

      1. Harvey

        If this were any other country, it would be pretty obvious that the counting process has been hijacked for long enough to allow more “correct” votes to be created/counted and for all “incorrect” votes to be uncounted/disappeared.

        The throttling of the poll before the vote was a big tell – it got rid of any evidence of the voters’ real choices.

        But because this is the USA, home of “democracy”, people are in denial that the USA is no better than all those other countries with dodgy manipulated elections – because after all, the USA is special and superior.

    1. Carla

      @Livius — We must remember that the Vichy Democrats far prefer a Trump win to a Sanders one. I don’t know how much more transparent they could get about it, short of actually issuing a press release to that effect.

      1. Edward

        Yesterday on Democracy Now, Republican neocon David Frum said he would vote for Sanders over Trump. At the same time corporate Democrats have their “Stop Sanders” movement. This raises the possibility that in November, Frum will vote for Sanders and the corporate Democrats will vote for Trump.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Furthermore, this debacle will make the public even more skeptical about our political system.

      You count that as one of the negatives?

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Maybe the Iowa debacle will finally put the “Russia aims to meddle in our elections” cannard to rest. Between the Des Moines Register poll failure and the Iowa caucus chaos, we’re doing a pretty good job of sowing distrust in our democratic system all on our own, thank you.

        1. Montanamaven

          Oopsy! In the first post on, the Iowa guy said that “the sky is not falling” over a few hours delay in announcing the results. The media instead should concentrate on….you guessed it….RUSSIA! Up until that paragraph about how Russia had hacked 2016 with Trump’s help and they would do it again, he had credibility, first-hand experience, and love of Iowa and then he blew it with misinformation about Russia.
          Also, on the Jimmy Dore show, Ron Placone reported that NPR had reported that the reason that the Iowa Dems were being secretive about this new App was not that it might be related to people who know people who know people like the Clintons and spooks. No, they were being secretive because….you guessed it……”Russia might be able to hack it”. You can’t make this (family blog) up, as Jimmy would say.

          1. ambrit

            I have encountered embedded RussiaRussiaRussia in my own family circle. Both of my sisters, who are ten percenters, aspirationaly if not actually, believe the Russia meme. It is a tenet of faith with them and their co-cultists.
            My epiphany was to discover that social status partakes of religious fanaticism. It is not just a “friendly” difference of opinion to the ten percenters. This falls into the category of existential defining belief. The corollary is; “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”
            Such thinking generally indicates an essential fragility. When SHTF, if it does, which is not a given, this population cohort is going to go through very bad times. “Times” bad enough to dissolve any internal bonds of comity and cooperation the class might have had.
            Call me a delusional old cynic if you will, but the coming disaster looks to be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

            1. JBird4049

              We all have differences of opinion. Sometimes very real differences, but what gets me is the desire to discard the lower 90% of the American population because those people no longer want to take their impoverishment quietly like a good victim should.

              Perhaps those with the social status of the 10% are doing this to not have to think about their own responsibility for President Trump, or the homeless, or global warming.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Part of the reason that Great Depression 3.0 will be so much worse than Great Depression 1.0 is that so much fewer people nowadays have country relatives from whom to receive gifts of food than had such relatives in the 30s. Also, so much fewer people live anywhere near where the food is produced at all.

              People in the great urban death-traps will make do with whatever food the government can requisition from “somewhere” to keep the urban hungry fed. People in tiny-yard Inner Suburbia will do a little better if they convert all of their tiny yardspace into food production zones. Also, all church land, public school land, other land areas. People in medium-to-big-yard medium-to-outer Suburbia will have more land to work with and hence more ability to grow food if they get started right now. Also, they will be able to set up roofwater harvest systems, waterless composting toilet systems, etc.

              In other words, the big-yard Suburbs may have a future as viable-survivability Suburban Slum Villages.

    3. Monty

      “worse than useless”?
      They seem fantastically successful at their main job: Preventing a true left wing party emerging.
      It just depends how you look at it!

    4. Rattib

      Here’s one possible way to conduct a caucus that could make positive use of phone technology:

      Equip every place where people are caucusing with a large bulletin board or big area of butcher paper on a wall, etc. in view of everyone in the room. Grid it out with rows for the candidates and columns for votes and tallies, and a place to note whether the results are in progress or complete. Using big numerals – the kind you’d see on a marquee sign outside a store – fill out the grid with results. When the process is complete, EVERYONE IN THE ROOM TAKES A PHOTO OF THE BOARD as a collaborative backup, and the person in charge texts their photo to the central tallying place. You could have something similar at the central tallying place, with a webcam trained on it, streaming to the state party website, so people at home could follow along/double check.

      1. fajensen

        Yep. They were running the NYSE with chalk and blackboards for decades, back in the day.

        Five days a week. Not once every 5 years!

        Sometimes I think we are regressing.

      2. Edward

        Your prescription reminds me of blockchain technology used with cryptocurrencies. Maybe we need blockchain voting technology, given the level of honesty of most American politicians.

        1. Yves Smith

          Blockchain is not magic. It does not protect integrity of inputs or reporting from the other end. We discussed at length how CalPERS’ election vendor Votem touted its blockchain technology in what was actually a fraud-friendly system.

          You need lots of eyes on every step in the process. That is why paper ballots, hand counted in public, are and remain the gold standard.

          1. Edward

            I am being a bit facetious. I don’t know much about blockchain. I think its absurd that our politicians are so crooked that we have to jump through hoops to secure the voting. It is like having to use an armored car to transport your groceries from the supermarket. I would like to see paper ballots too.

    5. .Tom

      It looks like the Democratic Party in coordination with Shadow, Acronym and Buttigieg rigged the Iowa caucus, botched it and got caught.

      Idk if that characterization is at all accurate but that’s what it looks like.

        1. Susan the other

          I wish he’d stop with his little performance of the rejected child now in awe of the wonderful warm acceptance given him by an admiring public. Please. He’s going along for the ride as long as he can maintain an innocent facade.

          1. jrs

            I don’t even believe he was a rejected child, you don’t become a Buttigieg by being rejected by your parents, and I don’t believe a college professor father was that anti-gay anyway, iow even his stump speech on “winning” is garbage.

          2. Left in Wisconsin

            Pete got exactly what he needed out of Iowa, which was to prove to Biden – oops, I mean Bloomberg – that he can draw voters in the Midwest. He was never running for President this time around (unless he is completely delusional) but for #2 spot on the ticket. He ticks even more boxes for Bloomberg (military experience!!) than he does for Biden. He’ll be out of the race by Super Tuesday, if not by then already part of the Bloomberg ticket.

        2. Plenue

          What if it’s the opposite? What if this was cooked up solely by Buttigieg and the rest of the party genuinely didn’t know about it?

          75% reporting now, Buttigieg supposedly still in the lead.

          1. pretzelattack

            and all the clinton and obama apparatchiks involved didn’t tell the party, didn’t tell clinton, didn’t tell obama? i think it was a joint effort

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Idk if that characterization is at all accurate but that’s what it looks like.

        That is certainly what it looks like.

        Do the party apparatchiks know that this is what it looks like on the ground? Do they care?
        Do they know the anger that will be generated if enough people feel the primaries are rigged?
        Anger is an energy, once manifest its very hard to suppress and largely can only be redirected. Do they know how groups like The Weather Underground and Baader Meinhoff came into to being? Are they trying to recreate those circumstances?
        Or is this the flailing intelligence of the bureaucracy, desperately trying to maintain itself, allowing those who’ll do anything to preserve it to rise to the top. Even if those acts of preservation will ignite the fires that will consume it. A kind of corporate thanatos.
        I honestly don’t know but I am not at all happy about the future

        1. .Tom

          I think we know the answer to all your questions. There’s overwhelming evidence that those involved come from a class of people that live in a bubble and share a view of reality that’s really weird in important ways. This renders them incompetent and unable to see the incompetence and what the rest of us see.

        2. Knot Galt

          The democratic primaries appear to be the same donkey but of a different shade of color. Sanders may have had it right when he announced he was disappointed by the lower than his expected turnout. I am sure he can see the writing on the wall already. And this is just Iowa.

          If the center lefts don’t get to keep their cake, they’d rather toss it to the Right. Many I talk to are already saying it’s a waste of time to vote as they throw up their hands. I hope I am only seeing a small sampling

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            But it is a caucus not a primary. It may be that more people will turn out to vote in primaries where they don’t have to endure the agony of hours of boredom standing around and caucusing caucusing caucusing.

      2. jrs

        It’s probably not accurate, but we are post truth anyway in this era of Trump, and actually yes things should look a lot cleaner than this.

    6. John

      Iowa vote counting shambles: at best incompetence and at worst recall John Randolph of Roanoke speaking of Henry Clay, ‘like a rotten mackerel in the moonlight, he both shines and stinks.’ Look. Sniff. Anything?

      1. Monty

        A big Amy! majority…. I am so glad I am not neighbors with those folks! Was it 75% female health insurance employees that attended? The turn out was probably down because the insurance execs had to spread out and caucus elsewhere to best neutralize Bernie.

      2. Knot Galt

        This activist looks more like an apologist. Nothing to see here! No sir! Jut because i do not want it to be a FU does not mean it is a FU.

    7. Otis B Driftwood

      The use of technology isn’t the problem, it’s how it is abused.

      If honest and professional people develop the software it will work.

      Looks like in the case of Shadow it was a combination of corruption and incompetence.

      But yes, until and unless the FEC establishes a process for developing, verifying and operating software in elections, don’t trust it. And then it would only be a good start.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Some technology is more abusable than others. Digital technology is uniquely fraudulogenic.
        In fact, some people ( or maybe just me) are beginning to think that the whole purpose of digital is ease of fraud.

        ” Remember, if it says Digital . . . it MEANS Fraudulent. The Fraud goes in when the Digital goes on.”

    8. Mildred Montana

      Titrate (medicine): continuously measure and adjust the balance of.

      Meanwhile, the IDP continues to titrate the caucus results. 70% done!

      1. Oregoncharles

        The term is originally from chemistry – a common measurement procedure.

        In medicine, it does sort of figure the patient as a test tube.

        This level of confusion in Iowa appears to go way beyond an app that didn’t work. And it’s highly suspicious.

  2. Zagonostra

    With Iowa in the background, the SOTU was eerily farcical. Didn’t all those suits and ties realize that their legitimacy was eviscerated by previous night’s DNC’s exposure.

      1. aletheia33

        ”the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long”

        excuse me, but what does that even mean?
        not to mention the really bad metaphor of being consumed by stale bread.

        cicero, seneca, garrison, lincoln: our dearly beloved change-agent will never be so remembered.

        i can see the roots in 2008, god forgive me i voted for him. the tech wand-waving, the devious marketing, the manipulative idpol, the reckless, ruthless endangerment and worse of so many people’s lives, the faux meritocratic expertise. it worked great for a few and they’re sticking to it. they’re bringing the rest of us down with them.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, voting for Obama the first time made sense. McCain wanted war with Iran. Caribou Barbie wanted all the things Trump wants. So I voted Obama to avoid McCain and war with Iran, and then to avoid 8 years of President Palin after that.

          And we did at least delay the Palin Presidency. Palin wanted a lot of what Trump wants. We might even say that Trump is Palin in “male-face”.

  3. tongorad

    After Iowa, Does Bernie Have What It Takes?

    Does Sanders have the ruthlessness, the virtù to win against an incumbent president, a hostile party establishment and remake the political order? Leaving the declaration of victory on the table yesterday and the easy attack on his rivals, plus the DNC was not a good sign.

    What would FDR or LBJ do?

    1. a different chris

      Mmmmm… there’s also the saying to “not interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake”.

      >his refusal to claim victory has given Mayor Pete momentum in New Hampshire to claim the role of chief opposition to Bernie.

      Mayo Pete isn’t going to win. Too young (will freak out the middle aged and olds) and black people understandably hate him. So let him overrun these “results” like a rabbit who suddenly finds himself too far from shelter. Biden maybe didn’t get a mortal wound, but pretty close. Let him bleed out without anybody blaming Sanders. And don’t scare TPTB enough that they step in even more with Bloomberg (that is, they make everybody else basically step down. They can do that I am sure).

      I don’t know about FDR, but I think that’s what LBJ would do.

      1. montanamaven

        I heard Molly Hemingway wonder “why does Bernie always pull his punches?” He never goes for the knockout. Why?

        1. jrs

          Sander’s dark wry sarcasm punches MUCH HARDER than actual punches.

          “Iowa seems to be having a little trouble counting the votes …” Haha, how can you not like the delivery of that one ..

          Actual punches would fall soft in comparison.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That line is like when Admiral Beatty commentated, after two of his ships blew up during the Battle of Jutland, “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today”.

        2. mpalomar

          Part of the convoluted DNC play in this Iowa caucus fiasco is the possibility of snaring Sanders in an over reaction. The media would try to frame him as a shrill, paranoid grouch. Considering how the DNC screwed him in 2016 he’s got plenty to be angry about.

          1. montanamaven

            I heard the Hemingway quote before the Iowa fiasco happened. It was Jan 24. She mentioned him apologizing for Zephyr Teachout pointing out Biden’s “big corruption problem”. And also mentioned pulling his punch on Clinton’s email controversy. I can see laying low and using humor for the Iowa caucus fiasco unless real chicanery is revealed. But Teachout was talking about the real problem of American politics. Of the donor class running things. Hunter got paid $100,000 a year by MBNA and Joe got a lot of money from them and the credit card industry in his home state. Tom Brokaw asked him about this in 2008 when he ran the last time. Teachout’s op ed was about this kind of systemic corruption.

        3. Yves Smith

          I am told Sanders is already getting a bounce in NH. The “Don’t interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake” seems to be working.

          Also Sanders is already criticized for being shrill, lecturing, etc. He can’t go too often into the nasty register. He’s already too close to it for a lot of people’s taste.

          Admittedly he could use surrogates more to be bad guys and he isn’t.

    2. voteforno6

      I’m pretty far left, but I can see how some of these really hard core leftists annoy a lot of people. If someone isn’t engaging in a full-on frontal assault, they seem to think of it as some sort of sell-out or weakness. They do have their ideology, unburdened by not ever having held elective office. Sanders has been in public service since the early ’80s – just think about what kind of political skills it takes for someone like him to have made it all the way to the U.S. Senate. I’ll take his political judgment over most of these other people’s any day of the week.

      Not for nothing, I think that the Sanders campaign did send a shot over the bow, by releasing some of their own internal numbers. I think I read somewhere else that they had two monitors in each precinct, so it certainly seems like they’re keeping a close eye on things.

      1. KLG

        “If someone isn’t engaging in a full-on frontal assault, they seem to think of it as some sort of sell-out or weakness.”


        1. EMtz

          Yes. And this is why, if he can successfully run the heavy-handed DNC gauntlet, he will have a very good shot at defeating the hammer-like Grifter-in-Chief to whom everone is a nail.

      2. Basil Pesto

        yeah, they annoy me. It strikes as doctrinaure childishness. “i want Bernie to articulate every single one of my gripes and grievances with exactly the right degree of animus otherwise he’s a gutless coward”. It seems like a latent yearning for a clip that produces youtube vids with titles like “Bernie DESTROYS DNC” or “Bernie SUBLIMATES Buttigieg” etc. again, childish and politically worthless.

      3. Darthbobber

        I think some close their eyes and visualize themselves as Lenin standing on an armored car in Petrograd urging the masses on, greatcoat flapping in the wind.

    3. HotFlash

      Bernard Sanders has won a large number of elections and, more to the point, has governed well. Further, he is not a fighter, he is a long-distance runner. The strategy is not to knock thte other guy out, it is to cross the finish line first.

      1. ambrit

        Sanders has competed in State and local politics for years, it is true. However, here, he is faced with an opponent who will stop at nothing to win. And I do mean nothing, including murder. (Through the implementation of drone strike assassinations, out in the open no less, the American political class has normalized outright murder as a tool of statecraft. Did this precede or follow on the private political operatives embracing the ‘liquidation’ of opponents?)
        We joke about Sanders not flying on small aircraft, in the interests of his longevity. The joke is now become a truism.
        Watch your back Bernie, and wear that body armour every day. You are now a Paladin. Dress the part.

        1. JBird4049

          Assassination is as American as apple pie and has been practiced for centuries. We just don’t talk about it. Like the eugenics that was practiced from about 1900 up into the 70s. The redlining or the carceral state with its slave labor of the past and today.

          The lack of political murder in the last forty years inside the United States is unusual, but look at the 1960s or the various struggles during the 1930s and before. We they were not going after individuals, they went wholesale. Nothing like the scale in most countries from Mexico on down in the Americas, but real enough.

        2. Oregoncharles

          ” Did this precede or follow on the private political operatives embracing the ‘liquidation’ of opponents?”
          What they try out overseas, they ultimately bring home.

  4. timbers

    The dude who onws/controls the app that tells us who won Iowa, supported a candidate that won Iowa, by almost coming out of nowhere, out of relative obscurity. I am not an expert, but there appears to be no transparency as to how these tabulations were arrived at, and no empirical support of these tabulations.

    And no one needs to be an expert to see that smells to high heaven.

    I wonder how many might decide from this, that what they learned from this, is that participating in a process to choose a Presidential candidate in the Democratic Party, is a waste of time, and that being a Democrat too might be a waste of time.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      This will be an interesting couple of days. It doesn’t take a whole lot of reading between the lines to see that Bernie’s campaign caught the DNC and IDP in an attempt to steal the caucus. The IDP head admitted in his press conference that there were “discrepancies” early on in the count. Remember that the IDP posted a 1.8% set of numbers very early that showed Bernie with a slight lead in the first alignment. So what was the other source of information that highlighted these “discrepancies?” It was the Sanders campaign who had their own set of numbers, perhaps to the surprise of the IDP. So the IDP backs off announcing the numbers and claims they’re trying to assure the accuracy of the count. Then they “discover” that there’s a “flaw” in the app.

      As Bernie said in his plane press conference, Weaver is in contact with somebody, presumably the IDP but perhaps the DNC as well. Bernie has his set of numbers. The IDP/DNC is slow-walking the count now that they’ve done their little dance with the 62% release to MSDNC and CNN. If it doesn’t come out that Bernie is the eventual winner, what will the Sanders campaign do?

      And Perez needs to go and Barney Frank with him.

      1. JohnM

        Agreed! the app story is misdirection. zerohedge (yes i know, not a great source) ran a story yesterday with this:

        “I am now hearing that the Sanders campaign sent workers to every caucus to record the live results.

        The DNC was unaware of this. When their early tallies did not match the recorded results from campaign workers, his campaign had 5 lawyers contact the DNC. Now they’re meeting.”

        If the problem was the app, why is it taking 2 days to do a hand tabulation?

        1. jefemt

          The Google came up with no ‘more recent’ results than the breathless 62% reported by MSM yestiddy..

        2. chuck roast

          Bernie has the correct numbys in his hand and is doing the rope-a-dope waiting for the spivs to do what the spivs do.

          1. EGrise

            Exactly. He’s got ’em by the short hairs and they (should) know it.

            I think it’s taking so long to tabulate the results at least in part because they hadn’t planned to do so by hand, and are figuring it out as they go along. They’re also trying to “verify” what the app collected, in an attemtp to cover their own [family blog]es.

      2. Monty

        …And the media spun that into a win by Pete The Cheat!

        By the time it’s resolved, I doubt anybody who isn’t already a Bernie fan will care to notice.

      3. Shonde

        I’ve read that Cheatin Pete’s precinct captains were also collecting data. Can it be that Pete is the one who originally challenged the official tallies?
        According to a commentator yesterday, the precincts that haven’t been reported are supposedly ones where Bernie would be expected to do exceptionally well. If Pete challenged those precinct numbers only, it would explain why those precinct numbers are still not being reported. Pete was the challenger of the Des Moines Register poll after all which may have prevented publication of a poll showing a Sanders landslide. Or am I missing something.

        1. Tvc15

          100% agree with Henry Moon Pie’s theory. When the IDP realized the Sanders campaign could refute their results they pulled the plug on the planned rigging and created chaos to cover their tracks.

          Just in case anyone wonders if we’ve seen these shenanigans before. From a 2016 WAPO (no friend of Sanders) article.

          “Sanders campaign says it was denied paper records of Iowa caucus vote
          By Tom Hamburger
          February 4, 2016
          Amid growing reports of irregularities in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign said late Thursday that the state party had rebuffed its initial requests for paper records tallying the votes in each precinct that were used to determine Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory.

          Sanders’s supporters have complained in recent days that some caucuses, which were administered by the Iowa Democratic Party, were disorganized. In at least one case, Sanders’s backers say, results were not reported accurately to the state party.”

          1. Susan the other

            Remember when they complained that the exit polls were influencing the vote? I think it is time to do exit polls again just to have a tab that can refute election tampering.

      4. sleepy

        Yes, the Sanders campaign does indeed have its own set of numbers and they were verifying the count yesterday.

        I was a Sanders precinct captain and got a phone call from the campaign asking me to compare my tally sheet, which I had thankfully saved, with the figures put out by the state party. At least in my precinct the numbers all matched.

        There are something over 1000 precincts and it is good to see that Sanders has the resources to cross-check them all against the “official” figures.

        1. antidlc

          Is there any publicly posted list by precinct that the state party put out?

          There should be a demand for it if they haven’t put one out.

      5. jrs

        only the flaw in the app wasn’t just “discovered”, people could not submit votes or even get the app to load, so it wasn’t some subtle problem counting the votes, the darn thing didn’t work at all. EVEN IF the scheme was to miscount the votes, the software was too badly written to even do that. Even if you want to do evil you have to hire competent people not just cronies.

    2. Wukchumni

      Look at things from the Donkey Show’s perspective…

      They’ve tried 3 things against Bernie in the past 10 days

      1. He’s a misogynist
      2. He has no friends
      3. He’s temporarily susceptible to DNC monkeyshines via an app

      That’s all they have?

      1. farragut

        I can’t be the only one thinking this: It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but if Bernie emerges from the convention as the Dem candidate, he’ll meet the same fate as befell three gentlemen named Kennedy.

        PS: I wasn’t born a conspiracy theorist, but I became one shortly after the WMDs / GFC opened my eyes. Since then, it’s *ALL* I see, I’m afraid. >:-/

        1. Pelham

          If Sanders gets the nomination, he would be well advised to put bodyguards around him that he knows and can trust and who can also keep their heads and bear witness if something happens. These would be quite separate from — and even suspicious of — the Secret Service. The RFK assassination is especially pertinent in this regard.

          There should also be reliable people in place ready to follow up with the gathering of evidence and the ability to seize the right levers of power if the very worst happens. This puts prime importance on the selection of a VP.

          In sum, a Sanders candidacy and presidency would be a real test of the system, wouldn’t it?

        2. hunkerdown

          But the people have a next move, too. It may just not be safe anymore to take brunch in tony restaurants or engage in other upper-middle social activities.

        3. Darthbobber

          2 gentlemen named Kennedy, I think. Unless you have suspicions about Ted’s death or young Joe’s crash.

          1. farragut

            The latter. He was rumored to be thinking of running for the same NY senator position coveted by Hillary. Thus, he had to be eliminated.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Many precincts are quite small. With only a few dozen voters, ties are not uncommon. For example, there’s still one delegate to choose from that precinct, and there are 20 voters whose choice will determine how that last delegate is assigned. It must go to SOMEBODY. So what if your 20 voters split 10-10? Fairly high probability of that, actually.

        This rarely happens in actual elections because the total vote is usually so much higher that the probability of a tie is greatly reduced. But they still sometimes happen…and when it does, then what? You flip a coin and the winner of the coin toss wins the election.

    3. Harvey

      If this were any other country, it would be pretty obvious what was going on – the hijacking of the vote process for long enough to add new “correct” votes and disappear the unwanted “incorrect” votes.

      And of course the disappearing of that final poll conveniently meant that voters could not see that the actual votes were wildly different to the polls.

      But because this is the home of “democracy”, the inhabitants cannot admit to themselves what is going on because then the USA would be just another tin-pot country with crooked elections – like say Russia.

    4. Young

      Unless Shadow has other clients/customers, it is an SPV, like the ones TBTF banks set up to screw their clients/customers.

      Maybe one trick pony or donkey.

  5. Chris

    Is there any reliable site or source for the Democrat’s Iowa caucus totals? I feel like the usual suspects can’t be trusted with this. CNN couldn’t add all last year when making charts so why would I want to form false impressions by looking at anything they display?

    1. human

      Other than the Sanders’ tabulations, no, because this fiasco was the working of a private corporate board with no intention of transparency nor honesty.

    2. EricT

      Krystal Ball’s show from the The Hill called “The Rise”( I think ), is pretty good. I go to Youtube and just put her name in to get to her reporting videos.

        1. Susan the other

          Remember when they complained that the exit polls were influencing the vote? I think it is time to do exit polls again just to have a tab that can refute election tampering.

        2. GF

          During the CNN 62% presentation yesterday late afternoon, they had two ways of reporting the vote result. First was the percentage showing Pete slightly ahead of Bernie. They also showed, in the very bottom right corner of the screen, the actual vote totals for the top 7 or so candidates and Bernie was ahead in the vote count and it hasn’t changed; yet they continue to show Pete having the highest percentage number. Am I missing something? or is CNN just putting up numbers they are to to put up and not actually calculating the correct percentage?

    3. The Rev Kev

      I know that this sounds like a radical suggestion but could not the DNC use telephones & mobiles? If they were honest (, they would put up a webpage with all Iowa’s districts listed. Each of these would be asked to phone one of several telephone numbers to give their tallies. These would be posted on that webpage next to each listed district for all to see and so that the districts could challenge it if wrong. Could be done in a day.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        With the amount of time that’s passed they could have used the Pony Express.

        The issue was supposed to have been the “reporting” of the numbers that were written on paper. If that is true, they should not need any more time than they’ve already taken–just add ’em up and tell everyone already.

        This is a comment on Matt Stoller’s tweet:

        It’s taken them 18 hours to find the precise spread of districts that gives Buttigieg a narrow lead.

        I’d say it’s as good an explanation as any.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            So maybe the hastily constructed “app” didn’t “fail” after all, but created the necessary confusion in which unwanted results could be transformed into more “acceptable” ones, with the blame being placed on Iowa rubes who abuse their first-in-the-nation status by insisting on a 19th century relic like caucuses.

            This morning msnbs is busy lamenting the fact that buttigieg was denied the benefits of his Iowa “win,” historic as it was due to his homosexuality.

            Stopping the vote count because it’s too messed up and declaring a winner has been done before and it worked. Maybe what we’re seeing here is the creation of a virtual hanging chad.

              1. Tom Bradford

                This is certainly a bad look, but for my part I’d ban the publication of any poll in the seven days before an election – not only are they potential vehicles for ‘massaging’ the numbers and have been proven often enough to be grossly inaccurate even without malpractice, what purpose do they serve anyway? One should cast one’s vote on the basis of what one believes, not on the basis of where the herd is going.

          2. Chris

            Yikes. From Sirota’s twitter stream on his 62% meme there is info saying the step the app failed at was reporting numbers. The precinct captains would put in one number and the app would report another. When give the choice between being stupid or malicious, the DNC couldn’t help itself and chose both!

      2. Deschain

        Shit dude just throw up a google doc, give only precinct captains access, have them input the data. We’d have had a preliminary result almost immediately – would still need a paper audit of course.

          1. VP

            At this point, 3 or 4 people could have physically driven to each location and got the count. Assuming one would choose folks who can do KG math, we could have had a result announced by now.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        But where’s the grift opportunity in doing that? If someone can’t walk away with at least five figures then it might as well not have happened at all.

      4. Procopius

        They had a single telephone line for both reporting the totals and requesting help with the app. Apparently they had only one number, and only one person working there.

        1. Samuel Conner

          RCP home page has its presentation (don’t know how biased it may be) of the current state of polls, with 71% reported.

          Sanders has a 1% lead in the 2nd alignment count but PB has a slight advantage in the “state delegate equivalent” totals. I think this state of the “horse race” is basically unchanged from the late Tuesday results with 62% reported.

          If Sanders’ internal counts are right and he has a multi % lead in the alignment counts, and that is the final public result, it will be hard for me to believe that the precincts reported in the slow-walk reveal were randomly selected. It will look like they were trying to delay disclosure of the good news for the Sanders campaign.

          I almost welcome that outcome, as it will show how far the mask has already slipped.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Americans say they don’t like to talk about Trump at work but they do it anyway”

    I can understand why when people have been doxxed out of their jobs because of their political beliefs. This is like that 1898 French cartoon on the Dreyfuss Affair that Lambert has displayed. In one panel a large family is sitting down to dinner after agreeing not to mention the affair. In the next panel, they are at each other’s throats and the text says. ‘They talked about it’-

  7. Ignacio

    RE Coyote and Badger Spotted Traveling Together Under Bay Area Highway NBC Bay Area (joe6pac).

    We have so much to learn about interactions between different species! I love that video.

  8. Michael Hudson

    Elizabeth Warren is looking worse and worse, esp. for her role in the Iowa disaster.
    Just before Trump’s SOTU speech last night, the MSNBC lead broadcaster asked her whether the Iowa disaster meant that Tom Perez should be remove, saying that there was talk of this.
    She completely dodged the question instead of confronting it. Evidently she wants to make her peace with the DNC, including its fight against Bernie.

    Note that the anti-Bernie papers (NYT, etc.) publish the partial PRECINCT numbers from Iowa, NOT the first and second round ACTUAL VOTE numbers, which Bernie won.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She can’t even be bothered to think about the obvious, and Itshe not like there aren’t legions of Clinton dimwits who can be paid for screwing up.

      1. Polar Donkey

        It is funny how Perez put in that golden parachute clause a few days before Iowa caucus. Almost like he knew what was coming.
        Saw a few minutes of Morning Joe. This was their round table. Jim Messina, Bill Kristol, and Stephanie Rhule. A particularly nauseating group. They wanted Perez fired and Bloomberg to save them. All said Bernie would be destroyed by Trump. Pete the cheat might do ok if he could just get black people to vote for him. (Like black people will vote for Bloomberg?) I them flipped over to Fox. They had a correspondent at a diner in Carthage, North Carolina. Talking about how it was the best state of the union ever. The customers acted like Pelosi had pissed on a cross at church by tearing up the speech. Between msnbc and fox, I felt like I just got done watching a globetrotters/generals game.

        1. doug

          I live a few miles from carthage, and go to local gym early every morning. Hearts were fluttering this am…

    2. Carolinian

      Given that she’s not very good as a politician she probably sees support from the Dem establishment as her only route to the nomination and she’s probably right.

      Some of us have reservations about Sanders, but the vehement opposition to Bernie from said establishment is turning him into the standard bearer of Dem party revolution whether he wants to be or not. Sanders’ apparent surge in recent weeks could show that the public is finally waking up to the fact that the Dem leadership is batting for the other team. Biden’s poor showing could indicate the same thing.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      WRT the reporting of the precinct numbers as opposed to the vote count, on msnbs Steve Kornacki has been reporting that, in Iowa, the delegates–all 41 of ’em–are not awarded in direct proportion to the popular vote. Evidently some less populated, rural areas exert a greater influence on the delegate awards than their absolute number would suggest.

      The joke on Fox is that this might change buttigieg’s stance on the electoral college which he wants to abolish.

      1. flora

        I’m not going to challenge the Iowa delegate assignment process, particularly when we don’t have a final, verified (by more than the DNC) vote count.

        The vote/delegate argument sounds a lot like the Electoral College vs popular vote argument. Getting rid of the EC would require a Constitutional convention to make the change. The K- brothers and ALEC and other monopoly businesses are working quietly for a Constitutional convention (and have almost enough statehouses to pull it off). Believe me, they’re ready to go with all kinds of already written changes just waiting for the opportunity to activate them.

        If anyone thinks a Constitutions convention will benefit Main Street I have a bridge to sell them.

        1. Susan the other

          I got that same premonition last night because the democrats are having so much trouble explaining their new app. It was designed, from what I heard between the deflections, after Hillary lost by electoral voters. It looks like this was a trial run to see if the party could somehow tweak the caucuses to control the final delegates – which could easily be adapted to do the same for the super delegates of the EC in the November election. Clearly it’s going to need some fine tuning.

  9. John Beech

    Electric or Not, Big SUVs Are Inherently Selfish Vice

    Why is this part of the NC letter? Is the purpose of this supposed to be aimed at the capitalist-class, or people whinging about hobby-horse peeves like what someone drives? The facts are people choose vehicles for many reasons. For example, my company provides me with a Mercedes G-wagon. The fact it has a rough ride and achieves a mere 12mpg is of secondary importance to projecting a calculated image. Does driving this make me a bad person? Does it make those positively influenced, bad? It’s my opinion people would benefit from thinking at a bit deeper level than just the surface when becoming informed.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      lol, I just looked up the cost of a generic ‘Mercedes G Wagon’ – apparently owners of those fall into the category my Oma classified as ‘more money then sense’. (with apologies to you personally…I understand the concept of projecting an image, though I happen do my best to project the completely opposite image, FWIW)

      Noting that, I have to guess your hands are really REALLY soft…and as a gentle caveat to you before the Jackpot, keep in mind that one of the quickest ways the Revolutionaries of the past are able to sort people into one of two groups on the way to the ‘Enemies of the Proletariat’ camps are by feeling the hands for the callouses and rough skin only obtained by ‘working for a living’.

      Just saying man, rough them hands up while you still can….

      1. Monty

        Funny you should say that. I am 99% sure the origin myth of this John B character contains hints at him being a small business owner.

        1. Jokerstein

          I’m wondering if he’s identifying with the wrong type of tree – second and third letters wrong?

    2. Olga

      Your comment made me laugh… “The fact it has a rough ride and achieves a mere 12mpg is of secondary importance to projecting a calculated image.”
      Isn’t that precisely what the article tries to argue – namely, that people get SUVs to project an image, and in spite of their excessive impracticality. So you object to the article, but confirm its main point… ok, then.

      1. voteforno6

        I for one applaud someone willing to drive around in those monstrosities. After all, there are so very few people so willing to share their inadequacies in such an open manner.

        1. John A

          it’s amazing the number of people in and around London who say they need an SUV for ‘when it snows’, which it did not do at all last winter, and none so far this winter, and on average, maybe a week or so of snow at most, which after the first 24 hours has been churned into a slush, salt and grit mix that is by no means impassable even by a baby buggy.

          1. inode_buddha

            That just strikes me as odd, I had no idea they did that. In my part of the world (the area around Buffalo NY) there is an actual case to be made about the snow, we are known for it.

            What really bothers me though, is that the suburban warriors have completely *ruined* the truck market for actual workers like me, who actually need and use their trucks for work. You don’t see actual workers driving around in 3-ton plastic monstrosities that cost more than their house, because *they can’t afford to*

    3. a different chris

      >my company provides me

      I thought you were the owner of said company?

      If *I* was the owner of a small company, I wouldn’t spend 130K on getting one of my principals to work and back. That would be his/her problem. In fact, when I was such I made the principal (also me) drive a 10yr old turbo diesel….

      1. Monty

        Not only that, but he was claiming paying the staff a $15 minimum wage would cause him to shut up shop.

    4. Quanka

      This comment is aggravating. Are you saying that b/c your company provided you this, you are absolved from the responsibilities or consequences of driving it?

      I think the point of the article was that SUVs are largely pointless except for projecting image. The article has background as to why they were originally created and marketed and how they’ve come to dominate the car industry despite the fact that no-one uses them for their stated purpose. You could write an equal expose on trucks, the second most popular car even though we have fewer construction workers, ranchers and farmers (% of population), who would presumably need these vehicles, than ever before.

      Are you a good person despite driving a gas guzzler? Then make that case … not some “well were not all bad people” lame excuse for an argument.

      1. Oregoncharles

        We use one for its intended purpose – in our case, getting out into the woods – and getting back out. It’s also our backup car. Hence we don’t drive it all that often, and it’s pretty small, chosen for decent gas mileage. Also old; we can’t afford a new one.

        I think people drive large ones because it puts them above it all. Also because they think they’re safer – precisely because their size transfers the risk to other drivers in an accident.

        For work, I drive probably the ugliest pickup in the city – I have the word of someone at a landscape supply business for that. He was quite disappointed when I washed it. It’s old enough that the value has started going back up. Means I make money on the standard mileage expense on my taxes.

    5. Pat

      Actually it raises the question of why your company wants to project the image of being so susceptible to advertising that they pay a lot of money to provide and run inefficient and uncomfortable vehicles.

      But that is just me looking past the surface.

    6. DW Bartoo

      I am more than a wee bit curious, John Beech.

      At a bit deeper level of consideration, what, specifically, in your understanding, is the primarily important and calculated image that your company-provided vehicle is intended to project?

    7. Krystyn Walentka

      It does not make you a bad person. It is a symptom of a bad/corrupt/evil system. But now that you see this process, you are now complicit.

      It is the Gilded Age all over again where I have to watch people driving around in these virtue and wealth signalling cars while I had to survive sleeping in my van when it was 32 degrees last night.

      1. Wukchumni

        Have you considered using hot water bottles?

        It’ll keep you toasty till the morning, old school warmth.

        The best ones are made in Germany by a company named Fashy.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          Thanks Wuk, I am very warm in my two sleeping bags (a 19 degree with a 30 degree over that). It is getting out of them and functioning which is the problem.

          1. Monty

            Please head to Santa Barbara for a low of 50. The parking lot near the pier is the premier location for van life.

    8. Wukchumni

      For example, my company provides me with a Mercedes G-wagon. The fact it has a rough ride and achieves a mere 12mpg is of secondary importance to projecting a calculated image.

      You’re really Sam Neill?

      Get Jurassic out of here!

    9. HotFlash

      Well, I gotta admit, as a small business owner (well, partner) I ride a bicycle for business whenever possible and when not, use public transit or carshare. But I only do it to project an image.

    10. Tim

      A G-Wagon! Yeah those definitely have an image, but I’m not sure it’s as good as some people think.

      There used to be a saying that the only difference between a BMW and a porcupine, is that with a BMW the pricks are on the inside. That still applies in full force to modern G-Wagon drivers in my experience in SoCal. They bully other drivers constantly.

      I will say that if you want to keep your job you’ll need to keep driving it, which is probably why you don’t get the point of the article. As they say, “It’s difficult to understand something that your job depends on you not understanding.

    11. Plenue

      “Does driving this make me a bad person?”

      Yes. Though it’s not the only thing.

      “Does it make those positively influenced, bad?”


    12. Tom Bradford

      I had a big SUV.

      I had it for two reasons. The first was that in my neck of New Zealand we were a two-and-a-half hour drive from the nearest town over a road that for much of the way was unsealed, pot-holed, very muddy when wet and in a few places breathtakingly steep. The second reason is that because of the first reason we only went into town once a month as or so which meant that when we did we needed a lot of room to bring back what we needed – including 25kg sacks of animal feed.

      So yeah, a lot of SUVs are just to make a statement around town – tho’ in truth whatever car you drive makes a statement about you – and are not ‘justified, but to tar all SUV owners with the same brush is unjustified.

    13. Copeland

      I’m very impressed with the decorum displayed in the replies to John Beech. Not a lot of comment sections have the manners displayed here at NC!

      I started driving in 1982 and have had all compact cars, wagons and most recently a compact pickup for my business (landscaping)…until 2017 when I became chronically ill with a range of autoimmune disorders and severe mobility/pain issues, my hips are the epicenter of my numerous mobility problems. I bought a compact SUV (Hyundai Tucson all wheel drive). This type of vehicle hits the sweet spot in a lot of ways: perfect seat height, easy in and out, no stooping or crouching which is the absolute most difficult maneuver for me now, hatch in back allows easy access to shopping bags, also at the perfect height, All Wheel Drive — so I can get to doctor appointments in the winter (and my wife – colon cancer, all good now!) that were made weeks or months before — no way to know what the weather will be like, better road clearance, excellent visibility out of the vehicle. Driving is one of the few things I can still do fairly well, and a lot of it is due to the design of the Compact SUV.

      I’m certainly not defending the GWagon, but illness changes everything. If you told me in 2015 that I would be driving an SUV and going to the doctor every two weeks, I would not have believed it.

    14. Anthony G Stegman

      You driving the Mercedes G-wagon may not in of itself make you a bad person, but working for a company that desires to project a certain image does make you a bad person since you made to choice to work for said company.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Sinn Féin leads way in Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll with highest support ever Irish Times

    Just a small note as to why this matters:

    The Irish election is on Saturday, and the general assumption was that due to the excellent economy and the governments Brexit success it would be a boring, uneventful election, the only question being which centre right party would win, and which combination of Greens/mild socialists they would choose as junior partners/lambs to the slaughter. Sinn Fein are the third biggest party by seats, but have been well behind the main two centrist/right wing parties. SF did very badly in the last Euro/local elections, so it was assumed they would be fighting just to hold on to what they have.

    But to everyones general astonishment, it appears that the Irish electorate have decided that they are tired of alternating centrist parties, and are having a close look at Sinn Fein (strongly, but not orthodox left, very nationalist) and the Greens. The traditional left parties, of both Blairist and far left variety look like they will be wiped out.

    This won’t lead to a SF led government – they are simply not running in enough seats, and even a very good day for the Greens and other socialists would not allow for a left of centre government. But there is every chance that SF will become one of the big three parties, and may even supplant Varadkars FG as the second biggest.

    All the main parties have said they will not do a coalition deal with SF, thanks to their past association with terrorism/freedom fighters/insurgents *choose favored term*. But they may well win enough seats to make this impossible, the maths will mean SF simply has to be part of government.

    On the current poll, the likeliest outcome looks to be a coalition of FF (centrist, slightly left in economics, conservative in social issues) with SF and the Greens as extra cover. This would be the first time in Irelands history that there would be a governing party with a majority on the left. It would also be a coalition that would favour a very hard line on Brexit negotiations. FF are strongly pro-Europe, SF and the Greens are pro-Europe but sceptical.

    1. David

      What do you think the consequences of such a putative coalition would be for the NI Protocol? I’d assumed that, with Stormont rejecting it, Dublin would try to keep things on track ….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It’s actually very hard to say. SF would have to steer an awkward route between keeping their northern supporters happy with a hard line while easing things back to play a longer game. SF have always played a long game strategy to wait until demographics makes unity inevitable. They don’t want to make the mistake the Scots Nats made in pushing for a referendum too early. They have to ride two horses – a norther electorate who want unity, and a southern electorate who do not want national issues put in front of day to day economic and social policy. My guess is that they’d play it safe and focus on the long game.

    2. Clive

      Just for laughs, here in the UK, the Conservative right is still having an attack of the vapours when ever S— F— is mentioned which shows how utterly unprepared it is to deal with the Republic as politics has changed there.

      I include this link not so much, though, for an example of the stupidity of the Conservative Party where Ireland is concerned (which is bears-in-woods stuff) but also how the left must, as a matter of urgency, develop narratives which counter the any-stick (no matter how ridiculous the stick is)-to-beat-a-dog throw-anything-at-’em attacks it is going to have to not only endure but overcome. Sanders will get far, far worse. It’ll take more than Twitter being carpet bombed with animated GIFs to counter it.

      I mean, puh-leeze:

      That still leaves the puzzle of why Sinn Fein has advanced so far. It is an extremist outfit, tarnished by its support for terrorism for decades – a stance it has still not repented. A clue to its wider allegiance is that it is part of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, which means it sits alongside assorted Portugese, Czech, and German Communists in the European Parliament. It is likely that Sinn Fein’s funding has indirectly come from an IRA bank raid in 2004.

      You’d think that Mary Lou McDonald is making IEDs on her kitchen table, wouldn’t you?

      I’m secretly hoping she wins, just to see her and Johnson in a head-to-head.

      1. BlakeFelix

        It is likely that the Republican party’s funding has indirectly come from a bank raid in 2008…

    3. DJG

      Plutonium Kun: Thanks for this overview. Being someone from the U.S.A., I have trouble telling apart the subtleties, some of which are historic, of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

      Questions: Does this mean that a factor is that Varadkar’s generally tough stance with the English during Brexit hasn’t been tough enough (in the eyes of many voters)? You mention Sinn Fein and nationalism. Or are local issues making Sinn Fein more viable–the same shift toward leftist politics that we see in the U.S. with Bernie Sanders brought about because of a poorly functioning economy? Sinn Fein and the Greens as a left alternative.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Varadkars problem is that Brexit is ‘bread eaten’ as far as the Irish electorate is concerned. His stance was very popular – it’s other issues that have killed him politically. SF are benefiting from a focus on local and bread and butter issues

  11. The Rev Kev

    “I’ve never seen a more blatant example of concentrated money rigging an election than Iowa Dems releasing a random percentage of the vote”

    With New Hampshire Democratic Primary coming up, DNC says: “Hold my beer!”

    1. petal

      Rev Kev, it’s funny, I am starting to feel the same feeling I get when I go to pick my car up at the garage-that uncertainty about if it is going to be a small, easy repair or a giant one that wallops you upside the head, drains your bank account, and disrupts everything. Looking forward to voting on Tuesday to stick it to those you know whats, but like you say, concerned about what the DNC is going to try to pull. We mark paper ballots with a black marker and stick them into a machine, so I think it’ll be harder to rig, but not impossible. The DNC has made it crystal clear they are willing to do absolutely anything.

      1. stefan

        I too am looking forward to voting next week. Up here in Coos County, Bernie Sanders will do well, though our US Representative Annie Custer endorsed Buttigieg (New Hampshire’s all-female congressional delegation are all Democrats, but honestly sometimes I feel like they might as well be Republicans).

        Here we mark paper ballots which are counted by hand. The Town Monitors I know are scrupulously honest.

        Worth mentioning: this year the printed ballot in the NH Democratic presidential primary lists over thirty different candidates!

        1. ambrit

          Your last line says it all. Dilution of voting strength. It can only hurt Sanders quest for that elusive 50% plus one delegate total on the first ballot at Milwaukee.

    2. Oh

      The Iowa caucus meddling is just a test on how much the voters will put up with. With no outrage from the general public, the neo-liberal DNC will rachet up their illegal tactics.

      1. Cuibono

        makes sense. test the water so to speak. scan the crowd for pitchforks…
        by being so brazen it also undermines any belief in the electoral process…which is a desired outcome.
        pretty hard to see what is to stop any of this short of mass action. Shutting down whole cities.but i for one cant see that happening any time soon

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Test run for a cancellation in November. Bernie versus Trump, results start coming in, Bernie leading, our fourth branch of government (FBI/CIA) has to decide which one is worse for our billionaires and wars. Bernie is.

          Urgent communications out of Langely/FBI HQ: A large-scale Russian cyber attack has been detected that means the vote count is not valid. Branch Four tells Branch Five (the MSM), Matthews/Maddow/Scarborough/Cuomo/Ellen to all intone about how it is our constitutional duty to let the process play out, after all we live in the best of all possible worlds. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff solemnly carry The Real Vote Count over to the Supreme Court for them to decide (again).

          Are you not entertained?

          1. ambrit

            I’m still shilling for a Democrat Party Unity Ticket. Since she “really won” the 2016 election, it is only fair (TM) that HRH HRC get the nod. Then, if and when the Republican candidate begins to lead in the vote count, the ‘Guardians of the American Way’ will step in to ‘sequester’ Trump and preserve the Homeland from subjugation to a Foreign Power.
            This should all be obviously sarcasm, but I suspect that some very powerful people really think this way.
            We are in uncharted waters now. The Iowa caucus fiasco is proof of that.

  12. CH

    Given how screwed up the Democratic nomination process already is, it doesn’t bode well that the nominating convention is being held in Milwaukee. We are a city that cocks everything up. This is the city that couldn’t even get the All-Star Game right; instead we got the All-Star Shame:

    And then there’s the Harley Davidson 100th anniversary debacle:

    So I can’t imagine anything good is going to happen. Everything this city touches turns to $h1t.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Tom Hanks really missed an opportunity on Jay Leno’s first show after that All Star game, when he failed to yell at the Commissioner for five mi uses that, There is no tying baseball!

    2. coboarts

      Elton John @ Harley Davidson – maybe if he endlessly repeated Saturday Night’s….” Who owns Harley now(?) – sure, Metallica, but Elton John??? Did the poles reverse while I wasn’t looking?

      1. Fíréan

        Not only did the crowd voice their disapproval when, after a whole afternoon waiting for the top billing star, Elton John appeared on stage dressed like Liberace and with a candelabra atop the piano for the Harley 100 year birthday bash.
        The few beer tents on site had long run out of products, even soft drinks, and the munblings of who might be coming later included names such as Springsteen ( who was in New Jersey then), Willy Nelson , Aerosmith or even the Stones. Which all seemed worth the long dry wait and expectation.
        When mr. John started up the keyboards the first assumption was that this was a joke. As became obvious was not a joke , and he continued into the second number, the crowd turned around on mass and headed to the exit at the rear of the venu. We had a very long walk back to where we had been allowed to park our motorcycles. That was alot of p*ss*d *ff people exiting at one time.

        Even the special guest area front of the stage emptied, regular paying attendees were allowed in to save the embarrassment.

        I know, i was there. Never been back.

        1. Fíréan

          The people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, and those on route, whom we met were all great. Thank You to the regular people of the U.S.A. , even the police of upstate New York, the whole trip was pleasantly memorable. We sympathize with You.

        2. Monty

          Does Elton’s top billing explain why the Harley riders I see around here in AZ are mustachioed, middle aged men that like to be seen wearing leather chaps?

          1. Fíréan

            Maybe just specific to your neighbourhood ? ( without judgement implied ; been from A to Z yet never been to AZ)

  13. Watt4Bob

    The big story, if true is the low turnout in Iowa.

    The problem I’m having is how to know if the turnout was really only 170K?

    What has been accomplished one way or another, is the destruction of faith in reporting election results, both turnout and actual distribution.

    As for myself, I’ll believe Bernie’s internal numbers, but I don’t expect his campaign to report until the ‘official‘ IDP numbers are announced.

    IDP official stated yesterday that they had ‘record’ turnout, everyone else is saying numbers were just like 2016, ie 170K?

    I fear the dim’s brazen manipulations have gutted public enthusiasm for the political/electoral process which, among its other negative effects, is like pouring gas on the flames of trumpish triumphalism.

    1. ACF

      Yes, I am most focused on the turnout too. Bernie’s theory of the election counts on new voters. If the turnout was low–170k, I realize, is not exactly low, but in this context–then was it because so many candidates meant people didn’t have enough of favorite to participate? Were people just too sick of it? Did the problems trigger people leaving early? If so, would that change the turnout calculation?

      Or was it a precinct-level thing. So, some precincts had record turnout, and others a fall off? If that’s the answer, then it will be fascinating to know which where

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Or just maybe people are smart, they saw exactly what happened to Bernie in Iowa in 2016 and expected six coin tosses in a row to go to not-Bernie, again, so they stayed home and cleaned their toilets instead

      2. Liberal Mole

        According to Sanders people, the low turnout came from Biden voters. The Aged stayed home. Sanders turned out more young, minority, and first time voters.

    2. Frank Little

      I share these concerns, but I think primary elections will be a better indicator of enthusiasm because they are easier for people to participate in than caucuses. It will be particularly interesting for states with open primaries since people with no prior affiliation to a party (or who have never voted in a primary before) can participate.

    3. DJG

      Watt4Bob: The estimable Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti jumped on turnout right away–especially Enjeti, who pointed out that low / barely normal turnout is not a good sign for the Democrats’ chances this fall.

      The videos are on line. Worth a look for their insightful discussion.

      1. chuckster

        Well, if the results are somewhat true (who could ask for more?) what is even more disconcerting is that many of these people chose a CIA spook for president.

    4. Grant

      I don’t know. First off, we don’t really have all the votes accounted for, right? Beyond that though, we don’t know if turnout for particular candidates were relatively good (given the size of the field) or bad. If you look at the first round of voting, Bernie did better than the polls said he would, Warren did a bit as well, other candidates did not. So, it is reasonable to assume that Bernie did in fact get people out to vote that otherwise wouldn’t. But, it is also apparent that Biden did not, and he underperformed. So, if Bernie did increase turnout, but Biden’s turnout was bad and more than negated the increased turnout for Bernie, because of the lack of enthusiasm for Biden, it would be an issue only if Biden and not Bernie was the nominee. When you have this large of a field, and most of them are corrupt and utter duds, a good candidate or candidates could be more than negated by the others performing badly. It seems also that people may not trust the process itself and weren’t motivated because they felt that those running the election would rig it anyway. If so, those people were correct, and I am sure that it had at least a small impact. If this is what the Democrats will do, it will further harm the image of the party and will depress elections in the future.

      1. Watt4Bob

        It seems also that people may not trust the process itself and weren’t motivated because they felt that those running the election would rig it anyway.

        Which is what I am thinking also.

        Now they’ve gone and confirmed people’s suspicions.

    5. Oregoncharles

      It’s still the Republicans’ turn, so the it’s dims’ job to lose. It’s going to be a challenge, considering the polls, but they seem to be rising to it.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Experts envision two scenarios if the new coronavirus isn’t contained”

    Had a what-if idea a little while ago. Go back to the 1940s and imagine that Mao Zedong had one day choked to death on a bowl of prawns for lunch so that subsequently, it was the Nationalists that won China and not the Communists in ’49. So for the past 70 years China would be ruled by a corrupt, capitalist system with foreign powers still making profits galore and peasants suffering terribly. Now introduce into this scenario what the history of the spread of Coronavirus would be like now. Hell, even how SARS would have all those years ago and you realize that things could be far, far worse. How about that for a scenario.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Or, just spitballing here, China could have gone like Taiwan and become a prosperous democracy with an excellent healthcare system based on Medicare for all. It was the KMT (the corrupt anti-communists driven out of China by Mao) that implemented that. Sometimes history has strange ironies.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Still can’t see it PK simply because of the size of the population which is at the moment 1.386 billion versus Taiwan’s measly 23.78 million (less than Australias). Would have been more but for China’s previous one-child policy. I would reckon that it would look more like a Chinese version of India if the Nats had won.

        1. MLTPB

          I think ROC Taiwan’s health care system can scale up to many larger countries, including the US, Russia and PRC Mainland China.

      2. Susan the other

        stretching a possibility here: an article on PCR referred to the coincidence that the 1918 Spanish Flu and today’s Coronavirus both occurred when there had been a drop in the birth rate. It has long been known that epigenetics functions well at the immune level – that the next generation has an inherited immunity. So spitball this: We have had dropping birthrates for more than a decade now. China finally got worried that the one child policy was going to slow its economy and tried and failed to get people to have more kids. The entire world is awash in senior citizens. With no immunity to this novel virus. Moreover, the immune response achieved to recover from Corona doesn’t last long enough to protect from the next one to come along. Much like catching a new cold all winter long. Something about immunity that requires a new generation, or? Interesting that Corona the Novel is harder on older people, less so on children. Not sure I’ve got a point here.

    2. Lee

      There has been a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about the virus mutating and becoming or virulent. Evidently, the genetic makeup of this and other coronaviruses tends to limit mutation toward lethality. I am somewhat reassured.

      But SARS has a molecular proofreading system that reduces its mutation rate, and the new coronavirus’s similarity to SARS at the genomic level suggests it does, too. “That makes the mutation rate much, much lower than for flu or HIV,” Farzan said. That lowers the chance that the virus will evolve in some catastrophic way to, say, become significantly more lethal.

      The coronavirus “may not change [genetically] at all” in a way that alters function, said biologist Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh, who has been analyzing the genomes of the 2019-nCoV’s from dozens of patients. “It is transmitting quite well already so it may not have to ‘evolve’ to be endemic.”

      Any evolution that does take place in an endemic coronavirus, including one that spikes seasonally, might well be toward less virulence. “It doesn’t want to kill you before you transmit it,” Farzan said. “One would therefore expect a slow attenuation” of virulence if the virus becomes like seasonal flu. Dead people don’t transmit viruses, “and even people sitting in their beds and shivering” because they are seriously ill “don’t transmit that well,” he said.

      1. Ignacio

        Actually I agree very much with all said in the article and it is true that, usually, virulence diminishes with time for reasons well known by epidemiologists. Like Amesh Adalja I believe that this is not just “another conoravirus” at least for the next few years until co-evolution may settle 2019n-CoV as another coronavirus. Flu is unique in its ability to change and produce new variants for which we don’t have resistance.

        This means that the probability of becoming seriously ill with the new strain will be highest during the next couple of seasons if one belongs to the population group at risk. That is something to think about and have it in mind.

        This is the third novel coronavirus outbreak in humans since 2002 and the one spreading faster. Though they are genetically stable at species level these outbreaks start because in some species occur recombination events that result in new varieties with new pathogenic properties, like ‘jumping’ to new hosts. The more viral species are there spreading, the higher the probability that new variants can start outbreaks in humans. I wonder if by 2035 instead of 5 coronavirus infecting humans there are 8 or 10. Precautionary measures are needed if we don’t want the complex of respiratory viruses become more complex and cause many more deaths.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      I love alternative history. Of course, arguing the realism of might-have-beens is an inherently futile exercise, but have at it:

      1. A KMT victory is not impossible if militarists do not triumph over corporatists in Imperial Japan. Thus, Japan does not invade mainland China in 1937 and stays out of World War 2. The kuromaku instead grows rich as a friendly neutral supplying the Arsenal of Democracy. Postwar Japan, poster child for a highly successful non-white civilization, and the Americans jointly pressure the Europeans (exhausted from the fight against H*tlr) to progressively relinquish their colonies to Big Oil/Big Mining friendly local oligarchs. So basically, we get something like today’s economic order, but in the 1960s not the 1990s.

      2. Chiang’s China becomes a Japanese client. With copious ‘United Nations’ (US) backing, Japanese mercenaries (e.g. Manchus, Koreans) lead a brutal and largely unreported 20 year campaign against the Communists in the endless Chinese hinterland. Tens of millions perish, millions more migrate to cities. Large areas become depopulated in spite of relief efforts. Chinese population growth comes under control, the hard way.

      (Stalin, with his new conquests in postwar Europe, has little stomach for a substantial commitment to Mao, still less going head to head with a US-backed and modernized Imperial Japanese Army. Soviet influence in the developing world is focused on the technocratic classes, not on rural guerrilla movements. Communist leaders like Ho push decolonization and strikes against rapacious foreign capital. Over time, they get coopted into the ruling structures — again, today’s world but 30 years early).

      3. Largely isolated from the heartland’s charnel house, the teeming Chinese coastal cities evolve much as Hong Kong did. Under Western-Japanese administration, the ancient commercial-criminal syndicates (for whom Chiang was always a puppet) start manufacturing cheap goods for export in sweatshops, using the endless pool of talented but desperate labor in the shantytowns. Reformers are ruthlessly repressed by Chiang’s Japanese-trained secret police and by Triad thugs. A professional managerial class starts floating to the top of the stew…. hmm, sound familiar?

      1. Susan the other

        Yes except for the way greed exponentiates itself. Thirty years ago a “free market” would have taken off just like it did c. 1980 in the West. And it would have turned into a virtual WW3 unless the corporations expanded their “markets” so as to maintain groaf and a little trickle down…. until it became obvious to everyone that the system didn’t work because it could no longer expand the necessary demand to keep it going…. yes, actually that does sound familiar ;-) I wonder if they, back then, would have found a solution.

  15. Stephen The Tech Critic

    On cronovirus:

    The CNN article paraphrases “WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe” as saying that the”death rate” (mortality?) has dropped to 2%. Is this an official figure? As I argued yesterday, this kind of number is likely based on a naive calculation that doesn’t take into account the duration between when a terminal case is confirmed and when the patient actually dies.

    A counter to this argument is that the “confirmed cases” are likely under counted proportionately more than the “deaths” are under counted. This is a reasonable argument, and it could make a big difference to the outcome. However, it’s hard to know the extent of the error without having a lot more on-the-ground information. In particular, how much assurance do we have that deaths from the disease aren’t being under counted too?

    Another thing is that the tendency to under count cases and deaths has likely changed a lot over time and between different regions. Likewise for the lag between confirmation and death in fatal cases. I expect the cases at the start of the epidemic weren’t “confirmed” until symptoms had become quite severe; whereas later in the epidemic, as the response became more organized, confirmation has probably occurred earlier in the disease progression.

    Along these lines, an optimistic statement proclaiming a “reduction of death rate” looks like good news but should be taken with a grain of salt. It could even be bad if this reflects more people being diagnosed earlier. I would say the same if this number “increased to 3.5%” or something. It’s pretty much fake news. And as I argued yesterday, mortality on the order of 10% or higher is not unreasonable at this point, even though it’s far from certain that things are this bad either. The epidemic appears to be in an early exponential growth phase, and given the other major data problems, pinning down accurate numbers without granular data may not be possible.

    It’s nice to see the Science magazine article correcting the record on asymptomatic transmission, but it doesn’t rule out the possibility. And anyway, asymptomatic transmission (which might only occur for a short period of time within the disease progression) may be not be that important if it takes a week or more for initial symptoms to turn severe and become distinctive.

    Lastly, there’s the Bloomberg article that cites a Lancet article as stating that “as of Jan 25” the cases were doubling “every 6.4 days”. This is a statement of exponential growth. However, my own analysis of the data suggests this number is too high. I did my own analysis of the last 16 days of data taken from John Hopkins here:

    When I plotted confirmed cases vs. day, I saw a rate shift around January 28. (Any idea what changed on this day?) For the 8 days up to the 28th, cases appear to double ever 2.5 days. After the 28th, they double every 3.5 days. This indicates the disease is spreading much more rapidly than the 6.8 days that the Bloomberg article cited. If we project ahead using the 3.5 day figure, we’ll see ~385 thousand cases in two weeks and ~6 million by four weeks. That’s probably not far off from what will happen if containment totally fails. If containment succeeds, then the virus will run out of new hosts and the growth rate of new cases will begin level off.

    With all this said, uncertainty cuts both ways, and one should expect substantial regional differences in the rate of new cases and mortality as well as evolution of these statistics over time. Clearly this disease caught the Chinese by surprise and forced them to make up a lot of lost ground that other countries hopefully won’t have to do. Containment is much easier when it’s only a few cases. As the cases outside China continue to develop, we’ll hopefully start getting much better data about the disease and can better judge the severity of the impacts that will occur. We can only hope that mortality is low or that it drops over time.

    1. Lee

      Other factors affecting the numbers include the availability and deployment of diagnostic tools and the greater or lesser genetically determined susceptibility of various populations. There is some indication that Asians show somewhat greater vulnerability to the more serious effects of coronaviruses.

    2. RickV

      “When I plotted confirmed cases vs. day, I saw a rate shift around January 28. (Any idea what changed on this day?)”

      It seems to me that general awareness of the disease in Wuhan was growing in the week prior to January 28, and this awareness was changing behavior such as all citizens wearing masks, avoiding large groups, staying home etc. The quarantine was also announced around this time. If these remedial steps did reduce the rate of increase in cases, we should continue to see a decrease in the rate cases double going forward. Of course, if the disease gets into Africa or South America all bets are off.

      1. MLTPB

        At Wiki’@ Timeline, there is a nice table.

        It looks like the rate of confirmed cases went down from 1-25-2020 to 1-26-2020 (from 53% down to 39%). The next day, the rate went up, from 39% to 64%) and has been decreasing ever since:

        1.27. 64% (4515÷2744)-1 = 0.65 (wiki shows 64% here, but later, 64.5%)
        1.28. 32%
        1.29 29%
        1.30. 26%
        1.31 22%
        2.1. 22%
        2.2. 20%
        2.3. 19%
        2.4. 19%

        Looking at the change of rates, i.e acceleration or deceleration, we have

        +19% from ((7711- 5974) ÷ (5974- 4515)) – 1

        It is still acceleration, per these daily numbers.

        1. MLTPB


          The second set of percentages is the change in rates in percentage terms. So you take rate n+1 divide that by rate n, then you subtract one.

          Acceleration, and not ‘a sense or feel for how it is speed up,’ is usually computed by (rate n+1) – (rate n) and divide that by time, or 1 day in this case.

          In that case, we have (the unit here is number of cases per day per day)

          653 cases per day per day (24324 -20438) – (20438-17205)

    3. Stephen The Tech Critic

      Sorry, I made a mistake here. For the 8 days leading up to the 28th, cases doubled about every 1.7* days not 2.5 days. The other number I gave should be correct.

  16. DJG

    Lee Fang, Intercept, article on the Clintonworld connections of the software developer and on Acronym as a kind of PAC and slush fund. Stinky. Stinky. Stinky. Evidently, the Democrats want their own Peter Thiel and Palantir–and we see how gloriously Thiel is working out.

    But the Democrats will soon be out there telling everyone that all of us are required to vote for whatever turd-in-the-punchbowl candidate the DNC allows in the fall. Meanwhile, blaming the voters of Iowa, blaming Iowa as an unworthy and deplorable state, and blaming the caucus structure are still going on. Classy.

    Speaking of classy: I am already seeing peeps on Facetobook posting about how Nancy Pelosi’s tearing up of Trump’s speech is some gesture worthy of, ohhhh, canonization. The glitch here is that it is a gesture that would get her flunked out of Acting 101.

    1. hamstak

      WRT Pelosi: It was reminiscent of Samantha Powers exiting UN meetings with simulated indignity when the Syrian ambassador would speak several years ago — transparent and adolescent theatrics.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Did you notice how almost immediately after she did it, they were claiming that it was a spontaneous reaction and definitely not, no way, never ever, and for the Russophiles, nyet, planned out in advance?

      And if you believe that, I’ve got a voting app you might be interested in…

      1. Susan the other

        I think Nancy was so angry at the STOU she couldn’t hide her emotions when Trump refused her outstretched hand. He should have taken it because by all counts Nancy was forced by her “caucus” to call for impeachment proceedings. For all we know she sabotaged the whole thing by not doing it properly. For all we know she protected Trump. But he was being petulant, a pouting 3 year-old, and he turned his back on her. At which point she looked like she was offended (I thought); she tried to smile and couldn’t and by the time she sat down I’d swear her eyes were tearing up. She subtly blinked them away and touched her cheek to stop them. Anybody else notice? She had on so much makeup that a tear or two would have made her look like a clown. When she regained her composure, she was clearly pissed. Who knows?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can never quite make up my mind as to whether the X-32 was the cutest, or the ugliest combat aircraft ever to fly. It could certainly have made a good character in a Japanese manga.

  17. Wukchumni

    Some Things We Could Have Done With the Billions Wasted on a Broken F-35 Vice
    One of the first Super Bowl commercials was for the Top Gun sequel featuring the F-35 and Tom Cruise.

    The finished movie will have been on the shelf for over a year before it is shown to the public, similar to the Edsel of the skies.

    You wonder if it has similar peculiarities as the ill-fated plane, can only be shown in movie theaters in the afternoon, but never at night, that sort of thing?

  18. FriarTuck

    Re: Trump Is Winning Like a Napoleonic general. John Authers, Bloomberg

    Not to be overly scatological, but does this mean Trump will eventually lose everything during a bout of diarrhea? Or is the metaphor that the stock market will lose everything?

    1. Drake

      Perhaps he is referring to the Egyptian campaign, where Nappy scored a lot of meaningless victories in a hurry against hapless opponents before scuttling back to France as soon as the British navy showed up, after he declared victory, of course, and made himself emperor, leaving his army behind to eventually surrender.

      That seems like a template for Trump’s victories. Or maybe Bush Jr.’s.

  19. Alex

    What Nature article fails to mention is that the four definitions of fairness contradict each and thus can’t be satisfied simultaneously. Demographic parity obviously contradicts the equality of opportunity and fairness through unawareness.

    Also algorithms should be compared not to some kind of ideal unbiased decision-maker but to actually existing human decision makers who are also affected by biased, can be inconsistent and whose decisions cannot be audited (see also )

    1. Rex

      I think you should re-read the article and think about what the different unit tests look like if you think the standards for fairness are incompatible. You’re right that the same unit test can’t be used for each feature, but wrong in that they can be simultaneously satisfied. The underlying causal model needs to be robust enough to test each feature; otherwise it is an insufficient causal model that needs revision.

      I also disagree that algorithms should be held to the standard of unaccountable faulty human decision making. That’s pure hubris that only serves an inadequate status quo. We can and should strive for better, more transparent decision-making systems that have open source underlying data, model, and testing. Integration of human judgment and algorithmic interpretation is more helpful. Relying purely on the latter to automate bureaucracies just bakes in the flaws of the bureaucracy being automated.

      1. Alex

        I’ve re-read the relevant part (Fairness Four Ways), they define two approaches to fairness as follows:

        Demographic parity. A predictive algorithm satisfies demographic parity if, on average, it gives the same predictions to different groups. For example, a university-admissions algorithm would satisfy demographic parity for gender if 50% of its offers went to women and 50% to men.

        Equality of opportunity. This is the principle of giving the same beneficial predictions to individuals in each group. Consider a predictive algorithm that grants loans only to individuals who have paid back previous loans. It satisfies ‘disability-based equality of opportunity’ if it grants loans to the same percentage of individuals who both pay back and have a disability as it does to those who pay back and who do not have a disability.

        They did add caveats about the limitations of each approach, however my point is they are fundamentally incompatible. If there is a difference in education and wealth between certain groups in a society (we can strive to reduce such differences but it’s safe to assume they will always be there with us) then an algorithm which is demographic-parity-fair would benefit the “disadvantaged” group.

        I agree that these are useful tests to which any algorithm whose results affect real-life human beings but the fact is that *any* algorithm (including human-based) would be biased according to some definition of fairness.

        Also, the decision which groups should have parity (gender or race but not IQ or height?) is inherently subjective which again means that it’s always possible to find a group which is discriminated by any algorithm.

        My more general point is that since any algorithm can be shown to have bias we need to ask not only the question “Is this algorithm biased?” but also “What are the biases of possible alternative arrangements?”

  20. allan

    David Cameron’s police bodyguard sparks panic on BA jet by leaving LOADED gun and ex-PM’s passport in loo
    [The Sun]

    DAVID Cameron’s police bodyguard sparked panic on a BA jumbo jet when he left his loaded Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol in the loo.

    The gun, and the passports of the ex-PM and the officer, were found by a shocked passenger who alerted crew. …The Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol had 15 lethal hollow point rounds in its magazine …

    Write your own metaphor.

    1. Fíréan

      Luckily for all , though the plane was still located on the ground, Inspector Harold Francis Callahan wasn’t munching down, that very same time, on his favourite hamburger at one of the airport’s customer catering facilities.

  21. David Carl Grimes

    I heard from Jimmy Dore that the DNC is going to take over the counting of the ballots in Iowa from the IDP. The areas being counted by the DNC? Areas where Sanders is strongest. The areas already counted? The 62% where MayoPete is strongest.

    When are the final results coming out?

    1. Shonde

      “The areas being counted by the DNC? Areas where Sanders is strongest. The areas already counted? The 62% where MayoPete is strongest.”
      Yep, this is why I believe it was Cheatin Pete who challenged the IDP numbers but only the precincts where Sanders was strongest. Maybe Pete thought Sanders was too stupid to have his own precinct captains charting the numbers.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Last I heard Bernie was down by 4 delegates with 98% reported and expected to win that last 2% with enough to win every metric..intial vote, final vote and state delegates.

      In other words, tomorrow, it should be clear…


  22. zagonostra

    Iowa code glitch is as believable as Epstein committing suicide, Juan Guaidó as the legitimate President of Venezuela or Rush Limbaugh deserving the Medal of Honor.

    The devolution of American politics has reached a new nadir.

    1. Wukchumni

      To be fair, Rush only received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, heck even Elvis got one a couple years ago, prompting questions as to whether he faked his death while supposedly on the crapper eating a fried peanut butter & banana sandwich.

      But to the larger question, yes there is an odd race to the bottom in American politics, and quite competitive.

      1. susan the other

        The SOU speech was “This is Your Life America!” Come on down and get your medal of freedom. It was a campaign performance. But did anybody else notice how disoriented Trump appeared to be? His voice had no enthusiasm; he slumped over the podium and at one point his arms looked exhausted; when he entered he was quickly guided to the platform when in previous years he had glad-handed himself there, all smiles; his body language was perfunctory when he handed out his speeches – almost like he was shuffling around in his bathrobe. The speech was pure Trump, but it lacked heart. And when he was done he exited as quickly as he had entered. He looked like he almost missed a step coming down, when he shook Mitch’s hand he seemed to put his left hand on Mitch’s right shoulder so he could steady himself. He really didn’t look well at all.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Did he cough?

            Seriously: he’s pretty old for the job, has a notoriously bad diet, and has just been put through the mill – even though the outcome was foreordained.

            I can’t imagine why he wants the job, and I’m not surprised he’s tired, maybe sick.

            1. ambrit

              Could he have been under the delusion that Government is a Business? If so, the wake up must have been an unholy shock to him.

  23. pretzelattack

    so why exactly is the dnc taking over the vote counting? might as well bring in katherine harris while they’re at it.

    1. QuarterBack

      Re SOTU Pelosi’s response on why she tore up the President’s speech “Because it was the courteous thing to do,… the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.” ranks up with Clappers “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner”.

      Trump sure knows how to get under her skin (and other politicians).

      1. Mel

        I’m starting to think they really are hiring World Wrestling Entertainment to write these scenes for them. Those people are the experts in stories of conflict and confrontation.

        1. Wukchumni

          {…imagines Nancy in a fit of pique, grabbing one of the fasces behind her and whacking Donald over the head with it, relatively unfazed he recovers and grabs the dais swinging it wildly towards her, but missing…}

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Legendary Africa mercenary ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, who inspired movie Wild Geese, dies aged 100”

    He was a legend and many years ago I read his book. But it was a different time when he operated. Let me explain with a movie example. Saw one about the mob taking over the action in Las Vegas called “Casino” and at the end of the film. the casinos are taken over by big corporations and demolished to make way for new and larger hotel casino attractions. Kinda the same with the Mercs and now you have corporation of mercs doing the same work instead of smaller operators. It’s mostly corporate now with no room now for the likes of Mike Hoare, Colonel “Black Jack” Schramme and Rolf Steiner.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “DNC Blames Iowa Caucus Problems On Single F*ck-Up Senior Citizen Volunteer”

    Funny that. Yesterday there was an article that mocked the older workers doing this work and which said that they were the sort who referred to TV remote controls as “clickers.”

  26. Wukchumni


    I’m blanking out on a rat in a drawer being a metaphor for something, a little help please?

    1. ambrit

      I’m in for: “When DC Swamprat ‘Squeakin Sam’ came out of his box and didn’t see his bundler, he knew that Winter would last a little longer this year.”

  27. William Hunter Duncan

    It’s Wednesday at 9:47a m and I still have nfi wtf won the Iowa caucus.

    Dem leadership can burn….

    1. David Carl Grimes

      No timeline was given when the results will come out. They could have finished it last night but they stopped at 62%

    2. Shonde

      And I am wondering if I can sue the DNC/IDP for a massive flare up of my ulcer.

      Anybody got a spare million I can borrow to send to Bernie?

      Per Mpls StarTribune, IDP has now released a little over 70%. No real change for Bernie vs Buttigieg but no numbers were provided by paper.

      1. pretzelattack

        according to rising, biden is currently (about 71%) on track to get zero delegates out of iowa.

  28. Mark Gisleson

    I love how the comments are beginning to shift on Iowa. The problem is that everyone who knows how it works is aligned with a campaign and not seen as objective.

    I’m totally in for Bernie and I haven’t worked a Caucus since 1988 (and then as an ABC stringer and I got in trouble for reporting the results before the caucus started which ABC objected to even though I was 100% correct). But I can read spreadsheets and maps and it’s obvious that the IDP is sequencing the count in extraordinary ways.

    You’re not seeing a lot of chest-thumping right now because all the campaigns see what I’m seeing. This isn’t vote suppression at all. They’re simply strategically slow counting because a crappy app failed and they’re kicking the can of humiliation down the road.

    If not today, tomorrow they’ll announce Bernie won the first and second round, and the delegate count. They’ll also casually acknowledge that they underestimated the turnout by at least 5-10%.

    Clinton’s hand-picked IDP chair is being managed by people who think Iowa is a small town in Georgia with one stoplight that has no yellow light and the cops have a remote control.

    That’s not Iowa, and we will see every vote before New Hampshire and it will fugly as hell.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Thank you Mark.

      Do you have an opinion on the cause of the drop in turn out between 2016 and Monday?

      It seems to me that even counting a possible underestimate of 5-10% the turnout was much lower than expected?

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I’m guessing they are stalling reporting the numbers so they can do a Friday news dump of the results. It’s so inept, so transparently corrupt that it perfectly embodies the DNC’s corporate MO.

      1. urblintz

        I think… maybe they want Pete to be leading going into the debate on friday so he can continue to claim a victory all night long on national TV.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Yeah, that makes sense too. CIA Pete’s role may be to 1- blunt Sanders’ momentum as much as possible in the primaries, then 2- with whatever delegates he can amass, offer those to a neolib/neocon “unity” candidate in exchange for the Veep slot. First openly gay Veep, great day for human rights, victory for the downtrodden… And if that neolib/neocon candidate loses to Trump, blame the Russians and Sanders voters, and then it’s just status quo and everyone enjoys comfy jobs as Washington Generals for four more years.

          The question is: who will the eventual neolib/neocon “unity” candidate be? Liz-Pete ticket is my punt, if Bloomberg can’t buy it outright.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Sorry, got lost on Twitter for half a day. They’re still holding Bernie’s best pcts back, and that means we don’t even know how many caucused yet. They can fudge delegate equivalent numbers as delegates are predetermined (if you shatter attendance records, the delegate counts goes up next cycle, not this one).

        IDP “corrected” the recent bad batch (Deval Patrick?!) but the numbers aren’t adding up for me now. They’re gaming the count and now they’re doing it brazenly to push the reckoning down the road.

        1. Watt4Bob


          On the bright side we have Bernie to thank for an alternative ‘reality-based‘ count.


  29. petal

    Saint Anselm College poll shows Sanders, Biden in dead heat a week before NH primary
    “Buttigieg, Warren, Klobuchar round out top five”
    “The poll results were Sanders and Biden at 19 percent; Buttigieg at 14 percent; and Warren and Klobuchar at 11 percent.

    Results for the rest of the field were Tom Steyer at 5 percent, Andrew Yang at 4 percent, Tulsi Gabbard at 3 percent, Michael Bloomberg at 2 percent and Michael Bennet at less than 1 percent.

    The survey center said it polled 491 New Hampshire registered voters “expressing an interest” in voting in the Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 11. It said the interviews were conducted between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2 and also said the poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.”

      1. flora

        No point in getting into a food fight over incomplete numbers. That only changes the focus away from the apparent corruption in the DNC.

      2. petal

        It’s a new poll that I just saw on our local (NH) news station web site. When I see a new poll for NH, I usually post them. Please forgive me.

        1. ambrit

          Nothing to forgive. You supply a local perspective to the process. What you mention is what most people there would also see. This influences voting decisions, and thus, is a valid observation on how the process there is working out.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            If we assume that the purpose of polls is to get an accurate picture, then obviously landline polls that produce skewed results have no future if Biden continues to significantly underperform them. The skew will only get worse over time too. But if we instead assume that polls are run for whomever is ponying up the cash, and the skew is useful to that customer, we will keep seeing them used to produce numbers that the customer wants and expects. What the pollers are selling is actually the skew itself, rather than the data.

            The DP has clearly been willing to trade off damage to its institutional reputation and political legitimacy to achieve short-term goals vs. Sanders and his millions of supporters. Pollers, like the DP, may be poisoning their own well for similar short-term reasons. I guess you don’t need institutional reputation and political legitimacy when you have the keys to an operation that cannot ever be replaced and one that will serenely continue, with all its well-paid lifer staffers and courtiers, to exist regardless of any election results. The ultimate perk of power is to be non-accountable. That’s the dream.

  30. marym

    NYT 2/4/2020 – Dismantling of the commons

    In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of people posted critical comments, and dozens of senators and representatives objected. The National Archives made some changes to the plan, but last month it announced that ICE could go ahead and start destroying records from Mr. Trump’s first year, including detainees’ complaints about civil rights violations and shoddy medical care.

    It’s not just ICE. The Department of the Interior and the National Archives have decided to delete files on endangered species, offshore drilling inspections and the safety of drinking water.

    It is not just the Trump administration. For more than a decade Congress has simply been unwilling to pay for such preservation…

    Adjusted for inflation, [the National Archives] has a smaller budget than it did a decade ago, and Congress has cut that budget every year for the last three years.

  31. David Carl Grimes

    At the rate things are going, Bernie should rethink his pledge to support whoever wins the Democratic nomination. He should qualify it by saying that he will do so if he and his supporters think the primary process was fair and balanced. Otherwise, he will encourage his supporters to stay home in the general election.

    1. chuckster

      If Bernie supports anyone coming out of Milwaukee who isn’t named Sanders he will have zero credibility ever.

      Win-Win for the Dem establishment.

  32. Grant

    The leaders and donors of the Democratic Party treat it like Hoffa and the mafia treated the Teamster’s pension fund. Maybe some rank and file Teamsters cheered that on too.

    1. flora

      This division (understatement) in the current Dem party between the estab and a large part of the Dem voting base is similar to the split in the Dem party in the late 1890’s, during the Gilded Age, between the populists and the corrupt bourbon Dem estab.

      Thomas Frank’s 2018 essay in The Baffler, describing the party’s current rejection of its own voters, is good.

      “What does it tell us when liberals, faced with epic political corruption, spectacular bank misbehavior, and towering inequality, take that opportunity to declare war on populism? It tells us that they’ve lost any sense of their own movement as an expression of the vast majority. It tells us they have no idea why they believe they should be entrusted with power in the first place. And it reminds us that their particular brand of class-based self-delusion is a luxury that the rest of us can ill afford.”

  33. marym

    The Whitening

    The American Conservative 2/2/2020:

    The president arbitrarily expanded the unnecessary travel ban on Friday to include six more countries, including the most populous country in Africa:

    President Trump on Friday added six countries to his list of nations facing stringent travel restrictions, a move that will virtually block immigration from Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, and from Myanmar, where the Muslim minority is fleeing genocide.

    There is no legitimate security reason for such sweeping restrictions, and the new list seems like a grab-bag of countries that have large Muslim populations with nothing else linking them together.

    NYT 2/4/2020

    From 1975 to 2015, according to an analysis from the libertarian Cato Institute, just one Nigerian national was implicated in a terrorist attack against the United States. And, it should be said, the administration has not banned all entry from Nigeria — only applications for permanent residence. Tourists can still visit America, an odd loophole if the White House is actually worried about terrorism.

    Although immigration policy deals with the external boundaries of the United States, the elevation of whiteness has internal consequences as well…Every time Trump and other members of his administration make the decision to stratify and racialize, they are also making a statement about who receives a voice and who deserves respect.

    Hate words in the second half of #SOTU speech:

  34. inode_buddha

    Mayor Pete’s premature congratulation problem told me all I needed to know about rigging this election. Same triumphalism Clinton pulled in 2016. So sure that they had it all taken care of, overconfident crooks get sloppy and show their hand.

  35. a different chris

    So much of the news is miserable, we all* need to take a moment and enjoy the very first link!

    It’s funny that humans, especially “successful” and wannabe successful ones are always so susceptible to looking for (imagining, really) factors of separation. When I was a child, adults were so very sure that animals were simply reactionary creatures with no cognizance of the greater world around them. This despite having cats and dogs underfoot that demonstrated that capability every d*mn day.

    Now we realize that intelligence is actually a really cheap way of increasing your survival chances. We don’t understand it at all, really, and this is far from saying that the starling by my window thinks about stuff in any way I would follow.

    But she does think. And man that makes the world so much more interesting. And dare I say, fun.

    *all of us that aren’t actually squirrels, that is

  36. Mikel

    It’s taking so long to count Iowa. Sanders must have won.
    And are they still trying to use that app? The companies behind it appear to be a jobs program for former Clinton staffers and/or their connected school mates and family.

  37. chuck roast

    On another note, Bloomberg was in Providence today for what appeared to be a MSM rally and an endorsement from RI Governor Gina Raimondo (D).

    In a former life (2006) Gina was head of Point Judith Capital, a small venture investment fund that (because Rhode Island) got the RI public employees pension fund to entrust her tiny firm with a large sum of cash at an unusually high fee. After underperforming for 10 years PJC’s guardianship was extended for several more years. Gina enjoyed a $125K annual bonus for her sterling stewardship. The pension fund reportedly lost $500M over this period. I say reportedly because due to the standard PE contract secrecy clauses there is no knowing exactly how much disappeared. To date, the pension fund has been unable to divest of these underperforming investments.

    Gina was subsequently rewarded by the electorate with the RI State Treasurers job whereupon she successfully proposed a COLA cut because the fund was underperforming. Unfortunately, RI state workers are looked upon as lucky feather-bedders by the job deprived local population, so there was little resistance to this effort. MSM propaganda and intra-class warfare eventually created the opportunity for Gina to become an extremely unpopular governor.

    By my arithmetic, this woman twice stole off the RI state pension fund. So, indeed, she is the perfect person to endorse Bloomberg. The most shocking thing is that these people live on the same planet as you and I.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        You can see the Bloomberg-Mayor Pete ticket emerging almost minute-by-minute. What’s not to unify around?

    1. Judith

      It is time some reporters noticed that Bloomberg is busy trying to buy the Democrat party’s nomination and start to interrogate his platform proposals. The MSM is certainly not going to be reporting critically on Bloomberg, given how much money he is spending on TV ads.

      Here is a link to a Jacobin article that contrasts Bloomberg’s housing proposals with those of Sanders:

  38. lyman alpha blob

    RE: It Matters Why Republican Senators Vote to Acquit Trump

    After impeaching for a stained dress, taking impeachment “off the table” for Bush/Cheney war crimes, completely looking the other way while St. Barry droned US citizens to death and torched Libya, it really doesn’t matter any more at all.

    1. allan

      “it really doesn’t matter”

      It could very well matter:

      Susan Hennessey @Susan_Hennessey

      A real question: How long until we hear reports that Trump is attempting to pressure DOJ to reopen the investigation of Jane Sanders?
      8:02 PM · Feb 4, 2020

      This was being pushed by HRC people as oppo, and spread around by friendly journalists, back in 2016,
      and there’s no reason to think Barr wouldn’t do it if asked.

  39. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Anatomy of a rental phishing scam

    Wait, so the scam isn’t paying $4300.00 a month for rent?

    1. inode_buddha

      What really grinds my gears: I notice in the local RE market that houses are being sold as *investments* and not some place to live; and furthermore, that the rents being paid are often 2x the mortgage that the owner is paying. That, in my mind, is sheer buggery and greed. I don’t care what kind of excuses they have for that kind of markup, because that’s all they are — excuses.

  40. Oregoncharles

    ” I don’t see how we can know this. The votes, thanks to the Clintonite apparatchiks who designed “the app,” have not been counted, so we don’t have a total.”

    Are you sure? There are several possibilities. One, ToBeFair, is that they know how many voted (attendance taken at the door) but not HOW they voted – a considerably more complex endeavor.

    The second is more interesting: they’re messing with us. Again, this is exactly the scenario that accompanies blatant vote-rigging in, well, 3rd World countries.

    I can’t really supply a conclusion – for one thing, both could be true, AND the pundits could be making it up. But the whole thing raises serious questions about “taking over” the Democratic Party. Why would you want it?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Rhetorical question.

        Consider the history of China; they’ve absorbed one “Conqueror” after another.

        It’s a poison pill.

  41. John Anthony La Pietra

    “You mean, on top of everything else, this ship is rigged?” — Stan Freberg


  42. sj

    Kushner water plan:

    water was allotted a single paragraph in Kushner’s blueprint, just after plans for building a tourist resort on the Dead Sea.

    Jeebus. I know they’ve never been subtle in their self-enrichment plans, but … Jeebus.

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