Links 2/6/2020

Package labeled ‘Bag Full of Drugs’ leads to Florida arrests AP

At least three die after Boeing 737 breaks into three pieces before bursting into flames in Istanbul Daily Mail (J-LS)/

Some Thoughts On the Business Roundtable’s Statement of Corporate Purpose RealClearMarkets. UserFriendly: “Sigh”.

Limited Liability Is Causing Unlimited Harm Project Syndicate (David L).

Ocean currents are speeding up faster than scientists predicted The Week (David L)

More Than a Thousand Scientists Have Built the Most Detailed Picture of Cancer Ever BBC


Coronavirus shakes centre of world’s tech supply chain FT

Coronavirus derails Tesla rally, sends stock down 20 percent New York Post (J-LS).

Dow Jones Leaps on Potential Coronavirus Vaccine Breakthrough CNN

Coronavirus: media cinesi: “Trovati farmaci efficaci contro il virus”. Ma l’Oms frena: “Niente di concreto” La Repubblica (DJG). Google translation: Coronavirus: Chinese media: “Effective drugs have been found against the virus”. But WHO slows down: “Nothing concrete”

The US Fast-Tracked a Coronavirus Test to Speed Up Diagnoses Wired

Radical measures rolled out as Chinese cities battle virus Asia Times (Kevin W). As I keep saying, the body language of the Chinese authorities seems to say that the facts on the ground look worse than the reported data. But we won’t know for sure for quite a while. If you want to get nervous, there’s this sighting: Tencent may have accidentally leaked real data on Wuhan virus deaths Taiwan News. Input error, big time, or bona fide?

China Deaths Climb to 563; More Cruise Cases Found: Virus Update Bloomberg. Plus: How to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights: Forget Masks, Says Top Airline Doctor: “Masks and gloves do a better job of spreading bugs than stopping them.” I prefer alcohol wipes to hand sanitizers because the physical action of the wipe versus the skin ought to remove more contaminants than just coating your skin with hand sanitizer; physical removal of what is on the surface of your skin is why washing your hands (reasonably well) beats hand sanitizers, and so an alcohol wipe ought to be a between case (plus it is how MDs clean your skin for injections and small incisions, so it should be pretty effective). But I can’t find anything on a fast search to confirm my hypothesis.

Amid Coronavirus Fears, a Mask Shortage Could Spread Globally Wired (resilc).å

Woman wearing face mask attacked in possible coronavirus hate crime New York Post

Interim List of Household Products and Active Ingredients for Disinfection of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) National Environment Agency. Singapore, but many of the brands are global, and ingredients are listed.

New study suggests 2019-nCoV may hit men, Asian people harder The Prepared (original).

Only a handful of children have been diagnosed with the coronavirus — and experts have a few guesses as to why Business Insider (Kevin W).


How the Brexit deal can be done FT

German state gets new governor, with far-right votes AP (GP).


Global shares rally after China pledges tariff cuts on US goods FT

Thailand scraps China-led project to blast open Mekong River Reuters. “And also China had no funding for it.”


Delhi Elections: What Have Political Parties Promised to Mitigate Air Pollution? The Wire (J-LS).


Senate acquits Trump in historic vote as re-election campaign looms Reuters

Trump’s Team Celebrates Acquittal at (Where Else?) His Washington Hotel NYT. Everything is fine. Pelosi set the precedent that Trump’s emoluments are not impeachable, going forward.

23 Dangerous Propositions the Senate Just Ratified Atlantic (William C).

5 Reasons Impeachment Failed The American Conservative

Democrats impeached Trump for withholding arms to Neo-Nazis Off Guardian (JTM).

Impeachment delivers blockbuster fundraising for key lawmakers Politico. Ka-ching.

This is how ancient Rome’s republic died – a classicist sees troubling parallels at Trump’s impeachment trial The Conversation

New Cold War

Russia Alarmed by US Deployment of Low-Yield Nuclear Missiles VoA

Trump Transition

Nancy Pelosi was caught on camera PRACTICING ‘the rip heard round the world’ even though her office denied allegation that she planned to tear up Trump’s State of the Union all along Daily Mail. Advance work points count toward strategic genius.

Report: At least 138 sent from US to El Salvador were killed Associated Press (furzy).


Near Tie Between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in Iowa New York Times and Iowa Caucuses: Live Democratic results and alignment tallies Des Moines Register. This is the popular vote page. It only takes three clicks from the main page to get here, so they’re following the practice of the New York Times. It appears that the urban precincts, which presumably have more voters on average, were the last to be resolved. And how/when do the satellite caucuses get added in? But Sanders is now officially ahead in popular vote and may win the delegate count, in addition to the popular vote, once satellites are counted.

* * *

Acronym, the dark money group behind the Iowa caucuses app meltdown, explained Recode. Deathless quote from a Democratic strategist:

“I don’t think they’re evil, but in their thirst to take over the world using a bunch of short-term donor money, they leveraged their political connections to get contracts that they didn’t have the expertise to fulfill,” one Democratic strategist told me.

Leaving open the question, then, of what Democratic strategists do consider evil….

“Far and away the most disorganized place I’ve ever been a part of”: Inside Acronym’s disastrous foray into the Iowa caucuses The Outline

A note to supporters of ACRONYM Tara McGowan (CEO), Medium. “Supporters,” yet. Tenacious T: “I just called this press conference to let everyone know that I am indeed the happiest and most fulfilled human who ever lived. Thank you.”

* * *

Iowa chaos highlights threat of domestic misinformation The Hill. Yeah, you know. Lilke a candidate giving a victory speech when the official count reads zero (0):

Class Warfare

Noblesse oblige:

Why liberal white women pay a lot of money to learn over dinner how they’re racist Guardian (DCG)

Networked Up The Baffler. Digital nomadism.

Google Releases a Tool To Spot Faked and Doctored Images MIT Technology Review. Let the arms race begin!

Welfare Surveillance System Violates Human Rights, Dutch Court Rules Guardian

Scientists built an AI to figure out what the universe is made of NextWeb (David L)

Revolt, Populism, and Reaction Mercatus Center. Resilc: “Gurri is the best CIA analyst ever.”

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Mayor Pete’s color revolution is looking a little faded around the edges this morning. Maybe he should call in the Azov Battalion.

      1. Wukchumni

        Imagine we could leap up onto a ledge 20 feet above us, while living cheek by jowl with giants who towered the equivalent of 30 feet high-compared to our 6 feet frames, aka the life of a cat.

    1. Jen

      I’ve had a couple of cats that were completely terrible at judging distances. The first one could spend 10 minutes, I kid you not, figuring out how to jump down from the windowsill to the floor. One time the big oaf jumped up on top of an open closet door. He’d lean forward to try to judge the distance to the ground, and the door would move, so he’d sit back up, the he’d lean, and the door moved again. He finally howled for his human to rescue him. The second couldn’t figure out how to jump up on things. She’d take 2-3 false hops before launching herself into the air. More often than not, she would only make it part way, and haul herself up by her front legs. I have a loft over the living room with exposed beams that run across. She once jumped down from the half wall in the loft to the beam and couldn’t figure out how to get back up. After about 45 minutes, I had to grab a ladder.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: Revolt, Populism, and Reaction.

    I think Michael Lind gets the populist reaction right. It is the result of the collapse of all of the old institutions that used to give working-class people power. I am thinking of labor unions, local political machines, clubs and even churches. Sure, these organizations were often corrupt but they gave working people real power within the system and power is what working people lack today. This lack of power is a major factor in the sense of anger and frustration people feel today. The populist explosion is only partially about money. Power and dignity are perhaps even more important than money.

    Here is a good interview with Lind on his newest book on the subject of class war and populism:

    I think Martin Gurri makes a good point when he writes that “The public is trapped in a mesh of rejection and negation, unable to articulate positive demands.” This is the problem with populism and Lind sees the matter similarly. I used to call myself a populist but more and more I think populism is a dead end. It looks like populism will accomplish nothing more than the occasional angry explosion and the rise of Caesar-like figures. At best populism can scare the elites enough to force them to realize that there is a problem with the current system but populism alone cannot build new institutions.

    Ultimately I think working people need to build their own institutions outside of elite rule. That is why I think people should focus more on local and state politics where they might have a better chance of influencing politics and building from there. Basically, the masses need to rebuild civil society from scratch. This is going to be very hard, especially given the tendency of elites to hijack movements and institutions.

    1. CanCyn

      From the Lind interview: “my argument has always been that even though, in practice, technically we’re still under this 1787 constitution, the present country really was created in the New Deal and the civil rights era. And there are signs that is falling apart now and there will be a new America.“… is he serious? The new deal started ending in the 70s and mostly crashed in the 80s (wealth inequality, lack of access to healthcare, homelessness, etc.) Civil rights never really came to fruition, check the demographics of the prison population.
      While I certainly believe in supporting local institutions, I sure don’t believe that they can fix what ails us. Money is federal. State and local governments don’t have the same financial powers. I don’t want local charities and do-gooders to take care of the poor, ill and elderly – that is the government’s job.
      The new America is here and it is pretty terrible and I am not too confident that it will be fixed. Politics and power aside, we also have climate change to deal with.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Agreed. Local action is fine, but the scale of change needed absolutely requires that the real levers of power, tied to the ability to print and allocate money, must be controlled at the Federal level. Local governments are too constrained in action by having to balance their books to be a useful actors for fundamental change. I’m not saying that local political action isn’t useful and even necessary, but there’s no way it can be sufficient in itself. Only the government with the printing presses for money and control of the military is powerful enough to counter billionaires and their empires.

        1. Spring Texan

          Yes. This is why Medicare-for-All at the STATE level is such a dumb and unworkable idea, unlike real M4A.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Yes. The currency issuer must do #MedicareForAll. If the states do it, there will be cutbacks during the first downturn, which will be used as an excuse to reprivatize.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          One hopes that is /s.

          If there is a new Constitution, it will be the one that has already been written for us by the smart ALECs at Koch Brothers, Incorporated.

    2. gsinbe

      I found the article interesting, but with a strange lacunae in it. No mention at all of the declining economic circumstances facing the vast majority of citizens in the countries he considers, or the concomitant amassing of wealth by the elites.

      He seemed to find the populist rage a bit mystifying.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I wanted to love it, but every time I thought it got going with things I might like, I hit some huge pothole or other and it was a jolt big enough to loosen my fillings.

        Such as:

        ML: I think that there needs to be a Fairness Doctrine overseen by some kind of commission. The people who run the media and the people that come up with school curricula should know that people are looking over their shoulder. For example, in the universities, you can’t have all liberal Democrats on your faculty, right? Or even if they’re all liberal Democrats on your faculty, there has to be some representation of other views—left-wing, conservative, libertarian.

        “… some kind of commission”. Alright-eey…

        So to counter problems in the media, academia, presumably government and society in general, we get a gang of good-thinkers (selected how? on what selection criteria? remunerated how? supervised by whom? “overseeing” to what standards? defined where? enforced how?) all watching over us in love and grace.

        Gimme a break.

        But so much progressive theorising from left-leaning people who obviously mean well takes up bandwidth with this kind of Motherhood and Apple Pie idealising.

        Criticising it feels like you’re kicking a puppy. But it keeps crapping on the carpet…

        And yes, the populist rage thing had him totally flummoxed. It never seemed to enter his head that it’s woolly — dare I say patronising too? — thinking like this which is hampering the left at every turn. If you can’t, like Mick Jagger, get no satisfaction from the left’s policy responses, where else are people expected to turn?

        1. Tom Doak

          It is easier to understand the PMC worldview if you consider that all of their programs would create jobs for professional management and oversight.

        2. avoidhotdogs

          Agree totally. And FWIW I’m a little worried that the populist/economic rage round here is puzzling Labour, who I recently joined. You warned me of the competing agendas…. I see them. I’m still holding some cautious optimism. I hope people round here don’t fall into the kind of holes outlined above.

        3. Drake

          This is a good take. Lind is terrified the professional managerial class might get shown the door, when it’s clear to him that they’re the only ones who can and should decide everything. He’s trying very hard to delineate exactly what meaningless things they can give up so as to remain in power forever.

          “Unions and ward politics fell out of favor partly in the early part of the twentieth century because they were vectors for corruption and patronage. Patronage, I might agree with you, probably gets a bad rap.”

          Note the lack of agency. Somehow the PMC never ‘fell out of favor’ for corruption and patronage on a vastly larger scale. It’s almost as if there wasn’t an organized campaign to destroy them.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Here in Australia the example gets endlessly touted of local labor union bosses receiving paper bags with cash. Cash that was earned by actual workers doing, you know, actual work. Oh oh they’re so corrupt.

            But when the big end of town wants to get their corruption done it’s via bank transfer straight from the BOD of the biggest companies. So much cleaner. And much, much bigger.

            My godfather was a charming and worldly Brazilian investment banker. He called me by the nickname “Major”. I remember one of the only pieces of advice he ever gave me, delivered when I was about 10 years old: “Major, if you’re going to steal, steal big”

      2. William Beyer

        Curious lack of agency here. Didn’t we start wars in Syria and Libya, causing their descents into chaos?

        1. John A

          “In the Arab world, the effects have been cataclysmic. Libya and Lebanon have disintegrated as nation-states, while Syria survives as a rump, colonized by Iranians and Russians. For years, a bloodthirsty caliphate calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) ruled an area the size of Great Britain in parts of Syria and Iraq.”

          There’s a massive elephant of an interfering country in this room that strangely goes unmentioned and whose agency is behind much of this death and destruction.

      3. KLG

        I have read most of Michael Lind, and he is always interesting. I don’t have it in front of me this morning, but this latest book is an expanded essay that posits a return to the political economy of the 1950s, with countervailing powers attributed to Big Labor and Capital, as the solution to what ails us. Well, OK then. John Kenneth Galbraith was the big thing then with American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power, 1952. A case can be made it worked then, provided a lot is left out…systematic racism in both craft and industrial unions, the necessity of “growth” in a post-war world that was not nearly full, our air, water, and land used as a garbage disposal with no accounting for those negative externalities. And that “America” stood tall over an international economy utterly destroyed by war. Or we can come to the understanding that a political economy requiring “growth” instead of development is not possible in a full world that requires a steady-state political economy, and even then “stuff” will eventually run out. John Stuart Mill was on this case in the 19th century. Herman Daly and others in the 20th. It’s not a difficult concept, but as Mark Fisher (IIRC) put it: It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of (neoliberal) capitalism.

        1. pretzelattack

          i keep his background at the heritage foundation in mind. i don’t know when he became “left”, maybe about the time elizabeth warren did.

          1. KLG

            Yes, this. He included his history in The Next American Nation IIRC, which was the first time I noticed him. Then in Up from Conservatism. His “leftism” is fairly denatured.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Points for mentioning Daly. I didn’t realize JS Mill had written about that; means there was even less excuse for ignoring reality.

      4. russell1200

        Yes, I have mentioned it here before, but a lot of these discussions are missing a full analysis of the causes and mechanisms of the unrest.

        It is one of the reasons that I like Peter Turchin and his elite overproduction. I am not convinced his theory applies to all the cases he sites, but it does a pretty good job of not only explaining why the unrest is occurring, but gives specific predictive mechanisms.

        It is also good in that it is not entirely economic, nor about social dynamics, but combines both.

        1. jsn

          I have trouble with Turchins’ framing the issue as “elite overproduction”. I see the issue as over concentration of access to resources.

          In a “growth” centric political economy when growth stalls it looks like to many well educated people are competing for too little power, but that’s a vision blinkered by “growth”. The deliberately induced “scarcity” of the “growth” model requires losers to validate winners.

          In an economy devoted to “improvement” rather than “growth” the issue of resource allocation becomes central: people’s conditions cannot improve without access to real resources, currently hoarded by the plutocratic elite that captured the “growth” model and intends to depopulate the world to hold onto their winnings.

    3. Carla

      “Basically, the masses need to rebuild civil society from scratch. This is going to be very hard, especially given the tendency of elites to hijack movements and institutions.”

      Yeah. One big impediment is that we (“the masses”) find it very difficult to imagine doing this entirely without money. There is really only one source of money: the elites. And it’s more than a tendency: they almost invariably corrupt everything their money touches.

      There’s a new group in NE Ohio: Cleveland Owns.

      From their web site:

      “Cleveland Owns is a radical incubator that equips groups to build wealth and power through collective ownership.

      We believe who owns what matters. To build an equitable city, we must have an equitable distribution of ownership.”

      Uh-huh. But they’re a 501c3 that will be applying for grants from all the usual suspects. I’d like to be more optimistic and I’ll certainly be watching.

      In the meantime, some buddies of mine and I will continue to attend weekly City Council meetings in our local ‘burb as we have for 5 years, letting ’em know we’re watching and trying to keep ’em honest.

      1. Calvin

        501 c3s cannot donate to politicians that get them the grants….but, their overpaid directors can do so.
        Then, there is the issue of overpaid employees working for non-profits and their donations. Here’s an example:

        “A San Francisco-based janitor, Liang Zhao Zhang, a BART system service worker, raked in over $275,000 in 2015, thanks to overtime pay. BART spokesperson Alicia Trost confirmed that Zhang made a base salary of $57,945 and $162,050 in overtime pay. Benefits brought him to a total of $276,120. This is the third year in a row the janitor has made a six-figure salary.”
        Wow, over a thousand dollars a day to push a mop.
        BART fares are increasing.
        In the North Bay of Marin and Sonoma Counties, voters will soon get to vote Yes on I, to fund Smart Train executives and janitors pensions with yet another sales tax.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        In the meantime, some buddies of mine and I will continue to attend weekly City Council meetings in our local ‘burb as we have for 5 years, letting ’em know we’re watching and trying to keep ’em honest.

        Right on! Just showing up and speaking up has more effect than a lot of people realize. Our council meetings aren’t always well attended, but they are televised on local access and more people than you might think watch them. I’d always assumed not many people bothered, but after being stopped a few times on the street by people telling me they liked what I said, I realized I wasn’t just whistling into the wind.

        I also found that if you want to get your opinion noticed, the more colorful the better. I once used a mildy potty mouthed epithet to describe a development I disagreed with and to my surprise, the quote made it into the local weekly paper. After that I realized being ‘civil’ doesn’t get you noticed but causing a bit of a ruckus does.

    4. S Haust

      The Gurri article:

      There is much in this article that is easy to accept and much that I find congenial.

      I’ve no doubt Gurri is sincere about it all but extreme caution is required.

      The first thing that sets me off, though, is the possibly (?) unattributed quote in
      the citation. Perhaps this is by “Resilc” but I’m not sure the NC format guarantees
      that. I’ve read the entire article but see little and perhaps nothing about the CIA
      and certainly no analysis of it. Are we to take this as a directive or maybe as a
      mere suggestion to find the CIA in all the events referred to? No doubt the CIA is
      involved everywhere but this article is not, even in part, an analysis of that.

      On the other hand, consider the source, the Mercatus Center. That’s George
      Mason University. It’s self-description is this:

      The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university
      source for market-oriented ideas…

      Think Kochs, F A Hayek, James Buchanan, etc.

      In other words, aggressive neocon/neolib credentials accompanied by massive
      billionaire funding. Here’s The Intercept weighing in on that:

      Now, all that said, if you need a good laxative/emetic, go and read Nancy Lean’s book,
      “Democracy in Chains”, which was also introduced here a while back.

    5. flora

      It’s from the the Mercatus Center .”The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations.”

      It’s the exactly the sort of libertarian, , Randian individualism I expect from that quarter, (instead of encouraging organizing into large groups with more power which creates with better odds of winning.) There are sly mis-directions in the article. For example:

      “For the first time in human experience, the decisive struggle was over information rather than power—and for good reason. “

      His clever rewrite turns the old maxim “knowledge is power” on its head, divorcing knowledge from power. etc. Just one example. The guys at Mercatus are smart and smooth.

    6. Oregoncharles

      Both the Gilets Jaunes and the Hong Kongers came up with impressive lists of demands – unlike Occupy. Lesson learned, I think.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        These criticisms of Occupy are unwarranted.

        You forget it existed all of two months. That is when the 17 city, Federally coordinated crackdown occurred. And two months was the life of Occupy in NYC; the occupations in other cities sprang up later. For it to have achieved the impact it did with the 1% meme and still be remembered is considerable.

    1. zagonostra

      Status Coup was ahead of the curve. They were reporting on the software and how the DNC would not reveal who the developers were before the ship hit the van.

      Problem with this is that the Dems have created such obfuscation and misdirection with the impeachment and then the SOTU that some people don’t even know the skulduggery that just happened.

      The world inside NC and those who seek out information and those who don’t are universes apart and it’s disconcerting when you talk to friends/family and they don’t know what’s going on, and worse, they don’t care.

      Here is another site that does journalism right, Grayzone reports on the funding for Shadow Inc.

      1. smoker

        Yeah, was just reading that piece at Consortium News and preparing to post the link. What’s a scandal nowadaze without some horrid Silicon Valley (or Seattle) Tech™ Oligarch Billionaire[s] behind it.

        The exceptionally opaque Acronym was itself created with seed money from a Silicon Valley billionaire named Reid Hoffman who has financed a series of highly manipulative social media campaigns.

        The billionaire founder of LinkedIn, Hoffman is a top funder of novel Democratic Party social media campaigns accused of manipulating voters through social media. He is assisted by Dmitri Mehlhorn, a corporate consultant who pushed school privatization before joining Hoffman’s political empire.

        One of the most consequential beneficiaries of Hoffman’s wealth is Acronym CEO Tara McGowan, a 33-year-old former journalist and Obama for America veteran.

        Once touted as “a weapon of a woman whose innovative tactics make her critically important to the Democratic Party,” McGowan’s name is now synonymous with the fiasco in Iowa. She happens to be married to a senior advisor to Buttieg’s presidential campaign

        1. smoker

          thanks Dems Clinton/Gore and Obama/Biden for your enormous parts in making those Pacific Northwest (Silicon Valley and Seattle, with their Obscene National Records of Unsheltered Homeless, who used to be able to afford living) Tech Oligarchies – with their stunningly homogenous all white male Ivy League Founders – Quasi Governments onto themselves. Not to leave the Republicans out of this, as they are ultimately one and the same, but at least they’re honest with their hatred of anyone who does not worship power/money/capitalism over life.

          1. smoker

            Speaking of one of those Technocracy Republicans, a belated RIP, Clayton Christensen, the FATHER of FREE MARKET DISRUPTION™. ‘Rest’ In ‘Purgatory’ – your Disruption™ Ideology destroyed countless millions of lives across the planet Earth.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      From the “A note to supporters of ACRONYM” piece –

      I started ACRONYM as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization soon after the 2016 presidential election with a commitment to build a new non-profit model to build power and digital infrastructure for progressive causes and advocacy campaigns.

      Pretty sure that’s mission accomplished on the non-profit bit, Tara, because nobody in their right mind will ever be paying your company a dime.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Based on Emily Stewart’s linked article from Recode/Vox, appears to me on the face of things that Acronym might also benefit from a very good tax accountant.

    3. Craig H.

      > Iowa Dems need a minimum of one more day for the last 3% of fuckery.

      This is one of those organizational rule-of-thumbs. The last 20% of the goof will eat up 80% of the schedule time. It is related to my method of making up timelines. Take number of days it ought to require. Double it. Then double it again. There is your estimate.

      1. a different chris

        Yes. I try to make it sound more sophisticated: “A lot of the fuzzier parts will take more time, so the actual work effort will be twice what it looks like (first double). Then life will interfere, it’s not like Corporate will hire any help at the front end and after the mid-point extra hands will just take up the principals time, so double again the calendar time.”

        Life generally being old projects needing unexpected attention, analogous to a kid you thought you had launched coming back home. Principals unexpectedly leaving, not because they were unhappy, but because their spouse got a call about a good job out of state. Etc.

        BTW, isn’t it a weird belief of Our Betters that they can bring in help at the end, not the beginning? They have this strange picture of a small group somehow figuring everything out down to some ridiculous amount of detail, then at that point you can bring in “bodies” to execute the plan. But it’s more like road-building, where the massive low-tech work (excavating) is at the beginning, and things get more and more sophisticated as you get near the end. So bodies first, focused experts later is really a better approach. But nobody in power ever thinks that way.

        I blame the Ivy League…. :)

      2. inode_buddha

        Maybe they’re just trying to “correct the record” /s

        (as opposed to, Don’t screw up in the first place…)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just remember down the track when the Super Delegates choose Michael Bloomberg as the Democrat Presidential candidate, it will be-

      “Vote Bloo(mberg), No Matter Who!”

      1. chuckster

        I just saw a new trial balloon. Joe is tanking. Poor Liz just pulled her ads in NV and SC to save cash. so the Dem establishment is floating a new name as the anti-Bernie. Yes, Adam Schiff, Hero of the Resistance, is the new white knight to save us from “godless socialism”.

        1. cuibono

          This is for real. How do I know? Cause my 93 yo mom told me (after hours of MSNBC) that he is a real american good guy.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I woke up today absolutely disgusted with the entire warp and woof of American “politics”. I put that term in quotation marks because the Bloomberg ascendancy cannot remotely be described as “political”. It is a pure and simple purchase of the office of the presidency of the United States, and the sooner people start understanding it as such the better.

        Then we can get down to how these purchases should be made. I suggest a Dutch auction starting at midnight on November 7. The bidding opens at $100 billion. All bidders must post non-refundable table stakes of $100M and must supply a bank letter of credit in the amount of any bid they make. Auction will reduce the $100 billion starting figure by $100M every ten seconds until a bidder emerges. As soon as his/her funds are transferred to the U.S. Treasury the process is complete.

        1. flora

          Hizzoneer doesn’t want to be president, imo. That would mean releasing his un-redacted tax forms, it would mean he couldn’t continue living part-time in off-shore tax haven Bermuda and helicoptering in to the White House for work. No, he’s there at the request of the Dem estab as a spoiler to stop Sanders from the nomination. imo.

    2. DonCoyote

      Same article:

      One Biden campaign adviser, however, countered that argument, saying the campaign relied heavily on analytics that gave a complete picture of where to invest resources and where to build Biden’s event schedule.

      Hmmm…does over-reliance on faulty analytics sound like anyone else’s campaign? Oh yes, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 (the closest we got to a real post-mortem) Clinton’s data-driven campaign relied heavily on an algorithm named Ada. What didn’t she see?:

      Ada is a complex computer algorithm that the campaign was prepared to publicly unveil after the election as its invisible guiding hand. Named for a female 19th-century mathematician — Ada, Countess of Lovelace — the algorithm was said to play a role in virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made, including where and when to deploy the candidate and her battalion of surrogates and where to air television ads — as well as when it was safe to stay dark…What Ada did, based on all that data, aides said, was run 400,000 simulations a day of what the race against Trump might look like. A report that was spit out would give campaign manager Robby Mook and others a detailed picture of which battleground states were most likely to tip the race in one direction or another — and guide decisions about where to spend time and deploy resources.

      And there’s Robbie Mook, yet again. And, like the IDC, the Biden campaign did pay for Shadow’s services. So maybe Ada made another appearance, and once again fell a little short of success?

    3. Procopius

      First thing I thought of when head of the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) said they had stopped reporting results because of “discrepancies in the data,” was of Karl Rove melting down on nationwide TV because the Ohio results weren’t what he had expected.

  3. Amfortas the hippie

    an offering from Mercatus that doesn’t make me hurl.
    things really are out of sorts.
    somebody somewhere in some walnut paneled room is ruing the day they decided to let the internet out of the bag.

    meanwhile, it’s 37 degrees in Anchorage…and 19 here in the Texas Hill Country.
    we’re due for a warmup today and going forward, and i can’t wait to get into the pastures to see if this deep freeze has had an effect on the grasshoppers.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Positive effect on grasshoppers as-in kills them off? (assuming hoppers are annoying for their crop damage although….chickens love ’em for food right?)

      I’ll bet 19 degrees does a number on fleas & their eggs as well. Depending on the winter, we may or may not get a good stretch of days down below 30, but sometimes when a less scrupulous pet-owner whose dog is infested comes to visit…the yard gets a few flea-fellow-travellers which can be hard to exterminate without recourse to toxic brews that I prefer not to spread.

      If/when mother nature freezes the fleas out…..well, so much the better. :)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        there’s a beneficial nematode that appears to work on flea larvae…but i haven’t the time to hunt for it.
        also, in the sand wallows where dogs like to lay, apply diatomaceous earth.
        aside from that, the various permethrin/pyrethrin chems work a bit…but i’ve read that fleas are becoming immune to them.
        i only use those as a very last resort.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Cool, thanks – I’ve heard of the diatomaceous thing before, but never tried it. I’ll pick up a bag of that stuff and store it away. No worries on the nematode thing – I have been doing some investigations of my own for stuff like that, along with some other beneficial insecty things.

          Its raining up a storm so I have plenty of time indoors to research to my hearts content. :)

        2. Off The Street

          DE also works against ants. The fine abrasive grinds up the exoskeletons of the advance guard, leading to an antenna frenzy among latecomers and a frantic search for a new route, any new route.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            We have used just plain old dry grits, to good effect, for our fire ant population.
            Just sprinkle liberally across the top of the mound.
            Will experiment more this spring.

            1. Gary

              I have fire ants and would like to not. The poison sold does not seem to discourage them. In my youth, we just poured diesel on the mound.
              I used grits once on red harvester ants but it only worked periodically. It would wipe out quite a few but then they would not touch it again until perhaps a year. Fire ants are so small, I am dubious about grits but I will give it a go.
              I had a large bed near my drive way and there was another red ant bed maybe a mile in the pasture. I always wondered if they were the same community. One day I dusted the ants from the close bed will florescent green spray paint. I started watching the far ant bed and sure enough, I saw some of the dayglo green ants coming out from that one. Amazing little creatures, but you never see them any more. The fire ants have driven them off or killed them. That also decimated the horny toad population.

              1. amfortas the hippie

                beauvaria bassiana diluted in water
                6′ pvc with vaseline
                jam pipe into mound and pour a cup in
                leave native ants be
                this method eradicated the imported fire ants for 18 years
                quail came back

                1. JBird4049

                  Beeuvaria bassiana does not infect the native ants?

                  If so that is great. May this time general pesticides will not be used on everything as that eventually helped the fire ants. No pesky native ants to compete with.

                  1. amfortas the hippie

                    i only apply it to mounds of imported ants
                    it’s the organic nuclear option and will infect everything

                    1. amfortas the hippie

                      i first had to bone up on mound identification and architecture and essentially learn all about ants
                      there was a guy(maybe natgeo-20 years ago) who poured dental casting down all kinds of ant mounds then dig up and reconstructed the bits
                      that was helpful in figuring out where the queen was likely to be in order to deliver it directly…otherwise the workers would sacrifice themselves removing the fungus

          2. Wukchumni

            We use DE (food-grade, not swimming pool DE) to make ants go away mot just from the house and surrounding areas, but on fruit trees as well by spraying it mixed with water.

            p.s. I always thought Diatomaceous Earth would’ve been a great name for a 60’s or 70’s band.

        3. jo6pac

          Buy real pyrethin it still works. It’s pricey but a small amount goes a long ways.


    2. BillC

      My reaction, too. When I noticed Mercatus, I almost closed the page. Glad I read on. I think he’s spot on, though as noted in gsinbe’s comment above, he doesn’t posit downward mobility as a prime driver for the universal disaffection to which new media give vent (and it might not be in LDCs — gotta have been a bit up to drift down). If the .01% and their PMC lackeys don’t relent and share the goodies (and not just money: position, status, stability …), I see no alternative to facist dictatorships.

      BTW, I always appreciate your insightful and good-natured posts. Given your situation, I don’t know how you keep the sunny side up.

    3. inode_buddha

      That’s pretty much normal around here, in the land of chicken wings, lots of snow, and losing football games. The cold can actually be a blessing sometimes because it eliminates a lot of pests and has a cleansing effect when it thaws out. I’m supposed to have another foot of snow by tomorrow night.

      One thing I say from experience: make sure yer water line don’t freeze! Also, Kerosene can be your friend… (cheap heat)

      1. amfortas the hippie

        when it gets this cold i just shut off the water
        i loathe being a plumber when it’s cold

        1. inode_buddha

          I live in a trailer on the edge of town, so I have to have heaters on my pipes, its gonna be freezing/snow for 6 months. Gotta have some water in that time frame.

    4. The Historian

      “an offering from Mercatus that doesn’t make me hurl.”

      What I got from that article is that Gurri is begging the elites to find a way to get back into control because of all the bad things populism is doing world wide. And, yes, that makes me hurl.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      Stranger things have happened. Recall we’ve posted some sane commentary from National Interest on RussiaRussia.

      I take this piece as a sign that the powers that be are starting to realize they have a legitimacy problem and what they have been doing to contend with it isn’t working.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “….starting to realize they have a legitimacy problem…”

        the membrane of that bubble must be mighty thick,lol.
        do they not teach Plato…or Popper…at Harvard?
        question assumptions, etc?

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Why liberal white women pay a lot of money to learn over dinner how they’re racist”

    Wake me up when there is a headline saying “Why liberal white women pay a lot of money to learn over dinner how they’re classist”.

    When they answer that question, it will tell them all they need to know why modern day feminism has become such a dead-end these days.

    1. ted

      I like how the Guardian chooses the labels “liberal” and “white” and not ”elite” or “1%”, as those paying for the dinner have $2500 each to throw at the event for the pleasure. No one I know has $2500 clinking around in their change drawer for a dinner. I also note that this grift was started by a Hillary campaigner after the 2016 election. The whole “liberal” elite are beginning to look and behave a little cult-like to me.

    2. Bitter Mandarin


      A real estate broker and an NYU law graduate (and wife of investment banker) lecture other members of the Elysian remove about their suffering at $2500/pop. I wonder if either has ever received a surprise medical bill or a traffic ticket they couldn’t cover?

      The tone I was always get from this crowd is something along the lines of, “My suffering is the result of systemic (insert the catchy de rigueur -ism or -ness here that’s the new academic term for “bigotry”), your suffering (if you’re more on the “domination” side of the intersectionality chart than the speaker) is your fault.” It’s exclusionary, self-indulgent, assumes way too much about someone’s experience because of gender/racial identity, and only works with the already-converted who want to advertise their wokeness. It’s empty rhetoric that will never result in actually changing anybody’s mind nor, more importantly, will it ever contribute to the improvement of anyone’s material circumstances.

      1. Bitter Mandarin

        Just found that Saira Rao lives in a 4,000+ square foot, ~$2.5 million home and tweets crap like this:

        Where’s the love for poor people? Oh yeah, it’s because she has no idea what it’s like to be one of them.

        As for Rashida Jackson, check out the listings on Action Jackson Realty. One has to marvel at the bravery of being able to scrape by off the paltry closing costs from all those multi-million dollar mansions.

  5. voteforno6

    Re: Iowa

    I’m not sure if this has already been posted, but Ian Walsh has some thoughts:

    Who Is More Competent? The Democrat Establishment Or The Sanders Campaign?

    His thoughts on this track closely with mine. As soon as the Sanders campaign released some of their partial internal numbers (and the fact that it was only partial numbers was key here, I think), I had a very strong idea they knew what they were doing – it was definitely a shot across the bow, and I think it took the Democratic Establishment by surprise.

    They (the party) were trying to pull off some old-fashioned vote counting f***ery, but they’ve become so calcified, that they can’t even do that competently. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of shenanigans the upcoming primaries have in store for us, and what the Sanders campaign will do to counter them. If the stakes weren’t so serious, this would be a way more entertaining political drama (and educational) than say, The West Wing.

    Maybe that’s the problem with the modern Democratic Party. They watched too many reruns of that TV show, when they should’ve been paying more attention to Robert Caro’s books on LBJ.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      ” some old-fashioned vote counting f***ery”

      Remember Jeff Weaver’s remark in the phone call with the IDT on Monday night–a phone call that ended with the IDT official hanging up?

      He called their excuses “bogus” and opined that “the whole process has been a fraud for 100 years.” That’s not a complaint about a malfunctioning app.

    2. Wukchumni

      In my ongoing Bizarro World comparison of the last gasps of the USSR & US, it was pretty common for the ‘candidate’ in elections there to win with a 97% plurality, whereas we now go about things differently by selectively reporting 97% of votes cast, in order to diminish a candidate who is an adversary of greed is good.

    3. jefemt

      I can’t find a spec of information on The Google covering the discrepancy between
      Sanders 30% and the DNC (97% reported) at 26%.

      I did see on Zerohedge (sigh) an article that mentioned 30% of paper counts had simple arithmetic rounding and other ‘math’ mistakes.

      Volunteers all must be accountants for the D O D?

      1. sleepy

        I thought the rounding instructions were pretty clear and simple. They were even printed on the worksheets. I will also say that the training for Sanders caucus volunteers was not particularly good–at least at my session in my county.

        1. anonymous

          The caucus training meetings at my field office devoted a lot of time to pressuring us to sign up for door knocking and to motivational exercises (going around the room telling why we support Bernie), then the actual training was mostly about giving a speech about Bernie and about using the app, which wouldn’t work for most of us the night of that training in late January. We were told the equations, but the campaign was counting on the app to make it idiot-proof. I both avoid new technology and am the kind of person who likes to be prepared for any contingency, so I made sure that I was familiar with the IDP documents in order to check on the caucus chair’s calculations without relying on an app and to make sure that the caucus would be conducted in accordance with the rules. (Our caucus chair turned out to be excellent.) I was involved in the Obama campaign of 2007/8 (stupid me) and, since I provided housing, I had a lot of contact with the field staff. The Obama campaign seemed to have a more professional field office on the surface (PMC!), but I am extremely impressed with the way the Bernie campaign kept track of all the caucus numbers.

          I was pleased with the rule changes I saw prior to the caucus, and I think the reporting of data never released in past caucuses is essential to keep in the caucus rules, if the caucus still exists going forward. Having all the numbers published, so that everyone who participated can confirm them, and so that the delegate allotments can be checked, is the only way to know that the final result is accurate. I am hoping that Pete’s premature declaration of victory backfires, but we essentially have a tie here. Most of us were annoyed when Hillary called a .2% difference a big win, and we don’t even know whether that .2% was legitimate.

          Anyone who wants to contribute to Bernie without ActBlue can make a contribution by adding it to a small purchase in the Bernie store (a tip from my field staff).

          1. Braden

            I thought the campaign staffers were very young, worked tirelessly, but could have used a tad more adult supervision. But maybe I’ve just reached that age in life. 20 more years and I’ll be calling my bald, 40-something doctor a “nice young man.” Sigh….

            1. anonymous

              The Sanders staffers were very nice and worked very hard, and they got the job done – I’m thrilled that Sanders did so well and will probably win outright.

      2. Samuel Conner

        In a recent (couple of hours ago) Ryan Grim tweet, attention is drawn to a Cedar Rapids precinct that has two interesting properties — highly diverse and almost 100% vote for Sanders.

        The satellite caucuses also (the ones reported as of 9PM Wednesday) also voted very lop-sidedly for Sanders, with something like 10 to 1 apportionment of SDEs in Sanders’ favor.

        The only way Sanders gets from 26.5 to 30% with 97% reported is if the unreported 3% is essentially all Sanders and nil any of the others. I would not have thought this possible before encountering the above data. So maybe these remaining 3% precincts really are very heavily on Sanders’ side of the ledger.

        And maybe that’s why they have not been counted yet?

        (for a bit of balance, assuming that there is some validity in the above, I will concede that a gigantic margin in favor of one candidate in isolated precincts would raise flags at vote-count central even if it were not run by people with an interest in leaning on the scales. But it would be nice if there were an explanation of what is holding up the remaining precinct totals. Conceding that the remaining precincts are not representative of the state-wide vote and so were flagged for closer examination would provide some justification. Of course, the cynic whispering in the back of my head is pretty confident that if the flagged precincts had voted overwhelmingly for anyone but Sanders, they might not have been flagged)

        1. Samuel Conner

          re: that Ryan Grim tweet, I should have written “ three ” interesting properties rather than two. In addition to being highly diverse and an almost 100% vote for Sanders ,,, it had not been counted as of the time of Grim’s tweet.

          1. Samuel Conner

            Sorry to keep nattering on, but this ONE precinct awarded NINE SDEs to Sanders, 100% of the SDEs for that precinct.

            And as of late last night, with NYT and RCP reporting PB with a 3 SDE lead over Sanders (97% reporting), this 9 SDE for Sanders precinct had not yet — per Grim — been included in the totals

            Now tell me who’s in the lead?

            If the uncounted 3% is heavily skewed in Sanders’ favor at a level comparable to the above Cedar Rapids precinct and the satellite caucuses, we may see a blowout in the SDE totals in favor of Sanders as the remaining precinct totals are pried from the fingers of the IDP.

            Does anyone know how many SDEs remain unassigned while the remaining 3% of precincts are in limbo? If the Cedar Rapids precinct is representative, it could be hundreds.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              This link, posted by Stormcrow below and written yesterday, is informative, I guess.


              According to the nyt as reproduced in the FAIR article, 512 SDEs got Butti 11 “pledged delegates,” and 488 SDE’s got Bernie 11. The tally says 14 delegates remain unassigned, so you should be able to figure out roughly how much each “pledged delegate” is “worth” expressed as SDEs.

              Adding up 512 and 488 (1000) and dividing by 22 should get the “value” of one pledged delegate in SDEs. Doing the division gives you 45.4 SDEs per Sanders / Butti delegate.

              However……Warren got 5 delegates with 352 SDEs, making each of her delegates worth 70.4 SDEs. Joseph R. Biden Jr. couldn’t buy any delegates with 306 SDEs, and neither could Klobuchar with 232, although that may have something to do with her 12.1% of something which is unspecified.

              Who the hell knows what the “remaining” 14 “pledged delegates” are worth in terms of SDEs. I couldn’t find the total of SDEs initially available anywhere, if such a number even exists. Maybe the “shadow” knows.

            2. chuck roast

              As I recall, with 92% counted last night Bernard was behind by 18 SDEs. Now, with 97% of the vote counted he behind by 3 SDEs. I was bad at sadistics, but I think your “cherry picker” theory may be valid.

              Imagine Perez’ pain when he is required to count the last 3%.

              1. Braden

                It’s not statistically “impossible” that the reporting was done fairly. Obviously, we get delays like this on election night all the time for specific geographic regions, like downtown Chicago reporting late every election and heavily favoring Democrats. What implies fraud is that we have the county chairs from the “more urban” areas of Iowa telling us that the IDP has ALL their precinct data for at least 24 hours before they released ANY results. This isn’t late reporting, it’s clearly selective reporting.

              2. ambrit

                What a truly wonderful Freudian slip: “sadistics.” (PS I am glad that you were “bad” at them. Shows good character.)

            3. Samuel Conner

              Wikipedia asserts that there are about 11,000 county convention delegates awarded at the precinct caucuses, and these will select ~2100 delegates to the state convention, which will select the 41 national convention delegates.

              Lots of small-d democratic process here, but also opportunities for scale-leaning.

              (So the media-reported SDEs and convention delegates “earned” are all notional, based on projections from the current ratios of county convention delegates. One wonders what opportunities for manipulation may arise at the country and state conventions. IIRC there was some questionable stuff at the 2016 Nevada state convention, for example)

              The 9 delegates awarded to Sanders at that Cedar Rapids precinct were not SDEs, but county convention delegates, which corresponds to about 1.7 SDEs, still a significant fraction of the reported 3 SDE lead of PB.

              With ~2060 SDEs notionally projected (based on the current awarded county convention delegates) at this writing, there remain 40-50 unprojected, roughly proportional to the unreported precincts.

              1. anonymous

                One of this year’s improvements is that the precinct delegate count is locked; a candidate cannot lose delegates, such as for failure to attend or failure to stay long enough for voting, at the county and district conventions. Dragging out the conventions, so that proportionally more delegates who were party insiders, who favored the establishment candidate, would have the fortitude and desire to stay through the voting for next-level delegates, had been one of the ways the final delegate count was manipulated in the past.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Looking at the Des Moines Register interactive map: the counties still unreported include all the largest population centers in the state after Des Moines: Scott, Linn, Black Hawk, Pottawattamie, Woodbury. So while the count says it’s only 3% of precincts, it’s a much larger percentage of the voters. In other words, quite conceivable the returns from those counties could flip the total “preference” vote.

          1. Samuel Conner

            That map is helpful


            But there’s something odd — not malicious, I’m sure, but perhaps evidence of carelessness or understaffing.

            The county details that pop up when one “points” at specific counties give levels of “total SDEs for that county” that are in the range of hundreds to thousands, and in a few cases above 10 thousand. Given that there are about 100 counties, these numbers look like vote/alignment counts, not SDEs attributed on the basis of the counts.

            So it looks like someone typed the wrong text into a descriptor field in the code underlying that graphic.

        3. Mark Gisleson

          Caucus dynamics often lead to one candidate sweeping even the largest of caucuses. The media is severely underreporting Bernie’s HUUUGE margins in Story and Johnson counties (Iowa State & the University of Iowa). Linn County is blue collar and went for Bernie big time (Cedar Rapids).

          I keep refreshing the IDP’s page, but I suspect it will take a court order to pry that last 3% of the vote out of them.

            1. Samuel Conner

              My gut reaction is that “now we know that Sanders did very well in the unreported precincts.”

              They’re not even trying to make it look like they’re not trying to cheat.

              Over at Moon of Alabama, he’s speculating that the Keystone Kop character of this circus is intentional.

              This is the sort of thing one expects to see in CIA ops in nations targeted for regime change.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Something else is afoot, I suspect it is the VP office for the racist multi-billionaire Republican oligarch who is purchasing the Democratic nomination.

                  Because I just in my wildest cannot imagine CIA Pete at the top of the ticket, ever, not ever, never. At some point he will be required to get on stage with the proposed First Husband: does he kiss him on stage? Do they have a cute dog? Can they borrow someone else’s kids? That would play OK in Chelsea or Noe Valley San Francisco but anywhere 50 miles or more from those places it would probably land with a thud.

                  No a nice side job like VP, then the CIA’s man can build his credibility and familiarity before later taking the top job of advancing America’s hedge fund billionaires, corporo-fascist monopolists, and wars.

              1. Samuel Conner

                Bernie Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist.

                I’m starting to think that in the D party hierarchy there might be some undeclared national socialists.

            2. jrs

              I thought they might actually allow a legit election, hey an legit election that Pete won by 1% would still be one. I don’t think Iowa is California, it IS harder for progressives to win even assuming legit vote counting, there is an actual rural-urban divide in this country.

              But so much for even counting the votes!!! Never mind!!! Who can even believe what they say at this point.

            3. Darthbobber

              And the thread on this is funny. The first reply suggesting that Perez resign had many more likes than the initial tweet. I see an ugly ratio coming

      3. marym

        There was a big twitter stir about the rounding last night, possibly started with a tweet that’s since been deleted, after many replies disputed the findings, though if you do a search its content been widely propagated on other sites. It was also disputed here on yesterday’s Water Cooler.

        The original tweeter has posted the IDP’s explanation of the discrepancy, with a further complaint about the process. The replies to this again say the calculations were within the rules.

          1. flora

            You can’t subdivide an actual human delegate into a fractionally distributed delegate. Whole person remains whole person. All the assigned precinct delegates have to be assigned – as a whole person. That’s what she lost in her analysis translating voting percentages into delegate assignments.

    4. pjay

      I saw that Ian Welsh post as well. Two thoughts as I read the piece:

      (1) It seemed to be an extraordinarily rosy post for Ian; I’d like to think he was right, but…

      (2) Even if he was correct, *it will not matter*!

      I saw the Zappa quote posted in comments again the other day. In my opinion we are getting close to that point. They are barely even trying to pretend any more. Add to that Zagonostra’s observation above: “it’s disconcerting when you talk to friends/family and they don’t know what’s going on, and worse, they don’t care.”

      I’m not advocating giving up. Just the opposite. But I think Ian was uncharacteristically optimistic.

      1. voteforno6

        People don’t give up power willingly. The reason to feel optimistic, though, is that Sanders and his campaign really do seem to be trying to win, this time. That doesn’t mean that they will. At the very least, they’re demonstrating some competence in running a campaign.

  6. Wukchumni

    Multimillionaire invents ‘bin pods’ for the homeless by joining two wheelie bins

    Bin there-done that.

    Here’s a great source for em’

    I was always of the opinion that calling unfortunates homeless, put too high of expectations upon them, maybe ‘apartmentless’ would work, but its a mouthful, and why not call them ‘time-shares’ instead?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sleepers are cautioned not to use said wheelie bins-slash-bin pods in the vicinity of any curbs.

  7. Stormcrow

    Iowa-Satellite Caucuses

    Ryan Grim of the Intercept has the best up-to-the minute coverage I can find. Pete’s lead is being cut to the bone and Sanders has a chance of winning the SDE along with the popular vote.

    The article in FAIR is also worth reading. Sorry if it has been posted before.

  8. timbers

    Perfect placement of these 2 links below. Our pretend leaders and stooges play their childish, meaningless games as we remain on CIA/FBI/National Security State auto pilot blissfully moving closer to a potential gruesome war that would, on the bright side, take our minds off Coronvirus:

    New Cold War

    Russia Alarmed by US Deployment of Low-Yield Nuclear Missiles VoA

    Trump Transition

    Nancy Pelosi was caught on camera PRACTICING ‘the rip heard round the world’ even though her office denied allegation that she planned to tear up Trump’s State of the Union all along Daily Mail. Advance work points count toward strategic genius.

    Nancy strikes me a useless rich person with nothing better in her life to do. She’d be better off getting a Labrador Retriever pup and force herself to all it’s training (no hiring it out as the rich so often do) so it bonds to her, not a trainer. It would keep her occupied for sure and be a much more constructive use of her time. If she needs human company she can to on lunches with her daughter and her crowd.

      1. Wukchumni

        That’s a very nice way of saying that Nancy looks to have had $37,577 too much worth of plastic surgery work done.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          You left off a couple zeros wuk.
          I think she should bond with a pogo stick and hop on down the road.

          1. ambrit

            Joe Rogan should have Pelosi on his show and tout it as an interview with a Zeta Reticulan overlord.

            1. polecat

              That would be a real hoot !

              .. which is why it will probably never happen – a couple of hours sitting across from Joe would have at her wits end, going through the full sequences of instar phases throughout the podcast … shedding her skin to become an adult assassin bug baring a faulty proboscis !

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Alarmed by US Deployment of Low-Yield Nuclear Missiles”

    In case of a retaliatory attack by Russian nuclear missiles, Washington has plans to evacuate – to a bunker near the West Virginian town of Golgafrincham – all hairdressers, TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives, management consultants and telephone sanitizers in order to repopulate the earth after a nuclear war.

    1. HotFlash

      But who will make their Thai takeout? Walk their dogs? Nanny their children? The future is bleak indeed!

    2. JTMcPhee

      You make a joke of it, but there really is a plan all ready in place to insure the “continuity of government, all three branches,” under the overall authority of the President of course. And with lip service paid to “comity” with other branches, and due attention to preserving “our constitutional form of government.”

      The document comes from what looks like a White House fanboy site, not the .gov establishment itself. It reads, to me at least, like a subtle parody. It’s a paraphrase of an actual National Security Presidential Directive:

      But our fearful chicken-hawk leaders are and have obviously been deadly serious.

      Duck and cover, my people!

  10. vlade

    re Tencent: IF that is correct, it would have mortality much much higher than the 2% estimated at the moment. (more like 16%) – and with way lower recovery rate (not even 300 out of 150k?).

    Tbh, the high mortality number should indicate that the virus would burn itself out quickly (I know, cynical), but at the same time, recovery of 300 out 150k is extremely low – that would indicate that a lot of cases that got ill early Jan are still ill.

  11. Ignacio

    Tencent may have accidentally leaked real data on Wuhan virus deaths Taiwan News. Input error, big time, or bona fide?

    Speculations in the morning: On this, let’s call it ‘leak’, if any of those numbers presumably published by mistake, somehow resemble reality, my guess is that these would correspond to total infectious respiratory illnesses, or may be total illnesses reported including CoV and all the rest of diseases, most of them not diagnosed for CoV, (unnecessary, ostrich strategy and/or lack of means). Regarding the number of deaths ‘leaked’ those are too high to be considered bona fide or big time or simply includes all deaths in the state and nor CoV-associated deaths. This contrasts too much with numbers reported outside China. Many less but yet significant numbers. Taiwanese media might be happy to spread the worst about mainland China so another possibility is fake picture.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Wouldn’t there be other leaks if these 10x numbers are specific to Coronavirus? Would it not be sufficiently dramatic to be near impossible, even for China, to entirely black out such information.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Simple answer to that is that yes, it would be possible to black out that information in China, at least for a few weeks. I’ve been having fun with Wechat seeing what articles are blocked – the answer is that nearly all articles that come close to contradicting the official line are well and truly blocked from all social media in China, the government has almost complete control on the spread of internal information, and there aren’t enough foreigners in the region to rely on non-Chinese sources.

        The Chinese government is extremely efficient at preventing stories they don’t like spreading internally and externally – including mass killings and incarcerations in Tibet and elsewhere. Plenty of informed observers, for example, think that the number of criminal murders (mostly knife crime) in China is vastly greater than reported figures, but nobody has been able to get firm information on it. And Wuhan is a city of 10 million, even a five figure death toll could be kept secret for some time.

        I’m not suggesting this is what is happening now – I simply don’t know. But if the Chinese government did have a policy of only reporting one tenth of cases/deaths in the interests of ‘societal harmony’, then yes, they could keep it quiet for weeks or months.

        1. Susan the other

          I think with intel satellites it would be hard to cover up the caravans of dead to mass burial or cremation. That’s at least 25,000 people in about a month.

    2. MLTPB


      Will the real mother step forward before Solomon?

      That is the reaction upon reading this: Taipei lashes out at China for blocking Taiwan’s access to the World Health Organization.

      ‘For the people, we will concede we are part of China.’

      ‘No, no, no. For our compatriots there, we will accept your claim of Taipei, Taiwan, so you can access the WHO.’

      Alas, neither side is backing down.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      First item from the list your first link points to,

      The team didn’t test whether rubbing the sanitizer over the skin causes the alcohol to penetrate the mucus and kill viruses faster, Hirose says. Rubbing might help, he acknowledged. But there’s already an easy way to kill flu viruses: Washing hands with plain water or with soap killed viruses within 30 seconds, even when the mucus was still wet.

      Of course hand washing in plain water or with soap isn’t always readily available, so back to hand wipes, scrubbing, and keeping your hands isolated for a couple of minutes.

      FWIW, I’ve been practicing not touching my face with my hands (fingers, more precisely) and it’s NOT easy for any length of time. A learned skill? As to not touching other objects to prevent spread, it’s even more difficult. I’ve been looking forlornly at the fridge door for some time now and the namd thing still wont open. Grrr.

      1. lordkoos

        I still think wearing gloves can be helpful. I’ve begun wearing thin gloves while shopping, doing errands etc. I have a UV wand which I use to sterilize the gloves when I return home. I also wash my hands properly after returning.

  12. Lee


    Would some math whiz here solve the problem below?

    The number of diagnosed coronavirus cases seem to be doubling in China about every 5 days. Assuming diagnosed cases are accurately tracking the actual number of cases, and that the rate of increase remains constant, how long before a number equal to the population of China becomes infected? Assume a population of 1 billion and that containment is unsuccessful. Assume a current case count of 30,000.

    For extra credit:

    What will Apple’s share price be in 6 months?

    I make light of this but I am in fact quite concerned, as my previous postings here on the topic will attest to. I’m in the SF bay area and two members of my household work in the mass transit system, bringing them in direct contact with hundreds of travelers every day.

    Also, if you would be so kind as to provide the formula, I could then scare the crap out of myself on my own.

    1. Acacia

      A short bit of computer code gives me 80 days, and on that 80th day the total number of cases doubles to 1.96 billion. Not a math whiz, though, so somebody else should double-check.

    2. vlade

      cases = (start cases)*2^(days/5)
      days = log_2(1bln/30k)*5 ~= 75

      Of course, you have a problem with assumptions . So for example the above assumes it doesn’t infect anyone twice (which is why it’s “cases” not “population”), that the spread speed will be constant (it wont) etc. etc.

      If I knew where Apple’s price would be in 6 months, I’d make tons of money on it (assuming there was anyone left to pay me…)

    3. Ignacio

      I don’t think the assumption is valid. Probably the % of diagnosed/infected is lower as the disease becomes endemic in a region. This is already the case in Wuhan and may also be in neighbouring regions. Let’s compare Henan, (850 confirmed) with Japan (45). In Henan there may be a few or several thousands infected while in Japan several dozens. In Japan, where diagnostic assays may be comprehensive regarding those repatriated and relatives it has been shown that the test fails in early stages of infection so they are repeating assays and the number of confirmed cases has doubled in just two days. My guess is this is not being done in many Chinese provinces.

      1. vlade

        To the instability of the tests themselves, add things like
        – human factor (a limited number of people having to do literally thousands of tests, with little time for re-checking)
        – equipment quality (presumably, in Japan they will do it not in the local hospital, like they have to do in Henan when the # of cases gets out of hand).
        etc. etc.

        Also, with the repatriated, _everyone_ is looked at. In China, they might be now literally thousands of old, single, disabled etc. people who are at home infected (or dead) and no-one has any idea, and they don’t show in any statistics. You have to show up at the hospital to be checked. If you don’t you’re not even a statistic.

        1. Ignacio

          “You have to show up at the hospital to be checked. If you don’t you’re not even a statistic.”

          That is. Also my guess is that nearly nothing is known/done in rural areas.

          1. Lee

            One expert—out of so many of late, I can’t recall which one—has stated that the actual number of cases might exceed the diagnosed case by a factor of ten (or was it 20?) of which some 15% are serious. Of the small number of resolved cases there have been 565 deaths and 1382 recovered. That’s an improvement over earlier figures when recoveries and deaths were running neck and neck.

            1. Ignacio

              One diagnosed out of ten infected is, admittedly without any supporting evidence, my rule of thumb to estimate real infections. And one out of 20 may be better for Hubei (the province that hosts Wuhan).

              I just don’t buy theories about thousands of uncounted deaths. There may be, but I would count them on the dozens.

              1. Duck1

                Looking at google I find that the death rate per 100m per year is 863. Wuhan being 11mm, the expected death rate per day is under 300. So using round numbers, you would expect the facilities for the normal death rate to be tuned to this number, with a certain amount of over capacity. So whether 24 hour crematory utilization indicates capacity usage, say double usage of 50% over capacity, that might indicate about 600 deaths per day from the disease. Just bring hypothetical here and probably screwed up the math.

                1. Duck1

                  Another factor according to the goog is that cremation takes about 3 hours in American practice. How much this can be sped up, I don’t know. There is also the complication of radiological and other toxic devices that are usually removed. Mass graves, on the other hand, should be detectable by aerial photography. Have a nice day.

    4. MLTPB

      Looking at the numbers at Timeline Wikipwdia, it’s 5 days now to double, but shorter earlier. So, it looks to be taking more days.

      And continuing my calculations from yesterday, the second derivative of the trajectory, the latest acceleration is

      (28018 – 24324) – (24324 – 20438) or -192

      Vs the day before of

      (24324 – 20438) – (20438 – 17205) or 653

      This is decelerating.

      Just one data point though (and I dont have the numbers for Wuhan alone, which would be robably more concise…the numbers are for China, I believe)

      Moving along, they plan on rounding up all infected in Wuhan, I read in the news. Have they declared martial law yet?

      And this – China may delay the annual meeting of parliament (from ForexLive)

      How did that impact the Iowa caucuses, or how will that affect primaries here, or conventions?

    5. John k

      2 to the x power times the period (5 days)
      When x = 30.4 get 1.4 billion.
      So 30.4 periods = 152 days.

      Starting mid dec, finishing mid-May…
      Well, aren’t they saying peaking April-May?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “This is how ancient Rome’s republic died – a classicist sees troubling parallels at Trump’s impeachment trial”

    Groan! OK, there may be a lot of parallels with Republican Rome and the modern United States but no, Trump is not Caesar Augustus. If that Associate Professor of Classics has drank so deeply of the Democrat Kool-aid that he is grabbing bits and pieces of Roman history to make this case, then I am glad that I will never be in his class.

    Back in 1988 Senator Lloyd Bentsen told Republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle that “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy!” So I will say right now to that Timothy Joseph that “Professor, Trump is no Caesar Augustus!” Maybe a Marcus Licinius Crassus but no, not a Caesar Augustus.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I much prefer PopeHat’s ‘Cheeto Caligula’.

      Even that is probably giving the orange-flesh-like-object too much credit, but in the wake of fools will come the Octavian so at least (as a History Major) I don’t disagree this particular historical analogy if not a direct repeat….it at least rhymes.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        When Trump gave the medal of Freedom to Limbaugh the other day it did bring to mind Caligula making his horse a Senator.

        Tiberius or Nero might be apt too, but definitely not Augustus.

    2. Carolinian

      Wait I thought Bloomberg was Crassus.

      Going by my I, Claudius yardstick we may be getting into Caligula territory.

    3. DJG

      Thanks, Rev Kev: I read the article and started wondering at assertions pretty quickly.

      First, one of the differences in the U.S. situation is that no president has ever been removed from office by the Senate. The U.S. Senate may be the most conservative branch of the U.S. government–partially from its own traditions and perquisites, partially from infestations of the likes of Manchin and Tom Cotton. So removal of a U.S. president would have no precedent, which worked in Trump’s favor. The Romans, in contrast, removed high-ranking officers of the state all the time–and terms were short. A consul served for a year.

      Also, Caesar Augustus kept protesting that he was restoring senatorial power. It may have been a gambit, but the Roman Senate had been in considerable decline.

      Further, the so-called classicist can’t tell the difference between Roman polytheism–where there was no fundamentalism because the only sacred books were the sibylline oracles–and U.S. oooshy religion of personal Jesus and automatic redemption. Augustus (a title with religious connotations) restored temples and customs. There are some great recent studies out there discussing the revival of popular religion like the cult of the Lares, which Augustus sponsored. But there was nothing in Roman times quite like what passes for religion in the U.S. of A., particularly the evangelical and fundamentalist variety. There won’t be temples to Trump. There doesn’t have to be one. U.S. religion is obedient, conformist, and self-absorbed.

      1. Roland

        The ancient Romans were polytheists and syncretists, but they were NOT religiously tolerant. They revered many gods and spirits, and they readily added to the mix, but they violently repressed many other kinds of religion, and violently imposed their own forms of worship upon other peoples.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      One other differentiation between Trump and Augustus – Trump hasn’t summarily murdered most of his extended family, but has promoted them to lucrative sinecures.

    5. Plenue

      Articles comparing ‘modern thing’ to ancient Rome are almost never useful. While Rome had (and in fact is the partial origin of) things superficially familiar to us, like the republic, a senate, elections, as well as written legal codes, and courts and lawyers, both the technical forms of these things, as well as how they functioned in practice, are almost totally alien to anything in the modern world.

      That being said, if we were to make a comparison, I’d echo Matthew and say we’re still at the Gracchi stage. There are still players who (at least partially, in the case of the Gracchi) genuinely want to reform society to improve the lot of the people at the bottom. The war between the radical reformers and the conservative establishment is still ongoing. It remains to be seen if our modern optimates also resort to assassination.

      Trump is not an Augustus. He also isn’t a fascist. Both the forms and the functions of what passes for US democracy still exist and more or less function. Any degradation is merely a continuation of a decline that has been gradual for decades and far predates the ‘Trump Era’.

  14. MT_Bill

    Pelosi having to pre-rip the pages of the State of the Union Address really shows the strength of her hand.

    Figuratively and literally.

    1. QuarterBack

      Watching the clip of Pelosi ripping pages of the SOTU speech drew me immediately to remember her explosive retort that she is incapable of hating anyone, which was as convincing as Prince Andrew saying he was incapable of sweating. It would make an interesting video to juxtapose her denying her hate next to her ripping of the pages.

      Her body language (or posturing) during the ripping was fascinating. It wasn’t one ceremonious act of ripping the speech, but a series of rips with almost shaking clenched lips, then looking forward in way that seemed be like she was trying hard to present a causal affect, but instead, it came across as creepy-sad. Her internal torment was palpable.

      1. Wukchumni

        Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t have needed to partially tear those pages.

        …he was probably my favorite Austrian ex-pat strongman leader

      2. DJG

        Arizona Slim: And I will raise your pop-culture quotient by two.

        Evidently, John Waters had a traveling show in which Divine would come on stage pushing a shopping cart, throw mackerals (yes, fish) into the audience, and then tear a telephone book in half.

        Nancy Pelosi thought that she was sending a message? My answer: Where the heck are the mackerels?

        1. Wukchumni

          Where the heck are the mackerels?

          Went to Oktoberfest once, and 4 liters of beer later on the outside of the hall I was in, was the smell of smoked mackerel on a stick being sold, which by itself didn’t make me hurl, it was that combined with the bumper cars.

    2. hamstak

      I wonder if that document really was the SOTU transcript, or if rather it was the script for the entire impeachment theatrical performance. “Well, that didn’t work out as planned…” [r-i-i-i-i-i-p]

  15. Wukchumni

    Amid Coronavirus Fears, a Mask Shortage Could Spread Globally Wired

    As he spoke on Friday morning, Bowen’s phone kept pinging, an indicator of how many orders are flowing to Prestige right now. Over four days, he said, they had done an additional $300,000 in one-time business, which is as much as their largest regular customer usually buys in a month. But at the same time, he noted, their credit card processor had declined 1,000 cards for fraud, a measure of how perilous this new spot market might be.

    I hadn’t realized that almost all masks* are made in China or other foreign countries now, not surprising. 3M just laid off 1,500 here, but is ramping up mask production @ their factories in China, and so it goes.

    In happier news, American-made Bit Mask futures have been skyrocketing as investors simply can’t get enough, get in now on the ground floor for protection against conspiracy theories and also help you avoid crypt occurancy, but wait if you buy Bit Mask now, we’ll double your order free, just pay an additional shipping charge.

    * we stand at the ready with 8x n95 masks on hand

    1. MLTPB

      I read China is planning more hospitals, and putting beds in convention centers, etc.

      That reminds of Superdome.

      Vietnam said the other day about building a hospital too. They asked for design proposals. And the question arises if China already had the plan when they said they would build one in 10 days. The other question is if using convention centers was a faster way to putting up beds. Why now, and not 10 or 14 days ago?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Limited Liability Is Causing Unlimited Harm”

    I seem to recall a 19th century definition of a limited liability company as a group of gentlemen coming together to agree what debts that they are going to pay.

    1. Dirk77

      Since I was one at one time, I suspect the author is a true libertarian. Which is a good thing since all the other self-described libertarians are hypocrites if they don’t agree with her. A commenter to that article, Vivek, attempts to invalidate the author’s argument by taking it to its absurd extreme. Which is a valid way to argue if you believe in utopias as libertarians (and socialists probably too) do. But I do not anymore. For me now, the question is whether limited liability is a social good for humans in some golden mean, middle way type of thinking. And since our knowledge is not finite and humans are not reflections of perfect beings, there is no right answer. There is only a good answer. If you agree with the idea that the government needs to correct the flaws of a market economy at least once in awhile, then limited liability is a problem as the author suggests, and something must be done. Given how bad things have got, I recommend doing away with it as a starting point – since no social democrat would mind and surely no free market person could disagree -and see where we end up.

  17. The Historian

    Re: the Real Clear article on the BRT

    That article should be renamed “The Empire Strikes Back”.

    I wonder: Do these people in their private enclaves, talking to each other, ever wonder WHY “…the collectivist sentiment is fueled by resentment against a system that they see as having treated them unfairly, distrust of public and private institutions…..”?

    “Utopian” beliefs – yea, sure. I think we know who the “utopians” are.

    1. Susan the other

      For the BRT to make a public statement like this indicates only one thing – they don’t have an acceptable solution because business has been making its profits from externalizations for decades. To regulate them properly as stakeholder institutions is to kill them as profit making institutions. But they could still be non profits – a shareholder in a non-profit (if there is such a thing) would just be putting money in a holding pattern.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Nancy Pelosi was caught on camera PRACTICING ‘the rip heard round the world’ even though her office denied allegation that she planned to tear up Trump’s State of the Union all along”

    A few weeks ago I posted a comment that Nancy would delay the impeachment right up to the Iowa Caucus but I was wrong. It did not finish until the Iowa Caucus was over and in chaos. Which makes me wonder if this was by design to – hopefully – distract people from Iowa. If so, epic fail. But an article by Caitlin Johnstone has some interesting tidbits such as when Neera Tanden tweeted “Folks who are claiming anything may be rigged sound like Trump. Exactly like him. It’s pathetic.” But Caitlin also mentioned the following-

    “A precinct chair in Iowa said the app got stuck on the last step when reporting results,” CNN reports. “It was uploading a picture of the precinct’s results. The chair said they were finally able to upload, so they took a screenshot. The app then showed different numbers than what they had submitted as captured in their screenshot.”

    1. zagonostra

      The majority of non-political folks knew about the impeachment vote and even tuned into the SOTU but didn’t know what was happening in Iowa. Cui bono? Yes indeed, the timing of these events was not co-accidental.

    2. a different chris

      >“Nancy Pelosi was caught on camera PRACTICING ‘the rip heard round the world’

      Man when I become Preznit I am going to rip up the speech myself just as I’m finishing it. Why not?

      If Trump gets a second term I’m gonna (come out of my bunker for a moment) and send them that suggestion.

  19. Wukchumni

    More Cruise Cases Found: Virus Update Bloomberg

    My mom turns 95 and we’re planning on going on a cruise in celebration of, in four months time.

    A lot or a little could happen between now & then in Coronavirus, but no way would I want to be on a big floating petri dish at this juncture with so many nationalities mingling, call me chicken of the seas, but i’ve been there done that on the SS Norovirus, once before.

    1. polecat

      Get ready for the sequels to the ‘Voyage of the Damned’ …

      .. coming to a closed home-theater near you.

      1. Wukchumni

        Cruise ships are the perfect thing if you want to combine barely touching the surface of a country where everything within reach in your 5 hour port of call is geared towards getting your money, while on board the ghost of Thomas Kinkade looms large in a strictly limited edition print up for auction, also desirous of your credit card info, yo ho yo ho, the irate life for me, not. But mom’s paying and I think her tubing days are past, so a no-go on the Mokelumne.

        1. Susan the other

          You could lease a yacht and crew and go skitch around the San Juans. Relatively safe. Maybe go sanitize the surfaces yourself before you all embark.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I beg to differ a bit. Cruises on very small ships are a great way to see Alaska. Barge cruises in France (very slow, you can bike between stops and beat the barge) are supposed to be terrific. They have a good reputation for the Greek islands. They are also a good way to see the Baltics (most spend 3 days in St. Petersburg, but you need to arrange extra time in the Hermitage, which is always packed; people with guides get to go early and have a better experience).

          1. Wukchumni

            I can only relate from my experience of a dozen cruises in 35 years on major lines going to Ak Mexico & the Caribbean. Watched it go from all inclusive pretty much, to the point on the last foray five years ago, want to go to something other than the buffet for dinner, that’ll be $35 a head.

            The most you’d get on these cruises is an overnight stay @ port where there is no Hermitage lemme tellya, nope a lot of times in Ak in particular, and other loales its a series of cruise ship owned stores hawking jewelry et al @ bargain prices, you get the nauseating feeling you can never be released from the selling game that permeates on and off shore.

            These have all been family cruises, my parents figured out that if everybody was held hostage for a week we’d socialize more than during xmas, that sort of thing.

            I’ve mostly traveled otherwise where I spent a fair amount of time getting to know a place, with no risk of a ship leaving without me, ha.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I’d never do a cruise in the Caribbean. Why not pick one nice place and hang out there?

              Just to be clear, I’m not keen on cruises in general for exactly the same reason, the amount of time you stay in each port is very arbitrary and has too much to do with the sailing time from the last and to the next port. I’m just saying there are a few types of cruises that are not too bad.

      1. Wukchumni

        There used to be coin shows held on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Ca. back in the 70’s & 80’s. I remember the wood paneling inside the ship to be quite stunning, in particular. It’d gone from troop ship carrier in WW2 to a bunch of men buying and selling old metal discs.

    2. MLTPB

      In 2015, over 56 million visitors to China, according to one site, and over 141 million in 2018, per another site.

      Close to 3 miilion from China visited the US in recent years, mainly through areas like NY, SF, LA, etc.

      That will cause some financial pain, though mass tourism is not green.

  20. Bandit

    Revolt, Populism, and Reaction

    Guirri is certainly not getting my vote for “the best CIA analyst ever”. At what point in his essay did he once mention the fact that the CIA and US government have been directly or indirectly involved in manipulating most, if not all of the the so-called “color revolutions”? What he notably left out of his essay was mention of the Ukraine coup, also no discussion of the Bolivian coup, or the Libyan coup being nothing more than a Nato regime change. Add to that the ongoing attempts to effect regime change in Venezuela. As often as not, “fake” or “disinformation” is effected by omission or serious analysis, the great sin of the msm.

    So, although the Tunisian “revolution” may have been ignited by self-immolation, what happened subsequent to that incident was not as spontaneous as first appears on the surface, opening up opportunities for foreign intervention, most of which were contrived and/or directed from abroad, often with the CIA up to its bloody neck in the planning and instigation along with other foreign actors such as George Soros.

    Since the Vietnam war, the US plan has never been to “win” wars for democracy but to create chaos and politically failed states which are unstable and easy prey for further manipulation and dominance. Populist uprisings create fertile ground for misdirection and infiltration by foreign operatives which play a large part in fomenting violence and infighting which serves to dilute the momentum toward a common, constructive goal. That said, I do agree that populism is, at its core, more of a reaction against dehumanizing, corrupt governmental forces, and against which people blindly strike out, if only for the purpose of destroying the vile status quo. It is what you get when you drive people to the edge of their common humanity.

    1. The Historian

      Gurri seems to blame the populism on information, not on the reasons why people are angry, i.e., he seems to believe that getting stabbed in the back doesn’t hurt you if you don’t know about it.

      I get the feeling from Gurri’s articles that he wants the elite to get back into control by limiting information, although he doesn’t have the balls to say it outright yet.

      1. pjay

        Yes. I read clear to the end waiting to see what kind of “structural reform” Gurri was going to advocate. I must have missed it. What I did catch was his lumping all “populist” revolts together, from Egypt to Syria to Chile to Bolivia to the Yellow Vests in France — as basically non-rational reactions to elite failure by those who lack the capacity to understand. As the author says:

        “The public in revolt disdains proposals or alternatives: it stands against. The insurgents in Tahrir Square stood against the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. The Yellow Vest Movement in France stands against a democratically elected president, Emmanuel Macron. Few distinctions are made between free and unfree systems: the public’s quarrel is with modern government as such.”

        Hmm. What is it about “modern government” that these diverse movements, in diverse contexts, oppose? What is it Gurri is really trying to say? What “reforms” is he advocating (he never tells us)?

        And thank you, Bandit, for reminding us of a central element that is, of course, left out of this narrative completely.

      2. urblintz


        “Gurri seems to blame the populism on information, not on the reasons why people are angry, i.e., he seems to believe that getting stabbed in the back doesn’t hurt you if you don’t know about it.”

        Perfectly stated T.H.

    2. Olga

      Correct… I found the piece as having too many blind spots and a bit too much pearl-clutching.
      As for bashing populism – isn’t it all upside down? The real issue is that rapacious (and, in effect, predatory) elites have been allowed to push the public (unwashed or otherwise) to the brink, with no way out. If the public resort to populism, so be it. I am sorry Mr. Gurri does not quite approve… (not that anyone asked him).
      When desperation sets in, few have the luxury to pick a “proper” response (or one that would meet the elite’s approval).
      Who said that… you go to war with the “ism” you have, not the one you wish you had.

  21. Bill Carson

    “…they leveraged their political connections to get contracts that they didn’t have the expertise to fulfill,”

    They’ve just described the Military Industrial Complex.

  22. coboarts

    Google Releases a Tool To Spot Faked and Doctored Images
    Know a guy here in Silicon Valley-ish, a serial entrepreneur, who back in the 60s developed the software to reverse engineer and identify the software inputs that were applied to an image for US intel – not new.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t think there is any evidence at all of a swing to nationalism by younger Irish voters. What is attracting them I think is the notion of a more radical and nationalist brand of left wing party. I think the appeal of SF is less ‘they will bring a United Ireland’, than ‘they will actually fight for Irish interests’.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks Colonel, its unfortunate that the Guardian picked probably the least illuminating of political writers in Ireland to write about the topic.

      I think everyone (including Sinn Fein) is pretty dumbfounded by the recent polls – nobody will really believe there has been this sort of swing until the election. There is the possibility of things changing rapidly – Irish electorates have a habit of ‘reverting to the mean’ when it comes to filling out ballots. I suspect SF won’t do quite as well as those polls project. However, the last Euro/local election has shown that the Irish electorate has become much more volatile than thought – the Greens were the big winners, getting a far bigger vote than anyone expected.

      This is all a big surprise in that this should be an election with no surprises. The economy is doing very well, the government did a good job with Brexit, most problems in the country are those of relative success (not enough housing, rising prices, overstuffed infrastructure). So the general heave of unhappiness against the status quo has taken everyone by surprise.

      When pollsters first started identifying a ‘get the bums out’ feeling in the electorate, this was assumed to be good news for the opposition, FF. But to their horror, it seems people actually remember they were in change when the economy crashed, so they are also getting the backlash.

      The question is, why Sinn Fein? The polls indicate that with the exception of the Greens (in Ireland, the Greens are very much of the conservative centrist brand), the rest of the left is not benefiting at all – in fact the assorted Trots who make up the rest of the left look like losing most of their seats, and the Irish Labour Party is facing annihilation. There are no organised far right parties of any significance in Ireland.

      I think there are two factors at work. One is that most Irish people under 40 simply don’t have a party affiliation (unlike their parents, who would normally have been do-or-die FG or FFers) and so are more prone to follow trends. This has had the effect of making the electorate highly volatile – when parties are relatively non-ideological (and most Irish parties avoid too strong an identification with left or right or anything else), and when people don’t have an emotional attachment to a party, then you can get very wild swings, which is what we are seeing.

      The second is that Sinn Fein are finally benefiting from years of on the ground work intended to ‘detoxify’ themselves from IRA connections, while building themselves up as an anti-establishment force. For years, relentless attacks by all newspapers and establishment outlets put a roof on their popularity – essentially, they were the party of hard line nationalists and disgruntled male working class voters. But all the attacks have simply run out of steam.

      So essentially people sick and tired of the two establishment parties have looked wider, and they see a party with just enough radical chic to look like a real alternative, but also look ‘ordinary’ enough not to be too scary. The Irish Labour Party destroyed themselves by embracing austerity and IdPol politics, and the far left are so factional nobody treats them seriously anymore. There is no appetite for the far right in Ireland, mostly because SF has been so successful at developing a brand of unashamedly nationalist (but staunchly anti-racist) left of centre politics. Although in truth nobody has much idea of what it would look like in power.

      So, it does look like this election will, to everyones surprise, be genuinely revolutionary in Irish politics. As I’ve said, things could change quickly, and the approach of a big storm for election day is another possible unknown to throw into the mix (it won’t affect rural people voting, they are a hardy bunch – but it may put off lots of younger voters).

      My guess is that SF and the Greens will struggle to turn their votes into seats, simply because neither are running enough candidates. At a general guess, I think the numbers will look something like as follows (80 needed to form a government):

      FF – 55
      SF – 35
      FG – 35
      Greens – 12
      Assorted soft left – 7
      Assorted hard left – 5
      plus independents and others.

      The assumption before the election was that the most likely coalition would be FF+Greens+Labour. But I don’t see them getting the numbers. So you can see that the only alternative to FF with SF is FF and FG, but for those who know Irish politics (and is baffling to outsiders given how hard it is to tell them apart ideologically), this is almost unthinkable.

      So I really have no idea what the new election will look like, the only real certainty seems to be that both SF and the Greens will be major players.

    2. a different chris

      Scroll down and look at the picture. All three are speaking at once.

      Pretty much sums up our times.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I have a reply in moderation – on the assumption that it’ll pop out, I’ll add in this link which I wrote after reading it – the Irish Times main number crunchers predictions:

      My final seat prediction:
      Fianna Fáil: 53
      Fine Gael: 38
      Sinn Féin: 28
      Labour Party: 8
      Green Party: 14
      Social Democrats: 3
      Sol-PBP: 2
      Others: 14
      NOTE: 80 seats required to form a government

      I’m pleased to see its not too different from my wild guesses. My only quibble is that I really don’t see labour getting 8 seats, I think they are so hated now they will not get transfers (Ireland uses proportional transfer voting).

      So from almost any prediction there is no clear government – the only real outcome is that Labour, traditionally the main ‘alternative’ party to the big two will have been decisively replaced by SF and by the Greens.

  23. Ignacio

    German state gets new governor, with far-right votes AP (GP)

    Well he lasted 24hrs as governor and has already resigned under pressure. Can you imagine a furious Merkel?

  24. vlade

    DesMoines report:
    The interesting bit is that Mayor Pete has not that much more first-alignement votes than Warren (36k vs 32k).

    When you look at who he probably took votes from, Yang stands out with almost 7 thousands votes lost between first and final (Biden, Klobutchar and Steyer each losing about 2k), so whatever way the final was split (Bernie and Warren were both +2k first vs final, the only other two with more final than first), most of those must have gone to MP. Which, if I was on his campaign, is what I’d harp on for now – that he’s collecting a lot of second preferences. That said, IMO it will be second preference of Warren (and her supporters) that will make or break Sanders at DNC. We can take it for granted that Bidenites will move behind MP if they have to (more likely than either Sanders or Warren).

    1. urblintz

      Yes. And Warren would do much to improve her tattered reputation if she endorsed Bernie while demonstrating the sincerity of her proclaimed “progressive” values.

      I won’t exactly hold my breath but enthusiasm has been curbed.

      1. Ignacio

        The NH debate will be important but I don’t think Sanders should make noises about Iowa. He has to keep focused. Most important for Sanders, as for any truly progressive candidate is turnout IMO.

          1. Ignacio

            Well said! …emmm, Well written! Exacto, los votantes tradicionales se pasarán de Biden a Buttigieg como dijo vlade. ;)

            (only this minor correction: Ojalá)

        1. flora

          +1. The Dem estab used impeachment to distract from the Iowa caucus. Don’t let them use the Iowa caucus to distract from what’s happening in N.H. and the debate.

    2. jrs

      Only for a long time research was showing Biden supporters second choice was Sanders, it could be wrong of course, but it was polling, not assumptions.

  25. chuck roast

    Re: Limited Liability Causing Unlimited Harm

    As I tap away I was sure that their are any number of diligent young nimrods attending a class in Micro-economics 102 learning about the costs of “externalities” and how with the right “tax” this economic insult can be “internalized” and made Pareto Optimal. Cool! Down the hall a lesser number of advanced nimrods are sitting in Micro 202 moving those marginal cost and benefit curves around with the surety that a satisfactory competitive equilibrium can be reached, and an efficient, optimal and happy outcome will result. Then I read this…

    …limited liability insulates investors from the externalities created by the companies they own:

    Oh, the horror! More precious young minds damaged, perhaps beyond repair, by the dreaded Neo-classical negative externality of micro-economics.

    1. notabanktoadie

      …limited liability insulates investors from the externalities created by the companies they own:

      If limited liability were gone, would that not incentivise companies to finance with new share issuance – in order to spread the risk around?

      And isn’t that good since the more broadly a company is owned, the less likely the owners themselves can escape externalities?

      True, the voting power of existing share holders would be diluted but as for their wealth, how would that be reduced anymore than by any other HONEST* finance method?

      *excluding, of course, borrowing at unethically produced low interest rates, a current favorite.

  26. antidlc

    So I got a text from the Bloomberg campaign today. (Don’t know how they got my phone number.)

    So tempted to reply back, “Dude, you really have the wrong number.”

    Better to just ignore or to push back?

    1. urblintz

      push back. send them the “wrong number” quip in the subject line

      you can also block their address but retain it in your list and send them little nuggets daily to which they can’t respond. I’ve been doing that to the DCCC for months now and have not gotten a “mail not delivered” notice so I hope they’ve gotten through. If nothing else if makes their little lives a bit busier.

    2. ambrit

      Any call back puts you on the “live sucker” list and guarantees you lots more texts and calls going forward. Ignore the text.

      1. Michael

        I can tell you for sure that this isn’t true for Bernie. If you explicitly say “opt out” or ” unsubscribe” or something unambiguous, you will be removed.

  27. antidlc

    Can someone help me out here, please?

    I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the shenanigans in Iowa.

    Basic questions: Is there any way to audit the results that are being posted?

    Is there a composite list that is publicly posted where each precinct captain can check what the IDP/DNC is reporting?

    There were some reports that the Sanders campaign had a paper trail. If so, is their paper trail being checked against the reported results?

    Bonus question: Can we trust any of the results being reported?

    1. anonymous

      Every precinct and satellite is listed here by the Iowa Democratic Party:
      The Sanders campaign had its precinct captains submit their precinct results to the campaign, so the campaign is checking the posted results against the campaign’s internal numbers. I would imagine that every caucus chair and precinct captain is checking the IDP reported results for accuracy. Once the reported results have been thoroughly vetted (I would say when Sanders is satisfied), we will be able to trust them.

      1. antidlc

        THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

        I have been sidetracked and haven’t been able to follow this whole thing as closely as I would have liked.

        Again, thanks.

    2. urblintz

      There is a theory amongst Bernie supporters that he has, and has always had, the numbers and that he knows he won… that he had his own, and better, tech to calculate accurate results and that early on he stopped the shaninigans in their tracks (Sander’s early release of 60% showing he was leading was shot across bow of idp and dnc)… that he had lawyered up and forced the abandonment of the suspect app in favor of the paper trail.

      I can not provide a link and the above may be my own extrapolation from many sources, especially tweets, when it was already way past my bedtime.

      Like I said it’s just a theory but if true, Bernie was ready this time.

      1. Dan

        It’s become pretty clear to me that this is the case. The Sanders campaign expects every dirty trick in the book to played against them and then some. They’re fully prepared and have been quite strategic so far in how they respond, knowing when to take the high road and when to push back publicly.

    3. allan

      Shorter DNC: We will not go gentle into that good night:

      Tom Perez @TomPerez
      Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.
      12:18 PM · Feb 6, 2020

      Translation: Bernie caught up and and we need to throw some sand in the works.

      1. katiebird

        Perez has had enough!? This is crazy. Who will do this reCanvass? Who will witness. It should be broadcast live on CSPAN.

      2. Woodchuck

        Honestly I just burst out laughing when I saw the news of the recanvasing.

        Ya, we’re at 97% now, this is AS FAR as we can manage without saying Sanders won. We did our very, very best and it’s becoming hard to justify not being able to count 3% of the results for an entire day. Come on, New Hamphire is just around the corner, can we PLEASE just delay it a few more days? Take the week-end off and let’s recount everything next week!

        It’s such a grotesque farce at this stage it’s insane. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore.

        1. flora

          They’re desperate to stop any possibility of a ‘Sanders Wins’ headline before the New Hampshire primary. This is getting close to the ‘throw everything, including the kitchen sink’ stage of panic, imo.

          Or maybe they’re trying to keep eyes off their ‘activities’ in the upcoming debate and the New Hampshire primary.

          Ignore TP.

        2. David Carl Grimes

          Jimmy Dore is going to have a field day with this recanvassing. They’re doing a recount of the recount. I can’t wait for the video on YouTube

      3. Grant

        And Democrats just sit and watch and let a small group of corrupt parasites irreversibly destroy their party. People should make his life a living hell. All the people in his party that worked hard, took off of work and school, drove long distances to support various candidates, and this corrupt ghoul just steps in to stop the democratic process from happening. Should be illegal.

        Bernie has to call out Perez, the DNC and the IDP and the debate. Many supporters of other candidates are on board and are angry too. Warren and Yang have been harmed too. It would take far less guts than standing firm on single payer, so stop the nice guy stuff with this.

        1. flora

          Perez and the DNC are doing a fine job of trashing themselves. I think Sanders is right to let them go on wading ever deeper into the pile of stuff they’ve made, discrediting themselves far better than anyone else could. Something about not stopping your opponent when he’s making mistakes. heh.

  28. Jason Boxman

    The Democrat Party, which is to say the grifters, hacks, and sociopaths that comprise it, ought to be treated to a lifetime of Trump as president for their transgressions, in some separate universe into which we discard them. I can think of no better fate for such upstanding individuals.

  29. Carey

    Well, my local clerk-recorder, who sent me the wrong ballot early this week, now has an answering machine on all the time, instead of the nice lady who helped™ me a few weeks ago. Left a message, of course; waiting… waiting… waiting…


      1. Carey

        You are welcome. I’ll write a little more about my experience with the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s office tomorrow, most likely.

        Short version: FUD all the way down, for those of us who’ve switched from No Party Preference to Democrat in an effort to get our votes counted. IMO, of course.

        Dem Party new CA registrations would be an interesting stat. :)

  30. Observer

    The via link above the photo doesn’t work – Antidote du jour (via):

    I enjoy seeing a few details about the photo that via provides. Thank you!

  31. Aron Blue

    re: Networked Up

    I was most interested to read this because of the way I travel. He certainly captures the road. The structure of personal-theory-personal-theory is not quite my thing, but that’s a preference. Also .. seemed like there was a strange braggadocio to the whole piece. Also, cocaine for breakfast. Ew.

    It is true that the road increases one’s dependence on social media. I had a flip phone until 2017. Now I’m the person at the bar scrolling away.

  32. katiebird

    Perez Tweet:

    Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.

    My head is spinning!

  33. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Scientists built an AI to figure out what the universe is made of

    Oooh oooh, I know this one! It’s 42.

    1. notabanktoadie

      Not so far fetched Biblically since:

      7 = number of God
      6 = number of Mankind.

      And 7 TIMES 6 = what?

    1. flora

      Does anyone at this point think the DNC and Perez are *not* corrupt? Or that they’ll limit their corrupt vote manipulations to one small state’s caucus?

    1. Wukchumni

      The Deval is in the details of how the Donkey Show tried to hide Bernie votes in the nether regions.

      Everything they’ve done so far is just stall for time, let it sink in that Mayo Pete won, until the real number comes along eventually, like so much stale bread only good for making breadcrumbs of.

  34. Samuel Conner

    It will be interesting to see how Fearless Leader interacts with the cluster-thing that the Iowa caucus has become.

    On one hand, it provides loads of grist for assertions of how corrupt and shameless establishment Ds are and how one cannot trust elections that they run — which reinforces his claim of fraudulent D majority in the national popular vote in 2016.

    On the other hand, to draw attention to this risks “elevating” the Sanders campaign, which I suspect DJT fears every bit as much as does the D establishment.

    On the horns of a dilemma …

  35. nippersmom

    Just saw Sanders deliver an update on Iowa. He is claiming ~6000 vote advantage in popular vote. He also clarified that SDEs are not the same as national delegates, and actually have no bearing on the votes cast at the convention with the restructuring that occurred effective this caucus. Sanders expects that he and Buttigieg will end up with about the same number of delegates. He estimates total turnout in the 180,000 range, which he admits is lower than he’d hoped for. One positive trend he noted: in 2016, about 18% of the voters were 29 or under; in 2020, 24% were in that age group.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Low turnout is fine as long as it’s the older and more right wing “land line” Dems staying home.

  36. vlade

    I wonder, is there anything that would stop the Iowa Democrats publishing the (digitally) signed scans of all relevant ballot papers?

    Tbh, if you did want to really do a proper transparent democracy for the new age, you’d use paper ballots that would be scanned, the scans digitally signed by a number of verification officers (i.e. people who will officially count the votes anyways, so if they do want to make a fraud, they can even now) and made publicly available.

    It’s extremely unlikely that you can tell an individual voter from a ballot scan (and if you can, you can from a paper too, so it’s not a new problem), and anyone wishing to would be able to do a recount by themselves. And I have little doubt that the Iowa count would be done by now, probably tripple verified by various candidates teams (and republicans).

  37. VP

    I just got a text from the Sanders campaign requesting a donation. The text says that “ Bernie WON IOWA with 6000 more votes”!!!!!!!!!!!

    Looks like the campaign will force the hand of DNC.

  38. Hoppy

    I thought for sure someone must of hacked Perez’s twitter account. There is no way he could be that stupid or corrupt.

    Turns out he is both.

  39. Oregoncharles

    “Revolt, Populism, and Reaction
    The turbulent 2010s may be a harbinger of things to come”

    A must-read, I think, although I have idea who Martin Gurri is nor “Mercatus,” the site where this appears. Ironically, Gurri is right out of the Blob, a former CIA analyst. But then, so are Ray McGovern and his colleagues. There are nits I would pick on particular points, but I don’t think they matter. His analysis of the wave of “populism” makes sense to me; it would qualify as a summary of discussions here on NC.

    More significant, and subject to discussion, is his claim that the wave of revolts result from elite loss of control over information. (Mere elite decadence – Iowa – might also be a factor; they simply aren’t competent to manage the challenges.) On a personal note, I actually saw this predicted by a friend of my father’s, the then-president of Bell Labs, in a speech he gave to various business associations. I was sent a copy. In essence (and from memory), he predicted that as the information economy – which Bell Labs was helping build – expanded, the elites were going to get caught. The public would be much more able to see what they’re doing – and, as it turns out so far, more able to co-ordinate their response. Gurri is saying he was right.

    There was another, unintended aspect of the speech that bothered me, and is also showing up in current events: a speedup in the rate of social and technical change. He was pretty self-satisfied about that, since his company was helping drive it, but in fact he portrayed a whole society driving faster and faster into a dark and stormy night, with the fog getting thicker, because we simply couldn’t see ahead – despite the barrage of information. It’s easy to think of examples; global cooking is just one example. So is the inability to control epidemics because the firewalls are gone.

    Anyway, good, thought-provoking piece; thank you.

  40. Tomonthebeach

    Accusations, true or false, that the Iowa caucus was rigged reflect one thing. There is little faith in the DNC playing fair with Bernie – ever. So when the caucus ran aground, reporters immediately looked into who developed the little app that couldn’t. Big surprise, the Clinton Machine’s fingerprints were all over the crime scene. Just a few days earlier, DNC boss Perez submitted a list of kingmakers that read like “Archenemies of Bernie.”

    So hell, yes! Most of us reacted with disgust and resignation – “It’s rigged. It’s the Clintons.” Even if it cannot ever be proved who put their thumb on the scale, the DNC set themselves up for the fall.

    1. Whoamolly

      I don’t believe for a second that highly paid, competent app designers could not build “a little app that could count”.

      Looks to me like someone said, “Sanders must not win. Make it look like an accident”

  41. Micky9finger

    Realclearmarkets on business round tables statement on corpoate purpose. Second Yves’s sigh.
    Is that the real george shultz who is at least 99 and still working on his Reaganomics?
    We forgot to mention executives salaries being linked to stock values and hence executives manipulating stock value through short term to greatly increase their pay out. Very often through shady techniques which harm the companies long term value.
    Also usually left out in these kind of arguments but always pointed out by William Black is. Gresham’s law. This states that you cannot compete with a dishonest business, one which cheats. The honest business is forced to cheat just to compete on level ground.
    All the holy bs about god’s rule to increase value as a holy mission which cannot be interfered with is reagonomics bs. The end

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