Links 2/8/2020

Lambert provided a ton of links two days ago and today to help reduce the load on my bum hand. So thanks to him!

Adorable dog takes the bus alone to her favorite dog park every day Daily Mail (David L)

Australia floods: Fire-hit Australia faces ‘dangerous’ downpours BBC

High water wreaks havoc on Great Lakes, swamping communities Associated Press (David L)

Record Antarctic temperature met with the sound of cracking ice Financial Times. Implicit Gibson timeline of Jackpot starting ~2027 looking accurate….

Climate Change Predictions Have Suddenly Gone Catastrophic. This Is Why Vice (David L)

Armed ecoguards funded by WWF ‘beat up Congo tribespeople’ Exclusive: Inquiry into $21.4m conservation project reports ‘credible’ evidence of abuse Guardian (JTM)

Mother Meets Recreation of Her Deceased Child in VR RoadtoVR. Turtle: “I’m not sure what to say about this, except that it instantly triggered that ‘this just doesn’t seem right’ feeling for me.”

Credit Suisse reels as Tidjane Thiam exits the stage FT

Far-right German political crisis: what’s next after Thuringia governor resigns? EuroNews. More Thuringia coverage. Thread:

 

There’s a history here.

Coronavirus

Couple quarantined on ship plead to be evacuated Asia Times. Kevin W: “Unintentionally Funny. I can hear them now – ‘But, but, we’re special!'”

Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China JAMA

China Sacrifices a Province to Save the World From Coronavirus Bloomberg. Back at ya. Thread:

 

It’s fascinating to see the #2019-nCoV and 2020 stories unfold in parallel; we can see different two approaches to propaganda in action at once.

Xi talks with Trump over phone on novel coronavirus outbreak Xinhua

White House asks scientists to investigate origins of coronavirus ABC

What happens next in the coronavirus outbreak? We mapped 8 scenarios. Vox

WHO warns of global shortage of coronavirus protective equipment Reuters

China?

Chip Industry Had Worst Sales Year Since Dot-Com Bubble Burst Bloomberg

India Arrests Top Kashmiri Leaders Under Controversial Public Safety Act The Diplomat

Syraqistan

Is Iraq About To Switch From US to Russia? Econospeak

«A murderous system is being created before our very eyes» Republik

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

German TV Exposes the Lies That Entrapped Julian Assange Consortium News (Chuck L)

Paper Masks Are Fooling Facial Recognition Software Entrepreneur

Tesla Remotely Disables Autopilot On Used Model S After It Was Sold The Verge

US Appeals Court Will Not Reconsider Net Neutrality Repeal Ruling Reuters

Trump Transition

Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman escorted from White House The Hill and Trump Fires Gordon Sondland, Ambassador Who Testified in Probe Bloomberg

Mexico, Under U.S. Pressure, Adds Muscle to Fight Against Drug Cartels Wall Street Journal

Video From Inside ICE Detention Center Shows Detainees Being Pepper-Sprayed NPR (David L)

2020

Love the billionaire bucks flooding the 2020 elections? Thank Charles Koch Guardian (resilc)

Iowa debacle fueled by anti-Bernie billionaires, Russiagate hucksters, failed DNC elites Aaron Mate, Greyzone (JS)

Shadow’s Cancelled Nevada Caucus App Had Errors, Too Vice

 

A note from PlutoniumKun: “Since election counts are in the news… here’s how Ireland does it…And yes, its paper ballots, and they are counted in full view of a public gallery.” Let’s keep this as simple as possible: Should you vote all the way down the ballot paper? The Journal

Front-runners Buttigieg and Sanders beat back debate attacks AP. Stoller:

 

Keep the caucuses, purge the party The Gazette

Bernie Sanders showed us he’s a very skilled politician Matthew Yglesias, Vox. Watch out….

‘We Have To Be A Little Wary’: Jobs Report Marred By Revisions, Overshadowed By Virus Heisenberg

CalPERS Critic Left Off Investment Committee Chief Investment Officer

PG&E Has a Survival Plan, and Newsom Has Plan B: A Takeover New York Times (Kevin W). IMHO Newsom does not have much spine, and he’ll fold unless noise from voters and enough other interests (businesses who have too much to lose with insufficient changes at PG&E) backs him into a corner.

Impeachment

In another Trump win, court tosses Democrats’ suit over his businesses Reuters. “A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the more than 210 House of Representatives and Senate Democrats lacked the required legal standing to bring the case.” So the way to have handled emoluments was impeachment. Oh well.

Impeachment Witnesses Furious With Bolton For ‘Cashing In’ On Crisis The American Conservative

Class Warfare

AI in the adult industry: porn may soon feature people who don’t exist Guardian (resilc)

There are no affordable houses left in Sydney or Melbourne Macrobusiness

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus. Dan K: “This image was sent to me with explanation that the keeper forgot to put the frames in so bees built as they felt fit. Airflow/temp regulation!”

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381 comments

  1. CoryP

    The meet-your-dead-child-in-VR thing is so horrific I almost teared up reading the headline.

    Reminds me of the situation with DiCaprio’s character in Inception, a storyline that I have found terribly moving every time I watch it. I can understand the impulse to torture oneself like this, but it seems like a really bad idea…

    The porn deepfake article seems like a more appropriate use for this kind of tech. Though that’s probably equally damaging in a different way.

    My god, the times we live in…

    Reply
    1. New Wafer Army

      I hate the tech industry so much. Was there ever a sector that attracted so many degenerates, sociopaths, charlatans and thieves? Organized religion, law or politics perhaps, but a long, long, way behind.

      PS, note to tech-douches, I know I’m typing on a computer connected to the internet. Go suck rotten eggs.

      Reply
      1. marcyincny

        Isn’t it the story of humans? No matter the idealism, the purity of intention at the beginning of an enterprise, eventually the “degenerates, sociopaths, charlatans and thieves” always, always find a way…

        Reply
        1. Milton

          I’m thinking those negative traits only appeared when humans first started accumulating resource surpluses. The dawn of capitalism.

          Reply
          1. For what it's worth

            The accumulation of resource surpluses started when humans became non-nomadic agriculturalist, the dawn of patriarchy, way before capitalism.

            Reply
            1. witters

              “The accumulation of resource surpluses started when humans became non-nomadic agriculturalist, the dawn of patriarchy, way before capitalism.”

              Its more interesting and complicated. Have a look at James C Scott’s book “Against the Grain.”

              Reply
          2. Oregoncharles

            That’s the dawn of civilization; capitalism is a recent development.

            Unfortunately, there’s archeological evidence of hunter-gatherers doing really nasty stuff. Seems to be part of the human inheritance.

            Reply
            1. polecat

              ‘I now own the Digital Conch !

              so, Who Will Dig My Vibe ??’

              .. except that the everyday mopes are the dead ..

              Reply
      2. D. Fuller

        The tech industry promised to be the 4th wave, the information economy. They have only managed to improve how fast we get ads. The information they sell is obtained from surveillance. The whole “4th wave” was created by tech companies to sell each other and corporations and government, personal information.

        What’s so new about that? It’s practically self-dealing. The computer is still doing what it was doing 40 years ago. Besides improvements in hardware? It’s like “financial innovation” on Wall Street is just a rehash of old financial scams dressed up in new terminology.

        Computing power has increased. Programs have improved. However, what is new? Literally NOTHING. So, the tech industry has to conjure up magic, poorly at that. What does the tech industry do?

        VR children. What’s next? VR pets? Already happened. VR world? Sort of – Second Life comes to mind.

        Tech has no new ideas. To keep their market growing? The Internet of Sh*t meets VR sh*t. Uber? Lyft? It’s an app… not a company.

        The whole 4th Wave Information Economy? Applying computers to what was already being done. And then practically self-dealing among each other in information. They are their own, self-dealing economy in a market they themselves are not only the buyers, but the sellers.

        With globalism? There are too many players fighting for a slice of the economic pie. Inflation is the only growth industry.

        Reply
        1. kiwi

          Nothing has improved probably in a couple of decades. Tech is just a super-massive black hole sucking up $$$$$$.

          Now, tech is actually consuming more time because of all of the “improvements” and changes that tech imposes on us.

          I used to be able to pay my bills easily and quickly electronically, but now, some banks insist on texting a code to my phone and I have to wait and wait (forget about an email – that will take hours) to authenticate and pay.

          At work, we now have to log on, then get called, and have to press “1” to get the computer to log in.

          These examples may seem slight, but the time gobbled up by tech just keeps increasing.

          Not to mention all the frankenstein patches done by techies for applications….

          Then there is excel, always moving up and down on its own, then it tries to do stuff you don’t want to do because it thinks it knows what you want to do.

          Reply
          1. Felix_47

            Especially in medicine. Between the lawyers and the word processing it has driven us into documentation insanity. I don’t see a way out at this point.

            Reply
      3. notabanktoadie

        Was there ever a sector that attracted so many degenerates, sociopaths, charlatans and thieves?

        But who does more real damage, them or “respectable” bankers, priests and ministers?

        Besides, “the fish rots from the head down”, doesn’t it?

        Reply
      4. EGrise

        Was there ever a sector that attracted so many degenerates, sociopaths, charlatans and thieves?

        My vote would be for the legal profession.

        Reply
      5. Ed Miller

        “I hate the tech industry so much” – they learned from the MIC, which has funded tech’s development in more ways than most know.

        Reply
      6. hunkerdown

        To be fair, every gold rush draws charlatans.

        The Berman’s field grouse isn’t a very enlightening animal.

        Reply
      7. Rex

        So which are you in your particular industry? Darling degenerate, sassy sociopath, charming charlatan, or nimble thief?

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      There is a small cemetery halfway between my home and town and is old enough so that the older grave markers are written in German because they were the first colonists here. Not that long ago you could see a woman there daily. Her 18-month old child had died and she could not come to terms with it. She would be there every day for hour, often with her other children, and this went on month after month. The grave itself had been turned into a shrine for this child and it was covered with toys and the like. It was all very tragic and sad to see. If deceased VR children were widespread, I have my fear on how it would have affected this poor woman and I would not want to find out.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        A friend of mine is an only child. His mother had had several miscarriages. His mom would require him to “celebrate” their “birthdays” each year. I don’t know if there is a connection here, but he has spent his long career treating the mentally ill.

        My own mother was in so much pain after a still birth that she largely disappeared into a liquor bottle during her non-working hours for a number of years.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        So Silicon Valley can salve this poor woman’s grief with a counterfeit child (as long as she can make the E-Z monthly payments on the avatar, I assume). Whereever the data center for this project lives, I hope somebody pulls the plug on it.

        Reply
    3. Hank Linderman

      I have a friend who is a therapist and VR pioneer. He uses VR to help vets with PTSD deal with losses sustained in battle by recreating the situation where the soldier lost their arm or when their buddy was killed. It’s a way they can face horrible events in a safe environment – it can be toned down or shut off if it’s too difficult. So, I can see where this could be helpful in therapy – being able to *talk* to a lost or estranged family member for example.

      VR is also being used to create virtual job interviews for autistic kids and PTSD victims. It gives them a chance to practice before they face the real thing.

      Virtual therapists are also used for early stages of PTSD therapy – sometimes it’s easier to talk to a screen than to a real human.

      Reply
      1. CoryP

        I can see how that would be useful, and I would accept evidence that it does help people even as done in the linked article. Mine was just a gut emotional reaction.

        Reply
          1. Lambert Strether

            > It is creepy on the surface.

            I think it’s creepy all the way down. We’re going to kludge VR on top of failed human relationships? Nothing about this is good. Or sustainable (although, to be fair, useful during and after The Jackpot).

            Reply
        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Reminds me of Tarkovsky’s original Russian version of ” Solaris ” which on my 2nd watch years later really brought home the potential horror of someone deeply loved returning from the dead, as by that time I had lost 3 people who were very close to me.

          I suspect on going by how that film made me feel it could be dangerous to one’s mental health & it appears to me to be unnatural in the sense of letting go & moving on, while I do hope that I am wrong in the sense that it eases the agony rather than prolonging it.

          The likes of a brilliant Irish lady counsellor i had is what I would recommend.

          Reply
        2. turtle

          Thank you CoryP, I had a similar gut reaction to yours when I saw the article so I submitted it. I should have mentioned that there are indeed proven therapeutic uses of VR, but I hadn’t heard of anything like this case before.

          Reply
        1. Calvin

          Don’t forget “Volver” from Spain.

          The woman’s dead mother appears under her bed every night and talks to her. At least the dust bunnies disappeared.

          Reply
      2. turtle

        Thank you Hank. Yes, I should have mentioned when I submitted the article to NC that there are indeed several proven therapeutic and practical uses of VR beyond games, including all kinds of exposure therapy for phobias, training, etc. I just had a gut reaction to this particular story though. Who knows, maybe there would be legitimate uses for a situation like this one as well, supervised by a psychologist.

        Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Max Headroom, Episode 8, “Deities”, initial air 9/25/1987. The leader of the Vu Age church, who happens to be Carter’s ex-girlfriend, kidnaps Max from Network 23 and threatens to erase him to prevent Carter from running a story exposing the church’s false claim of saving its parishioners’ minds as AI constructs.

        Reply
      1. chuckster

        This may have other possibilities. If we could get a VR setup where Hillary is president and all she has to do is put on the glasses to hear “Hail to the Chief” as she walks around the virtual Rose Garden then maybe we would never have to hear from her again.

        Reply
          1. OIFVet

            I have it from reliable sources that this morning one of the candidates was overheard in NH: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the rattiest of them all?” No idea who it could be.

            Reply
        1. ambrit

          You underestimate HRH HRC’s narcissism. She would mandate all, at the least Federal employees, ‘partake’ of that “alternate reality” for an hour every day. Something like Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate” turned on it’s head into “The Hillary Love Hour.”
          Imagine if the “Hillary Alt-Real” invaded all the VR gaming platforms? Gamers are already a ‘driven’ subset of the human race, and this could program many of them into “True Belief.”
          As the Gibson character of Conner from the last two books shows, some people would not want to “come back.” The “Alt-Real” programs would not only thoroughly ‘alienate’ individual humans, but could also be manipulated to ‘alienate’ them in ‘preferred’ directions.
          The short lived television show “Harsh Realm” (1999-2000) was beginning to grapple with this issue.
          Harsh Realm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harsh_Realm
          The VR takes over the world idea is also prominent in the work of Simon Stalenhag.

          Reply
      2. jhallc

        Not sure how this is really all that different from dreaming about a lost one, which can be a positive or negative experience. Admittedly it’s not something I would choose to do.

        Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      in my Bee Tree—an ancient, gnarly post oak; hive is in a hollow lateral branch, about 6 feet off ground, and about 6 foot long, maybe as big around as my leg.
      the hole is fist size,at about the midpoint…with a spotlight, you can see the comb. from what i can see, it appears to be all swirly like the picture.
      another…much, much larger post oak…this time with a hollow trunk, maybe 5 foot in diameter….fell over at MIL’s place in town(because it was hollow, thus weaker).
      giant beehive inside it…tubular, 3+ feet in diameter, and 6+ foot tall.
      very much all swirly like the pic.
      beautiful.

      i put my new top bar hive next to my bee tree last fall.(scrap wood and tin. cost only screws and white paint i had laying around)
      since the bees are out and about so early, and there’s no flowers yet, i’ve been feeding them sugared honey at the entrance to the top bar.
      i’ve observed them going in and out…presumably checking out the new digs.
      waiting on tax return/eitc to get the bee suit, smoker, etc.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        Worlds cheapest bee suit: Tyvek “bunny suit” like what industrial painters wear. Had a guy at work keeping bees, that’s what he was using. You can find them for $10 cheap at home depot, lowes, or whatever hardware/home center you have

        Reply
      2. Stephen V

        Best of luck Anfortas. Imho wild bees are the way to go! You might check locally for used equipt. If you happen to have access to some fresh lemon balm you might give the inside of your catcher hive a good rub down! And I pray for a cloud of bees landing on your hive on the first really warm day…

        Reply
    2. polecat

      That picture reminds me of the kind of hives some japanese beekeepers use. No frames, just 2 crossing wires centered within the square box sections, thus allowing the bees to construct their comb in a somewhat less ‘humanly rigid’ manner. The problem here, is that when it comes time to harvest the honey, one has to run a taunt wire between the boxes to separate the comb .. possibly damaging, or worse .. killing the queen in the process .. should she be unlucky enough to be in harms way.
      Authorities here in the States discourage such supposed randomness, due to inspections .. by ag inspectors primarily … being difficult to do, without destroying the bees ‘digs’, making it harder for inspectors to diagnose certain disease/pest issues.
      I believe bridge-combing, can happen within colonies housed in human constructions .. frames, bars, and whatnot .. are a response to the honeybee’s natural inclination to regulate the interior environment to Their specifics, not ours. It certainly makes things more difficult where comb removal is concerned .. from a bee whisperer’s vantgage point !

      Reply
      1. Anon

        So where do you think the queen bee resides in the organic form of the antidote pic? In the semi-circular shape (protected spot)?

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Would depend on where the ‘brood chamber’ was, which I think would vary by the amount of empty-celled comb relative to stores, and capped brood. The image above doesn’t denote what a large and vigorous colony would have built – it would be as perhaps 4 – 7 stacked full boxes of combined comb, with various amounts containing honey, open brood, capped pupa, and lastly, empty comb .. both old & newly drawn, not necessarily in that order. The queen is a busy bee, she gets around ! She’s like that A L I E N B!TCH! (sorry, channeling my inner Pvt. Hudson) sans the acid for blood .. alway layin eggs .. except she’s Really Small, you know what I mean ?? She runs the whole show ! If the old Queen dies, and there’s no new queen to suceed her …. then it’s Game Over man, GAME OVER !

          Reply
  2. avoidhotdogs

    Re voting. All rank-order based systems have a typically ignored statistical assumption: that the variance at every ranking level is equal (mainly because it is perfectly confounded with the point estimates unlike, say, linear regression). You’ll see this in the small print of manuals of all mainstream stats programs.

    Trouble is, for a single person, a single election (ranking) makes this assumption untestable. Certain academic fields are full of studies that have obtained more information and the assumption practically always fails – indeed the worked example given in the Irish link did exactly that! The voter does not have the “same certainty” over all candidates.

    Plus there is already a voting system that typically eliminates nasty candidates. It’s been /is used in certain elections one or two Baltic States. As a thought experiment I played with YouGov & Guardian data on the (three) likely contenders for Labor leadership. The current ranking system (AV) will likely benefit Starmer! FPTP would have helped Long-Bailey whilst the other system might give it to Nandy. Very interesting case of the exact same ranking data giving very different results. But, returning to Ireland, the multi-member system used is generally more proportional of course…

    Reply
      1. avoidhotdogs

        It’s called Most-Least Voting. I hesitate to go into detail as it may look like I’m promoting my own work – although it should be noted I have no involvement in the development or application of the voting method…. Merely the more general method of preference elicitation called Best-Worst Scaling of which M-L voting is merely a special case.

        I can link to a peer reviewed paper by one of the groups who developed M-L – as I say, I had no connection. I have written in a blog entry with a more user friendly account but it’s breaking site rules I believe to link to that. Suffice to say M-L voting is “related to” alternative vote but differs in key respects. Basically you have two votes – “most attractive” (like FPTP) but also “least attractive”. Least total is subtracted from most total for a candidate. Winner is one with highest “net approval rating”.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          A problem with criticisms of existing multiple choice systems is that they assume an unsophisticated electorate who just vote ‘1,2,3’ in order of their preference. Certainly in Ireland there is plenty of evidence that sufficient voters are aware of the limitations of their system and vote in a more systematic manner to help them achieve their objectives.

          To give one example, its well known in the Irish system that (its known as the ‘Donnelly Rule’ here), that a candidate likely to get lots of transfers needs at least half of the quota to have a good chance of getting elected. For this reason, many voters will give their first preference to their second choice, if they know their second choice is less likely to get more first preferences. In other words, they give their first preference to the candidate they like who is more likely to need it, the second preference to the candidate who is more likely to need transfers later in the count.

          Its not necessarily a case of voters working this out themselves – the political parties frequently instruct their supporters on the best sequence of voting to help the party and their likely government partners.

          Reply
          1. avoidhotdogs

            Oh yes exactly. The statistical assumptions that MUST hold for ranking systems to properly produce “true” preference orderings are extraordinarily strict, and as I say above, usually violated if tested.Infamously in Aus I remember the outrage when the Motoring party (0.5 to 1% first preferences) got elected due to ranking. This is why others go with Most-Least: like all systems it can be gamed, but it’s much harder and dangerous to try. Plus “top” and “bottom” provide a surprisingly large amount of preference information.

            Reply
        2. paul

          I really envy your faith in a system that i do not understand,and while I have my limitations, no one else could either (-1 for the new system).

          Hand counted votes, crossed by humans is our new,best hope.

          You,I suspect, are a man(? of) many names and spells, yet you quite happily lie and move on.

          Reply
  3. bwilli123

    Reporter’s Notebook: Life and death in a Wuhan coronavirus ICU

    …”The most regretful thing to me was a pregnant woman from Huanggang. She was in very serious condition. Nearly 200,000 yuan (S$39,505) was spent after more than a week in the ICU. She was from the countryside, and the money for hospitalisation was borrowed from her relatives and friends. Her condition was improving after the use of Ecmo, and she was likely to survive. But her husband decided to give up. He cried for his decision. I wept too because I felt there was hope for her to be saved. The woman died after we gave up. And exactly the next day, the government announced a new policy that offers free treatment for all coronavirus-infected patients. I feel so sorry for that pregnant woman.

    The deputy director of our department told me one thing, and he cried too. Wuhan 7th Hospital is in a partnership with our hospital, South Central Hospital. The deputy director went there to help in their ICU. He found that two-thirds of the medical staff in the ICU were already infected. Doctors there were running “naked” as they knew they were set to be infected given the shortage of protective gear. They still worked there nonetheless. That was why ICU medical staff were almost all sickened. It is too tough for our doctors and nurses….”
    https://www.caixinglobal.com/2020-02-06/reporters-notebook-we-interview-front-line-coronavirus-doctor-101512020.html

    Reply
    1. Kevin C. Smith

      Working unprotected with infected patients is almost suicidal, because you will get a very high dose of the virus, overwhelming your defences.

      Much better to immediately withdraw from work – or sent away from work – until you have recovered from 2019-nCoV, at which point you should have protective antibodies and so might be able to work at high efficiency without protective equipment.

      It is exceptionally stupid to waste your scarce uninfected docs and other staff by allowing them to be exposed to the virus. Put them off work until there is proper equipment and/or vaccine. Sick or dead staff are a heavy burden on the system.

      Reply
  4. Clive

    Re: Ireland’s vote and count

    Of course u r doin’ it wrong. What you really need is an app, people tweeting PIN codes for the app and untrained staffers using the aforementioned app. Oh, and people organising the whole shebang with, shall we say, particularly strong ideas about who should win.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      My heart wants the NH primary to push Mayo Money Guy off the radar tout de suite. My brain says let him keep trailing Sanders, let him keep talking, to bring clarity.

      From my morning reads, I sense some longing of liberal love for Amy now. It’s becoming so much like a mirror image of the GOP primaries in 2016. Amy – Kasich, Joe – Jeb, Pete – Ted?

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its not a perfect system – the old saying was ‘vote early, vote often’ (although this type of abuse has largely been eliminated), but the counting itself is unimpeachable. Exit polls and the use of tallies makes anything but the most marginal hanky-panky immediately apparent.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        Ironically, vote rigging in the USA has been used to destroy faith in exit polling.

        What was once understood to be the gold-standard in verification of election legitimacy, has been ‘discredited’ by use of rigged vote totals.

        MSM reporting explained to us that if the vote tabulation by electronic systems didn’t match the exit polls, it was because voters were lying, or for some other reason, they just “got it wrong”.

        Americans have been deliberately convinced, by propaganda, that exit polling doesn’t work.

        I believe that is one of the ways to explain the turnout question.

        Ever since the obvious betrayal of “Hope and Change”, the experience of democratic voters has been one of frustration in the face of brazen, ever more obvious corruption on the part of party bosses.

        And it’s also good to remember how the dims folded on the issue when the Supreme Court appointed ‘W’, making it obvious that the parties just take turns cheating us.

        Reply
          1. flora

            as an aside: when Perez stopped the vote count at 93% in Iowa, with a call for a re-canvas, that’s when it was clear the vote count was being ‘managed’ behind the scenes. Whenever a vote count is halted, that’s a clear sign of ‘managed’ election results by the DNC. (We’re all Haiti now. /not exactly a snark.)

            The DNC really hates caucuses.

            Reply
            1. turtle

              Although Perez didn’t really stop the vote count. The Iowa Democratic Party ignored him and continued counting to 100%. There are still apparently some errors, but they have seemed eager to fix any reported errors in this process.

              I think a bigger problem with IA caucus was that the voting process was not very well controlled. Apparently there were a lot of mistakes made in following the (complicated) procedures, as to be expected.

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                they still had errors or vote rigging attempts after that, transferring votes from sanders to patrick. i can’t credit their good faith.

                Reply
              2. Lambert Strether

                > Apparently there were a lot of mistakes made in following the (complicated) procedures, as to be expected.

                This is the first time the Iowa caucus has been transparent, thanks to reforms pushed through by the Sanders faction on the Unity Reform Commission.

                So I would say that the system has been rickety and bad for years. What would Fat Tony think about Clinton winning six coin flips in 2016? (“Use this one, kid. It’s my special lucky coin!”)

                Reply
                1. turtle

                  You’re right, that’s a really good point. The system has been messed up forever, and we’re finally seeing just how much. A win for transparency thanks to Sanders and his people.

                  Right, a special lucky coin, or train the coin flippers in the CIA/NSA/McKinsey method of coin flipping, like the Buttigieg-aligned kid in the viral video from Iowa.

                  Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > Ironically, vote rigging in the USA has been used to destroy faith in exit polling.

          Obviously what we need is a completely digital system, with elections certified as being disinformation- and hacking-free by the intelligence community (who will have previously vetted any candidates before they get on the ballot).

          It’s the only way to be safe.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            It’s the only way to assure that those wily Russians don’t impose Chicago School style “reforms” on our G-d given ‘Free Market’ system. Oh…wait…er…

            Reply
      2. Watt4Bob

        I have to add, that here in Minnesota, in re-counts, we count the hand marked ballots, by hand in public.

        This practice has led to Minnesota’s well deserved reputation for clean government, but that didn’t stop republicans from calling for election ‘reform’ after the recount in 2008 between senate candidates Al Franken and Norm Coleman resulted in a Franken win.

        After a public display of honest and straight forward recount of hand-marked, paper ballots, in public, the republicans called for ‘reform’!

        IOW, in hind-sight, the people’s declining faith in the process is easily understood, and the turn-out in Iowa would probably be even less if not for the Sanders effect.

        Reply
          1. Watt4Bob

            Thanks so much for that link.

            Pity anyone who tries dishonesty to get one over on George Galloway.

            I’ve always said that the definition of “smarmy”, in the dictionary includes a pic of Coleman.

            Reply
          2. Debra D.

            Wow! George Galloway kept his eyes on Norm Coleman the entire time. This is the kind of presence that I admire.

            Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                and then there were 90k or so legit voters that choicepoint threw out for having names that resembled names of felons.

                Reply
                1. Lambert Strether

                  > 90k or so legit voters that choicepoint threw out for having names that resembled names of felons.

                  You mean:

                  90k or so legit voters that the vendor chosen by W’s brother, Jebbie, choicepoint, threw out for having names that resembled names of felons* who were disproportionately black, hence Democrat, a process Kris Kobach would later take national, with no resistance from Democrats.

                  Fixed it for ya.

                  The rot has been setting in for quite some some.

                  * Anybody who knows anything about cleaning personal data knows that ChoicePoint’s methodology, and Kobach’s, was garbage.

                  Reply
                  1. pretzelattack

                    yes the whole names that sort of sound like other names thing did not speak well for the accuracy of the process.

                    Reply
  5. Don Pelton

    Iglesius says “The Democratic Party is polarized right now between Bernie fans who insist that democratic socialism is the way forward and an establishment that’s terrified Sanders will bring electoral doom.”

    It’s probably more true to say ” … an establishment that’s terrified Sanders will bring electoral success.”

    Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        It isn’t losing anything, look at Sander’s donation record. What is happening is, it is replacing one set of donors with another set, which reduces the influence of corporate interests in people’s everyday misery. A Sanders win would make individuals *much* more willing to donate to the Democrats en masse.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          But Bernie’s set of donors don’t offer retirement aid. You know lucrative speaking engagements and Board positions. It is one of the few ways that politicians and consultants think long term.

          Reply
        2. Pelham

          Re Sanders: I would’ve dragged myself to the voting booth with two unsplinted broken legs in 2016 if Sanders had been on the ticket. But that was the Sanders who correctly said that unbridled immigration was a Koch brothers-style plot to keep wages down.

          This year, no. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

          Reply
          1. Bugs Bunny

            In the NYT interview, he did make the argument that illegal immigration forces down wages – Bernie called it “common sense” and the classic “race to the bottom” – and the interviewer tried to rebut him that “a lot of economic research” says that this isn’t true.

            https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/01/13/opinion/bernie-sanders-nytimes-interview.html

            So I’d say Sanders hasn’t moved much on the economic aspects of immigration. I think he’s looking at the humanitarian disaster of it and proposing a solution to that. Once a decent minimum wage is set (could it apply to illegals?), it might change the situation.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              A ‘decent’ minimum wage would apply to all members of the working classes, irrespective of immigration status. To split off the “illegal” immigrants is just another version of the old “divide and rule” strategy.
              I may be too cynical here, (?????) but I imagine that the ‘illegal immigrant’ “problem” is going to be solved by rampaging mobs.

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                I’m still anxiously awaiting a sighting of the first non-Hispanic field worker toiling on one of about 333 million fruit & nut trees here.

                The concept of rampaging mobs of WASP’y Americans taking over their jobs would be damned interesting.

                Reply
                  1. Wukchumni

                    Nope, it’s the other way around in seeing that the average age of a field worker is 45, and young Mexicans aren’t eager to do the work, so salaries have been rising.

                    Your basic supply versus demand gig.

                    Reply
                1. ambrit

                  A more probable outcome is that those jobs don’t get done until the wages go up enough. Time to short fruits and nuts?

                  Reply
                  1. GF

                    The response to this will be forced prison labor with $1a day wages (like the firefighters in CA). Big Ag has immense power over the administration.

                    Reply
                    1. Wukchumni

                      Big Ag has immense power over the administration.

                      Indeed, Devin y Kevin are mas muy macho in Humordor.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Up till the 1950s at least, most of the field workers outside the South were WASP’y, if we mean ethnically rather than classly. So what happened to displace them all?

                  Reply
            2. ex-PFC Chuck

              A major part of the hard-core neo-liberal agenda is free immigration/emigration of labor across borders. See Quinn Slobodian’s Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. It appears the PTB are giving Trump a pass on that considering that he has to keep the xenophobic sector of his base foaming at the mouth, and that he’s dismantling regulations of all sorts as fast as he can. It seems to me Bernie’s not anti-immigration per se, but favors it being metered so as not to too greatly impact the USA labor market. I’m OK with that.

              Reply
              1. danpaco

                I have to disagree.
                The last thing capital wants is the free movement of labour across borders. That would take away the labour arbitrage advantage that they so enjoy.
                Brexit, it could be argued, is a turning away of open borders by the UK within Europe. Should be interesting to see how the wage worker in the UK fares over the coming years.
                Turning a blind eye to illegal imigration on the other hand is another issue.

                Reply
          2. Henry Moon Pie

            I agree with the first Bernie that unbridled immigration tends to keep wages down, but I hear this new Bernie with a broader and ultimately necessary argument.

            First, remember that Bernie wants all his reforms to apply to immigrants whether documented or not: $15/hr; M4A; all labor protections including union organization efforts. That removes a huge incentive for employers to prefer undocumented immigrants. Now I will readily admit that this is not an easy thing to explain to someone whose economic precarity makes them concerned about immigration, but Sanders’ approach strikes me as valid.

            Second, Sanders is building a coalition. Do you think AOC would be behind Bernie if he had a restrictive policy on immigration? She’s a hell of an asset. How about Chuck Rocha, Bernie’s amazing head of organizing. He was actually on Joy freakin’ Reid this morning, touting the Sanders campaign’s success in the satellite caucuses in Iowa. Would he have joined the campaign of someone favoring restrictive policies on immigration?

            And third, as much of a cynic as I am about the U. S. A., the Statue of Liberty approach to immigration is the most humane policy. This will be even more true as climate change worsens, threatening to make hundreds of millions of us refugees. We can take an approach like Modi, who is clearly preparing to shut out Bangladeshis. Of we can do what Sanders suggested last night: quit spending trillions on killing people and use the money to ramp up our response to climate change, including resettling the people who will be displaced by climate change.

            It’s a matter of context. Unbridled immigration with a dog-eat-dog economy and where undocumented workers offer immoral employers economic advantages eats away at the social fabric and incites ethnic hatred. Bernie’s approach strives to make the U. S. a humane country in the way it treats both its long-time residents and its newcomers.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              that’s pretty much where i’m at and have been:the “illegal” people here need a good, fair chance to stay….and enforcing labor and other laws for them will remove the reason meatpackers and agribidness prefer them(want a raise? here, let me call la migra…)
              and even out here, once they listen and the knee stops jerking, people understand readily that policy(like nafta and reaganesque meddling in central america) actually causes illegal immigration, by destroying their home countries and giving them no choice.
              if i can successfully make this latter case in the damned feedstore,in rural Texas, why can’t others?

              and like yglesias indicates in another article, we lose when we engage the right on culture war nonsense. look at how abortion rights are in the toilet.
              need power…and a bunch of court appointments…to make a real difference there.
              https://www.vox.com/2019/6/11/18659986/voter-study-group-democrats-economics

              conversely,dems could steal a bunch of lower income repubs by bringing back the New Deal(which is confirmed consistently by my Fieldwork).
              establishment dems are either stupid or malicious or both.

              Reply
            2. Pelham

              Thanks for the two replies and the good points you both make.

              While I see the point about combining a $15 minimum wage with immigration and the humanitarian impulse, I would add a third factor: culture/tribalism. Whether we like it or not, people tend to identify with people like themselves, and the effect appears to be magnified as the country edges toward majority-minority status. Hostility is building. How much further do we want to go down this path?

              The NYT did a revealing little graph in a major Sunday piece on immigration a few weeks ago. What it revealed is that immigration since 1965 has been unlike anything the US has seen before, with an explosion in both numbers and the proportion of immigrants coming from places other than Europe, which before ’65 had been the dominant source. The change in immigration law instituted under LBJ at the time was sold as a minor adjustment that would make little difference. That was completely wrong, and yet no corrective has been offered.

              Another way to look at it: Brown University economist Mark Blyth, a reliably left-leaning guy, says that immigration for him is great. The immigrants he encounters are engaging, affable Ph.D’s from quite interesting, exotic places. But for the 90%, immigrants are something quite other and alien. Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam confirmed this a few years ago in his study of communities with varying degrees of ethnic and racial diversity. What he found was greater degrees of distrust and dysfunction correlated with greater degrees of diversity AND that the longer a community had been diverse, the worse the problems were.

              Blyth’s point, however, is particularly pertinent. It’s fine to argue for immigration, but many of those who do (like the Kochs) are effectively saying, “I have a conscience, but there’s a price to be paid for it (economic or cultural). However, I’m living in a gated community so I won’t pay that price. I’ll force it on someone else.”

              Reply
              1. Henry Moon Pie

                “What he found was greater degrees of distrust and dysfunction correlated with greater degrees of diversity AND that the longer a community had been diverse, the worse the problems were.”

                Sam Huntington’s old “clash of civilizations” argument.

                That may be the default situation, but I think we’re already at the point where we have to find a way to move past that tribal reaction to diversity. I’m in no gated community. There’s a fairly new Honduran family across the street from me and a new Korean family around the corner, and we were already a mix of old Eastern Europeans, African Americans, folks from the Kentucky hills and several Chinese families.

                I’m going to canvass this neighborhood for Bernie (yard signs are already up) in the next few weeks as our primary approaches. I expect to learn a lot.

                Reply
                1. jrs

                  Yes that ship of being an ethnically diverse country has already sailed, we already are. We have to find a way to deal with it.

                  Reply
                  1. Pelham

                    In other words, more of the same until attitudes improve?

                    Alternatively, maybe we’ll get to the point at which the elites finally get the hoi polloi they deserve. This is actually what Democrats have openly been hoping and aiming for. My suggestion is that even with a population that’s still 61% white, the signs of social and cultural harmony are not emerging. In fact, just the opposite appears to be the case. So maybe it’s time for a pause, at the very least.

                    Reply
              2. marym

                Immigration is a labor issue while workers are fighting over scraps. The GND, like the New Deal, as well as M4A, a housing program, and new/expanded social programs, would create jobs at every skill level. There’s tons of work that needs to be done in every community. We talk about those needs all the time. Even the imaginary non-green infrastructure project Trump hinted at in his campaign would be a source of jobs.

                Demonizing immigrants for lack of good jobs, benefits, and opportunities, rather than supporting policies that would result in those jobs, benefits, and opportunities is a choice that’s been made by “both sides” of the establishment to support the predator class.

                As far as issues of assimilation and trust, don’t most immigrants come here eager to pursue the “American” dream? How much of the “mistrust” is a function of the same elite-promulgated, elite-serving, divide-and-conquer tactics that divide those who have been here longer?

                Reply
                1. kiwi

                  Why should we assume that immigrants, legal or illegal, are loyal to our country?

                  You just saw an example of an immigrant – or immigrants, the Vindmans, who were born in Ukraine and pursued Ukraine’s interests in sucking out as much aid from the US for Ukraine as possible.

                  Other immigrants carry and display their home flag proudly as they live here.

                  Further, they are not inculcated in the US structure of Constitutional rights, due process, innocent until proven guilty, and notions that racism and various bigotries are bad. People from other countries are as racist as anyone in the US.

                  IMO, people are way too pollyannish about immigration.

                  Reply
                  1. marym

                    Why? Because they mostly work hard, pay taxes, go through the process of obtaining citizenship (including taking a civics test and being immensely proud when they take the oath) if one is available to them, go to school, serve in the military and public office, etc. just like people whose families have been here longer.

                    Aid to Ukraine, whether you agree with it or not, has been a bi-partisan policy legislated in Congress, and includes aid signed into law by Trump. It’s absurd to blame immigrants.

                    They dye the river green in Chicago on St. Patrick’s day, and there are parades with Irish flags in lots of places. No one sees this as a reason to question the patriotism of Irish-Americans.

                    Reply
                    1. Aumua

                      Honestly, [family blog] patriotism. We ain’t got time for this shiznit any more. I’m more loyal to the human species than I am to the USA, and I’ve always felt that way.

                    2. kiwi

                      Please. Just stop with the propaganda.

                      Immigrants are typically huge consumers of government aid.

                      I used the Ukrainian brothers as an example of how even legal immigrants use the US for the benefit of their birth countries. My comment had nothing to do with US Ukraine policy.

                      And those Irish people – really? You are going to cite fully assimilated, multi-generational group’s celebrations as anologous to the current immigration waves?

                    3. marym

                      2016
                      https://www.cato.org/blog/cis-exaggerates-cost-immigrant-welfare-use

                      Yesterday the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a report…The CIS headline result, that immigrant-headed households consume more welfare than natives, lacks any kind of reasonable statistical controls. To CIS’s credit, they do include tables with proper controls buried in their report and its appendix. Those tables with proper controls undermine many of their headline findings.

                      2017
                      https://www.dallasfed.org/en/research/papers/2017/~/media/documents/research/papers/2017/wp1704.pdf

                      When immigrants are assigned the marginal cost of public goods, their fiscal impact is actually significantly less negative than that of natives. Immigrants’ tax contributions cover 93 percent of their publicly provided benefits while natives’ contributions cover only 77 percent of theirs

                      .

                      2018
                      https://www.cato.org/publications/immigration-research-policy-brief/immigration-welfare-state-immigrant-native-use-rates

                      Overall, immigrants are less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native‐​born Americans. Immigrants who meet the eligibility thresholds of age for the entitlement programs or poverty for the means‐​tested welfare programs generally have lower use rates and consume a lower dollar value relative to native‐​born Americans.3 The per capita cost of providing welfare to immigrants is substantially less than the per capita cost of providing welfare to native‐​born Americans.

                      2020
                      https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/making-sense/how-a-wealth-test-for-immigrants-could-affect-the-u-s-economy

                      The public charge rule aside, first-generation immigrants generally cost the government more than U.S.-born Americans, according to a 2017 report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. On average they cost about $1,600 per person annually.

                      But the children of those immigrants have a net positive effect on the U.S. economy, contributing about $1,700 per person per year. Third generation immigrants contribute about $1,300 annually.

                      Reply to comment @ February 9, 2020 at 2:28 pm

                  2. Matthew

                    Who cares? Our leaders aren’t loyal to our country. They treat it as an opportunity to enrich themselves and their friends, no matter the cost to the public. Look at that problem first if you’re serious about loyalty, or for that matter if you’re serious about this country as anything other than a giant criminal conspiracy.

                    Reply
                    1. Wukchumni

                      When I saw American Flag lapel pins on NFL commentators 3 piece suits, I knew somehow we were nearing peak faux patriot games.

                    2. kiwi

                      I would rather be here in the US, with all of its faults and a system that flexes rather well, than in a Chinese concentration camp.

                      It is shocking how people are so ungrateful and take so many benefits for granted.

                  3. a different chris

                    >they are not inculcated in the US structure of Constitutional rights, due process, innocent until proven guilty,

                    Hey let’s go to a sportsball event. Test the 50K “Americans” there and see how “inculculated” in that stuff they are all.

                    I suspect you will be really, really disappointed.

                    And while we’re at it, I was a bit taken aback by Pelham’s comment “with an explosion in both numbers and the proportion of immigrants coming from places other than Europe”.

                    How is “other than Europe” important? Because the Germans and the French and the English and the Poles got along so swimmingly (cough WWI, cough cough WWII cough)? The Spanish Armada was a high point in race relations? What?

                    Man send us anything but Europeans, I would say.

                    Reply
                    1. kiwi

                      Sure we are generally inculcated. Most people have notions of due process, innocent until proven guilty, being able to face your accuser, being able to bring evidence in defense of themselves, and Miranda rights.

                      They may not be able to articulate them as such – after all, most are not lawyers, but they do understand these concepts.

                      But there are definitely numerous groups that work tirelessly to undermine these concepts. First up would be the me-too-ers, who now believe that mere accusations should suffice to punish a man. Then there are the groups who attack the Constitution, because it was written by bad white guys. They seem completely ignorant of the fact that white guys passed anti-discrimination and anti-bigotry laws.

                      Then there is Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi, who have relentlessly attacked those concepts with the way they handled the impeachment.

                2. Dan

                  I don’t think most immigrants come here to pursue the “American dream.” The overwhelming majority come out of practical necessity, and do their best to survive while building and maintaining their own communities here in the states.

                  Of course, this also depends on how one chooses to define “American dream.” If we define it as the desire to live a decent life while providing for you and yours, and perhaps putting a bit away for a rainy day, then I would say that’s quite practical, not particularly dreamy, and is universal, not confined to “Americans.”

                  Goals beyond that, towards material riches or any other form of stunted ambition, are sought by a minuscule percentage of immigrants, imho.

                  Reply
                  1. Dan

                    This why I hated the whole “Dreamers” meme, which thankfully seems to be over. Sure, most of the folks coming from tattered places to America are perhaps “dreaming” of something: a little stability and some means to support themselves. But to the meme’s intended target audience, their dreams are much, much, greater, they can achieve whatever they put their mind to, blah, blah, blah. These folks can’t stand the inhumane rat race they’re stuck in and rather than look for ways out themselves they gladly welcome more into their fold, so that through sheer numbers they can somehow prove the veracity of their woeful approach to life.

                    Reply
                    1. marym

                      The Dreamers were brought here as children. They grew up here. The US has been their home, their country for their whole lives. Holding their fate hostage to politics, and deporting them are acts of gratuitous cruelty.

                    2. Dan

                      Holding their fate hostage to politics, and deporting them are acts of gratuitous cruelty.

                      I agree wholeheartedly. I just don’t happen to believe the dreamers meme was created in their interest.

                    3. Anon

                      I don’t think you understand the Dreamer (DACA) program, at all. It is only available to specific immigrants, must be renewed every two years, is mostly used by immigrants who are in school (many in higher education). They may not have a criminal record and there is no direct path to citizenship. The program mostly works to minimize family disruption and allow talented students to employ their scholarly determination in a positive social fashion.

                      Here in California, Dreamers in the educational system (K-12 + Univ. system) are protected by law. Visits by ICE are outlawed on campuses, as well.

                    4. Dan

                      I’m not talking about the DACA program. I’m talking about what I perceived to be a meme that spread well beyond the program to essentially say that all immigrants are big American dreamers. I actually thought this was going on well before DACA.

                      This may be one of many instances where I’ve “perceived” things that aren’t there. I don’t know. But I was not attacking DACA.

              3. Amfortas the hippie

                i think the level of…shall we say “inherent”?…xenophobia depends on a lot of things, and is therefore not really all that inherent, aside from normal(small scale*) in group/out group dynamics.
                if there’s scarcity—of jobs, resources, opportunity, social status, sense of worth…then yes. hostility to Others goes way up.
                in my little county, we’re maybe 65% “white”, and the rest hispanic of various hues. 3 black people…and a korean family…and a japanese guy at the post office.
                in the 25 years since the last Walking Tall Type sheriff, there’s been very little acrimony between these groups…even during the hight of the teabilly madness.
                (there are no muslims, here, to my knowledge)
                but….usual caveats: it’s a tiny, isolated place, everyone is more or less related, and we have the German Idealists in the local cultural dna…even if noone is really aware of that influence.
                so it depends.

                (* small scale in group/out group can be as ordinary as not really wanting new neighbors…even if the current neighbors are not what you might choose, if given a choice. in/out is present down at the family level, and often has nothing whatever to do with race or culture…just “not us”.this is prolly built in to a large degree, and is overcome by exposure…like with the experience of gay folks out here(ie: it ain’t a big deal any more, because everyone has a cousin who is gay and out…in spite of the gop’s continued hammering on that nail))

                Reply
              4. kiwi

                “Hostility is building. How much further do we want to go down this path?”

                Hostility is not building. It is already here and causing violence.

                Reply
              5. HotFlash

                I live in a very diverse community. My neighbourhood, founded as a village in 1869 and absorbed by the metropolis in 1879, has been a first destination of many waves of immigrants from the very beginning. English, Irish, Scottish to begin, later the two WW’s brought continental Europeans and British subjects from around the world and now refugees from the various wars, coups, and similar. There is no particular distrust or dysfunction that I have seen in my nearly 40 years here. It is the friendliest, most welcoming place I have ever lived or visited. It has a strong community identity side by side with many ethnic groups and organizations. Our local high school reported something like 73 languages spoken in the students homes as first languages. I have managed ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ in about 8. And the restaurants, bakeries, delis, and grocery stores are amazing! Going down my block, my neighbours come from Poland and Italy (second generation for both), the US, Canada (third or fourth gen at least), Poland again, Latvia, India and Norway, Jamaica, Tibet, Canada again (two houses), and Argentina. And that’s just on my side of the street. Perhaps I don’t understand what dysfunction means?

                Reply
            3. notabanktoadie

              Nor is the Bible anti-immigrant. Nevertheless, citizens (Hebrews in the case of ancient Israel) were roughly equal owners of all the agricultural land and with laws to keep it that way (eg. Leviticus 25) and thus were not normally dependent on wages to live. So immigrants were a welcome source of wage labor.

              Contrast that to modern day USA and it’s grossly unequal ownership of assets and we see that the Bible has been largely ignored wrt economic justice.

              Reply
              1. kiwi

                ” So immigrants were a welcome source of wage labor.”

                Give me a break. They were practically enslaved and gave up their wealth to the people who had the power to enact laws favoring themselves.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  They were enslaved financially, which is why they’re here. A good chunk of Mexican immigrants came as the country was melting down in a hyperinflation saga that lasted over a dozen years from 1980 to 1993, which saw the Peso go from 12.5 to the $, to 3,300 to the $.

                  Imagine the buying power of a $ falling to the point where it cost $200 for a candy bar?

                  When I was a kid, the only Mexican immigrants were in Ca, Az, NM & Texas, for the most part.

                  Reply
                  1. kiwi

                    I thought notabanktoadie was talking about a time well before ours.

                    See where the comment refers to ancient times and says immigrants were a source….

                    What fascinates me about immigration from Mexico and countries south of it is why don’t the people stay and try to fix things? They just pick up and leave their homeland.

                    After all, the US had a civil war, we have our contingent of the very poor, and some horrible conditions throughout history. We had the economic depressions and concentration camps. Yet there has never been similar emigration from the US. Even now, the biggest whiners (born here or not), like AOC, won’t leave the US.

                    Reply
                    1. drumlin woodchuckles

                      Why didn’t all the North and West Europeans who came here starting several centuries ago just stay in their own countries and fix things? Because things couldn’t be fixed.

                      Why didn’t all the Famine Irish just stay in Famine Ireland and fix things? Because things couldn’t be fixed.

                      Why did so many East Europeans come here more recently instead of stay in East Europe and fix things? Because things couldn’t be fixed.

                      Why have so many Mexicans come here instead of fixing things in Mexico? Because NAFTA was designed to destroy the Mexican rural economy and to prevent it from ever being fixed. And because the Cartels and their enablers and collaborators and sponsors throughout the official Mexican “government” ARE the real government of Mexico and they make it very hard to fix things there.

                      If all the remaining MexIndians were heavily armed and trained enough to exterminate the several million MexStisos and MexSpanish who form the Culture of Cartelism . . . . then the remaining MexIndians could fix things. Fixing things would require the physical extermination of several million MexStisos and MexSpaniards. Fixing things would require the total and utterly extermination of every single one of the Cartelists from street runner to billionaire master-controller to government enabler, plus physically exterminating every one of their sympathisers and fellow travelers. Including the forcible repatriation of Carlos Salinas de Gortari from Ireland back to Mexico . . . for extermination.

                      Now who is going to arm and train the MexIndians up to that level?

                      Mayyyyybe, there is a “kinder and gentler ” way to enable the “lets-fix-Mexico” Mexicans to fix Mexico.
                      Maybe.

                      And that would involve the total abolition of NAFTA and the total re-protectionization of the Mexican economy and Mexican agriculture most of all. It would also involve a Zero Immigration hard ban against even one single person entering America from Mexico . . . . so that the “safety valve” is screwed all the way down and Mexico is forced to undergo another Mexican Revolution, which . . . hopefully . . . . the Cartelistas would all lose by virtue of being all physically exterminated.

                    2. drumlin woodchuckles

                      I was merely pointing out how silly it is to say “why don’t they stay in their own country and fix things” when things “in their own country” can not be fixed.

                      I’m not saying I would suPPORT a careful detailed extermination program for every single member of the “culture of cartelism” in Mexico. I am merely saying that that would be the most effective way to “fix things”. Which is my way of saying that ” things can not be fixed” in Mexico. So it is silly to say the Naftastinian Exiles should “stay in Mexico” and “fix things” when “fixing things” is not realistically possible.

                      And please note that I DID offer a “kinder and gentler” out, namely abolishing NAFTA and re-granting Mexico total permission to totally re-protectionize its own economy. That is certainly legally and philosophically “possible” though not very “likely”.

                2. notabanktoadie

                  If so, then contrary to this and other passages in the Old Testament:

                  The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34 [bold added]

                  But in any case that’s besides the point that immigrant labor was welcome then as would be the case in the US NOW if US assets were roughly equally owned.

                  Reply
                  1. Tom Bradford

                    Adding that this only applied to strangers that complied with Jewish religious laws, observing the Sabbath and feasts, sacrifice ‘correctly’, not eat blood, remain sexually pure and not worship ‘foreign’ idols, ie give up their own religions. Otherwise they were to be ‘cut-off’ or exiled. All pretty accepting and tolerant.

                    Reply
                    1. notabanktoadie

                      My point has nothing to do with tolerance but merely that foreign wage labor was welcome in ancient Israel because the assets there were roughly equally owned by all Hebrews – just as foreign labor in the US would be universally welcomed if the assets here were roughly equally owned by all US citizens.

                      As for conforming to a minimum set of local laws and customs, so what? Where wouldn’t that be the case?

                  2. The Rev Kev

                    Haven’t heard that one before. How do you think Leviticus 19:34 is regarded in modern day Israel? I think that that one has been forgotten there.

                    Reply
              2. Amfortas the hippie

                woke up thinking about you referencing Leviticus, etc.
                in this context, which i think is relevant:
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospitality#Ancient_Greece

                whether setting a place at the table for Elijah(in disguise, of course) or offering a carouse to a wandering stranger, because he might be Odin/Zeus/Krishna/etc.
                hospitality is at the very bedrock of religious practice worldwide.(‘religio’=”to bind”).
                a form of reciprocity…because ” i , too, was a stranger”
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_psychology)

                conversely, the gods punish those who exploit or take advantage of the stranger.
                here’s Fukuyama(!) from the latter link:
                ” If the institutions of democracy and capitalism are to work properly, they must coexist within certain premodern cultural habits that ensure their proper functioning. Law, contract, and economic rationality and prosperity…. must as well be leavened with reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust…. The latter are not anachronisms in a modern society but rather the sine qua non of the latter’s success”

                Reply
                1. notabanktoadie

                  Thanks for the links, especially the one on hospitality.

                  Btw, I’ll note that the Old Testament is one of the oldest holy books and that Israel’s location was very strategic for the dissemination of knowledge (and the Hebrews themselves as slaves when they messed up badly enough).

                  Reply
            4. Calvin

              E-Verify AND $15 ah hour. How about that?

              No E-Verify? Fine, but no ability to deduct workers wages from business income. That way “compassionate” employers can put their money where their mouths are.

              Reply
            5. Tangled up in Texas

              If we cannot stop the hiring of illegal immigrants by unscrupulous employers, there will be no $15 wage for immigrants, illegal or otherwise.

              The ICE raids only hurt illegals and their families while the employers continue breaking laws with impunity. Why not apply the RICO laws to these employers? Until they hurt, nothing changes.

              Reply
              1. inode_buddha

                Bingo, you nailed it. Can’t use RICO because guess who owns the lobbyists? Employers. And you know how people have been pushing for small government for decades, now they have small government.

                Reply
          3. chuckster

            I was the same way in 2016. I even changed my voter registration to “D” so I could vote in our primary for president. I will end up voting for Tulsi Gabbard in a couple of weeks and then go back to No Party Preference.

            Reply
          4. Goyo Marquez

            I’ll believe that economics of illegal immigration is the issue when I hear people calling for the incarceration of people, like the chicken kings, who hire the illegal aliens

            Reply
            1. kiwi

              Actually, there are laws that impact the business owners who break the laws. I can’t list them, but they do exist.

              Why would you be dismissive of the economic impact of immigration? Who do you think benefits from all of the cheap labor?

              Reply
              1. Amfortas the hippie

                those laws are rarely, if ever, enforced.
                i don’t think anyone, here, is trying to argue against economic effects of immigration…legal or illegal.
                but the ire should be directed upwards, to the corner office and the boardroom…not to the barrio, or even the rio grande.
                throwing asparagus at less privileged fellow victims of empire capitalism ain’t gonna help anything….and it makes the boss class happy when we do that…because it means we ain’t looking up, at them.
                aside from my cherokee/choctaw ancestors, my people were all immigrants. czech, irish and scots-irish.
                all of them(including the cherokee/choctaw) fled violence and rapine, and only most of them were what we might consider “legal”(some of my czech ancestors just came on over, after the sons had established themselves…when indianola, texas was a port of entry(nothing there, now), and immigration “control” was spotty, at best)
                even for the majority who went through immigration, it was almost easy compared to today. nowadays, it’s expensive and confusing and hostile—thousands and thousands of dollars and a whole lot of hassle. takes years.

                …and as for loyalty?
                lol.
                i’m born and bred american…fifth generation texan… and i despise what this country has been and has become.
                i haven’t said the pledge since second grade and would refuse to say any loyalty oath.
                loyalty is to be earned…and this country, for all its promise and high mindedness, falls woefully short, as any cursory reading of the news clearly shows.
                nationalism is just a fence for us little people.

                Reply
                1. Dan

                  + 1000

                  In my little town
                  I grew up believing
                  God keeps his eye on us all
                  And he used to lean upon me
                  As I pledged allegiance to the wall

                  Reply
                2. kiwi

                  Whoopie do, so you are of some bloodlines like we all are. So what?

                  I’m sorry you hate the US so much.

                  The Constitution protects you from being forced to take a loyalty oath (for the most part….some employers and state legislators try to force the issue here and there.)

                  You seem to be far behind the times: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/us/pledge-of-allegiance-explainer-trnd/index.html

                  The substitute teacher didn’t know that students can’t be compelled to participate in the pledge, the school district said. That’s been true since 1943, when the Supreme Court ruled in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that students couldn’t be forced to salute the US flag or say the pledge because doing so would violate their First Amendment rights.

                  See the date? 1943.

                  Are you aware of any of the Constitutional protections and laws that have been passed to protect minority rights of any type. For example, the SC has said we have a right to freedom from religion as well as a right to practice our religion. Are you aware of any of the anti-discriminatory and anti-bigotry laws that have been passed? Did you know that the US was not the only enslaver of people, that non-white people in other countries had enslaved non-white people for centuries?

                  Can you please list some countries have been able to flex comparably to various problems like the US has in the time frames that the US did? Where are these countries that have achieved the nirvana you seek?

                  Reply
                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    i’m guessing that you haven’t been a poor person in court lately?
                    Rights are only as good as the enforcement of those Rights.
                    Where’s my Habeus?
                    What’s left of my Fourth?
                    What good is the Sixth if i have no $$$ for a decent lawyer and the public defender’s office has been defunded for 50 years?
                    remember “watch what you say”? it was only a few years ago, when they were yelling about deporting “traitors”.
                    where is your bubble located, pray tell?
                    please step outside of it and see what’s been happening to your people.
                    none of this is new.

                    Reply
          5. Rod

            In 2016 I heard Sanders at a rally state this-

            -unbridled immigration was a Koch brothers-style plot to keep wages down.

            –right after stating that our immigration system is broken and nobody wants to address it because…

            My entire career(40 yrs) was affiliated with the Construction Industry, mostly Field based, and 2/3 of that in the Carolinas.
            The 80’s Field workforce looked like what you would see in the Food Lion shopping on Payday.
            By the end of the 90’s it did not look that way to me–most of the black tradesmen had vanished replaced by a brown workforce.
            Today, to me — much of the white workforce has also receded. However, curiously, I have encountered a growing number of African-Africans more recently.
            Wages–while higher now, if adjusted for inflation–have declined. Pew Research has many surveys(just dig and dig) which track all this.
            Because of the 30 year span I can say Language complications have eased as 2nd gen immigrants raised in the US have been brought into the workforce by their families

            –kinda like I got in through my family saying you can make a living in this Industry that will turn out pretty good–but don’t expect to become a millionaire.–

            Through 2013, Employers–I know through many conversations and dealings really, really enabled this through their hiring, payroll, and recruiting practices. Heard a lot of self righteous justifying for all those years.

            Last thing: Hiring up? –no ads–no unemployment office listings–no temp to hire agency–ask the Leads in the workforce and they bring in more Labor.
            Need Documentation?–that $ervice is available through referral also.

            imo—–Pretty well known to everyone in the Construction Industry it seems–with only Fed DoL and IRS and the NC/SC DoL and Dept. of Revenue in the dark.

            Major Project Bid Opening ranges often vary 50%–even on Bidder Qualified State work

            Well, it is a competitive market as well as a broken one—again—imo

            Reply
            1. kiwi

              So, how have the wages changed in the construction industry since the 80s?

              I recall in the 80s, that the wages in construction were really good at that time, and white people were part of that workforce. People could buy houses on those wages.
              (I knew some of them at that time – in Houston, Tx)

              What is it like now?

              Reply
          6. mpalomar

            Obviously one answer would be to stop the US global imperial war policy that has made Central America nearly uninhabitable for most of its citizens.

            74% of all US immigration stems from 4 countries, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala. Countries the US has been serial meddlers in for decades if not centuries, creating intolerable living conditions.

            It is useful to consider the misery and dire circumstances that drive people from their homes and cultures in desperation for some acceptable existence in foreign lands.

            “In El Salvador, for example, there are nearly 83 homicides per 100,000 people in a country of over 6.4 million. In Guatemala, almost 60% of people live below the poverty line, and government institutions are weak and wracked by corruption, making many cities essentially lawless. In Honduras, almost 65% of the population lives below the poverty line.”

            Reply
            1. kiwi

              Not to deny any bad role the US has played in these countries, but only about 5% -10% of the population of these countries has (have?) tried to come to the US.

              If it was so bad as you say, I am sure many more would be leaving.

              The US started in 1732. The meddling in these countries by the US started largely in the ‘1940s.

              People (especially the blame America first crowd – and I really don’t like sounding like Jeane Kirkpatrick) should read some of the history of these countries from when they were under Spain to current. They had dictatorial leaders, exploitative elites, and unstable governments well before the United Fruit company moved on them.

              These countries were messes even before the US got involved. (not to say that the US shouldn’t try to fix whatever it broke).

              Did you know that El Salvador petitioned the US to become a state in the early 1800’s to avoid being taken over by Mexico (assuming wiki is accurate)?

              Reply
              1. mpalomar

                Only 5-10%?

                My suggestion is that those concerned about illegal immigration to the US might take a look at the source and that much of it flows from 4 countries, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and why that is if they are looking for a solution to the problem.

                If 5 to 10% of the US emigrated it would be around 17 to 34 million people, that would indicate something remarkably bad happening in the country.

                Typically when one of these Central American countries elects a political leader promising to improve citizens lives, whether by supporting workers organising unions, providing universal health care, education or land redistribution etc. they are overthrown by oligarchs who are legitimised, if not openly supported by the US, often employing US trained para military death squads. US meddling has been going on a good deal longer than 1940s.

                Conditions in a country have to very bad to cause 5-10% of a country to emigrate. People typically prefer to stay within their familial socio-cultural context; it is an act of desperation to cast ones’ fate with human traffickers. Significant chance of being robbed, raped or murdered. Also arrested, incarcerated and deported or if actually succeeding, i.e. living in a foreign culture, learning a second language and existing at the bottom of the employment heap ripe for exploitation.

                Reply
    1. John B

      Setting aside the establishment, though, I’d bet many ordinary voters support Warren, Biden or Buttigieg because they genuinely fear Sanders would have less chance against Trump. The Yglesias article in Vox is the best reassurance I’ve seen on that.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        The “ordinary voters” that I know all fear Sanders will turn the country into Soviet-style hardship, with bread lines a week long, in order to pay for government programs that nobody benefits from. The reason why they ask those questions at the debates, is not in order to get an answer. They ask those questions as a form of dog-whistling to a fully-propagandized and un-travelled population.

        Shorter: those questions at the debates were a form of hitting Sanders without allowing any defense. Hippy-punching, in other words.

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          Remind those “ordinary voters” that what they fear IS already happening, and that Sanders had nothing to do with it. Remind them that what happen in the Soviet Union was the result of a few people getting absolute control of the government, like what is happening here. Just replace the Politburo with the neoliberals – the result is the same, no matter what ideological name you give it.

          Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            I have tried that before. It fails with the hardcore Fox viewers. They either say the system is working exactly the way it should (meritocracy) or they say its all because of the libburls over the last 50 years (in a deeply aggrieved tone…)

            This is if you can even get them to acknowledge that everything is NOT ok in the good ol USA. Because Exceptionalism!

            Reply
            1. notabanktoadie

              They either say the system is working exactly the way it should (meritocracy) …

              Where’s the merit in using the public’s, including the poor’s, credit for private gain?

              Where’s the merit in receiving welfare proportional to account balance via positive yields on the inherently risk-free debt of a monetary sovereign like the US?

              But hey, I’ve heard Progressives defend one or both of the above vigorously!

              “Ya can’t cheat an honest man?”

              Reply
              1. Matthew

                Well of course the problem with meritocracy is that merit is judged by the prerogatives of the system, as ability to do what the system needs done. So merit will generally be technical, rather than moral.

                The answer to your last question is, “If the man were smarter, he wouldn’t have been cheated.”

                Reply
            2. GramSci

              Hit em with M4A. Carla and I were in the trenches pitching M4A to this bunch back in 05 in Ohio. It worked then and it works now (albeit more slowly than we wish) . Accuse the Fox viewers of killing their neighbors by siding with the insurance companies. They’ll blubber and bluster, but they can’t counter the reality.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                The propagandized type is harder to reach than you think. I’ve had long-ish conversations with the woman who colors my hair in NYC. Early 50s, looks way younger. lives in NJ, bought a small condo in FL (you can make good money coloring hair).

                She is convinced of the following and will not hear otherwise:

                – America has the best health care system, people from all over the world come here to get treated. She claims to know this personally. When I give her specific examples I know of American who got very cheap or no cost treatment when sick overseas and were extremely happy about the quality of care, she insists their insurance paid for it. She cannot accept the costs were low.

                – I am making stuff up when I tell her about medical tourism, that Americans choose to go abroad for costly treatments and major dentistry

                – Canadians pay half their income in taxes and have long queues to get medical treatment

                – Accordingly, M4A will lead to huge increases in her taxes. She claims to like her insurance ($800 a month) but it also seems she hasn’t had to have any serious treatment.

                Reply
                1. Anon

                  “serious treatment” is the operative phrase. Until you’ve been ensnared in the hospital hall of mirrors you don’t realize how dangerous it is and what the insurance company means by “in network”, “assistant doctor”, “usual and customary”, “non-formulary”, and the real cost of other uncovered medical treatment.

                  Reply
                2. inode_buddha

                  Your hair colorist should do what I just did: take a look at her W2 and do some math.

                  In my case, Insurance is $750/month. I pay 100% of that.

                  Now look at the Medicare tax column. In my case, $600 for the *year*. All numbers rounded to the nearest $10, etc.

                  Which number is bigger? Where does she think the money is going after it leaves her hands?

                  In my case, I needed some serious things taken care of, or else I would have done without. The monthly payments bankrupted me, given that I was making $15/hr, same age as your colorist and a lifetime in my field.

                  This country should be ashamed of itself.

                  Reply
        2. Henry Moon Pie

          The best rejoinder to that is to continue with what was begun in ’16 to publicize Bernie’s record as mayor of Burlington. It’s a strong record and does not include rounding up the local pompous A-holes like Chris Matthews and executing them in the town square at dawn. Sheesh. Is Matthews ever sober?

          Reply
        3. jrs

          And then there are those who are easily convinced he’s on Putin’s side. Many Dem voters brains are rot at this point. I can understand those who have issues with some “supporters” (online who really knows) but it’s a very broad movement. And yes I’l vote anyone but Trump but not in the primary.

          Reply
          1. Matthew

            I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the liberal grievance against Sanders supporters is just that Sanders supporters attack their status. They’ve bought into a system where more money and more credentials = better than, and now they’re facing pushback from people who are on average less educated and less successful (as conventionally defined). This attack is also a moral argument from the left, which simultaneously undermines their liberal sense of self-righteousness.

            Reply
            1. pretzelattack

              there’s a young turks video of chris mathews’ recent meltdown which is exactly on point. he blathered something about being executed in central park if bernie wins, iirc.

              Reply
      2. Grant

        Which is a reflection of nothing more than propaganda warping their minds (class is an element too with many of them). By what logic and using what data are any of them better match ups with Trump? Even if I take it that the Republicans can win an election in 2020, with all our massive societal issues, by screaming socialism nonstop, do any of those candidates not have far greater issues electorally? And what of society’s problems? If any of them get actual power, what would be done policy-wise to address the decades of wages stagnation, the massive inequality and corruption in the system, anything about our crumbling infrastructure or the environmental crisis? Half the country doesn’t vote too. So, who doesn’t vote and why?

        Fact is, people don’t vote because the system is horrible, and it is horrible in part because of the poor choices people have. Why are there poor choices? Because many of those voters twist themselves into logical pretzels to justify voting for some dud, and they do that often because they have been fed propaganda from interests that benefit from the system as is. Okay, Warren, Biden and silly Pete are the nominees. THEY don’t have far greater electoral issues and problems than Bernie? Using what logic? At this point, using what data?

        It is a shame that Bernie has to run in that party. They’re effectively running for the hills because of a word and pretty basic social democracy. Perfect microcosm of how utterly absurd and worthless that party is.

        Reply
        1. Calvin

          “Even if I take it that the Republicans can win an election in 2020, with all our massive societal issues, by screaming socialism nonstop, do any of those candidates not have far greater issues electorally?”
          Bernie needs to go for the name and shame jugular of how Americans are already being bled dry by these forms of socialism, that do not benefit the voters:
          Corporate Tax Socialism,
          Pentagon Socialism,
          Nuclear Power Insurance Socialism,
          Oil Depletion Allowance Socialism etc.

          These, and other forms of Acceptable to Elite Socialism, already use up more tax money than
          Free Healthcare for American Citizens would cost IF the money they dump into their shabby healthcare were saved.

          “Would you prefer M4A and deferment of student debt? Then vote for me.
          If you want to continue funding the corporate socialism listed above, don’t vote for me.”

          Reply
            1. Calvin

              Yes, I see that. In that case, how about
              “Vote for any of the other Democratic or Republican candidates who support corporate Socialism.”

              Reply
        2. Amfortas the hippie

          ” Half the country doesn’t vote too. So, who doesn’t vote and why?”

          you’d think that partisans would want to know the answer to this question,lol.
          but they don’t. when i’d slap Team Blue-ers with it, they’d fob it off to ignorance and racism and stupidity, then preen in their mirrored cubicles.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqJHh0IEhZg)
          Democrats don’t like democracy, it turns out.
          and “meritocracy” means “let them eat cake” in Bourgeoisie.

          Reply
    2. QuarterBack

      Let me be highly cynical for a moment. I believe that the DNC fears Bernie Sanders more than Trump because Bernie would remove much of the cherished Good-Cop-Bad-Cop tactic from their arsenal. Politicians have a near fetish attraction to moot arguments. For years (if not decades), both parties have been duping their political bases by pretending to be unanimously (or effectively unanimously) on the side of one issue or another with full knowledge or reliance that the other party will override their faux resolve.

      For Dems it has been blue collar worker and the “99%” hardworking families, the poor, and minorities. They can vote and full throatedly promote their base’s red meat issues knowing that the Republicans in the the Senate will vote against it, or that Trump will veto it. This game keeps their base appeased or potentially engaged to vote their party to be the majority in the next election cycle. It keeps the 1% happy because they have no problem with the noise as long as nothing effectively happens.

      A critical component to making this Good-Cop-Bad-Cop scam work is having a President that will support non-action on 99%-er issues. This is achieved by a mix of tabling the debate by shifting the narrative to other “urgent issues”, or by vetoing or calling for “poison pill” process changes to negate change “in the spirit of compromise” for some bigger issue. Biden and Obama were masters of passionately articulating the desires of their base while also artfully convincing them to take the bitter pill “for now.”

      The DNC and the mega donors know that Bernie cannot be relied upon to find a crafty way to avoid effective change at the last moment and it terrifies them. They have crafted their brand for decades and they will be forced to be the Bad Cop, or vote against their alleged convictions.

      For a Republican example of this think back to all the repeals of Obama Care while Obama was President. If Jeb was President, he would have found a way to be the Bad Cop to the base and nix the vote or implementation language. Trump instead called their bluff and basically said ‘If you really want it, go for it!” Whether by design or accident, Trump put light on the Republican hypocrisy on the issue, which ultimately forced the House and Senate to look like fools to their bases when they intentionally fumbled the ball.

      Sanders would follow a similar route of daring to keep the POTUS narrative on working class and poor agendas, and he would paint the Democrat Party into a corner where they would have to reveal themselves as false advocates.

      Reply
      1. Donald

        I think that is right, but I also think that in that event the press and the centrist Democrats will paint Sanders as the ideologue who wasn’t pragmatic enough to strike a bargain and achieve something good. Roll out the usual cliches about Utopianism, ideological rigidity and letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. They would be willing to let a Republican win in 2024 ( not openly of course) if that will discredit the left for another 50 years.

        Actually, what am I saying? Many will be willing to do this in 2020. But if he wins, making sure he is a failure as President will be Plan B.

        When I am online, the depressing thing is how many online Democrats hate Sanders so much. I don’t know how much of it is conscious professional managerial class self interest and how much of it is simple tribalism. I think it is mostly the second. These aren’t people who actually make a living as Democratic Party grifters but they have come to identify with it so much that Bernie’s criticisms of its corruption really anger them.

        Reply
      2. Pelham

        Yes!

        I’ve had vague thoughts on this for a while, but you really lay it out nicely. I’m also thinking that this is why the system abhors a third party. If we had, for instance, a party that split the difference between social and economic issues and could get a fair number of members elected to Congress, it would risk calling the two parties’ bluffs.

        For instance, if there were a third party adamantly opposed to more immigration but also on board with the Green New Deal, it could possibly achieve both in alternating alliances with Republicans and Democrats — to the equal horror on both issues of the institutional leadership and donors of both major parties.

        Of course, we can’t have such a third party — pro guns, anti-abortion and anti-immigration but pro-Green New Deal, pro debt forgiveness, pro-Medicare for All — not because there’s any inherent ideological contradiction but because of fixed ideas in the elites and media.

        Reply
        1. QuarterBack

          The MSM (owned by a “manageable” small group) plays its part to keep the Good-Cop-Bad-Cop. Game balance in check by shushing away 3rd parties. But within the DNC consider:

          They LOVE working class and families desiring affordable healthcare, but HATE Bernie Sanders “Unelectable”

          They LOVE peace and diplomacy to avoid forever wars, but HATE Tulsi Gabbard “Putin Stooge”

          They LOVE the environment and bold steps towards green energy, but HATE Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “{Pelosi} Let’s get sophisticated”. Remember too how Pelosi took issue with AOC for rallying a group of Dems against the Border Bill “compromise”.

          Good-Cop-Bad-Cop.

          Reply
        2. QuarterBack

          If you want to understand some of inner workings of the machine that puts out a line of Good-Cop-Bad-Cop actors, consider high school and college debate teams. There is a common training exercise where you are asked to defend a ridiculous position or one that you are personally opposed to. The best debaters can argue successfully for any side. Almost every one of such expert debaters that I knew ended up in law, politics, or media. In these professions, you will be recruited and can go very far as long as (you know you place and) can successfully argue a position whether you believe in it or not.

          Reply
          1. Kurt Sperry

            It actually can be both an exercise in empathy and knowing your enemy better than they know themselves. But this presupposes some degree of wisdom to work.

            Reply
      3. Copeland

        “Good Cop Bad Cop”

        I like how you lay this out. Another way of describing is it that both establishment Dems and establishment Repubs pretty much have everything the way they want it *RIGHT NOW*, but they absolutely can’t allow either of their bases to understand this, so they repeatedly use fear to remain in power and to “make sure the other side doesn’t advance their (fake) agenda”. Neither side actually wants to advance anything, (again–everything is great as it is now — for them!) they just desperately need to APPEAR to be fighting for something for their bases.

        Reply
    3. flora

      The Democratic Party is polarized right now between Bernie fans who insist that democratic socialism is the way forward and an establishment that’s terrified Sanders will bring electoral doom.”

      Iglesius is missing something. My re-write of the above:

      ‘The Democratic Party is polarized right now between Dem voters demanding clean elections and a DNC establishment that’s willing to openly manipulate election results in order to install the DNC’s pre-selected candidate.’ /not a snark

      Reply
      1. QuarterBack

        And D/R Parties are filled with so much BS these days, that voters are drawn more to the candidates that raise the BS flag highest. Both Sanders and Trump have a large portion of their popularity by the fact that they have been both talking about a “rigged” political system for a long time. The emotion against being played as a fool by the Party cores commands more political momentum than their respective agendas. In the end, people hate being lied to, ESPECIALLY by their own party. When an outsider lies, it’s opposition, when a friend lies, it’s betrayal.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Yes. From Taibbi’s latest in Rolling Stone. (maybe good for the links)

          Iowa Was Waterloo for Democrats

          “Iowa was the real “beginning of the end,” to a story that began in the Eighties.

          Following the wipeout 49-state, 512 electoral vote loss of Walter Mondale in 1984, demoralized Democratic Party leaders felt marooned, between the awesome fundraising power of Ronald Reagan Republicans and the irritant liberalism of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition.

          To get out, they sold out. A vanguard of wonks like Al From and Senator Sam Nunn at the Democratic Leadership Council devised a marketing plan: two middle fingers, one in each direction.

          Democrats went on to systematically rat-fuck every group in their tent: labor, the poor, minorities, soldiers, criminal defendants, students, homeowners, media consumers, environmentalists, civil libertarians, pensioners — everyone but donors.”

          https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/iowa-caucus-democrats-disaster-trump-sanders-949655/

          Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Contrast this dynamic to Obama supposedly surrounding himself with a ‘team of rivals’, advisers who were ideologically opposed to him so as to keep him on his toes. What a crock that was. Obama surrounded himself with those he was told to hire and they all served the same masters.

      Trump axing those who tried to shiv him is how you exercise power if your intent is to stay in charge. I may not like the guy, but I find this particular behavior at least to be much more honest.

      That being said, Bernie or burn it down.

      Reply
    2. Darthbobber

      Well, this ambassadorship WAS a purely patronage position. “a hotelier from Portland who contributed $1million to the Trump inaugural.” A large number of ambassadorship are filled by such donors.

      Obviously he would have expected this result, barring a Senate conviction.

      Reply
  6. Livius Drusus

    Re: ‘We Have To Be A Little Wary’: Jobs Report Marred By Revisions, Overshadowed By Virus.

    As has been posted and discussed here numerous times, most of the jobs that are being created today are not good jobs, they are mostly in the low-paying service sector. Plus, you also have the drop in labor force participation as people just give up looking for work, or more accurately are forced out of the labor market. Unemployment is truly like being sucked into a black hole today. So I never really believed in the supposedly great Trump (or Obama) economy.

    As for the virus outbreak, I think we will be seeing more of this sort of thing as overpopulation, mass migration, inequality and urbanization continue. Throw climate change into the mix along with the latest surveillance/military tech and you have the makings of a horrible cyberpunk dystopia.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      there’s signs all over NW san antonio for “now hiring! $10/hr!!”
      last time i worked a real job….13 years ago(and way out here in the boonies)…that’s what i was paid.
      the clinton job boom ™ was the same, but with lower minimum…so a lower “here’s how generous we are”.
      back then, in austin…i could fire my boss if he/she got too big for their britches, walk across the street and get an equally low paying job with no benefits or security…new boss always started out being very nice…prolly because there were lots and lots of identical jobs(so a seller’s market).
      sometimes took a year for the true colors to show.
      that was the closest thing to full employment…and the worker power that comes with it…i’ve ever experienced.
      now…because of where i’m at(far boonies, still), as well as the nature of my disability(i can’t promise that i’ll be there tomorrow)…plus the fact that i’m 50…i’m pretty much unemployable. and therefore not counted by the BLS, etc.
      there’s also the fact…which i am the only one i know who will admit to it…that i don’t really desire any of the jobs available. bosses are almost universally crappy,for one thing….the pay is around $9 and hour…the hours suck(lots of split shifts in the local food bidness for some reason)…and i’ve gone to seed,lol.
      i can’t see myself playing nice with bossy and demanding customers any more.(which was de facto required, due to me being the star chef/kitchen ninja and being the default Face of the Place everywhere i went….which also engendered resentment from the actual owners,lol)
      so i’ll settle for black market farming…which shouldn’t really be a thing at all in a civilised country.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        It sounds like we’re both in the same boat. I can’t do the farming though, not enough land. Or any land, really. Not that it matters, you can run a geiger counter over the broccoli and take a guess what part of the county it came from.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Best to do it in an inside room where the heat signature from the grow lights doesn’t show to thermal imaging sensors from the street. Also gradually build up your electricity usage. A sudden spike in electricity usage is a red flag for the censorious types.
            Unless you are dealing with Yuggoth based beings.

            Reply
            1. steve

              There are numerous crops that don’t have any of those problems and enjoy an under served market, but production is ramping up quickly.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                As far as ‘legitimate’ crops are concerned, see some of Amfortas’ comments about the problems of local power centre regulations of home businesses. Especially “health” related issues. (Where we live, chickens and other small animal husbandry is forbidden within the city limits. A “health” issue is the rationale provided for the prohibition.)
                I’m mainly thinking about small volume, high price items or home use production of anything and everything.

                Reply
      2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        During the late 70’s & early 80’s after I had decided that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life behind a desk & when there were still many jobs, i spent around 3 years doing basically any job for party money. If i got bored or fell out with a boss, I would just head off to something else like working as a teaboy on a motorway construction project, foundry labouring, motorway service station washing dishes, landscape gardening, sticking labels on the bottom of plates in a pottery, 2 tile factories one of which could have been the set for a Dickens production, pipe laying on another road project with a giant from Connemara who had the nickname of John Wayne & the other one I recall was as a bus conductor.

        Most of them only required my name & address before starting the following Monday, the foundry was the toughest & I was the only none ex-con who worked at the sharp end of it – I never had a shower but walked home looking like a coal miner. The unions still had the upper hand & in some cases IMO overdid it, as with one time working near Liverpool on another road, we were on strike so often that nobody benefited from the previously won pay rise. A friend of mine who was very good with a cricket had a job working nights which he spent asleep, so that he could perform better for the steel works cricket team.

        I think I was very fortunate to have that experience & I imagine that it would be impossible now for kids who have to step straight onto the treadmill.

        Reply
      3. The Pale Scot

        i can’t see myself playing nice with bossy and demanding customers any more

        .

        WORD

        In another life I explained to my coworkers that everyone has a finite number of people you can serve. Many of us eventually withdraw from most social contact. I can go weeks without talking to anyone other than the cashier at Publix. The only reason I have a phone is my family needs to contact me. If you want to do business with me I have a mailbox and a fax machine. Solitude is the highest commodity

        Reply
        1. Clive

          Yes, I too crave undisturbed silence (as my mother used to call it “peace and quiet” which I always thinks sounds better) like most people seem to crave breathing. Most people have me down as a miserable git, but then most people, though I may love them dearly, bore me to tears in about 10 minutes.

          When I finally feel financially secure enough to quit work, which at the rate things are going will be about twenty years time, I thoroughly look forward to the prospect of having the phone disconnected and never answering the doorbell ever again.

          Reply
          1. chuck roast

            Nothing but a bunch of asocial cranks! I had no idea that I would be enjoying the extended and distant intimacy of such a big club.

            Reply
          2. Amfortas the hippie

            aside from wife’s chemo trips to san antonio, i go to town maybe once a week….and the Real Grocery Store, 50 miles away, once a month, if that.
            and when i go to town, it’s to the feed store, the hardware store or the beer store.
            i speak to birds and turtles and armadillos far more than i do to other humans.

            the funniest example of my hermithood: went to my brother in law’s wedding in town recently. no fewer than 4 people said they thought i was dead.

            but my limited forays among the Mundane are very productive…Fieldwork, baby! I eavesdrop habitually, and will talk to a stump.
            I would prefer, however, to just stay out here.

            Reply
          3. steve

            I’m fortunate in that I have managed just that. And while it has been a pleasure to escape the meat of the long list of unpleasant persons and to now have the luxury of having a much shorter list, and an abundance of solitude, I have to say, I miss a good conversation.

            Not that I have any fewer now, no, just that the odds of having another has diminished.

            Reply
            1. The Pale Scot

              A good conversation is what I miss most about leaving NYC. They’re scarce on the ground here in SW Fl’

              Reply
    2. QuarterBack

      Speaking of those “low paying service sector jobs”. This from the Boston PBS WBUR.

      Taco Bell wants to attract and retain managers by offering a fully-loaded salary.

      The fast food chain announced this month it will soon begin testing a $100,000 salary for general managers in some locations and offering paid sick leave.

      This isn’t rolling out at every Taco Bell, but at some corporate locations that make over $2 million per year, says Sam Oches, editorial director for Food News Media, which publishes QSR Magazine.

      General managers at Taco Bell make between $50,000 to $80,000 per year, which Oches says is comparable to other popular fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC.

      https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/01/28/taco-bell-100k-salaries

      Reply
      1. steve

        Restaurant and retail managerial jobs at the store level generally require demanding hours and screwed schedules and has a high burnout rate because, for most, it’s shit work.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Absolutely agree. I got to read the salaried employees handbook at the Chicken Palace, a retail salvage goods chain which was, I was told, typical for the field. The salaried manager and assistant managers were explicitly informed that they were required to put in no less than fifty-five hours of work a week, and often more during ‘peak demand periods.’ For that amount of work, I, personally, would demand a lot more than 50K. Plus, the positions required either a four year degree or multiple years of prior experience. I also noticed that the floor workers who were desirous of ‘moving up’ the ladder of “success,” did not get raises as their skill levels increased. The ‘straw bosses’ I observed were making the same hourly wages as those they were coordinating.

          Reply
    1. Monty

      Good article, nailing Meritocracy Pete, linked in the comments of that post.

      Because I am somewhat cynical about the United States meritocracy. Few people amass these kind of résumés if they are the type to openly challenge authority. Noam Chomsky says that the factors predicting success in our “meritocracy” are a “combination of greed, cynicism, obsequiousness and subordination, lack of curiosity and independence of mind, [and] self-serving disregard for others.” So when journalists see “Harvard” and think “impressive,” I see it and think “uh-oh.”

      https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/03/all-about-pete

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        For years I have been trying to find a trustworthy person to tend to my wife’s financial affairs when I croak. She can’t rub two nickels together. Last week I finally found a person I think that she can trust. He met my primary criteria: 1. he is willing to sign a fiduciary agreement, and 2. he is not from the Ivy League.

        Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      Here in Western Washington, we’ve had extensive flooding, mudslides, landslides, extreme mountain snow closing major roads across the Cascades,, and avalanches. In other words, pretty normal February stuff.

      Reply
    2. steve

      It’s Spring here in the deep south, even the oaks are starting to swell their buds, narcissus is in full swing, the early native azaleas are looking ready. Last year was much the same, then a freeze that set everything back. It feels as though the seasons have shifted, early Spring weather, early Summer temps and a late Fall.

      The past two summers the field behind me have had drastically reduced lightening bug populations. At their height in prior years it was always quite the show. None of the usual suspects, toxin exposure and light pollution, seem to be in play here.

      Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Kudos to Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, who held a joint press conference in Caracas with Venezuela’s elected President Moreno.

      Reply
    2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

      I’m so glad our “opposition” party is onto this Guiado charade, Nancy tweeted yesterday that she was “so pleased to welcome the interim president of Venezuela

      Reply
  7. Phacops

    Re: high water in the Great Lakes

    It’s not damage, it’s erosion, and normal.

    I live in a rural area 6 miles E of Lake Michigan and near the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. Along the lakeshore here, and on the interior lakes, greedheads, many not even permanent residents, have built their homes/cottages, privatizing vast tracts of prime habitat and recreation land. There is no reason that public funds should be used to protect the damage that those entitled homeowners have already done, especially when they are not state residents.

    Actually I hope that Michigan’s DNR will use these levels as a benchmark beyond which private landowners have no property rights. This is currently defined as the average high water line.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      do you think the fishing village shanties mentioned in the article refer to Fishtown in Leland?

      agree about more access for the citizenry and less for wealthy out of towners but the woman featured in the article was local and when her father built the house 70 years ago it was an acre from the lake.

      I believe global warming acts by amplifying what are natural processes to extremes of intensity and rapidity that are precisely not natural.

      Reply
      1. Calvin

        “An acre from the lake…” is not distance. Who knows how wide their landfront is?

        In the SF Bay Area, much sea level damage is caused by landfill, every flat area along the shore, slumping into the layer of mud underlying it.

        Reply
      2. Phacops

        Yes, some buildings have been moved. But, the lake has been good at historically reclaiming the shoreline. Many old lumber towns and mills during the era of the lumber barons are now gone. But it is interesting to canoe on some small streams noticing the discarded slabs of lumber still paving the bottom.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      We got the same thing here in FL — Greedheads building McMansions right on the Gulf beaches, because “special.” And storms and circulation patterns in the Gulf are constantly changing the shoreline, washing the pretty sand to new locations. https://researchers.dellmed.utexas.edu/en/publications/effect-of-el-niño-1997-98-on-beaches-of-the-peninsular-gulf-coast

      And the response to that ineluctable change is to get lots of public money to do what is so disgustingly and euphemistically called “beach renourishment,” leading to organizational activities like this: http://www.resilientdelray.com/beach-program-2/ Interesting side note: believe it or not, there is a “sand shortage” worldwide: “ World Faces Global Sand Shortage,” https://www.npr.org/2017/07/21/538472671/world-faces-global-sand-shortage

      So the Rich Folks get to have the beach contours put back to where they want them, at public expense, to where Mother Nature said they should no longer be, rinse and repeat with every storm and the simple passage of time — a Sisyphean task if ever there was one. After all, also, tourism, which has a sort of big carbon footprint, is such a big part of local life and funding in the Sunshine State…

      Sustainability? Not so much.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        After reading the above link, go the NOAA website and search for “Do the Great Lakes have tides?”.
        The answer is “No”. The lake levels vary by only a few inches after Spring runoff. However, wind from Winter storms regularly raise the lake levels along certain shorlines by at least a foot (12″). The reason is a phenomenon known as “seiche”. It’s the same slopping/movement of water across the fetch of a lake just like in your bathtub. Except it takes about 7 hours to slop from one shoreline to another in lake Michigan or Superior.

        The same wind energy that drives ocean waves (and coastal shoreline run-up) does so on the Great Lakes, as well.. Wave energy is the major cause of erosion. Combine seiche with wind/wave energy and you get real problems.

        Also, it’s likely that the lake level gauges are not being read continuously, but intermittently.

        Reply
      2. rd

        This is only a record because it only includes data from the past few decades. In reality, the Great Lakes are near the lowest elevation in the past 20,000 years. People simply do not understand that features like our coast lines and lake edges are transient and vary greatly when measured in geologic time, which covers many generations. Here is a list of pre-historic lakes from around the world, including the Great lakes region. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prehistoric_lakes

        The Great Lakes are the remnants of much bigger glacial lakes and shallow seas formed during the melting of the last continental ice sheet. They have only been in something like their current form for a few thousand years, which is a blink of an eye from a geomorphic perspective. Erosion is generally fastest in “new” landforms, which the Great Lakes are.

        Much of the eroding ground is either glacial till laid down under the continental glaciers or sediments from higher lake levels that predate the current Great Lakes. The outlets from these lakes changed dramatically, often abruptly over the past 20,000 years until the current St. Lawrence drainage formed several thousand years ago.

        The Great Lakes equilibrium has been remarkably stable (not what these homeowners want to hear) over the past several thousand years. The problem is that people believe that drainage and climatic patterns they have seen over the past couple of decades are locked in stone and they build infrastructure on that assumption, which is a false assumption.

        So this is similar to the assumption along the ocean coastlines that the ocean level should be static, even though it was typically 400 feet lower 20,000 years ago. Meltwater pulses released when various pre-historic lakes suddenly had new drainages open could raise the oceans several feet over just a handful of years back then. The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are really just the final phase of the great continental glacier melt that started about 20,000 years ago. A steady CO2 environment kept the climate in a reasonable equilibrium for several thousand years, which has given people a false sense of stability. Increasing CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is putting us back in the phase of rapid change that was occurring from about 20,000 to 7,500 years ago, when coastlines and lakes could see major changes in less than a decade.

        Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Australia floods: Fire-hit Australia faces ‘dangerous’ downpours BBC
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A state of emergency was declared in Milford Sound on Monday, in response to flooding that has slammed the region which saw an evacuation of 195 tourists.

    In a statement, DOC said that damage to the Routeburn Track was so severe, it would not reopen this season.

    The Milford Track will be closed to the public for at least three weeks while critical repair work is done.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/milford-and-routeburn-tracks-closed-after-flooding

    The best time to do either of these fabulous hikes is right now, normally.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        In Oz, we are now getting wild weather. Sydney is getting clobbered with rain so heavy the likes of which have not been seen for over twenty years. In good news, the general rains are putting out the bushfires and that mega fire that had been burning for 74 days has now been put out. You have minor flooding across the country so hopefully that will not lead to general floods but in good news, the dams are being refilled as they had been getting low-

        https://www.sbs.com.au/news/electricity-cut-evacuations-ordered-as-wild-weather-wreaks-havoc-across-nsw

        Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman escorted from White House”
    ‘He did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day: He followed orders, he obeyed his oath, and he served his country, even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal peril.’

    Quite true that, quite true. The only problem is that the Vindman brothers forgot which country that they were supposed to be serving.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Just out of curiosity, who gave the orders he was following? Where were they in the chain of command? Unless Trump ordered him to testify, I am not sure following orders is really the case here. Last time I looked nothing had legally changed Trump’s position at top of the chain of command.

      I do not object to a member of the military choosing to follow their conscience and report on their superiors, but I do expect them to know there can be consequences and to accept that demotion or transfer could be in their future. Unless and until Vindman is stripped and thrown into solitary like Chelsea Manning, the indignation is really overblown.

      Reply
      1. chuckster

        Let me guess what happens next. On January 21,2021, newly inaugurated Democratic president reinstates Col. (soon to be general) Vindman to his new post on the White House NSA.

        Reply
    2. Darthbobber

      I didn’t pay sufficiently detailed attention during the impeachment circus, I guess, because I wasn’t aware until today that Vindman was originally from Kiev.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The US Ambassador to the Ukraine that tried to help bring Trump down – Marie Yovanovitch – was also the daughter of emigrants from the Ukraine though Wikipedia covers it up by claiming her parents were from the “Soviet Union”.

        Reply
  10. Lee

    “The idea of sacrificing one’s self for a greater, national goal is deeply-embedded in Chinese culture

    Is that why 5 million people skedaddled out of the quarantine area during the 36 hour period between the announcement and the enactment of the quarantine? Did their social credit scores suffer?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Thank you people seem to forget that it’s just as racist to express a “positive” view of a generally related population as it is to be negative.

      A bet a lot of Chinese would be bemused to find that their, say brother-in-law is the type of person who has deeply-embedded the “The idea of sacrificing one’s self for a greater, national goal”. They no doubt think he’s a tiresome self-centered s(family blog)t, the same as my whiter-than-white brother-in-law is.

      I mean the dumbest thing I ever heard, repeatedly in my life, was in the late 70’s. It was all about, confided in confident tones often from fancy lecterns, that the Japanese were good at “copying things” but were not “creative”. They were apparently this bee-hive (without a queen) that just happily buzzed together but had no deep thoughts of their own.

      I’m proud to say I was always bogswallowed by it. Of course as a young engineer I kept my mouth shut.

      I think a lot of anger about that was just under the surface when Honda went out and kicked F1’s butt.

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        I heard the same thing about China, when I was working there ten years ago — from Chinese people themselves! It was accepted wisdom that they needed some American help for creative ideas, but then they could take it from there. But maybe they just said that to the Americans ;)

        Reply
    2. Tom Bradford

      When the Plague reached the village of Eyam near Manchester in 1667 it voluntarily quarantined itself and possibly prevented the Plague travelling further north. 267 out of a population of 344 died.

      In Hunan’s case the quarantine was, I believe, imposed from outside so perhaps the quote should read: “The idea of sacrificing someone else for a greater, national goal is deeply-embedded in Chinese culture.”

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        In a country that has always been an Empire and still has an authoritarian government (not so different from the Emperors), your version seems appropriate.

        Reply
  11. Kevin C. Smith

    re: Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network

    29% were medical personnel, presumably infected on the job.
    Abstract says 4.3% death rate as of 03 Feb, but there were still about 2/3 of pts in hospital with ~ 10 pts on ventilators in the ICU, likely ~half a dozen of those will die within a few weeks, and some of the others will die too, so the final death rate could be ~10% after all is said and done.
    Better be very careful if you go [or are drafted] to work in a hospital with 2019-nCoV patients.

    Reply
  12. HotFlash

    From the VOX article: Of particular concern is the potential that the virus could start spreading in countries with weaker health systems, where officials would have an even harder time limiting the spread than China has.

    Such as the US. M4A.

    Reply
    1. GramSci

      On the plus side, coronavirus would be a good excuse to quarantine all of the immigrants / deplorables. :-(.

      As Lambert says, it’s all going according to plan.

      Reply
      1. chuckster

        I’m sure that they can come up with a statistic that says that those without Master’s Degrees are more susceptible to the virus and need to be quarantined until after the election. You know, “poorly educated” who won’t vote Team Blue.

        Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “AI in the adult industry: porn may soon feature people who don’t exist”

    It may start there but I can see how it may play out and it would get very seamy. Customers could pay to have digital versions of themselves inserted into a porn film (but with enhancements such as smaller gut size, less body hair, etc.) and the partners might be digital version of well known people or people in their own lives. That is not the seamy part.

    There would be a more specialized market for people with Epsteinian tastes. Would you believe that there are sex dolls of children being made that sometimes come with a teddy bear in their arms, have a human-like temperature and even say “no, no, daddy”? I had no idea myself till a day or so ago.

    Some guy got busted in Perth for trying to import five of them about two years ago and right now the Danish Parliament is set to ban them. So here you would have a market for digital children in the adult industry and you know that it will happen. What a world we live in.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      > I had no idea myself till a day or so ago.

      I had no idea at all until reading your comment. Ugh ugh ugh ughughughugh. I need to go chop some firewood or something equally violent for awhile…

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Oh good heavens man! I need to stock up on the wholesale case lot of brain bleach after that image flashed across my poor mind.

          Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    GEO, the nation’s second-largest operator of private prisons, was offering this bonanza contingent on one requirement: Permit the company’s two privately owned prisons already located in the city — Golden State Modified Correctional Facility and Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility — to convert to ICE immigration detention centers. Both of the private prisons have 700-inmate capacities and both are scheduled to be shut down in a few months. That is, unless they become federally licensed detention centers.

    The GEO executives were flanked by a pair of well-groomed security men who, with their suits and earpieces, looked like FBI agents. The executives, addressing the planning commissioners, proclaimed the following: If the city refuses to permit the two immigration detention centers, McFarland will lose entry-level wages that increase from the current $16.75 an hour to $46.57 per hour for officers, more than 300 jobs, $500,000 in property taxes, and thousands of dollars in scholarships ($71,000 since 2015) totaling $511,000 in fiscal mitigation for the strapped city. Current employees at the prisons would be afforded the opportunity to apply for the new jobs.

    Wow! Sounds like an offer too good to pass up. Except it wasn’t.

    The GEO Group, a major player operator within the $3 billion private prison industry, also runs several ICE immigration detention centers around the country including Mesa Verde in Bakersfield. In order to survive in California, GEO is making an all-out effort to convert its privately run prisons into more lucrative immigration detention facilities. Last year the California Department of Corrections cancelled all contracts with private prisons in accordance with SB32, which bans the facilities as of Jan. 1. So GEO pulled off an end-run around the new law. Just days before it went into effect, the Trump administration — no fan of California — awarded new contracts totaling $6.5 billion to GEO and another company to run four immigration centers in California for the next 15 years. This means prisoners are out, and immigrant detainees are in.

    https://www.bakersfield.com/columnists/robert-price/jose-gaspar-geo-dangles-money-carrot-in-front-of-mcfarland/article_99c02eb8-42ea-11ea-a7fd-6f1d68afb1e5.html

    Reply
  15. JTMcPhee

    More on Pete the Cheat’s military service, especially to be contrasted with his offhanding of Gabbard’s: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/442082-documents-provide-glimpse-into-buttigiegs-military-service

    From my military stint’s lexicon as an Imperial GI in 1967-68, he would have been dismissed as a REMF — “rear echelon motherf—ker.” Nice gig inside the big imperial compound in Kabul, with occasional “forays outside the wire” into the “more dangerous areas of Kabul.”

    I have to provide my view of context: Both Vietnam and Afghanistan are examples of “counterinsurgency invasion” to protect colonial interests and bolster the MIC. the Empire had/has no proper justification for either. Guys like Buttigieg were pretty clearly resume’-building. His job as an analyst with the Empire’s “Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell, which was tasked to “identif[y] and disrupt[…] Taliban, Al-Qaida and other insurgent financial support networks in Afghanistan.” My bet is that this also put him within the “opportunity to see the corruption and fraud” endemic to the Empire’s involvement, that has been so clearly documented. That’s both the corruption of Afghan government and military via the injection of millions of dollars of “aid,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/afghan-generals-face-charges-in-crackdown-on-military-corruption/2017/03/29/9d6c0dca-1480-11e7-bb16-269934184168_story.html , and the corruption practiced by US military/civilian organizations. This in support of a moving-target mission that has shifted from “defeating the Taliban” to “standing up Afghan police and military forces to control lithe country” (echoes of “Vietnamization,” anyone?) Bear in mind that the Empire has on many occasions paid the Taliban and “insurgents” not to attack them, and paid Taliban and insurgents to both drive and provide security for convoys delivering petroleum to “the front:” “ Report: U.S. Bribes to Protect Convoys Are Funding Taliban Insurgents
    Rep. John Tierney concludes, “Tony Soprano would be proud of it.” ” https://abcnews.go.com/WN/Afghanistan/united-states-military-funding-taliban-afghanistan/story?id=10980527 All while claiming that the latest fashion in doctrine, or concentrated search-and-destroy actions in this or that province, showed the light at the end of the tunnel.

    As Pete said, “[i]n his book ‘Shortest Way Home,’ Buttigieg wrote about how he expected to spend the bulk of his time as an intelligence analyst ‘behind a sophisticated computer terminal in a secure area.’ As pointed out by others, a typical McKinsey-class job site, and job description too.

    But out on the campaign trail, Buttigieg has talked about the 119 times he says he crossed ‘outside the wire,’ leaving the relative safety of the base as a vehicle commander on convoy security detail in dangerous parts of Kabul.” https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/442082-documents-provide-glimpse-into-buttigiegs-military-service. Saigon was sometimes a dangerous place “outside the wire” (meaning the barbed wire and walls that enclosed pieces of Vietnam carved out as Imperial territory. But lots of GIs preferred “service” there, amidst huge Imperial military presence to other areas not so well patrolled and protected. REMFs lead a relatively safe existence, in danger only because the Imperium has chosen to invade to foster Imperial interests that mostly have nothing to do with “protecting and defending” either “the Homeland” or “the Constitution.” Shortly after I got back from Vietnam, I met a guy I went to high school with, driving a new 1968 Jaguar XKE with a lovely blonde companion. I knew he had been drafted and gone to Vietnam, and there was no way an enlisted man could afford these items. I asked about that, and he said, “Weellll, I was an MP at the main PX in Saigon.” The very place to engage in all kinds of profitable fraud and corruption.

    I’m pretty sure Pete’s “service,” his simple presence, for six or seven months in an “imminent danger area” earned him combat pay — at $225 a month, The same that a grunt actually out in the boonies, getting shot at and blown up, earns. That seems pretty puny, but along with other hazard pay and much of his base pay, it was not subject to federal tax. Here’s a short explanation of who gets combat and other hazard pay: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/united-states-military-pay-charts-3346234 You don’t have to be a grunt humping a rucksack and kicking in doors and shooting up the countryside to draw it. (For those who say “We ought to pay them more for risking their lives for our country,” I’d say there is no honorable reason for these folks to be in that situation I in the first instance.) Going “outside the wire” in Kabul seems like a pretty puny exposure to combat risks.

    So maybe this is not an instance of “stolen valor,” but Pete is inflating his actual experience as an Imperial trooper, in aid of his ambition? I wonder, are there any “Swiftboat practitioners” ready and willing to give him the “Kerry treatment” should the DNC slip him into the top spot?

    There are a lot of reasons not to want this guy as president.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      There is no honorable reason for these folks to be in that situation in the first instance.

      There are a lot of reasons of to want this guy as president.

      Indeed. No reasons.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Is Iraq About To Switch From US to Russia? ”

    For Iraq, this may be a matter of reliability. The US has a track record of being unreliable with military gear in Iraq. When the Iraq Army was in a fight with ISIS, the US pulled the General Dynamics contractors out that serviced the American M1A1 Abrams tanks that Iraq had purchased. This was to force the Iraqis to chase after some M1 tanks that ended up in the hands of Shia militia. In a short order of time, half of Iraq’s battle tanks were out of commission. So the Iraqis gave up on the US and went ahead and purchased Russian T-90S main battle tanks-

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21417/iraqi-armored-brigade-ditches-u-s-m1-abrams-for-russian-t-90-tanks

    More serious was what happened in 2014 when Iraq was being over-run by ISIS and it looked like that Baghdad might be taken. The US was holding back on attacking the advancing ISIS forces in order to get all sorts of concessions from the Iraqis. Frantically the Iraqis demanded that the Iraqi pilots in training with the new F-16s return from Texas to take part in the fighting. The US said that the pilots were not ready but should be by the year after next, I kid you not.

    The Russians came to their aid and sent a squadron or two of second-hand Sukhoi SU-35s. The Russians quickly assembled them (and perhaps flew them) and in days they were in action hammering the ISIS troops and positions. Iran also sent Su-35s that had flow there from Iraq during the initial invasion. The Iraqis would have remembered this bit of history hence their desire for a reliable military partner-

    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/world/middleeast/iraq.html

    https://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1542427/new-us-planes-slow-arrive-iraq-seeks-remnants-saddams-air-force-bomb-isil

    Reply
    1. rd

      Today’s military would be just about ready to strike back after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, almost 80 years after the event. That should be nearly adequate time to procure and design new weapons systems and provided training for the troops that will need to use them.

      Reply
  17. Donald

    From Matt Y’s article, which was mostly decent, but with flaws. Like this—

    “ Happy talk about bipartisanship isn’t just for Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders can do it too! He has Republican friends. He knows there are good Republicans out there. He’s worked with them in the past and looks forward to doing so again.

    It’s 100 percent true that if Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar started talking like this, they’d get roasted by Sanders’s Twitter fandom. The hypocrisy is very real. But the fact that Bernie’s fans let Sanders get away with this kind of thing is a strength of his. ”

    The difference is that Bernie would work with Republicans when some of them are on the morally decent side of an issue. So, for example, I think Bernie has worked with some Republicans who are opposed to the war in Yemen.

    Centrist Dems, on the other hand, want to work with Republicans to do bad things like make Grand Bargains to cut Social Security. Fortunately the Republicans didn’t want to give what the centrist press would call a victory to President Obama, so Social Security was saved.

    Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    With apologies to B. Traven’s The Death Ship

    Cruises are basically floating resorts so we are still enjoying ourselves. The same cannot be said for everyone on board though. There is a lot of grumbling about the goings on of the ship, as well as rumors of where we are heading next. Last night they had an open bar, which seemed to quiet the crowds for a brief spell, only for the captain to release another statement declaring we would not stop in Ishigaki, our first port in Japan.

    This morning the captain made the announcement that Japan has denied us entry to all ports for the remainder of our trip and the cruise has been canceled, as well as the following two week cruise, which my fiancee and I were also supposed to be on. Apparently Holland America is in contact with the US State Department, the US Navy, and the Dutch government to decide what to do next. At this moment we are still sailing in an eastward direction, but the passengers aren’t sure why. We have heard rumors that we will be docking in either Hawaii or Alaska, where will not be placed under quarantine for the necessary two weeks because the ship itself is basically under self-quarantine. Officially, the destination has not been determined.

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/health/story/2020-02-07/s-d-couple-stuck-in-the-south-china-sea-on-cruise-ship

    Reply
    1. Mel

      You better apologize. The Death Ship is nothing like this Flying Dutchman tale. It’s about capitalism under flinty-eyed cost-reducers, and then under brilliant, visionary disrupters.

      I, too, think more people should know about it.

      It’s as brilliant as Vonnegut, I bet.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Different circumstances for sure, but a wandering ship where the couple who wrote the missive are the only ones on board with face masks, and nobody wants anything to do with them, stateless passengers w/o a country.

        Reply
        1. Mel

          Yes, now that you mention it. On to the penultimate scene, living sideways on the pantry wall with ***** food and drink, until it goes down.

          Reply
    2. rd

      Cruise ships are floating disease transmission and incubation palaces. If something infectious gets on them, it can be tough to sanitize and isolate the people. Typical cruises are the near perfect duration for people to exhibit symptoms and infect other people.

      Reply
  19. Dalepues

    I have a slightly different take on Yglesias’s article. Yes, Sanders will be able to work with Republicans who have a conscience, but I also see Sanders taking his policies directly to the people, as a populist would naturally do. I see Sanders visiting Mobile, Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, appealing directly to the people who could be most receptive to his ideas.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      And by recruiting, endorsing, supporting, and campaigning for candidates to unseat uncooperative incumbents. That’s how he got around the obstructionist Board of Selectmen when he was elected mayor of Burlington. Joe Manchin, perhaps you might be thinking of retiring? And Speaker McConnell, Speaker Pelosi — I’ve got a little list.

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    How Shelton responds to lawmakers’ questions could make or break her nomination, according to five banking lobbyists who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely about the confirmation hearing. Although much media attention has focused on Shelton’s views about gold, the banking community is more alarmed by her desire to end federal deposit insurance, which secures account holders’ deposits of up to $250,000 at U.S. banks, and her recent questioning of the Fed’s overnight borrowing market, referred to as repo operations, which helps the Fed keep cash flowing through the financial system.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/06/gop-senators-face-new-loyalty-test-whether-approve-trumps-controversial-fed-nominee-judy-shelton/

    Shelton is intriguing for a number of reasons, she wrote a book in 1988: The Coming Soviet Crash: Gorbachev’s Desperate Pursuit of Credit in Western Financial Markets which was quite prescient, who was calling for the end of the Soviet Union just before it collapsed in a heap, nobody!

    Now, why you would want to strip out FDIC insurance and return us to those days before FDR when banks were going out of business all over the place with no deposit insurance, and it begot more banks into trouble on account of no trust, i’m not sure.

    Or stripping away the Fed’s free money gambit, that’ll leave a mark.

    Reply
    1. notabanktoadie

      Now, why you would want to strip out FDIC insurance and return us to those days before FDR when banks were going out of business all over the place with no deposit insurance, and it begot more banks into trouble on account of no trust, i’m not sure.

      Why should citizens need to have deposits in private banks to begin with? Why can’t we all have inherently risk-free debit/checking accounts at the Central Bank itself?

      Or is equal protection under the law to be studiously avoided when it comes to banks?

      As for gold, needlessly expensive fiat violates equal protection under the law too.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        As for gold, needlessly expensive fiat violates equal protection under the law too.

        Alas, but it’s the other way around, the almighty $ has lost over 95% of it’s value since 1971, when measured against something that matters.

        The last 5% will prove to be pretty hard to pull off, as it would mean the $ is worth nothing.

        Reply
        1. notabanktoadie

          Remember that the DEMAND for fiat is suppressed in that citizens may not use it in account form, only depository institutions. So focusing on the SUPPLY of fiat only is disingenuous.

          Also, what is important is total income in dollars, not the value of each individual dollar, e.g. 100,000 x $.50 is greater than 30,000 x $1.00

          Moreover, price inflation is greatly preferable to price deflation, e.g. the last major price deflation was a major cause of WWII. Nor do we wish to reward excess saving (hoarding) as if that’s a recipe for progress.

          So please step away from the golden idol and consider that ethics, not a stupid shiny metal going to waste in a Central Bank vault, are the solution to our economic problems.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I see a bunch of irrational actors on the financial stage who have decided that ethics don’t matter 1 iota in this confident new era of money, nothing they’ve done (save for Bernie Madoff) has had any ill consequences for them, just the opposite, it’d be like awarding the bank robber with a huge reward for services rendered.

            Reply
            1. inode_buddha

              On the other hand, their behavior has had ill consequences for everyone else, which will eventually turn into ill consequences for them. Give it time. What happens when a banker loses credibility with the masses? As opposed to looking at your credit history?

              Reply
          2. inode_buddha

            How about measuring the value of the dollar against something that matters, such as my time? Screw that shiny metal stuff. I’ve never seen any workers walk into a store and declare that they wished they had more inflation so that they could pay more. Price inflation is directly equal to wage deflation, IMHO, and is effectively equal to stealing somebody else’s life.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Ok, lets go with the value of a home in SoCal in 1971, versus now.

              The average price of a metropolitan home in L.A. was $18,300. At present we’re talking $579k.

              Candy bars went from a Nickel to a Dime when I was a kid, around 1971. Now some HFCS laden sweet will run you 75 Cents.

              Gas was a Quarter way back when, now it’s $3.50.

              There’s been pretty heavy inflation going on, but not all at once, otherwise we’d notice. It’s also been a less than subtle way of telling us to spend our money rather than save it.

              …average wages haven’t performed nearly to the same standard

              Reply
            2. notabanktoadie

              Price inflation is directly equal to wage deflation, IMHO, and is effectively equal to stealing somebody else’s life.

              The way it’s done now, price inflation IS theft.

              But a healthy amount of price inflation could be produced ethically with an equal Citizen’s Dividend and other reforms such as eliminating privileges for private bank deposits. Not that much price inflation is required, just enough to not err on the side of price deflation.

              Reply
              1. inode_buddha

                I wonder if there’s any way to include *everything* in the inflation count, and then index the minimum wage to that.

                Of course, I’m one of those nutjobs who strongly believes that Capital gains should be at the same rate as labor, if not more.

                I also believe that the SS tax cap should be removed, permanently.

                I believe that any program in which the gov’t backs the loans should *require* strong and enforcable price controls.

                So, basically, wage and price control without Nixon. (even though it was his idea, the great Socialist that he was…)

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  Nixon’s price controls ran smack dab into the Arab oil embargo, and we also had a Communist adversary which had more or less completely neutered itself from the world of international commerce, so as to mean nothing in the scheme of things. The concept of cheap AROP (Asian rates of pay) was limited largely to Japan & Taiwan.

                  The only product from the USSR sold in the USA that I can remember was Stolychnaya vodka, that’s it.

                  Reply
                  1. rowlf

                    Didn’t the Western powers work to do everything they could to make sure nothing from the USSR was positive in any way? Yes, the USSR leadership and system made errors but wasn’t the deck also stacked against them?

                    As far as central control in the USA, wasn’t that how the US was able to help defeat Germany and run over Japan in WW II while the industrialists tried to switch over to consumer goods as soon as they could? If you ever listen to the George Marshall interview tapes the US industrialists were always whining about having to help fight the war.

                    Reply
              2. JTMcPhee

                Some of us appear to be holding gold as a part of their comfortable money pot, and angling to lure others into going back to the gold standard or something. I’d say I wish them well, but that would not be altogether true.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  stepdad has a sack of “junk silver” stashed away.
                  i reckon it will be good for immediate post-apocalypse…simply because ordinary people will Believe it’s worth something…in spite of the academic arguments usually found around here.
                  after that…hopefully brief…period, it’s good for solder.

                  my hard currency stash,otoh, consists of a few gallons of bic lighters and about 20 pounds of black pepper….all well sealed and stored.
                  the abundance of useful knowledge is harder to quantify.

                  (
                  “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

                  ― Robert A. Heinlein )

                  Reply
                  1. notabanktoadie

                    Thanks for the Heinlein quote.

                    Btw, did he write the short story about a guy who alone, except for his intelligent otter friends, thwarted an alien invasion? And could do so because numerous previous invasions had made mankind more resourceful?

                    Kinda reminds me of the Book of Judges, where the Hebrews survived for 400 years before they insisted on being like other nations and have a king themselves.

                    Reply
                  2. The Rev Kev

                    One of my favourite Heinlein quotes that. Along with that black pepper, I hope that you have not forgotten salt. Wars have been fought over the supply of salt and no human being can live without it.

                    Reply
                    1. Amfortas the hippie

                      after the second invasion of iraq, and i discovered that oil was finite…along with a whole lot of other unsustainable necessaries that, combined, mean that This, too, shall pass…
                      one of the numerous(and ongoing) things i did was to obtain a bunch of old usgs maps of my area.
                      i know where all the “salt springs” are for 50 miles around.(that epiphany came from watching the film Gandhi…eg: the salt march)
                      managed to visit 3 of them in this county, serendipitously, by being a part time irregular ranch hand.
                      so i’m good for the long term,lol.
                      but yes…we keep a lot of salt on-hand in storage.
                      (it’s a pita to evaporate, after all)

                2. HotFlash

                  When a local dressmakers supply retired I bought his remaining stock of sewing needles and a whole lot of thread. Nails and screws are good, too.

                  Reply
            3. ChrisPacific

              Inflation does serve a useful purpose in some circumstances. It’s interesting to look at persistent world MMO games, for example, in which game designers have total control of the economy and money supply and can make it work however they like. Almost without exception, they opt for inflation, sometimes at quite a large annualized rate. They do this to keep the game relevant and attractive to new players, since it has the effect of gradually depreciating past accomplishments compared to present ones and flattening the playing field. Without it, long term players with an accumulation of accomplishments and savings over time would eventually reach a point where new players couldn’t hope to compete with them, no matter how hard they tried.

              You can see a similar dynamic playing out in the real world. The ones that REALLY hate inflation are creditors (mostly banks) because it lowers their asset values. A low inflation austerity regime benefits creditors (typically businesses and the wealthy) and hurts debtors (typically the poor).

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                When I was a kid playing pinball, you’d need a score in the low 4 digits (around 1,500) to get a replay, last time I played, needed 3.4 million points to get another play.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  For fun, once in a while, we ‘depraved youths’ would sprinkle iron filings over the glass top of the pinball machine so as to display the magnetic field lines. That’s how we figured out how the pinball machines “fixed” the games. (There’s a reason why the pin balls themselves are big chunks of iron.)

                  Reply
          3. ewmayer

            “…price inflation is greatly preferable to price deflation, e.g. the last major price deflation was a major cause of WWII. Nor do we wish to reward excess saving (hoarding) as if that’s a recipe for progress.”

            Price inflation is only benign if wages are rising at at least the same rate – aside from small monthly blips, that has not been been the case for at least 50 years, except for 1%ers.

            Also, price deflation is the natural trend in certain kinds of goods – you want to pay $1,000,000 for your next laptop? In fact, the faking of inflation stats in certain categories (e.g. OER in place of actual housing prices, bottom-of-the-barrel ground chuck treated as equivalent to sirloin due to the magic of ‘substitution’) coupled with the massive natural deflation in e.g. tech goods (which by way of ‘hedonic adjustments’ offsets a huge chunk of the increasing-cost stuff) cause overall price inflation to be significantly understated. By my preferred metric, cost to raise a child, overall price inflation has been averaging ~4%/yr over the past 50 years. (Note: that only goes thru age 18 – including college makes that even worse).

            And using the laptop-cost as an example shows how hedonics is unmitigated bull dung: 50 years ago I didn’t need a laptop or mobile to operate in modern society – now I do. And the reason I need to upgrade my gear every few years is 90% planned obsolescence: for example, my 10-y.o. macbook still works perfectly fine for my C-coding work – I only need cutting-edge gear to play with optimized assembly code aimed specifically at such. But basic web browsing has become increasingly fraught, every year a greater % of websites becomes unviewable due to new web-tech and security features deployed. Most of those are gratuitous – for example, as of 1 January this year, I can’t view Wikipedia pages in Firefox on my Mac (the last really fast version of FF which allowed the user to do stuff like disable image display in order to cut bandwidth and distractions) anymore, because Wikipedia now needs a newer version of TLS, the crypto underlying https. Why do I need super-duper security to view a frickin’ Wikipedia page? In that case, thankfully PaleMoon (a FF fork) on my Mac supports the newer TLS, but it’s also slower and more crash-prone. And both of those are the most recent versions supported by my version of OSX, 10.6.8, which I don’t want to upgrade for speed and stable-base-of-installed-software reasons. I tried 10.7.x a few years back and it was horrible, grindingy slow bloatware, and would’ve required me to install new versions of (and pay new licensing fees for, in 4-5 cases) all my core work-related software.

            And just a little while ago, while trying to figure out why this month’s Comcast gouge jumped 40% versus what we’d been paying the past year, neither of the above browsers was able to view the past-month bills on the Xfinity site. Luckily I have a recent version of Ubuntu installed on one of my code-development-target machines, its version of FF did the trick, but of course I had to wait 20 seconds for a slew of splashy Ads to fill the screen before I could click my way to a login page.

            Reply
            1. notabanktoadie

              Price inflation is only benign if wages are rising at at least the same rate ewmayer

              Make that incomes and I agree; i.e. not every citizen works for wages and they don’t deserve to be cheated either.

              The problem then is how to produce price inflation ethically which I suggest is the following:

              1) Abolish all government privileges for the use of private bank deposits. This implies that all citizens, at least, be allowed to use their Nation’s fiat in account form at the Central Bank itself.
              2) Replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare with an equal citizen’s dividend.

              That way, any price inflation caused by increases in the money supply should cheat no one and the citizens shall have been pre-compensated for it too.

              Reply
        1. notabanktoadie

          I read the FDIC site and can’t figure it out.

          Nor can I but you can be sure the Fed, Treasury and FDIC will do everything necessary to keep our ONE AND ONLY payment system into which basket ALL eggs must be kept (besides mere paper CB Notes and coins) working – otherwise “tanks in the streets”, as someone said.

          Thanks for the link. Something to mull over when it won’t give me a headache from the outrage.

          Reply
  21. tegnost

    Boeing saga continues…

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/experts-question-whether-boeings-board-of-directors-is-capable-of-righting-the-company/

    FTA…Calhoun and Schwab, among Boeing’s longest serving board members, simultaneously served with Muilenburg on Caterpillar’s board of directors. Calhoun and fellow board member Zafirovski also previously worked together at The Blackstone Group, and before that, in executive roles at GE under cost-slashing CEO Jack Welch.

    Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        The real truth is that it is a very small club — big only because of the weight of power/money its members wield and control. I’d say Carlin did not help the argument by the use of the ambiguous “big.”

        Reply
  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Couple quarantined on ship plead to be evacuated

    Ha! Because they bought “private evacuation insurance” !?!?!?!? I wonder who sold that to them, PT Barnum maybe?

    Reply
  23. Chris

    Fun question to consider: which will happen first? Flint gets clean water or Iowa releases the actual verified caucus results? Follow up question, how quickly will the Iowa caucus problem be forgotten by the DNC?

    Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > Iowa is the new model for dem primaries

        Throwing the furniture into the fire to heat the house.

        Sort of amazing that Buttigieg has Big Mo when the very next primary, South Carolina, is going to bring him to a screeching halt (and quite deservedly for his record on race matters in South Bend). Then again, if Steyer wins….

        Reply
  24. carl

    They’ve already “put it behind them.” However, that steady drip drip drip you’re hearing is the sound of legitimacy leaking away…

    Reply
    1. flora

      Thanks for this link.

      Bannon: “Bloomberg is making a leveraged buyout of the Democratic party.”

      He’s not wrong. That’s gotta terrify the Clinton Dem estab. ha.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        Yeh, they will all be lunching on Martha’s Vineyard on Memorial Day. Without Maher though. The useful idiots lunch downscale.

        Reply
    2. Tom Doak

      One of the most amazing things to me is how many COMEDIANS have drunk the Kool Aid of the Dem establishment: Maher, Colbert, etc.

      I guess, though, I’m just thinking of the ones who have cashed in for their own show on a major corporate network, and either have to give up their independence, or suddenly see things in a new light with their million-dollar salaries.

      Reply
  25. anon in so cal

    California—

    “An endangered gray wolf that wandered more than 8,000 miles through Northern California has died, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced. OR-54, a 3- to 4-year-old female with a radio tracking collar, was found dead on Wednesday in Shasta County, the agency said in a statement.

    It wasn’t clear yet whether the animal died from an accident or natural causes or was killed. State wildlife officials previously said the female wolf was “exploring new ground in search of a mate or another pack.”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/or-54-endangered-gray-wolf-that-wandered-8712-miles-found-dead-in-california/

    Reply
  26. Calypso Facto

    re: Bee hive

    the book The Power of Limits by Gyorgi Doczi goes deep on the theory that recurring patterns in nature are defined by the dynamic union of opposites. I believe the swirly, repeated but not exact patterns in the bee structure are discussed as a type of this dienergy and there are many beautiful math/natural science illustrations to make his point. Highly recommended!

    Reply
  27. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

    Can we have a new section entitled “Presidential Auction”?

    And all news about Bloomberg goes in it.

    It’s a category error to label what he is doing “politics”. It’s a commercial transaction, pure and simple. “Hostile takeover” or “leveraged buyout” would be the right terms. He is depositing a thermonuclear weapon composed of greenbacks on a ripe corporate takeover target.

    He’s simply buying a kingship. Don’t call it politics, it’s not.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      It’s depressing to hear what those who support him have to say. A few in my family are going all in on Bloomberg and say it’s because he’s “fearless” and will do everything he can to defeat Trump. It’s the same view that feels tearing up a piece of paper is #resistence. They love that he’s a “real billionaire” because that annoys Trump apparently.

      It, once more, proves nothing said over the past few years against Bernie was said with any principles.

      “Not a real Democrat!” (Bloomberg is an actual Republican)
      “Can beat Trump” (Bloomberg is on record saying Bernie would beat Trump)
      “Needs to appeal to middle America” (The soda-tax nanny-state media tycoon is what the Heartland wants?)
      “Needs to have support of PoC” (Stop & Frisk guy does that?)
      “Bernie’s not a team player” (Bloomberg has threatened to be a spoiler in numerous elections and actively funded GOP campaigns)

      I could go on and on. It’s just annoying.

      Reply
  28. OIFVet

    Poor Chris Mathews, he is genuinely concerned that The First thing Sanders will do after he is inaugurated is to take Chris Mathews to Central Park and shoot him in the head. From a thrill going down his leg to a chill climbing up his alleged spine, all in the span of 12 years, I feel so bad for him. Perhaps a French-invented razor would be more humane…

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      I think there’s a real parallel to be drawn, here.

      We’ve recently seen how lost Biden can look at times. He’s hardly the only major name in politics still hanging on. Feinstein, Pelosi are barely hanging on, too. They’re hardly convincing anyone with their skillful leadership, no matter how much a sycophantic media work to confuse the public. Their personal approval ratings are rock-bottom.

      There’s lots in cable news, too. Chris Matthews was ranting about McGovern in 1972 and just came across like he had no idea what the world is like these days.

      James Carville looks a shadow of himself during the Clinton years. He seemed barely coherent during his tirade against the Democratic presidential field.

      There’s really a whole generation of these old-heads who once looked like astute operators with real influence, but now just seem lost at sea. It’s a strange combination of old age and a changing society that’s level them adrift.

      In 2016, I would flip on a few of the Sunday Morning talk shows and found myself marveling at how these people seemed like they didn’t understand politics at all, anymore. I’m getting that feeling again.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think this is of greater importance than is realized. Pelosi hasn’t been able to promote the new Congress critters in her mold. There is no energy there.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Mitch McConnell still seems to be well in place. Of course saying “no” to bringing legislation onto the floor and saying “yes” to bribes campaign contributions is not so very taxing a task list.

          Reply
      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Hey, Matthews is another Edward R. Murrow. Murrow made Red-baiting shameful. Matthews has made it ridiculous.

        Reply
      3. Foy

        It all reminds me when in the 80s I saw all the old Brezhnev types in the Russian Politburo hanging on and not letting go. They looked senile and had semi dementia looks. Many of the the leading US politicians who have been around a long time (and I guess the Chris Matthews types who have been around just as long) have got the same look. Chris Matthews and Biden don’t finish their words or sentences, Matthews sentences in that clip were a blur, all running into each other, he was just about exploding with apopolexy

        Reply
    2. Geo

      Obama gave him a “thrill up his leg”. Sanders gives him a tinkle down his leg.

      Add one more to the list of cherished anti-endorsements.

      Reply
  29. Dan

    Hello NC community. I don’t think this has been mentioned anywhere yet, so I thought I’d post it:

    Wow. One of the billionaires powering Pete Buttigieg’s campaign is a Russian-linked oligarch who contributed millions to Trump and GOP PACs for Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell and Scott Walker. You can’t make this stuff up.

    https://twitter.com/JustinAHorwitz/status/1225876735994056717

    Said billionaire is none other than Leonard Blavatnik, who is both a former client of Yves and someone she has written about in the past. To repeat, you can’t make this stuff up!

    Reply
  30. Eureka Springs

    Just returned from deep southern rural Costa Rica to rural N.W. Arkansas. Peace and quiet almost everywhere I go now. Unless it’s my own noise (music) which could not bother another.

    The entire trip was quite the reminder of just how third world we the peeps are nowadays.

    Internet was so much better there. No satellite dishes, except as modifications to them for use as roadside trash receptacles. Still no rural wired net in the U.S.. Cell signals were strong everywhere, yet I never saw people glued to a phone.

    Public trans, brand new buses all up and down the countryside. Even many miles down dirt roads. Fantastic bus stops. No such thing as public transit in rural U.S.

    A lot of people drive efficient 150cc motorcycles. The large bus stops seem intentionally oversized by design to co-serve as a place to pull under during rain. How civilized.

    Grocery stores with real food everywhere. No chain stores best I can tell. Unless in larger cities. And a shockingly smaller amount of trash packaging. I would say for the same amount of weekly grocery consumption I generate at least three if not five times more trash in the U.S. Seemingly every few hundred people, never more than a mile, usually much less, have a store with produce and meats. I’m seven miles from a dollar store, two more miles to actual groceries. About the same population density in both places.

    And then there is health care for all vs give me all you got, we don’t give a fk.

    Don’t know but would wager their water tests much better across the board as well. Nobody consumes plastic water bottles. Even very remote beaches had little shards of plastic all along the water line though. No escaping it.

    Schools did not look like prison at all. Kids were kids, with cookie stands, a work ethic, bicycles, laughter, no apparent phones, lots of soccer, some dirt on their fingers and toes. And laughter.

    Poor to middle working class people did not look miserable, unhealthy, guarded and or afraid.

    The chickens, dogs and cats were abundant though not overly so, well fed, healthy, roaming free.

    Police were calm, not dressed to kill with body language fitting the peace officer description. CR has no military.

    We have a choice and we are making so many bad ones. I feel like so many of my fellow US citizens don’t get this fact. And it’s a shortcoming of Sanders types by failing to paint this vision/picture. Even they are trapped in the downward spiral, knowing no other way from experience.

    Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        Thanks, I think. Upon arrival one of those not lady bug beetles climbed out of my bag. As I smashed it I couldn’t help but wonder what could have come of that had a couple escaped. There are thousands on the south side of my house this afternoon. And I still see no China virus south of the U.S. Mex border.

        Reply
    1. Geo

      Thanks for sharing your experiences! The easiest way to cure a chronic case of American Exceptionalism is to travel back roads of our nation then to see other nations. Have had a few similar experiences that put it in some sort of perspective for me as well.

      Reply
      1. Janie

        Yes. RVing in the rural south plus overseas travel did it for us. First-hand experiences hit home, but all the information anyone needs is at one’s fingertips. Infuriating in so many ways.

        PS. Thanks Eureka Springs.

        Reply
      1. rd

        Good discussion of that here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/01/05/costa-rica-celebrate-70-years-no-army/977107001/

        A couple of comments:

        1. The countries around Costa Rica are so disorganized that they can’t even properly plan and execute coups, even with the CIA helping. So they generally struggle to run their own countries and can’t get organized to invade Costa Rica.

        2. There were Quakers that settled in the Monteverde area in the 1950s that helped create some of the environmental sustainability policies that set Costa Rica apart from much of the world. https://monteverdetours.com/history-of-monteverde.html

        Reply
    1. flora

      Interesting. She talked about the importance of turnout and ‘stoking the base’. Not sure that running an obviously ‘manipulated’ caucus in Iowa stokes the Dem base. What’s the campaign motto? ‘Vote for Dems. We cheat!’

      Reply
      1. richard

        How about, “Vote for dems. We cheat and, as an added bonus, we never shut up about how the russians cheated and messed with our pristine elections based on zero evidence.”?
        Wow, that’s both windy and kind of a downer richard. Ya got anything snappier to bring out the common sort?
        How about “vote dem because, well, you know what your problem is? No! Who told you that? Your problem is 10 percent of what trump does, and goddamnit it better be the right 10% when I get back here.”
        so that’s a no

        Reply
  31. Wukchumni

    If you have ever visited a ski resort in the United States or Canada, a significant part of your experience is thanks to work done by Walt Disney and his team. And you probably had no idea.

    No Signs before 1964

    It’s hard to imagine, but before the 1964-65 season, there were no regulations or traditions for North American ski resorts to use when labeling their runs. Sure individual ski resorts–hopefully–had their own unique systems, but there was no unified grading scale. And there was immediate pressure on newly formed NSAA to solve the matter.

    https://insidethemagic.net/2020/02/walt-disneys-everlasting-effect-on-ski-resorts-tm1/

    Reply
  32. smoker

    ‘I’m not a robot’: Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse – Employees under pressure to work faster call on retail giant to improve conditions – and take their complaints seriously

    The depraved conditions at Amazon have been normalized ever since Obama’s sickening Tennessee Amazon Warehouse Jawbz Stimulus Speech, on July 30th, 2013:

    Following a scheduled 25-minute tour of the packing floor of a one-million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn., President Obama made a speech on Tuesday that the White House press office described as “the first in a series of policy speeches” that the Obama administration is calling “a better bargain for the middle class.” Obama’s speech, during a scheduled 90-minute stop at Amazon’s warehouse, was to focus on, the White House said, his proposals to “jumpstart” private sector job growth and to strengthen the manufacturing sector.

    which was made far more sickening by the fact that Amazon had already been widely exposed as an inhumane employer in late 2011, before that Tennessee speech it was even picked up by the Mainstream Media, likely because there were Doctors complaining about Amazon employees arriving in ambulances due to working conditions.

    Two and a half decades ago it wouldn’t have left the Mainstream Headlines. Congress and the Executive Office would have felt forced to immediately do something, or lose the next election, and Amazon likely wouldn’t have survived at all. But now, increasingly, the Media (why aren’t they calling out Congress on these abuses?????), and Congressional Powers that Be are bipartisan frikking GHOULS, right along with every single one of the tech Oligarch Billionaires who apparently own them.

    Where the hell are the Congressional Bills on Ceasing the Physical, Psychological, and Financial Abuses of employees (and fauxly classified ‘contractors’) which appear to be exponentially increasing? This, particularly as applies to the Tech Oligarchies which weren’t in place in 1970, when OSHA was created.

    Is anyone here aware of a website which discusses and tracks Congressional Bills on Labor Law?

    If OSHA is worthless and corrupted at the top levels (which it certainly seems to be), then it needs to be either meaningfully defenestrated and reinforced, with razor sharp teeth and a far higher head count, or gutted and replaced with an Executive Agency which truly enforces that employees are treated humanely, and given a large safety net and quick recompense when they are not. Additionally, any OSHA employee whistleblowers need to be promoted to top management.

    The fricking US is sovereign in its currency can’t it for once do something HUMANE.

    Reply
    1. Tom Doak

      I was reading the Delta Airlines magazine on the way home the other day, and the CEO in an article was touting new technology: exoskeletons for some of their workers handling heavy luggage and also some mechanics!

      It took me completely by surprise. Don’t know what to think of it.

      Reply
      1. smoker

        My knee jerk, it sounds far more humane than anything Bezos has ever done (see also 05/30/14 Amazon deploys 10,000 robot workers, a year after Obama’s famous Amazon jobs speech). It would retain human jobs and prevent injury (but that’s a very rapid, not thought out knee jerk from someone who’s not a baggage handler). I’m guessing though, that may be put on hold though due to how the coronavirus has hit the Airline Industry.

        Also, regarding that Obama Amazon Warehouse Speech, this was pricelessly sickening, The Verge, 07/30/13: After speech at Amazon warehouse, President Obama will sit for next Kindle Singles Interview (hyperlinks omitted for postability):

        President Obama isn’t just giving a speech today at an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee — he’s also sitting down for an installment in the company’s new Kindle Singles Interview series. Politico reports that Obama will speak to journalist and Kindle Singles editor David Blum for a long-form interview that will be released for free on Wednesday. Obama will be the second person featured in the series, as well as the second president; an interview with Israeli President Shimon Perez debuted last week.

        It’s a major coup for Amazon in terms of publishing, and coming out right after the speech, it’s also an indirect validation of the President’s support for Amazon as part of the new high-tech economy. Publishers and workers’ rights advocates, however, have criticized Obama’s decision to give a talk on middle-class jobs in an Amazon warehouse: the former point to Amazon’s “de facto monopoly” status in the US market, and the latter bristle at legitimizing the relatively low-paid, unstable, and sometimes health-endangering work found in the warehouses.

        (By the way Tom, love your comment on the Twitter Block piece.)

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Several airlines around the world are very sensitive to workplace injuries. I am not sure if all are but the ones that head in that direction make it a management metric to decrease injuries as well as having training and internal safety campaigns.

          In the past ramp workers rarely reached retirement without injuries and thirty years ago it was common for maintenance personnel to only live a few years past retirement. The promotion of personal protective equipment use and engineering safer work environments helped a lot in changing all that.

          Reply
          1. smoker

            Is it your understanding that there are no intrusive connections between the suit and the person’s body, such as the brain especially; i.e. it aids and protects, rather than changes or violates the person’s body or thoughts?

            From what I’ve minimally read the suit picks up signals from the surface of the skin somehow and then aids the intended movement it senses? In which case, it sounds beneficial, but again, the input from employees is crucial, and so often never considered.

            Reply
  33. Phacops

    Re: high water in the Great Lakes

    It’s not damage, it’s erosion, and normal.

    I live in a rural area 6 miles E of Lake Michigan and near the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. Along the lakeshore here, and on the interior lakes, the greedy, who just love the privatization of our shoreline, have built their homes/cottages there, privatizing vast tracts of prime habitat and recreation land. There is no reason that public funds should be used to protect the damage that those entitled homeowners have already done, especially for those who are not state residents.

    Actually I hope that Michigan’s DNR will use these levels as a benchmark beyond which private landowners have no property rights. This is currently defined as the average high water line.

    Reply
  34. Oregoncharles

    “«A murderous system is being created before our very eyes»”

    The UN Rapporteur on Torture on the treatment of Julian Assange. Terrifying – as he says, represents a complete breakdown of human rights, notably freedom of the press. And Sweden, shockingly, is as guilty as anyone.

    A must read, I would say, but brace yourself.

    Reply
  35. PlutoniumKun

    The polls have closed and exit polls are out in Ireland. There is a dead heat between FF and FG (tweedledum and tweedledee centre right parties) and Sinn Fein (nationalist, radical, left wing). The Greens have also done well.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/election-2020/2020/0208/1114069-exit-poll-main/

    Counting doesn’t start until tomorrow and a lot depends on transfers and the distribution between urban and rural votes.

    The most significant outcome is the breakdown – people under 35 are overwhelmingly voting Sinn Fein or Green. This is pretty catastrophic for the two main parties. So despite the fact that the Irish economy is doing very well, we are seeing the same pattern as the rest of Europe – the only exception being that there is no far right surge (there are no significant far right parties in Ireland). SF is showing how a left party can soak up the votes of the disgruntled. The Labour vote among people under 35 is statistically insignificant – all their IdPol posturing has got them nothing.

    Its quite likely that it will prove impossible to form a government, although my best guess is that FF will do a deal with SF and the Greens and smaller parties. Varadkar will probably survive as party leader as its not been as big a disaster for them as feared.

    However, there is still a lot to play for. Nobody knows where SF second preferences will go – if they go Green/Left, it could be significant. Also, its clear that while SF and the Greens will suffer from not having run enough candidates, FF and FG have run too many, so they might lose unexpected seats, so there could be big surprises by Monday when all the counts will have been done.

    But the one big outcome is that the days when the centre right parties decided which of them would run the country are now gone.

    Reply
  36. m sam

    Matthew Yglesias. Peter Dou. What to make of these centrist polemicists turned Sanders supporters? I’ve doubted the veracity of both for so long it is hard to not be skeptical. I mean, I would have never thought there would be an inch of room between those two and the likes of Jonathan Chait, and would assume they would equally go all in for Bloomberg, as Chait has.

    Well, so is the way of the world, I suppose. I guess this is another way of saying, for the moment anyway, the door might be open for some major revisions.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      Bloomberg is calling in his markers (many mayors in Blue Cities, large sectors of the non-profit industrial complex* in which the Democrat Party is embedded). Go PMC!

      * Worth noting that the NGOs collectively have been paid a lot to accomplish virtually nothing on what are supposedly Bloomberg’s main priorities. Good at grant-writing though! (To put this another way, the NGOs are inferior substitutes for a functioning State — and even functioning parties.)

      Reply
  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that bee-box whose keeper forgot to put in frames, thereby allowing the bees to build for best airflow regulation . . . what if some inventive person were to make frames shaped exactly like those frameless honeycombs? Thereby giving bees a best-possible arrangement on which to build honeycombs while giving the keeper the ability to pull out one frame at a time to get the honey?

    Of course some very carefully curved knives would have to be invented to allow the uncapping of those combs for putting the empty-combs-on-frames back into the hive for the bees to refill without having to make new wax. Though the keeper could be cruder and just take out all the wax combs with the honey and put the empty optimally-curved frames back into the hive for the bees to make new wax for.

    Reply

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