2:00PM Water Cooler 3/3/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, f u cn rd ths, I have had either a power failure or a WiFi failure in a heavy downpour. Stop flickering, lights! UPDATE This Water Cooler is a bit sketchy, because I lost an hour fighting through this. I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about tomorrow! UPDATE Uh oh, more flickering! –lambert


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *


I’m not doing any polls today, because everything is going to go pear-shaped, one way or another, after Super Tuesday anyhow.

* * *

Biden (D)(1): An assault on the Establishment’s endorsement kayfabe. Thread:

Biden (D)(2): “Wasserman Schultz endorses Joe Biden for president” [Sun Sentinel]. Wasserman Schultz: “It was a very easy decision. We need to make sure that we put the best candidate forward who can not only bring the nightmare of the last four years and the Trump presidency to an end, but make sure we elect a president who has a real track record of fighting for the values and the priorities of folks in Florida.” • Wasserman Schultz actually had to resign as DNC after rigging 2016 for Sanders, as proved by her email correspondence. That this story is treated as an endorsement, as opposed to a hilarious millstone of a non-endorsement, tells you all you need to know about the Democrat Establishment.

Lambert here: Readers will know that, as a devotee of Occam’s Razor, I am wary of theories of elite action that involve “picking up the phone.” As with price-fixing, it’s possible to send far more subtle, and plausibly deniable, methods. Old pros who’ve been in the game for a long time know each other’s moves, so sometimes it’s not even necessary to signal. However, the Democrat Establishment’s manufactured bandwagon of Biden endorsements — after his staffers pumped enough blood into him so that he could stand upright and emit complete sentences in debate, and won a state he was expected to win — is so tightly timed that it’s impossible for me to believe it wasn’t a co-ordinated effort by a cabal. The phone was most definitely picked up. (It’s also evident that Warren will continue in her spoiler role — every so often I toy with the idea that her dark money comes from Bloomberg, even if she doesn’t know it — whether she was on the call or not. My guess is she was not, since nobody knows what she’ll say about the call a year later.)

Biden (D)(3): A Hero Of The Resistance™

Brennan is the torturer. Clapper is the perjurer. And Brennan’s just trolling us: “Raymond Shaw Joe Biden is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” Come on, man.

Biden (D)(4): Not all Biden endorsements translate automatically into votes:

Bloomberg (D)(1):

Listen to your staff, Mike. It’s what you’re paying them for.

Bloomberg (D)(2): “Super Tuesday: Michael Bloomberg says he will eat at Chinese restaurant to show solidarity over coronavirus” [Independent]. “Mr Bloomberg added: ‘I thought to myself tonight, ‘I’m going to go to a Chinese restaurant’ — it actually turns out I can’t — but I will do it tomorrow night just to show the flag and help them.'” • I guess we’ll see?

Sanders (D)(1): Not taken by surprise by the welcome clarification of the forces at play:

Presumably, therefore, the campaign has gamed this out.

Sanders (D)(2): “Bernie Sanders and Super Tuesday: American political history at a pivot point” [Salon]. “[T]he Sanders campaign of 2020 is an extraordinary thing — a predominantly young, predominantly working-class leftist coalition of people of many races, backgrounds and faith traditions. No matter what you may have been conditioned to believe, it is not a predominantly white campaign or a predominantly male campaign, and it is absolutely not a predominantly middle-class campaign. Many observers have struggled to articulate how and why Sanders’ campaign — which was written off so early by so many people — has survived and prospered, while Elizabeth Warren’s superficially similar campaign has fizzled. I do not dispute that sexism in the media and the voting public has played a role in the peculiar tale of Warren’s rise and fall, but there is a simpler and more powerful explanation. Warren surrounded herself with “movement” progressives, and has learned to talk the talk convincingly. But she is not a movement person. She is a lawyer, an administrator and a policy wonk. Her tactics and goals are reformist and managerial, not transformational or revolutionary. Her fans will tell you that would make her a better president than Bernie Sanders, and they may be right. We are not likely to find out.”

Warren (D)(1): “It’s Time for Elizabeth Warren to Drop Out” [New York Magazine]. “Warren, whose very brand is earnestness, never fully recovered from the revelation that she had falsely claimed Native American heritage for years. The fault for this lies with Warren herself, not just for making the claim in the first place, but for how she responded to criticism. Her decision to undergo a DNA test further angered indigenous writers and activists, for whom the act was an insult to tribal sovereignty. Last week, 200 tribal citizens signed a letter to the Warren campaign outlining inadequacies in the candidate’s previous apologies; the campaign responded with a 12-page footnoted letter, which invoked the most cartoonish stereotypes of Warren as the candidate of liberal wonks. Warren’s decision to reverse herself, and accept super PAC funding after previously rejecting it, muddled her image further, as did recent criticisms of Sanders. The senator is — rightly — known as a brawler, someone who took on the Obama administration and other members of her own party on behalf of American consumers. That’s Warren at her best, and it’s the Warren that drew the support of organizations like the Working Families Party. But Warren undermined herself by fashioning herself into a unity candidate, someone who could unite her party’s left-wing with its center. Warren had burned too many bridges with the establishment herself in order for the unity tactic to work; by feeding stereotypes about the viciousness of Sanders’s supporters, she may have only succeeded in alienating herself from her natural allies. Warren has isolated herself. It’s a dangerous position to be in.” • Note that all these poor political judgements could have been made by a man, even if they were made by a woman.

* * *

CA: “Inside Bernie’s ‘secret strategy’ to win huge in California” [Politico]. Good detail: “Chuck Rocha, a senior Sanders adviser and architect of his Latino outreach effort, refers to the play as his ‘secret strategy to win California by a big number.’ ‘There are 6 million [no-party preference] voters. Three million are going to get a ballot in the mail that does not include the presidential ballot,’ Rocha explained in an interview. ‘And these people are overwhelmingly Latino and young. Guess who young Latinos love?’ Rocha said he targeted so-called NPP voters by calling them and literally patching them though to their county election officials to request a ballot in real time. It’s a process Rocha has used before to help put constituent pressure on members of Congress on policy issues — but never on the Sanders campaign. ‘We used that technology, which is something nobody has done before.'” • Worried Rocha’s getting quoted too often. We don’t need a Sanders version of Carville. Good planning, though! We’ll see if this works….

CA: The Los Angeles VSAP system (1) (see NC here):

Remember: The VSAP system is not auditable.

CA: The Los Angeles VSAP system (2):

This is horrid user interface design. The candidate ballot lines are said to be randomly distributed across the several online “pages” of the ballot. Which is fine if you trust the California Democrats to distribute anything randomly.

TX: Typical shenanigains:

This is a single anecdote, so I don’t know how widespread it is (although the same took place in SC; I don’t recall anything similar in IA and NH).

2016 Post Mortem

“Court: Clinton Must Testify On Email Scandal” [Jonathan Turley]. D.C. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth: “‘As extensive as the existing record is, it does not sufficiently explain Secretary Clinton’s state of mind when she decided it would be an acceptable practice to set up and use a private server to conduct State Department business.” • It has always been not “but her emails!” but “her email server” (since owning the server gave Clinton to technical ability to erase half her emails — the ones about Chelsea’s wedding and yoga lessons, IIRC — before turning the server over to the FBI.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“So a Candidate Has Dropped Out. What Happens to Their Delegates?” [FrontLoading HQ (UserFriendly)]. “Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have suspended their campaigns. That is a meaningful distinction. Their campaigns have been suspended but they are still technically candidates in the race. Even without any involvement from those two campaigns, delegate candidates of those two candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada will continue in the delegate selection process…. Yes, the delegate slots would be proportionally reallocated to the candidates who 1) got over 15 percent statewide in the primary or caucus originally and 2) are still active in the race for the nomination. But this only applies in the case that a candidate is no longer a candidate. A suspended campaign is still a campaign and the candidate it backs is still a candidate.” • This a very lucid explanation of an insanely complex process. And complexity is the enemy of quality.

“Herstam: The end of lengthy vote-counting in Arizona?” [Tuscon Sentinel]. • And why? Get this. More staff1 (And not some complicated piece-of-crap software system. Just when I give up all hope for humanity….)

Block that metaphor:

I think “Licking the shrine” can be applied to other contemporary events… .

Elections were not meant to be Keynesian beauty contests:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please leave links in comments.

“January 2020 CoreLogic Home Price Growth Remains At 4.0% Year Over Year” [Econintersect]. “CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (HPI) shows home prices improved by 4% year-over-year. As the year-over-year growth did not change, our view is that there is no change in the rate of growth month-over-month.”

* * *

Commodities: “Commodity prices are plunging as the coronavirus epidemic throttles demand for everything from oil to cotton and poultry. Meat intended for export to China is stacking up at U.S. cold-storage warehouses…. as quarantines slow Chinese meat consumption and create logistical bottlenecks at Chinese ports. U.S. meatpackers have been ramping up production as trade tensions ease and China struggles to fill a pork shortfall. The spread of the novel coronavirus undercut those plans, and operators of temperature-controlled warehouses report facilities near West Coast shipping hubs are filled to the rafters with excess inventory” [Wall Street Journal]. “The global commodities selloff is also delivering a blow to U.S. natural gas producers already contending with a domestic supply glut, and prices for metals are taking a beating as China’s manufacturing sector struggles to get back on track. Analysts warn slumping demand and bloated inventories suggest more volatility ahead for the world economy.”

Shipping: “Coronavirus slashing US port volumes” [FreightWaves]. “The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) said cargo volumes at U.S. ports in the first quarter could be down by 20% or more from 2019 levels because of the supply chain disruption caused by the coronavirus. AAPA said U.S. ports ‘are closely following instructions and protocols from appropriate federal agencies to quickly respond to the coronavirus threat.’ ‘For seaborne trade and travel, it’s both a blessing and a curse that there’s a two-week latency period for coronavirus symptoms. The lag time gives our ports, Coast Guard, Customs agents and health officials time to prepare for screening and, if needed, quarantine or rerouting of crew members or travelers thought to be infected,’ AAPA said. Chris Connor, AAPA president and CEO, added, ‘Things will rebound eventually and indeed we’re hearing news about factories that are coming back online in China and ports there ramping back up to move the cargo. At the same time, supply chain managers around the world are working tirelessly to keep cargo moving to ensure that the goods we need are available when and where we need them.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 11 Extreme Fear (previous close: 12 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 3 at 1:06pm

Health Care

“How to make your own hand sanitizer” [The Verge]. “If you’re traveling, or otherwise don’t have access to soap and water, the next best thing is a hand sanitizer. Can’t find one? You’re not alone.” Includes this tweet:

“Stop touching my face? Why the easiest way to prevent coronavirus is so hard” [WaPo]. “If you have covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, it began in your eyes, nose or mouth — your facial mucous membranes…. A 2015 study found that we touch our face an average of two dozen times an hour, and 44 percent of that touching involves contact with eyes, nose or mouth… People are more likely to get the virus by picking it up from a surface and touching their face, than they are to breathe in droplets directly from someone who is infected, [said William Sawyer, a family doctor in Sharonville, Ohio, and founder of Henry the Hand, a nonprofit organization that promotes hand hygiene]…. It’s not enough to simply instruct people to stop, [Elliot Berkman, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon who studies habits and behavior] said; people must be able to ‘outsmart their habit’ or form a different one. One way to do that quickly is to change something in your environment, he said. Wear something on your hands or face (just not a mask if you’re not sick) that can serve as a cue, an interruption to an automatic action.”

Read in full if you plan to try this! And this caveat: “The sanitizer is only effective if you cover your hands thoroughly and then let it dry. Squirting a few drops into your palms and then wiping your hands isn’t going to help at all.”

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* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (AA):

AA writes: “Cholla cactus and mesquite, Tonto National Forest near Superior, AZ.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Baby Gerald

    ‘Just talked to a woman who’s undecided and started crying on the phone. She likes Bernie but Beto’s endorsement is making her second guess it. She’s terrified of nominating someone who can’t win but she just had a family member pass away from the flu because he was uninsured.’

    Hard to choose what is sadder- a society where relatives die from the flu because of lack of health care or someone whose decision making process factors in opinions from Robert Francis O’Rourke.

    1. MillenialSocialist

      Legitimately baffled what O’Rourke endorsing Biden does to make you think twice about Bernie when the health care cartel literally killed one of your kin.

      I do not understand non-leftists.

      1. jrs

        Maybe the thought process goes like this: “the Dem party (including Beto) is coordinating around Biden and against Sanders BECAUSE Sanders can’t win and they are legitimately afraid of losing to Trump and losing the down party ballot. The best and the brightest in Dem politics, who know much more than us, and legitimately want what is best and to get rid of Trump, are doing this in a crisis moment to save us from Trump and the Republicans, where they can’t risk Sanders even if he is popular among voters because Trump is an emergency. Maybe they are right endorsing old Joe.”

        Now the reality is probably more like: the Dem party ALREADY EXPERIENCED MASSIVE down party ballot losses with Obama. Sanders could not actually do worse. It’s already history. Obama is probably pulling strings here, after a Presidency that made him rich and lost everything for the Dems. The Dem party is coordinating for Biden and against Sanders because they want to protect their rice bowls, their donor base (not their voters), the class that funds them including it’s own set of billionaires. For some reason (the donors!) even the mildest social reforms like we would get unless Dems took congress are too much. Much less whatever of Sanders agenda could get through a Dem (and not super progressive at that probably) congress. These are VERY MILD changes ultimately they fight. Because the proles might GET IDEAS. All hope needs to be killed forever.

        But if you tweak assumptions and actually think the Dem establishment is good (not merely lesser evil, but *actually* good), you get a different read.

      2. OIFVet

        It’s simple, they have outsourced their thinking to pundits and the Democrat elites. And they are also people scared by their own shadows. Compliance and consent are what they know best.

        1. Matthew

          I don’t want to pile on someone who just lost a family member, but from what I’ve seen this is definitely true of the Democrat base generally. They have talking points and that is it. It’s very instructive of the damage that can occur when people take it upon themselves to defend an intellectually and morally bankrupt system.

          1. Prodigalson

            Balloon juice and its authors/readers/commentors are exhibit A for this.

            I was a regular there for the Bush years and once Obama came in they stopped caring about warcrimes, torture, etc like someone flipped a switch.

            It all became Obamas 11 dimensional chess when he continued Bush’s legacy. Then they went to hillary town and RussiaRussiaRussia.

            The democratic hive mind is just a sports tribe at heart.

            1. CBBB

              That’s the story of many of those liberal blogs. That’s why I know the Democratic base is full of absolute morons who are totally sheep that constantly let themselves be lead to the slaughter.
              That’s why Republicans dominate – they know how to win. Democrats just listen to their fat and corrupt party bosses.

              1. Matthew

                Yeah, I’m trying to hold my tongue on Twitter etc., but it looks like the difference between the Republican base and the Democrat base is that one is made up of belligerent idiots and the other is made up of craven idiots. The level of thought is exactly the same.

                1. Gavin

                  And if you have the temerity to point out establishment D ridiculousness on balloon juice, brace for incoming.

                  I used to read it, but it looks like a cult now.

            2. Matthew

              Wasn’t the Balloon Juice guy an ex-Republican? I imagine supporting Obama’s warmongering was like going home. Or your home coming over to you, as the case may be.

              1. JBird4049

                John was a Republican, but G. H. Bush’s shenanigans got him to flip over to the Democratic Party.

        2. dougie

          I may be an outlier, but I outsourced much of my thinking ( regarding politics, current events, etc.) to Lambert Strether. I would rather spend my time thinking about how to have a positive influence on those around me.

          1. OIFVet

            For shame, comparing our Lambert with the Democrat machine for manufacturing consent! NC, the entire community, not only informs, it also challenges me to think. Thinking among the Democrat base is strongly discouraged.

        3. carl

          I’m kinda gonna go with Caitlin Johnstone here and theorize that it’s because these Dems are so heavily propagandized that it’s almost impossible to break out of the bubble. There are signs, however, of the dogs not eating the dog food quite so eagerly. The MSM’s inability to tell people who to vote for has been noted since 2016 (see, for example, Matt Taibbi).

        4. Democrita

          I’m not nearly as mad at her as at the Democratic elites who put her in this spot.

          It’s gonna be so easy to go back to being a not-Democrat.

    2. Oh

      This story was probably manufactured by the DNC propoganda machine, trying to justify a vote for Biden. This story is anectodal on Twitter and doesn’t have any credibility.

      1. Debra D.

        Well, then, Elizabeth Warren advocates her plan for stopping fake news on social media. Criminalize it. This could be a test case.

          1. Carey

            Yes, a most excellent question.

            the conditioning continues; sometimes subtle, sometimes not. ;)

    3. Titus

      As it is the internet hard to know what is true. Since the start of the flu season till now 4800 people have died. Up 65% over normative levels. I’m sorry to hear of anyone dying of the flu, but truly if you are feeling sick and have a fever at or above 100° Please go to the ER. In the case of the flu any bill will almost always be paid by the states which in turn is funded by the feds to keep flu contagion to a minimum. I understand the fear of owing a lot of money, but I my case better to be alive.

      1. False Solace

        This is legitimately terrible advice.

        If you “feel sick” and have a mild fever (“100°”) please stay at home. Don’t go to the ER to infect everyone else who’s there. The ER is for emergencies, like if you develop actual pneumonia and have difficulty breathing.

        ‘Any bill will almost always be paid by the states’ – Uh what? Sorry no. If you go to the ER you can expect a big fat bill. Maybe a facilities fee too. Unless you’re already on Medicaid or something. I’ve never heard of funding that goes directly to flu patients.

        That said, it is indeed better to be alive and in debt. We all need to be alive to vote for Bernie + M4A in November. :)

      2. Massinissa

        i assume you’re from a country other than the united states, because it doesn’t work that way here, in any state.

  2. JohnHerbieHancock

    I voted in the primary here in TX today (Fort Bend County, outside Houston).

    I was dismayed to learn there was no sort of ballot receipt I could get that would later confirm my votes were counted correctly. All choices were entered and recorded electronically. All I received paper-wise was a ticket stub with a 4-digit entry code I used to log in to the voting machine/computer, and a sticker that said I voted.

    You enter your choices via a wheel that scrolls through the entries, and pushing a button to select each one, and then you get a review screen at the end. That’s it. Totally opaque.

    One of the election judges told me to expect different machines for the general election, when I asked how I would write-in a candidate then, should I want to.

    1. Daryl

      This has been the case for me as long as I’ve been voting in Texas. Of course I trust the Republicans to shepherd my votes correctly.

    2. jrs

      odd i heard CA gives a print out to check but then you submit said print out to the machine.

    3. carl

      I voted last week in Bexar County–San Antonio. They have a “new” system, in which your choices are printed out on paper, which you then feed into another electronic machine. Same old, same old. Anything but the gold standard.

    4. FreeMarketApologist

      there was no sort of ballot receipt I could get that would later confirm my votes were counted correctly

      This is always the challenge. You do not get a receipt that indicates how you voted, because historically, that could be used by people who were buying votes: “Vote the way we tell you, bring us your receipt showing that you did, and we’ll give you $5.” A certain lack of transparency over the specifics of how you voted is built in by design to all voting methods.

      That’s why the ‘…counted in public…’ part of the equation is so important. The actual vote casting is partially obscured (you can show that you voted, only once, but not for whom), so the custody of the ballots and the counting has to be highly transparent. Something which electronic voting does not readily support.

  3. Tim

    “She’s terrified of nominating someone who can’t win but she just had a family member pass away from the flu because he was uninsured.”

    This will be the final analysis of the primary. It’s really that simple, what is the willingness of democrats to vote against their own interest to (in their minds) increase the odds of getting Trump out of office?

    Is the Democratic Party going to fall on their swords? News at 11, literally.

    1. chuckster

      The Democrats have spent the last 4 years demonizing Trump for a reason. And now you know why: Vote for a senile, billionaire loving shadow of himself.

      If Trump is the “worst president ever” then what was George W Bush?

  4. Cliff

    “Wasserman Schultz actually had to resign as DNC after rigging 2016 for Sanders,”

    Shouldn’t that be Against Sanders?

    1. Trent

      whatever happened to her Pakistani IT guy that was blackmailing members of congress? Why isn’t she in jail?

      1. WJ

        Sshhhh!!! Don’t you know that this event is not part of the official narrative of the recent past?!

        By raising this question about non-admissible “facts” or “events” you are only sowing the seeds of division. Never forget that sometimes the truth is not on the side of democracy! Sometimes the truth is a Russian bot.

        1. OIFVet

          Sometimes the truth is a Russian bot

          You called? Lol, I am having a lot of fun with this since I was called a russian asset this weekend!

          1. Matthew

            And this is the other arrow loyal Democrats have in their quiver — these stupid gotcha accusations and insults that are supposed to make you melt like the wicked witch but that no one outside their bubble cares about, or even understands.

            1. OIFVet

              That’s because they project their own moral cowardice upon us, and expect us to cower in fear at the empty labels they throw at us. Bernie bro, Russian asset, a trump enabler, etc, I’ve heard it all. Water off a duck’s back.

              1. Acacia

                Yes, it’s become easy to ignore, but what’s a useful response? Serious question. I’ve laughed at people saying “you kind of sound like a Trump supporter/Putin’s stooge/etc.” but mockery doesn’t seem to get through the cowardice.

                1. bob

                  I’m noticing that it’s very hard for people to see that they are winning!

                  “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. ” Nicholas Klein in 1914

                  It’s odd that people expect the corrupt elites to admit they were wrong….this time. It’s way too early for the USS Crooked to turn yet. They don’t even know they’re losing yet. Corrupt and incompetent to the end.

                  1. Acacia

                    Well, I don’t feel that quotation really applies here. It’s not a question of monuments, history, posterity, and so forth. I’m not sure we really have time for that now. The question is: in the here and now, what is a suitable response to this moral cowardice that OIFVet describes? I am not interested in being right. I am interested in finding a way beyond these nonsense replies from people who fling “gotcha accusations” as a cheap way to stop discussion. It’s a matter of debating strategy, I think. Any thoughts about this?

                    1. drumlin woodchuckles

                      I suppose you could try. . . ” if you had an answer would you need an insult?” . . . and see what happens.

                    2. Procopius

                      Why reply? I mean, what benefit do you get from having the last word? One of the best pieces of wisdom ever given me was from an alcoholism rehab counselor nearly 40 years ago: “Nowhere is it written, engraved in stone, made a rule, that when somebody says something to you, you have to say something back.” I find it easy to forget, but when I remember, it makes my life better.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Darn, you beat me to it — but yes, it should. Or for the other main candidate.

      (Martin O’Malley might be considered at least collateral damage on some of that, too. OTOH, does anyone here know whether DWS had a role in the DNC’s early rule change that knocked campaign-finance-reform candidate Lawrence Lessig out of the race?)

    3. ambrit

      Actually, if Sanders is really a Putin Puppet, DWS would rig the 2016 election for Sanders, because, as any Kreminologist worth his borscht knows, Sanders would have beaten Trump, so, in order to let Trump win, Sanders, ever the good and loyal fellow traveler, would want to lose to Clinton so that Trump could win. Putin was playing a deviously complex game.
      And Putin did it on a shoestring budget!

      1. OIFVet

        Man, this conspiracy has grown so complex, I’ve run out of whiteboard space to connect all of the dots. Putin is an evil genius with supercomputer for a brain. Even Obama, the master of 11ty dimensional chess, would stand no chance against this 99ty dimensional chess game of Putin’s. Perhaps we need to ask Gary Kasparov for help. Takes a Russkie to beat a Russkie.

        1. urblintz

          I assume you know what Putin said about Obama’s foreign policy: “He’s like a chicken playing chess. He struts around, knocking pieces everywhere, takes a dump on the board, then flies away and calls it victory.”

        2. rowlf

          Why can’t the US have a secret moon base like Putin has, that is, well, secret? If you have a secret moon base you can track US satellites, influence elections, stymie patriotic support of middle east monarchies, defeat jihadists spreading democracy, etc, all in a cost effective way.

    4. Bernalkid

      DWS emerges from her crypt and sleepy Joe also gets a Klobdorsment along with the nod from Langley Pete. I’m all in, Joe will have a comfy ride in the clown car. Ask not what you can do for your country, salute because the DNC in running Joe up the flagpole. Donnie approves of this message.

  5. Gary

    Tarrant County Texas also required the voter to scroll up to see Bernie Sander’s name. Everything else I recalled was double columned. I voted early so I can not comment on the voter turn out.

  6. Monty

    Silver lining: If they manage to rig it for Biden, we wont need to bother following what happens in the general, come November.

    1. Massinissa

      The only thing that makes me doubt you is the coronavirus. Without that variable I would wholeheartedly agree, but if Trump stumbles hard enough on public health, it may throw the contest into the air.

      1. Carey

        >if Trump stumbles hard enough on public health, it may throw the contest into the air

        Somehow, I don’t see “competent Joe” as being a smooth sell in November 2020.


        1. Monty

          Joe will be on ventilation 5 minutes after getting the merest whiff of the nCov. Squarely in the middle of the highest risk group.

  7. fresno dan

    Sanders (D)(2): “Bernie Sanders and Super Tuesday: American political history at a pivot point” [Salon]. “[T]he Sanders campaign of 2020 is an extraordinary thing — a predominantly young, predominantly working-class leftist coalition of people of many races, backgrounds and faith traditions.

    Well, I will be 65 this year (dec 29, but still this year) white, and I’m secure financially.
    My volunteering at HICAP has shown me that the American economy is fundamentally corrupt. The safety net is an ersatz simulacrum of caring, that exploits what minimal aide is provided to the poor to enhance insurance company profits. Its decades of finely honed corruption that pervades all aspects of the economy – there is a reason you don’t see things like “Harvest of Shame” produced by the mainstream media.
    I think there are more old timers out there who have caught on than they are giving credit for…

    1. Phacops

      This old timer caught on like a mule hit between the ears by a 2×4 once Obama selected his economic team prior to his taking office.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Same here. It sucks to have been so early, and so right, got a lot of flak from friends and family for daring to suggest that the fix was in with the Mellifluous Melanoderm

              1. Carey

                One more here- 61 soon, and Sanders all the way.
                Only national politician I trust, period.

                1. judy2shoes

                  And me, too – 68 here. Started getting suspicious during the Clinton Administration and likewise had my 2×4 experience with Obama.

                  1. Copeland

                    This 54 year old whippersnapper emailed Obama shortly into his first term saying “dude, what are you doing!”

            1. Roy G

              I’m only 52, but I voted for Nader in 2000, as well as Jesse Ventura for MN Governor, so you could say I was ahead of the curve! Also a Bernie supporter from back in ‘16 when he got hosed by the DNC the first time.

      2. Jp

        Same here. My wife and daughter went with me on the L to the Obama rally in Grant Park the night he accepted. I had just found out about that cabinet. I knew I had been duped.

        Funny thing was I remembered being gassed and chased y Daily’s goon squad right nearby in 1968, And remarked about how different this was from then. A few years later after having my pic taken M,arching against NATO, It was like nothing at all had changed.

        I think I will be seeing you in Milwaukee this summer.

      3. Carla

        @Phacops. I admit, I was disappointed when Geithner et al were appointed, but I’m slow. I still held out hope for healthcare until B.O. announced there would a seat for everyone at the table EXCEPT single-payer proponents. THAT’s when I knew for sure I wouldn’t be voting for B.O. in 2012 or ever again.

      4. marku52

        Yes, as soon as I saw Summers, Rubin and Geithner I knew I’d been had. Nothing after that was really a surprise. Although trying to cut SS was fairly shocking.

    2. grayslady

      This septuagenarian voted for Bernie today in Illinois (yesterday was the beginning of our early voting). My best friend, an octagenarian, voted for Bernie yesterday. Illinois has made it incredibly easy to vote prior to election day, so why not? Besides, the latest two cases of coronavirus occurred just 10 miles from where I live and I’d prefer to avoid groups of people of any size right now.

    3. farragut

      58yr old white male here. I voted for Obama in ’08 and pre-GFC, I still largely believed in the system. I was radicalized when Obama/Holder/Bruer failed to prosecute the obvious TBTF fraud.

      I live in a very liberal university town in VA and 95% of family & acquaintances are Obama fans, but I despise the man. Makes for some awkward silences at dinner parties when I announce he was a terrible president. I voted for Sanders in 2016 & 2020.

      PS: If you’re on Twitter, a fantastic follow is @Rudy_Havenstein; he regularly posts a trove of stuff from the GFC era, highlighting how *obvious* it all was.

      1. Alfred

        I feel your pain. I’m now persona non grata in another university town, after I vouchsafed to my friends there my own congruent view. It makes me despair of higher education.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Smart” is rightfully a pejorative now. I’m 73, lucky to have Medicare and SS. I voted Sanders by mail in FL. The Big Paper (Times) had stuff about how nobody should vote “just yet,” until things had “shaken out” a bit more. My vote cancels out some Yellow Dog Democrat’s — the party loyalists (against interest) who will “vote for a yellow dog, if the Dem Party nominated one.”

    4. Ancient1

      Same here, 83. FDR memories, Hopeless for the future for my daughters and grandson. People need to rise up, but it seems we are doomed.

      1. Procopius

        I’m 82, don’t really have FDR memories, but remember how devastating his death was. Strongly New Deal, so I usually have to describe myself as “Revolutionary Socialist.” Got my absentee ballot from Michigan in January (email) and mailed it in (for Bernie) the next day.

    5. HotFlash

      I got Obama’s number when he voted to immunize the telecoms for hoovering up our data.

    6. clarky90

      As an old, conservative, right wing Christian here in NZ, I will opine; The only two Democrat candidates that the Right respect, myself included, are (1) Bernie Sanders and (2) Tulsi Gabbard.

      Bernie and Tulsi are both likable, authentic people, but with different POV than mine. It is uber-important that that with a USAian Democratic election coming up, (especially with a two party system (Dem/Repub), “The People” are given a genuine choice! (NOT, shall we eat at McDonalds or Burger King?, but rather; Shall we dine at “Mary’s Smokehouse Barbecue ” or “Bob’s Vegan Paradise”?). Please, a democratic choice; a big talk-fest and heated discussions (not “a conversation”, God forbid…)

      Personally, I would never vote for Tulsi or Bernie, but I respect them.

      I believe that Trump has a lot of time and respect for both, “Crazy” Bernie and Tulsi Gabbard.

  8. OIFVet

    Lol, the liberals who get their news from MSDNC have a simple explanation for Biden’s recent inability to complete a thought: it’s a speech impediment from a surgery for minor aneurism. And that questioning his mental fitness is discrimination and hate speech against people with disabilities. Kid you not.

    1. nippersmom

      And questioning the health of someone who has had aneurysms is completely off the table, but we should all be petrified that someone who had the relatively routine procedure of stents could face a health crisis while in office.

      1. OIFVet

        I reminded my dear liberal friend about Reagan, about how he did not step down, asked whether she would be comfortable with unelected appointees running the country, and demanded an independent medical report with complete transparency. Waiting for her next move, she is a lawyer and is no doubt crafting a devastating response :)

    2. Daryl

      The same folks who were pearl clutching about Sanders having a routine heart procedure done.

        1. Oh

          It’s either the pearls that fall out of Biden’s mouth each time he opens it (nah!) or the ones that the DNC cast before the swine (pelosi and company).

  9. clarky90

    Re; “Licking the shrine”

    “Morning Briefing” by David Chaston (It is Wed, March 4 here in NZ)


    “…Rate cuts by central banks at this time seem odd. The policymakers there must know that the global economy is facing a supply shock and they are acting as though it is a demand shock. The world economy is suffering because China stopped to tackle the virus threat, not because consumers stopped spending. That is only an after-effect. Any economics student can tell that rate cuts are very unlikely to have any influence in a supply shock situation. All they are doing with rate cuts is reinforce the sense of foreboding, making the economic effects on demand worse. However, central banks seem to be in a herd mentality at present and it would not surprise if the RBNZ chimed in with its own cut…..”

    1. clarky90

      Latest Nextstrain COVID-19 situation report in English


      “This phylogeny shows evolutionary relationships of HCoV-19 viruses from the ongoing novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. All samples are still closely related with few mutations relative to a common ancestor, suggesting a shared common ancestor some time in Nov-Dec 2019. This indicates an initial human infection in Nov-Dec 2019 followed by sustained human-to-human transmission leading to sampled infections.

      Site numbering and genome structure uses Wuhan-Hu-1/2019 as reference. The phylogeny is rooted relative to early samples from Wuhan. Temporal resolution assumes a nucleotide substitution rate of 5 × 10^-4 subs per site per year. Full details on bioinformatic processing can be found here.

      Phylogenetic context of nCoV in SARS-related betacoronaviruses can be seen here.

      We gratefully acknowledge the authors, originating and submitting laboratories of the genetic sequence and metadata made available through GISAID on which this research is based. A full listing of all originating and submitting laboratories is available below. An attribution table is available by clicking on “Download Data” at the bottom of the page and then clicking on “Strain Metadata” in the resulting dialog box.”

    2. a different chris

      “When all you have is a hammer….”

      It always amazed me that our politicians became so afraid of actually doing anything besides baby-kissing and ribbon-cutting that they handed the economy over to the Fed.

      Because even if Jesus was running the Fed, they only have the rate hammer. Can’t build a road, can’t inoculate anybody, can’t save any specific housing segment, etc.

      Lordy. So here we are, realizing that Kabuki theatre would be better than what they are actually doing.

      1. Titus

        Seems they’d rather not use jail or prison as a way to motive honesty & responsibility.

      2. Hamford

        Nope, they got more than a hammer. If only.

        They have an “asset purchase program”, Orwellian for Quantitative Easing or cash injections into the biggest banks.

        Look for the Banks to throw another liquidity tantrum overnight in these repo markets and the fed will pump a couple hundred billion dollars in, just like that.

    3. Bill Carson

      In other countries, they fight the coronavirus by imposing quarantines and testing people; in America we fight the coronavirus by lowering interest rates. That tells you every thing you need to know about the priorities of this country.

      1. clarky90

        Eric Feigl-Ding
        Uh oh… remember the 30 quarantined first responders from Kirkland WA? “Twelve of 30 firefighters and police officers in Kirkland who have been quarantined after potential or direct exposure to #COVID19 virus are now showing “flu-like” symptoms”……

        1. RWood

          Also the good doctor:

          “we may need to do nationwide absentee/online voting to avoid contagious superspreading”

        1. Hamford

          I wish that was the only tool. Nope, Wall Street is “feed me seymour” right now.

          The Fed has an “asset purchase program”, Orwellian for Quantitative Easing or cash injections into the biggest banks. The Banks may throw another overnight liquidity tantrum like back in the Fall and the Fed will pump a couple hundred billion dollars in, just like that.

    4. Carey

      > “…Rate cuts by central banks at this time seem odd. The policymakers there must know that the global economy is facing a supply shock and they are acting as though it is a demand shock. The world economy is suffering because China stopped to tackle the virus threat, not because consumers stopped spending.

      Thank you.

    5. Cliff

      Yay! That rate cut means that I will only pay 28% on my credit card outstanding that I have to use to afford my out of pocket, surprise billing, glasses, dental and other parts of uninsured medical care, right?
      I’m voting for Bernie to save those interest charges and so much more, like all the premiums I won’t have to pay. Gee, I guess I’m a selfish socialist.
      So, when do we privatize the Fire Department, the Police Department and Sewage Treatment, aren’t those all the same kind of Socialism as Bernies M4A?

  10. Quentin

    Posted today by Trailer Trash on Moon of Alabama:

    ‘Is there any other nation state that has 50 separate official elections, mostly run and paid for by the public, just so a private club masquerading as a political party can select its leader? To the rest of the world, this must look completely insane, but few people anywhere even seem to notice how ridiculous it all looks.’

    Yes, it’s pathetic. And that they chose Biden over Sanders, who looks and acts like a young man in comparison, is shocking. Or is that only me? The Democratic Party has a strong odor of the defunct Soviet Politburo. Remember how the bigwigs stood on the tribune on Red Square and the western soothsayers divined the most recent pecking order amongst the guys. In the US ladies have joined the charade, like last night in Texas, but with the same ugly intention: to claim the goodies. Though the head of the pecking order was off stage somewhere: Barack Obama who certainly orchestrated the whole sordid spectacle.

    1. Matthew

      This is a really good point about public funding and I will be using it in the future. Thanks!

      As to Biden…they could not have picked a candidate that more perfectly represents their party.

      1. Bill Carson

        I can’t believe they would really make doddering old Joe Biden the nominee. I think the party is going to draft someone who is not presently running. Then this charade will be exposed for what it is.b

        1. pretzelattack

          very possible, or they’ve just gone full blown republicanswithdementedreagan to stop bernie.
          then they’ll improvise, if they win at the convention and then the general. maybe biden steps aside in favor of his adopted son, mayor pete. a chorus of evil cackles is heard from langley.

        2. Matthew

          Yeah, I can see them doing that and the loyal Dems making no fuss about it. But presumably you still lose some or all of the Bernie contingent, and I imagine it would look very hinky to the majority of people who don’t have Dem party-focused Stockholm Syndrome.

    2. Acacia

      It’s not only you who sees this as a beyond pathetic spectacle. The Democratic Party is overdue for the trash can of history.

  11. Tvc15

    Voted in Maine primary for Bernard Sanders. They were collecting signatures to vote on repealing ranked choice voting on the next ballot. When asked to sign, I said absolutely not. I think this will be their 2nd attempt to repeal RCV after it was approved in 2016 by 52%

    1. Woodchuck

      Implementing RCV should be a priority for any progressive movement across the country.

      One thing I’ve seen living in Canada where we don’t have RCV but we have multiple parties is that progressives have a big tendency to split-up the vote, where as conservatives tend to stay together. And I mean, it’s logical. You can have multiple visions of how you want to move forward, but usually it’s easier to agree on how it was before and revert to it or how to not change anything.

      You very often end up with multiple parties on the left, and one on the right, which can be very bad in a winner take all format (we had Conservatives leading the country for a while even though the 2nd choice of everyone else would be anything but conservative, but they would have complete control with 35-40% of the vote. It’s even worse in some cases at the province-level where 30% support can be enough to insure a majority).

      With the Dem party looking on the brink of splitting in half, you need RCV not to end up with Republicans controlling everything forever, and you can be sure they will oppose RCV with all their might.

  12. Darius

    A party that nominates Biden is in its death throes. Also, if that anecdote involving Beto is indicative, it’s base is decadent and divorced from any relevant concerns.

    If Biden does become the front runner. I think there’s a fair chance some major gaffe or illness knocks him out of that position.

    1. Woodchuck

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, once they reach the convention or close to it, they force him to do a major blunder (or he can certainly do that on his own) and they use it as a reason to pick someone else as the candidate.

      They needed someone NOW to stop Sanders from getting a majority, but I’m really not sure they’re planning on backing Biden all the way. He’s likely the easiest one to find an excuse to push on the side, health concerns would be easy to bring up, and then Biden will just “give his delegates” to whoever the party decides should run in the general.

  13. WJ

    Wife and I voted (for the first time in our 8 years here) in Dem/DFL primary in Minnesota. For Sanders. Hopefully we are representative of other voters coming out in 2020 for the first time. Still think Sanders’ gains will be less than projected and his Super Tuesday showing will be packaged as a defeat. But I am a pessimist.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Prior to SC voting, Bernie looked set to grab 10/14 states. Biden got a huge polling bump. Now, I think Bernie will be lucky to get 7.

      There’s a couple nat’l polls with Biden leading now. Less than a week ago, Bernie was up double-digits.

      I’m bracing for the worst case…..Kerry ’04 level bad.

      1. Lee Too

        A note on the volatility of polls: I’ve been getting my PSA tested for a number of years. One year it’s up, next year it’s down. I think it approximates a sine wave, and I told my doctor that. I said, if you test it when it’s up, it’s up; if you test it when it’s down, it’s down. So where is the predictive value? Same question applies to the polls.

    2. maps

      Hear, hear! Voted for Bernard yesterday here in Minneapolis, haven’t voted since the last time Bernard ran. I work as a server and go to school. What is interesting to me is that I only hear older people discussing any other candidate while I’m working (the more centrist they are the worse they tip and treat you), but while I’m at school, nary a mention of anyone beyond Bernard.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s in your hands lad, you and every last friend better turn out. If you want a future that is.

  14. Drake

    Raymond ShawJoe Biden is one of the most honest, decent, practical, & experienced individuals with whom I have ever worked. If nominated & elected, he is capable of unifying our country & restoring America’s standing around the world.”

    Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire, John Brennan?

    1. rowlf

      “So I told him, ‘why don’t you hop in a taxi, go down to Central Park and jump in the lake?’”

    1. Judith

      I wonder how Obama will be rewarded for orchestrating this. Perhaps the Obamas will go house hunting again. Four homes just are not enough.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I believe I read on here — Sunday? — that Obama called Biden to congratulate him. Lambert commented “that’s nice”.

      In hindsight, that was the signal to the establishment to get behind the “dementia-addled warmonger”.

  15. JohnnyGL

    My own personal GOTV operation seems to be going reasonably well.

    1) My wife never shows up, I got her to go vote.
    2) My mother always votes, but sometimes picks odd choices. I got her on board with Bernie. She heard him talking about reforming cash bail and that did it for her. I didn’t see that sort of thing coming. People can surprise you.
    3) Got a high school buddy of mine to opt for Sanders. He was going for Pete, but he really disliked the centrist love-fest.

    If you’d asked me yesterday how this was going to pan out….I’d have been pessimistic.

    As Bill Clinton said….”intensity wins”.

    I hope we’ve done enough.

      1. urblintz

        …and apparently every one of them foolishly believes that Biden beats Trump. ah yes, the best and the brightest.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Well, they could each think: “If we win, I’m VP. If we lose, I’m the loyal Dem who took the hit propping up Biden, and I have a good shot at the inside track to the center lane for 2024.”

      2. hamstak

        And it may not be intentional — with each one, he may have simply forgotten the prior offers.

      3. Woodchuck

        My theory is that they’re planning on dropping Biden shortly before the convention (health issue, major blunder, etc), and any one of them could be the nominee that Biden throws his delegates at.

      4. Olga

        Oh yeah, at least six… and he cannot remember which ones!
        One can just imagine Trump making mincemeat out of him in debates.

      5. JTMcPhee

        Who says there can only be one Vice President? Big Banks are chock full of them. So much of the Constitution has been abrogated in practice, there should be no problem fudging the 12th Amendment…

  16. antidlc

    Lambert: “However, the Democrat Establishment’s manufactured bandwagon of Biden endorsements — after his staffers pumped enough blood into him so that he could stand upright and emit complete sentences in debate, and won a state he was expected to win — is so tightly timed that it’s impossible for me to believe it wasn’t a co-ordinated effort by a cabal. ”

    Lee Fang: Lee Fang
    How do the “there is no such thing as a Democratic establishment” people explain the coordinated actions of the last two days from every established interest in the Democratic Party?

  17. What?No!

    Can Biden actually pass a medical checkup to be president and commander in chief of the USA ? I don’t think Reagan was showing when he got elected, but Biden has even couch-MD’s diagnosing and air-prescribing … it’s not subtle, we’ve all got dementia moms & dads, we know the routine…

  18. antidlc

    Just voted. My report from a red area.

    Bernie was listed in the third spot, so you didn’t have to scroll down the page to vote for him.

    Two lines next to each other — one for Democratic primary, one for Republican. Not sure what this means but the Democratic line was down the hall and out the door. I have never seen this in a Democratic primary here.
    Republican line really wasn’t much of a line — a couple of people.

    Not sure what to make of any of this, but there was a guy who wanted to know which line was the Democratic primary line. Claimed he was a registered Republican but wanted to vote in the Democratic primary. Don’t know if there was a lot of crossover voting going on, accounting for the longer Democratic lines.

    Voting machine prints out a sheet of paper that is fed into a scanner. The sheet of paper lists all of your votes. Only one problem…I don’t think it could realistically be used to do a handcount. There were so many contests — presidential, state, federal, judges — that there was a long list of your choices. The problem is the font was so small and the choices were so bunched together without spacing, that it would be very difficult to manually inspect and do a handcount. It was readable, but a manual recount would be difficult, imo.

    Happened to go to another polling place and saw the Democratic line out the door as well. I’d like to be hopeful, but reading the Beto anecdote I wonder.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The Republicans effectively have no primary this year since the incumbent is running (for all practical purposes) unopposed.

  19. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Please help crowd-source/test this theory this using the expertise here… given the meltdown in Treasury yields/melt-up in price … some big player undoubtedly must have been caught offsides and short treasuries … who can it be?

    1. mREITs? they seem to be selling off but not as much as the rest of the market
    2. MBS holders?
    3. A big bank?

    The TNX went from 1.7% just a few weeks ago to now under 1% This must be some kind of six-sigma move.

    And no I am not looking to capitalize it by shorting/buying options. Just trying to understand.

    1. Louis Fyne

      there can be big moves without a player being caught in a short squeeze.

      The long and mid-range of the treasury curve is relatively illiquid—compared to big stocks like Apple and S&P500 index ETFs—as lots of supply is locked-in as a long-term investment for regulatory, asset allocation, risk-parity/hedging reasons.

      If the consensus of fund managers in the entire developed world is that deflation is coming, you can see moves like you did these past 10 days.

      Though yes, undoubtedly some positions were short-squeezed. but the main driver is fear of no growth in China.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Thanks, it could be just everyone piling into UST’s to front-run negative interest rates.

        I just remember the days of long discussions here on “negative convexity” whereby a debt instrument like a mortgage goes up in price by less than it goes down in price when interest rates go up, it is know to be negatively convexed. The only way for some outfits like Mortgage REITs to manage this is to short treasuries.

        Banks got hit harder than REITs including mREITs today. For whatever that is worth.

        1. curlydan

          Any yield increases for the future just became a ton harder to do. I’m no finance person, but think about how crushed you could get holding on to a 10 Yr Treasury yielding 0.95% if the rates suddenly go back above 2% or 3% anytime in the next 3-4 years. Ain’t gonna happen. ZIRP is the future. Now more so than ever.

    2. Monty

      Many buyers front running the oncoming 0% (or less) fed funds rate, getting the last scraps of safe yield for the foreseeable future?

  20. Jim

    If you are going to take your mail-in ballot directly to the California polling place,
    to exchange for a directly scanned ballot, which will be counted first, and might actually affect numbers before the polls close,
    or if you are trying to switch a decline to state ballot for a provisional ballot, (which might not be counted), you
    plus the old ballot.
    Any mail in ballot must be postmarked today which means you might get it hand cancelled vs. mailing from a seldom used USPS box.

    Welcome to the Electoral Twilight Zone as hosted by Alex Padilla, the California secretary of state, a member of the elect Hillary campaign in 2016.

    1. Synoia

      Only if include much higher Taxation.

      Low cost cognitive dissidence is the subject of dinner parties and pearl clutching.

    2. a different chris

      That’s really the trick. I keep saying “it’s a referendum on the incumbent” but I don’t mean you just sit there.

      You go after him (Trump in this case) because he’s been in the public eye for four years and nobody else has. Nobody’s ears perk up that much when you start talking about Bernie 1997 or 2007 because what he did just wasn’t that important.

      Trump has been on the air pretty much every day of his term, plus all the stuff he did to win the primary and then the election. You have so much material and once you start “catapulting the propaganda” everybody says “yeah I remember that! and that!” and it puts your opponent into a defensive crouch that he maybe can never get out of. Remember they have another problem – they have to actual do some Presidentin’ whilst all this is going on. If they don’t that’s another thing you can sling at them.

      If he does pull out of that crouch, and they usually can because that Presidentin’ stuff cuts both ways, you lose. But it’s what you have to do. Gentleman Joe Biden won’t be able to do this, which is unfortunate because Trump is mostly* terrible at being an actual President.

      *not to say there aren’t a few things I liked, but even they (foreign policy) have fallen well short of what was promised.

  21. franklin kirk

    Love how the Biden faction is labeled as moderate. It is a testament to how far right neoliberalism has tilted psychology. Reminds me of that quote “we’re all Keynesians now” but today it’s “we’re all Hayekians now.”

        1. bob

          Democrat translation-

          Although Mr. Obama has an impressive track record as a community organizer, many are concerned with his ability to govern. Picking Biden as VP put party insiders at ease.

    1. Procopius

      I saw somewhere a reference to the “left of center Democrats [Amy and Pete and Beto] coalescing.” Fortunately it was a site I couldn’t comment on.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Just voted in Austin, TX. I was in and out in 15 min, but the line was consistently long the whole time. I asked the folks checking us in and was told turnout is significantly higher than past primary elections in the same precinct. New polling place in the neighborhood, but I’ve seen him running the show for years, so I trust his assessment on that.

    Whether a name appears on the first vs second page of the electronic ballot is much ado about nothing, at least on the machines I used. I was required to view the second page of names before I could cast a vote for the position. There is no way to skip over the second page. Whether or not you see it, is in your own hands (or eyes). I’ve read that California randomizes the order of appearance between counties (election districts?). My ballot sure appeared to be ordered randomly. Bernie was on the first page.

  23. Wukchumni

    The extreme swings @ Dow Jonestown are very reminiscent of the fall meltdown in 2008, same pattern.

      1. Debra D.

        I was trying to recall the amount my husband and I received from the Bush administration in 2008. I think we both received checks for $1,500.

        1. False Solace

          As I recall I got nothing for the 2nd round of Bush 2 checks as I was out of a job at the time. For the 1st round (it was a year or so after 9/11 IIRC) I was working paycheck to paycheck while in college and got a whole $150. I don’t think that would tide me over for a month-long quarantine.

        2. 10leggedshadow

          I got $1500 too in 2008, and that to me was always the tell that they knew the crash was coming.

  24. George Phillies

    MA ballots are paper, handmarked, at least in our second-largest city, Worcester, with all candidates in a column on the front of the ballot. I dutifully voted for Kim Ruff.

    “Wasserman Schultz actually had to resign as DNC after rigging 2016 AGAINST Sanders”

    The endorsement of Beto ‘We’re going to take your AR-15s’ O’Rourke may not help Biden in the general election; you can be sure that some of Biden’s opponents will keep reminding you of O’Rourke’s position.

  25. Expat2uruguay

    From the article about how to make your own hand sanitizer:

    However, since your phone is, according to the CDC, a “high-touch surface,” if you have any concerns that it has been shared with someone possibly exposed, you can use alcohol wipes to clean it off.

    I’m not concerned about somebody else touching my phone, I’m concerned touching the handrails on the bus as I climbed aboard and move down the aisle while we’re moving. Then I sit down and pull out my phone. I remember reading somewhere that viruses can contaminate 9 surfaces after touching an infected person coughs on their hands. I’m getting in the habit of using a hand sanitizer as soon as I get in my seat and then again as soon as I get off the bus. This is one place that the US has an advantage over Uruguay, their bus system is useless, so everyone drives a personal vehicle.
    By the way, I would be very wary about getting into an Uber, because that is a confined space with another breather who is carting around a multitude of other breathers. The same with taxis, which seemed quite a bit dirtier than Ubers.

    1. False Solace

      I’m scheduled to fly to FL on Saturday. I’m going to put my phone in one of those waterproof “swim with your phone” cases. Figure it will be easier to wipe down when I get out of the plane / airport. No mask but I’ll be wearing gloves in the security line, just like the TSA. Don’t want to bring any creepycrawlies along to visit my health compromised retired parents.

  26. JCC

    California here. Voted on my way to work. The candidates were listed in alphabetical order.

  27. Chris

    Can’t wait to see what happens with the results of today’s voting. Are there any preferred drinking games to go along with returns? Do we have to do shots everytime the DNC slow walks results because they’re good for Bernie?

    1. Bill Carson

      I’m supposed to attend a Bernie election watch party tonight, and I expect it will be a rather dour affair.

        1. Chris

          Based on their comments from the other day, I would assume Mr. Carson is expecting all of the positive Bernie predictions to be incorrect.

          For myself, I am wondering how much family blogging will occur to derail Bernie getting delegates. I hope the answer is very little.

          1. bob

            They’re evil, no doubt. But I’ve seen no evidence that they are any more competent than they were in 2016. Same failures, better PR. Nothing changes.

        2. Bill Carson

          I was shocked at the result in SC, and I expect that Joe will run the tables on the southern states. Just like 4 years ago, after which they started proclaiming HRC the victor. Which they’ll do after tonight with Joe. It’s depressing because I want so badly for Bernie to win and for our country to turn a page toward a better America. We have a small window of opportunity, but it is as far open as it has ever been.

          As recently as ten days ago, the 538 model was predicting that Bernie would win every single remaining primary. Yes, the odds were slim in some of those, but he was picking up momentum. There was a 48% chance predicted on 538 that he would win more than half the delegates by convention. Now those chances are listed at 8%, with Biden at 31% and “nobody” at 61%.

          So I expect tonight will be a quiet gathering, with eruptions when Bernie wins Colorado and California, but resignation will set in as the AP starts calling states for Biden in as little as 8 minutes from now. Buckle up.

          1. bob

            So he wins, but that’s bad? Maybe you should stay home and spare everyone else your prognostications from the minds of the people he is beating?

          2. Big River Bandido

            Oh gear dog. No one who pays attention to politics should be surprised by the result in SC. It’s one of the most conservative states in the country (if not *the* most), and Democrats there have a long history of voting as they’re told.

          3. Carey

            >Now those [Sanders’s] chances are listed at 8%, with Biden at 31% and “nobody” at 61%.

            How, based on what has actually happened so far (Biden winning SC, only), could this “prediction” possibly be predictive?

            Our Elites: “Always be closing.”

            concern trolling

      1. Jason Boxman

        I’m going to one myself; Didn’t RSVP in time for the HQ event in Boston, which must be completely packed and isn’t listed anymore. They’re having an additional one at Democracy Brewing downtown.

  28. russell1200

    First Corona Virus in North Carolina. In Wake County (County State Capital is in)

    Person was visiting a nursing home in Washington State where there have been a number of fatalities. So depending on when they would have become contagious, your talking about potentially spreading it all over the place.

    I voted earlier this morning and noted they made no concession to anti-flu/corona virus hygiene. Everyone using the same pens, no protective gloves in handing things out, etc. We hadn’t had corona virus yet, but we have had a pretty nasty flu-like something going around. Some of our smaller schools lost so many students they had to shut down. So there was reasonable cause to be cautious.

    1. Mason

      It wasn’t too busy for my location in NC, they had hand sanitizer around at least. Biked home and washed hands. Nothing can do about the airborne threat, but I did see a poll worker with a mask which is interesting.

      Will soon dawn mask out in public, in a few more days, otherwise just avoiding going out unless its quiet necessary.

      Covid-19 is coming, and will effect almost every county. At least have food on hand to ride through periods where services and transportation grind to a halt.

    2. Yves Smith

      We wore gloves and looked like nuts.

      I am normally not keen about gloves (you can still touch your face with crap on the gloves) but for relatively short activities, when you strip them off right after you exit the people/hazard filled spot, they look to be the best of bad options. Bringing in an alcohol spray and waiting the 10+ seconds for the alcohol to evaporate would not go over well.

  29. lyman alpha blob

    Just voted in Maine. They RAN OUT OF BALLOTS in my precinct, and likely in many others all around the state, because the SecState didn’t have enough printed. The election clerks had to photocopy the ballot and they are trying to run the photocopies through the optical scan machines. Some of the photocopied ballots are being accepted by the machines, others are not.

    I spoke with the ward clerk about this and he indicated that the plan was to hand count the photocopied ballots that the machine rejected, with members of each party verifying the count. But they are just going to take the machine’s word for it on the rest of the ballots, including the photocopied ones the machine accepted, even though the machine isn’t designed to read those. I mentioned that I had participated in a hand recount already in this very town and we already determined that the machine didn’t count everyone’s ballot even when it wasn’t using photocopies and suggested that if there was no law against it, they should hand count ALL the ballots just to make sure everyone’s was counted. Unless I can convince the town to do so in the next few hours, it’s not going to happen. Can’t get in touch with the city clerk, going to try city councilors next.

    This is just glaring incompetence. Why are we estimating the turnout and only printing ballots based on that? Why not one ballot for every registered voter and some extras for those who register the day of the election? Recycle what doesn’t get used. How hard is this? Our voting system is a [family blog]ing joke.

    Hand marked paper ballots counted in public. That’s the only way to do it right.

    Off to raise some hell.

  30. kareninca

    I look at Safeway flyer here in Silicon Valley only intermittently, since their prices are so very high and their produce is mostly horrible. But I really love their store brand dry pasta; it is the only pasta I can digest. I opened the flyer that came in today to see if it were a sale item. Lo and behold, Safeway is having a sale week the likes of which I don’t remember. It is “must buy four” pricing. Progresso soup (not that I would consume it except if necessary) is usually $3.29/can (!). But the flyer shows it as 99 cents a can if you buy four. And so on for a lot of items, many of which someone might buy for prepping. A lot of the items are actually cheaper than at Grocery Outlet.

    I wonder if Safeway suddenly realized that people have a limited amount of money, and if they are going to spend it all at Costco on frantic prepping purchases then Safeway will have no sales. And that they had better get in on the cheap/bulk market, if only briefly.

  31. The Rev Kev

    Any voters from Washington State here? Wondering if they use touch screens to vote there.

    1. Cas

      Washington State has vote by mail. No polling places. I don’t know how the votes are counted.

      1. Dickeylee

        So expect the postal system to infect its employees now? How much is handled by hand before it gets to the election commission?

  32. Dan

    Canvassed for Sanders this week in a couple very working-class, all Black/Latino neighborhoods in Oakland, CA. People are hard to find – not home, working, moved out, etc. – but everyone under 50 that I actually spoke to was for Sanders. Spanish-speakers especially positive. Some older black folks are entertaining the idea of Bloomberg, but when I bring up the crushing burden of health costs (everyone has at least one family member with diabetes) that focuses their attention right away. What I did not see or hear anywhere was the phrase “Joe Biden” – he just didn’t exist as an option. In fact I haven’t seen a single sign, button, sticker or anything for Biden, anywhere in Oakland.

    So the vibe is positive for Sanders in my little corner of America, especially among blacks and Latin@s, but of course getting people to their increasingly spread-out and obscurely-located polling stations is quite another. I’m very curious what happens tonight.

  33. Jason Boxman

    Part of our response to the virus at work just posted today:

    Practice good hygiene. As happy as we may be to see one another, let’s refrain from handshakes and hugs and default to a trusty tip of the olde hat when greeting one another. If you feel sick for any reason, stay at home, rest and make sure you are symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to the office.

  34. Swamp Yankee

    Voted today in Southeastern MA. Hand ballots marked with pen, fed into a machine. All watched over by my gradeschool teachers. Two Warren signs, one Bernie, one Bloomberg on a Federalist manse from the 1790s. The polling place, the Lt. Timothy Steele Field House; was in High School with his older sister. He was killed in far Afghanistan.

    Was happy to cast my ballot for Sanders. Warren isn’t from here and has used us instrumentally for her own ends. As my septaganarian Father’s sign he holds on the overpass over Mass. Rt. 3 says: “Bernie = FDR”.

  35. Wukchumni

    Voted, and ran into a friend whose livelihood depends on tourism here, and his sales are down 50% for February compared to the same month last year, and this is shoulder season so not much is expected compared to the really big show from May to October, when things get hopping, that is if people aren’t petrified still in 3 months. He told me its that same tale all over town.

    He doesn’t follow the news and had no idea about the giant downturn in travel thanks to Covid-19.

    As of a few days ago, you’re free to mill about the Sherman Tree with about 99 other people in close proximity from all over the world, no controls.

    1. OIFVet

      Could just as easily say “This is what minority voter suppression looks like.” Hope Sanders’ campaign is in court suing the local election authorities to keep polling stations open until the last person in line has voted.

      1. bob

        I could just as easily say you are exactly like my super woke big D (republican) friend who just couldn’t believe that Cuomo was trying to make BDS illegal. Of course he is. That means you’re winning. Take it as a win and keep going. Their antics dismiss themselves.

        1. OIFVet

          The problem is that in Texas it may come down to every last vote. I have two acquaintances who worked their butts off organizing and GOTV in Texas. It’s beyond infuriating to see their hard work and belief in the democratic process so easily undermined by the powers that be making it hard for people to cast their votes.

        2. Massinissa

          Sanders needs Texas, but Biden is winning it by… Less than 1 percent.

          Every vote counts, and they are stealing Texas this way. Makes me sick to my stomach.

  36. Daryl

    Hmm, Google already has Biden at 108 and Sanders at 71. Superdelegates, jumping the gun on results? What did I miss?

  37. Chris

    As of 7:34 PM, 0% of votes reported to sites like Politico, yet Biden is called the winner?

    Can’t wait to see how those exit polls correlate to reality.

  38. smoker

    Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County, 2020 Primary – California Voting Center in Congressional District 17.

    Voting place not clearly marked, especially for a first time voting center where the street address number is not visually discernable (a very kind young volunteer – clearly worried about surviving, let alone thriving, in Silicon Valley – told me they near passed it by). I guess the presumption is, if your car, bicycle, or watch doesn’t have GPS, you don’t belong in Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley.

    Witnessed a volunteer insisting to someone that they could still change their voting preference on today’s March 3rd voting deadline. Thankfully, another volunteer corrected them (though too placidly to my mind), but horridly, that first volunteer never acknowledged they were wrong and likely advised other voters the same way.

    For the very first time, had to provide a digital signature in order to receive and fill in a paper ballot – versus the mail in/drop box ballot which was automatically sent (unrequested) for the very first time, in Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County.

    First time I’ve ever witnessed thick, blunt edged, and ink bleeding Sharpie™ pens used at the paper ballot booths in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. It’s always previously been, at the least, a medium point ball pen. Writing in an entry (none of the above,for instance) ended up indiscernible (so much for any candidates written in); additionally, the sharpie pen bled through the paper ballot to the other side, so I asked for a discernable, non bleeding pen, and another paper ballot (tearing up the first one).

    The paper ballots were fed through a scanner, with no receipt received; much unlike, historically – in Santa Clara County and other Bay Area Counties – when every paper ballot had stubs you were given as proof of your vote. I was told the stubs on my mail in/drop box ballot (WHICH I DID NOT REQUEST) were my receipt – with the first time implemented digital signature™, being the only connection between the paper ballot and the unrequested mail in/drop box ballot.

    The only good news is that it seemed that some of the volunteers – of all ages – were utterly disgusted with the inhumanity which rules California and Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County (I was a bit vocal about the not at all unexpected further corrosion of Voting by The DNC/Golden State™/Silicon Valley Demorats and Billionaires and the obscene counts of unsheltered homeless (left to die), and I noticed those subtle signs of acknowledgement).

    At least Debra Bowen (the last California Secretary of State, and the very last Democrat I voted for; after an adult lifetime of voting for them), unlike horror story, Alex Padilla, would have at least put up a fight.

    1. smoker

      I should have added, the window that showed for that required digital signature request I was asked for in order to receive a paper ballot, did not note what the signature was for, it just showed my identifying data and I was told to sign it in order to receive a paper ballot, again with no paper (or online offered) receipt of the reason for the signature request.

  39. John

    If you think the status quo needs a good shaking, Bernie is the only candidate. Nominate him; add Tulsi for youth and straight talk. Interesting election.

  40. Deschain

    Biden crushed it in VA like he did in S.C. Looks to have been at the expense of Bloomberg but still a bad early sign.

    I think TX is the key state tonight. If Bernie can win there – and exit polls suggest 1/3 of the vote is Latino, a good sign – I think he can call the night a W regardless of what Joe does in Old Dixie. If Biden wins TX though I think we are in for a very long and disappointing year.

  41. Wukchumni

    The 14th running of the Tokyo Marathon took place yesterday to little fanfare and largely absent of spectators.

    The coronavirus had forced the cancellation of the mass event, which was expected to see circa 38,000 runners run through the streets of Japan’s capital. Organisers instead reduced the entries to elite runners and wheelchair athletes, who numbered only 200 or so in total.


    Just a mere 99.5% reduction in runners, wow!

    1. ewmayer

      Prediction: Tokyo Summer Olympics will be cancelled, perhaps with hopes to hold them next year. Somehow I don’t think holding them online is gonna prove workable…

      1. Massinissa

        I hear Esports is really big right now, I guess the athletes could all just compete on Fortnite instead. /sarc

  42. allan

    What a difference 6 weeks makes:

    January 20: Risk to UK of new coronavirus is currently ‘very low’: infection service [Reuters]

    The current risk to the United Kingdom from an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China is very low, the national infection service said on Monday. …

    March 3: Coronavirus: NHS England declares level four incident over outbreak [SkyNews]

    NHS England has declared coronavirus a level four incident – the highest level of emergency preparedness planning. …

    It would be interesting to know the level at which the first statement was approved. Or demanded.

  43. John Zelnicker

    Just voted in Mobile, Alabama, in a precinct in the middle of the Old (ante-bellum) Money section of town (there are still a few working/middle class neighborhoods in the area).

    Lots of the “white, educated, suburban women” that the establishment Dems want to bring into the party. Yeah, good luck with that.

    The primaries are closed so no crossover voting.

    At about 6:00 pm CT, I was the 280th Democrat to vote today. I asked the Republican folks how many they had seen and was told it was 1,100 “a few hours ago”. So probably up to as many as 1,500 or more by now.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        The only restriction in Alabama is that if you vote in one party’s primary, you cannot vote in another party’s runoff in the same election cycle. That’s it. There is no registration as a Rep or Dem. None.

    1. Yves Smith

      The more objective BBC’s subhead is that Biden has come back from the dead.

      This was never going to be easy. Sanders is attempting to make a hostile takeover of the Dem party. They’s thrown their best firepower at him. All they have left is getting $ to prop up Biden and maybe an Obama endorsement. Hillary counts for squat.

      The real wild card is Bloomberg.

      1. Carey

        > Biden has come back from the dead.

        Interesting that the Few’s minions always, but always, do that.
        Not buying it.

  44. kareninca

    This is a very scary case: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/03/03/coronavirus-precautions-mta-plans-to-disinfect-subways-and-stations/.

    This guy is only 50 years old. It is true that he has an underlying respiratory condition, but he is employed as an attorney in Manhattan and so presumably is not in terrible shape (until now). He is in serious condition. Now 500-700 members of his synagogue need to self-quarantine. He didn’t travel to any of the usual “bad” regions.

    By the way, I would like to point out that these are not Evangelical Christians. Since some posters here like to say over and over what dumbasses Evangelical Christians are for holding large services during a pandemic. No, I’m not saying these people in this case are dumb – I just think that most people are not good at gauging risks, no matter what their mental lives.

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