2:00PM Water Cooler 3/9/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

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.)

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We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Today we have one national poll from CNN, and polls from Michigan, as of 3/9/2020, 11:00 AM EDT. The empire strikes back:

(Note the miserably small sample size.) And the numbers:

From Michigan, with the usual caveat that state polls are irregular, bad, and have small sample sizes:

MI numbers:

Sanders badly needs these polls to be wrong (as they were in 2016).

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “DNC changes debate rules to allow surrogates to stand in for Joe Biden” [Beet Press (RH)]. “‘We understand that the rigors of the campaign trail and busy travel schedules of each candidate might preclude one or more of them from attending the debate,’ explained DNC chairman Tom Perez, adding ‘that’s why we’re now going to allow up to three surrogates to attend the debate on the candidate’s behalf.'”

Biden (D)(2): “What the media missed about Joe Biden’s electability” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. “Before Super Tuesday, the conventional wisdom was simple. Bernie Sanders was the turnout candidate, and Biden the uninspiring generic Democrat. You could see this in Sanders’s packed rallies, his die-hard social media brigades, his army of individual donors — and in Biden’s inability to match those markers of enthusiasm. If new voters flooded the primary, it would be proof that Sanders’s political revolution was brewing. But if the political revolution failed and turnout stagnated, Biden might slip through. What virtually no one predicted was Biden winning a high-turnout contest. But he did…. So what did the narrative get wrong? As someone who believed that narrative, what did I get wrong? … A 2018 paper by Andrew Hall and Daniel Thompson looked at US House elections between 2006 and 2014 and concluded that moderates performed better. The mechanism here is interesting: The study finds that more extreme candidates do drive turnout, but ‘extremists appear to activate the opposing party’s base more than their own.’ In other words, they drive more countermobilization than mobilization.” •

Biden (D)(3): “Biden’s New Status Doesn’t Come With A New Biden” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative]. “”The World Turned Upside Down” was a song the British army band is said to have played at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. That title applies to what happened in the U.S. political world in the five days from Feb. 29 to March 4…. Then came South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn’s endorsement of Biden, which solidified and energized the African American vote in the Palmetto State and led to a Biden blowout in Saturday’s primary. The nonstop free and favorable publicity Biden gained from the victory created a momentum that Mike Bloomberg’s billions could not buy. Over that weekend came the withdrawal of Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar and endorsements by both of Biden as the party’s best hope against Donald Trump.” • “Created a momentum” lacks agency. In fact, the Establishment circled the wagons round Biden once South Carolina — and Sanders’ impending victory in CA and threatening in TX — gave the excuse. This really isn’t hard.

Biden (D)(4): The issue of Biden’s cognitive decline is not going to go away:

Biden (D)(5): “Joe Biden’s secret governing plan” [Axios]. “Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan — a reversal of President Trump’s unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him — many from the Obama years.”

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Treasury secretary could help unite the party.
  • Jamie Dimon — chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and mentioned over the years as a potential presidential candidate — would also be considered for Treasury.
  • Anne Finucane, vice chairman of Bank of America, is another possibility for Treasury.

Jamie Dimon just had a heart attack, so apparently that’s no barrier to high office.

Sanders (D)(1): “Jesse Jackson backing Sanders” [Politico]. “Jackson got Sanders’ support in his 1988 bid, when he faced off against Biden, among others. (Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts was the eventual nominee.) At the time, Biden told a mostly black audience to reject Jackson’s candidacy. Jackson has said that the former vice president has grown in his positions, but the primary competition would force Biden to deal with the past.” • Here is a video of what is for me the highlight of Jackson’s 1988 Speech to the Democrat National Convnention in 1988. It brought tears to me eyes then, and does now:

And a transcript:

Leadership must meet the moral challenge of its day. What’s the moral challenge of our day? We have public accommodations. We have the right to vote. We have open housing. What’s the fundamental challenge of our day? It is to end economic violence. Plant closings without notice — economic violence. Even the greedy do not profit long from greed — economic violence.

Most poor people are not lazy. They are not black. They are not brown. They are mostly White and female and young. But whether White, Black or Brown, a hungry baby’s belly turned inside out is the same color — color it pain; color it hurt; color it agony.

Most poor people are not on welfare. Some of them are illiterate and can’t read the want-ad sections. And when they can, they can’t find a job that matches the address. They work hard everyday.

I know. I live amongst them. I’m one of them. I know they work. I’m a witness. They catch the early bus. They work every day.

They raise other people’s children. They work everyday.

They clean the streets. They work everyday. They drive dangerous cabs. They work everyday. They change the beds you slept in in these hotels last night and can’t get a union contract. They work everyday.

No, no, they are not lazy! Someone must defend them because it’s right, and they cannot speak for themselves. They work in hospitals. I know they do. They wipe the bodies of those who are sick with fever and pain. They empty their bedpans. They clean out their commodes. No job is beneath them, and yet when they get sick they cannot lie in the bed they made up every day. America, that is not right. We are a better Nation than that. We are a better Nation than that.

Of course, the Democrat Establishment hates the working class. They did then, they do now.

Sanders (D)(2): Better never than late?

Sanders (D)(3): “The Wolverines Gather For Bernie: How Sanders Has Energized A Movement” [Jonathan Turley]. “I left the rally with great affection for these Sanders supporters. We often talk about the need to get students involved. While I disagree with many of Sanders’ proposals, I have always respected him as an individual and agree with him that the establishment has proven either unwilling or incapable of addressing serious problems in our society. Watching this highly diverse crowd join together at this rally was a powerful experience to witness. You do not have to agree with Sanders to find these supporters rejuvenating and inspiring. They are exactly what the Democrats need but exactly what the party is alienating by this unified front against Sanders. As I recently wrote, the Sanders supporters are being treated like barbarians at the gate for the Democratic party. The problem is that they are increasing adopting the same view in their relation to the party.”

Trump (R)(1): “White House advisers to give President Trump policy options for coronavirus response, including paid sick leave” [WaPo]. “White House advisers on Monday plan to present President Trump with a list of policy changes they hope could stem the economic fallout of the coronavirus, including paid sick leave and emergency help for small businesses, according to a senior administration official. The talks have accelerated as congressional Democrats begin a new legislative response of their own, which also is expected to focus on expanded paid sick leave benefits.” • (Free testing? Lol.) Filing this under Trump, as opposed to health care, since it seems that Trump’s claim that “‘I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters” is about to be tested. Then again, Obama shot plenty of people, albeit at one remove and articulately, and paid no price at the polls. So here we are.

Warren (D)(1): “Why Should We Want a Woman President?” [Sarah Jones, New York Magazine]. “What does it mean, after all, to want a woman president? Do we want her because she’d make history? Or do we want something weightier than representation? We can’t assume that a woman is more likely to bring the rest of us with her, that the fact of her gender will lift other boats. In the U.S. and outside it, in nations with longer records of putting women in power, history argues against such optimism. Margaret Thatcher made history. So did Sarah Palin, and not that long ago. A feminist politician is not necessarily a woman politician. To assume otherwise is to suggest that putting a woman in the White House is the summit of our ambition, and not merely a means to an end. Ideology matters. It makes the choices ahead of us clear.”

* * *

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton says Sanders would not be ‘strongest nominee against Trump'” [Guardian]. “Clinton told CNN on Sunday she was not endorsing anyone yet – given her harsh comments about Sanders in the recent past, the point was almost moot – but added: ‘I think what Joe’s victories on Super Tuesday showed is that he is building the kind of coalition that I had basically. It’s a broad-based coalition. [In 2016] I finished, you know, most of the work I needed to do for the nomination on Super Tuesday, and then it kind of lingered on. And I think Joe is on track to doing exactly the same thing: putting together a coalition of voters who are energised.'” • Note the new quote I’ve added up top.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Palliative Liberalism Can’t Cure Our Ailing Working Class” [Michel Lind, The American Conservative]. “Worst of all, three of these schools of thought seek to respond to working-class populist rebellions by offering workers the chance to become something other than workers, as though there were something shameful and retrograde about being an ordinary wage earner. Many champions of education as a panacea want to turn wage earners into professionals. Advocates of universal capitalism want to turn wage earners into investors. Antimonopolists want to turn wage earners into small business owners.” • Given the source, I don’t I’ll like the outcome much, but at least some conservative factions are thinking. Never thought I’d say such a thing.

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 contact me at the email address below.

Housing: “After Loosening A Bit In 2018, US Home Supply Tightened Again In 2019” [Econintersect]. “With home prices reaching new highs in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history [ 1], affordability has become a concern and is pushing potential homebuyers away. Adding to the affordability challenge is the fact that housing supply keeps hitting historical lows. Nationally, the number of homes for sale equated to a 3-month supply [ 2] in December 2019, falling from a supply of 3.7 months in December 2018.”

* * *

Shipping: “A sharp pullback in hiring at U.S. parcel carriers could add to e-commerce challenges as the coronavirus spreads. Messenger and courier companies that deliver packages to homes and business slashed 12,200 jobs in February” [Wall Street Journal]. “But warehousing and storage operators added 5,300 jobs in February as digital ordering of virus-related supplies like hand sanitizer exploded. Pressure on last-mile delivery could rise as nervous consumers opt to buy online instead of hitting the store.” • Go long social distancing.

Manufacturing: “Global factories are feeling the pinch as the novel coronavirus exposes deep dependence on China’s supply networks” [Wall Street Journal]. “Some production of clothing, vehicles and electronics outside of China is slowing… as plants from South Asia to Serbia report shortages of Chinese-made goods such as zippers or electrical wiring. Apparel makers have been shifting production from China as labor costs there rise, but many still source textiles from Chinese mills. Now factories in Bangladesh are in talks with buyers about who will pay to airfreight delayed raw material shipments. In Brazil, South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. halted work at a mobile-phone and electronics plant because it couldn’t get parts. Shifts to just-in-time manufacturing mean many plants keep less inventory on hand, increasing vulnerability. Virus-related disruptions could accelerate as the epidemic spreads in South Korea and Japan, affecting the flow of textiles and other supplies from those countries.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 4 Extreme Fear (previous close: 7 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 13 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 9 at 12:37pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged. “Slowing global growth has put downward pressure on oil prices” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. It certainly is odd to see the Fear and Greed index in Freefall, and an index that measures the likelihood of the Apocalypse is stable.

The Biosphere

“Why does the weather stall? New theories explain enigmatic ‘blocks’ in the jet stream” [Science]. “Few weather phenomena are as widely experienced—but poorly understood—as an atmospheric block. When a block arises, typically at the western edge of a continent, the jet stream splits, trapping a blob of seemingly static air thousands of kilometers across. Such blocks can last for weeks, and drive heat waves, drought, and winter cold snaps. At the same time, the persistent flows around the edges of a block can route storm after storm to the same spot. A block “has very different impacts in different seasons,” says Tim Woollings, an atmospheric dynamicist at the University of Oxford. “But it’s always quite extreme.” Yet atmospheric scientists have long struggled to understand why blocks occur and last so long, and how they might change in a warming world. Several new theories are offering answers. A leading idea links blocking to the behavior at high latitudes of the Coriolis force, an effect of Earth’s rotation that can cause the jet stream to meander and contort. The theory, developed by Harvard University atmospheric scientist Lei Wang, is unlikely to be the full picture, but it has a sobering implication. As the world warms, the jet stream is likely to move to higher latitudes, which could lead to even more blocking events.”

“Bushfires force Australian winemakers to leave grapes on the vine” [Financial Times]. “‘The taste is so bad it is like licking an ashtray,’ said Mr Shaw, offering grapes from his 85-acre vineyard about 40km from the capital, Canberra. ‘They’ve been tainted by smoke, which blew in from fires more than 80km away. We just can’t risk our brand by making wine or selling fruit this year.'” • Maybe a wine industry on the Australian continent wasn’t the best idea?

“Economic Diversification Supported the Growth of Mongolia’s Nomadic Empires” [Scientific Reports]. “The escalating scale of millet consumption on the eastern Eurasian steppe over time, and an expansion of isotopic niche widths, indicate that historic Mongolian empires were supported by a diversification of economic strategies rather than uniform, specialized pastoralism.” • Thinking Like a State

Health Care

A very important chart. Thread:

The outbreak in Bergamo (featured in this morning’s Links) is clearly above the “Healthcare system capacity” dotted line.

A more elaborate version, as a chart turns into a meme:

“Flatten the curve!”

* * *

The Democrat plan:

From the full version:

  • Widespread and free coronavirus testing — to control the spread of coronavirus, the administration must ensure that all Americans who need an evaluation are able to access locations for cost-free testing and rapidly increase the unacceptably low daily test processing capacity inside the U.S.;
  • Affordable treatment for all — patients must be reimbursed for any non-covered coronavirus-related costs, or else the epidemic will be worsened because Americans will fear they cannot afford the costs associated with treatment;
  • Anti-price gouging protections — we must ensure that Americans are protected from price gouging of medical and non-medical essentials during this emergency;
  • Increase capacity of medical system — we must use our emergency response mechanisms to mobilize resources and facilities in order to respond to surges in demand.

Amusingly, if Pelosi and the Democrat Establishment had passed #MedicareForAll when they had the chance, all these measures would already be in place. A pandemic is best fought with a universal system that’s free at the point of care. Who knew?

From Cuomo’s presser on #COVID-19:

Yes, we’re using prison labor to compensate from market failure. (Also, soap and water, and vigorously scrubbing your hands for at least twenty seconds, is far more effective than hand sanitizer. So this is really disinfectant theatre.)

Breaking habits is hard:

“A coronavirus vaccine should be for everyone, not just those who can afford it” [STAT]. “We can curtail pandemics if we quickly develop vaccines and make them widely accessible. But without vigorous efforts to secure equitable access, vaccine distribution will follow the logic of the market. To let a coronavirus vaccine be monopolized by the rich will perpetuate the unjust economics of outbreaks, where the poor always pay the heaviest price. Allowing this to happen would be a moral disgrace.”

“Why the US is so vulnerable to coronavirus outbreak” [Financial Times]. “Public health officials and academics are concerned that a mix of high numbers of uninsured people, a lack of paid sick leave and a political class that has downplayed the threat could mean it spreads more quickly than in other countries…. Even those patients with insurance might struggle to pay their contributions to their care — so-called deductibles or co-pays — as almost 29 per cent were classified as “underinsured” in 2018, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey. America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association of insurers, has said it would remove barriers to virus tests for members, including perhaps waiving a patient’s costs or allowing them to seek care anywhere, not just in an assigned network. More than 800 experts also signed a letter calling for US policymakers to help the uninsured, but so far, no federal assistance plans have been announced. Soumi Saha, senior director of advocacy at the Premier alliance of 4,000 hospitals, said doctors would prioritise treatments to billing patients. But she also noted that many hospitals also operated on ‘razor thin’ margins. ‘The truth is no one truly knows how much this will cost,’ she added.” • To which the answer ought to be “So what?”

“Plagues, Pathogens, and Panic” (podcast) [Christopher Lydon, Open Source]. • Very encouraging podcast that features a little corner of the health care system that actually cares about saving lives.

“Coronavirus: Hong Kong warns people not to kiss their pets after dog tests positive for COVID-19” [ABC]. “Hong Kong authorities have warned residents against kissing their pets after a dog belonging to a coronavirus patient in the city tested ‘weak positive’ for COVID-19, the official name for novel coronavirus. After conducting multiple tests on the dog over a period of days, Hong Kong’s Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement that the animal was found to have ‘a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.’ The department said that it has reported the incident to the World Organization for Animal Health, who are now investigating the case. The dog, a 17-year-old Pomeranian, was given to authorities Feb. 26 after its owner tested positive for the virus.”

* * *

“Economists conclude that Medicare for All (M4A) could be considerably less expensive than the current healthcare finance system” [James G. Kahn, Jeffrey Sachs, Anders Fremstad, Robert Reich, Robert Pollin, Leonard Rodberg, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, Alison Galvani, Gerald Friedman, Hopbrook Institute]. “We believe the available research supports the conclusion that a program of Medicare for All (M4A) could be considerably less expensive than the current system, reducing waste and profiteering inherent in the current system, and could be financed in a way to ensure significant financial savings for the vast majority of American households…. Compared with the current system, Medicare for All would achieve considerable savings on administration and by reducing payments to monopoly drug companies and hospital networks. Within a few years of operation, M4A could save hundreds of billions of dollars per year from these sources. Additional savings will come when a rational healthcare finance system allows needed investments in coordinated care and preventive care, as well as reductions in fraudulent billing. …. Most important, Medicare for All will reduce morbidity and save tens of thousands of lives each year.”

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Our Famously Free Press

UPDATE I’m filing this horrid story here, instead of under health care, because it’s full of bad advice that readers should not take. I do not have time to do a post full of linky goodness, but readers will remember information to which we have linked, and which the commentariat has hashed out in comments.

“How to Prepare for the Coronavirus” [Wall Street Journal]. In general, “Contact your doctor” will be greeted with hilarity by millions, but there are issues of detail as well.

1. From the lead: “Stick with the basics: Wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay at home from work or school when you’re sick.” • No. First, not when “you’re sick,” but when anyone in your social network is sick. Second, social distancing means just that. Do it now! The virus can be asymptomatic, so waiting until you’re sick can be too late!

2. “Experts say keeping your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing may help” (oddly, this is presented under the heading of public transportion, but it applies everywhere). • “Distance” is so vague as not to be actionable China recommends six feet.

3. “… washing your hands or using hand sanitizer as soon as you’re off [public transport]” • This implies that hand sanitizer and soap are equivalent. They are not. Scrubbing one’s hands with soap and water (fingers, wrists, under the nails, everything) is far superior to hand sanitizer.

4. “If it’s a surface exposed to sunlight outside, [the coronavirus] likely only lives for a few minutes or up to an hour. But if it’s indoors and a dry environment, germs can live up to a day or two.” • This is flat wrong. Survival varies by the surface. I have seen figures for metal from five days to eight days (except on copper, interestingly, which kills it).

5. “Check your sick leave policy in case you get sick.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!!

6. “Regular household disinfectant wipes and cleaners should suffice. Anything with alcohol or bleach works.” • No, not all wipes work. Alcohol content should be 60% or higher; and isopropyl alcohol (“rubbing alchohol”). Not methanol. Also, do not bring bleach into contact with alcohol. That creates chloroform!

The general tone of the article seems designed to avoid panic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but looking at the class privilege that drips from the article, combined with its general imprecision and many outright errors, perhaps panic is the appropriate response. The WSJ is by elites, for elites. These recommendations will not flatten the curve. And these clowns are running the show!

News of the Wired

“Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias” [Wired]. “Here’s how you can recognize a dystopia: It’s a science fiction story in which disaster is followed by brutal, mindless violence. Here’s how you make a dystopia: Convince people that when disaster strikes, their neighbors are their enemies, not their mutual saviors and responsibilities. The belief that when the lights go out, your neighbors will come over with a shotgun—rather than the contents of their freezer so you can have a barbecue before it all spoils—isn’t just a self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s a weaponized narrative. The belief in the barely restrained predatory nature of the people around you is the cause of dystopia, the belief that turns mere crises into catastrophes.” • Rebbecca Solinit’s A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster shows that this weaponized narrative isn’t necessarily true.

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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 (AG):

AG writes: “Hi Lambert, from Grass Valley, California, elevation 2700 feet, greetings! The progress of our daffodils at this date.” This is always a great moment, when the plants break through the snow.

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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. Sam M

    The inevitable economic reshuffling resulting from COVID-19 could present a huge political opportunity for the left. If a savy group of academics and politicians can present MMT in a positive political bundle through effective marketing, like the “free market” was, the country could be transformed for the better, and already popular progressive ideas including M4A and wage increases could become just as ingrained in the public conscious as wanting lower taxes is today.

      1. Foy

        Excellent thanks skippy, been looking for a good concise article covering all the MMT bases.

  2. Grant

    What a shame that Bernie has to run in that collectively stupid and dying party. How in the world could people in such large number choose Biden? Especially in a state that has been destroyed by his policies. It is depressing how utterly lost that party is, which maybe makes Biden the perfect choice. They go all in for THIS candidate when they could have possibly had a Tommy Douglas like figure, at this important juncture? Insanity, truly.

    From the beginning, Bernie has been getting killed among older voters, and that continues. Again, confusing given his record on things like Medicare and Social Security. Makes no logical sense. That is ultimately what may carry Biden across the finish line, older voters. His lead among them is massive. Bernie is winning younger black voters. Right there with Biden for middle aged black voters. Getting absolutely destroyed among older black voters. Frustrating, and frustrating that younger voters haven’t been there. They will pay for it, if Biden gets the nomination. Cause they are screwed no matter who wins at that point. I also think it is certain that the DNC is fudging the numbers. Not enough, for example, for Bernie to win SC, but enough to give Biden a lead that he otherwise wouldn’t have. I admit I don’t have tons of proof, beyond some studying the exit polls versus the results. But, I have common sense, see what that party has done to Bernie and don’t think that they did what they did in Iowa but then decided to call that nonsense off thereafter. But they do this, and will indefinitely, because the rank and file simply don’t care tons. They do nothing to change who is running that party, rarely challenge those people and seem fine with utter corruption and sticking their nose in primaries and strongly favoring particular candidates. If Biden wins and gets destroyed, on them, and the fallout is too.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I also think it is certain that the DNC is fudging the numbers.

      It certainly is odd that there have been balloting problems in IA, CA, and TX, and that SC just got new electronic voting machines. One of those things its hard to put together.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Will the same machines be used in the general elections? Maybe the DNC can rig a Biden win over Trump.

      1. Mike

        Thank you, Lambert- this has been my take on the outcome since the night of Super Tuesday.

        1) Any mass of votes over many states does not allow for campaigning in any meaningful sense, To overcome media and party prejudice as well as fear makes Sanders’ campaign difficult. In this situation, he is condemned to struggling up a straight, smooth wall with no ropes.

        2) Election machines are the control feature here- the Democratic Party is the first defense against any move to disable the onslaught of corporate authoritarianism.

        The snowfall of media Biden coverage and joy in this outcome says it all, but the populace hears little outside their fears. The table is set…

    2. furies

      Turnout for my former county, Humboldt, in N. Cal was 22%.


      As an aside, and please try to forgive me for being a fussbudget, but “lose” and “loose” are two different words with completely different meanings… I see a lot of commentors don’t really care.

      Lowest common denominator is nothing to be proud of at this highly informative site.

      1. Milton

        For whatever reason I would perform a twitter search for the following term “your a looser”. I don’t know, I guess i wanted to see how prominent this double whammy of spelling bugaboos was.

      2. Candidate Mckaskle

        Total Humboldt County Ca. turnout reported in the (still not final) post election report is 43.5%. The Democratic primary had 23% turnout in the last election night update but is at 26.5% now. That was of total registered voters which shows over half the voters are Dems or no preference who crossed over to vote (for Bernie in my case). What is depressing to me, aside from the mere 44% turnout, is that Don Blankenship got 48 votes as the American Independent party Presidential candidate (25% of total). Howie Hawkins got 56 votes, 32% of the Green party and 40% of the Peace and Freedom vote. https://humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/84408/1st-Post-Election-Update-3-6-2020-04-56-04-PM

      3. anon in so cal

        While we’re at it:

        it’s = the contraction for “it is” as in, it’s a lovely day outside

        its = the possessive pronoun as in, when I visited CA, its beauty was impressive

          1. Harvey

            And furthermore, and separate from comments above, “who” is for people and “that” and “which” are for things.

            Not “Sally that works in retail” but “Sally WHO works in retail”.

            Not “The cat who sat on the mat” but “The cat THAT sat on the mat” and Not “the book who I put down on the table” but “the book WHICH I put down on the table”. Have seen a lot of things with human names lately, and also anthropomorphised objects.
            And I won’t start on apostrophes

      1. Grant

        Yeah, but worse. At least the Soviet state had a rhetorical vision of the world. The Democratic Party has no ideological or policy coherence at all. They don’t even bother to pretend to support something like socialism. They’re just empty careerists and want to maintain their power, and don’t really hide the fact. The USSR also didn’t make much of a pretense in regards to giving people an actual say in affairs of the state.

        1. Titus

          Stop, this is utter nonsense, saying it’s so doesn’t make it so. What does ‘policy coherence’ even mean? And why, other than communists would you want it? The current reality we live in, is not coherent in any way. ‘Policy coherence’, is just another way to say ideology monotheism. Sigh in the secular sense. Grant, in no way do you speak from actual experience. While I do appreciate much that you say, I don’t understand why your picking this particular fight. People want 1. Their problems acknowledged and 2. A plan in simple English to do something about them. Labels, coherent or not are not plans. A note to Lambert- I’m not using ‘plan’ as a prelude to action, rather a plan here is defined as something that has a desired outcome, i.e., things get better.

          1. Massinissa

            Honestly, I don’t entirely understand why you’re objecting so strongly to his comment. It seems fairly innocuous to me. Maybe I’m missing something? I kind of feel like you think he is saying something he is not saying.

              1. hoki haya

                And being subjected to your hangalong comments in last weeks, O Carey, you are either a dire idiot or a desperate troll. Well, God bless ya, whichever way –

          2. Grant

            Utter nonsense? What are you talking about? The Democratic Party is a political party, yes? Quick, what does the party stand for on any issue? On healthcare, what does the party stand for? Quick, go find a bumper sticker. How is that not damning? We have a full fledged environmental crisis, that party offers what? It wants to deal with limits to growth and the non market nature of the environmental crisis by doing…? How is that not a huge issue? Yes, I want a clear plan, one that is coherent, democratic and one with equitable outcomes. That means some means, some policies, are out of the question. I could tell you what the Green Party stands for, it has policy coherence. I can tell you what the Republicans stand for. I can tell you what the Chinese Communist Party stands for, even though actual Maoists share the party with right wing interests. I can tell you what the Democratic Party stood for under Roosevelt. It stands for nothing now. It is controlled by corrupt and self serving careerists, lobbyists, hack think tank losers and corrupt politicians. Bustos at the DCCC is a perfect embodiment of this. And AOC has to share a party with those people. I am not asking for everyone to agree on every issue. I am saying that a party with AOC in it shouldn’t be open to and largely supportive of a right wing and racist oligarch trying to buy an election. It isn’t nonsense and the lack of any coherence is why it is a dumpster fire of a party. It stands for nothing on policy, has no vision, no alternatives, no solutions to any of our largest societal issues. I think it should have the capacity to tell someone like Bloomberg to kiss off, and it is so utterly pathetic and devoid of meaning that such a thing is unthinkable.

            “Grant, in no way do you speak from actual experience”

            I don’t understand what you mean by this.

        2. Massinissa

          The Dems DO have a have a vision of the world. Its called Neoliberalism. The problem is they can’t tell the proles about it, because Neoliberalism means “We’re going to cut your social security and anything else that benefits you that can possibly be cut”. They’re called ‘catfood democrats’ for a reason. So they pretend they’re friendly New Deal style democrats on TV, and rank and file dems always blame the evil Republicans when the Catfood Dems ‘compromise’ and cut everything they want.

      2. pretzelattack

        and they’re trying to airbrush bernie out of the picture. the only candidate that isn’t in on the charade is tulsi gabbard, and they won’t let her on the debate stage. i am skeptical the debate will take place anyway, so maybe that won’t matter as much, though it would be gratifying to hear an actual antiwar voice on that stage.

        1. Aumua

          Just Biden and Sanders up on that debate stage can’t happen soon enough for me. Which is is why I half expect that you will be right about them finding some way to stop that from happening. The satire link today about debate surrogates for Biden shows that a lot of people are feeling the same way.

      3. polecat

        Is Nancy Pelosi for real ??? Honest to Gaia !! She’s just now blathering on about how much “care” the plebians need p, in light of our current bio/financial/globulized dilemma .. this, despite her, her hubby .. and her colleague’$, on BOTH SIDES of the aisle, feeding on the Corporate GRIFT ?? Were she to come to my doorstep, I would lean in, unmasked, and cough in her general direction !!!

        Let’s hope & prey they don’t All succumb to Capt. Corona … /s

        1. Late Introvert

          Nancy P. was in a dream recently, and I was angrily threatening her with physical harm. It was a great dream! Usually I’m guilt-wracked in the dream for behaving so badly. I have a temper in real life, and these dreams help me reel it in, but not this time.

    3. martell

      Some highlights from my time as a lanyard carrying member of the Democratic Party:

      Attending a talk by a state legislator, who emphasized the need for local schools to teach kids to code, and noted that markets need encouragement to provide more low income housing (as opposed to rent controls).

      Sitting on a county level justice committee, listening to the chair lament the fact that there were so many white faces in the room, promising not to start an “oppression Olympics,” and then declaring herself the winner of said contest in virtue of being female and half Latina.

      At the same meeting, asking about county level Party contacts with local unions, and being told that there used to be such contacts and they’re all long gone.

      Attending county level Party gatherings at which I was repeatedly encouraged to buy a place at the annual fundraising dinner, costing a mere $400 a plate. At these same meetings, membership looked to be almost entirely middle aged, white, professional, and very comfortable, despite the county having a large, working class Latino population.

      Immediately following the 2016 election, the first order of business was to pass round a petition to eliminate the Electoral College via interstate agreement. Objections based on Constitutional law were basically ignored.

      In all the meetings I attended, I heard the word ‘class’ used exactly once – by a young Sanders supporter.

      1. Massinissa

        Trump has said some dumb Coronavirus stuff, but this is worse. I’ve heard someone else say something similar, but he was a neoliberal Economist, so you expect it from their type. For the PM of the UK to say this… My first instinct is for my face to meet my desk.

    4. hoki haya

      A damn shame. It’s over, tho I hope our polling proves wrong. The combination of old-fashioned skullduggery and straight-up corruption is the victor, ensuring Trump’s 2nd term.

      I respect Bernie as I always have for his high road, but understand all those who wish he would go for the kill, lest it it make him a shill. He’s not a sheepdog, always a gatecrasher. We’re losing a great opportunity here; and i do not believe AOC can’t be bought. There is no heir.

      1. a different chris

        So you’ve decided that Trump, the guy who lost to freaking Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes, is going to now win PA, Mich, and Wisconsin (all who have elected Democratic governors), and looking down the road you also determine that AOC “can be bought”.

        Have you looked into getting some help? This is a ridiculous level of despair. I don’t know what will happen in November but it’s a little early to throw in the towel, I would have to think.

        1. Massinissa

          Hes probably going to run against Joe Biden. I’m pretty sure Biden is even less capable of running than Hillary was. At least Hillary could remember where she was. Trump will laugh rings around Sleepy Joe Biden, unless people are super angry about the coronavirus or something.

        2. Phacops

          Well, in Michigan, gov. Whitmer has once again demonstrated that democrats cannot accomplish anything, and she just loves regressive taxation that falls most heavily on the working class. But, hey, Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills are getting great roads.

        3. anon in so cal

          Have you checked out AOC’s actual record, not her rhetoric? She voted for Adam Schiff’s HR 3494, which gives impunity and immunity to the CIA for its domestic activities. It also harms press freedoms. Ilhan Omar supports Syria regime change.

          Otherwise, I think that effectively embracing open borders has hurt Bernie Sanders significantly. I thought it would help him win the primary, but that’s probably not going to occur. His margin even in CA is shrinking. It’s doubtful that voters in the midwest want open borders. And, it’s not clear how open borders is compatible with MedicareForAll. More than any other demographic group, blacks have been harmed by illegal immigration. Sanders used to be opposed to illegal immigration and correctly saw it as introducing wage arbitrage. Somewhere along the line, he changed his views. Heaven help us if Biden gets the nomination, and it will be worse yet if he’s a Trojan horse for Hillary Clinton. Heaven help us, also, if Trump is reelected. So, we’re totally screwed. I voted for Tulsi in the primary, but clearly she is not getting traction.

          1. hoki haya

            Yes, I have no doubt Trump takes the Rust Belt; only Bernie could have flipped it. It’s not despair; it’s realism. And yes, in addition to the points enumerated above, I remember AOC’s hesitation to condemn or offer any opinion on Venezuela. She had to focus group it out first. She is malleable, tho I hope that in time she will become resolute.

            Save your insults, Jack. The noodle from which you hang is a tenuous thread.

  3. Bill Smith

    “New York State is making it’s own hand sanitizer now.”

    Did NY get FDA approval? That may be why they are giving it away, not selling it.

    I heard the CDC interview the other day where it was stated that the CDC had to get FDA approval for the test kits. As part of that process they had to state clearly under what conditions the test kits could be used. “Anyone, anytime” was not likely an acceptable condition.

    1. Polar Donkey

      Bad a talk today with someone connected to local government. Asked what was being done in preparation for Coronavirus. He said not much. How can this possibly be? Then saw on Facebook some called 27 different county health departments in Tennessee asking what they are doing for Coronavirus. Got 27 different answers. Total 3rd world country stuff here. Complete lack of initiative. FDR said do SOMETHING during Great Depression. Contemporary America says I think I’ll wait to see how this turns out. We are all screwed.

      1. Massinissa

        “FDR said do SOMETHING during Great Depression”

        You forget, that wasn’t until an entire term of Hoover. Crash started in ’29, Hoover was president from ’29 to ’33. Hoover was doing about the same thing to fix the Great Depression that Trump is doing to fix the Coronavirus: Nothing. So people got angry and voted for FDR.

        Our problem is that by the time people get angry here, most of the dem primary will be over, and we will be faced with a presidential race between Joe Hoover and Donald J. Hoover. Oooh boy, I can’t wait to go out to vote for one of those two exciting choices…

  4. Left in Wisconsin

    Lambert: The “important chart – meme version” and the Democrats’ plan both show the same tweet. I’m guessing this was not intended.

    1. Craig H.

      Is there any data for the chart or is it some expert’s educated guess?

      (pulled out of one of the holes in their anatomy)

      I offer data to you, sparse as it may be. I went to the grocery store at noon today. It is populated by Chinese customers. Number of surgical masks spotted: zero.

      1. turtle

        If you look further down the twitter thread for that chart, you will see that the visualization seems to have originated with the CDC in 2007: https://twitter.com/Scuilla/status/1235960144200114177

        However, someone also pointed out further down that at least one natural experiment had occurred with this back during the Spanish Flu of 1918: Philadelphia vs. St. Louis. The graph is remarkably similar: https://twitter.com/florian_krammer/status/1235761684431724550

        Either way, the graph makes complete sense. The same original poster also pointed to the graph that the Japanese health minister published, which more accurately shows how the healthcare system capacity line will likely be under the peak of even the shallower curve, but can be raised with effort: https://twitter.com/CT_Bergstrom/status/1236850570578628608

        1. diuretical

          The graph conveys the point about flattening the peak very well — but is ultimately misleading because it fails to show that health care systems already operate at close to their limits. My hospital runs at 95% capacity. This is the norm for most hospitals in Canada. Our usual work will still be necessary during a pandemic: heart attacks, hip fractures, complications of diabetes, trauma, GI bleeds, &c, &c, &c. And owing to health care workers being sick / attending to family, health care capacity will probably dip, not expand, in the context of a pandemic. In short, any pandemic scenario, even of the “flattened curve” variety, will still cause a huge disproportion between necessary care and the capacity of the health system to provide it. It is going to be a long, long six to twelve months, with a lot of cruel decisions.

          I made a picture that conveys this, but can’t post an image. Lambert, can I email it to you? It is not really top notch graphic design, but it might be helpful to other readers.

  5. meadows

    “Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias”

    Neighborhoods, communities and The Government pulling together during the Depression is instructive… but fear mongering is where effective propaganda begins to twist the screw…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      There are disasters where the idea that just pulling together as neighborhoods and communities … and the Government will make things better does not make sense to me. Suppose you live on a densely populated island and the electric power shuts off, fresh water flows no more from the taps, toilets won’t flush as they run out of water, the food supplies on hand were only adequate for five days and it has been six days. Without power telephones, cell phones, Internet, and radio stop running. Suppose the power outage covers half our nation. No one knows whether or when the Government might come to help, and there are rumors about disasters in other parts of the country overwhelming the Government’s limited ability to respond. How will neighborhoods, communities … and Government keep the thirsty and hungry from becoming a mob?

      The situation I described almost happened and not so very long ago. “Why New York City Is On the Verge of Disaster” [https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/why-new-york-city-is-on-the-verge]. “Hurricane Sandy hit the city and caused power outages across half the city. I was there, and at first everyone was really nice to each other. Within a few days, a Mad Max vibe began to creep into daily interactions.”

      Cooperation works if there is enough to share if fairly shared. How would the passengers on the Titanic decide who would sit in the empty seats on the lifeboats? The movie Titanic showed poor passengers locked below. Add a few more women and children and how would the passengers decide which would get the empty seats? Would everyone queue up to draw lots or would panic set in?

      What makes sense to me it better preparation [and I don’t mean bigger guns and more bullets] and less reliance on a single source of power for so many aspects of our lives.

      1. Titus

        Wasn’t a fraud. That fraud occurs during times of distress is not the same thing as saying the whole event was based in fraud. Anything divided by zero yields an unknown. But the ability to creating doubt at the level of disproving negatives is not the same as depicting reality. Do we really have time for this and in what why are we actually, in a proven way, solving problems? Radical doubt always leads to radical uncertainty. Philosophy 101. Not profound in any way.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I don’t understand your comment nor how it relates to my comment — if you are responding to my comment?

          “Radical doubt always leads to radical uncertainty.” Wouldn’t Philosophy 101 describe that statement as a tautology?

      2. Tom Bradford

        Might be setting ourselves up for a most enlightening ‘prisoner’s dilemma’.

        If everyone co-operates the chances of everyone getting through – or at least for adverse outcomes to be minimised – is highest. If a few decide to cheat their chances are getting through are increased but the adverse outcomes for those who pursue co-operation are increased. If everyone elects to cheat the outcomes for everyone are worse.

        A further possibility – and the best of all – is for those who don’t cheat to penalise the cheaters, as by taking the cheaters out of the game there is more for the co-operators to co-operate with. So I’ll be cleaning my rifle and checking my ammunition, but hoping I’ll never have to use it.

    2. Titus

      “Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias” – ok, when exactly have they? I’m confused my knowledge of history only gives back back to 243,000 BCE. Other than around 1760 BCE not aware when they did. Even then, it’s was only a dystopia if you were the ‘state’.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Doctorow describes —
        “… dystopia: It’s a science fiction story in which disaster is followed by brutal, mindless violence.” What is left from that definition of dystopia is a fuller characterization of the diaster that triggers it. The “… belief in the barely restrained predatory nature of the people around you is the cause of dystopia,” I tend to agree with Doctorow’s characterization of a dystopia and its cause as presented in some but not all Sci Fi literature.

        To me a dystopia is a form of state and it isn’t caused by Humankind’s predatory nature. I believe its cause is better described a kind of madness incorporated into the State apparatus. I would describe Nazi Germany or occupied Nazi Poland as dystopias. The characteristics of the dystopia reflect a human madness, predatory in some of its realizations but driven by different strains of human madness in others. What Doctorow has in mind as dystopia sounds more like the war of all against all that Hobbes describes as the state of nature existing prior to the social contract. This kind of dystopia is described in novels where the disaster effectively destroys the state and much of the physical support for Society. The novel “One Second After” describes a dystopian condition where one group of neighbors banded together in an informal government — essentially martial in nature — in order to protect against other groups formed for less for predation than for taking what they badly need from others in a situation of life-and-death scarcities.

        You ask when have there ever been any real-life disasters and the dystopias that followed. I doubt much was ever recorded describing such dystopias. As pirates say dead men tell no tales — and do survivors tell true of their deeds after the Fall? What happened to the Maya civilization, the Aztecs in Mexico City as the Spanish and their allies came, the Anasazi, the people in Rome after the fall, India when the British left, Los Angeles after Rodney King, Russia after the Tsar fell. Indeed when has there ever been a disaster like that I suggested — could happen and Matt Stoller suggests almost did happen in NYC? I don’t know enough about other countries to say how they stand but when have the people of the U.S. — especially its large cities — ever been so fragmented, emotionally separated from each other, mutually suspicious, and alienated from themselves and others? And when has our Society been so fragile?

  6. Expat2Uruguay

    I was shocked yesterday to learn about the swine flu epidemic and vaccine fraud of 1976, when it came across my social media. I admit it gave me quite a case of cognitive dissonance. But apparently it’s true, and I think we should all be aware of this history, given the political ramifications of this virus.

    1. Titus

      Wasn’t a fraud. That fraud occurs during times of distress is not the same thing as saying the whole event was based in fraud. Anything divided by zero yields an unknown. But the ability to creating doubt at the level of disproving negatives is not the same as depicting reality. Do we really have time for this and in what why are we actually, in a proven way, solving problems? Radical doubt always leads to radical uncertainty. Philosophy 101. Not profound in any way.

  7. John Beech

    Had the Democratic party nominate Jesse Jackson in 1988, I’d have probably voted Democrat. Instead, they turned to party hack Dukakis, he rode in a tank (and looked goofy doing it) and the rest is history.

    This time around they’re going to do in Senator Sanders, I’ll vote for Donald Trump again, and we’re going to get more of the same. Unless I’m on dead’s door, I’m still voting for Sanders Tuesday week when the circus rolls into FL, but it’s my opinion the black folks in SC and elsewhere were bamboozled by Rep Clyburn. After all, how can you be black and vote against the white guy arrested at an MLK-march, and for the white guy who voted against school busing? Especially when it’s the same white guy who also made it hard to declare bankruptcy, voted for the crime bill, and who just trashed Anita Hill? Then again, since I’m white I obviously cannot understand what it means to be black, but it sure seems like Biden has been juiced with the mo because of the black vote and that’s really hard for me to understand. Is what it is and it’s just too bad.

    1. TB14

      I mean rural and older whites are also voting for Biden pretty consistently now. I think it’s just fear. The Mara gay piece that was in the links last week convinced me of that and I think it probably applies to many older whites as older blacks. It’s the only thing that explains their voting patterns to me.

      Most democrats don’t want another 4 years of trump. The largest contingent of Dem primary voters seems to think “tried and true” methods will work but there’s also a large angry contingent that knows it won’t. Seems we are at an unfortunate impasse.

      This all of course assumes the books aren’t being cooked which I’m not sure I believe any more but I’m not sure what I would do if I stopped believing in it.

      1. Jason Boxman

        And thus about 4 years of hysteria about Trump being a Russian agent has in fact worked.

        It may be you actually can beat something with nothing. With the virus, we won’t get a clear test of this, but we’ll see. Might be beating nothing with nothing.

        1. TB14

          Honestly I’m furious with Bernie for not fighting harder on this issue. “Turn your enemy’s biggest strength into a liability.”

          How hard is it to say very simply “Trump will attack Biden on NAFTA, hard. We therefore deserve to hear an answer from VP Biden on how he will defend himself from those attack as he had not offered a sufficient answer yet. If he can not come up with a good defense he will lose to Trump. I do not have that liability” ; similar to social security.

          Also drop the gay rights and noneconomic framing, stick to the issues Trump will strike on. While they are issues dear to my heart they are not going to matter in a general and have no impact on whether Biden can beat trump.

          1. Donna

            Or some democratic voters hated Hillary more than any of us realized. I know I did. I am 70 and had never in my life voted for a republican until Hillary ran for president. After this I will only vote based on policies not party.

            1. Arizona Slim

              In the book Shattered, there was a passage describing the experience of a volunteer phonebanker during the fall of 2016. This individual was making calls from the Clinton HQ in Brooklyn.

              On the other end of those calls: Democrats in Florida. And the phonebanker kept hearing people say that they would NOT vote for Clinton.

              Meanwhile, back at the headquarters, Clinton staffers were acting like Hillary had the election in the bag. The phonebanker was baffled.

              Well, turns out that the phonebanker was closer to the truth than those Clinton staffers.

        2. jrs

          Why are we saying it’s about Russia? For some that might be the issue, but noone could possibly have anything against Trump but Russia? Really? Come on now.

          I don’t make any claim the voters are choosing wisely with Biden, I don’t think they are in terms of any sort of big picture, but we have no idea that it’s about Russia.

      2. pretzelattack

        i strongly believe the books are cooked, and the dropouts were coordinated, and votes suppressed. the game is rigged. i don’t know what i can do about it, except never vote for a democrat.

        1. Harvey

          This is something like a pattern all over the world. Causes and politicians dear to the heart of neoliberals are ***unexpectedly” winning all over the place. There have been conservative drive-bys all over the world. Except Ireland’s last election and I think that caught the neolibs by surprise and won’t happen again.
          It’s not all voting machines. The UK didn’t use voting machines for the Brexit vote. Not sure about the Philippines. Australia is transitioning to online voting so that of course is open to fraud.
          And the current Australian government is perpetrating fraud in almost every aspect of government, starting from the top. The other day the situation in Australia was described as government “rorting from the head”.
          The era of non-neoliberals winning government is basically over in the Western world.

      3. thoughtful person

        There is something else that explains the phenomena and it is unreliable data.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I was responding to the third sentence in the second paragraph. The simplest reason (as to why, although Mr. Beech asked how) is that Joe Biden was Obama’s VP.

          1. Dan

            Obama also sent his signal to the establishment that Biden should be backed, reportedly sometime between South Carolina and Super Tuesday. While seemingly everyone was coalescing after SC, presumably Obama’s inside endorsement carries enormous weight and nudged much of the party establishment to openly support Biden.

    2. Carla

      Maybe it was partly those brand new, fancy-schmancy voting machines in South Carolina.

      And this thing about how older voters don’t go for Sanders? Among our friends, who skew “older,” more are for Bernie than not.

      Until we have hand-marked paper ballots, counted in public, we’ll never really know what’s going on.

    3. Pelham

      I understand your frustration and decision to vote for Trump if Biden wins the nomination. As for myself, I’m debating. What would a second Trump term be likely to produce? Not much, is my guess. But a Biden presidency might further consolidate the power of the donor class. That could be a good deal worse. Or it might generate a genuine opposition within the party. But then, that might only be counterproductive.

      What we need, I think, is a left-right party, one that combines standard conservatism on mainly social issues (abortion, gun rights, America-first on trade etc.) with a hard-left economic agenda (universal healthcare, universal job guarantees, a generous universal pension that kicks in at 65, a minimum wage of, say, $30 an hour). This could gain traction where standard left-left third parties or parties that try to find a toehold in the tiny gap between the Dems and Repubs fail.

      1. Roland

        A winning formula would be, “M4A plus 2A.”

        “If you like your gun, you can keep your gun. But we all hate our health insurers.”

        1. polecat

          F#ckin A !!

          and ditch the idpol/trannie vote. All migrants Welcome rhetoric, regardless .. That’s a train wreck in the making.

        2. Arizona Slim

          And, when MA4 becomes the law of the land, bring your private insurance policy out to the range. Because we’re going to put those policies on the target stands and you can shoot ’em to smithereens!

          Now, THAT is a party I would gladly join.

      2. ian

        If Biden wins, he’ll be a figurehead. His handlers will tell him what to do and what to say.
        The interesting question is who will be the real power.

  8. antidlc

    Questions for the group:

    Has Biden been holding many events?

    How long does he typically talk at his events?

    Has he been interviewed on any TV shows? Rachel Maddow interviewed Warren and Sanders, but I don’t think she has interviewed Biden.

    1. Jeff W

      I don’t know how long Joe Biden typically talks at events but he spoke for seven minutes at a rally in St. Louis.

      And Chris Aivalis has a clip of an “on-air plea” from Rachel Maddow asking Joe Biden to appear on her show, so I imagine she hasn’t interviewed him.

      Meanwhile, we have Jake Tapper asking Bernie Sanders “Do you think that Vice President Biden is not up to the task in terms of the rigors of being either the Democratic nominee or being the president?” to which Sanders replied “No”—it’s, in effect, a weird double negation response—and saying “I do not make personal attacks on Joe.”

      1. Oh

        The smart answer from Sanders would’ve been “I don’t know; why don’t you ask him?”

        1. Jeff W

          No, you can’t reasonably expect someone who is, arguably, cognitively impaired to make an accurate self-assessment. The better answer would simply be something like “I’m not going to make that kind of assessment. That’s up to the voters.” (I think Sanders characterizing such an assessment as “personal attack”—even if people will wrongly view it that way—is patently absurd.)

    2. TMoney

      I’ve been wondering the same. It looks like about 1 event a day at the moment with a total exposure of ~ 1 hour to the public. One today at a Detroit “Get Out the Vote” at 7pm, another tomorrow. It appeared to be less in the early part of the year. Speaking time ? Not sure, but lately, it’s been an abbreviated stump speech.

      It contrasts strongly with Sanders nearly insane schedule.

      * These are Wild Ass Guesses, but it’s hard to find a list of events where Mr Biden is and has been attending. There is lots of press reporting about the Biden campaign, but it’s often surrogates talking for Joe, who is obviously too busy doing “important” things.

      In fact he’s been AWOL for a lot of the traditional campaigning, The Trump Moniker “Sleepy Joe” comes from this very relaxed schedule.

      1. josh

        It’s not just him, it’s the entire campaign. There are 3 events on election day in my little Michigan town of 20k for Sanders and dozens more within reach of a quick drive. Nothing within a 45 minute drive for Biden. As far as I can tell the Biden campaign has a single election day canvassing event in Detroit. He is completely reliant on older habitual voters, and will absolutely lose Michigan without any semblance of a GOTV operation.

    3. Peter VE

      Maddow announced that they had reached out the Biden campaign, but were unsuccessful. If they won’t let him go on a friendly show like Maddow, they must be worried about what might come out.

      1. Dan

        If they won’t let him go on a friendly show like Maddow, they must be worried about what might come out.

        Exactly. And I don’t see how they can let him do the debate…err, I mean town hall, on the 15th. The coronavirus is a perfect shield for the Biden camp. The event can be cancelled for perfectly legitimate reasons and none too many are the wiser.

        1. Jeff W

          “The event can be cancelled for perfectly legitimate reasons…”

          Well, the Sanders campaign could argue for a standard debate with moderators at a safe “social distance” and without an audience—which might be characterized as “the élite of the élite” in any case—but there’s no reason to think that it would prevail.

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added a takedown under “Our Famously Free Press” of a cheerfully horrid article from the WSJ (!!) on personal measures you can take to avoid #COVID-19. There’s probably a lot more wrong, but time presses.

    Please refresh your browsers.

  10. cm

    Here is a hint of what may be to come in November. Oddly, this was not taught in US civics class…

    some info

    On November 11, three days after election day, Tilden appeared to have won 184 electoral votes: one short of a majority. Hayes appeared to have 166 votes, with the 19 votes of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina still in doubt. Republicans and Democrats each claimed victory in the three latter states, but the results in those states were rendered uncertain because of fraud by both parties. To further complicate matters, one of the three electors from Oregon (a state Hayes had won) was disqualified, reducing Hayes’s total to 165, and raising the disputed votes to 20. Hayes had to be awarded all 20 disputed votes, otherwise Tilden would be elected president.

    There was considerable debate about which person or house of Congress was authorized to decide between the competing slates of electors, with the Republican Senate and the Democratic House each claiming priority. By January 1877, with the question still unresolved, Congress and President Grant agreed to submit the matter to a bipartisan Electoral Commission, which would be authorized to determine the fate of the disputed electoral votes. The Commission was to be made up of five representatives, five senators, and five Supreme Court justices. To ensure partisan balance, there would be seven Democrats and seven Republicans, with Justice David Davis, an independent respected by both parties, as the fifteenth member. The balance was upset when Democrats in the Illinois legislature elected Davis to the Senate, hoping to sway his vote. Davis disappointed Democrats by refusing to serve on the Commission because of his election to the Senate. As all of the remaining Justices were Republicans, Justice Joseph P. Bradley, believed to be the most independent-minded of them, was selected to take Davis’s place on the Commission. The Commission met in February and the eight Republicans voted to award all 20 electoral votes to Hayes. Democrats were outraged by the result and attempted a filibuster to prevent Congress from accepting the Commission’s findings.

    As the March 4 inauguration day neared, Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders met at Wormley’s Hotel in Washington to negotiate a compromise. Republicans promised concessions in exchange for Democratic acquiescence in the Committee’s decision. The primary concession Hayes promised would be the withdrawal of federal troops from the South and an acceptance of the election of Democratic governments in the remaining “unredeemed” states of the South. The Democrats agreed, and on March 2, the filibuster was ended. Hayes was elected, but Reconstruction was finished, and freedmen were left at the mercy of white Democrats who did not intend to preserve their rights.

    1. Tom Doak

      Thank you for that piece of history! I had very good history classes throughout school, and do not remember this bit being included. Perhaps it was too sensitive for teenagers, right after school desegregation. [Or before.]

      1. JBird4049

        “Perhaps it was too sensitive…” No, it was just too inconvenient. Mentioning the various armed militias, and terrorists groups, that suppressed the black vote, committed massacres, and overthrew city and state governments via armed coups that happened at the same time might have gotten mentioned. Horrors. Much better to have such propaganda efforts as the Dunning School or films such as Birth of a Nation.

    2. John

      My high school American History was in 1953 and the Hayes-Tilden election was most definitely included. What was not mentioned was the violent overthrow of some of the reconstruction Governments by the “Redeemers”. In this usage I consider redeemer a synonym for terrorist on the order of Klansman.

      1. cm

        Interesting! I bet if you took a poll of 10 people, 9 would have no idea who Rutherford Hayes was, much less the details of his election.

        Civics stopped being taught in the 90’s…

    1. CanCyn

      Aortic dissections are indeed much more serious than insertion of heart stents or even bypass surgery. My Mom had cardiovascular disease and underwent many surgeries and procedures in last decade of her life. Her surgeon and GP were both very clear that the aortic aneurysm and dissection surgery required to fix it were by far the most life threatening problem and riskiest surgery that she ever faced.
      PS we’re Canadian… I have often thought that given my parents’ economic status, my mom would have died much sooner and/or my Dad would have been left bankrupt if they’d been in the American healthcare system. There is no way my Dad, a self-employed janitor, would have been able to afford health insurance.

    2. Titus

      Depends, yet again on the definition of ‘much worse’. KLG are you an Cardiologist? An MD? I say this because I wouldn’t want people to come away with ideas that could result in severe injury or death. Aortic dissection is a disease as opposed to an event, i.e., heart attack. Thus, yes the specific disease is worse, but the survival for thoracic dissections may be as high as 90%. Meaning if you don’t die right away and are treated, and manage to stay alive for 30 days then your not likely to die of it and more than other cardiovascular diseases.

      1. polecat

        How much would you bet, that jamie gets 1st dibs on ANY testing/1st class-treatment, should Capt. Corona come his way .. complete with full-on ventilation … before you or I even come within a mile of a medical establishment ??

        HE .. and by extension, his ilk … are richer, and moar deserving then you … your’s … me ….. or mine ! Right ??
        To hell with em.

        I hope they receive a full compliment of Madame Padora’s giftpox.

      2. Yves Smith

        It has been reported in the press by a cardiologist that:

        1. 20% of the patients who get this operation die in the first month

        2. Dimon’s odds of returning to work are only 50/50.

        Your aggressiveness is out of line, particularly since I highlighted the expert assessment. .

    1. DJG

      The Italian internet sensation, Nonna Rosetta. She is part of a satirical group, Casa Surace, and I believe that she is the real grandmother of one of the writers.

      There are many highlights of this set of directions:

      “If I am quarantined, I am going to stay home and make spaghetti sauce. Very slowly.”

      And others. The whole thing is a bit of twisted joy and gritty defiance.

      Occhiolino a te, Expat2Uruguay.

    1. Ignacio

      But, as you can see with the graphic the little problem with mitigation is that the period for the epidemics to peak is longer and this means the other socio-economic impacts linger.

      1. Cuibono

        that is discussed if you read the thread. the point is not whether you are above or below it but by how much…
        Think Italy versus Korea

  11. Tim

    “that’s why we’re now going to allow up to three surrogates to attend the debate on the candidate’s behalf”

    OMG, the DNC really think that will help Biden? What a boon it would be for Sanders to be up at his podium winged by Biden surrogates attacking him, and Sanders just staring at the moderator saying “Really?,” before turning to each surrogate saying “Are you running for president?”

    The optics, the optics. It wouldn’t be enough to sink Biden in itself but it definitely hurts the DNC and the MSM, possibly the final dagger for another chunk of the electorate. It’s like erosion.

        1. ambrit

          The best satire is true to life. Thus the severe opprobrium towards it evinced by various elites.

        1. turtle

          So did I! I completely believed it, especially in the context of the DNC changing the rules to allow Bloomberg and then block Tulsi (again).

          Lambert, please consider adding a [satire] tag in these cases. It seems like a lot of us were taken in by that headline.

          1. thoughtful person

            Ha, I got fooled last time, but this time only for a second when i remembered beet press is satire. Really believeable headlines though. Good stuff

      1. jo6pac

        Might be satire to us but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them to this by weeks end;-)

        1. Late Introvert

          I’m straining to produce a worthy quote… Urgh!

          Satire is the truth, after enough time has passed.

    1. cm

      Yeah, I thought it was dumb to post a satire link when in fact the Phoenix debate rules WERE changed. Biden & Sanders will now take audience questions instead of, you know, debating.


      The format for the next debate in Arizona — their first since Biden’s blowout Super Tuesday victories — would have the candidates seated for the first time this election cycle and take multiple questions from the audience. In the prior 10 debates, the candidates stood at lecterns and nearly all questions were asked by the professional moderators.

      This is NOT satire.

      1. jashley

        How about instead of seeding the audience , let us just provide 3-4 topics agreed by the candidates and let them hash it out.

        Why the need for audience or insipid moderators? Are these candidates not up to the task of carrying a debate among the two of them?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Anyone checked to see if the LWV has maybe become just another PMC goblin?

            Careful what we wish for…

      2. Oh

        If they clowns from the TV networks can be called “Professional Moderators”, I’d rather have random questions from the audience. Of course, the DimRats will pack the audience with shills and change the questions to Biden to make them Foos Balls.

        1. jrs

          The questions are pre-screened. So it isn’t even about packing, and the questions aren’t random.

  12. Lee

    Free Covid-19 testing. LOL

    I called my local doctors office, a Stanford facility, Kaiser medical, and Alameda County Public Health. The medical facilities contacted had no tests available.

    I am in my 70s with chronic lung disease and an autoimmune disorder. I have no symptoms and therefore do not meet the current criteria for testing by the public health department.

    I live with two younger, healthier people who perform 800 to 1,000 fact to face retail transactions per day in an area where community transmission is now occurring. I was hoping that based on them living with a vulnerable person that they could get tested. I hoped in vain.

    I explained to the public health person that my own doctor told me I should not be living with people with such jobs and that they should either quit their jobs (I offered them free rent if they did) or move out of my house. I explained all this to the the public health person and she said if I made them make such a choice I might be guilty of discrimination. I call to ask for help, get none, and get insulted. What a phking country.

    1. MLTPB

      Sorry to hear this.

      Many problems here, as I see it. Among them, your housemates/tenants? I read that you generously offered them free rent if they would quit. I assume they refused?

      1. Lee

        One agreed, is now seeking other employment, and in the meantime there’s a lot of deferred maintenance to be done on the house. The other took no action to change her situation in the three weeks since the offer was made. She seems oblivious to the seriousness of the local situation and does not take my concerns for my own health as seriously as I think she should. She is making me feel unsafe in my own home, which I will not tolerate.

        I rent rooms at considerably below market rates to people who are friends or friends of friends. The one who is going along with the program is a close friend of my son’s and is committed to my wellbeing as we are to his. The other person we came to know through others. She is a nice enough person under normal circumstances. But in times of stress nice on its own is not enough.

        1. turtle

          If she’s not taking this seriously, please kick her out, for your own safety. Tell her you’re giving her 24 hours to reconsider before you give her an eviction notice. Obviously your local laws will apply, so you may want to consult an attorney, today! Or whatever other leverage you can apply to make her leave if she will not see sense.

          As much as I’m usually on the side of tenants and not landlords, this is not your usual situation of competing economic interests where the tenant is the disadvantaged party. This is a life and death situation – for you. You are the disadvantaged party in this particular instance. It’s way past the time to start playing hardball.

          1. jeremyharrison

            Lee mentioned that she contacted Stanford, so I assume he/she lives in the SF Bay Area. Most towns in this area have strict rent and eviction controls – and in many of these towns (such as San Francisco) one has ABSOLUTELY no right to evict someone who is living in their own home for this purpose. Serving and eviction notice would result in a 6 figure settlement, many months later, while the tenant continued to live in the home.

      2. nippersmom

        Presumably his tenants have other expenses besides rent that would not be covered. Plus, there is no guarantee they could find equivalent jobs once the crisis passed.

        1. jrs

          Easier to find another apartment than another job in almost ALL situations, even many expensive rental markets. But a landlord does have a right to evict.

          1. jeremyharrison

            A landlord does NOT have a right to evict someone living in their own home in many towns near Stanford – certainly not in San Francisco, and many other nearby towns as well (Berkeley for sure, I think Oakland too). Rent and eviction controls are super strict and very tenant friendly. Lee would need to consult a VERY experienced attorney in his/her town before even verbally ASKING a tenant to move out – that alone is grounds for a 6 figure lawsuit (which the tenant would win 99% of the time in any of the towns with eviction controls)

    2. jashley

      If you have the RIGHT then throw them out. Getting sued for discrimination will not work given your medicals.

      If not YOU should move.

      A test will not be of much value if you catch a severe case.

    3. Oh

      Cancel the lease on the one who doesn’t want to change jobs and let them sue. That person is recklessly endangering your life.

      1. jeremyharrison

        Bad advice – see above. Many major towns near Stanford have strict rent and eviction controls. Doing this without consulting a very experienced attorney would result in a massive lawsuit which Lee would lose.

    4. polecat

      OMFG !! She pulled an idpol on you ! You should’ve told her you were of the ‘trans’ persuasion … it wouldv’e been all good then .. Right ? /s

      Yeah. phking country is right !


  13. Tim

    “extremists appear to activate the opposing party’s base more than their own.’ In other words, they drive more countermobilization than mobilization.”

    Bernie (and his platform) is an impostor to the democratic party from their perspective as Yves discussed in comments previously.

    What is interesting is how did Trump win? Why didn’t republicans treat him as an impostor too and doom him? Have things completely 180’d and now republicans fall in love and democrats fall in line?

    1. L

      No the party elite viewed him as such. They just didn’t coalesce around a counterweight and push consistently in that direction. Moreover their power to do so in the face of a mobilized base had been systematically undercut by the unpopularity of the Iraq War which has hit Republican-leaning communities hard, and by the systematic dependence of the party on a smaller number of heavy donors some of whom, like the Devos’ and Koch’s didn’t particularly mind Trump.

    2. WJ

      Trump went harder against the apparatus than Sanders was willing to do. Sanders is *still* asserting that Biden would be a competent nominee and possible president…..

    3. Titus

      Hillary, had 3 million more votes than trump so the theory holds. The issue is the electoral college not voter turn out.

  14. mrsyk

    DNC changes debate rules to allow surrogates to stand in for Joe Biden
    Just fu**ing kill me now.

      1. pretzelattack

        it’s hard to tell, isn’t it? at this point i would not be totally shocked to see obama swoop in as a surrogate to debate bernie at the last minute.

        1. Massinissa

          I couldn’t imagine even the Melifluous Melaninous Man would be able to say much to Bernie besides “SOCIALISM BAD!!!!”.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      The surrogate idea may be satire, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the DNC allows Biden to video conference in to the next debate if the “sit and deliver’ format doesn’t work out for him.

      It’d be like a Max Headroom bit come to life, complete with stilted delivery, unexplained edits and distorted movements.

      Like the original character, Biden’s “Remote Campaign” would be a natural fit for a dystopian near-future dominated by television and large corporations.

      1. Carey

        I recently got a bunch of Max Headroom on DVD, because present-day mcReality
        was reminding me so much of him/it. Discontinuous..

  15. Carey

    Is it possible that rationing the Covid-19 vaccine [to come, hopefully] could be a not-so-gentle method of reshaping the demographic in this great country?

    Just a thought.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      How is selling a vaccine going to create herd immunity? If the virus keeps evolving in the community, you’re going to need new shots soon? I suppose that’s the appeal to Pharma.

  16. zagonostra

    >Cassandra calling

    I’ve been reading Chris Hedge’s posts for many years and it seems more and more that his writings are those of a modern day Cassandra. His warnings always have that dire dark tinge that you want to shield yourself against, but for how much longer can people keep the last of Pandora’s loosened spirit alive.

    … playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about being complicit in the charade. Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies…

    Sanders is wounded. The oligarchs will go in for the kill. They will subject him to the same character assassination, aided by the courtiers in the corporate press, that was directed at Henry Wallace in 1948 and George McGovern in 1972, the only two progressive presidential candidates who managed to seriously threaten the ruling elites since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The feckless liberal class, easily frightened, is already abandoning Sanders, castigating his supporters with their nauseating self-righteousness and championing Biden as a political savior.


      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I, too, agree with him, Despite his puritanical apocalyptic phrasings, the guy walks the walk, largely, and makes damn sure everyone knows it. Which, I believe all good Puritan Moseses (wth is the plural of Moses, Mosi?) should.

    1. Titus

      I don’t. Cassandra? Pandora? Are not the same person at all and each foreshadows entirely different outcomes. Cassandra is a certain kind of proximity blindness or stupidity. Pandora least we forget was about opening a can of beans or to some some ‘worms’ that only could cause grief. But, least we forget the last thing in Pandora’s box was ‘hope’. I find no value in anything the Greeks or Romans had to say. Sorry. In history all ideas have been independently discovered and repeated over and over again in every culture you want to study. My brain hurts truly reading about these all powerful forces that control that fate of our republic in this manner or that without anything that resembles proof. People vote for this or that. Stupidity or not. Voter suppression, voter denial, and vote cheating absolutely. All this been going on since forever. Real change doesn’t happen by the skin of our teeth, it happens overwhelming or not at all. Only in this way is all corruption and gaming overcome. In general only when the pain is high enough will change occur. Seize the day or be condemned. Simple as that.

      1. ambrit

        There is one strain of thought that holds that “Hope,” being the last of a series of evils, is itself an evil. So, Cassandra is the lineal descendant of Pandora. While her progenitress loosed the Gates of H—, Cassandra reports on the comings and goings through said portal. Obama leveraged that fact into two terms as Procurator in Chief.
        Curious to find you a Political Catastrophist.

      2. Stephen C.

        Did you just write “seize the day” while dissing Roman writers, or am I missing something?

    2. Jeff W

      I think all that is a good illustration of why I find Chris Hedges—who writes these garment-rending jeremiads that often fit preconceived notions of what he thinks should happen—so unreadable.

      The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies…

      Which is why, after Nevada, Bernie Sanders was the front runner and the party élites were in a panic.

      The oligarchs will go in for the kill. They will subject [Bernie Sanders] to the same character assassination, aided by the courtiers in the corporate press…

      Hedges is writing as if Bernie Sanders is the clear front-runner, which, at this point, he not. The oligarchs don’t need to “go in for the kill.” They don’t need to “subject [Bernie Sanders] to…character assassination…” although we do still have Elizabeth Warren yammering on about mean “Bernie Bro” tweets, which, to me, is really not “the same” as the character assassination directed at Henry Wallace and George McGovern.

      We all saw what happened here: just prior to the eve of Super Tuesday, the Democratic party élites put out a string of endorsements for Joe Biden and convinced the other neoliberal candidates to suspend their campaigns in order to (successfully, as it turned out) consolidate support behind him. They’re doing what we all expected them to try to do—preventing Bernie Sanders from getting a majority of delegates on the first ballot of the convention, which at least has a veneer of procedural fairness—but they’re doing it by propping up the establishment candidate who had fallen to fourth or fifth place in the earlier primary races and, therefore, by conventional wisdom, was “finished,” and who, really, has nothing going for him but name recognition (and a lot going against him). We could get angry at oligarchs subjecting a candidate to character assassination; it’s a lot harder to be angry at voters who are falling in line with party endorsements.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        I’m interested to see whether the recent endorsements of Sanders by Cornel West and Jesse Jackson will help sway the votes of older African Americans. Sanders really needs their support.

        1. Jeff W

          Well, in places like Michigan Bernie Sanders needs white, working-class and rural voters—that’s where he excelled in 2016 but is not doing as well in 2020. Endorsements by Cornel West and Jesse Jackson are not going to help him with those voters.

  17. Tim

    “Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias”

    I heard of Intelligence Agency comments that watch for instability use the criteria of “a public perception of everything being a zero sum game” a major determinent in the likelihood of a society breakdown and civil war, or overthrow of a government.

    That is the end of a long series of events that originated with public policy. It isn’t only a narrative, it’s real and experienced and assumed by the culture experiencing it. Trying to stop it with a narrative of “we can all get along, there’s room for everybody in the tent” may even be considered propaganda by those experiencing it.

      1. dcrane

        I am guessing that ethanol works just fine, as long as it is used at the proper concentration.

        1. Youngblood

          Ethanol is significantly less effective as a disinfectant compared to isopropanol, even pure ethanol. Its not totally ineffective, just much less effective. 70% isopropanol is the most effective, which is why cleanroom manufacturing prefers it as a common cleaning agent.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Where do you find that information? What I’ve been reading says they are both about the same at disinfecting. https://www.hunker.com/12000188/ethanol-vs-isopropyl-alcohol-to-disinfect

            They do raise some un resolved issue about the efficacy of either for disinfecting some health related things, but If you read it, it’s short, go all the way to the end where it talks about how the 70% solution DOES work for coronavirus. They don’t single out one or the other for greater efficacy.

            I’m not offering this as the be-all. If you have more conclusive data about ethanol, do share.

            1. Youngblood

              I am sure that 70% isopropanol is the preferred disinfectant in cleanroom manufacturing, but I accept your correction the ethanol, in similar aqueous % is roughly equally good.

              See here and here and here.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          This would be my guess too. I looked up the Material Safety Data Sheets for several types of paint store/hardware alcohol (ethanol and methanol to prevent human consumption) and the percentages of ethanol were all max 50% or less. I have several types in my shop, and It’s not written on any of the cans and the data sheet only gives a range which is usually 30 to 50% or less. So, without more information, it would seem very risky at best to use those for sanitizing much of anything though they do a great job cleaning some things or diluting shellac based paints.

          But there may be some issue with ethanol to kill viruses, or more particularly coronavirus, that I didn’t come across.

    1. Eduardo

      The article and WHO both suggest that ethanol works. But any alcohol needs to be a high enough percent of the final product.

      From your link:
      “The World Health Organization’s guidelines for making hand sanitizers require 96% ethyl alcohol.”
      And from the link to WHO:

      Final concentrations:
      • Ethanol 80% (v/v),
      Final concentrations:
      • Isopropyl alcohol 75% (v/v)

    2. Titus

      alcohol as ethanol or methanol is neither here nor there in killing germs, it’s about the the percent and and time of application. In general 70% at 30 seconds of either kills most pathogens. Methanol is toxic and while you can get a buzz off it, you will also go blind, kill your kidneys, and probably die. One can buy 100% (not proof) rum ethanol but the fumes can cause blindness. For those that don’t know drinking alcohol is measured in ‘proof’ which is 50% less than the actual percent %, or content. For what it’s worth alcohol contrary to what is seen in most movies increases pain sensitivity not decrease it. Drinking it till you pass out is not encouraged. And using pure bleach on the skin or worse on a wound is great way to slowly kill yourself (Necrosis).

      1. Ignacio

        Ethanol pharmacy grade used as a disinfectant is usually available at 95%. Reducing the concentration to about 70% is good idea as it helps better to wash surfaces and virus particles outer surface proteins are almost certainly hydrophylic (the spikes) and will tend to wash easier with more water content. Then, ethanol will help with the denaturation of the hydrophobic viral envelope. Both iso-propyl alcohol and ethanol will work well and are well tolerated by the skin. Methanol would be as efficient or even more efficient but it is not advisable because it is toxic.

        Anyway, nothing is better than hand washing with water and soap. But if there is not a handy toilet I use paper towels impregnated in ethanol solution to wash my hands.

    3. Yves Smith

      This was corrected. I have no idea why Lambert recommended against ethanol. I’ve repeatedly said if anything it works better than IPA.

  18. David Carl Grimes

    I still don’t see Bernie linking Medicare For All to the Coronavirus Pandemic. If we had medicare for all, there would be no question on testing affordability, vaccine affordability, sick people not seeking medical attention.

    1. marym

      USA Today op-ed 3/5/2020

      Universal health care is a must
      When we are dealing with the spread of a deadly virus, the first thing scientists tell us is that it is imperative for anyone who experiences flu-like symptoms to go to a doctor. But, as a result of our dysfunctional healthcare system, tens of millions of Americans are uninsured or underinsured and do not seek medical attention when they need it because they cannot afford it. The Trump administration must make clear that, until we pass universal health care, as every major country on earth has done, all Americans right now should be able to receive the medical care they need, without worrying about the cost. If we are to stop the spread of this disease, everybody should get the medical treatment they need regardless of their income.

      Petition on his campaign website: https://act.berniesanders.com/signup/coronavirus_vaccine/

      This crisis has made clear that we need to guarantee health care as a right, universal paid family leave, and the need to take on the greed of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

      Sign the petition: tell the Trump administration that any coronavirus vaccine, as well as testing, treatment, and quarantine, must be FREE.

      He’s doing a Town Hall on Fox today @ 6:30 pm eastern

      1. Monty

        “it is imperative for anyone who experiences flu-like symptoms to go to a doctor”

        Wrong! It’s imperative they stay at home until they have symptoms that are well beyond flu-like. e.g. difficulty breathing. In Italy they ask you tough out a fever for 7 days before thinking of getting medical assistance.

  19. Bill Carson

    We’re about to see a HUGE bailout of the oil industry.

    Meanwhile, nobody is offering to bailout mainstreet or the working class.

    Interesting times.

    1. hamstak

      Would it be possible for this bailout to take the form of a strategic reserve build, at least in part? This is contingent on existing free storage capacity and the ability to rapidly increase that capacity, the latter being probably much more difficult than it sounds on the surface (land allocation near pipelines/facilities, regulatory approval, actual construction). Trump could then position/tweet this as “We are using these historic low, low oil prices to increase our beautiful reserves, which makes us and our great economy stronger than ever. MAGA BIGLY!”

      1. ambrit

        The bulk of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve is stored in underground salt domes. IE. pumped back into the ground, but at a place that holds it well and is easy to get it out of again when needed. The present two places, in Louisiana and Texas where this is happening are close to their maximum capacities. So, finding new and usable salt domes and building the infrastructure to exploit them will take time.
        See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Petroleum_Reserve_(United_States)
        A more efficient method of ‘bailing out’ the Big Oil Companies would be to establish gasoline rationing, with a base price attached. Call it a National Defense Initiative to protect America’s domestic oil producers and do it by Presidential Executive Order.
        Short take; time to go long on wellhead capping companies.

        1. Oh

          The whole idea of the SPR which involved purchase by the gummint was to bolster oil prices. I remmeber that the gummint sold back oil to the oil companies during times when prices were high, AKA corporate socialism.

          1. Oregoncharles

            If the gov. is buying low and selling high, it would be making money out of the program. More like government capitalism.

      2. cm

        If we consider oil an American strategic asset, then surely we should preserve all we can and NOT sell it to the Chinese, correct?

        Please join me in blocking all oil export activities, including both Washington & Oregon:


        Or conversely, if we are magically OK with selling American oil to China, can we withdraw all US troops from the Middle East?

    2. chuck roast

      IMHO the Fed starts buying masses of Corporate junk bonds before the end of the month. The stock market reaches stratospheric heights. By April 1 the “economy” is back on track. :-)

      That’s the same day that my rent is due! :-(

      1. Samuel Conner

        IIRC long ago Ben Bernanke suggested that in Japan, it could be justified for central bank unconventional policy interventions to go as far as purchases of shares in public enterprises in the equities markets. Central Banks don’t have own-currency solvency constraints, though politicians often talk as if they do.

        My vote is for CB-funded infrastructure bonds as an alternative to fiscal stimulus, which it seems is simply too hard to wrest timely from the legislature.

        1. Tom Doak

          If we’re going to buy shares of oil companies etc., let’s buy all of them and nationalize them.

          Oh, wait, I bet big Ben has a problem with that. He just wants free government money to prop up stock prices!

        2. notabanktoadie

          … as an alternative to fiscal stimulus, which it seems is simply too hard to wrest timely from the legislature. Samuel Conner

          A Citizen’s Dividend is an ethical way to create fiat beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare and should be extremely popular.

          Otoh, even buying public assets from the private sector by the Central Bank constitutes fiat creation for special interests (the banks and the rich) and violates equal protection under the law.

          How much more so then does the buying of private assets from the private sector violate equal protection under the law?

    3. John

      Working class doesn’t have a lobby and cannot contribute (no money) or “because markets” and “go die.”

  20. teri

    The Democrats really want Trump to win the election. It couldn’t be more obvious. Check this out: “Ahead of the March 15th democratic primary debate, the Democratic National Committee has changed the debate rules to allow campaign surrogates to fill in for the candidates. […]” – from the beetpress.com article linked to up there under the poll data today.

    It’s a short article and everyone should read it. I assume, maybe incorrectly, that this is a real article and not some Onion-style parody.

    Do they really think people will vote for a guy who has to send surrogates in to debate for him? And send in surrogates to debate Trump during the general? Are they freaking kidding? This is now just beyond make- believe. Clearly, the Democrats are aware that Biden has some dementia issues going on, want to foist him on the public as the candidate, yet do not intend for him to actually win the election. Because, I’ll tell you what – nobody votes for a guy who is too feeble-minded to even debate on his own behalf. And changing the rules so this only applies to Biden is pretty overt, as well.

    This just blew what was left of my mind.

    1. jo6pac

      Their name says it all.

      Beet Press Satire

      It’s pure fun but that doesn’t mean dnc won’t do it.

  21. Adam

    They key point missing from that Vox article: ideologically extreme candidates are at a penalty not because their ideas are innately unpopular, but because their ideas are outside the mainstream and therefore the political and media establishment will use their overwhelming power to marginalize these candidates. Ergo, opponents may be driven out to vote since they are inundated about how dangerous the extreme candidates are (whether dangerous in and of themselves or dangerous because they are a risky bet).

  22. L

    You do not have to agree with Sanders to find these supporters rejuvenating and inspiring. They are exactly what the Democrats need but exactly what the party is alienating by this unified front against Sanders. As I recently wrote, the Sanders supporters are being treated like barbarians at the gate for the Democratic party.

    I can testify to this personally. I still have strong memories of one local Dem pol in particular crinkling up the flyer I handed him right in front of me then giving me a speech about how the party “needed my energy”. This after he had lied about me to the gaggle of 60 year olds that constituted the neighborhood Dem reps.

    They need me in the party so long it seemed that I didn’t form any opinions of my own.

  23. Billy

    My campaign billboard contribution.
    Working on getting it down to 80 characters.

    Took your job voting for NAFTA,
    Took your son voting for Losing Wars,
    Took your freedom voting for The Patriot Act,
    Took your money voting for Student Loan & Credit Card Debt Slavery,
    Tried to take your Social Security and Medicare with his votes.

    Sanders: Voted against ALL THOSE.

    1. marym

      It hasn’t been so much a matter of actual votes on SS and Medicare through the years, just Biden’s willingness to cut as part of deficit hawkery. On a quick read it looks like the Intercept link documents only one vote on a balanced budget amendment, among many instances of advocacy for cuts.

      “sons and daughters” on the issue of war :)


    2. Woodchuck

      You will get Warren voters saying you’re sexist for saying took your son.

      But it’s great.

  24. allan

    From near the end of the WSJ humor piece on COVID-19 (it was satire, right?), that golden oldie,

    …And have the appropriate amount of medications you need for any health conditions you have.

    Of course, that private, employer-based insurance that corporate Democrats are always reminding us
    that we love will be more than happy to allow a 90 day or 180 day refill.

    Or, as Mitt would put it, get a loan from your parents.

    1. jrs

      uh most pharmacies won’t refill it period, you could offer to pay out of pocket in raw cash, and they wouldn’t do it.

    2. skk

      and for people living pay-check to pay-check, as many many are, forking out for a 90 day fill is not so easy – even if your insurance allow a 90-day refill at a local pharmacy. And as for the 90day fill if you use their mail-order fulfillment – during my time with Aetna, Wellpoint insurance I tried those routes. What a palaver it was.

      Those guys really haven’t got a clue. Well done Lambert Strether for that piece of unintended humor.

  25. turtle

    Has anyone heard any explanation for why Jesse Jackson only endorsed now, and not before the South Carolina primary, when his endorsement may have had more of an effect?

    1. Youngblood

      It may be that, like many, he was blindsided by Clyburn’s endorsement. After all, Clyburn had promised never to do exactly such a thing, as part of the negotiation that brought SC forward in the primary calendar.

      1. turtle

        Wow, I had not heard that Clyburn had promised that. Do you have any sources on that? A quick search didn’t turn anything up. Thanks.

        1. Youngblood

          As I recall, he was asked in 2016 why he did not endorse anyone, and he responded that he could not do so, as part of SC’s commitments when garnering an earlier primary.

          There have been comments to this effect in earlier NC posts, so you might find more detail, and a link, searching the Naked Capitalism site. If I find it, I will post it. But about to get on the road now, so will have to do it after a while.

          1. pretzelattack

            if true, i guess those commitments were written in the same disappearing ink as the debate qualifications.
            contra–i remember sanders explaining why he did not seek clyburn’s endorsement, and he said because clyburn would never do endorse him, not that clyburn was constrained from endorsing anybody.

            1. Youngblood

              Found it. The comment was in Water Cooler on March 5th, by commenter washpark. And he gave a nice link:

              Greenville News: Bakari Sellers says Jim Clyburn is breaking pledge on SC Democratic presidential primary

              So he did actually endorse Hillary ahead of the SC primary, which was also breaking his pledge. He really only kept the pledge not to endorse before the orimary in 2008 when it arguably didn’t matter because his preference would have been easy to surmise.

  26. Oregoncharles

    From the Turley quote: ” the Sanders supporters are being treated like barbarians at the gate for the Democratic party. The problem is that they are increasing adopting the same view in their relation to the party.””
    At least there’s some good news.

    Again: in a 3-way election, under plurality voting, someone can win with just 34% of the vote.

    1. skk

      What sick-leave ? During my working life in the USA in IT and Data Science and commercially not government or utilities, I saw the switchover from sick-leave + vacation to just a single Paid Time Off – PTO – formula. Over the period, in some jobs its was as low as 12 days pa to as many as 18 per year.
      Of course if you plan a 3 week vacation + travel time if abroad there was precious little PTO left for sickness. So people jussst came into work hopelessly ill. Of course the usual “work from home” alleviated the problem somewhat.

      So.. quite. Sick-leave ? what’s that ?

  27. pretzelattack

    i expect they won’t let biden do the town hall unless he loses michigan and feels he has to (or rather, his handlers feel he has to).

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Or make further rule/format changes, inviting, again, Sanders to pull out in protest. Whereupon their goal of protecting Biden is achieved. Only intelligible reason is that they plan on replacing him before or during the convention as he doesn’t stand a chance against Trump in a debate. Trump will just stand there and stutter in mockery for two hours. “Dems sent a drooler to a knife fight, can you believe it?” or similar vein. Even whole, Biden would lose that playground brawl.

      I agree with others that the debate/town hall may very well be cancelled, with public health given as the pretext. Especially if Biden wins Michigan.

      1. Phacops

        2016 Michigan Caucus? That’s news to me as I worked all day as an elections inspector and then on the receiving board.

      2. brook trout

        Sorry, but Michigan in 2016 had a primary that Sanders won. I remember Mrs. Brook Trout, an election worker, coming home from our small rural township with news that Bernie had won the township. Didn’t click on your link because, if it does posit that Michigan was a caucus state, it is clearly in error.

      3. John Anthony La Pietra

        Michigan has Presidential primaries, not caucuses — and that’s what it had in 2016.

        Last time, the poll from the day before the election had Sanders down to Clinton 61%-34% . . . which was a 5% upward swing for him from the previous day’s 66%-29% . . . but he wound up with a 49.7%-48.3% upset win.

  28. Bill Carson

    One unexpected consequence of the oil market crash is that gas prices will be cheap again, and there won’t be much incentive for people to buy hybrids or EVs. If oil demand is low, that’s good for global warming, I suppose, but with low fossil energy costs, there won’t be much reason to invest in alternative fuels.

  29. Savedbyirony

    First three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, Cuyahoga County, today; one of which in a fifty something man who recently attend the AIPAC conference. State officials are already working on changing polling places for the forthcoming primary vote. I do not know about other states but in Ohio nursing homes are often used.

  30. hunkerdown

    Visited the Dearborn Heights (Michigan) city clerk to absentee vote today. There were about 6-10 people in line, about half new voters including a first-time teen voter in a hurry to get to work, half absentee-in-person voters. They seemed unprepared, but not maliciously so. It’s City Hall, I get that. It took about half an hour standing in line to get my absentee ballot, five minutes to vote it and triple-check the instructions, about five minutes to turn it back in to the clerk. I think I would have spent as much or more time in line tomorrow, so it’s all good.

    The booth desks were labeled “Many people use these booths and pens. Consider washing your hands after voting.” Must have been a subtle nudge toward Biden…

  31. barefoot charley

    This hed & subhed from today’s NYT is a news article, not an opinion piece, near the top of the home page:

    Even if Sanders Wins, Medicare for All Almost Certainly Won’t Happen

    Most House Democrats who won Republican seats don’t support it. Even if Democrats win control of the Senate, they’ll be well short of a supermajority to overcome a filibuster.


    Eat your news, dogs.

    1. Massinissa

      Yes, Republicans and Democrats won’t support it…

      Until they start dying of Coronavirus like in Iran. Which is very possible within 2 months.

    1. Massinissa

      I turned it on but I guess it hasn’t started yet: All I hear is smooth jazz.

      I like the Smooth Jazz but would rather listen to Dementia Joe, honestly. Maybe Uncle Joe will forget what hes talking about and talk about his confrontation with Corn Pop again or something.

      1. TMoney

        Bloody Hell. Joe B was awful in Detroit. Mrs TMoney “This is what Bernie is losing to ?”. Crowd of 400-1000. Honestly, I think I’ve seen Junior High basketball games with bigger crowds. OK, so the crowd is not the thing. How about the speech ? Well it was a rambling mess- worse than my writing (and I know that’s not great). Decent enough start, but some of the middle of the show was damn close to word salad. I think that Joe can self correct based on the crowd reaction, but he didn’t always seem to manage it first time. Ended with some lectern thumping with a folder. His recollection of older events seems stronger – or perhaps I am reading too much into all the talk of Joe’s dementia . The crowd did not seem overly impressed, especially for home team supporters. I did try to bring an open mind and at least told myself to try and not bad mouth it “just because I want to”

        I missed the exact start time, but call it on at 9:05pm, off by 9:45pm for 40 minutes of speaking and 5 min of waiting for hecklers to be escorted out.

        Drinking Game: Drink whenever Joe says “Folks”. Not liquor though – that will kill you.

        Bonus Thought. Has Biden’s fundraising been lackluster because the big donors having met with Joe, and found something “off” ? Now he’s the chosen one, their purses have to open – gotta pay to play.

        1. Samuel Conner

          My audio recording has him speaking for less than 26 minutes, start to finish and, as you say, some of that was interrupted by various disturbances. My favorite disturbance was the NAFTA protest banner. Good to see that someone in Detroit still remembers NAFTA.

          It seemed to me that JB was having a hint of difficulty enunciating, but as I don’t know his customary speech pattern, perhaps that is a long-standing baseline. It was not an inspiring performance, a lot of repetition of phrases (perhaps for emphasis, but it often seemed mechanical) and there were numerous stumbles. I felt that the mask slipped a bit toward the end when it seemed to me that JB was in essence asserting that ‘we have to work with the Republicans in Congress’ — and he said that that after speaking about winning control of the Senate.

          … I guess he plans to encourage the Senate D majority to leave the filibuster in place so that the Ds will have to work with the Rs to “make progress”. That’s the original 2009 playbook, isn’t it? Why change what doesn’t work?

          I was a bit surprised at how little content there was to the Booker and Harris encomia. “heal the soul of this country”? Give me a break. The Governor had more concrete things to say, crediting JB (of BO & JB) with rescuing the auto industry.

          The highlight of the evening: Corey Booker: “we are sparing no effort to make sure that Joe Biden wins Michigan”

          It would be intriguing to know more of the details …

    2. richard

      joe biden’s speech patterns, i have just sussed out
      are the the perfectly balanced product of cognitive decline and contempt for his audience
      we aren’t worth making sense for

  32. allan

    DOJ Executive Office for Immigration Review determined to strike in US:

    Immigration Judges (NAIJ) @Imm_Judges_NAIJ
    EOIR has ordered immigration court staff to remove CDC posters designed to slow spread of coronavirus.

    No, this is not a parody account.
    7:01 PM · Mar 9, 2020

    Immigration Judges (NAIJ)

    [National Association of Immigration Judges] had recommended to immigration judges that they post in courthouses the English and Spanish language versions of the CDC’s “Stop the Spread of Germs” and “Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019” posters. EOIR ordered that they be removed.

    My prediction that Culture of Lifer™ Bill Barr would turn out to be the worst AG in US history
    is holding up pretty well.

  33. Samuel Conner

    am fiddling with audacity to try to make a recording. I’ll try to post a transcript if I can capture the audio.

    1. Samuel Conner

      endorsement porn.

      Booker: “we are sparing no effort to make sure that Joe Biden wins Michigan”

      One wonders if Booker and Harris will be humiliated if JB is forced to stand down due to cognitive decline.

  34. urblintz

    I just heard (CNN) the talking head sitting in for Anderson Cooper with Leon Panetta and they both said Trump re_corona virus needs to pick up a phone and call…

    wait for it…


    “the guy he has bragged about having close ties with” they said…

    i kid you not

    1. Massinissa

      But… Why? What does calling Putin have to do with the Coronavirus? I think I’m confused.

      1. urblintz

        who knows? they were talking about the general state of the economy after the market tanked and kind of slipped in that Trump should call Putin and Xi as well but it was all in the context of the corona virus and indeed a bit confusing, After some thought I think they were talking about russian oil and chinese supply lines and the nightmare of a worse case scenario w covid as a perfect storm but it clearly sounded like they think we need help from the evil ones and ironically elided the 4 years of Russiagate that seemed to be designed to assure that Trump could NEVER talk with Putin.

        It’s an argument Stephen F. Cohen has been making: Russiagate made diplomacy with Russia impossible for Trump should some catastrophe occur which requires diplomacy… oops

  35. Felix_47

    It should not be about Trump. Trump is a symptom and at least he has not got us into any wars. So what is the difference between Mnunchin in Treasury and Dimon? Was not Biden the point man when we financed the overthrow of the pro Russian government there? It is about getting big money and PACs out of politics which is one of Sanders goals and which is a direct existential threat to the democratic black caucus based on what they say when they defend the need for PACs.. Sanders should run third party if he gets crushed tomorrow.. He might just win. Trump on one side, Biden, clinically early dementia with history of brain surgery, and Sanders. Why Sanders would give his supporters to Biden is beyond me. Sanders built his base. Why he would care about the platform is crazy. They can platform all they want but that means nothing. He has a good shot at creating a third party movement if he can correct his failure with the younger voters and turnout, and if he can stop calling Joe Biden his good friend. Maybe my good friend with dementia. If I have to listen to Sanders praise Biden during the campaign I am voting Green. Failing to win is an incredible insult and letdown to the millions of people that skipped lunch to send him a few bucks. Failing to use all the wonderful footage available on youtube of Biden being trashed over the years for plagiarism over and over, and Iraq, and so many other issues is political malpractice. He may not really want to win. Maybe the campaign thought that they had it in the bag and did not see Obama coming.

    1. Yves Smith

      Dimon is far more competent than Mnuchin. He’ll get more done to serve his class than Mnuchin could, particularly with the Dems not in opposition.

      Re an endorsement. Sanders has to give one. That is the price of his having run on the Dem ticket.

      1. thoughtful person

        Maybe it’s time to start organizing parallel govt. With concrete material benefits.

        1. Oregoncharles

          It exists; it’s called NGOs. But it does not have the power to tax, nor police powers; the actual government would not tolerate that.

          Your proposal has a name: “anarcho-syndicalism.”

      2. Dan

        Re an endorsement. Sanders has to give one. That is the price of his having run on the Dem ticket.

        What are they going to do if he doesn’t? What if a significant majority of Bernie’s supporters demand Bernie not endorse Biden? (or whoever the DNC installs)

        The Democratic Party has done nothing but (family blog) on Bernie, his campaign, and his supporters. They owe it absolutely nothing. The party should in fact be splintered, for the good of the country.

        Bernie presents himself as essentially a vessel for a grassroots movement. Us Not Me. If that’s truly the case, he ought to heed the directives of said movement.

        Who knows, maybe that’s what Bernie secretly wants: A strong grassroots rebellion that will force his hand.

        1. Daryl

          Honestly don’t really care who Bernie endorses afterwards. I’ve never cared about any politican’s endorsement up to now, there’s not much point in starting now.

          1. Dan

            It’s not about whether you or I care about an endorsement. The point of not endorsing is to deliberately cause chaos. Bring it to the people. Stand before the cameras with concrete examples of everything the DNC has done to sabotage participatory democracy. Put it all out in the open.

            The Sanders campaign knows damn well what’s been done to them. It’s unconscionable. There is absolutely no trace of democracy in the democratic party. The whole thing is a charade.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Sanders clearly set out to save the Democratic Party from itself. Destroying it – I agree with you that that would be desirable – would be just the opposite.

              He’s had opportunities before and turned them down.

              “Us, not me” – it’s up to his supporters, not him.

              Has “Our Revolution” been heard from lately?

  36. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    “Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias”

    Just over a year ago, my rural community suffered what has come to be know as the Snowpocalypse. We had a freak snow storm that cut off electricity, telephones, internet, and roads for nearly two weeks. Luckily because it was below freezing most of the time everything in our freezers stayed frozen, our stove uses propane and we had plenty of fire wood and liquor.

    What we experience was our community coming together to help one another. One neighbor, a heavy equipment owner and operator, cleared our portion of the road. Another helped clear our driveway. We sold excess hay to a neighbor to feed her cows. We fed our disabled neighbor until his family could come and get him into the nearby town. Other neighbors sheltered an elderly neighbor who had no heat. We were lucky to have plenty of cat, dog and chicken feed, but I’m sure we could have gotten some from neighbors if we had needed it. Even the neighbors we didn’t help directly or were helped by became closer as we spent time just talking to each other and checking in.

    Sure, this happened in a small rural community where most people had at least some acquaintance with each other, but we were really cut off from the outside world and dependent on each other. My wife still looks fondly on those weeks.

    1. Oregoncharles

      There are two kinds of disaster:
      One is natural disasters or accidents that resemble them – snowstorms, hurricanes, blackouts. Or, in the right circumstances, invasions. There is an external “enemy,” and people normally respond by pulling together., often heroically. That’s a basic survival skill for social animals. (Someone else pointed out that there may be a time limit – if things stay bad long enough, some will start to exploit the situation.)

      The other is SOCIAL or political disasters, like civil wars or riots. A good example would be the self-destruction of the former Yugoslavia. In those cases, neighbors are the enemy, at least potentially, so it tears people apart. A tight community might pull together against the chaos, but it’s a challenge.

      And incidentally: that is not the usual meaning of “dystopia.” It means a system that appears or claims to be a utopia, but turns out to be a nightmare. The Soviet Union, for a large recent example. It’s a Sci-Fi concept; most of them are fictional. The subtext is that trying to make a utopia is likely to go very wrong. I’m not sure we have a good word for a collapsed society; “:failed state” qualifies, or “post apocalyptic”, but that’s an adjective.

  37. anon in so cal

    Scary article in today’s SCMP, summarizing a study from China suggesting the Coronavirus can linger in the air for up to 30 minutes. Granted, the article is not peer-reviewed, and there’s no way to vet the authors. Still, it freaked me out; I was on my way to one of my 40-student classes, all in rooms with questionable ventilation and plenty of sneezing and coughing students. The good news is my campus is clearly contemplating moving all instruction online. This should have been done weeks ago. How many thousands are walking around with the virus, untested and un-quarantined?


  38. Carolinian

    Some Kunstler for those who like Kuntsler

    Lots of things are blowing back on us now, especially from the patches, tweaks, and work-arounds we applied to the shuddering system while the “check engine” light was flashing the past twelve years. After the awesome skid of 2008, you’d think the world’s money managers might have learned something about the hazards of stepping on the gas when those lights were flashing. Sadly, the tens of thousands of PhD economists in the back seat couldn’t think of anything else to do. And history will regard them as no better than the hooded priests of the 1300s who swung their smoking censors in the dark streets while the stricken town folk bundled their dead.



  39. Expat2Uruguay

    Peak Prosperity is out with a really good video today that describes exponential growth, herd immunity, and the magic of Washing your hands. Highly recommended for helping people understand some important points. https://youtu.be/Rb94GXQVEKQ

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