Links 3/6/2020

Cat food mystery foils diet study Science Daily

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey plays defence as Elliott Management circles FT. Time to rein in all those mean tweets!

Farmer Quits Synthetic Nitrogen, Goes To N-Producing Microbe In Corn AgWeb

Majority of retired NHS staff don’t want to return to tackle Covid-19 crisis Guardian


For your critical thinking enjoyment:

The Coronavirus, by the Numbers NYT. Very good; not so much “by the numbers,” as an explanation of the metrics and how they work.

I Lived Through SARS and Reported on Ebola. These Are the Questions We Should Be Asking About Coronavirus. Pro Publica

Falsehoods can spread and mutate as easily as a virus FT

* * *


#COVID-19 is most definitely a white swan. Thread:

China’s aggressive measures have slowed the coronavirus. They may not work in other countries Science. Worth reading in full for the detail:

“As a consequence of all of these measures, public life is very reduced,” the report [from a mission organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chinese government] notes. But the measures worked. In the end, infected people rarely spread the virus to anyone but members of their own household, Leung says. Once all the people in an apartment or home were exposed, the virus had nowhere else to go and chains of transmission ended. ‘That’s how the epidemic truly came under control,’ [Gabriel Leung, dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong] says. In sum, he says, there was a combination of ‘good old social distancing and quarantining very effectively done because of that on-the-ground machinery at the neighborhood level, facilitated by AI [artificial intelligence] big data.’

Seems like a high price to pay for a rotten public health system and wet markets. Of course, we have a rotten public health syste Mr. Market. So there you are.

Coronavirus latest: children are as susceptible as adults, study suggests Nature (original). “‘Kids are just as likely to get infected and they’re not getting sick,’ says Justin Lessler, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.” Partial confirmation from White Plains, NY.

* * *

The United States:

Survey of Nation’s Frontline Registered Nurses Shows Hospitals Unprepared For COVID-19 National Nurses United. And this: “Statement by a quarantined nurse from a northern California Kaiser facility” (PDF):

The public county officer called me and verified my symptoms and agreed with testing. But the National CDC would not initiate testing. They said they would not test me because if I were wearing the recommended protective equipment, then I wouldn’t have the coronavirus. What kind of science-based answer is that? What a ridiculous and uneducated response from the department that is in charge of our health in this country. Later, they called back, and now it’s an issue with something called the “identifier number.” They claim they prioritize running samples by illness severity and that there are only so many to give out each day. So I have to wait in line to find out the results. This is not the ticket dispenser at the deli counter; it’s a public health emergency! I am a registered nurse, and I need to know if I am positive before going back to caring for patients.

Oh, look. Complex eligibility requirements! This, when South Korea is doing 10,000 tests a day, in drive-throughs, with a ten-minute wait for results, for free as a universal benefit. Who would have thought our famed CDC has decayed into a sclerotic bureaucracy!* Of course, South Korea is a First World country, and we aren’t in their league. So there’s that. NOTE * And don’t @ me on budget cuts. The Democrats gave Trump a bigger defense budget than he asked for, plus a new Space Force play toy.

Airport workers say they lacked training and gloves to clean planes amid coronavirus Los Angeles Times

A Coronavirus Pop-Up Shop Has Opened on Florida Avenue Washingtonian. Sales are slow (!). Does anybody know if the Acela is disinfected between runs?

U.S. Will Miss Coronavirus Test Rollout Goal, Senators Say Bloomberg

California orders insurers to waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus testing San Francisco Chronicle

* * *

The State and civil society:

We Can Still Avoid the Worst-Case Scenario The Atlantic. “Inequity creates America’s biggest gap in preparedness. Nearly 28 million Americans are uninsured, and many millions more underinsured. Large migrant and undocumented populations have limited access to essential health services. Rural, disabled, and low-income populations face additional barriers.” These are not bugs. They’re features, carefully engineered over many years.

U.S. health system is showing why it’s not ready for a coronavirus pandemic WaPo. Ruling class stupidity and indifference at every level of government and business. And you can bet that after this crisis recedes — if things go on as they are — everybody who was wrong will be rewarded, and everybody who was right will be punished, exactly like Iraq, the Crash, etc., etc., etc.

‘Doomed from the Start.’ Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work Time. Focus on containment delayed a pivot to mitigation.

Coronavirus Might Make Americans Miss Big Government Noah Smith, Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Coronavirus: US banks ready disaster plans: sources Agence France Presse

* * *

How to Stop Touching Your Face NYT

Parliament: Prepare for significant increase in Covid-19 cases, and for it to stay long term, says Gan Kim Yong Straits Times. Singapore.

The Koreas

South Korea seeks criminal charges against Christian sect over coronavirus spread France24

[Interview] Understanding the Shincheonji cult Hankyoreh (CH).


Abe reaches across aisle for COVID-19 emergency law as Japan cases top 1,000 Japan Times

F-35 Factory in Japan Shuts Down Amid Coronavirus Outbreak Defense One


Deep Breaths: China Isn’t Nazi Germany Or The Soviet Union The American Conservative

Special Report: Before coronavirus, China bungled swine epidemic with secrecy Reuters


How Indians are giving up cash, gradually Times of India


Can the Afghan Peace Deal Survive Early Setbacks? Foreign Policy

International court backs Afghan war crimes probe Deutsche Welle

Coronavirus: Iran cancels Friday prayers across country Gulf News

Saudi Arabia reopens Mecca, Medina holy sites after coronavirus closure Straits Times

Colombia’s barter markets: no money = no ‘free trade’ deal banning food Columbia Reports

Brazil state prosecutors seek to block expansion of Anglo American mining dam Reuters

Trump Transition

Trump defends his rhetoric in 1st TV town hall of 2020 Associated Press

Federal Judge Says He Needs to Review Every Mueller Report Redaction Because Barr Can’t Be Trusted Slate


Neera Tanden tries a little enforcement on the wrong guy:

Again, I’m not one to be impressed by 10-second clips at the word level. But the video I posted here on Wednesday shows Biden dysfunctional at the sentence, phrase, and paragraph level. For two whole minutes. This is no stutter. Caitlin Johnstone has a transcript:

“And so I was saying that, and what they turned around and said, Joe Biden said, in effect, they said, that Joe Biden said that what he was told, that what, that what the white supremacists argue, that we have no problem, that our, our, our basic English jurisprudential system is not the problem. The problem is those countries like Africa and Asia and those places, they’re the reason why we have all these problems. So they turn it around to make it sound like that, and by the way, the title of the article is, was, is the Washington Post ‘The Deceptively (indecipherable) of Joe Biden Singles, Signals What Is Coming’ and that is that’s a whole bunch of lies. The generic point I’m making here is that, what has happened is that, I know we’re going to get in to, whomever the nominee is of the Democratic Party, is going to have a plethora of lies told about him or her, and misrepresentations and this went on the internet, this edited article, it got retweeted by some press people and then they realized it was edited to make it look like something not… white supremacists, see, Biden’s acknowledging that the problem here is that that all those folks, all those minority folks are the problem. And so, in essence. And so they corrected, they corrected. You’re going to see a lot more of it. You’re going to see a lot more of not only my statements being taken out of context, and lied about, or altered, you’re going to see whomever the Democratic nominee is because that’s how this guy operates. Now. Whether or not I can win?”

I don’t care what they juice Biden with for the debates; putting Biden out on the trail is elder abuse.

As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity NYT. Here we go.

Health Care

JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon undergoes emergency heart surgery FT. That’s nice. I hope Jamie didn’t have problems paying his deductible.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Uncovering The CIA’s Audacious Operation That Gave Them Access To State Secrets (interview) WaPo. “So we end up with ostensibly private company that is secretly owned by two intelligence services.” That company is probably just an outlier, even though this operation is presented as incredibly successful.

Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It Was a Secret Plaything of the Rich NYT

Our Famously Free Press

Coronavirus: Australian newspaper prints extra pages to help out in toilet paper shortage Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

Joint Chiefs Chair Retires, Immediately Becomes Paid F-35 Cheerleader The American Conservative

Major General buried with copies of all his favorite PowerPoint Slides Duffel Blog

Class Warfare

Inside the World of Prison Coaching Mel Magazine

Surviving an Overdose Can Get Midwesterners Evicted Filter

SUVs and Pickup Trucks Are Now Too Big For Our Already Gigantic Garages Vice (Re Silc). “The self-own is what separates us from the animals.”

Discovering the Brain’s Nightly “Rinse Cycle” NIH Director. Surely a rather unfortunate metaphor?

Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope across active volcano Agence France Presse. Very on-brand for 2020.

Antidote du jour (ML):

ML writes: “Two red-crested cardinals @ Diamond Head State Monument.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. PlutoniumKun

      There seems pretty much unanimity across the more reliable sources that Erdogan has been well and truly owned. There is no chance of Nato coming to his rescue. Of course, he’s not agreement capable, but as every week goes past he is shown to have a weaker and weaker hand. Its only a matter of time I think before Idlib falls, and with it goes much of his reputation in Turkey.

      1. Roland

        Turks didn’t push Syrian gov’t forces back to their start line. Their rebel allies lost ground. But they did make the Syrian gov’t stop their Idlib offensive and relinquish their aim of recapturing the province in the near term. Remember that before the Turks resorted to open war against Syria, there had been widespread speculation that the Turks were not going to fight at all, and that their threats were empty. That hypothesis, which I had accepted myself, has been falsified by this week’s events.

        If you read the interview with Assad at SANA, he says that the delay in Idlib prevents Syrian gov’t from recovering the lost eastern territories. So the Syrian president seems to place a higher estimate on the strategic effects of the Turkish operation than do Erdogan’s other critics.

        What I’m saying here is that this is a compromise for all parties concerned. Nobody really caved, and of course nobody’s happy, but thank God further escalation was avoided, at least for now. This is not a time for boasting about a few points scored. Everyone should just quietly sigh with relief. The fundamental correlations are still dangerous and unpredictable.

        Thank God, too, for President Trump–not for anything he did, but for what he did not. A more hawkish US president could have precipitated a major war.

        1. Procopius

          I think the most significant gain for Assad is the M4 highway. That’s huge for his economy. Aleppo, too. Somehow the Turks have to be discouraged from sending (American) ammunition and equipment to Hayat Tahrir al Shams and the even worse head-choppers they’ve been supporting there. Unfortunately the CIA doesn’t seem to have given up hope of eventually succeeding.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Before Erdogan went to Russia, he boasted how the Turks had gone to war with Russia sixteen times – but without mentioning that they lost thirteen of those times. So I saw a photo of where the Turkish and Russian delegations were meeting. In the background was a statue of Catherine the Great who had kicked the Turk’s a** a coupla times, which included taking Crimea, so this would be the Russians trolling Erdogan by this stage.

      1. MLTPB

        We may hope history ends here, but after 2,000 years of thinking that, after Justinian, after losing 25, 50 percent of the poplulation in Europe in the Middle Ages, it is still going.

        Today it’s thirteen out of sixteen. But being a gracious winner helps to ensure longer lasting peace.

    3. Susan the other

      Always get the feeling that Erdogan wants to be a big oil broker – turkey is the crossroads of lots of oil planning right now – otherwise why all the mayhem? Erdogan has made the announcement that when Idlib is “settled” Turkey will address the Kurds in eastern Syria. Which is where Syrian oil is; close to Iraqi oil; and the border with Iran, aka Caspian oil – it all has to be significant for control of oil. Russia wants to keep its warm water ports (2) and sell oil to Turkey, probably to guarantee Turkey will protect the ports. The Israelis/UK/US want to control all of eastern Med oil distribution from Israel/Cyprus; deciphering Erdogan’s Libya move is difficult because it looks like a bridge to nowhere; everything E. does pisses off the EU and NATO but he’s not so much on offense as defense. Turkey could be completely left out of this oil power play. And he did cozy up to the Israelis when they were trafficking oil together – Erdogan’s son in law, etc. – 3 or 4 years ago. And in the midst of all this confusion – the war in Syria – Erdogan really does have a huge humanitarian-migration problem. And also too Iran is preparing for the strait of Hormuz to be inoperable (ocean rise?) and building an outlet on the Ocean for export to India, etc. I’m surprised we haven’t bombed it. Just my gleanings.

  1. pretzelattack

    for the good of the country, and joe biden, we have to push and retweet and do whatever it takes to make everyone aware of biden’s dementia. i hadn’t fully realized how bad it is until i read that caitlin johnstone article.

    dear new york times, washington post etc.
    if you’re really all that worried about putin, do you want biden meeting 1 on 1 with putin?

    dear dnc
    do you want biden debating 1 on 1 with trump without a friendly moderator and an audience of friendly donors?

    1. Kasia

      To the Establishment, Biden’s cognitive decline issues are a feature and not a bug. Were he somehow to won, he would be an empty suit, a figurehead and there would be more than one Cardinal Richelieu pulling his strings. In a sense his dementia makes him a more difficult target to hit. You cannot attack him on his record and at the same time say he is losing his mind, because attacking him on his record implies that he is even somehow able to remember what his positions were in the past. He is basically now just a “Generic Democratic Candidate.”

      The Establishment seem to be dissing the Sanders left pretty hard and so they may be planning an “Establishment Front”, a bit like France’s Popular Front on the ’30’s but the opposite. And so Mitt Romney or John Kasich might get the nod as the Vice Presidential selection. If Elizabeth Warren claims Democratic primary voters, 57% being women, are totally sexist and this is why she lost, how can the Establishment take a chance, in their life and death struggle against the bad orange man, by placing a woman or even a liberal on the ticket, let alone a minority! The Establishment will then fight tooth and nail to keep the popular left and right fighting each other while they cart off low information voters towards an Establishment victory.

      1. Jon Cloke

        On the other hand, if you were an opportunist like Warren you might consider being Uncle Joe’s running mate; the Dem Establishment would love having a token progressive with no power to do anything, and Warren might fancy her chances at Cheneying an addled, programmable POTUS…


        1. Yves Smith

          You are assuming Warren with her talk of a wealth tax is an acceptable alternative to the Dem establishment. That is a big assumption. They don’t even like progressives lite. Biden already tweeted to the effect she should stay in the Senate.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think Liz is going home, Biden’s statement was “we need her in the Senate” and Bernie’s speech had the same tone.

            Don’t let the door hit you on the a** on the way out XX Chromosome Republican Manchurian Candidate

        2. Kasia

          Uncle Joe’s handlers already tweeted that they need Warren to stay in the Senate. She offers nothing as a VP. She cannot even win liberal women votes — how will she help win over independent or conservative women?

          The Establishment want to win unambiguously as the Establishment. They need to restore orthodoxy on neoliberalism and neocon forever wars. They are facing heretics on the right and left who fight these orthodoxies. Warren has flirted with heresy in both areas. She did her job by splitting off enough progressive votes to keep Bernie in his place. But she has no leverage with the Establishment and so will get no jobs from them.

          The Establishment want to crush the progressive left — thus their Russia smears against Bernie and Tulsi. They do not want to signal weakness by making deals with people like Warren, who although not a progressive, is not properly Establishment either.

          1. Harvey

            Think of the Democrats and Republicans as two Divisions of the same corporation, having an in-house squabble. But it isn’t affecting business which is roaring along.

            No matter who gets the upper hand the CEO and stockholders are winners.
            They will take action only when it threatens their bottom line.

            1. campbeln

              Why don’t more people see this!?! It drives me NUTS that Red versus Blue is all (family blog)!

              Hell, I love Trump for the shear fact that his crap is done in the harsh light of day and he’s bringing on the collapse that much faster. Considering the current system, that may well be the best we could hope for.

      2. Susan the other

        Since we’ve all been suspecting that Donald’s clutch is slipping, maybe the DNC thought we wouldn’t notice how gaga Biden has become. He looks so disoriented on his stumps that people literally have to turn him in the right direction; his expression is virtually blank. Makes me feel bad I called him names fit only for a sentient person. Liz would be smart to make a point of not endorsing him. She probably wouldn’t get the VP slot anyway and if she did she wouldn’t use it in the usual way. Remember Nixon when he was on a roll, just elected, told Agnew that he could just go out and get rich now, be a bag man, a consiglieri, because that what the VP does. And… that now appears to be what Biden did.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I continue to think Biden is simply a placeholder at this stage, the media wants a horse race so they’ll do a little to keep Bernie competitive for now. It doesn’t help if Cranky Joe ends up with >50%, better if he just has a plurality going in and Crooked and The Mellifluous Melanoderm can sit down with the chairmen of Goldman Sachs and Blue Cross and Exxon Mobile and decide what happens next in The Empire of Laughter and Forgetting

          1. Susan the other

            I’m just wondering what remedy there is for an election that actually elects a very senile president. In a world of legitimate elections you’d think all those states Biden just won could petition for a do-over.

      3. lordkoos

        Biden could be the Democrats’ Ronald Reagan. A smiley, bumbling old guy who can be easily manipulated.

        Another possible outcome — Biden and Sanders split the delegates for a contested convention in which the DNC nominates a “compromise” candidate that they pitch as being in between Bernie and Joe on policy. Voters go for it, and the status quo safely maintained.

      1. pretzelattack

        oh i know that. but i just want them to try to reconcile their support of biden with their staged fear of putin. whatever throws sand in the gears is good, imo.

    2. Dita

      The party propping up an addled Biden allows them to install their real pick as v.p. If Biden wins, his dementia will soon be recognized and he can be replaced by the v.p.
      My tin foil hat is gorgeous!

      1. pretzelattack

        i think it may well be clinton. she’s been mostly trying to look above the fray, lately, with only a few relatively restrained attacks (restrained for her) on bernie and his supporters, and even the ambiguous comment about supporting “whoever the nominee is”. i wonder who she thinks it will be.

        1. tegnost

          I bet she’s already got the t shirts printed…
          “Chocolate milk is for bankers!”
          seriously though, it seems the dems chances are shrinking by the minute. The story we see is the primaries, the story that matters is independents and the mean spiritedness and shady dealings won’t look well to those voters. I note a strange absence of policy prescriptions, other than “strengthen” the ACA, whatever that means, that and we can’t pay for anything except of course bailouts…from the airlines post…although in this case they didn’t get the dough…
          “Flybe was acquired in January 2019 by Connect Airways, a consortium consisting of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group, and investment advisory firm Cyrus Capital Partners. The airline was already teetering at the time, and the consortium picked it up for a song (about £2.8 million).

          The consortium injected some cash into the airline, most recently in January, and the government provided some relief on payment terms of the air-passenger tax. But a hoped-for larger bailout from the government didn’t happen. And given the stress put on the airline industry as a whole by the coronavirus, the consortium decided not to fund the airline further. And abandoned by its owners, it collapsed today.”

          MMT for me, the bootstraps for thee.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            “strengthen” the ACA, whatever that means

            It means shovel more money to campaign donors from the insurance industry.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Once again: Reagan went 8 years, re-elected once, without his dementia being “recognized.” Very nice for the powers behind the throne. However, he was still able to deliver a script coherently.

    3. funemployed

      “whatever they juice him with”

      I’ve been thinking that the sorts of stimulants you might give someone in cognitive decline to prep for a public appearance would absolutely explain his bizarre aggressive outbursts.

      1. judy2shoes

        Apparently, Joe has a history of aggression. This 2019 article from Time, explaining why Joe’s 1988 presidential campaign imploded, mentions that Biden was well known for it. From the article:

        “The then-44-year-old Senator was great at giving inspiring speeches and people were attracted to his youthful energy, but he could also come off like a “hothead,” as he did in his “angry” questioning of Secretary of State George Shultz when the Senate heard testimony about South Africa in 1986.”

        Lyin’ dog-faced pony soldier? Pushup challenges?

        Also mentioned is Biden’s lying about his academic credentials, video link just below:

        Link to full Time article:

        I note that article mentions that Joe says he dodged a bullet by ending his campaign because it was discovered soon after that he had an aneurysm. From the article:

        “And for Biden, there was a silver lining to being driven out of the race: It saved his life. In February of 1988, he had a headache that turned out to be a brain aneurysm. He had surgery, and he had to have surgery again in the spring when a second smaller aneurysm formed. “There is no doubt — the doctors have no doubt — that had I remained in the race, I’d be dead,” he told TIME”

        Lucky break for Joe; bad one for the country.

    4. a different chris

      >do you want biden debating 1 on 1 with trump

      Don’t underestimate the DNC. Scum they are. Complacent they were. But now – they are way out in front of this:

      This is gonna be gross on both sides. Trump working his 35% base isn’t gonna get him there. And they aren’t all wrong (if right or wrong even mattered in this twilight-of-an-empire contest), Trump is showing as much mental decline as Biden and Trump was never a “debater” he was the joker from the back of the room.

      We have *got* to put max age limits on every office. Executive, Congress, Judicial. But we won’t and we are really starting to pay for that.

      1. Yves Smith

        As I said, and I’ll go get the data from my very careful data scientist contact, who most assuredly is NOT a Trump fan, average worker takehome pay is up `$3000 under Trump. As he pointed out, this is huge. Due mainly to increased hours, a little to the tax cuts, a little to pay increases.

        Ordinary people are doing better economically under Trump. This isn’t just his base which skews wealthy and includes a lot of shareholders. That is a very big consideration when people go to vote.

        What would sink Trump fast is coronavirus tanking the economy. He would otherwise likely win v. Biden. Not just here but offline, I have a lot of Sanders voters saying if he does not win the nomination, they stay home or vote for Trump or leave the top of the ticket blank.

        And Trump and the Rs have only started going after Biden. See the Trump video clips in the Caitlin Johnstone article linked above. Brutal.

        1. Geo

          Same. Super Tuesday and the establishment rally around Biden has caused a commotion amongst so many I know who weren’t even Sanders supporters but are disgusted at the idea that Biden is “the best” the Dems can do. People I’m talking about are ones who thought Kamala or Warren would have been great candidates. I’ve only met one couple who actually like Biden – an elderly couple who hate Trump and want things to “go back to normal” (no fundamental change?).

          The Dems have been raging about an “existential threat” and are choosing to a jokeless punchline as their nominee. It’s amazing. They are seriously the Washington Generals to the GOP’s Harlem Globetrotters. Professional losers.

      2. Geo

        No we don’t. Ruth Bader Ginsburg seems sharp mentally. I’ve known 90 year olds that can mentally run circles around me.

        We don’t need to put any limits like that in any office. We just need an electorate that isn’t idiotic enough to elect obvious idiots into office. But, after Reagan, W, and Trump, it seems there is no one too deranged to appeal to the idiocracy we inhabit.

        1. Old Jake

          Age is a poor substitute for a metric of mental capability, and rules like that have a tendency (like the existence of the US Senate) to hang on long after they are irrelevant or worse. In the ideal case the voters would make their own judgement, but as we see that’s not happening and unlikely to in the foreseeable future. Yet some kind of objective test certainly seems desirable. I am open to suggestions.

          1. Old Jake

            Sorry Geo, this was meant to be a response to the same comment you are responding to. I am in agreement with you.

          2. Tom Bradford

            “I am open to suggestions.”

            Is this not the whole point of the ‘primary’ system? The candidates for the post have to spend months appearing before the people giving speeches, being analyzed by the media and debating each other. Any mental deficiency should surely become patently obvious during such a process. At least it’s better than the Parliamentary system where any idiot can (and does) become Prime Minister based solely on the devious maneuverings of a few MPs.

            That, of course, is theory. As we’ve seen with both Trump and Johnson the system in practice can be gamed by the glib conman – degenerating into a beauty contest where ‘beauty’ = acting skill. Such a contest inevitably disqualifies the honest, the, ah, ‘less than photogenic’ and the unloquacious.

            The brightest person I’ve ever known had a stammer, largely as a result of his larynx being unable to keep pace with his thoughts. If he was relaxed he could be amazing to talk to but introduce strangers and he could become ‘tounge-tied’ as he tried to argue his position while simultaneously analyzing theirs, while public speaking was an Everest beyond his abilities. Research and writing papers he could do standing on his head. IMHO he could have run a country brilliantly, too, but politics? No way.

      3. Oregoncharles

        “Trump working his 35% base isn’t gonna get him there.”
        Depends on how many race.

        And I’d add: that’s enough by itself to win a 3-way race.

    5. jashley

      No, you do not want to push the dementia angle.
      That is and will become clear if you run the oppo that Trump will use in the general.

      To not run the oppo to vet biden is political malpractice on Bernie’s part.

      I would not support someone who will not expose the other candidate in the nom process.

      bernie is not showing he really really cares about his support or the country.

      1. Darius

        You can count on Trump doing it. Better get it all out now than be stuck with Biden, who by that time may have brains oozing out his ears.

        Of course beating Sanders was always the real priority here. After that’s accomplished, the Democrat political class will be fine with Trump winning. Good for the donors and all.

        1. Hoppy

          If only there was some who could.

          Warren is in the perfect place to tell the truth right now and sink Biden.

          1. Yves Smith

            She does not have any incentive to do that. Go read some of her interviews.

            She’s repeatedly said how important it is to be an insider and have a seat at the table. This is clearly a deep-seated belief of hers. She will never assail the anointed of the party. She thought, based on Berie’s 2016 success, that she could take the progressive wing and win the Dems by being the tamer progressive. Remember it was not long ago that she was topping the polls. Then she kept moving her positions around to appeal to to many people and lost cred. Plus her attack on Sanders (which I suspect she envisaged as engendering party loyalty, as her taking of Bloomberg actually probably did) was likely a gambit not just to try to take him out but also to score with party insiders.

            1. Hoppy

              Believe me, I don’t disagree with you!!

              I’m just saying it’s a ‘checkmate’ move if she had the courage to do so.

    6. New Wafer Army

      I disagree. For the well-being of the rest of the planet, it’s imperative that America collapses. Proceed as normal, citizens.

      1. Lost in OR

        Too true. It appears to me that at the intersection of the corona virus and decades of political insanity, this long slow train wreck is finally leaving the tracks. Prepare for impact.

        And not a day too soon.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The sooner it happens, the easier on the passengers.

          That said, the usual result of making things worse is that they get worse. I can see trying to collapse the 2-Party – they’re doing that themselves. But the whole country is another matter. Abroad, it means a lot of loose cannons rolling around.

      2. Tom Bradford

        Disagree. The world needs the US to step up to the plate and take the lead in addressing its problems. For that it needs the right man or woman as President. The US has done it in that past and the rest of the world is watching and hoping it will do so again, ‘tho admittedly it isn’t looking promising.

        1. campbeln

          We proved we lost that ability when we killed Osama Bin Laden instead of trying him like we did the Nazis. Worse, my fellow American’s cheered it! In the years hence, fare fewer people are willing to defend it when I bring it up in this way, so there’s some hope for We The People, but I agree with OP; the American Collapse cannot happen soon enough.

          And I say that as a proud American that just want’s his Schoolhouse Rock America back.

    7. Darius

      The Democrats top priority is beating Sanders. Once that’s done, they can take another four years of Trump. Even though we can’t.

    8. Knifecatcher

      Yves smacked me down yesterday on this subject but I still think that mainstreaming Biden’s cognitive issues is the only way to turn the tide with voters.

      It would be nice if our vaunted journalistic institutions would do some journalism on that topic. But since there’s not a snowball’s chance that will happen I think the Sanders campaign has to take the risk of bringing it up in order to give it broad enough coverage to make a difference.

      The ideal scenario would be to turn Warren loose as the Biden attack dog, digging into all his numerous vulnerabilities. But at this point given her abysmal political instincts it seems more likely she hitches her wagon to a Democratic establishment that has already proven it hates her nearly as much as it does Bernie.

      1. Buckeye

        Trump will end up proving you right (unfortunately) and Yves wrong on this cognitive issue. Biden will be destroyed by the right-wing media war machine over cognitive abilities. Trump already has some right-wingers out with a book claiming how “sane, rational and clever” he is. Cognitive function will be a key element of the general election, you watch. You’ll be able to do your own smacking-down on Yves and others come November.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Cranky Joe is a moveable feast of oppo opportunities, wait until they get to his China dealings. Hunter landed in Beijing on friggin Air Force Two with his Dad and left a few days later with a $1.5B shady hedge fund deal.

          Maybe we can even hear about Michele heading to Milan with the girls for a weekend of shoe shopping (at $200K per hour) but I doubt it

          1. Olga

            Which shady deal of Hunter’s was it that led his former partner Heinz to write to the State Dept. distancing himself from it…? I forget (it’s hard to keep track).

        2. Blake Kelly

          I’m not sure Yves is saying that it shouldn’t be done, just that Bernie is ill positioned to do it. Tulsi Gabbard in a 3 way debate with Biden and Sanders would be ideal IMO. Probably why they changed the rules again, sigh.

  2. russell1200

    Coronavirus: NYT prints extra political section pages to help out in toilet paper shortage The Onion

    1. Wukchumni

      I shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag, but yesterday based on shopping @ Wal*Mart, Grocery Outlet and WinCo supermarket, either people here really aren’t into bowel movements, or being so far to the right politically, they believe our President and aren’t afraid of Coronavirus.

      I could have filled up an 18 wheeler with as much toilet paper was for sale yesterday, no shortage and the racks were chock-a-block full.

      Disinfectant type products were where the shortage was, The shelves were 2/3rds barren, with a limit of 4 of any one item from a list of around 25 products @ WinCo.

      1. inode_buddha

        And yet you can get denatured alcohol by the gallon at the hardware store or home center. Great disinfectant. Plenty of other uses too.

      2. MichaelSF

        I had to go to a second grocery store here in S.F. on Wednesday when I did the shopping because the first had been cleared out of TP. But the second had a good stock, so go figure.

      3. campbeln

        shopping @ Wal*Mart, Grocery Outlet and WinCo supermarket


        racks were chock-a-block full

        Australian (Kiwi?) living in America detected! You and I have an escape hatch, my friend. Though based on the news out of Oz of recent, we’ll need to bring TP back home with us.

  3. Carla

    CNBC’s Rick Santelli Proposes Dangerous Idea: Infect Everyone With Coronavirus

    Santelli: “…maybe we’d just be better off if we gave it (the coronavirus) to everybody and then in a month it would be over, because the mortality rate of this probably isn’t going to be any different if we did it that way than the long term-picture. But the difference is we’re wreaking havoc on global and domestic economies.”

    So glad his priorities are in order.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Funny ???? tweet included in the article:

      “This is your brain on capitalism.”

      Yep. But we knew that.

    2. fresno dan

      March 6, 2020 at 7:44 am

      In the long run, we’re all dead
      John Maynard Keynes

      First, let’s kill all the TV journalists…

    3. Steve H.

      I posted on social media this morning:

      I am revising a previous position.

      I now want NO ONE I CARE ABOUT in Wisconsin in July.

    4. jsn

      This was in an interview of Matt Stoller by Zypher Teachout yesterday:

      “Z: I think I am still missing some steps connecting the pandemic to nonmedical supply-chain disruptions. What I understand is that under most projections, COVID-19 is going to become basically universal. If it is universal, why would it then have an impact on supply chains?

      The coronavirus may become endemic to the population, like the flu. But you have to use quarantines. The quarantine policy doesn’t stop the virus from hitting everyone, but it is necessary to stop the virus from hitting everyone at the same time. A medical system that has to handle 5 million people who need intensive care is going to be overwhelmed, and only 100,000 people are going to be able to get intensive care, so lots of people are going to die unnecessarily, right?

      So the reason you’re trying to slow the spread is so you can slow the distribution, the load on the health-care system.

      It’s important that there be a lot of different sources of supply of important inputs. If you have fifty companies, each of which runs a factory, then you’re going to have each CEO of these companies have to pay a lot of attention to their factory. Nobody ever washed a rented car, right? With these very consolidated supply chains, it’s absentee ownership on a massive scale, and it’s a huge problem.”

      People struggle with ideas of scale and logistics, Stoller gets at the heart of it in the bolded text: there is fixed medical capacity, overwhelm that and there’s nothing for everyone else.

      Santelli is the worst kind of sociopath and I’m sure would be happy if everyone who is poor died, but like everyone outside Stollers first 100,000, no amount of riches can buy what doesn’t exist.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          My son works in the lab in Australia at the forefront, the head guy yesterday said containment as a possibility is now over. Instead of being able to locate Patient Zeroes from the numerous vectors they now have what are called “cryptic origin” cases.

          1. lordkoos

            Containment in the USA I think is already past tense, the focus now is on mitigation.

    5. Kasia

      I say let’s give it to our leaders first and if that works out we can move on to journalist in month two. So let’s start by giving it to the four remaining Presidential candidates, Trump, Biden, Sanders, and Tulsi…

      1. lambert strether

        In my perhaps overly subtle way, that is what I was getting at with my question about the Acela…..

    6. The Rev Kev

      Is he aware that you can get it again and just because you get it once does not give you immunity. Maybe he is panicking because Westchester County, where some of these financial guys have their homes, has a Coronavirus cluster. And that a part of Canary Wharf in London too is under lock-down. It is now only a matter of time until there are reports of Coronavirus in the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        “you can get it again and just because you get it once does not give you immunity.” This bald claim I think requires both citation and clarification. I’ve read the opposite is likely mostly true from some medical sources. And this point is far, far too important to let pass without absolute clarity. The evolution of the whole pandemic will to a large degree hinge on the truth/untruth of this exact question.

        1. notabanktoadie

          I’ve read the opposite is likely mostly true from some medical sources. Kurt Sperry

          Yes, if one can get it again then how does the body clear it in the first place?

          1. inode_buddha

            And yet the common cold is also a corona virus. The way those things run is, it mutates in each person infected, in the process of reproducing itself. Once it can no longer reproduce inside a host it moves on in its new mutated form to return the next year. That’s about as much as I can recall from high school biology class 35 yrs ago.

            1. Yves Smith

              Your comment about colds is irrelevant. The black plague was from bacteria. So people back then should not have worried about the black plague because they had plenty of bacteria around them?

              The normal course of the coronavirus is that in severe cases it will progress to viral pneumonia.

              And it does NOT mutate in each person. The mutation rate across the entire infected population is about 2x a month:


              Making shit up and agnotology are violations of our written site Policies. You need to stop. I don’t have time to waste dealing with bogus comments like this one.

              1. inode_buddha

                I read right here on NC that the Covid-19 is related to the common cold as a corona virus the other day. Which then opens the path for the pneumonia. The cold *does* mutate every year.
                Perhaps I shouldn’t have taken it as authoritative, Either way, I will abstain from anything to do with it in the future.

                1. Yves Smith

                  Please reread what you wrote.

                  You asserted that it mutates in each person infected. That’s flat out false. And your further comments about reproduction and transmission would take more effort than it is worth to correct.

                  This is too serious a topic to tolerate disinformation. There are already lots of known unknowns (like is reinfection possible or does getting COVID-19 confer some immunity?) to worry about.

        2. Samuel Conner

          Agreed, and the major effort currently being invested into development of a vaccine would pretty clearly suggest that the medical community currently assumes that an immune response that successfully defeats an infection will confer some subsequent degree of protection.

        3. EmmaJane

          A woman working as a tour bus guide was reinfected with the coronavirus, testing positive after having recovered from an earlier infection, Osaka’s prefectural government said. Her case, the first known of in Japan, highlighted how much is still unknown about the virus even as concerns grow about its global spread.

          There was a similar case in China last month. Question for me is, were these patients really recovered or do the tests showing recovery miss something?

        4. The Rev Kev

          @ Kurt Sperry

          Cases have been found in China where people have been released from quarantine only to show up positive for this virus again which is a big worry. And I have hear that those who get it again have it worse the second time around because of the damage the first time they had it.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            I’ve read that anecdatally. I’ve also read that is is extremely likely that post-infection immunity will be far more common to see.

            1. Yves Smith

              Could also be bad testing. There were quite a few reports of the not-very-skilled Chinese medical workers (professional requirements there are very low compared to the West and the rest of Asia) administering tests incorrectly and getting false negatives.

              But yes, reinfection risk and rates are a known unknown at this point.

              This can occasionally happen even with regular seasonal bugs. There was one a few years back that had very distinctive symptoms (short duration but terrible, severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) and I know of some people who got it 3x.

              1. rtah100

                It’s not necessarily even bad testing, Yves, it is just the nature of the test. RT-PCR picks up viral RNA. This can be from competent viruses or from fragments floating about as infected cells in a patient who is otherwise recovered.

                We need clinical data on whether these re-positive people are actually sick to make a call on re-infection. I suspect it is just a test artefact but it is just possible they are not sick but they are infectious. Ebola apparently has been found in semen for 6 months after recovery and either SARS or nCov-SARS2 in faeces for several weeks.

      1. Carla

        I was thinking that, too, but then I said to myself: “C’mon, self. How could Rick Santelli HAVE loved ones? Impossible.”

    7. Cpm

      Throw Moma from the train club(Acela club car).
      I’ll infect your mom if you infect mine.

    8. allan

      ‘Press 3 for coronavirus:’ Even a woman at outbreak’s epicenter can’t cut through bureaucracy to get tested
      [Seattle Times]

      … She’s a vendor for a company that services nursing homes. Last Friday, she was doing her rounds on the Eastside and visited five of the facilities — including Life Care Center of Kirkland, which the next day was revealed to be the epicenter of the disease’s outbreak in America.

      Two days later, on Sunday, Jackson also got sick. Fever, cough, some shortness of breath — the symptoms for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

      “My first thought was, ‘Oh no, I have it,’” Jackson said Thursday from her home in Kirkland. “My second thought was worse — ‘Oh no, I was going around visiting nursing homes and assisted care facilities. What if I spread it to them?’”

      Jackson, 71, also had gone, on Saturday, to a crowded gymnastics meet in Woodinville for her grandson.

      But what happened next floored her more than the illness has. She hasn’t been able to get tested — at least until the press called — to get anyone to listen to her story. …

      The states are the laboratories Petri dishes of democracy.

      1. wilroncanada

        As of yesterday, the Province of British Columbia (about 5 million) has tested more people than the whole of the United States,(about 350 million).
        Quote from Premier John Horgan.
        He may not be counting American Samoa.

    9. New Wafer Army

      The guy is a clever simpleton. A typical grifter who is only marginally more intelligent than his marks. Decline of the West smells glorious.

    10. Minimus

      Rick is an idiot. One goal, according to public health officials and epidemiologists, is to delay transmission to smooth out the number of people with Covid-19 who need intensive medical care at any single point in time. If hospitals aren’t overrun, more severe patients can get intensive medical care and be saved. If everyone gets it at once, the mortality rate is going to be a lot higher. In terms Rick understands, the economy will be better off if more people stay alive to keep buying stuff.

    11. WJ

      But don’t you see that this would actually *benefit* survivors’ lives more than anything else? Isn’t this what the economists would say?

      1. Geo

        On a travel job right now. Each flight I’ve taken was about half full (had entire row to myself on every flight) and no lines at airport security checks. Who says a pandemic doesn’t have a positive side?

        That said, anyone who even sneezes of coughs once is given a glare by all onboard like they’re a potential terrorist.

        Also, in NYC I’ve seen a few people walking around with “designer” breathing masks – similar to the standard surgical ones but in black and made with seemingly fancy fabric. One even had a good logo on it. Couldn’t see the logo clear enough to identify but assume it was Gucci. They stick they logo on everything.

    12. John Zelnicker

      March 6, 2020 at 7:44 am

      And, for all the commentators above.

      It might be worth remembering that Rick Santelli started the entire Tea Party movement many years ago with a rant on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange about everyone being Taxed Enough Already.

      Yes, the Koch brothers and other conservatives took the idea and ran with it, but he’s the one who provided the impetus.

    1. RWood

      “We seek to have new economies of our own where money is not fundamental, what counts is the product that is own and of excellent quality.”

    1. CGKen

      This summer when coronavirus is looking really bad, Trump can blame Pence and then pick some one else to share the 2020 ticket.

      Trump loves to fire people but it’s hard to fire the VP in his usual way.

      1. Woodchuck

        This is what I thought since he appointed Pence.

        Basically, if all goes well, it will just boost his ticket and he’ll keep him on it. If not he can finally get rid of him and add another loyalist. Pence, no matter how bad he is, is an ideologue, something that Trump must hate above everything else.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          My personal opinion is that y’all are giving our infantile president way too much credit.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Stormy Daniel’s might beg to differ. But, I agree in all other matters. Probably one reason he eats his steaks well done.

        1. wilroncanada

          Does he eat steaks? I thought it was Mcdonawlds hamburgers, all the time.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Covid-19 and China.

    I must admit I’m very confused about the situation in China. There are very reputable sources who have looked at the figures in detail who are convinced that the Chinese government is right – the virus is (for now) under control and they’ve stopped the spread beyond Hubei. But there are also some very reliable ‘on the ground’ reports that this simply isn’t the case – that the government is putting huge pressure on hospitals to re-diagnose serious cases as viral pneumonia or flu in order to bury the figures (and the bodies). There have also been reports of new measures very recently restricting air travel, which indicates that there may be outbreaks they aren’t telling us about.

    I’m deeply sceptical that the extreme measures taken could have been so successful, simply because we know so many infected people left Hubei during New Year and scattered across the country. The extreme quarantine seemed to have been too late and was (at least at first), carried out ineptly. But it also possible that China has gotten lucky with its strain – it seems increasingly likely that the strain in South Korea/Iran and Italy is more contagious.

    So… I just don’t know. For the moment, it seems that its under control in China and every country should as far as possible be trying to replicate what they did – the short term economic cost would almost certainly be worth it. But I’d still counsel extreme caution about reports from China, even if via the WHO. There seems to be a very active campaign to paint China and the WHO in glowing colours right now – I think its far too early to judge.

    1. Monty

      Watch Daniel Dumbrill on youtube, he has been blogging out Shenzhen the whole time. He is an American or maybe Canadian who runs a business out there. Seems intelligent and credible Everybody’s business is closed and everybody stays at home, and has now been at home for weeks. His kids have been home for 50 days or more. They have a mandatory app on their phone. It knows if you’ve been near someone who turned out to be sick, so they know who to test. They test people for a fever as they come and go from the buildings. Fever = test. Test = quarantine.

      So people with mild symptoms are probably ill at home to avoid getting taken into quarantine, rather than milling about shedding virus on everyone like they are every in the west.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        With due respect to people in China (v)blogging, due to the Great Firewall and tight local restrictions, they are only getting a very narrow view of what is happening. Even Caixin, the ‘official’ government newspaper, is reporting widespread falsification of data from local provinces.

        The problem is that China is desperately trying to get its economy going again, so there is a very strong incentive on local governments to declare themselves free of the virus prematurely. Its much easier to do this when you have full control of social media and are bombarding people with the message that its all ok now (the very slow movement back to work indicates that ordinary Chinese people aren’t buying the message). Even my Chinese friends here in Europe are telling me that ‘its defeated’, and I even have one friend openly talking about sending her children to their grandparents in China ‘because its safer over there now, there are too many Italians in my city…’.

        I very much fear, as Ignatio is writing below, that China has simply suppressed the disease without eliminating it, meaning it could come back with a vengeance very quickly once the restrictions are released.

        1. Monty

          What I’m driving at is that they seem to have used extraordinary tactics to stop it from being a far bigger catastrophe, so far. They put the whole country in time out. He is just chilling out at home, his business is on ice. These tactics that are not an option, politically or even practically in our countries. So what happens next, as cases continue to double every six days?

          1. cnchal

            > So what happens next, as cases continue to double every six days?

            Santelli is the prophet. All are going to get this due to total negligence by the “””authorities”””. Every day plane loads of Chinese are disembarking in Toronto and Vancouver and Prime Minister Rose Petal”s main priority is not offending the Chinese government. Sickening in every way possible.

            Still flying = Total Fail

    2. Ignacio

      There are statements in the article that don’t sound congruent in my opinion.

      To get at this question, the report notes that so-called fever clinics in Guangdong province screened approximately 320,000 people for COVID-19 and only found 0.14% of them to be positive. “That was really interesting, because we were hoping and maybe expecting to see a large burden of mild and asymptomatic cases,” says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “That piece of data suggests that’s not happening, which would imply that the case fatality risk might be more or less as we currently have.”

      So, if 320.000 were analysed in Guangdong during the epidemics, I assume this is somehow random sampling as it is done to check flu epidemics, and 0,14 were positive this means that for the whole population of Guangdong, assuming the sample was representative and that the method is as sensitive and accurate as for flu, the total number of infected would be around 158.000 in a province that has confirmed about 1350 Covid-19 cases and only 7 deaths. This strongly suggests that there were lots of infected individuals that have gone undetected with mild, very mild or asymptomatic infections. So why Rivers says this was not happening? I interpret that she was expecting much higher disease incidence. The good news is that absolute mortality counted as deaths/infected instead of deaths/symptomatic would very low, and probably even lower if we consider that false negatives are frequent with NAT detection. –by the way, for what I know about this epidemics in Spain it seems that most cases are mild, very mild or nearly asymptomatic. This also explains why it is so difficult to control the spread.

      After gathering some data from FluNet, China results indicate that in the same period flu incidence has also been reduced dramatically from a peak of 7105 flu-positive samples out of 20244 processed in the second week of 2020 (35%) to a low of 25 flu-positive out of 5878 samples processed in week 8 of 2020 (0,42%). This is a sharp reduction also in flu incidence that shows how the measures worked. In 2018 and 2019 the incidence of flu by week 8 was around 25-30%.

      Though this shows how efficient where the measures it is quite difficult to qualify this as a success except that this has certainly avoided the healthcare system to become totally overwhelmed and allow to focus resources in Wuhan. But this doesn’t mean that the disease has been controlled and once the measures are being removed the Chinese population is equally susceptible to become infected from the reservoirs the virus has left in this episode. In this sense it is impossible now to be successful and in the meantime a lot of harm has been done to the society as a whole. Should the Chinese government have focused on mitigation and on protection of the susceptible population (elder, diabetes, heart diseases, healthcare workers…) they could have averted an overwhelmed HC without such collateral damage.

      1. jashley

        We may be about to discover part of the truths soon.

        China must force people back to work. People may or may not go.

        In either event that will tell more than these “studies”.
        How many return an what happens to the case rate then??
        The 2nd outbreak has always been worse than the first.
        Very doubtful one sees a magic vaccine soon for whatever this is.

        You will all recall taking the HIV vaccine and/or the original Sars , don’t you??

      2. Susan the other

        so question: is it true, or somewhat true, that if you have a virus (say the flu) you cannot catch another virus (say corona 19) on top of it. That is, both at the same time?

        1. Ignacio

          Simultaneous viral infection occurs in babies and in hospitals but this doesn’t mean that the virulences are additive. The virus whose cycle is fastest will usually outcompete the others. In the upper respiratory tract Rhinovirus are the champions.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, there are things there that just don’t add up. WHO seem genuinely very surprised that there are so few people testing positive, even in areas where the virus is endemic. To me this suggests that the main Chinese strain is the most lethal one, while it does not spread as rapidly as the ones in SK or Italy. It might also explain why it seems to be relatively slow to take hold in Japan compared to South Korea.

        I think the only way that China can avoid having it bounce back once everyone is back to work/school is to wait until its entirely elimated – but its clear they can’t afford to do that, it could take months. So they are taking a very big risk.

        1. Ignacio

          I find the explanations that scientists that visited China with the WHO annoying for some reasons. I believe that they must have asked their Chinese counterparts many questions that have remained unanswered but they avoid to acknowledge it publicly. I am starting to consider that they are leaving hidden clues without showing very obvious. One can conclude, regarding the data loosely delivered on infection surveillance, that the incidence of the disease was much higher than that the authorities have reported as confirmed. Then, if they say this and in the following paragraph they also say that the % of serious cases holds true (16%) one can conclude that in reality the number of serious cases and deaths is and has been much higher than those reported. They only provide data for Guangdong and I wonder why. I don’t think the Chinese variants are more virulent than in other countries and still believe that differences between countries reflect differences in management of the disease, the diagnosis and the information provided.

          By no means China could avoid a virus comeback later this year or during next winter even if holding draconian measures for longer than a year. It is just impossible to be sure that reservoirs (human and other animals) are removed and, anyway, there are now lots of viral reservoirs out of China. It is like betting for the Euromillions.

        2. Monty

          Also test procedures vary. Are the tests sensitive enough. They might take a nose or mouth swab, but they should be asking you to hock up a greenie to get a better idea.

        3. MLTPB

          Just to make sure, the Chinese strain is more lethal, but the Korea/Iran one more contagious (8:09am comment)?

      4. MLTPB

        That’s a good question.

        A few possible explanations.

        Maybe that 0.14% is a typo.

        Maybe it is not to be extrapolated to the whole province. For example, a hard hit district in Wuhan would test differently from a distant, rural village in Hubei.

        I note it mentions so called fever clinics. Are they sampling a particular subset of poplulation? Dr. Rivers talled as if that was the case.

        1. Ignacio

          No, it is not a typo it is an average for several weeks and in the first weeks the coronavirus was detected in 0.49% of tested samples. Besides, Science edits texts multiple times to avoid mistakes and special care is taken on data like disease incidence. Yet I wonder why they only give results on Guangdong as an example because samples are taken also in other provinces. Not enough samples? Then, why not giving data from all China?

    3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Dr. john talks about the L & S strains how China through it’s lockdown have likely suppressed the more infectious L strain, while the S has remained largley untouched.

      WHO is using a 3.5 % mortality rate matched by Italy & the cruise ship Grand Princess after one passenger death unloaded 2,500 passengers, who were immediately replaced by another 2,500 new arrivals….ship of fools ?

  5. fresno dan

    Matt Stoller
    Democratic insiders know Biden has cognitive decline issues. They joke about it. They don’t care.

    Neera Tanden
    This is really beneath you.
    So, when it becomes obvious, too late, that Biden cannot win, what will happen to all the democratic poobahs???
    I imagine the same thing that happened after the 2016 election…(why mess with success? need I say what is success to the DNC and you are two different things)

    1. jsn

      “Who could have known Biden would experience such shocking cognitive decline so abruptly after Super Tuesday?!? Such outrageous bad fortune!”

      And they’ll all keep their jobs.

    2. funemployed

      Serious question: What happens if the democratic nominee has to drop out of the race (or dies) post-convention but pre-election? Does it go to the veep nominee? The convention runner up? Does the DNC just decide? Is there even a plan for this?

      1. pretzelattack

        they change the rules on the fly, as they have for bloomberg and tulsi. it’s whoever they want as i understand it. the rules committee is run by clintonites.

          1. pretzelattack

            there’s a woman named nomiki konst that has appeared on rising, and in my undeducated opinion really seems to understand the ins and outs of how the sausage is made.

            1. lordkoos

              Yes, Nomiki worked for or with the DNC at some point. I believe that she became disenchanted after watching how 2016 played out between Clinton and Sanders, and now is a major critic.

      2. Michael fiorillo

        What happens?

        The #McResistance TM doesn’t much care – they make bank even if/especially if Trump is reelected – so long as the mortal danger presented by Public Enemy #1, Bernie Sanders, has been neutralized.

      3. Michael Fiorillo

        What happens?

        The #McResistance TM happily finds more misdirection to pile on overworked, overwhelmed-with-propaganda rank and file voters. These grifters make bank even if/especially if Trump is reelected, so in their non-existent heart of hearts, they couldn’t care less, just as long as the real Public Enemy #1, Bernie Sanders, is defeated. They’ll keep gas-lighting and trying to enforce their taboo on pointing out Uncle Joe’s obvious cognitive decline… until Trump refuses to observe their disingenuous sense of decorum.

        As long as Sanders is not the nominee, the #McResistance TM continues to be enriched, and screw the rest of us…

        1. chuckster

          If they have to replace either the presidential or VP nominee after the convention then theentire membership of the DNC comes together and votes to replace the nominee. Amazing how that worked out for them, huh?

          Remember Tom Eagleton and Sargeant Shriver?

    3. Monty

      “when it becomes obvious, too late, that Biden cannot win”

      My Prediction: They Blame Bernie Bros and Russia for sowing chaos and spreading disinformation, whilst ignoring any question of Biden’s capability, “Because its the kind of thing a Russian bot would ask.”.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Why don’t the people of America notice that “uncle Joe” is mumbling inanities? Trump knows it and wants to run against someone as pervy as he, particularly if they sound dumber than dumber.
        Is the voting electorate so tired of watching nonsense on TV that they have tuned out, and hence don’t listen to any of the spokesmonkies?
        Looking forward to secession. Not looking toward the attack on Sumter or Bull Run or Gettysburg. Now that everyone is, or knows people that are desperately surviving on the edges of civility, the fuse is lit and we get to watch what parts of our sclerotic system run aground.
        Only in America could you see addled honkeys trying to live with tertiary syphillis argue about the future as they beg to be elected.
        I know something is wrong. Don’t most people?

        1. Lost in OR

          In at least some of the Super Tuesday states, repubs were able to vote for the demo candidate. What better way to throw the election than to vote for a candidate you know can’t win.

          That only explains some of the states. For the others I am beyond words.

            1. Lost in OR

              Good point.

              So how many avenues are there for the parties to distort the vote?
              2 states have a caucus with it’s reporting/software issues
              17 states have completely open primaries- repubs can vote for Biden
              7 states have primaries open to independent/unaffiliated voter
              ? states have Electronic Voting Machines
              Altering/eliminating polling sites

              I’m sure there are more options. It’s illuminating just how democratic we are not.

      2. jefemt

        You left out the youth and millennials. Low hanging fruit in the blame-game. Jill Stein had the wisdom to keep her head down.

    4. bob

      Looking thru the replies to that thread from Neera. She’s got the faculty lounge refrigerator police lined up to do battle-

      “Get the entire feck outta here you Kremlin backed, lazy deadbeat dad, credit stealin, underwear singin, commune evicted, electricity stealing, rape essay writing, woman bashing, gun loving, i said Black 50 times saying, MEMBER OF THE GOTDAMN ESTABLISHMENT”

      Well reasoned argument.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Maybe the poobahs are like Cubs fans, where the refrain, one losing season after another, was “Wait till next year”?

      Nope, as pointed out here at NC, they are riding a self-basting gravy train. Does not matter if they lose and lose and lose — the Reps need them for cover, so won’t throttle them or unlimber the firing squads to rid them of people they hobnob with at all the important functions. And the sowers of Dem “truths” have a well-prepared soil to plant them in.

      I know several “yellow dog Democrats—“ intelligent people who have been voting Dem forever, and would and will vote for a “yellow dog,” meaning a golden retriever or mangy yellow hound, if that’s what the Party anoints as its candidate. Pavlov studied conditioning in dogs — I wonder how many of them were yellow?

      Hey, are any of the pundits on “our side” doing any substantive work shining light on what looks to be massive election fraud? Or are the progressives getting into Cubs fan mode, “Wait for the next election cycle,” or what? There’s this, from a thing called “The Powdered Wig Society, And a retrospective from the last trip through the Looking Glass:

      And Joe Biden will not be the candidate. The Dems know he is vastly impaired, in many ways, from his record to his condition. So the goal is a brokered convention, to replace him with Someone Else. Equally evil, equally a loser. Pelosi may “protect her Majority,” Congress continues to present to be “the world’s greatest bought and paid for deliberative body that gives the best result for the plutocracy,” the GWOT and other wealth transfers go on and on.

      Since the Dems can change the ‘rules’ with impunity, they can pull the old switcheroo even if Bernie somehow manages either a major plurality or outright majority of delegates — so very unlikely since they count the votes, and the progressives seem to suffer from whatever malaise that led Al Gore to give up in FL.

      (Note to all you who castigate “FloriDUH,” it was the Dem Party and Al Gore who fainted and fled at the end.)

        1. roadrider

          That’s a load of BS. It was shown that more Democrats voted for Bush than voted fro Nader. It was also shown that Gore actually WON Florida if all the votes had been counted instead of the selective recount requested by Gore.

          Go back to Daily Kos.

        2. Eureka Springs

          Not true. I wish it was true, would mean more people back then weren’t in the false lessor of two evil trap. I voted for Nader that year in CA. Far more Fla Dems voted for Bush than those who voted Nader.

        3. periol

          That’s bull. More people should have voted for Nader. Would have made a great president.

          I’m guessing Sleepy Joe has your vote on lockdown then? All about the electability, don’t bother wasting a vote on the person with the best policies…

          I voted for Nader in NH. There was never a chance I was voting for four more years of Clinton-lite or 4 more years of the royal Bush’s.

        4. JTMcPhee

          In tort law, the person who has the “last clear chance” to avoid the wreck bears most of the liability. Gore did not really want it, and the Dem private club was happy, once again, to retreat into the Imperial bubble and go about collecting campaign bribes and enjoying the Hamptons and Davis. Don’t lay it all on Nader — “our” Dem private club yielded it all up “to save our [sic] democracy [sic].” They said, all crocodile-years.

    6. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve watched the videos and I don’t think the evidence is stark and incontrovertable enough yet to make a drive-by dementia diagnosis on Biden. I’d bet he’s on the glide path to that condition, but I wouldn’t assert it based only on the video I’ve seen. The people close to Biden are probably the only ones who know for sure and it’ll be obvious what they think/know based on how they manage Biden’s appearances. If they are protecting him from a fatal gaffe/senior moment caught on video, it’ll be quite obvious based on keeping him from situations where he has to extemporize and interact with potentially hostile questioning or interaction.

      If Biden’s as disabled as some people believe, it should be plenty obvious by the convention. And if he survives the usual schedule of live appearances, interviews and debates without having that fatal gaffe moment, then I guess his condition wasn’t as bad as some of us thought.

      1. pretzelattack

        we aren’t saying he should be locked up on an alzheimer’s ward. it’s not reasonable to apply a beyond a reasonable doubt standard to a voter judging whether a potential president is in reasonable mental shape. based on the contrast with earlier videos of biden, he has clearly changes. maybe it’s a drug cocktail, maybe it’s early onset dementia, whatever it is, the guy has slipped, and imo he is already being protected. not least by excluding tulsi gabbard from the debate. she doesn’t consider biden a friend, and she would incur no political cost by going where bernie is not going to go.

        1. Susan the other

          Biden is being protected and juiced. I think those two things are true. He could have failing health on top of cognitive decline – he is very thin and pale. So the obvious question is, Who is the dark horse? The DNC put Biden up as a placeholder only and they have used all of their black arts to keep him there. The DNC has plans. And I’m pretty sure it isn’t Liz who will get the VP nod. This is 1960 all over again. Dead man running.

          1. wilroncanada

            I am suspicious. Suspicious that the DNC is holding up Biden, aware that he has become severely gaffe-prone. Suspicious that they are continuing to support Biden when they had opportunities to select other likeables or electables from those on offer, but had them suspend their campaigns once they had enough votes to stamp out Sanders first ballot victory. Suspicious that a still-popular ex-Pres. spouse is at the end of this month heading out on a “world speaking tour.” Suspicious that said spouse will be able to demonstrate thousands of “fans” hanging onto her every word. Suspicious that she would be available for a draft in a brokered convention with all sorts of pre-publicity from her tour. Either that, or she is prepping–waayy too early–for 2014.

        2. Jeff W

          “…maybe it’s early onset dementia…”

          Unless you’re making a statement about Joe Biden’s cognitive condition over a decade ago, it could not be early onset dementia. That term refers to dementia that first occurs in a person under age 65.

      2. Lil’D

        Possible scenario is no one has 50%+ going into the convention

        Biden’s health / cognition are clearly going poorly

        Plenty of narrative options to support the super delegates choosing another candidate. HRC maybe but there are other establishment candidates

      3. James

        Now that’s what I call giving someone the benefit of the doubt! Tie goes to the old connected white guy, I guess.

    7. voteforno6

      Biden could win, even if everyone thought he was in cognitive decline. The corona virus and its economic impact could very well swallow up Trump’s presidency. Epidemics have a way of wreaking havoc on society. I don’t think anyone really knows how this will play out.

  6. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the link about former NHS staff refusing to return, you can add my father, godfather and their former Royal Air Force comrades who have worked at hospitals in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. All walked out in disgust at creeping privatisation and politicisation over the past few years. It wasn’t just age catching up with them. Some, but not all, of their EU27 colleagues no longer feel welcome in “Get Brexit Done” land, but are equally fed up with creeping privatisation. The prospect of having to work with and answer to the likes of Matt Hancock and McKinsey journeymen / placemen, like Mr Laura Kuenssberg, is too much. Also, the contact was made by private agencies, not the NHS directly. These parasites are making tens of billions from the NHS annually and count red, blue and yellow neo liberal politicians and hangers on on their boards and share registers.

    Members of the NC community who read French may be interested in, an article about how austerity has led to a decline in health and ages of mortality.

    In case anyone thinks that nice and presentable and leadership material Sir Keir Starmer will continue Corbyn’s fight on behalf of the NHS, I suggest that they look at who’s funding him and has employed and / or funded his campaign managers and supporters.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have to admit that I was blind-sided by that article. I imagined that it would be all about how the people being asked to come back were mostly in the category of those most at risk but no. A lot of it was about the toxic environment of privatization and spruced up MBAs that had driven many of them out of the field in the first place. Having tens if not hundreds of billions sucked out of the NHs system over the years to pay for a lot of managers and consultants and all the other financial parasites at the cost of healthcare workers seems to have been to much. Who could have seen that coming?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        The first wave of contact was made by agencies about a month ago. That was in part for them to see off competition, including direct contact by the NHS. I made a comment about that on NC soon after.

        Dad, in Mauritius until Easter, was approached last week. Likewise with his best friend and former comrade in arms, my godfather.

        Some of the MBAs are former doctors who saw / see the winds of change blowing. They are held in contempt.

        The chlorinated chickens may be coming to home to roost in neo liberal Brexitannia.

        1. skippy

          I can also confirm this perspective here in Oz years ago, when the push to private health was launched, experienced medical people with decades in service punched out – most were retrenched by MBA admin to make way for a new batch that was more malleable to policy changes. But then again that experiment has been ongoing throughout vast swaths of public and private services.

          Its poignant in my day job because most of my clients are those that have or are leaving careers due to the factors you note – even when they could stay on much longer and pass on hard won skills and knowledge. Some take on much lower jobs that still have a high degree of social good in them too keep active and have some non passive income.

          Best wishes.

  7. fresno dan

    So there is another link today, entitled

    Is the U.S. Fracking Boom Based on Fraud? – 03/06/2020 – Yves Smith

    And it begins:
    In a 2016 interview with Fraud Magazine, …
    I have to say, I was shocked, SHOCKED to find that there is a magazine actually, only devoted to fraud – that is published bi-monthly.
    AND … than I was shocked to find out that the magaine actually, only devoted to fraud is ONLY published bi-monthly…

  8. Supenau

    One thing that struck me while watching the clip of Jill Biden rushing to defend Joe from the protesters on stage was her maternal defense of him. Touching him as the one protester was removed, as though he was a child, while he stood looking befuddled. Nancy Reagan came to mind immediately. She was quite adept at protecting a cognitively impaired president. The family knows. I agree with Yves, it is elder abuse and the puppeteers are lined up waiting for the next stage show.

    1. pretzelattack

      she isn’t protecting him from the dnc using him as a figurehead, though.

      i don’t know what nancy would have done had reagan been that impaired prior to winning office;
      his command of facts was as loose as trump’s, but he still had his marbles in 1980, as trump does now. trump will savage biden on a debate stage and by tweets.

      1. Tvc15

        Agreed, and if she really wanted to protect him and in my opinion care about him then she’d convince him to retire. Instead, we’ll see the media lie and spin their narrative about her being such a strong supportive spouse. I’m so exhausted with the brazen lies and outright theft of the democratic presidential process.

        1. pretzelattack

          the family industry of the biden family is making money at the intersection of corruption and politics, and imo that applies to the whole immediate family.

        1. pretzelattack

          im trying to remember, has any candidate ever not debated the opponent? offhand i can’t think of any that have completely avoided it, altho i confess i have no memory of obama debating romney- but then the mention of romney puts me to sleep.

            1. pretzelattack

              nah, anderson wasn’t really the opponent, reagan was–which means half a century at least for the tradition, and raises the cost for the dnc shielding him from debates.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Nancy Reagan protecting Ronald, one view:

      Another view:

      And it looks like a picture I saw in “Life” magazine many years ago of Nancy (Reagan, not Pelosi) coverings Reagan’s half-shaved head as they descend from Air Firce One has gone down the memory hole —would never do for the public to see Reagan’s half-shaved head (sign of weakness!) after treatment for a stroke, if I recall correctly.

  9. Stephen V

    Latest from jagoff Jimmy Dore on what Bernie shoulda been doing all along. It’s as if Bernie is confusing real life with the current gangsterism we call politics. Biden and Hillary are his *friends*–he reminds us constantly. And Bernie is savaged by tribe Dem for merely stating facts.

    1. dbk

      MattTaibbi/Katie Haler’s Useful Idiots talked a bit about what Sanders hasn’t been/ isn’t willing to do – apparently he likes the policy and strategizing pieces a lot, but he’s never liked savaging his opponent(s) – which, as Taibbi pointed out, is what many pols literally live for.

      I read the excerpt above from Biden, and Yves is right – letting him campaign would be elder abuse. He wouldn’t win – or in the unlikeliest of events that he did, it wouldn’t matter because a shadow Presidency would take care of business – but it’s cruel for Biden himself. When he and Sanders debate next, the reaction of any normal human being would be to cringe at the idea of eviscerating someone so cognitively compromised – and yet, if Sanders wants to win, he’ll have to do just that.

      Peak heartlessness on the part of our DNC masters. They are making a mockery of both the campaign and a man in decline.

      1. Oh

        Except for Bernie, anyone from the DimRat party will be a puppet to be controlled by the shadow government puppeteers.
        “I’m a marionette, I’m a marionette, just pull the string……”

    2. The Rev Kev

      I saw this video earlier and it was unbelievable. Here is that section from the L.A. Times that Jimmy Dore quoted-

      “I like Joe. Joe is a decent guy and I do not want this campaign to degenerate into a Trump-type epic where we are attacking each other,” Sanders said. “That is the last thing this country wants. Joe has his ideas, his record, his vision for the future, and I have mine.”

      After what was done to him in Super Tuesday he says this? Seriously? Warren was a friend of his until she tried to cut him off at the knees in an ambush and Joe will do the same to him. This is how I wish Bernie would talk in a debate with old Joe-

      Sanders: “Joe is a good friend of mine but I will not accept his ideas to cut Social Security and Healthcare or privatize it off to Wall Street!”

      Biden: “Now wait a minute..”

      Sanders: “No, this is your own words Joe and if you go to my website, I have just posted clip after clip where you are demanding this time & again. Care to explain to the audience here why you want to chop their Social Security and Healthcare?”

      Now that is how you do it.

      1. nycTerrierist

        “Sanders: “Joe is a good friend of mine but I will not accept his ideas to cut Social Security and Healthcare or privatize it off to Wall Street!”

        Biden: “Now wait a minute..”

        Sanders: “No, this is your own words Joe and if you go to my website, I have just posted clip after clip where you are demanding this time & again. Care to explain to the audience here why you want to chop their Social Security and Healthcare?”

        Now that is how you do it.”

        This x1000!
        Hope someone from the Sanders campaign see this

        1. katiebird

          This is pretty much the ad he is running in Kansas City. A speech where Biden says he’s tried to cut Ss and Medicare 4 times and then Sanders saying, No! Must raise benefits!

          Also, the My Good Friend Joe is a time honored way for a politician to introduce his worst enemy. At least in Kansas….

          1. pretzelattack

            what if bernie told the truth about joe on the debate stage?
            “i’ve known joe for 35 years, and know what he was like then, and what he is like now. i’ve shared public events like debates with him, and many private conversations over the years. we’ve often disagreed politically, but we are nonetheless friends, and i say this as a friend–joe needs to step down. the decline has been shocking to me and others who have known him for a long time, and anybody who cares about him doesn’t want to see the savage attacks that trump and his online supporters will make on him. it’s not only brutal for joe and his family, though, it ensures that the person we all agree shouldn’t be president will get another 4 years to pursue policies that all democrats agree are disastrous. as a long time friend of joe, i urge him to stand down”.

            1. katiebird

              I don’t think Sanders should even hint this. He can zoom in and discuss whatever issue it seems Biden is advocating

              1. JohnnyGL

                Nah, that argument isn’t for Bernie to make. Much like the email issue with Clinton was already being litigated in the press, so is the question of dementia.

                There’s no upside for Bernie, here.

                He’d be better off trying to get under Biden’s skin during a debate to get him to stumble and meander….then point out that’s what he’s doing in the coded language of ‘Look at him, America, he’s not electable. Trump’s going to crush him’.

      2. dbk

        Thanks for the recommendation, just read Johnstone’s full piece. It was genuinely painful to watch/read. Biden should not be allowed on the debate stage with either Sanders (who’s still sharp, very sharp) or Trump (who’s not sharp, but demagogically adept).

        Re: suggestion (@Donald) re: planning for invoking the 25th Amendment at some point shortly after his election – I don’t think it would matter; others would be ruling in any case.

    3. Toshiro_Mifune

      Sanders really can’t run a super aggressive scorched earth campaign and subsequently aggravate centrist democrats in the House and Senate though. He needs them to get any of his policy agenda passed.
      I’d love him to do that, but I don’t think he realistically could and hope to be effective once he took office.
      He’s trying to thread a needle with his campaign.

      1. katiebird

        One of the drawbacks to not having a SuperPAC is that he doesn’t have an outside group that can run ads about this.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        You say that like these centrists have any intention of ever working with a President Sanders. They’re already aggravated by the fact that he hasn’t gone away. And just like Bernie going in on Russiagate, fealty won’t protect him from their slings and arrows. It seems to me it would be much more effective to go for it, win and then let the voters know who exactly is torpedoing progress rather than run another toothless campaign, lose, endorse his “good friend” Biden and still get blamed for everything. I get what you’re saying, but he’s been trying to thread this needle since last time and it can’t be done.

    4. montanamaven

      Thanks for this. Beat me to it. I listened to it yesterday on my daily walk. Jimmy was taken in by Obama and now realizes that he had been had. And he continues to be disappointed in Bernie. Bernie is not a revolutionary. He’s not going to go after Biden or Biden/Hilary. I think even he is surprised at how the “outsider schtick” he has used for years is now making him a rock star. But revolutions and movements don’t usually come from above. Bostonian regular people and not the elites dumped tea into the harbor and caused George III to go ballistic on Massachusetts, thinking the rest of the colonists had more sense and would knuckle under. For some reason, both the elites and the tradesmen and farmers had all had enough of George and London. And “POOF” we had us a war for independence.
      I thought , at the very least, the Sanders campaign would make a strong case for a single payer national health care system. Make it understandable. But it kind of got mired in green new deals, open borders, identity politics, Trump hate, Putin bashing. So my dream of healthcare reform is down the tubes.
      We need something new like MLKJr called for. Something to rise out of the ashes of communism and capitalism. That will not come out of anybody that runs as a Democrat.

      1. dearieme

        Bostonian regular people and not the elites dumped tea into the harbor

        No, it was tea-smugglers who were furious that the duty on tea had been cut so far that they could no longer make a dishonest living.

        1. Oh

          Just like our pharma companies who don’t want any direct importation of drugs o cut into their highway robbery.

      2. Susan the other

        I don’t think I’ve seen political incompetence like this before. The DNC wins the prize. They have realized they don’t know what they want and they don’t know what they are even saying – so Joe’s the perfect candidate. Blurb from tv (DW I think) of a man who looked like he might be a small farmer saying he wanted “libertarianism without capitalism” – OK then… wtf. My question is becoming not Can Bernie actually win this thing? but who on earth can lead this parade?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Not sure I agree, the DNC job has always (20+ years) been to keep the fiction of opposing neo-lib corporo-fascism alive. Empress Dowager Pelosi is the doyenne of course, ripping up a speech that contained everything she voted for and then doing a little funny hand clap, Oh, you show ’em Nancy!

          So it’s very on-brand to coalesce simply around Stop Trump, putting up a candidate who has yet to articulate anything else he would actually do except appoint Beto to take away people’s deer rifles by force. Oh, that, and get social workers in black homes to make sure they have the record player on.

          Entire purpose is to maintain the shadow play of “opposition”, mission accomplished.

    5. Deschain

      So this is what I call the “Ender’s Game of Thrones” problem.

      Ender’s Game: The way we win matters

      Game of Thrones: You win or you die

      Cersei is the villain there, but author Martin makes pretty clear his thoughts on the wisdom of adhering to ‘norms’ when the other side won’t by having putative hero Ned Stark meet his end on the headsman’s block.

      I think rule #1 always applies. I think rule #2 sometimes applies as well, but one of the hallmarks of a functioning society is that things don’t get so far gone that it is the rule rather than the exception. I respect Bernie for not going full attack mode. I also think its easy to criticize him, but how many other people created a movement and a massive fundraising machine and came this close to the nomination (twice) with all the weapons of the establishment trained against them? He’s doing something right.

      Having said that, yeah, he leaves some easy opportunities on the table. Why he hasn’t fully cloaked himself in the mantle of FDR I’ll never understand. And yeah, he should have been/be more pointed in his criticisms of Hillary and Biden. Liz did it right with Bloomberg.

  10. cornball

    Biden Has Dementia!

    Biden, a nightmare candidate. Another sign of our third world status. Trump will chew him up and spit him out. It will be ugly.

    Read Caitlin Johnstone’s piece.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      Biden Has Dementia

      You know, I’m beginning to wonder if this is the reason Obama has been, at least publicly, very distant from Biden’s campaign. I mean, Obama worked with him for 8 years and supposedly a good friend to him. Maybe he’s kept his distance because he’s recognized it as well and wants to avoid backlash should it be proven Biden does have some form of dementia.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Indeed, and Kissinger’s aphorism regarding the US is apropos regarding Barry: “The US/Obama has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

          1. dearieme

            Kissinger’s aphorism

            Yeah, no one else in the history of civilisation had said it before. Except Palmerston in the 19th century. And presumably the rulers of the Sumerian cities.

      1. Olga

        A good point…
        Methnks HRC is just waiting in the wings… just ready to swoop in and take over.

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          HRC is just waiting in the wings
          If she somehow gets the nod as VP then we know what the plan is. Assuming they can beat Trump, which I doubt.

            1. HotFlash

              Ding. Her Highness will not settle for Veep. If then comes coronavirus, well, HRC or other Dem nominee won’t care much. Time for The Donald to promise tests, care, deductibles and co-pays waived (no need to deliver a lot) — IOW, Medicare-ish for All, therefore running to HRC’s left and winning!

      2. Jeff W

        “I’m beginning to wonder if this is the reason Obama has been, at least publicly, very distant from Biden’s campaign.”

        That occurred to me, too.

      3. mpalomar

        Obama reportedly told Biden, “You don’t have to do this…” One can speculate about the layered context.

        Would not Klobuchar be the logical VP insert? Granted she didn’t win any primaries and is electorally challenged but that hasn’t often deterred the Democrats from anointing a loyal party hack before.

  11. pretzelattack

    warren thinks online sanders supporters are a “real problem”. she doesn’t seem to think biden’s cognitive issues are a real problem, though.

    1. CBBB

      Warren developed some kind of Messiah-Complex over the course of her campaign. She is absolutely deranged. The focus on Twitter fights from her campaign is unreal.
      It’s like half the time these pundits say “Twitter ain’t real life” but then the other half of the time the twitter fights are the be-all-end-all and are solely responsible for the Warren campaign’s failures.

      1. Deschain

        Warren supporters would tell you that Bernie is the one with the messiah complex.

        Here’s the thing: you do have to be a bit crazy to do what they do, if you’re not in it just for the money (like the other guys).

    2. tegnost

      This is pretty weird as my predominantly health care employed PMC family members are absolutely venomous when they talk about bernie. Bloomberg ads flooded the sports radio over that past couple of weeks, and my theory there was that bloomy could fling the socialism dirt, competent manager, self made man, not a debater etc… he was in it to to throw banana peels and it worked, now he’s doing the same thing as an also ran. It’s absurd.

      1. pretzelattack

        it seems obvious to me that this is all coordinated, and people who are heavily invested in the narratives the dnc pushes are primed and ready to believe the new narrative. it’s similar to the reactions of jurors who have convicted innocent defendants of murder, upon learning the defendant is later exonerated by dna evidence and it was all an obvious frame by the cops and the prosecutors; some jurors just refuse to believe it.

        meanwhile warren follows the traditional dnc strategy of keeping her powder dry and not endorsing sanders, despite the cognitive decline of a senator she used be heavily critical of for his policies. instead she hones in like a laser on the “real” problem; berniebros.

        1. Susan the other

          I would just say that this is a time for Bernie to be very cautious. Wary of the DNC. In 1960 both parties were sewn up: JFK took (was strong-armed into taking) LBJ, and Nixon had been easily persuaded to take Henry Cabot Lodge. The Vietnam war was assured. imo. So what exactly is it that needs to be assured now? If nobody really knows, maybe we can get beyond our old habits; but for Bernie, the only word is ‘caution’.

      2. anon y'mouse

        you are missing the fact that this conditioning when it comes to Bernie has been going on since before 2016. in all areas of the press, as well as by HRC herself. Bloomie didn’t invent that.

        and the oh-so-smart meritocracy that we have lapped the sh__ right up, while they deplore the deplorables for being “brainwashed”.

        8 MInute Hate, anyone?

      3. flora

        health care employed PMC family members

        So they’re probably not fans of Medicare for All. ;)

        1. JeffC

          Seen from here, health care people, like our doctors and the nurses and health educators in our family, generally are for M4A. Health billing people are another matter.

      1. pretzelattack

        there are a few sane posters there, but god that top tweet was just incoherent toxic sludge. and the love for kamala harris! they really love right wing women there. i didn’t see anything about tulsi gabbard or aoc.

          1. Monty

            The country is loaded to the gunnels with ignorant f-wits. That’s not news.

            How can you make changes in a democracy when there is a hostile media, congress and oligarchy actively brainwashing the irrational, incurious stake holders who ultimately get to vote?

            My answer would be to run on 1 issue, like Ross Perot. Universal Healthcare as a right.

            Please, let’s worry about guns, transgender bathrooms, immigration reform, open borders, non universal handouts etc etc after that single battle is won and the enemy has been exposed.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            AOC was recently asked how far her support of Bernie goes, she replied “until the end”. Not “until he is in the White House”. She then said immediately after that she “would support whomever is the eventual candidate”.

            Makes me think she has quickly learned how power actually works in a way that Bernie never has.

    3. inode_buddha

      If the online supporters are a problem, what about the real life ones? Does she make the connection that the online ones also vote? Another way to look at this is thank goodness for free speech.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Federal Judge Says He Needs to Review Every Mueller Report Redaction Because Barr Can’t Be Trusted”

    Still trying to drag up the debunked Mueller report and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear again? That is so 2019.

    1. Monty

      Rev. O.T. question. What would make someone a “Bogan Nuffy”? (seen on twitter regarding toilet paper panic)

          1. The Rev Kev

            Nope, not yet. Still plenty on the shelves here at our local supermarket in town though my sister who lives north of Sydney said that she had to go to several supermarkets to snag two rolls. I told my wife that we should mail her down a roll of toilet paper as a joke. Either that or cut up pieces of newspaper on a string and send that down instead. My wife, by the way, was a Coronavirus doubter but the past few days, whenever she goes to the supermarket takes care to bring back a pack of toilet paper and other stuff for our pantry.

            1. Monty

              I saw a 6 pack on for ¥9999. Don’t the have those toilets that wash your arse with a jet of water, and then hot air dry it, after you’ve been? If so, why they are so desperate to stock up!?

              1. Synoia

                Yes the have toilets that inefficiently wash your backside. However if the excrement is sticky, it does not work well.

                It’s my personal experience, that excrement is always sticky (Personal experience, babies and dogs).

  13. Donald

    I wonder if the Democratic establishment thinks it can push Biden into the WH with the idea of a 25th Amendment solution after a decent interval, when people sadly realize Joe is starting to show signs of cognitive decline. . Unlike Trump, I could see Democratic cabinet members going along with this. Then Kamala Harris or Klobucher steps in.

    Or more likely as others have said, it is just the iron law of institutions at work. They keep their power in the Party and they blame sulking Berniebros for the loss if Trump wipes the floor with him. Or it is a brokered convention. But I am guessing the 25th Amendment is high on the list of options even if unspoken. People, including me in sillier moments, have fantasized about using it against Trump, though in my case I realized that from my pov Pence is no better. So it has to be in the back of people’s heads with Biden. I think it should be spoken about openly. Who will be the actual President if Biden wins?

    1. Judith

      Regardless: if Biden becomes president or if Trump continues as president, the Security State will continue it relentless takeover of the government and our lives.

    2. Charger01

      This is it. If by some miracle Holy Joe wins, the DNC/PMC is secure for 4 more years. If Joe likely loses, then they have 4 more years of “principled” opposition to Trump as the rump minority. They retain their jobs and status, and thus win.

    3. thoughtful person

      I think they will follow the playbook or 2nd term Regan handlers. Biden will just read from the teleprompter and repeat what his earpiece says.

      Of course has to get elected 1st. I think likely if stock markets collapse and covid is all over usa in Nov, but who really knows?

    1. marieann

      Well thanks goodness Canada has plastic money ‘cos I’m not giving up my dollars…..of course we also have $1 and $2 coins and they add up pretty fast and I’ll bet those wee scunner viruses can’t live on coins

      1. Wukchumni

        I wouldn’t be so sure about the multi-colored polymer cash lifestyle, as a moneyed virus host you’re the most susceptible.

  14. Wukchumni

    I anticipate a shut-in world as fear has its way, and that’ll get old quick i’d suspect.

    I’ve noticed quite the boom in hiking/backpacking the past few years-with many younger adults participating, the attractant being the photos & description of a groovy place on the internet, and the idea that the wilderness (ywmv) is about the last place that isn’t wired up. A weird ying & yang, but there you have it.

    There’s no recirculating air or air conditioners aside from wind, outside. People would have to keep their distance between one another, but it’d work.

    A plague is an odd mechanism to get people outdoors, but then again so was the movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon, which attracted so many 20’s & 30’s women to backpacking.

    I welcome a reawakening to appreciating what Mother Nature is all about in the back of beyond, none of which comes with a price tag.

    1. Tom Doak

      The golf boom in China got a big boost during the SARS epidemic, when being outdoors suddenly seemed safer than playing cards in a poorly ventilated room.

    2. Phacops

      That is wonderful news! One way to see our spectacular natural areas protected is to create a constituency through use. When my spouse’s knees just would not allow extended backpacks (at a fairly young age) we took up paddling and went from there to whitewater open canoe and sea kayaking. Bicycling too.

      I was afraid young adults would gravitate to dizzy world, so it is nice that outdoor recreation, lifelong sports, is increasing.

    3. Tom Bradford

      “I welcome a reawakening to appreciating what Mother Nature is all about in the back of beyond, none of which comes with a price tag.”

      Or toilet paper.

  15. Richard H Caldwell

    1.) “everybody who was wrong will be rewarded, and everybody who was right will be punished” — words to live by.
    2.) I thought Jamie Dimon was getting along fine without a heart…

  16. Mikerw0

    With public health issues so prominent in the news I can’t help but read about the changes at NIH, spelled out in the linked article, and conclude that NIH has been repurposed away from issues of public health to work on end of life diseases for the affluent with very expensive treatments only they can access that can be commercialized by Silicon Valley for their financial benefit.

    1. pando

      I can say definitively that universities are fundraising from the rich by promising to do research that develops technology that will help the affluent in old age. There is a push away from research that would help the broader population.

  17. Winston Smith

    The US government does not seem to be interested in implementing a valid testing scheme i.e. widely available and FREE. Therefore the concept of containment is hopeless and social distancing must be the rule going forward. It boggles the mind that the press (and some “experts”) keep referring to “the number of cases”, a more accurate description would be “known cases” since testing is inadequately widespread and confined to incredibly narrow guidelines. Added to which, when and if a vaccine becomes “available”, having to pay for it will certainly damage the whole concept of preventive vaccination.

    1. Bill Carson

      Yep. POTUS thinks he can stick his head in the sand and the crisis will go away. Well, it’s not going to go away. The USA is already the #5 nation in terms of known deaths. Here we go—“Case. Case. Case. Cluster. Cluster. Boom!”

    2. Monty

      I honestly think their carefully crafted plan is to just let it run its course and pick up the pieces later. Get it over with and get back to work, anything else just drags it out longer with same end result. Too bad, so sad about anyone who croaks. *crocodile tears* The bean counters wouldn’t mind knocking 10% of the claimants off of Medicare and SS. End of life care can be pricey.

      Of course they cant say that out loud, hence the Key Stone Cops act.

      1. dearieme

        Do you think that the criminal incompetence of the CDC is deliberate, then?

        I must say it sounded to me to be the ordinary sort of snafu you’d get from a bunch of bombastic science bureaucrats. Bureaucrats who are so conceited that they tried to insist that China give them carte blanche to enter the country and study the problem – presumably with a view to telling the Chinese government what it should be doing.

        1. MLTPB

          The less partisan, the likelier we get through.

          To be sure, we should always be thinking critically.

          And offering actionable suggestions helps a lot.

          For example, if you believe more restrictions on Italy or Korea can help delay, (not necessarily stop, note), we should speak up. That forms the basis for criticism later. This example may be weeks too late, but an example nevertheless.

        2. Duck1

          “Bureaucrats who are so conceited that they tried to insist that China give them carte blanche to enter the country and study the problem – presumably with a view to telling the Chinese government what it should be doing.”
          dearieme, hit the nail on the head
          transparency seems to always be for thee, not me

          1. Monty

            “dearieme, hit the nail on the head”
            You certainly don’t hear that very every often on here!

        3. Monty

          They have been making movies about pandemics since I was a lad. Plenty of time to simulate different options and outcomes. The one they are going with is, “operation: hope for the best”. Thinking herd immunity will kick in and save the day on this one. They just can’t say that out loud.

    3. xkeyscored

      I can’t help remembering how keen the same press was just a couple of weeks ago to slag off Iran for supposedly confusing number of cases with number of known cases. At least they had an excuse – sanctions – true or not. The USA has what excuse?
      And, while I’m not an epidemiologist, it does seem likely that if half the population is not vaccinated, they will serve as a reservoir in which this virus can lurk and mutate into a strain that defeats the vaccine.

    4. MLTPB


      I understand containment is phase 1, or the typical response ar first, for most nations. For example, Bolivia would likely be in the containment phase at this time.

      For those in that phase, I imagine tracing the source and contacts of any new case is critical. Dis the patient a travel recently abroad? Test those in contact…maybe a few, 10 , 20 or whatnot.

      We don’t need to test everyone. Likely never need to.

      Look ar Korea. We are impressed by their daily testing of 10,000. Their population is 50 million or so. To make the math simple, lets say they can test 50,000 a day. It would take 1,000 days to test all 50 miilion Koreans. I think most of us would say that is too late.

      So, in the initial containment phase, a limited number of people will be tested. And once we move to delaying and or mitigation, more and more tastings will be done, as Korea has been doing, and a few countries, like Germany, Sweden, the US, Spain are going to do, over time, a short period of time, to be sure.

      I believe we can contain, delay and mitigate simultaneously. Look at China. Wuhan is still locked down. Quarantine in effect widely. Yet, they are in containment, as far as travelers from Iran or Italy are concerned…2 week isolation.

      Also I believe you can stumble out of the gate, but you still must focus on the race. I read the governor of the state of Washington met with Pence about many topics, including testing, and said he was happy (forget the exact word) with the partnership.

      So I will follow closely as this unfolds.

      1. c_heale

        In Korea the epidemic was initially clustered around one city, Daegu, with around 2.5 million residents. And one religious cult, Shincheonji. Now there are some other clusters, so if we double that to 5 million tests we get about 100 days. I think due to the disease’s links with the cult, it will be far less than that.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Assume a purely selfish point of view. What advantage does testing for the Corona test provide to an individual? Are there specific treatments for the Corona virus? If there is no advantage to knowing whether you have the Corona virus or not why should an individual pay for testing? And what does testing accomplish other than providing one more count for the statistics?

      1. False Solace

        From a purely selfish point of view, if you’re infected you may wish to avoid spreading it to friends or relatives you like so you don’t infect and possibly kill them. As for people you dislike, it would be helpful to know if you’re infected so you can try to spread it to them. Do I pass the sociopath test?

  18. fdr-fan

    Biden elder abuse…. Reminds me of what happened to old Hollywood stars like Bob Hope and Groucho Marx. Cold-hearted heirs and handlers kept pushing the star out on stage after his mind was gone.

    Audiences were laughing for the wrong reason but the star didn’t know it. He just heard the laughter and liked it. Hey, I’m still boffo!

    The handlers were making money, and nothing else mattered.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Abe reaches across aisle for COVID-19 emergency law as Japan cases top 1,000”

    Trust Abe not to let a crisis go to waste. If I was in that Parliament, I would make sure that it had three month sunset clauses that had to be rolled over and not a two year end date. After two years, Abe would have the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere 2.0 going.

  20. Bill Carson

    Again, I’ll ask for some crowdsourcing—

    I’m thinking about pulling out of the market and holding in a cash account for now. Or maybe hedge by selling half.

    David Carl Grimes suggested to leave it in and ride it out. If the market goes up, it might be psychologically difficult to get back in and you’ll miss the upside.

    Seems like pretty good advice, but are there any other opinions? What are you doing?

      1. Monty

        Yes but where is the bottom? Don’t want to get shaken out over and over. Its very hard psychologically to buy at the bottom, that’s what makes it the bottom.

        This is not financial advice! My mind set looking at what i own is: if I think I am going to panic and sell at some lower price, might as well sell now. I’ve got a strong stomach and resources to not touch it for years, so the usual 60/40 index and bonds type of fund, stay put. Anything involving a business that is family blogged and headed for bankruptcy, I wont let the door hit me on the way out.

        1. Wyoming

          Nouriel Roubini says the bottom is going to be somewhere around 18-20,000. That would be interesting to see…..

      2. Brian (another one the call)

        No one seems to gather that the supply chains are broken. Not future, current, now, ongoing. If you think you can ride out a long series of tidal waves, by all means give it a try. If the last week in what we laughingly call a “market” hasn’t convinced you to protect yourself against what those in the looting class tell you to do at every opportunity, there is nothing left to be said.
        A new reality is upon us. If you have to make money gambling with your nest egg, you are asking to be fleeced.
        A famous author once gave this speech to a collegiate graduating class;
        “Mankind is facing a crossroad. One leads to despair and utter helplessness and the other to total extinction. I certainly hope you choose the right road.”

    1. bob

      I don’t think this is where you should look for this. In fact, based on past calls here you would be better off doing the opposite of the crowd here.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Couldn’t the NC Commentariat become independently wealthy and front the Revolution from our couches?

    2. Wukchumni

      I’d keep it all in three letter acronyms, you’ve rode it this far and to miss out on Dow 40k would be devastating.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I know my family owns a couple properties in Lower Louisiana and I have already told them they should sell now at the peak before the next housing crash and locals start paying attention to Climate Change.

    4. a different chris

      None of these answers are of any use at all without the age and family status of the person answering.

      Specifically, what does “ride it out” mean? 6 months, 5 years, 20? Different things to different people.

      1. Oregoncharles

        There is also “reader view,” under “View” at the top left. It works on the Times, both of them; but maybe not WaPo.

  21. xkeyscored

    Farmer Quits Synthetic Nitrogen, Goes To N-Producing Microbe In Corn AgWeb

    “So why fix what’s not broken?” asks this article.
    The Haber-Bosch process is responsible for around 3% of our CO2 emissions. Synthetic nitrogen has various other drawbacks such as eutrophication. Sounds a bit broken to me, even if it has enabled our population to expand, or maybe explode.
    If this idea can do as it says (and seems to), delivering “nitrogen daily to plant roots throughout the growth cycle” without leaching, it could be a major breakthrough.

    PS I can’t find exactly what microbes they’re using. Looks like a fungus; anyone know?

    1. Wukchumni

      Haber-Bosch allowed a nearly unlimited amount of food to be grown, while a pure Fiat monetary system allowed a nearly unlimited amount of money, as 5 billion more of us were added to the roster.

      1. xkeyscored

        Perhaps fiat money will be superseded by fungal money, or “FunCash”, and we’ll all be inoculated at birth, with it proceeding to feed off our exudates as it penetrates our persons.

    2. xkeyscored

      To answer my own question, this isn’t a fungus, it’s Klebsiella variicola 137, “a species of bacteria which was originally identified as a benign endosymbiont in plants, but has since been associated with disease in humans and cattle as well.” – Wikipedia

      I was misled by the name of the thing they’re developing for wheat, soybeans, sorghum and rice, Bradyrhizobium, which turns out to be a genus of soil bacteria after all.

  22. Craig H.

    > Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope across active volcano

    It was on live television but the youtube search results are not obvious whether it is available to look at any time we want to. Should we want to. I don’t know why anybody would want to watch this but selling tickets for people to watch this stuff is their family business.

    1. The Rev Kev

      He was also attached to a safety harness rope above him the whole walk so was never in danger of falling.

      1. blowncue

        ,,,, assuming that the safety harness would function as intended in the event that he did fall….

    2. pretzelattack

      yeah, iirc there was a disaster a long time ago when several members fell. if he had a safety rope, good for him!

      1. a different chris

        For sure. I am amazed at the skill, I don’t need somebody possessing that skill to die over one mishap. I want to see said person try again.

        Nobody kills Tom Brady when he throws an interception.

      2. Oregoncharles

        More than several; a large portion of a large family. I suppose you could look it up, but I’m not that morbid this evening.

    3. human

      The Flying Wallendas’ do a memorable, family oriented show every year at the Guilford Fair in Connecticut. It is so encouraging, and spectacular, to see four generations of this talented small circus trained, friendly family in a small venue. Literally, right overhead.

      1. eg

        I caught that act back in the early ’70s when old Karl was still in the troupe — good times

    4. ewmayer

      Given that Nik spends most of his rope-walking praying aloud and praising God-n-Jesus, I wonder if he has issues being referred to as a “daredevil”.

      Yah, was using a safety harness, but given the extreme length of the walk, the fog and roiling mists inside the crater and the thermal-related wind gusts, it would have been pure suicide not to. 30 minutes on a tightrope, and the length such that the catenary curve was pretty steep downhill going in and uphill coming out, that was damn impressive. Make fun of the “evangelical aspects’ if you will (I did on a couple occasions, couldn’t help myself – in fact when I first tuned in I said to myself, “OK, at the first God-n-Jesus I’m changing the channel”, but then simply couldn’t look away), but the skill, self-control and concentration needed for such a stunt, wow.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: Australian newspaper prints extra pages to help out in toilet paper shortage”

    Lots of humour arising about this. I saw on the news a clip that has gone viral here. This guy pulls up in the drive-through of a MacDonalds and after placing his order and told the price, gets a roll of toilet paper and pulls off a foot or two of it. The girl in the window starts laughing so the guy say not enough? and then pulls off another foot of the roll and says that she can keep the change.

    1. Mel

      The jokes write themselves. Grauniad doesn’t need any special effort to get the same results.

    2. petal

      Oh I would love to watch that clip! Thank you for making me laugh, totally needed it. I went out and bought dog food today, and grabbed a pack of bog roll just because. Thank you, Australia!

    3. Tom Bradford

      We New Zealanders have been assured by the Govt. that we need not fear a toilet paper shortage as we manufacture all we need ourselves.

      Given the huge tonnages of raw logs no-longer being exported to China I guess it’s true that toilet paper at least isn’t going to be a problem here.

      1. wilroncanada

        Isn’t using logs going a little bit too far? Unless you’ve already tried a square root.

    4. Oregoncharles

      We buy it by the case of 48; with excellent timing, I just did. We get a discount at the Co-op on case or bag lots. Along with the rice and beans.

  24. dearieme

    Coronavirus Might Make Americans Miss Big Government

    our famed CDC has decayed into a sclerotic bureaucracy!

    The bigger the government the worse it’s likely to be. Even Singapore’s famously competent government might be degraded in a couple of generations’ time.

    Whether the USA’s federal government was ever routinely competent in times of peace I don’t know.

    1. MLTPB

      This may be a Tora Tora Tora moment for the CDC, but I believe it’s how we recover from the initial setback that determines the outcome,

      Get them ready as soon as you can, if it’s by this week, or whatnot, let’s do it.

  25. dearieme

    JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon undergoes emergency heart surgery

    I’ve never met Mr Dimon. Should I judge the man by his disagreeable smirk? Presumably not; editors decide which photos to carry.

    1. MLTPB

      This may be a Tora Tora Tora moment for the CDC, but I believe it’s how we recover from the initial setback that determines the outcome,

      Get them ready as soon as you can, if it’s by this week, or whatnot, let’s do it.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      No, you probably shouldn’t judge him on his smirk alone, but a five-minute online search will disclose the behavior behind it.

  26. xkeyscored

    A Coronavirus Pop-Up Shop Has Opened on Florida Avenue Washingtonian

    Can any USians explain the bit about Trinidad – “The cost of masks at the Trinidad pop-up ranges from $5 to $30”?

    1. josh

      Trinidad is a neighborhood in Washington, DC. Historically black and poor although it may have gentrified in the 10+ years since I lived in DC.

  27. McWatt

    What a fantastic thing it is that the newspaper article “How to stop touching your face” is behind a paywall.

    Go team!

    1. xkeyscored

      I noticed Boris Johnson recently speechifying about the virus. One hand still on the (disinfected?) lectern, the other back and forth to his face.

      The four points minus paywall:

      Keep a box of tissues handy.
      When you feel the urge to scratch an itch, rub your nose or adjust your glasses, grab a tissue and use that instead of your fingers.

      Identify triggers.
      Once you’re more aware of when and why you’re touching your face, addressing the root cause can be an effective solution.

      Keep your hands busy.


      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Am I the only one that’s not OCD around here?

        I mean I wash my hands after the normal dirty stuff, but….

        The body takes care of me if I get sick which I rarely do and makes antibodies for the next attack.

        1. pretzelattack

          well, i’ve started trying to be conscious of and avoid touching my face, and i’ve started religiously washing my hands when i come back home after being out. probably not enough, but it’s all i feel compelled to do at the moment. no proven cases in my city, yet.

        2. HotFlash

          As a dear friend (pretty healthy still) said to me many, many years ago abt washing hands after ‘the dirty stuff’, “Isn’t that like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen?” So, before *and* after?

  28. Barbara

    Re: Inside the World of Prison Coaching

    I want to surrender myself to the reality that in my 20s I only worked with people who could advance my career and agenda, and if you couldn’t help me, I didn’t want you in my network.”

    Many, many moons ago, I belonged to a women’s organization that had “Professional” in its name. Despite that lofty designation, its roots were that of working-class women. Like many men’s associations, it was based on monthly dinner meetings, a guest speaker, networking-yes, but with an emphasis on public service and giving back to the community.

    It was a musty old organization that, by the late 70s-early 80s, was beginning to have trouble getting young women to join. My state organization paid to have a study done to determine why it was so hard to attract younger women.

    The study indicated that the young women were not interested in guest speakers, not interested in giving back to the community. They were interested in only one thing – networking. So the state organization created a new chapter with a new spiffy name and a new spiffy agenda (guess). Within a very short time, it was revealed that there were de facto tiers. The middle tier were B women. The B women only wanted to talk to A women and didn’t want to talk to C women.

    The new chapter closed within three years. I can’t imagine the three years of socially excruciating meetings every month.

    Thank God, I am retired and away from all of that.

    1. ewmayer

      The picture from the meeting was classic staging, making the pecking order very clear – Putin and Erdogan in their seats, the entire rest of the Turkish delegation made to stand off to the side, under a statue of Catherine the Great, who made significant territorial advances at the expense of the Turks and Tartars during her reign. That of course added to the basic fact that Erdogan was made to fly to Moscow to meet Putin in the latter’s house, as it were.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Hmmm – The Russian population is about 142 million, GDP $4,519 billion. Turkey’s (from Wikipedia) is 82 million, GDP $2,464 billion. Russia is roughly twice the size, not a huge difference; and Russian ships have to go through Turkey to get to the Mediterranean. The big difference is that Turkey has no nukes of its own, only American ones.

      you don’t casually pick a fight with odds like that – a maxim that does reflect on Erdogan.

  29. Jason Boxman

    LOL. But a barrier is the entire point of deductibles and co-pays. The system is working as intended!

    Kristine Grow, speaking for the America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, said she “could not speak to the uninsured population. But for people who have health insurance coverage with high deductibles, they should not hesitate to seek treatment because of concerns about costs.” Health insurers “are working with federal, state and local officials to protect people from out-of-pocket costs. We do not want financial concerns to be a barrier.”

    1. a different chris

      “Are working with.” Right up there with “Access”. And “Fighting For” — but never winning, oh no.

      And she can’t even “speak to the uninsured population”. That was already covered with “Go Die”. I wonder how Ms. Grow can stand to look in a mirror.

      “We do not want financial concerns to be a barrier.” We just want you to give all your money to us. Don’t spend it on a reliable car, don’t save it for the children, don’t use it on for a downpayment on a real house, just Give. It. To. Us.

  30. FriarTuck

    RE: Major General buried with copies of all his favorite PowerPoint Slides Duffel Blog

    I am the very model of a modern Major-General
    I’ve PowerPoints of vegetable, animal, and mineral
    I post the kings of England, and I forget the fights Historical
    From Marathon to ‘ganistan, in order categorical

    I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters Mathematical
    I understand equations, both the simple and economical
    About financial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news
    erm…. hmmm.
    With many cheerful facts about captial deprecia-tion

    With many cheerful facts about captial depreciation
    With many cheerful facts about captial depreciation
    With many cheerful facts about captial depreciation

    I’m not good at integral and differential calculus;
    I foget the scientific names of beings animalculous:
    In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

    I know our mythic history, King George’s and General Washington’s;
    I answer hard acrostics, I’ve a pretty taste for paradox,
    I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Benedict Arnold,
    In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous;
    I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
    I know the croaking chorus from The Frogs of Aristophanes!
    Then I can hum a fugue of which I’ve heard the music’s din afore,[b]
    And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

    Then I can write a dry cleaning bill in Washintonic cuniform,
    And tell you ev’ry detail of Republicanic uniform:[c]
    In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

    In fact, when I know what is meant by “mamelon” and “ravelin”,
    When I can tell at sight a M-16 rifle from a Javelin,[d]
    When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at,
    And when I know precisely what is meant by “commissariat”,
    When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
    When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery –
    In short, when I’ve a smattering of elemental strategy –
    You’ll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.[e]

    For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
    Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
    But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

  31. JohnnySacks

    “so you can haul dozens of cubic feet of air with your 3.5 liter V6 engine”

    Vice is seriously out of touch on the knowledge regarding pickup trucks and SUVs. 5.3 – 5.7 liter V8s are the norm from GM, Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, with 6.2 liter V8 a GM option. Pfft, 3.5 liter V6 engines are for wannabee rubes.
    Nothing against them if you need them, but any utilitarianism is long dead and gone. The creature comfort options are ridiculous. A basic workhorse may barely be able to be ordered for under $50,000.

    1. a different chris

      Actually no they aren’t wrong at all, they are just a bit imprecise on the details. The killer engine is the twin-turbo “High Output 3.5l V6 Ecoboost”. That’s what they put in the Raptor. You wanna call a Raptor owner a “wannabe”? See you at the stoplight… (ok, not me I actually have a “normal” V8 truck).

      “The Baja-bred High-Output 3.5L V6 engine generates a mind-blowing 450 HP and 510 lb.-ft. of torque.”

      I get a weird link from the Ford website, but here’s a dealer page:

      1. Monty

        Interesting about the Raptor engine. I didn’t know that. I think there are plenty of better names you could come up for the kind of fellows I’ve seen driving them. Can you imagine the monthly medical bills those guys must run up between the all the ‘roids, cialis and rogaine?

      2. inode_buddha

        With that kind of stress on the internals, how many of those engines are going to be doing useful work in 20 years?

        From an engineering perspective the old slow V8 thumpers with huge displacements were actually superior as workhorses, as opposed to marketing to guys with insecurities. They certainly have a far better record for longevity on a shoestring budget.

        Of course I have fond memories of the Chevy big block up to 7.5 liters (454 American cubic inches) and it was trivially cheap and easy to get 500 horses out of one of those.

      1. Deschain

        Yves – this count

        Has Biden currently up by 76 delegates, with 162 ST delegates left to be awarded, including 112 in CA. If the unallocated delegates follow the same proportion as the already allocated delegates in each state, Biden would still be up by 45 delegates. It’s possible the unallocated delegates could swing more to Bernie, but it would have to be by an incredibly wide margin that I think is unlikely.

        1. michael99

          An update on ballot counting in CA:

          -About 3.3 million ballots remain to be processed. These include vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. Click through to the PDF for the actual numbers by county. At the bottom it says “Updated: 03/05/2020 5:42 p.m.”, but for a lot of the counties the numbers are from 3/3 or 3/4, so take them with a grain of salt.

          -Totaling the numbers on the Dem Presidential election results page, I get 3.2 million votes counted and reported so far.

          -The Bee has an article up with speculation about how this may play out for Sanders, Biden and the rest.

          Today is the last day ballots can arrive at the county elections offices and be accepted. (They also have to have been postmarked or submitted at a polling place or drop-off location no later than election day).

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Karl Rove said the same thing without equivocation on FOX News Tuesday night, that Sanders will have the post-ST delegate lead when it was all totaled up, and I figured he knew whereof he spoke, but the reported numbers are miles away from that so far. Strange!

  32. Jeff W

    “…with a ten-minute wait for results.”

    The article says “Results come back within three days, and are sent by SMS.“

    1. dearieme

      The claim for the British roadside testing is 24 hours. But that’s just something from the papers.

  33. xkeyscored

    SUVs and Pickup Trucks Are Now Too Big For Our Already Gigantic Garages Vice

    I’ve personally observed a household purchase a pick-up truck only to discover it wouldn’t fit in their garage, which abutted directly onto the street. Did they get rid of the damned thing? No way! They partially rebuilt the house and garage to accommodate it.

  34. Synoia

    JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon undergoes emergency heart surgery

    Wow! He has one? Who would have known? Was it a big and generous heart?

    1. newcatty

      Actually, the surgery team , when performing the operation, had to rely on techniques used on pediatric patients. The heart was so small. Also, it was not a typical human heart ( patient confidentiality, of course, is being kept in any case). Cheney’s specialists were appreciated and consultants. TG for video conferencing…Ahh, Choo!

  35. antidlc

    OMG. You really have to see this…

    After Hourslong Waits to Vote, California Considers Changes, Texas Doesn’t

    Behind the paywall so you can’t read the whole thing, but you can watch the video.
    “There’s no standardized voting method in the U.S., which can lead to uncertainty when things go wrong. But some experts say the patchwork of systems may help keep elections safe. WSJ’s Lorie Hirose explains. ”

    I have no words.

    1. ewmayer

      “But some experts say the patchwork of systems may help keep elections safe. WSJ’s Lorie Hirose explains.” — I’m guessing Ms. Hirose didn’t explain that “keep elections safe” means “keep elections safe from those troublous ‘voters’.”

  36. Stephanie

    So, I thought this was an interesting quote from the interview Shincheonji:

    “By creating a materialistic society that revolves around money without giving young people any hope, the older generation has basically driven many young people [into the arms of Shincheonji]. The lesson taught by the Shincheonji phenomenon is that we need to build a society in which failure doesn’t mean the end of people’s dreams, a society in which true joy and love are found in faith, a society in which people warmly embrace each other,” Lee said.

    Lee seems to think Shincheonji goes beyond what in the U.S. would think of as Prosperity Gospel and instead promises straight-up world domination once Jesus returns. I don’t know enough about the Dominionists to know if their worldview might be comparable? Otoh I don’t see anyone of a Dominionist bent performing the hard-core, targeted acts of service Shincheonji apparently deploys on potential recruits.

  37. Hepativore

    I wonder…if there is any way that somebody associated with Sanders or the Sanders team could actually start making an effort to try and bring Biden’s cognitive deficits into focus front and center. It is a serious issue and one where Biden is very vulnerable, but I do not think that Sanders would be willing to go down that route himself as he is still hesitating to take off the gloves when it comes to Biden.

    The problem is that the public figures who are aware about Biden’s mental issues are not the sorts of people who make it on mainstream media outlets as the people that need to hear about this the most are not the people who would ever watch or listen to non-mainstream media outlets. Big media is continuing to sweep Biden’s dementia under the rug and will do so as long as it can.

    So, somebody who is amenable to Sanders but is able to reach a lot of people with the upper-middle class “liberal” bubble might be best served to make the case, as I do not see how somebody this mentally far gone is fit to serve any public office at this point, let alone president.

  38. Kevin

    FWIW – Trump picked Pence to lead COVID-19 so he would have a scapegoat. Pence will take the fall (trump will claim to hardly know him and claim to have little knowledge of what was being done)

    Trump will then pick a new VP.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I suggest Tulsi Gabbard if that’s the plan. She proved she can take out an opponent in one clean blow, pace Kamala Harris, and to say the Husk of Biden and his FP record (among many other things, but this would be an obvious good fit) makes a target-rich environment would be an understatement. And don’t forget her abstention on the impeachment vote. Also, don’t forget this from 2016-

      On its face, Monday’s summit at Trump Towers between President-elect Donald Trump and Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard makes little sense.

      Hawaii was Donald Trump’s single worst state (he got only 29 percent of the vote) and it’s by far the country’s most racially diverse, with whites making up about only one-quarter of the population.

      But in a statement after the meeting, Gabbard, who has often challenged President Barack Obama on national security, said she held a “frank and positive” conversation with the President-elect, discussing Syria and other foreign policy issues.

      Gabbard, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also said she and Trump discussed legislation that she is pushing that would end what she described as “our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

  39. W

    I am betting that the lack of worker protections, social safety nets, childcare in the US will mean that, compared to first world nations, school districts in the US will be slow to close schools as the virus spreads.

  40. Billy

    “California orders insurers to waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus testing”
    Not enough tests available and some of them are defective.

    Too rich to qualify for Medi-Cal, or too poor to pay health insurance premiums? One of the 50%+ of Americans without $400 for an emergency, let alone thousands for a Coronavirus test? Your friends and clients, like those of the returned from Iran massage therapist who gave 40 face massages before going into quarantine, probably aren’t returning your calls.

    Cruise ship full of Americans is locked down offshore, but illegals, 6% of California population, some from China and Africa, who came across the border are welcomed with open arms and given sanctuary by Governor Newsom and are not tracked and immune from any control. Does that make sense?

    1. Synoia

      You might want to contemplate your navel and ask yourself why Illegals want to travel so far from home and family to come to the US, and other wealthy countries.

      Please ask yourself, could it be anything relayed to Neo Liberalism, and lack of local manufacture and production?

  41. Katy

    The University of Washington has declared that no classes are to be held in-person starting Monday, March 9. The campus will still be open, but no students will be required to be there. I suppose staff still will be. All students in my program were just given access to Zoom Pro, a web-conferencing platform.

    Classes are planned to resume their normal schedule on first day of spring quarter, March 30.

    1. Oregoncharles

      W’ve been using Zoom for state committee meetings – seems to work well. A lot better than Slack, which I dislike. Too much unjustified complexity.

  42. Oregoncharles

    On the CDC and “sclerotic bureaucracy:”
    Besides the impact of budget cuts (of course the Dems are complicit – what’s Obama’s record?), there appears to be a failure of leadership, which might land on Trump’s desk, and policy, which might be back a ways.

    And fundamentally, “sclerosis” is a sign of decadence.

  43. Oregoncharles

    “Deep Breaths: China Isn’t Nazi Germany Or The Soviet Union ”
    The article is about US policy in regards to China; but I’m taking issue with the implications of the title. Despite the many differences, China, like the two named and, for that matter, the US, is a conquest state with a very recent record of genocide; of the three, the only one with a CURRENT policy of genocide. Moral considerations call for an arms-length approach.

  44. Oregoncharles

    From the piece on “Colombian barter markets”: “The indigenous soon found out that no trade deal is free when the government banned the commercial use of non-patented seeds.”

    Reveals the essential fraud of “free trade.” Sounds like an ironically positive outcome, preserving the ancient practice of barter.

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