Links 4/15/2020

A new ‘Oumuamua theory could mean many more interstellar visitors are headed our way Popular Science

Bats are a key source of human viruses — but they’re not special Nature

The world economy is now collapsing Martin Wolf, FT


The science:

Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China JAMA. Main outcomes and measures: “Neurologic manifestations fell into 3 categories: central nervous system manifestations (dizziness, headache, impaired consciousness, acute cerebrovascular disease, ataxia, and seizure), peripheral nervous system manifestations (taste impairment, smell impairment, vision impairment, and nerve pain), and skeletal muscular injury manifestations.”

COVID-19 fatality rates vary widely, leaving questions for scientists The Hill

Investigating the coronavirus: Incomplete data creates headaches for reporters ICIJ

* * *


Chloroquine diphosphate in two different dosages as adjunctive therapy of hospitalized patients with severe respiratory syndrome in the context of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection: Preliminary safety results of a randomized, double-blinded, phase IIb clinical trial (CloroCovid-19 Study) medrXive

Stem cells from a baby’s placenta may save life of coronavirus victim in NJ New York Post

Copper’s Virus-Killing Powers Were Known Even to the Ancients Smithsonian. “[Microbiology researcher Bill] Keevil’s team checked the old railings at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal a few years ago. “The copper is still working just like it did the day it was put in over 100 years ago,” he says. “This stuff is durable and the anti-microbial effect doesn’t go away.” Maybe copper cellphone cases that double as Faraday cages?

* * *

Materiel shortages:

3 Vans, 6 Coolers, a Plane, a Storm and 2 Labs: A Nasal Swab’s Journey NYT. Very good, in an industrial romance sort of way. But: “Twelve times a day, Quest sends batches of results to Maximus, a federal contractor.” Surely the reporter might have mentioned Maximus’s horrible track record, if only in passing?

U.S. to Boost Payment for Abbott’s Covid-19 Test to Increase Use Bloomberg

* * *


Tail Risk of Contagious Diseases (PDF) Pasquale Cirillo and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Nature Physics (under revision). From the abstract:

Data over the past 2,500 years show that pan-demics are extremely fat-tailed in terms of fatalities, with a marked potentially existential risk for humanity…. The potential tail risk overrides conclusions on decisions derived from compartmental epidemiological models and similar approaches…. We examine the distribution of fatalities from major pandemics in history (spanning about 2,500 years), and build a statistical picture of their tail properties. Using tools from Extreme Value Theory (EVT), we show for that the distribution of the victims of infectious diseases is extremely fat-tailed, more than what one could be led to believe from the outset… While it is known that fat tails represent a common–yet often ignored in modeling–regularity in many fields of science and knowledge, for the best of our knowledge, only war casualties and operational risk losses show a behavior as erratic and wild as the one we observe for pandemic fatalities.

Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period Science. From the abstract: ” Absent other interventions, a key metric for the success of social distancing is whether critical care capacities are exceeded. To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022.”

Health care workers are 10%-20% of US coronavirus cases AP

Internal memos call into question VA’s still-rising coronavirus count Military Times

7 crew members aboard hospital ship Mercy test positive for coronavirus Politico

Does air con help spread coronavirus? Chinese study of 3 families in a restaurant suggests so South China Morning Post

* * *

Political response:

Stimulus Oversight Panel Has One Person Trying to Watch $2.2 Trillion Alone Bloomberg. Kinda like the Obama administration not giving Eric Schneiderman a phone or a desk during the foreclosure crisis.

Exclusive: Democrats have a new plan to keep millions of laid-off workers insured Vox. Of course, it’s not universal. It only covers premiums (accordint to VOX) and not co-pays and deductibles. “‘This proposal should be favored by providers, since it will increase their likelihood of receiving higher commercial rates from these workers,’ said [Katherine Hempstead, a senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]. ‘Also, this is advantageous for insurers that are in the employer market but not the marketplace.'”

Now joining the fight against coronavirus: The world’s armed rebels, drug cartels and gangs WaPo. Maybe that’s what we need in this country? Not to imply that heatlh insurers aren’t cartels and gangs.

* * *

Exit strategy:

California’s coronavirus reopening: Gavin Newsom’s six-point plan will alter daily life San Francisco Chronicle

California, Oregon & Washington Announce Western States Pact Office of Governor Gavin Newsome (MT). “[A]n agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future.” An interstate compact of that scale could implement #MedicareForAll — if they became currency issuers.

Scientific Experts Release Proposals for Loosening the Lockdown Der Spiegel

An alternating lock-down strategy for sustainable mitigation of COVID-19 arxiv

Is the Coronavirus ‘Peak’ a Mirage? FAIR

Prepare For The Ultimate Gaslighting WBUR (TH).


Powerful Americans Were Catastrophically Wrong about China National Review

US-China decoupling: a reality check Asia Times

Bloomberg News Killed Investigation, Fired Reporter, Then Sought To Silence His Wife NPR

Building self-determination without nationalism Lausan

‘Rice ATMs’ provide free rice for people out of work in Vietnam due to the coronavirus crisis CNN

Pandemic in Paradise Asia Media Centre


India Extends ‘Total’ Lockdown By Nearly 3 Weeks NPR

Coronavirus Daily Updates: Science Network Says Modi’s Speech Was ‘Major Disappointment’ The Wire


Jeremy Corbyn was defeated because he refused to defend himself against the Israel lobby Middle East Monitor

Shipwrecked Adam Schatz, LRB. “In an interview on the television show Soul! in 1971, [the late BIll] Withers was asked why he’d said his former job installing toilets on commercial aircraft was a ‘more revolutionary act’ than singing. ‘A guy that picks up garbage,’ he replied, ‘is needed more than a guy that plays baseball. He doesn’t receive as much notoriety, but I would rather see my garbage gone than see some cat hit a ball 500 feet. And I would much rather not sing for a month than not go to the bathroom for a month.'”

Reo indultado por Sebastián Piñera fusiló a una mujer embarazada en 1973 El Desconcierto (timotheus). Google translate: “Inmate pardoned by Sebastián Piñera shot a pregnant woman in 1973.” The inmate being a Pinochet goon. Never let a crisis go to waste!

Trump Transition

Trump suspends funding to World Health Organization FT

Trump set to preside over record spending, deficits as coronavirus costs explode FOX. I wonder if austerity will be the topic of Biden’s 2021 inaugural speech; as it was for Obama’s in 2009.


AP Interview: Sanders says opposing Biden is ‘irresponsible’ AP. Sanders: “I believe that it’s irresponsible for anybody to say, ‘Well, I disagree with Joe Biden — I disagree with Joe Biden! — and therefore I’m not going to be involved.'” I don’t see how the oft-deployed liberal Democrat tactic of voter-shaming will work with a small donor-driven movement comprised in large part by policy motivated members of the working class and precarious PMCs who came to the Sanders campaign in the first place out of a sense of responsibility to others (“solidarity”) and the country. I’m picturing Sanders’ first conversation with Obama’s emissary ending much like this: “Thank you for the dinner and a very pleasant evening. Have your car take me to the airport. Mr Obama Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once.”

Bernie Sanders Foreign Policy Advisors Invited To Biden Camp The National Interest. Of all the task forces, assimilation will be easiest here. Sadly.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “It’s legitimate to talk about” allegations against Joe Biden CBS

The Media Had a Formula for Reporting Sexual Misconduct. Then Joe Biden Was Accused. Jacobin

The Trailer: Biden didn’t listen to the left. He won anyway. WaPo

Health Care

US for-profit healthcare sector cuts thousands of jobs as pandemic rages Guardian

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Can Tech Track the Virus Without Shredding Privacy? Bloomberg


797. The Plane That Never Was. Ask The Pilot. Gone where the woodbine twineth.

Guillotine Watch

Remember all the 1%-ers who escaped to the Hamptons and bought up all the freezers? Nancy Pelosi already has one:

Class Warfare

Why Are Rich Americans Getting $1.7 Million Stimulus Checks? Forbes

Rural hospitals shut out of stimulus loans face financial crisis Politico. “This hole in the stimulus was apparently unintentional, multiple Republican and Democratic congressional aides said.” Too bad Congress is on vacation. If they were grocery workers, they’d still be on the job.

Coronavirus Threatens the Future of a Small Town in New Hampshire NYT. These small towns should be “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.” There’s your problem.

Rich And Healthy Vs. Poor And Dead In NYC The American Conservative. “Tom Hanks will thank the food delivery guys for their service on SNL but we still won’t pay them a living wage.” Well worth a read.

‘Help We Don’t Wanna Die’: Inside The First Prison To Protest Lack Of COVID-19 Protection HuffPo. More Petri dishes…

Our Government Runs on a 60-Year-Old Coding Language, and Now It’s Falling Apart OneZero. So we have robust and reliable code that’s not being maintained?

Some Companies Are Too Connected to Fail Peter Orszag, Bloomberg (Re Silc: “We have a close friend who works for one of the biggest law/lobby firms in DC. She said they have never been busier in her 30+ years since the stimulus started. Lots of new clients ready to feed”).

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Martin Oline

    What a wonderful picture (Antidote du Jour), and a perfect aspect ratio for my computer. Thank you so much.
    The Conservative Treehouse (please, all of you with TDS move on along) has an overview today of the Obama Administration’s use of the 501 search queries before Mike Rogers shut down unauthorized and illegal access on April 18, 2016. This started the Crossfire Hurricane investigation because opposition research could no longer be conducted using government meta data. This site is valuable not because of it’s conclusions or philosophy (I often find the content irrelevant or too religious) but because it provides PDFs of the entire set of documents available. Want to read the entire 99 page FISC opinion of Rosemary Collyer? You can find it here. Please don’t tell me that the Judge wears a tin-foil hat. I expect more from the commentators at NC. An excerpt from the article is:
    “The NSA database was how political surveillance was being conducted during Obama’s second term in office. However, when the system was flagged, and when NSA Director Mike Rogers shut down “contractor” access to the system, the system users needed to develop another way to get access.

    Mike Rogers shuts down access on April 18, 2016. On April 19, 2016, Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s wife, Mary Jacoby visits the White House. Immediately thereafter, the DNC and Clinton campaign contract Fusion GPS… who then hire Christopher Steele.”
    Link to the source material is here.

    1. Aumua

      Interesting. I’m curious if this has anything to do with any of the links, or if it’s just something you really thought we should all be aware of?

      1. Martin Oline

        The latter. Most news organizations will tell you what you should think and will loudly proclaim their purpose is to shape opinion and not provide news and information. McLuhan was right in 1964. The Medium IS the Message, even if it has now become a process of massaging the brain of the recipient. The site linked above, even if you disagree with the conclusions, provides links to the documents behind the news they cover, allowing you to make your own decisions. Naked Capitalism also provides source information, which is highly valuable to me and all the people who come here daily. The commentary is also usually well-reasoned and considerate, probably due more to the diligence of the moderators than for any other reason.

        1. Anon

          Actually, it’s probably a blend of good moderators and an educated, mostly considerate commentariat. I come here to be challenged in my beliefs, as well as be educated about finance and economics.

          1. hunkerdown

            For those who have already seen it, this is the Sinclair Broadcasting Group coordinated “extremely dangerous to our [whose?] democracy” editorial from just after the Trump win, overlaid in the voices of each of their 200+ stations.

        2. wilroncanada

          Martin Oline
          Interesting reference, because McLuhan also wrote a book, a summary of his thoughts about media, illustrated by Quentin Fiore,
          It was called: “The Medium Is the Massage”.

      2. lambert strether

        In principle, this is good. We can’t cover everything and so we welcome links. This is also a continuing story. Not sure about Conservative Treehouse, and readers will have noted that we rarely link to, say, Daily Kos either.

    2. Stephen V.

      Appreciate this MO. I was savaged by a friend yesterday for not being “pragmatic” and voting for JB. Obviously an acute case of TDS. I now ask, is it too “idealistic” to consider such a thing as “the Presidency” independent of corrupt personalities and all the rest? I agree on the religious stuff but it’s a sign of the times-nothing is pure. Imnsho, no one even comes close to the legal document-based analysis of the russia-russia psyop as these guys.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Working in politics you learn to suspend friendships. Next time a friend tries to vote shame you, just look them in the eye and say, “We’ve been good friends for # years, I’d like to keep that friendship. Let’s talk again sometime after the November election but until then let’s avoid each other.”

        There is a much shorter version of this, but it’s not suitable for a family blog.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        I’m probably in a small minority here and most everywhere else, I can understand and accept those who won’t vote for Biden under any circumstances as well as those who will hold their noses and do the “lesser evil” thing to try and depose Trump. I plan on voting Green Party again to help them stay on the ballot, but it might be a little tougher decision to make if I lived in a swing state. Trump is pretty familyblogging awful in so many ways I can’t get too upset at people who just want him gone, no matter how.

        1. Anon

          Well, because of the Electoral College, making that choice in California, New York, Oregon, Washington state is acceptable. If you live in a “swing state” like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan or Florida it gets dicier. “The long turn to the right” may be inexorable.

          1. sd

            Where would things be today had Hilary Clinton been elected instead of Donald Trump?

            Where will things be in four years if Joe Biden is elected instead of Donald Trump?

            1. Anon

              I assume those are rhetorical questions. I don’t know the answer to either of them. (I didn’t vote for either; Obama also.) The long turn to the right may be unavoidable.

              As I’ve stated many times: support the candidate that fits your views. Recognizing that the American political system was set up to protect the landed (elite). Hamilton, while an egalitarian, wanted his compatriots to be heard first (and likely, last). The American system is a democracy, except for the election of the President. Representation in Congress gives undo weight to Senators (advice and consent); who weren’t elected to office until 1903, and each represents a wildly disproportionate share of the electorate.

              Wresting control of the national government is a Sisyphian task. It is too easy to divide and conquer (misinform) the voters. And those with power are not interested in giving it up. Therefor, the long turn to the right.

              1. JBird4049

                The long turn to the right has been happening since the 1940s and was really noticeable by the 1970s. Certainly when Ronald Reagan was elected. What I do not think anyone expected was the increasingly successful creation of incompetence in the government becoming so great that even the adrenaline created by panic at systemic disaster would have no effect. The current metaphorical economic hangings have just increased the greed instead of concentrating their minds.

                The system is is designed to give the elites, whoever they might be, a greater amount of control and the common folk the ability to stop and even override them in extreme conditions. The Founders tended to be that the little people were not really that great at running things, but that giving too much, or allowing the accumulation of too much, power was perhaps worse. The dictum “power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely”’they absolutely believed in. That is why they wanted a democracy of some kind even if they, the framers, were generally the ruling elites themselves. We really got lucky in having the founders and revolutionaries that we did. There is plenty to criticize especially for modern Americans, but they tried hard to create a working and balanced system.

                However, what they feared has happened; the crushing oppression, and it is just that, of the majority of the population by a corrupt and wealthy oligarchy using a heavily armed police state and a large, permanent standing army. It would be called tyranny by them. Just as many, or even most, of them predicted something like a civil war due to slavery (yes, even some of the slaveholders) they also predicted the occasional revolution.

            2. Paul Jurczak

              Hillary: hot war with Russia, perhaps.

              Biden: things will be fundamentally the same.

        2. richard

          I can’t get upset at them because I don’t favor getting upset at all. But trump isn’t even worse than biden. On an individual level he just isn’t, imo. I grant you they would bring with them different sets of people to rule and adminster. Maybe that still makes a difference for some people. Not for me anymore; they’ve broken that for good. Vote blue for the court? Why, so schumer can fast track more trump appointees? For the climate? I grant you the Paris Accords, if you grant me the open door for drilling and fracking Obama was for 2 terms. He’s bragged about it, sees it as a hidden strength. Blue is done being of any service to us, is what I’d say to reluctant biden voters. Demand things from it and scare the s&^% out of it when you can, but work with it no more. Build something else politically, starting now. Build it alongside your policy based movements and workplace organizing.
          The dems seem to be happy being a feeble and feckless minority party. Let’s accelerate that process shall we, and make them whigs.

          1. lordkoos

            Voting Biden because of the SCOTUS is pretty absurd. Joe voted to confirm Antonin Scalia, as well being instrumental in getting Clarence Thomas on the court.

            Here in blue WA state I may get away with voting Green party, thankfully, since Biden has been on the wrong side of pretty much every issue I care about for his entire political career. However, if I was in a red or swing state I would probably have to vote for Joe simply because Trump has been so destructive. I think his failed response to the pandemic has sealed his fate.

            After Trump was elected I remember thinking that the big problem will be that Trump has been so terrible that the Democrats will be able to get away with backing a slightly less horrible candidate and everyone will line up for it.

        3. curlydan

          Totally agree with you. If you don’t live in a swing state, why vote for a party or a candidate that doesn’t represent you the best?

        4. Paul Jurczak

          I’m voting Green Party again too. Sometimes, on a bright sunny day, I have this hopelessly naive thought of half of non-voting public suddenly waking up and voting (the same) 3rd party. The numbers are there, political duopoly is not as strong as it seems to be.

          1. rob

            I have the same thought… people talk about “change”… but really, if a lot of people just wanted to do something out of the box…to go “off script”… and wage an actual “act” against the duopoly.
            vote green party

  2. fresno dan

    Powerful Americans Were Catastrophically Wrong about China National Review

    For the last thirty years, the vast majority of powerful institutions in the United States placed a gargantuan bet on the idea that the government in Beijing could be a reliable partner in prosperity and would be a responsible actor on the world stage.
    Like the article says, true enough but incomplete. I believe it is more accurate that the 0.01% thought that they could become even richer through labor arbitrage. Most “principles” espoused by political parties (powerful institution, or more accurately the interests that fund them) are nothing more than advertising slogans – “reliable partner in prosperity and responsible actor” had nothing to do with opening up China for humanity.

    1. a different chris

      >the idea that the government in Beijing could be a reliable partner

      And why was that a bad bet? “Honor among thieves” I’ve heard is a thing. :D

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s simple, really.
      a bunch of rich guys were still butthurt about the New Deal, and really, really didn’t like having to share the wealth with smelly working people…so they sent nixon to visit Mao, and then moved most of the Physical Plant over there, in order to just let the peasants do the work for much, much less…and pocketed the difference.
      the problem is that those peasants ended up getting TV’s and a little bit of money, and found that they liked both…and wanted a lifestyle akin to Baywatch.
      …and didn’t stay Peasants.
      Avarice and a constitutional unwillingness to share and to care about humans is at the root of all of this….and for 50 years, we’ve been idolising these rapacious scrooges…holding them up as the Best of the Best.

      1. Watt4Bob


        Now please add environmental regulation arbitrage to labor arbitrage in your calculations.

        It seems to me I’ve heard the lack of regulation in China results in bigger savings than labor.

        There’s a guy over at Angry Bear that has extensive manufacturing experience in China, and it was he that pointed that out to me some years ago.

        Of course they are related subjects, it was “We the People” who demanded clean air and water, and got them, starting back in the late 1960-70s.

        They shipped our jobs off shore, (Trump isn’t going to bring them back) and they’ve been busy rolling back environmental protections, really escalating under Trump.

    3. Chris

      What amazes me about articles like that is how they don’t focus on the legal and regulatory arbitrage that happened with a move to China for production. Don’t want to worry about environmental laws? Move to China! Tired of listening to your workers complain? Move to China! Frustrated by the potential for OSHA violations? Move to a China!

      That’s why even though in many cases you can make goods in the US better and cheaper than in China companies still push for making things over there.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read back in the 90s that tax codes were changed so that it made it advantageous to ship your firm to China. So American taxpayers were paying to have their jobs shipped to China.

        1. a different chris

          And shipping the stuff back from China is way cheap for some reason I never could quite get my head around.

            1. J.K.

              April 15, 2020 at 1:17 pm
              Container logistics. Sea shipping costs are a rounding error on any cargo value.“

              Yes, i recall reading something years ago that really stuck with me. It was container cargo shipping that was one of the major innovations that propelled and made possible the current order. I recall , i hope im not remembering this incorrectly but for example, it was cheaper to ship those massive container ships to the u.s from china than to have trucks driving from a southern state up to Ny.

              1. chuck roast

                Container shipping costs:
                Guangdong to San Diego; 1 TEU,
                (twenty foot equivalent unit) 25-30 days, $1,200-$3,000.

            1. cnchal

              Postal rates from China to the US are cheaper than from your place to the block next to yours, in the US.

        2. Watt4Bob

          Add to that, that the PTB were so intent on promoting the trend, that businesses couldn’t get financing for new manufacturing plants if their plans involved building them in the USA.

          The bankers would look you in the eye and question your intelligence, and deny financing if going to China wasn’t in the plan.

          American labor costs, American regulatory costs, what’s wrong with you?

          1. periol

            Let’s not forget private equity stripping companies and offshoring production. The switch to screwing Americans with health care was in part because they ran out of manufacturing firms to destroy.

    4. xkeyscored

      What amazes me about this is the scepticism regarding “the idea that the government in Beijing could be a reliable partner in prosperity and would be a responsible actor on the world stage,” while the USA has spent the last few decades proving again and again that it is neither itself, rather a purveyor of austerity and chaos, an unreliable partner liable to become a foe at any moment.

      “The problem was, the Chinese government was never the stabilizing, reasonable force for order that these Americans wanted to believe it was. We saw the regime’s true nature over three decades of brutal human-rights abuses and censorship and shameless lies to cover that brutality.”

      I hardly know where to begin, but Guantanamo, Iraq, and Chelsea Manning spring to mind first, with a hundred other examples waiting in the wings. Perhaps the USA has outsourced its mirror making capacity to the evil Chinese, leaving it unable to see itself.

      1. MLTPB

        Moscow and Beijing are more likely to attract others, like Cambodia, to their Heartland Alliance by not saying they are just as unreliable.

        Their own pride would probably mean they want to be reliable, on their own, and not thinking about others.

      2. lordkoos

        Isn’t China is far more reliable than the US? The USA can change policy direction every 4 or 8 years to the point of whiplash, while the communist party in China sets 5, 10, and 20 year goals and is able to stick with them, as opposed to changing the rules every other election cycle.

        1. MLTPB

          I think whether Beijing is trustworthy itself is the way to go.

          Not whether Moscow or other nations also cheated, or what not.

    5. Oh

      A responsible partner on the world stage like the US? $$$$$ talks for these 0.01% whether they’re ‘mercans or chinese. Everthing else goes for a jog.

    6. Mel

      The way I think of it, the vast majority of powerful institutions didn’t even think they were placing a gargantuan bet.
      They had been in charge of everything they could see for as long as they could remember. They believed that they could ship almost all the North American manufacturing capacity to China, and they would still be in charge. They would be in charge because that’s who they were.
      The American elites assumed that being “reliable partner[s] in prosperity and responsible actor[s]” would mean “doing what a bunch of distant strangers told them to do.” The Chinese couldn’t see how any of that had any connection with “Hey! free factories!”

    7. SteveW

      He article is a defensive cover up for the 0.01% now that the SHTF. They never care about responsible government. Only “reliability” for their profit.

  3. Musicismath

    Chris Bertram posted a rather good blogpost over at Crooked Timber yesterday on the long and ugly fallout from the Labour AS “crisis” as reflected in the leaked report, pithily entitled “UK Labour insiders and their pet journalists worked to undermine the party.” Rather mysteriously, Crooked Timber is now down (first time I can remember this happening) and has been all morning.

    1. Charger01

      The kids over at Chapo Trap House had a great summary of that information. Their podcast is available for free on YT.

    1. MLTPB

      Hope they all recover soon.

      And not test positive after that.

      This thing is making the world quire foggy.

  4. Dave

    Re: Cobol – Programmers these days routinely throw away old Proven robust languages When they get distracted by a shiny new object. Each next gen programming language gets more and more bloated and ends up being layered on more and more magic it depends on to operate. Knowing the intricacies of how it works all the way down is basically a thing of the past. It’s more akin to a Rube Goldberg machine now. The worst example I can think of is people trying to use web JavaScript to make desktop apps through the electron framework. Here they distribute an entire web browser to use essentially as their own operating system. The level of bloat because people want pretty ui’s and are allergic to writing their own code is astounding. Couple years ago one 3rd party author pulled his node js library and broke tons of other authors setups because they had depended on his package being published and available to use a few simple functions from it. Massive dependencies will burn you.

    1. cnchal

      > Massive dependencies will burn you.

      A great reason to stay away from newer cars too. When a chinesium wiring harness fails bigly, the car is scrap.

      1. BobW

        Sold my 2016 Honda back to the dealer when the dash display went nuts, cycling through test patterns. Very expensive out of warranty repair. Got a 2002 model instead. Still too much electronic stuff, but much better.

        1. jefemt


          1996-2005 standard transmission Hondas and Toyotas… my mechanic (german cars) says the older Japanese economy cars are the only way to go. Plentiful parts, excellent engineering, very fuel efficient.

          He said this as he was showing me a pre-molded 2.5 foot bent hose for an audi… he got for $850, MSRP full boat at audi shop was $1,350.

          1. lordkoos

            I’ve been driving a 2003 Camry with a standard transmission for a couple of years now, which I bought from my neighbor for $850. It is the best car I have ever owned, although at 280,000 miles it does burn a little oil it still climbs hills like a champ and gets great mileage too. I’m actually tired of the car & would like to get an automatic, but as long as it runs so well I can’t justify replacing it.

            My sister-in-law bought a used Prius awhile ago and then found out a year later that the special battery needed replacing – a $4000 hit.

          2. cnchal

            What your mechanic says is “exactly right” as the nuuzz announcers keep saying these days when offering an opinion.

            For almost two decades, we have had an 01 Accord, four cylinder with a five speed standard. It has over 300,000 miles on it and still runs great, although it is succumbing to rust. The engine, transmission, clutch, alternator, starter, rad, rad hoses, intake system are original and I do most maintenance myself including the timing belts.

            I am going to retire it soon, and replace it with a mechanically identical 01 Accord that has 120,000 miles on it — parked and waiting for plates — with a mint body that will never see a winter mile, and I plan on driving it for decades.

            These are great cars, smooth, quiet, reasonably comfortable, get 500 highway miles to a tank of gas at 75 MPH fun to ramp blast and it blends into traffic like it isn’t there.

            Peak car design was a quarter century ago.

            Sadly, Honda has lost it’s way. A company known for making great engines puts a 1.5 liter turbo in the Civic and HRV and those engines are a disaster, with the flaw of raw gasoline getting past the rings at startup and diluting the engine oil. I bet some owners are wondering how the oil level rises ever so slightly on the dipstick as time goes on. These late model Hondas are less than worthless. When an engine has to be replaced, the wrecked one it comes from will have the same flaw. Dealing with the electronic crapola and the CVT automatic transmission on them adds to the future pain. But hey, they get 50 MPG . . . till break time.

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Driving a car with a nonfunctioning dash display is a ton of fun, especially if the gas gauge is digital. Oddly, you only miss the speedometer when traffic is thin and there’s no herd to blend in with.

          I had to scrap a late ’90s Oldsmobile because the onboard computer was erratically only running five of the six cylinders. Garage told me they’d have to tear the entire car apart to find the problem. A Vietnamese-owned garage fixed it for $50.

          There will always be people who can repair this stuff. Maybe not legally, but getting the job done is more important than playing by the rules.

          Without Bernie, even NC readers are going to have to learn this game. In the future, getting your car fixed may be just as illegal as buying cannabis in Nebraska.

          1. periol

            Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is decriminalized in Nebraska. Hope that doesn’t mess up your analogy.

            I drove a 1999 Civic Hatchback for 11 years, the speedometer died about 4 years in. Funny thing about it, and true story, the speedometer would randomly kick in and start working, every now and then. 100% of the time, there was either a cop a mile or two up ahead, or I had a surprise waiting for me at the end of my journey – could be happy, could be unhappy – I needed to be on my toes.

            I came to enjoy driving without the speedometer though. The car was a manual, which helped, but I had to pay a little more attention to the car and my driving to make sure of my speed. It was fun.

          2. crittermom

            >”getting your car fixed may be just as illegal as buying cannabis in Nebraska.”

            I’m feeling very fortunate currently as I moved back to Colorado, renting a room from my former mechanic (& friend). Although he sold his business years ago due to health problems, he still works on friends’ vehicles in the 3 bay (2 with lifts!) garage he has at his house.
            Still loving “ol’ reliable”, my 1987 Jeep Cherokee I’d purchased new, but if it were to break down he can not only tow me home but also repair it.

            At almost 72, he remains one of the best mechanics around. I’ve had no desire to purchase a new car even if I could afford one. Too much damn computer sh*t!

            (In addition, he’s a hoarder. So even before the virus, the house was well stocked with over 100 rolls of toilet paper alone, in addition to much else).

            I give thanks every day, as I’m doing much better than many.
            Politics, however, can still get me depressed…

        3. Oh

          Acura’s supposed to be a step up but it’s electronics sucks. Fails right after the warranty expires. POS,

          1. GC54

            Lexus is better but I wait for its better tech to descend the Toyota line into something more affordable.The current RAV4 hybrid uses the Lexus battery system and seems to work well so far. The engine however has already had 1 recall. But I aim to get a depreciated relic in several yrs provided the line’s reliability holds up.

        4. chuck roast

          cah tawk…
          The best cah I evah owned was a ’65 Mustang. It was a straight six, slush-a-matic. Easy to fix, easy to drive. I would be drivin’ it today if I hadn’t run it into the back of a Mercedes Benz. It was a bad look.
          In 1966, Foad remembid that they fahgut to engineeah in planned obsolescence in the 65’s. So, they made up for rit in the 66’s. Worst cahs evah! The only downside to the 65 machines was that the floar’s had a tendency to rust out. Totally fixable.

    2. Watt4Bob

      Couple years ago one 3rd party author pulled his node js library and broke tons of other authors setups because they had depended on his package being published and available to use a few simple functions from it.

      I believe it gets even worse. I’ve heard reports of ‘packages’ so poorly/carelessly assembled that they contain malicious code, and that has been used thousands of times by other careless programmers.

      In fact, one of the last virus outbreaks that I had to fight originated with file that arrived in an employee’s drop-box account which he was using to collaborate with friends, a team of programmers outside the company, for personal gain, on what he described as “his spare time“.

      It’s quite confusing to me, all of the sudden, to tell which is the metaphor, and which is the reality, which is the more injurious in the long run, the corona virus, that we are fighting for our lives, or the vast ocean of malicious code we are not fighting at all, and that we are in fact spreading with manic enthusiasm.

    3. New Wafer Army

      From the preface of Programming Algol 68 Made Easy by Sian Leitch:

      It is a fallacy to say that progress consists of replacing the workable by the new. The brick was invented by the Babylonians and has been used virtually unchanged for 2500 years. Even now, despite the advent of curtain-walling, the brick is still the primary building material. Likewise, the long-predicted revolution in computer programming to be produced by the introduction of fourth- and fifth-generation languages has not come to pass, almost certainly because their purported advantages are outweighed by their manifest disadvantages. Third-generation languages are still used for the bulk of the world’s programming. Algol 68 has been used as a paradigm of third-generation languages for 32 years.

      Each computer programming language has a primary purpose: C was developed as a suitable tool in which to write the Unix operating system, Pascal was designed specifically to teach computer programming to university students and Fortran was designed to help engineers perform calculations. Where a programming language is used for its design purpose, it performs that purpose admirably.

    4. Off The Street

      Migration of applications involves open and hidden risks. Identifying and addressing those risks can be expensive and time-consuming, hence less concern for whatever life cycle may be plausible for said application.

      Too much of software falls into the same category as derivatives, as seen in the GFC with the notion of IBGYBG, or I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone, so who cares!

    5. Alternate Delegate

      JavaScript is a horrible Frankenstein language brought about by Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape pulling a language apart in a battle to create deliberate incompatibilites. It got patched together with stitches and bolts. And now it’s the “foundation” of web programming, and it’s even being injected into non-web contexts. Wouldn’t believe it if I read it in fiction.

      To be fair, programmers are subject to extreme competition to use “new”, “latest”, and “different” technologies. It’s the only way to stay employed. But it’s very stupid. More and more fragility is introduced into the product. There is no countervailing benefit. Development actually takes longer than it did before, and the product is already on a trajectory to obsolescence before it is deployed.

      I used to be able to avoid needless abstraction, and I used to be able to refuse to include third-party tools by arguing for maintainability – “what are you going to do when that third-party vendor is gone, and this library no longer compiles?” – that’s all history now. Dozens of unnecessary dependencies. Dozens of unnecessary layers of abstraction because “best practice”. The result is unmaintainable from the start.

      Is it laziness? If so, it’s false laziness, since the result is more work, and pointless work. I think it’s just another pathology of competition.

      The 2020 model car has to have new and “different” tail lights. Just because.

      1. anon y'mouse

        have you thought that this is intentional, to maintain employment?

        kind of like Planned Obsolescence: if you make something that lasts, people won’t need you to make another one, and much fewer repairpersons are needed.

        just a thought. i think it is in Sociology where they admit that lots of society is engaged in this kind of make-work simply to ensure future income (and status) for themselves. why cure people when you can make them dependent upon you? and that goes for all specialists.

        1. Watt4Bob

          I don’t think it was intentional on the part of programmers, as much as it was, and is greed and laziness on the part of executives of the companies that pay them.

          The execs want to pay for the work, and then send the expensive programmers home, and be done with it.

          Those same execs are suckers for cheap and easy, also for the “next big thing“.

          In the old days programmers used to follow a narrow, mostly personal path to learning their craft, usually determined by a personal passion. Now days, people are choosing to become programmers because they’ve heard it’s a well-paid job.

          There is no comparison between the work of a passionate math-head, or science nerd using third generation programming languages, and a gold-digging opportunist writing apps with the “next big thing” fifth generation langauge.

          The people who programmed the legacy systems still in use today, were not getting rich, but they had fascinating work, and made a decent living without breaking their backs.

          There were no gold-digging opportunists among them.

          And BTW, all those adds on TV and Radio, telling people to “Learn to code” using the “newest languages, most in-demand by employers”, are really just come ons by sleazy people who will take your money and leave you stranded in a cul-de-sac with a narrow set of skills that may have no worth in the market next year, if not right out of the gate.

      2. ChrisPacific

        It has its good points, but I doubt it’s what most people would think of if they had to pick a language as the foundation technology for Web development. (“JavaScript: The Good Parts” is an excellent reference for anybody who is has it forced upon them and needs to make the best of the situation).

        For the most part it’s used because, for a lot of applications, it really is the only game in town. For example, if you want to make a call to a long-running back end service, but return control to the user in the meantime until the response is received, you really have no other choice. The proliferation of libraries (not always well supported and maintained) are essentially a collective effort to solve some of the underlying problems of the language and provide collective, agreed solutions and patterns to some of the common problems that don’t require endless reinventing of the wheel. They are fragmented and of widely varying quality at the moment because we are still early in the maturity cycle for the technology. Eventually they should consolidate down into a few industry standards and resolve some of the support and maintenance issues. The foundational flaws of JavaScript will likely always be with us, but we will eventually come up on an explicit or de facto set of standards for working around them (at the cost of another of those layers of abstraction).

        As much as most of the criticisms of JavaScript are well founded, I think a lot of them amount to nostalgia for the old server side world when we controlled everything in our sandbox and didn’t have to deal with the big bad world of client side systems (or had them locked down). We had over a decade to come up with alternatives, after all. Instead we pretended they weren’t needed. Then the likes of Google came along with the first iteration of Gmail and offered a user experience that thin client server side apps could not hope to match (remember Outlook Web Access, and how bad it was?) All of a sudden the state of the art in Web development was single page apps and REST, and if you wanted to do that kind of development your choices were JavaScript or… JavaScript.

        I think the lesson of the failure of thin client is that you cannot force people to compromise on usability for stability and convenience. Somebody (Google, for example) will find a way to deliver both, and then everyone else will be scrambling to catch up. Yes, server side is simpler, more secure, more scalable, easier to maintain, and so on. Big deal. So is ASCII, but we aren’t all using Lynx, are we? If your technology places hard limits on the kind of user experience you can deliver compared to the competition, it will eventually lose out, whatever its other good qualities may be.

    6. Lee Too

      In response to a similar piece on the need for COBOL in Saturday links I posted the following, but it was way after prime time:

      Just spitballing here, folks — and way after hours — but why don’t IBM, New Jersey, and Connecticut, offer their IT people incentives, say an extra week’s vacation and a free copy of Cobol Wizard (still in print), and have them LEARN COBOL? That might be worth a couple hours of their time. (It’s not like deciphering cuneiform.) They will need a compiler.

      Adding now that I mean no offense to people who work, or have worked, in COBOL. I did it myself for five years.

      1. Watt4Bob

        My guess, there are few smart people going that way, but there are many more who can’t see what’s to gain from learning a language that can’t produce an app that runs on a phone.

        1. Lee Too

          Good point. But my own point is that there is relatively little to be “invested” here. On the other hand there appear to be serious problems to be worked through. I guess my comment is properly addressed to the project leads and above who lay out projects, not to the developers themselves.

          1. Watt4Bob

            And I’ll bet those the project leads and above who lay out projects are thinking it would be hard, and maybe a waste of time to trying to convince young programmers to learn COBOL because they’d be afraid that rather than getting to create new shiny stuff, they’d end up ‘wasting time’ maintaining the ‘old’ legacy stuff.

            As I alluded to above, there are a lot of people entering programming thinking that they’ll up with high-paying jobs, maybe even hitting a jack-pot with a ‘killer’ app, or associated with an team leading to stock options, and an IPO.

            I project managed a job once, and got a young Java programmer really upset when I explained that it was more important to know what had to be done, in a broad sense, than to know how to do each part of it.

            He really was good, and later came up with a very smart solution to a tricky problem,
            but I got the feeling that he thought he was on his way to being a rock star or something.

            I later learned that he had quit programming.

            Maybe I did him a favor by giving him an early career reality check?

            1. Lee Too

              When I worked in software, project managers told people what to do, they didn’t try to convince them. Different culture, I guess. But I did mention providing incentives. And an extra week’s vacation seems appropriate. It’s just not that hard, and yet articles like this about solving the mysteries of COBOL seem to keep popping up. I thought we were living in a world of tech wizardry.

      2. lambert strether

        > just spitballing here, folks

        Ha ha. Any SNOBOL (Spitbol) programmers in the house? Now that was a language!

        1. Massinissa

          For a moment I thought this was a joke, then I googled it and found out SNOBOL is a real thing.

        2. gc54

          Now don’t forget Forth … where you could redefine the minus sign as plus. What could possibly go wrong with your huge telescope? I had the wonderful experience of writing/debugging pages of it at 13,500 ft atop Mauna Kea without supplemental oxygen, Good Times.

    7. hunkerdown

      Good one, now do the Java Runtime Environment that shipped alongside thousands of enterprise software installers for 20 years.

      1. Janie

        Ha. The lab where I worked was still running a PDP-2 in the 80’s. Only one person really knew how to keep it going.

  5. The Will to Win

    I believe more and more that Sanders didn’t really want to win. Given the complaints about lack of outreach to black communities etc it is difficult to see how Sanders really did everything it would have taken to win.
    In politics you don’t win unless you really want to.

    1. Carla

      Yeah, and the DNC really wanted to win. So they rigged the primaries they needed to rig in order to make it happen. Bernie did not have that capability (and I’m not saying he would have used it if he did). Much as I sent Bernie $$ and voted for him, I knew all along he would never be allowed to win the nomination. He was the only candidate capable of beating DJT, and that would have upset too cushy applecarts. Much better to keep the orange man in place, and the Dem establishment’s funding streams undisturbed…

      1. rps

        They rigged the primaries….. they needed to rig in order to make it happen….[Bernie] would never be allowed to win the nomination.

        Rabbit: A pacemaker or pacesetter who leads a middle-or long-distance running event for the first section to ensure a fast time and avoid excessive tactical racing. Pacemakers are frequently employed by race organisers with specific instructions for lap times

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      He didn’t want to win? he wants us to win—and he’s done yeoman’s work moving the Overton window on our behalf. the ball‘s in your court, Will!

      1. CanCyn

        The ball is not in our court! It hasn’t been for decades. It really doesn’t matter who we vote for, we all know that on some level. I admire a lot of what Bernie has done and how he has helped move the conversation towards progressive ideals but I think I am secretly relieved that he is out. I will now not have to be at not disappointed watching him becoming President and disappointing us exactly the way Obama disappointed us.

        1. Chris Hargens

          I think Obama disappointed many of us because we naively fell for his “hope and change” song and dance. His true colors were quickly revealed when he set up his cabinet — and perhaps more nakedly when he me with Big Pharma in setting up the “Affordable Care Act.” As for Sanders, many of his supporters were disappointed fairly early on with his unwillingness to attack Biden, not to mention his early pledge to support the Democratic nominee whoever that might be. Perhaps if he had aggressively attacked Biden’s record from the beginning, we might be in a different place right now. Further, if he had withheld his pledge to support the nominee, he would have been in a been in a better position to bargain for some of his policies.

        2. Janie

          No, Bernie would not have “disappointed us in exactly the way Obama disappointed us”. Bernie is a man of principles whose word you can rely on. He would have fought to implement his program, not turned on a dime once in office. That’s why he’s out. I’m grateful for what he has accomplished and thankful he is in the senate.

          1. Monty

            That’s true. I believe he has more integrity than Obama (a low bar!).

            However, he would need the Dem politicians to be on board and vote for his priorities. Amy Klobuchar stood on the debate stage, and revealed that half of the D Senators were open about not being on board. It would be like trying govern with 25 Joe Liebermen “on your team” in the Senate. Quite impossible without massive compromises.

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                So which Joe is he?

                Not Joe Cool, or Joe Dirt, or Joe Palooka. Certainly not Joe Hill.

                Maybe Joe Capitol Hill?

        3. John k

          Balls and courts…
          Never a game was won by a player that thought he had no chance.
          Certainly if a game is stacked, say the lines person was bought by the opponent, it is more difficult, you may have to win by a larger margin. But giving up before you start is to lose.
          Bernie came far closer than the oppo was comfortable with, to the point it was clear they needed to cheat and did so. Of course mistakes were made, as is true in all wars. Now imagine 2024:
          We will at best be slowly recovering from a recession deeper than GR, and at worst still mired in a depression. The need for m4a will be more obvious than ever to the young, and possibly less oppo from boomers that have it. Wages will remain depressed, there will be more, maybe far more, homeless.
          We will of course need a credible champion. Maybe AOC, who will then be old enough… or maybe some other established progressive will stir themself, as Bernie suddenly did in 2015. We know it doesn’t take a pretty face to fill stadiums, just needed policies.
          Granted, more of those with progressive needs need to be ready to help.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            What figure, locked in combat in sports or business or politics or beanbag, says “Yeah I think the other guy will win”?

            Who ignores his competitors’ worst flaws instead of ruthlessly exploiting them?

            Great man. Great heart. Great and tireless fighter for incremental improvements in the face of overwhelming opposition. Not a winner. Not a champion.

            The primary served its function of revealing, the man is much too kind and collegial to be a revolutionary or a winner. He settled for the most meaningless of ephemeral scraps, new task forces with *Biden* to “try and figure out how to solve our problems”. Really?

            So we all get to just watch as bankers lustily feed on the carcass of America, patient isn’t even dead yet and already they’re extracting the organs. Until we get a figure willing to perform extreme, no anesthesia vivisection on our class enemies I fear we will just continue powerlessly circling the drain and crying at the moon. Fetal position is preferred, arms around head to soften the worst of the blows.

      2. Monty

        What’s Will supposed to do with that sort invitation? It sounds good saying it, but he is powerless in this system. We all are. Our political power is limited to Vote or don’t vote, and have a few of these ‘team mandated’ worthless opinions we’d like you to regurgitate, if you like.

        As for the Overton Window, someone should inform Biden it moved to the left, because all I am seeing is the same old crap Democrats always run on.

          1. L

            Yes. The DNC decisionmakers are largely self-employing Clinton Inc. veterans or hacks like Perez. None of them ever paid a price for losing an election, only for losing donors.

            1. xkeyscored

              And no doubt the donors let it be known Sanders would be unacceptable, while the DNC decision makers feared for their own futures under his presidency.

        1. You're soaking in it!

          What’s Will supposed to do with that sort invitation? It sounds good saying it, but he is powerless in this system.

          Something tells me you answered your own question.

      3. rps

        he wants us to win– Role of the rabbit is to set the pace in a long distance event

        Senator Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton: “She will be the Democratic nominee for President and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”

        Sen. Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president, pledging to help him defeat President Donald Trump in the general election as the two agreed to launch a series of task forces to work jointly on policy matters.

        “He that lives upon hope will die fasting”- Benjamin Franklin

        “Hope” and “Change We Can Believe In”- Obama

        “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” Old Italian proverb

      4. Pookah Harvey

        Bernie’s campaign slogan is “not me, us”. Bernie is hopefully the real start of a grassroots movement. The presidency is a nice cherry on top but not the main goal. It’s up to us to get progressives in office at the local, state and federal level. That is how you change the system. Getting the presidency might have accelerated change but could never be the change.

        As Chigal says “he’s done yeoman’s work moving the Overton window on our behalf”. Now it is up to us. Find local progressive candidates and donate money and time to get them elected.

      5. Noone from Nowheresville

        It’s going to be chaos on all kinds of layers / situations. Occupy moved the Overton window for a while too. Did some great stuff in locales after being forcibly disbanded nationally. Sanders’ movement built on some of the Occupy’s sound bites & foundational bricks.

        This time I fear the Overton window will be smashed to bits as the pandemic and ramifications of financial bailout 2.0 on steroids continue to unfold.

        That said, with great chaos, comes great opportunity. As of right now, there’s no great unifying force on the horizon for the people’s side. While the powers that be are already working hard to distract and divide us.

        So while I can appreciate what Sanders and the organizers of his movement did for the Overton window, I don’t think enough given this crossroads. The stakes and opportunities are higher than those we wasted in 2008. Note that we had the Overton window movement there too.

        Has Sanders’ movement really done enough given this turning point in history? Do you feel that Sanders has given us a big enough heads up on the reaping about to begin under the CARES Act? Which scraps did he negotiate for which made giving the Fed a no-strings attached leverage fund without protest worthwhile? No information for us. No power for us. Pretty hard to win without either of those things.

        If things go according to plan, when next year’s austerity and big shiny distraction (some type of Obamacare 2.0 level thingie) smoke & mirror shows come along, where will the Overton window be then?

        1. Librarian Guy

          +++++. I’m glad Sanders moved the Overton window as far left as it has been for awhile, BUT his timidity in pushing back at the MoTU’s who run the Dem party, plus their own ability to use the MSM to sideline him and put a walking corpse in as their presumptive candidate has made any Overton movement temporary and likely non-durable– though I’m not 100% certain of that last point, things are VERY fluid given the Crisis CV-19 has created.

          But this country seems a hopeless place, clearly in decline due to a suicidal and homicidal ruling elite that only cares about $$$$$. The Dem party is a hollow shell that only rewards the PMC 8-10% of the populace that seems to be the “Suburban Voters” the party elites have always praised to the exclusion of the 90% excluded from both major parties’ actual support.

          It’s not gonna be pretty going forward, & I despair for young people who live in a country so violent, uncaring and ignorant as this one.

        2. lambert strether

          If there is an Occupy 2.0, I think it will be more…. kinetic.

          More strategic? I don’t know

      6. Oh

        ChiGal, I wonder if the Overton window is spring loaded so it always moves back to the right? Was it Bernie’s health that made him quit? After all, the primary campaign is gruelling and if he had won (fat chance), he’d have to go through more of it.

  6. Qmess

    Re: health care staff being laid off

    >“These furloughs make the case that now more than ever our healthcare system should not be for-profit. We are among the most vital workers in the country right now, and there should be no reason that some people on Wall Street should determine the worth of our jobs when thousands upon thousands of lives are at risk.”

    It is also happening in the non-profit sector. The practice my partner works in is also laying off most staff. And this hospital group is supposedly ‘not-for-profit’. Seems ‘not-for-loss’ also applies to executive pay.

        1. Qmess

          Thanks for that, couldn’t find it before.
          Money quote:

          “Meanwhile, keep an eye on UnitedHealth’s earnings report tomorrow. Company execs said they expect to exceed $21 billion in profits this year.

          In other words: Amid a pandemic slamming patients & doctors, the nation’s biggest health insurer is booming. That says it all.”

    1. Carla

      Whether you call it “not-for-profit” or “non-profit,” the idea that actors in that huge sector of the economy that operates tax-free and often regulation-free do not game the system for their own gain is a joke. And in the case of health care, a very sick joke. So-called non-profit corporations are “legally” people, too!

      1. L

        Equally to the point many of the people running “nonprofits” still have the power to set their own pay and position. A close look at some hospitals’ compensation structures will show you that the leaders of these “nonprofits” are still quite invested in making money.

      2. Qmess

        Taking advantage of tax exmpt status is one thing. Gaming the system for personal advantage is another kettle of fish. If NPC’s are “legally” people, they are sick indeed. In an ill eagle sort of way.

      3. antidlc

        Wendell Potter:

        It turns out that the Blues plans that have to compete with the big for-profit companies behave, well, just like the big for-profits. In other words, the competition actually works against the interests of policyholders. The profit margins and the size of the surpluses of the Blues in states where the for-profits have a significant presence were on average considerably higher than in states where the for-profits don’t have as much market share.

        The bottom line: nonprofits can be extraordinarily profitable if your nonprofit happens to be a Blue Cross or Blue Shield plan.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “AP Interview: Sanders says opposing Biden is ‘irresponsible’”

    Sounds like another Bernie hostage film this. Just like the one that Aaron Matte said he had to make with old Joe the other day. Let’s try a thought experiment here. So the economy crashes so bad and the Coronavirus is so catastrophic, that people just want nothing to do with electing Trump again. The same way that people elected Trump because they could not stand the though of having Hillary as President and Slick Willy back in the White house through the back door. Joe becomes the accidental President then this November. So what comes next?

    So it’s Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 and its Inauguration Day at the west front of the United States Capitol . Jill manages to steer Joe Biden to where he is supposed to be and the recitation of the Presidential oath of office luckily goes off without a hitch. At that point, old Joe turns to face the tens of thousands of his supporters, the millions watching through TV, cable and the internet while world leaders tune in as well. At that point, old Joe goes up to the mike and starts his Inauguration Speech!

    Can you imagine? I wonder how it will fit in with all the others?

    1. Kaligula

      “At that point, old Joe goes up to the mike and starts his Inauguration Speech!”

      And imagine that after 2 sentences he goes off the rails, looking desperately for his paper notes, and ignoring the teleprompter (what the heck is THAT?)

      And there you go, the end of the Reagan presidency replaying in the Biden one.

      1. xkeyscored

        And the stock market leaps a zillion points as the oligarchs realise this guy’s going to be easy to handle.

        1. rps

          And the stock market leaps a zillion point since the oligarchs cherry-picked their best hands-down-to-bribe guy who’s easy to handle- fixed it for ya

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I haven’t called a politician’s office in years but I did just call Sanders’ office in DC to express my extreme disappointment with this statement from him. I let them know that I was a supporter who understood why he ran as a Dem and why he endorsed the nominee as promised, but that this was just a step too far to call people who disagreed “irresponsible”. I noted that I thought it was irresponsible for Sanders to belittle people who did not want to support a racist, sexist, pro-corporate candidate who was clearly in mental decline.

      I was not put on hold and a real person picked up on the first ring. The number is 202-224-5141 in case anyone else would like to call.

  8. Tom Stone

    So I’m irresponsible for refusing to vote for a viciously corrupt racist warmonger who lies casually and who is clearly suffering from progressives dementia?
    Thanks, Bernie, it’s good to know where you really stand.

    1. carl

      “Call me irresponsible, call me unreliable
      Throw in undependable too”–Sammy Cahn, interpreted by Frank Sinatra

      Making light of this is the only way for me to deal with the disappointment…

      1. hunkerdown

        Glad to be one of the #Irresponsibles, except for the implication that I was ever obligated to a criminal racket like the Democrat Party in the first place.

    2. Katniss Everdeen


      I’m wondering how all this is “supposed” to go over the next 7 months. As joe stumbles and flails rhetorically and seizes on placeholders like “Look!” and “C’mon, man” to cover the frequent lapses, are we all just supposed to look on impassively and pretend it isn’t happening?

      Are we supposed to support the “policies” that joe can’t remember or articulate with even one complete, coherent sentence, simply assuming that they must be in there somewhere and they’ll be good enough because he’s not Donald Trump?

      Are we really supposed to endure campaign “town halls” that sound like visits to your grandmother in “the home,” passing time talking about what she had for breakfast and what she’s going to have for lunch punctuated with reminiscences of days gone by with somebody named Fritz Hollings?

      Are we really supposed to pretend that dr. jill biden isn’t an overqualified nurse whose main job is to giggle at his brain freezes so we “know” they’re “endearing” instead of massively disqualifying?

      This is what Bernie calls “responsible?”

    3. The Rev Kev

      I suspect that it is only a matter of time until Cenk Uygur & The Young Turks will be voter-shaming people that refuse to vote for old Joe.

      1. Eureka Springs

        I’m trying to remember a day they weren’t doing that. There’s good reason Sanders won every county in CA and Cenk won nothing.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        And watch them bring back Russiagate, just to stimulate those neural fear pathways a little more, and get the desired response…

    4. Arizona Slim

      Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, had Alzheimers. Do you think that re-election candidate Trump is going to remain silent on that topic?

      He, like many of the rest of us, saw the symptoms and the decline firsthand. I seriously doubt that he won’t be bringing that to the attention of the electorate. And he’s not going to be nice about it.

      1. edmondo

        And he’s not going to be nice about it.

        That’s how you can tell they want to win. There are no “friends” in politics.

    5. Anthony G Stegman

      Sanders is an unprincipled wimp. Besides that, he is a fraud masquerading as some kind of “Progressive”. After Sanders’ 2016 cave to Hillary Clinton I lost all respect for that man.

  9. zagonostra

    >Obama Endorsement

    I have two views of Obama’s Endorsement of Joe Biden. The one on Jimmy Dore’s live stream last night, which was the only way I was going to get through listening to the whole 14 minute “endorsement”, and the second with the help of Plato. I endorse both views.

    Soc. Now I think, Gorgias, that you have very accurately explained what you conceive to be the art of rhetoric; and you mean to say, if I am not mistaken, that rhetoric is the artificer of persuasion, having this and no other business, and that this is her crown and end. Do you know any other effect of rhetoric over and above that of producing persuasion?

    Gor. No: the definition seems to me very fair, Socrates; for persuasion is the chief end of rhetoric.

    Soc. Shall we then assume two sorts of persuasion,-one which is the source of belief without knowledge, as the other is of knowledge?

    Soc. Then rhetoric, as would appear, is the artificer of a persuasion which creates belief about the just and unjust, but gives no instruction about them?

    Soc. In my opinion then, Gorgias, the whole of which rhetoric is a part is not an art at all, but the habit of a bold and ready wit, which knows how to manage mankind: this habit I sum up under the word “flattery”;

    Pol. I will ask and do you answer? What part of flattery is rhetoric?

    Soc. Will you understand my answer? Rhetoric, according to my view, is the ghost or counterfeit of a part of politics.

    Pol. And noble or ignoble?

    Soc. Ignoble, I should say, if I am compelled to answer, for I call what is bad ignoble: though I doubt whether you understand what I was saying before.

    1. a different chris

      >though I doubt whether you understand what I was saying before.

      I always wanted to go back in time and punch Socrates. Lordy.

      PS: ok we don’t really know what exactly Socrates said, it all being second-hand. And him being an experienced Hoplite I might not come off too well in an exchange of blows.

      But still that’s how I feel, his fault or not.

      1. zagonostra

        He certainly was a gadfly, his sting still smarts after millennia…

        Might want to punch Plato instead though, since as you correctly point out, all knowledge of Socrates is second hand, he didn’t write anything, like Jesus, and only direct knowledge of the flesh and blood Socrates was through Plato and Xenophon.

        I too wouldn’t come off on top in a physical contest seeing as how he was a stone cutter by trade…

      2. hunkerdown

        Plato was just putting words into Socrates’ mouth. If that sounds just like the MO of the back-to-brunch class of today, it is no accident.

    2. GlobalMisanthrope

      Ha! When Obama was elected we stenciled t-shirts with a smiling, waving Obama in sunglasses, tie blowing in the wind and the caption, “Flattery. It’s what’s for dinner.” If we still had them, I’d send you one!

      The commercial. In case you’re too young to get the reference.

      Well done.

  10. rob

    Who are “the chinese”
    In relation to the bloomberg reporter’s investigation of the personal connections of the “rich” to the “powerful” , being squashed by the bloomberg high command…
    Considering china is a” fascist”, dictatorship. and not really “communist” in any way.. with the high leader being “the party”…leaders? and the rich being whomever allow their wealth to be known… Do we really know all the players?,. The opaqueness of all things important… how do we know?

    My guess is the world rich.. who have sheltered their fortunes for so long now… are in there somewhere… If not driving.. just along for the ride. So the world who “blames” the chinese for this and that… claims it to be some boogeyman we need to “spend/do “something to prepare for… in whatever way makes no sense at the time… except in the fifth dimension..

    A point in time when niel Bush’s wife was going after his “holding’s” in china… a sum she claimed in their divorce papers to be @ 5.5 billion… a decade plus ago? This was control he had in a bunch of shell corporations in hong kong ?(winthrop? something ?) Though officially he never had that much money… who was telling the truth?
    This is the same niel bush; son of GW Bush, who owned a failed S& L suring the savings and loan scandal (silverado springs.)Along with his brother Jeb bush, who also profited from another failed S&L ; he owned… And considering their fathers influence .. be it through things that were talked about in the book, pete brewton… “the Mafia, the CIA, and George bush” the story of the savings and loan crisis…
    or anyone of the possible influences in china/hong kong… after all:
    G.H.W. bush was the ambassador in the 70’s ,nixon sent to china. So bush and kissinger and associates are there since the “opening”.
    G.H.W. Bush ‘s brother Jonathan, created the “US / China chamber of commerce in 1980’s…. even getting flak for going to china days after tienamin square for “meetings”,he chose not to cancel at the time.
    All hinting at “who ISN”T chinese…. seems to me like the opacity of a factually fascist government like china that can hide behind the pretense of being communist… and on its way to being capitalist.. and has been the poster child for the off-shoring and economic realignment of the past three decades… could really just be… the same old robber barrons kids, grand kids, great grandkids… and their new frontmen…. playing games… stashing loot… and living the dream..

  11. Lee

    Why More Men Than Women Are Dying From Coronavirus, Amanpour & Company, video with transcript.

    Early statistics show men are 50% more likely to die from coronavirus. One theory about what’s giving women the advantage is their genetics. Dr. Sharon Moalem’s new book “The Better Half” is an exploration of exactly that. He joins the program alongside author and activist Caroline Criado Perez, whose book “Invisible Women” argues that there’s a general data bias in research that ignores women.

    Evidently, when it comes to the human immune system, men are the weaker sex. Having XX as opposed to XY chromosomes confers various immune system advantages. In the case of Covid-19, women have two versions of the ACE2 receptor, only one of which is susceptible as a point of entry for the Coronavirus. Men have only the susceptible version. Sorry guys. Being a guy myself, I feel your pain.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Don’t forget environmental factors. I am given to understand that men are far more likely to smoke in Asia than women. If true, then men would already be going into this with reduced lung capacity, hence a more likely outcome of death. Coronavirus attacks several organs of the body but the greatest damage by far is to the lungs. You would think that after having over 130,000 deaths worldwide, that autopsies would be showing a more complete picture on what is going on here.

      1. Lee

        Yes, it’s early days. Much more to learn, and not only medically, but as regards political economy as well. I have great hopes for our encounter with this virus being a learning experience with a lot of potential upside. But then I’m at times delusionally optimistic, particularly first thing in the morning on a sunny day.

      2. rtah100

        Smoking may be protective.

        Smokers have lower ACE2 expression. Smokers are tissue-adapted to hypoxia.

        Here is a mind-bending study of a homeless shelter in Boston. 36% of “guests” were SARS2 positive by PCR. Any symptomatically? barely a cough among them (lower coughs than negative population, lower temperatures!)

        Now, the homeless self-medicate a lot. Of the things they take, my guess is cigarettes is doing the work here. Either that or the Ivermectin their street drugs are cut with. :-)

    2. xkeyscored

      “women have two versions of the ACE2 receptor, only one of which is susceptible as a point of entry for the Coronavirus”

      Is that in the video? I don’t see it in the transcript. It does say “If it’s famine or pandemics, the Grim Reaper always takes a much bigger pound of flesh from men. And so, if we’re thinking about it, wherever we have data in the past, such as Sweden, which experienced really horrific famines during the 18th century, or in the Ukraine that had very severe famines during the 1930s, more men always died over women.”

      And ” there is a possibility that gender will also be playing a role, so, for example, men being more likely to smoke, men being less likely to wash their hands.”

      1. Lee

        There were technical problems during the original television transmission, which did include the point about the ACE2 receptors. It would seem the transcription is incomplete. A lot of stitches getting dropped here, there, and everywhere these days.

      2. TXMama

        Yes! What is it about men that they hate to wash their hands? Do they not believe in germs because they can’t see them? Is dirt manly? Is it rebellion against their mother who told them to wash their hands? It’s high time they changed their caveman behavior.

        1. HotFlash

          LOL! I remember reading about a study done at Brigham Young U as to why women took longer in public washrooms than men. Finding: women wash their hands.

          1. xkeyscored

            Dr Semmelweis had a hard time convincing doctors – all male in his time – to wash their hands between dissecting corpses and tending to women in maternity wards.

            “He studied two maternity wards in the hospital. One was staffed by all male doctors and medical students, and the other was staffed by female midwives. And he counted the number of deaths on each ward.

            When Semmelweis crunched the numbers, he discovered that women in the clinic staffed by doctors and medical students died at a rate nearly five times higher than women in the midwives’ clinic.”

            He figured out the connection, but:

            “You’d think everyone would be thrilled. Semmelweis had solved the problem! But they weren’t thrilled.

            For one thing, doctors were upset because Semmelweis’ hypothesis made it look like they were the ones giving childbed fever to the women.

            Eventually the doctors gave up the chlorine hand-washing, and Semmelweis — he lost his job.”


            1. TXMama

              Maybe it’s the old problem of *some* men not wanting to be told what to do by women (their moms told them to wash their hands.) Or maybe in the case of the male doctors, not wanting to do what the women did because the male doctors had to be right always. Insisting on being right even in the face of contravening facts is a problem affecting the whole human race. It’s not limited to men of course, but a higher %-age of men seem to have this flaw than women. And when more males are in positions of authority/power than women it can multiply the errors. It could be a function of being in power rather than gender, but we don’t have data on that AFAIK. Everyone has the power to wash their hands however!

        1. xkeyscored

          Nothing there I can see supporting the rather more controversial claim that “Men have only the susceptible version” of the ACE2 receptor.

    3. ewmayer

      Did they study whether men exhibited different levels of risk-taking behavior Covid-19 precautions, seeing as sheltering in place, mask-wearing and frequent hand-scrubbing are not especially ‘manly’? Because without consideration of the known-forever-and-anon gender differences regarding risk-taking – as reflected in our sexually-dimorphic physiological and emotional evolution – any conclusions based on e.g. ACE2 receptors are entirely premature, along the lines of the old joke about the scientist studying frog-jumping:

      1. Scientist yells ‘jump!’ to induce healthy frog to jump, it leaps 5 feet;
      2. Scientist cuts 1 hind leg off frog, after recovering from surgery it leaps 2 feet;
      3. Scientist cuts 2nd hind leg off frog, after recovering from surgery it ‘leaps’ a mere 2 inches;
      4. Scientist cuts front legs off frog, after recovering from surgery it just sits there, unmoving, no matter how loudly he yells ‘jump!’

      Conclusion? “A frog with no legs is deaf.”

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    It’s been 3 days, and we’ve gone from Joe saying he’s going to earn votes to his surrogates calling people irresponsible. After Sanders suspended his campaign, I received a text from the coordinated campaign in Virginia. My guess is outreach isn’t going well.

    With Joe, Team Blue won’t get the wall to wall pressure in women’s groups they had with Hillary.

    1. newcatty

      Let’s not forget the powerful and cruel woman who told women that if they don’t vote for Hillary that There was a special place in he’ll for them. Voter-shaming was not going to work on many thinking and aware women. Especially, in this case, considering the repugnant source. Voted for a person, who was a woman, that was the opposite of being a corrupt, warmongering and grifting person. Jill Stein was my kind of woman.

  13. Tom Stone

    Maybe it’s OK to vote for the author of the Patriot Act because his brain is so rotted he doesn’t remember writing it?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      He DIDN’T write it, and anyone who says he did is a lying, dog-faced pony soldier. And anywayzzzz, we can just build on it. Like his good friend barack says, if you like your freedom you can keep it. C’mon, man, this is the united states of america.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “California, Oregon & Washington Announce Western States Pact”

    History will record that when the United States broke up in the 21st century, that the framework for the States of the Pacific Federation had been laid down since April of 2020.

    1. Louis Fyne

      don’t worry…all this states’ right talk will disappear when a future administration wants to liberalize abortion or tighten gun control, or get infinitely worse.

      states’ rights = pandora’s box

    2. marcyincny

      And here in the northeast NY is working in collaboration with neighboring states.

      If only…

          1. You're soaking in it!

            “California, Oregon & Washington Announce Western States Pact”

            History will record that when the United States broke up in the 21st century, that the framework for the States of the Pacific Federation had been laid down since April of 2020.

            Ecotopia is a wonderful read for these isolated times when we need all the imagination for good that we can muster.

            1. MLTPB

              Will it be like ‘We voted leaving. We are not leaving’ Catalonia?

              Or ‘We voted for exit. We are exiting from Ukraine’ Crimea?

            2. ShamanicFallout

              Or, as Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys once warned us, ‘California Uber Alles’

            3. Wendys

              I think I would prefer Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

              Please leave California out of the Pacific Federation :-)

        1. Upstater

          Only if the Acela corridor is split off and shoved into the Atlantic to become an island nation like the UK. Many of us in upstate NY would like to merge with Ontario.

        1. MLTPB

          Like Rhode Island did to fleeing New Yorkers.

          I wonder if we are losing people here to Arizona, Neveda, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, given the number of cases here on the golden west coast?

        1. newcatty

          When we lived in Tucson, many moons ago, it was cool to read in the Weekly about the idea of Baja Arizona. Imagine Tucson and an area surrounding it succeeding from the state. Before the border being a military zone? Ahhh, day dreaming is good for your spirits.

          1. MLTPB

            The goal could be a greater Beringia, or greater Clovis?

            Interestingly, reports in 2019 suggested Japan as the place of origin of first Americans.

            Tora, Tora, Tora?!!?!

            1. ambrit

              It’s really interesting that many of the genetic lines surrounding the Pacific region backtrack to the Sundaland region. Very few, even among the ‘Credentialed Class’ consider that both Doggerland and Sundaland were above sea level and lush and habitable regions for thousands of years before the Younger Dryas events of 11,500 to 12,800 years ago.
              I’ve mentioned it before, but Oppenheimer’s book, “Eden in the East” lays out a convincing argument for this theory. It’s worth linking to again.
              “Eden in the East”:
              The peopling of the Americas is one of the most contentious issues in play today. The rough upshot is that, for anthropologists, archaeologists, etc. everything they know is wrong.

      1. ambrit

        What about British Colombia? That would be a natural for a Pacific States Republic.
        I would add Baja California to the proposed Pacific States Republic. It would be a natural and supply a truly multi-cultural population for the future colossus. Gotta have someone for the poor whites to “look down upon.” Otherwise, those future deplorables might want to have some, *gasp*, equality with the “virtuous, wealth creating” class.
        As for Idaho…..

    3. Bugs Bunny

      The area around DC could become like the Vatican. No real power but fealty from true believers.

      1. ambrit

        D.C. already is like the Vatican; up to and including a “natural” affinity with reactionary and oppressive social “forces.”

    4. chuck roast

      And did history record that Maine joined Canada? If that is the case then history can record me moving back!

  15. marcyincny

    …and the Marie Antoinette Award goes to…

    I can’t even imagine one of the Trump women doing this.

    I like her offhand comment about getting the ice cream “through the mail” too.

    1. edmondo

      Isn’t it amazing that this “champion of the working class” is standing in front of her $10,000 refrigerator talking about how much she loves $6 a pint ice cream while millions of Americans are sitting home trying to come up with $30 for groceries for the week?

      Remember: That $1200 Nancy got you will buy 200 pints of Talenti gelatto. Instead of Friedman Units of 6 months, the Demodogs give us “Pelosi Units” of $6. So a $6 trillion bailout of Wall Street is only a trillion Pelosi Units. Good God, do these people ever think about the optics of this stuff in flyover country?

      1. Harold

        She has two $11,000 refrigerators, I understand. Is she planning to entertain? Isn’t that a violation of social distancing. The Imelda Marcos of Ice Cream is very good.

        She should really resign.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Do they ever think about flyover country voluntarily at all? Not to mention the affront of the term itself?

    1. Louis Fyne

      wow, holy tone deaf

      posing (kinda looking not all there) in front of her two Sub Zero units, MSRP >$10k each.

      let them eat montrachet!

      1. David Carl Grimes

        Why would you need two very large and very expensive refrigerators? Maybe one is a fridge and one is a freezer. But that’s an awful lot of food to store. How many people live with her? How many servants does she have?

          1. Arizona Slim

            That is THE problem with stainless steel appliances. You have to keep them polished or they look like [family blog].

            1. hunkerdown

              It’s not a problem to a leisure class whose social “place” is to engage in futility and waste.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Hey, give her a break: she’s become a centi-millionaire while “serving” in Congress, and she’s gotta spend that money on something!

          1. John Wright

            Yes, we need to give Nancy a break.

            She probably had an agonizing decision about WHICH house to use for self-isolation.

            But she is special, I remember some years ago when the Golden Gate Bridge was shut down to install and train workers on the new movable “Zipper” barrier.

            It was a good time to visit the bridge and watch the process.

            I talked with a worker who told me that the bridge was only open for vehicles such as public transit, police and bridge workers.

            But he mentioned that Nancy Pelosi’s limousine also had traveled over the otherwise closed-to-traffic Golden Gate Bridge.

          1. Massinissa

            So that her preserved head can be kept alive like Nixon’s head in a jar in Futurama? Unfortunately I think Nixon’s head is likely to be more charismatic.

  16. Sailor Bud

    Sorry Bern, but “not us, them” is the message I’m getting with a vote for Joe. Same with Trump, even with his trolling overtures to the left.

    Not that I’ll trust the results, but I wish to be added to the list of those who voted in the primaries and skipped the general, so that “voter apathy” can start to include the possibility of voter disgust and voter protest in our political dialog. We even have the word play ready: call us Bern-outs.

  17. xkeyscored

    ‘Rice ATMs’ provide free rice for people out of work in Vietnam due to the coronavirus crisis CNN

    What a sensible idea. “In Hanoi, rice contained in a large water tank pours out into residents’ bags from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, according to state-run news agency VNA.” (Picture here.)

    In the USA, of course, the large water tank would have to be a hugely expensive burger and pizza preparation robot complete with facial recognition for means testing, months in the making and prone to breaking down and running out of reagents.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I skipped news yesterday, so i’m just catching up.
      related from WC yesterday:

      I can attest that applying for foodstamps in texas is a byzantine mess…”just call 2-11!”= hours on a phone merrygoround to nowhere.
      we were informed that we were eligible after i (finally) got SSI and medicaid to get my hip. so we said “sure, why not?”
      reams of paper, and a default assumption of fraud, and hostile state employees on the phone(if you could get an actual human)…for $85 per month worth of food…for a family of 4, with one disabled parent, and a teachers aide(then) who was also driving 200 miles, 3 times a week for college(to become a teacher).
      then, before you know it, “it’s time to renew”…which means “start over from scratch, you criminal!”
      wasn’t worth it, at all.
      very poor folks i have known spend a lot of time navigating all the poor people programs.
      it makes sense that a lot of them have made “welfare” into a generational….almost family business…endeavor.
      it takes skills to manage it.
      because texas hates the poor.

      1. BobW

        Wow. Something Arkansas is not behind only Mississippi in. I got $95/mo. SNAP (food card) last year, single, on Social Security.

      2. periol

        In 2009 I helped my ex-gf and her sister navigate public assistance for heat and water in the winter. They were both let go from their waitressing jobs. This was Missouri, and the state provided assistance – after your utilities were threatened to be cut off.

        So the process was, call to get information, can’t get through, find the office location, go down to the office, wait in a line, go talk to someone, only to find out no assistance was available until the bill was past due *enough* for the utility company to send a shut-off notice.

        So it’s go home, and wait on pins and needles for the shutoff notice. When you finally get that shutoff notice, you go back to the assistance office, wait in line, submit the completed paperwork and shut-off notice. Then you go home, and wait.

        It took two more weeks for assistance to come through, during which time the heat and hot water were turned off by the utility companies, and the pipes froze and broke in several places. It was a complete disaster. The whole process seemed geared to cause the most damage possible to everyone involved. Except the civil servants of course.

        That house was taken out by a tornado a few years later, so no real lasting damage I guess. Just some public assistance PTSD.

        1. flora

          Except the civil servants of course…? uh.. except the politicians. The civil servants don’t make the rules.

          1. periol

            Maybe you misunderstood me. There were no politicians directly involved in the process of applying for public assistance. Sure, they made the rules, but my point is that they get to make the rules and watch everyone else get screwed. Except the public servants, they just keep doing their thing – though it sure seemed like a thankless job dealing with the winter misery of families with their heat cut off. Oof

            We interacted with their landlord, the utility companies, and the public servants. The landlord got burned, the utility company had to deal with paperwork and headache and turning utilities on and off (but waiving the fee), my ex and her sister got burned. It just sucks, that’s all.

            Things shouldn’t be this way.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “Things shouldn’t be this way.”

              …should be tatooed in mirror writing on the foreheads of every rule maker “leader” currently doing “public service”.
              it doesn’t HAVE to be this way is the real kicker.
              It’s a Choice.

            2. flora

              “There were no politicians directly involved in the process of applying for public assistance. … but my point is that they get to make the rules and watch everyone else get screwed. ”

              We are in agreement.

    2. MLTPB

      Would Russians ask the same?

      Or people on China?

      Not only just one country should also have every new idea that comes along somewhere in the world.

      People of other nations are entitled to demand the same from theirs.

  18. zagonostra

    >TruthDig – Inside Story

    This interview with Chris Hedges which “aired” yesterday is the first hand account of what happened at and of the machinations that lead to its shut down. Also a good insider view of what is happening in journalism.

    I’m curious if anyone knows of similar account of what happened with the defenestration of Paul Jay and the RealNews Network?

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    Heard on stephanie ruhle’s msnbs show this morning in a segment called “Know the FACTS”:

    New York’s death toll tops 10,000 as the state’s death toll was revised upward by 3700 people who never tested positive but probably died of corona virus.

    And then there’s this:

    The city’s health department on Tuesday had added more than 3,700 “probable” COVID-19 deaths to its toll, bringing the city’s total to 10,367 deaths among a population of about 8.6 million people.

    “We should be honest about the full extent of this,” he [de blasio] said. “And that, bluntly, should inspire us to really get it right.”

    For those kids at home actually trying to keep up with their arithmetic, 3700 is what percentage of 10,367? Discuss.

    For those kids at home actually trying to keep up with their English, define “honest.” Discuss.

    1. ShamanicFallout

      Matt Stoller blocked me on Twitter about a month and half ago because I accused of being hysterical about the cornavirus situation (I think I called him the left’s Zerohedge. That may have been office!). I said something about this whole thing doesn’t feel right. I feel like we are being set up, yet again. And then, oops, 5 trillion dollars kicked upstairs! How did that happen?
      Put it this way, I, like probably a lot of the NC commentariat, maintain the default position that when it comes to most media and most ‘news’, I am being lied to and/or being grossly or subtly manipulated 100% of the time. And we are usually vindicated. So why would would it be any different this time?

      1. flora

        There really was a financial crash in 2008. It wasn’t made up. Politicians used it as an excuse to make the rich richer, however, instead of helping out the real economy. Same now, imo. The pandemic is real.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          I am definitely not a hoaxer. However, I am always on guard when it comes to The Narrative. What was that Lily Tomlin quote? She finds the she’s never cynical enough?

          1. flora

            Be careful not to fall into the binary ‘all or nothing’ mindset here. Either ‘this’ or ‘that’, imo. Where ‘this’ or ‘that’ is narrowly defined.

      2. xkeyscored

        Of course you’re being set up, yet again. The vultures and vampires spend every waking minute of their lives attending to that. And when they hear ‘crisis’ they yell ‘bailout’. Anything else would startle me.
        But look at Wuhan. Ghastly. Overhyped by US bots on Chinese social media? Iran. Mass graves. Faked to prop up US banks? UK. PM in intensive care. PR for the great swindle? Nurses and doctors dying at vast rates compared to most of us. Part of the conspiracy? Far too much evidence from across the board for me; this thing’s nasty and for real.
        Something sure doesn’t feel right, and it’s this virus. It’s bad news.
        The feudal gangsters who want to milk our misery for every last cent deserve our rage, but that doesn’t mean this thing isn’t serious anyway.

  20. xkeyscored

    Trump suspends funding to World Health Organization FT

    Trump says it’s because the WHO is a Chinese front, and Sen. Chris Murphy reckons “the decision was made to distract Americans from Mr Trump’s management of the outbreak.”

    Might it be related to the WHO’s possible role in deciding who gets vaccines when they become available? Does Trump have a track record of wanting the USA to have everything first, with everyone having to pay?

    “The WHO has tried to step in before to make sure that vaccine stockpiles are shared equitably, says Alexandra Phelan, of Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security in Washington DC. After the outbreak of H5N1 in countries such as China, Egypt and Indonesia, WHO member states adopted a resolution known as the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework. Under PIP, countries provide virus samples to a network of labs coordinated by the WHO, with the understanding that the organization would consider them in an as-needed basis to access a WHO stockpile of vaccines, diagnostics and drugs in the case of an influenza pandemic. But because PIP is designed for influenza, it doesn’t apply to the current coronavirus outbreak.”

    If a coronavirus vaccine arrives, can the world make enough?

    1. MLTPB

      Money can be made from other rich nations, I think, or hope.

      Taiwan has been trying to get in, presumably it is a plus to be in the organization.

      On the other hand, there is the situation where, Taiwan not being a member, has done better, so far , than many in the WHO, like Russia, Sweden, Italy, etc.

      Then there is the news that Taiwan released December email to WHO showing unheeded warning about Corona. Per FoxNews, a day ago. Can anyone confirm that (since the source is not usually cited here).

      1. xkeyscored

        If any supposed mishandling or politicising of responses is good reason to withhold funding, perhaps Trump’s many tenants might consider a rent strike?

        1. MLTPB

          Is it worth it be in the (current) WHO if someone not in it has done better than so many in it?

  21. Henry Moon Pie


    Good read. Here’s the author’s point:

    From one citizen to another, I implore you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the noise and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud.

    Just say NO to NOrmal. NOrmal is looming environmental disaster. NOrmal is a corrupt, incompetent set of systems designed for no good purpose. NOrmal is deaths of despair. NOrmal is incapable of dealing with this new world.

    Let’s concentrate on providing what people need while we continue to search for some kind of medical solution, if such exists. Keeping us all fed, warm and dry over next winter will prove to be a big enough challenge for any society. When we quit wasting time and energy trying to get back to what was always a crummy NOrmal for most of us, then we can get to work on basic needs before it’s too late.

    1. Trent

      i wouldn’t get excited about that article. It was sent to me a few days ago from my sister in law who married my University of Chicago trained MBA brother. That article is geared towards upper middle class white women who for the past ten years have critizied you for being a downer any time you pointed out what that stupid article is now pointing out. “you must be so much fun at parties” was the line she would always post on my articles on facebook. Don’t worry, as long as their income stays in the top 10% of the population they will get right back on that “paleotone” and shopping at whole foods once daddy government says its ok.

    2. ewmayer

      Mostly decent, but fails to mention the original eponymous noir movies – British original and later splashy-Hollywood-remake-starring-Ingrid-Bergman from whence the term came. And I LOLed at this bit:

      “…a government that has so severely damaged the credibility of our media that 328 million people don’t know who to listen to for basic facts that can save their lives.”

      Yes, the poor, poor MSM, trying so hard to do honest nonpartisan investigative-shoeleather reporting and speaking truth to power, the whole “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” thing, only to be thwarted at every turn by our evil-propagandist Oaf of Office. And this bit toward the end:

      “We can do that on a personal scale in our homes, in how we choose to spend our family time on nights and weekends, what we watch, what we listen to, what we eat, and what we choose to spend our dollars on and where. We can do it locally in our communities, in what organizations we support, what truths we tell and what events we attend. And we can do it nationally in our government, in which leaders we vote in and to whom we give power.”

      Last time I checked, I noticed that my apartment lease – far and away my largest living expense – doesn’t really give me much flexibility regarding “what I choose to spend my dollars on and where.” And at the national level, “which leaders we vote in” currently consists of a 2-item menu chosen by a massively corrupt establishment party duopoly. Despite the current shelter-in-place, methinks Mr. Gambuto needs to get out more.

  22. Dan

    Re: Why Are Rich Americans Getting $1.7 Million Stimulus Checks?

    This is just unbelievable. Especially compared to amounts allocated to rural hospitals. Juxtapose this with the Pelosi interview where she is showcasing her freezer hoard of ice cream.

    I feel like I am screaming in a vacuum. Yeah, people here get it. How can we get more people to see what is going on – without control of mainstream/digital media? Kickstarter campaign?

    1. Eureka Springs

      I can’t get through to details with a web search. Is this really true?

      If so, RAGE is the only answer.

      1. xkeyscored

        The Washington Post is reporting much the same thing:

        “More than 80 percent of the benefits of a tax change tucked into the coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually, according to a report by a nonpartisan congressional body expected to be released Tuesday.

        The provision, inserted into the legislation by Senate Republicans, temporarily suspends a limitation on how much owners of businesses formed as “pass-through” entities can deduct against their nonbusiness income, such as capital gains, to reduce their tax liability. The limitation was created as part of the 2017 Republican tax law to offset other tax cuts to firms in that legislation.

        Suspending the limitation will cost taxpayers about $90 billion in 2020 alone.

        An analysis by the JCT found suspending the limit overwhelmingly benefits higher earners. About 82 percent of the benefits of the policy go to about 43,000 taxpayers who earn more than $1 million annually. Less than 3 percent of the benefits go to Americans earning less than $100,000 a year.

        Hedge-fund investors and owners of real estate businesses are “far and away” the two prime beneficiaries of the change, said Steve Rosenthal, a tax expert at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.”

        1. flora

          And ALL the Dems in the senate voted for this.

          Taking care of donors business
          every day.
          Taking care of donors business
          all the way.

    2. flora

      About rural hospitals and rural US: both parties’ coastal elites hate rural US and have for the past 100 years. Rural US is where elites extract wealth, not where elites distribute necessary funding. See Thomas Frank’s recent Harpers Magazine article.

      See also, Hills 2016 sucking up all the rural states’ Dem party funds to fund her own campaign, leaving nothing for rural state parties to run their local campaigns.

  23. anonymous

    For some of the regulars here who are interested in apple varieties: 

    “A team of retirees that scours the remote ravines and windswept plains of the Pacific Northwest for long-forgotten pioneer orchards has rediscovered 10 apple varieties that were believed to be extinct – the largest number ever unearthed in a single season by the nonprofit Lost Apple Project.

    The Vietnam veteran and former FBI agent who make up the nonprofit recently learned of their tally from last fall’s apple sleuthing from expert botanists at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon, where all the apples are sent for study and identification…

    Each fall, Brandt and Benscoter spend countless hours and log hundreds of miles searching for ancient – and often dying – apple trees across the Pacific Northwest by truck, all-terrain vehicle and on foot. They collect hundreds of apples from long-abandoned orchards that they find using old maps, county fair records, newspaper clippings and nursery sales ledgers…

    In the winter, they return to the trees – often on foot or on snowshoes in freezing temperatures and blinding snow – to take wood cuttings that can be grafted onto root stock…
    North America once had 17,000 named varieties of domesticated apples, but only about 4,500 are known to exist today. The Lost Apple Project believes settlers planted a few hundred varieties in their corner of the Pacific Northwest alone as they moved across the U. S. West to try their hands at the pioneer life.

    These newcomers planted orchards with enough variety to get them through the long winter, with apples that ripened from early spring until the first frosts. Many were brought with the settlers in buckets from their homes on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Then, as now, trees planted for eating apples were not raised from seeds; cuttings taken from existing trees were grafted onto a generic root stock and raised to maturity. These cloned trees remove the genetic variation that often makes “wild” apples inedible.

    With the 10 latest varieties identified, Brandt and Benscoter have rediscovered a total of 23 varieties.”

    List of apple varieties rediscovered:

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Bernie Sanders Foreign Policy Advisors Invited To Biden Camp”

    ‘Is this an olive branch to the democratic socialist movement?’

    Umm, no. Bernie’s foreign policy statements lined up with the establishment such as believing in Russiagate, not defending Assange and saying that Venezuela had to be taken down. If Bernie’s advisors got him to sign up with these things, then of course they would fit in with Biden’s camp as well as Biden is straight neocon.

    1. xkeyscored

      Sanders’ foreign policy was always one of my least favourite things about him too.
      “US imperialism is fine so long as we have socialism and democracy at home,” to put it crudely.

  25. xkeyscored

    US for-profit healthcare sector cuts thousands of jobs as pandemic rages Guardian
    Rural hospitals shut out of stimulus loans face financial crisis Politico

    And in the UK, dentists are going under.

    “Patients with abscesses and other dangerous conditions are being left at risk as surgeries go bust across the country.”

    “A sharp loss of income since the government banned all routine dental care during the coronavirus crisis has crippled practices, with many poised to close permanently. Some have already been forced out of business.”

  26. L

    The Trailer: Biden didn’t listen to the left. He won anyway. WaPo

    But as Clinton, and indeed every past losing candidate found, the primary is not the main and the demographics are very different. In the past the DNC could “tack left” for the primary then “tack right” once they had blocked other more serious candidates. Clearly now they figure that they could just start right and stay there to pick up the magical “concerned suburban moms.”

    With Trump holding a 90% lock on RNC voters, that usual calculus seems unlikely to hold. The only question is whether the DNC will see that, or care. Or will they just assume that we will all fall in line because Sanders says so?

    (I’m not optimistic).

  27. The Rev Kev

    “The Media Had a Formula for Reporting Sexual Misconduct. Then Joe Biden Was Accused.”

    I may be wrong here but I think that I notice a pattern. If a women accuses a Republican figure of sexual misbehaviour, then that woman is attacked like we saw with Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers. All sorts of nasty charges are flung around. But if a woman accuses a Democratic figure of sexual misbehaviour, then she is suppose to shut up and “take one for the team”. And often the ones saying this are fellow women. Again, I could be wrong but it is an impression that I have of how things have played out.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Not to put too much of an Alex Jonesy spin on Biden’s history of sexually inappropriate behavior, but I wonder: Am I I am the only one who thinks Biden will NOT be the DNC candidate in 2020?

      Is Biden not just a place keeper while the DNC war room explores better options while COVID-19 has cut them miles of slack? Biden’s senility is clearly growing daily. Even his acceptance of Bernie’s endorsement was clearly scripted – not spontaneous. Biden is rarely seen in public, and every time he is, he says something batshit crazy. He would be raw meat to the lions in a TV debate with Trump.

      Currently, we have a one-party system. The difference between the Dems and Republicans is merely the personality of their candidates – not their policies – whatever advances Neolib wealth-building. We need at least a 2-party system – 3 or 4 would be ideal.

      1. Painted Shut

        I had thought this until Obama publicly endorsed Biden. Now I think Biden is the guy. The only remaining question is, do the democrats really want to win?

      2. ambrit

        I am still sticking to my “America Needs Two Mommies 2020” prediction.
        Why? Because Biden is already a severely “damaged” candidate. Trump’s campaign will “wipe the floor” with Biden. So, something more “intersectional” will be needed.
        As for the Obama endorsement; I see underneath all the shenanigans going on in the Democrat Party machinations the lineaments of a power struggle between the Clinton organization and the Obama one.
        Hillary Clinton is possessed of an overwhelming and maniacal ambition to be President in her own right. She ‘suffered’ through Bill’s two administrations, waiting her time to shine. Then, when it finally was “Her Turn,” this callow youth from Neo-liberalstan is ushered in to “steal” the nomination for Democrat Party standard bearer from her. She has never forgotten nor forgiven the humiliation. She will have her revenge. To do this, she has to defeat the still extant Obama Machine, (not to be confused with the election era “movements” that helped Obama win, and then were ‘retired’ into oblivion and impotence.)
        Oh well. Time to hang the washing out on the line. It’s a beautiful sunny day outside.

      3. flora

        If history of pres elections is any guide, Biden isn’t supposed to win. T is supposed to get a second term. (2 terms D, 2 terms R, repeat.)This is Biden’s ‘lifetime achievement award.’ See McCain. The Dem is estab is putting on kabuki of opposing T publicly while giving him everything he asks for. T is giving Wall St. everything it asks for. No, Biden isn’t supposed to win. This is all theater, imo.

        1. Robert Gray

          > If history of pres elections is any guide, Biden isn’t supposed to win. T is supposed
          > to get a second term. (2 terms D, 2 terms R, repeat.)

          Actually, historical precedent is kind of thin on the ground just now. In fact, if Trump were to win and complete a second term, it would be the first time in US history that there were four consecutive two-term presidents. Jefferson, Madison and Monroe started the string way back when, but JQ Adams was then turfed out after his first term. So, if Trump loses, it will repeat that pattern.

          1. flora

            Not talking about persons, talking about parties. My comment stands.

            cf: Johnson was the second contiguous Dem term in the 60’s, Ford was the second contiguous GOP term in the 70’s, and etc.

            1. Robert Gray

              Well, let’s see about that.

              Kennedy then Johnson, two; Nixon then Ford, two. Check.
              Carter … one; Reagan then Bush, three. Oops.

              And beside, you _did_ talk about persons. You said TRUMP is supposed to get a second term. You didn’t say ‘the Republicans’ are supposed to etc.

              My comment stands!

  28. Painted Shut

    Elizabeth Warren is jockeying for position in the race to be the VP choice:

    I suspect the Dems would prefer that Trump win in November, because he is the bibimbap of Dem rice bowls, and because I doubt anyone wants to catch the shitpotatoe of corona/economy that we’ve got going on now. Who Biden chooses as VP will tell the story of whether or not they’re serious about winning.

    Warren is the best choice if Biden wants to win. It would represent an actual olive branch to progressives. If he chooses Kamala, or one of the other centrist brand names, it is likely for the purpose of hyping them for 2024, when they can run against a more conventional R opponent (ie, Marco Rubio). If he makes a Tim Kaine type selection (say, Gretchen Whitmer), he is either running to lose, or his strategists are just dumb (as was the case with Hillary).

      1. Painted Shut

        Awesome comment; I literally laughed out loud.

        Seriously though, I think Warren can make the case that the collective disappointments to progressives (endorsing Clinton and Biden, kayfabe fight with Bernie, not dropping out timely, etc) were for the purpose of gaining access (VP) and then working within the system (end justifies the means). I think that works with Warren supporters and probably enough Bernie supporters to matter numbers-wise for Biden. Keep in mind that a preponderance of voters are not nearly as savvy as the NC commentariat…

    1. L

      First and foremost, his strategists are the same people so yes, dumb.

      I can’t argue with your analysis. Trump has been very good to the act-blue fundraising set. With Warren the question, as it always is with VPs, who does she bring to the table. Stacy Abrams or to a lesser extent Kamala Harris would bring in minority voters or act like they would. Abrams has experience with organizing the base and comparatively little baggage but she would be a turn off for southern RNC people.

      Harris would help project a tough on (blue collar) crime view but Biden already has that. to the DNC she probably looks like she would inoculate Biden against his inaction on foreclosure. To the rest of the world though she is an example of corruption for her bad handling of MERS. The question is, what do their focus groups say. Her failure to even perform in California should be a strong indication of her real weakness.

      Warren on the other hand might help to bring progressives and that elusive “professional suburban mom” set that the DNC is so desperate for.

      But if a Senator can’t win their home state…

      1. Painted Shut

        Abrams at best adds strength where Biden is already strong. Black folks are already voting for him come November. No tangible appeal to demographics other than that. Also, if you can’t win the governorship in your own state…

        Kamala would appeal to… who, exactly? I think the cattyness in women voters and the hater in black voters would be drawn out, if anything. She seems like the type that would need to carry hot sauce in her purse, like Hillary Clinton, in an attempt to connect with southern black voters, even though she herself is black. I can’t see midwestern voters finding any sort of connection with her. So maybe NY and CA centrist elite democrats would like her? Again, adds strength where strength is not needed.

      2. Massinissa

        My best friend thinks Biden’s going to choose Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. Michigan is a swing state, so it would be a logical choice, as far as centrist Dems are concerned. But then… I half expect Biden to make an illogical choice like Harris or Abrams.

        About Whitmer, she’s sort of like Amy Klobuchar except shes a governor and from Alabama, and she would make more sense than Klobuchar since shes from Michigan, a major swing state. As far as electoral strategy goes she would make the most sense, but ID-POL might win out again. Also Whitmer has been in the news recently for her decent-ish handling of the Coronavirus and Trump bashing her because she doesn’t play ball with him as much as he would like, so that might give her some brownie points among some liberals.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Olive branch? Did parents make prog/kids go out and break an olive branch to get a whipping? Because that’s as close to “a gift” to progs as Biden Warren would ever be.

    3. Carey

      >Warren is the best choice if Biden wants to win. It would represent an actual olive branch to progressives.

      Say what? (regarding both claims)

    4. lambert strether

      Warren is not an olive branch to the great majority of Sanders voters. (I try not to use the word “progressive,” because it seems to mean “liberal with vague aspirations.”

    5. Massinissa

      Not so sure I agree with your logic honestly. I prefer Warren to Whitmer, but I’m pretty sure Whitmer would be a better choice from an electoral perspective. Michigan is an important swing state and Biden can’t win without it. Warren couldn’t even come in third place in her own state, which is also not a swing state. I HIGHLY doubt picking Warren would actually attract Sanders voters (it sure wouldn’t get my vote), so I honestly think Whitmer would be a better choice for him.

      Kamala and Stacy Abrams aren’t even very popular in their own states (Nor is Warren for that matter). Although Georgia is a swing state, I’m not confident Stacy could turn it for joe, and Biden has most of the voting black population locked up anyway, and I don’t think either one would attract much of the nonvoting black vote. Kamala getting the VP slot would likely be another win for ID-Pol over actual electoral strategy; at least Stacy could plausibly at least put Georgia into play, though I don’t think she would enable Joe to actually win the state. I say this as someone who lives in Georgia.

      I also heard the rumor that Biden approached Whitmer and she wasn’t interested, but that’s just a rumor at this point. Thought I should mention it for completeness sake.

  29. Monty

    “Why Are Rich Americans Getting $1.7 Million Stimulus Checks? Forbes”

    The most sickening and unsurprising story of the day!

    Does anyone know if the loss 5 year carry back on capital losses is available to all tax payers, and not just these “pass through entities”?

  30. The Rev Kev

    “A new ‘Oumuamua theory could mean many more interstellar visitors are headed our way”

    There is a book that I have called “When Worlds Collide” from which a film was made in 1951 and it described what happens when two planets arrive in our system and take up orbit here but one of which is on a collision course to destroy the earth.

    The point is that in the book, one person wondered if sometimes planets are shook loose if one sun comes too near another which explained the origin of those two wandering planets. If this is possible, then it may be that there are also actual planets going through space as well.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      There are most definitely actual planets going through interstellar space, and a lot of other junk too.

      That theory from the book is plausible, however I would not want to ride on one of their spaceships which was basically just a capsule set on top of a nuclear bomb. That theory needed a little more work ;)

  31. Teejay

    Roaring laughter over Yves’ “precious bodily fluids” remark, led me to link Ind. Rep. Trey “lesser-of-two-evils” Hollingsworth, Lt. Gov. Dan “all-in” Patrick and Glenn “I’d-rather-die” Beck (to name just a few) to George C. Scott’s General Turgidson cost /benefit analysis: ” Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair must” and “10, 20 million tops”. A hilariously funny moment back then in a movie. And today we’re experiencing the terrifying consequences of the horrendous decisions (or lack there of) of politicians and voters absent critical thinking, cognitive bias and problem solving skills. We are sooo screwed.

  32. Monty

    Comparison of weekly death occurrences in England and Wales: up to week ending 3 April 2020

    The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 3 April 2020 (Week 14) was 16,387; this represents an increase of 5,246 deaths registered compared with the previous week (Week 13) and 6,082 more than the five-year average.

    Excess deaths +60% 2 weeks ago. It was just getting started then too.

    1. MLTPB

      Intersting comparisons.

      Can the same be done for Russian, Chinese, Iranians, NY, etc. numbers?

  33. IMOR

    Re: Newsom’s Six Point Plan: Ahhahahaha! Leadership by Gavin Newsom! Surprised that there were no tests for the offloading cruise ship passengers in Oakland he…rushed to the tv cameras to complain while they filed out into the community just down the pier. Ahhahahaha! Same rulers who’ve packed ever more students into CA classrooms for twenty years going to provide cash, facilities etc. to keep students six feet apart or hazmat suited up when schools reopen! Puppet said what it was supposed to last month, this week, and will do so with next month’s story.

  34. antidlc

    Matt Stoller
    “I immediately sought out advice from Bob Rubin.”

    That’s how House Democratic Ways and Means leader Richard Neal describes how he and Pelosi put together the bailout. Don’t worry, he also asked Hank Paulson.

    Gotta get both co-CEOs of Goldman.
    Getting to the Point with Congressman Richard Neal

    My apologies if this has already been posted.

  35. chuck roast

    The World Economy is Now Collapsing

    What to make of Martin Wolf? I don’t read him much any more. He is always behind this FT paywall and I’m both too cheap and too private to get FT online. Anyway, he seems to be borderline hysterical with his, “A microbe has overthrown our arrogance…” He jumps on the IMF forecasting hobby-horse for what I guess is the lack of any other crystal ball and opines that even their dreadful forecasts may prove too optimistic. He displays an IMF growth forecast showing the bottom disappearing in 2020 and a forecast for a world-wide GDP bounce-back of over 4% in 2021. Yes, of course. The IMF continues to confuse world-wide growth with debt slavery.

    He sees the possibility of a world-wide collapse of health systems and believes that without international cooperation this is a distinct possibility. The presumption is that public health facilities in the developing world currently display actual functionality. Maybe he should query his Nigerian friends on that score…or even his American friends. He cites that great friend of the people the Petersen Institute in declaring that without such cooperation millions will die. The irony is too rich. I can just see the Petersen Institute geniuses in their cubicles yukking it up over the probable demise of millions of social security recipients.

    Back to our leaders the IMF. This cog in the wheel of international cooperation should open up the spigots to the less developed world in the form of Special Drawing Rights whereby economic help will delivered, “…via debt relief, grants and cheap loans.” The very kind of things that have worked economic miracles in the past…only more!

    For Wolf, a leading spokesman for the neoliberal order, the sooner we get back to “normal” the better. International trade must be restored, people must be protected and made healthy, the world order as we know it be reestablished and made whole. Roll up your sleeves! It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it. Yes. Well now, maybe if the inessential workers could just stay at home for a long, long time, the essential workers (like my garbage man who just cruised by) might be up to the task.

    1. MLTPB

      He could use it for something else and likely does, but alone, by itself, the statement that a microbe has overthrown our arrogance sounds humbling enough for the whole third chimp species.

      And on world’s health systems, if he means it could get worse, even as we think it’s bad now, that’s a good warning.

      Corona is not the most menacing thing we will ever have to face.

      Better to scale back, to step back from our war on Nature now.

    2. deplorado

      “The World Economy Is Now Collapsing”

      Oh wow. Look at that. If an economy cannot handle predictable acute occurrences of natural risk (which makes them normal risks at the end of the day), that means it is not built to help humanity cope with normal risks (and isn’t that what we’ve been trying to achieve since climbing down from the trees?). It means it is built for something else. Which is, to help certain people to take advantage – i.e. exploit nature and other humans.

      Such system is not worth saving and even less advocating for. Martin Wolf is advocating for preserving and getting back to its normal functioning just such a system. Complete with new “cheap loans” from “our leaders” at IMF (who by the way think that this year’s global growth is going to be -3%, but next year’s will be +6% by workers working extra hours so everything will be back to normal in the portfolios of the important people like Martin Wolf).

      If he strains himself just a little more maybe people will finally understand what is at stake here. Wow, yes, preserving the worldwide shitty system is at stake.

      Ultimately it is so sad and tragic that the most vulnerable people across the world will take it right between the eyes and perish, while this preening peacock is wringing hands in his comfortable home office.

      For the record I didn’t read the article and don’t intend to (have seen enough of his writing for my taste)

      1. Massinissa

        I read the article. Not much meat to it besides some nice graphs. Main points were A. The economy is screwed (as indicated by the title), and B. Opening the economy back up before the pandemic is finished would be a terrible idea so let’s not do that. B is the only truly important takeaway from the article for me, although I confess that may be because it confirms my biases.

  36. Sailor Bud

    For bored housebound NC chess fans: World champion Magnus Carlsen plays Alireza Firouzja, the Iranian teen powerhouse, in a blitz session (3 minute games with 2-second increment) in just a few minutes on chess24 live. Look it up on YouTube if interested, or chess24’s website. Should be fun. Probably will be Svidler and Gustaffson commenting.

  37. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Trailer: Biden didn’t listen to the left. He won anyway.

    That’s sounds like a ‘Kill me now” type of headline. Not only did Biden not listen to the left, he didn’t really raise money or campaign either. Can’t be bothered to read the article which I assume is just another in the ongoing neoliberal series of “people don’t really want nice things” arguments, but I’m guessing they don;t bother to mention the series of unprecedented moves the establishment pulled to prop up Uncle Joe.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It may matter that “the Democrats” are now a mere remnant of a party, under 30%, and very right-wing, since that’s been party policy for a long time now, so that’s who has stuck around.

  38. Oregoncharles

    Just jumping in to tell you about a new low in mass digital media: when I opened Google News this morning, the VERY FIRST ITEM was: “How to Buy Apple’s New Phone”, the 2020 SE. No, I’m not posting a link to an outright ad, but it was from The Verge if you want to look it up. I’m not sure how far it’s tailored to me, but it isn’t in response to anything I’ve done. My son does use an old SE, but he saw a different top item. He wondered if it reflected the new Google-Apple alliance for Covid tracking software. JUST what we need.

  39. Oregoncharles

    And for something completely different: an instructive and heart-warming read from, of all sources, Forbes:

    A few comments: islands and Nordic countries figure prominently; several are both. It doesn’t mention, but I will, that Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland is a Green. (Amusingly, Spellchek was on, and did not approve of that name, at all.) Nonetheless, I think the story points to differences in leadership style between the sexes – far from absolute (eg, Ardern of NZ took a pretty authoritarian, lockdown approach, which has served them well) but still significant.

    The approach in, say, Iceland and Taiwan may well be a guide to exiting quarantine – I gather Taiwan never did go into lockdown. It is, however, an island, intimately involved with China but with reason to isolate itself from China.

  40. Bruce Dodds

    That Middle East Eye piece on the reason for Jermey Corbin’s defeat is excellent. Most of the comments, however, are absolutely horrific – a living example of the truth of the column.

  41. Oregoncharles

    “Copper’s Virus-Killing Powers Were Known Even to the Ancients ” – paywalled for me, but I remember an article posted here about an antiseptic paint one of the cruise lines was going to use (and ALL hospitals, one hopes); I believe the active ingredient was – ta-daaa! – copper. At least, copper powder would be a promising approach. Granted, it would turn green over time. Quite a pleasant green.

    1. Sacred Ground

      Copper has long been a key ingredient of marine anti-fouling paint. Wooden sailing ships were sheathed below the waterline with thin copper sheeting. This served two purposes: the metal shielded the wooden timber from teredo worms, aka shipworms, that would burrow into and ruin the wood in the tropics and the anti-microbial effect greatly slowed the marine growth that would slow them down.

  42. Oregoncharles

    “Jeremy Corbyn lost because he refused to fight the Israel Lobby” (which was being used by the right wing of the party.) Yes, exactly. Worse: this undercut Palestinian rights activists in other countries, like the US. Consequently, I, at least, was seriously p’ed off with Corbyn, as in “deserved to lose.” Or actually, “shot himself in the foot,” which is the point of the article.

    I would be very curious whether Corbyn’s supporters are reacting like a lot of Bernie’s in this country: abandon the party, maybe try the Greens – who I hope wouldn’t make that mistake.f

    1. Carey

      Interesting framing, with the word “refused” in the headline.

      Guessing Jeremy Corbyn didn’t want to die a mysterious death, myself.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s the color/frequency that our eyes are most sensitive to. Plus, in the wild a lot of green is a sign of a lot of food around, so a good thing to see if you’re a forager.

  43. Cuibono

    Hate to break the news to you folks but the

    HORSE LEFT THE BARN long ago

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