Coronavirus spreads to multiple countries. South Korea, Iran hit hard

Coronavirus is highly infectious, can be spread by those with no symptoms, and has a death rate of about 2%. Some areas have infections with no obvious links to China, making it difficult to determine how it is spreading. Worse, it appears reinfection can happen.

Let’s not be alarmist, however this is really serious and will probably get worse. Take precautions. CDC says avoid contact with sick people, avoid touching eyes, nose, moth, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Coronavirus can be transmitted via fecal-oral route, so, yeah, washing hands is absolutely crucial.

There are outbreaks. There are epidemics. And there are pandemics, where epidemics become rampant in multiple countries and continents simultaneously. The novel coronavirus that causes the disease named covid-19 appears to be on the verge of that third, globe-shaking stage.

Amid an alarming surge in cases with no clear link to China, infectious disease experts believe the flulike illness may soon be impossible to contain.

Global spread

South Korea’s prime minister says situation is “grave”, advises people to avoid crowded places.

10 Italian towns are locked down now.

Iran says coronavirus has spread to multiple cities. Singapore has at least 86 cases now.

Economic impact

China is a major importer and exporter. Our worldwide system of Just-in-time production doesn’t really have contingency plans for major delays. US companies are finding that their suppliers may have suppliers who use Chinese-made parts, and those aren’t available now.

Apple has already been impacted and says earnings will be off.

China’s economy is taking a hit. Factories need to open yet authorities fear infections could multiply if that happens too soon.

Why mainstream Democrats don’t think Sanders can win the presidency

The Democratic nominee must win several battleground states to be elected president. Popular vote doesn’t matter. Electoral votes do. The electoral college is indeed an archaic convoluted mess. However it is the system under which a Democrat must win. It doesn’t matter if NY and CA go Democratic by huge margins. We know the Democrat will win them. However, it matters very much what happens in about eight other states, states that are not nearly as woke as NY and CA.

Mainstream Democrats, the DNC, and much of the pundit class do not think Sanders can win crucial swing states, primarily because he identifies as socialist, which severely hurts him in those states.

Me, I am baffled why Sanders identifies as socialist when he’s mostly a New Deal Democrat. He’d probably get way more votes with essentially the same platform if he just dropped the socialist ranting. But he won’t. And that’s a problem. The heartland, where most of those battleground states are, don’t much care for socialism. They just don’t.

And permit me a rant. Norway is not socialist. It has a great safety net, with free education and health care. Yay! However the government doesn’t own the means of production. However, it does own the biggest sovereign wealth fund on the planet, which pretty much makes it capitalist to the bone. It is not Democratic Socialist. And it would just be great if Bernie supporters would stop getting all misty-eyed about how socialist Norway is.

Also, for those who say they support socialism, that means the government owns most everything, so they’d be ok with just one cell phone company, one that is owned by the government? Didn’t think so.

Battleground states include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida. They would probably be less likely to support a socialist than the general population. And a Gallup poll on Feb. 11, 2020 found that the only category that less that half would vote for is socialist.

This is why mainstream Democrats (and Bloomberg) will do whatever is needed to derail Sanders, because they assume Sanders will lose most of the swing states. And if that happens, Sanders and the Democrats will be crushed.

More than nine in 10 Americans say they would vote for a presidential candidate nominated by their party who happened to be black, Catholic, Hispanic, Jewish or a woman. Such willingness drops to eight in 10 for candidates who are evangelical Christians or are gays or lesbians. Between six and seven in 10 would vote for someone who is under 40 years of age, over 70, a Muslim or an atheist.

Just one group tested — socialists — receives majority opposition. Less than half of Americans, 45%, say they would vote for a socialist for president, while 53% say they would not.

IRS Lock-in letter. Withholding and Form W-4 have changed.

Everyone dreads opening a letter from the IRS. The Lock-in letter is common. It means the IRS has determined an employee is not withholding enough. The letter goes to the employer and the employee. This can happen if an employee is continually late in paying taxes due and the IRS determines the issue is they are not withholding enough. The employee has a certain period of time to submit a new W-4 which must have more withholding, and never less.

But wait, you say, I thought an employee could claim whatever withholding they wanted on a W-4. Well sort of. The old W-4 form allowed that, and millions are still locked in on it. However the new W-4 is more complex. It allows for multiple jobs and 1099 incomes, has worksheets, and specifically does not allow for less withholding that what is calculated. You can withhold more than calculated, but not less. And everything needs to be documented. So, if you’re single, you might have claimed a bunch of dependents on the old W-4 to get more money in your paycheck. Those days are gone. The form asks how many dependents you have, and making up numbers is not recommended.

A Lock-in letter is not a penalty and is not saying taxes are due. It will however result in the taxpayer having more money withheld in their W-2 paychecks, so the checks will be smaller. Obviously, this could be an issue for some people if the higher withholding has a financial impact on them.

I’m preparing taxes at H&R Block now. If you get an IRS letter that is confusing or you aren’t sure what do do, make an appointment with an Enrolled Agent at a Block office. An EA is “a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels—examination, collection, and appeals—of the Internal Revenue Service.”

However, if you get an IRS letter that says you owe money, and you agree that you do, just send a check and you’re done. If you owe less than $10,000, you can usually set up payment plans online at irs.gov for payments up to seven years.

Nevada Democratic Party unveil appless app for caucus day 2/22

The Nevada Democratic Party was planning to use an app for their Feb 22 caucus that was written by Shadow, the company who wrote the buggy Iowa Democratic caucus app that crashed the Iowa caucus. NDP did fire Shadow immediately after the Iowa debacle. However it is rushing out a replacement iPad app (that they say isn’t an app) for the caucus on Feb 22. This is absolutely begging for disaster.

Hello, if it’s on an iPad it’s an app. Period. Pretending it isn’t is silly as well as deliberately evasive. I’m a software developer. Sounds like they are rushing out an app with no beta testing and little less training. And didn’t ask end users what they want, and what they will be able to easily use during the tumult of early voting and caucus day. I hop this doesn’t end up a smoking crater.

The new tool will help precinct chairs fold in the results from people in their precinct who chose to caucus early with the preferences of in-person attendees on Caucus Day by calculating the viability threshold and carrying out the two alignments in the caucus process, according to the volunteers and the video recording.

Asked by a volunteer whether results would be transmitted from one place to another, the staffer demurred.

Volunteers said they received little information at the training beyond a rough outline of how the tool is supposed to function. They also were unsure how the party plans to carry out its four-day early voting period, which previously relied on the use of an app to capture people’s preferences.

Coronavirus. Wuhan is a crucial manufacturing and transportation hub

worldometers.info/coronavirus/

It would just be great if deliberate disinformation about coronavirus wasn’t spreading unsourced on social media, along with blatantly anti-Chinese racism and trash journalism about how it is a biological weapon. Ignore any news report on social media that is not linked to reputable media sources that document what they say. Having said that, coronavirus does appear to be spreading fast even as it is not particularly fatal. However, we are still in the very early phases. It’s going to spread more.

Imagine what would happen to the US passenger plane system if O’Hare shut down for weeks. It would be chaos. And this is a mild example of what Wuhan being quarantined is doing to the economy of China and soon enough, to the world economy. China is a major manufacturing center for the world and Wuhan is their hub. Companies across the planet rely on Just In Time shipping from China. That is now being badly disrupted. Goods aren’t flowing out (or in.)

Telsa and Hyundai have halted production in China and South Korea. No doubt other auto makers in the region are doing the same. They can’t get parts. India is worried too.

Macau, the biggest gambling hub on the planet has asked casinos to close.

iPhone maker Foxconn is closed and will remain closed for at least another week.

Cathay Pacific Airways lays off 27,000 workers with no pay, says they need to preserve cash. This seems a desperation move.

Tokyo Summer Olympics concerned about possible impact of coronavirus. Some qualifying events have already been affected.

A baby in Wuhan tested positive 30 hours after birth. The mother tested positive before giving birth, indicating it can be passed in pregnancy.

This would be my vision of Hell. Cruise ship in Japan is quarantined with 3,700 people onboard after ten tested positive for coronavirus.