2:00PM Water Cooler 1/27/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

At the suggestion of SomeGuyinAZ, the Gray Catbird.


Lambert here, last Friday: Well, I said “If these declines continue through the end of the week, I’m gonna have to conclude we’re looking at a genuine fall in the numbers — not the current narrative, I might add — and that we are not looking at a reporting effect from the long weekend.” So I have to conclude we’re looking at a genuine fall in the numbers.

We are also not seeing an explosion from travel over the holidays, now well in the rear-view mirror. We might get a spike in ten days or so, if people were partying on MLK day, but with luck it will be small. Of course, there are those worrisome variants, so a mood of sunny optimism is not warranted.

Amplifying the variants issue: I am looking at aggregated regional and national data. That doesn’t preclude the idea that there are individual “hot spots” that are doing very badly. And if those hot spots are due to the new variants, and one or more of the variants is either resistant to the vaccine, or eludes current treatment protocols, we could see another rendition of the “stair step” pattern that we’ve already seen in cases. Unfortunately, our data collection is so bad that we have no way of tracing viral lineage in anything like near-real time, so we can’t tell where the variants are hitting. (Cities with direct flights to the UK or South Africa would be places to check the sewage.) We might keep in the back of our minds that the first sign of a tsunami is water withdrawing from the shore — like the decline we are seeing now. It never hurts to have an extra mask or two around the house, or sacks of rice and beans, say I.

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At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching…. (A reader asked the source of the data: Johns Hopkins CSSE. DIVOC-91 does allow other data sets to be used, like Our World in Data and The Atlantic, and where they provide visualizations similar to those below, a cursory comparison shows that the shape of the curves is the same.)

Vaccination by region:

Case count by United States region:

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

Test positivity:

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


Note: The increase in hospitalizations, due to a slight uptick in the West, and a leap in the Northeast. But look back at the Northeast, and you’ll see a similarly-sized leap, followed by a fall. Of course, the pessimistic scenario is that the Northeast is Boston, and Boston is flights from Ireland, infecting families with B117. Something to watch.

Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

* * *

“Cuomo Lifts Gathering Restrictions Across New York State” [Bloomberg]. “Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted restrictions in most hot spot areas across New York state, saying the post-holiday surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations is over. New York City restaurant restrictions continue. The governor said he will be speaking with local officials and will announce a plan by the end of the week for potentially easing them. ‘We’re looking at going back to the 25% would be the question, and how and when do you do that,’ Cuomo said Wednesday, referring to a previous limit of 25% of indoor capacity. So-called yellow zone restrictions remain in two areas of the Bronx, one in Queens, one in Washington Heights and one in Newburgh, Cuomo said. In those spots, non-residential gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 25 people, residential gatherings are limited to 10 people, houses of worship can operate at 50% capacity and indoor and outdoor dining is restricted. Cuomo reported a fifth-straight decline in daily cases. Positivity and hospitalizations are on the decline across the state, he said Wednesday at a virus press briefing.”


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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

UPDATE “Exclusive: Proud Boys leader was ‘prolific’ informer for law enforcement” [Reuters]. • Quite a scoop from Reuters, lol. Did the FBI buy Gavin’s moustache wax?


UPDATE “To achieve unity, we need the Trump impeachment trial: OPINION” [Matthew Dowd, ABC]. “The staircase to unity, healing and justice starts with the steps of truth and accountability. Leaping too quickly to unity, skipping over those first few steps, will likely lead us to stumbling, falling and failing as occurred in the aftermath of the Civil War, and allow years of division to continue to tear us apart (including insurrectionists storming the Capitol, some holding Confederate flags). Conservatives, progressives and any other political persuasion must be able to come together on some fundamental values we teach our children on truth and responsibility.” • I wouldn’t mind a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I’d start with the Bush administration, because Constitutionally, I think that’s when things really spun out of control. Such a Commission for the Trump Administration only is bound to fail; Dowd, as a former Bush administration official and latter-day Never Trumper, probably thinks the political universe consists of his guys and liberal Democrats. It doesn’t.

Transition to Biden

UPDATE “Biden’s Inaugural Speech Was the Least Upbeat in Decades” [Bloomberg]. “Using the natural-language processing software LIWC (Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count) to analyze first inaugural speeches from Ronald Reagan’s onward, [social psychologist James Pennebaker] found that Biden’s had more expressions of negative emotion than average, and of anger in particular. Biden talked less about money or work than Trump or any president since the 1970s, and—not surprisingly during a pandemic—more about death, asking Americans to join him in a silent prayer for those lost to the coronavirus. An analysis provided to Bloomberg using another tool, Diction, created by Roderick Hart, finds Biden favored personal language (“I,” “mine”) and everyday words (“highway,” “groceries”). Trump and Biden used simpler language in their addresses than other recent presidents. Trump’s corresponded to a 10th-grade reading level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale; Biden’s to an eighth-grade level.”

“Wall Street, financial firms go on lobbying hiring spree as Democrats take control of Washington” [CNBC]. “Wall Street and financial firms across the country are hiring a legion of lobbyists as Democrats prepare to rein in their industry with tighter regulations and increased scrutiny. These companies include private equity juggernaut Blackstone, credit card and banking company Discover, consumer credit reporting giant Equifax, and tech-driven stock exchange Members Exchange.”

UPDATE “Read My Lips: $2,000 Now” [The Daily Poster]. “Late last year, at the urging of Bernie Sanders and House progressives, Democrats were forced to break from their proclivity for complexity and issue a simple ‘read my lips’-esque promise to deliver $2,000 survival checks. Even though the proposal was itself means tested, it was still nearly universal and so straightforward that it helped Democrats win two Senate seats in Georgia, a longtime Republican stronghold. And yet, despite the fact that the $2,000 checks proposal is enormously popular, the party has almost immediately reverted back to form, slowly but surely trying to complicate the idea to the point where it’s becoming unrecognizable, complex and a proof point for those who believe Democrats refuse to just do what they promise…. On Monday, Biden declared that the once simple proposal is now ‘all a bit of a moving target in terms of the precision with which this goes,’ adding: ‘There’s legitimate reason for people to say, ‘Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way? Should it go to anybody making over X number of dollars or Y?”… The most exquisitely crafted ‘well, actually’ arguments from Washington know-it-alls, academic experts, smug pundits and emoji-wielding Twitter mobs will not save Democrats from a voter backlash if they fail to deliver on their simple promise — just like George Bush’s technocratic arguments about budgets and taxes didn’t save him from a voter backlash after he issued his simple ‘read my lips’ pledge and then violated it.” • Which is what Biden did, and it’s ridiculously obvious. Warnock ran, and won, on an actual image of a $2,000 (Two Thousand Dollar) check:

Do liberal Democrats really believe people don’t notice these things?

Democrats en Deshabille

UPDATE “The Democrats’ Civil War Over the Filibuster Has Barely Begun” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “[I]f the outlook for filibuster abolition looks dim, Blue America’s civil war over the issue is far from over. For the Democratic Party as an institution, the stakes of enacting major reforms over the next two years are nearly existential. And its leadership appears to understand this, even if its marginal senators do not (and/or care not for their party’s fate). The basic problem facing the Democratic Party is simple: Barring an extraordinary change to America’s political landscape, it will lose control of Congress in 2022 and have a difficult time regaining control for a decade thereafter…. To defy political gravity, and fortify U.S. democracy against the threat of authoritarian reaction, Democrats need to either rebalance the electoral playing field through the passage of structural reforms, or attain a degree of popularity that no in-power party has achieved in modern memory. If the filibuster remains in place, doing the former will be impossible and the latter highly unlikely…. [T]he Democrats’ existential interest in eroding the filibuster remains on a collision course with its moderate senators’ aversion to power. Anyone with a fondness for democracy must hope that, against all odds, the forces of partisanship will prevail.” • If only liberal Democrats put the same energy into figuring out how to govern that they put into screwing Sanders and his voters. Anyhow, this is really good from Levitz, worth reading in full.

“Nancy Pelosi Buys Tesla Calls, Stands To Benefit From New Biden EV Plan” [Yahoo Finance]. “he purchases by Pelosi are questionable as arguments could be made that the companies stand to benefit from new President Joe Biden’s agenda. Biden’s push for electric vehicles, which could include lifting the cap on sales, would give buyers tax credits again and is advantageous for Tesla. The president has also suggested a possible cash-for-clunkers program that could incentivize customers for trading in used vehicles towards the purchase of an electric vehicle. Pelosi could now have a conflict as she works to pass clean energy initiatives from which her family could profit.” • “Could”?

Grifters gotta grift:

Resistance types should identify…

Obama Legacy

“Remembering Rahmbamarama, the Obama Era’s Most Zealous Fan Community” [Jezebel]. “other comments were similarly keyed up. “FAPFAPFAPFAPFAP,” wrote one user. Another felt inspired to write a very brief fanfiction about Emanuel attempting to seduce House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This was welcomed, even encouraged at the Livejournal community Rahmbamarama, a place where Emanuel’s loudest and most ardent fans congregated during the early years of the Obama administration to talk White House news and post horny photo dumps and smutty fanfiction featuring Emanuel and other Democratic Party members and allies. ” • Ow! My eyes!!!!! Seriously, how did I miss this at the time? (And is there anything similar happening now?)


UPDATE “You Can’t Blame Russia for Trump” [Foreign Policy]. “However, the problem with trying to pin the events of Jan. 6 on Russia, or of trying to frame Trump’s actions as directed by Russians, is that it can lead Americans away from introspection about their own system’s failings, and towards blaming a larger-than-life foreign other that isn’t actually as powerful as some may think.” • Now they tell us!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump political team disavows ‘Patriot Party’ groups” [Axios]. “Donald Trump’s still-active presidential campaign committee officially disavowed political groups affiliated with the nascent ‘Patriot Party’ on Monday. Trump briefly floated the possibility of creating a new political party to compete with the GOP — with him at the helm. But others have formed their own ‘Patriot Party’ entities during the past week, and Trump’s team wants to make clear it has nothing to do with them.”

When Meghan McCain makes sense

UPDATE “Wixom man pleads guilty in Whitmer kidnap plot, agrees to ‘fully cooperate'” [Detroit Free Press]. “Almost three months after his arrest, a Wixom man pleaded guilty to his alleged role in the foiled plot to kidnap Gov. Gretechen Whitmer and has agreed to “fully cooperate” with the FBI in exchange for leniency, including testifying against his cohorts if called upon. Ty Garbin, a airline mechanic, pleaded guilty to kidnap conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids Tuesday morning, admitting he was part of a group that sought to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home and that he was more than a bystander. Specifically, Garbin admitted that he cased Whitmer’s vacation home in preparation for the kidnapping, attended training exercises and brought night binoculars to one practice exercise. Garbin, 25, faces up to life in prison on the kidnap conspiracy charge. Federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend a lighter sentence — they did not disclose any figures — in exchange for his cooperation…. Garbin is one of 14 men accused of conspiring to kidnap the governor, motivated largely by anger over her lockdown orders during the pandemic.”

“The Siege of Paris 1870-71” (podcast) [In Our Time]. “Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war and the social unrest that followed, as the French capital was cut off from the rest of the country and food was scarce. When the French government surrendered Paris to the Prussians, power gravitated to the National Guard in the city and to radical socialists, and a Commune established in March 1871 with the red flag replacing the trilcoleur. The French government sent in the army and, after bloody fighting, the Communards were defeated by the end of May 1871.” • If you want to understand what a real insurrection is like, you could to worse than listen to Melvyn and his guests (which is an inexhaustibly great podcast anyhow).

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats.

Durable Goods: “Headline Durable Goods New Orders Improved Again In December 2020” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say the durable goods new orders improved for the eighth consecutive month. Our analysis shows the rolling averages improved…. The data this month was within expectations – and, the previous month was revised up. In the adjusted data, the improvement was again driven by defense aircraft and motor vehicles.”

Employment Situation: “Job Growth in the South Bucks Losses in Rest of U.S.” [Wall Street Journal]. “The South is leading the U.S. labor market’s recovery from the pandemic’s initial shock as the only major region with continued payroll growth at the end of last year while the rest of the country lost jobs. Southern states logged job growth across the private sector in December, including services industries, which were hit hard by the pandemic, and manufacturing, according to a Labor Department report that provides details on the job market in all 50 states. Texas and Georgia gained the most jobs in December, adding a seasonally adjusted 64,200 and 44,700 jobs, respectively. In contrast, payrolls in the Midwest, West and Northeast fell last month, when the nation’s total payrolls slipped by 140,000 for the first decline in seven months. In those parts of the country, a surge in virus infections, related restrictions and winter weather prompted steep job cuts in leisure and hospitality industries.”

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Tech: “Artificial Intelligence Will Define Google’s Future. For Now, It’s a Management Challenge.” [Walll Street Journal]. “Alphabet Inc.’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has bet big on artificial intelligence as central to the company’s future, investing billions of dollars to embed the technology in the conglomerate’s disparate divisions. Now, it is one of his trickiest management challenges. Over the past 18 months, Google’s parent has waded through one controversy after another involving its top researchers and executives in the field…. Google has said its artificial-intelligence advancements have helped create faster and more accurate search results—as well as more relevant advertising.” • Oh, so it’s AI that crapified Google search, good job.

Mr. Market: “Reddit Crowd Bludgeons Melvin Capital in Warning to Industry” [Bloomberg]. “The explosive growth in retail day-trading, powered by platforms like the Robinhood trading app and forums like wallstreetbets, has turned the old order on its head. Melvin Capital’s mistake, if it can be called that, was leaving footprints behind in the marketplace. Reddit users were able to identify stocks that Melvin was wagering against and then buy those en masse, unleashing a violent run-up in prices that turned Melvin’s winning bet into a loser…. The shorts that were listed in Melvin’s regulatory filing from the third quarter all rocketed in recent weeks. Names include Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., iRobot Corp. and GSX Techedu Inc. GameStop, the stock that seemed to set off the short squeeze, soared 634% in the month through Tuesday…. Melvin’s cash infusion was almost unheard of in hedge fund land. Griffin, his partners and the hedge funds he runs at Citadel threw in $2 billion and Cohen’s Point72 Capital Management, which already had about $1 billion invested in Melvin, ponied up another $750 million.” • That’s a damn shame.

Mr. Market: “In GameStop saga unfolding on Wall Street, 2 Goliaths fall” [Associated Press]. “The size of the losses taken by Citron and Melvin are unknown. The Wall Street frenzy over GameStop began when an army of smaller-pocketed investors on Reddit started throwing dollars and buy orders at the stock — in direct opposition to a group of wealthy investors who were counting on the stock price to plunge. There is no overriding reason why GameStop has attracted those smaller investors, but there is a distinct component of revenge against Wall Street in communications online. Over the past three months, shares of GameStop Corp., which has been buffeted by a shift in gaming technology, have spiked well over 1,000%. Shares are up another 100% at the opening bell Wednesday. That has created titanic losses for major Wall Street players who have “shorted” the stock, which means they borrowed shares and sold them, hoping to buy them back at a cheaper price and pocket the difference. As of Tuesday, the losses had already topped $5 billion in 2021, according to S3 Partners. And the phenomenon does not appear to be fading.”

Mr. Market: “GameStop Stock Drama Continues As Price Soars And Hedge Fund Blinks” [Kotaku]. “Meanwhile, the ensuing chaos caused GameStop stock trading to be temporarily halted yet again this morning and caused outages on the trading app Robinhood. Other companies like Blackberry and AMC are also seeing smaller, though still dramatic stock climbs, as Reddit traders attempt to go boost other companies massively shorted by big hedge funds. All of this is the culmination of a long game that’s been brewing on the WallStreetBets subreddit for a while now as amateur day traders decided to turn the misfortunes of a floundering brick-and-mortar game seller into their cause celebre for dunking on professional investment firms. In some ways it’s a very complicated story driven by the weird mechanics of Wall Street, but in other ways it’s a familiar tale of extremely online people trying to stick it to someone, in part to make a buck, but also for the ‘lulz’.” • Very good, especially on the Reddit action. Then again:

Mr. Market: “How R/Wallstreetbets Gamed the Stock of Gamestop” [The Verge]. “Day traders, such as the ones on r/WallStreetBets, are typically held in contempt by professional traders, and they are acutely aware of this. The professional short-sellers who created the possibility of a short squeeze underestimated the day traders’ sophistication, and r/WallStreetBets pounced. Time to troll Wall Street out of a fuckload of money! The fine people of r/WallStreetBets decided GameStop was undervalued, and the stock would go up, so they put up a bunch of posts about how they were buying GameStop options. This drove up the stock price for GameStop, as their counterparties had to load up on stock to balance, and then more stock as more people bought options and so on. The soaring stock meant some shorts had to cover, sending the stock up further. As of January 26th, short-sellers have been trolled out of about $5 billion in 2021, just from their GameStop positions alone. What does Robinhood have to do with this? Well, it makes options trading much more accessible to retail investors — but there’s something else. Trades on Robinhood are free! But Robinhood isn’t offering free trades to be nice; the company gets paid by some big-time investors such as Citadel Securities to see what retail investors are doing. This phenomenon, which other brokerages are engaged in as well, is called payment for order flow. Citadel Securities makes its money on these orders by “automatically taking the other side of the order, then returning to the market to flip the trade. It pockets the difference between the price to buy and sell, known as the spread,” according to the Financial Times.” • So, perhaps not quite the David and Goliath story that everybody’s excited about…

Publishing: “Bracing for Another E-book Price-Fixing Case” [Publishers Weekly]. “The suit is being brought against Amazon on behalf of three named plaintiffs and a potential class of consumers who bought e-books published by the Big Five “through a retail platform that competes with Amazon at a price inflated by Amazon and its Co-conspirator Publishers’ price restraint.” The suit was filed by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman, which filed the first e-book price-fixing lawsuit against Apple and five of the then–Big Six publishers in August 2011. And we remember how that turned out: with a federal antirust suit and claims from 33 states. The publishers ended up settling all claims for a total of $166 million in consumer credits. Apple lost at trial a year later and paid out a $450 million settlement. As to why this suit is happening now, suffice it to say that it feels like the Amazon antitrust train is getting ready to leave the station and Hagens Berman wants on. ”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Neutral (previous close: 55 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 27 at 1:19pm. GameStop!

The Biosphere

“Biden Issues Dozens of Oil Drilling Permits in First Few Days” [Bloomberg]. “The Biden administration has issued at least 31 new drilling permits authorizing operations on federal land and coastal waters, despite an order putting political appointees in charge of the decisions. The move signals those drilling authorizations are continuing to flow, despite President Joe Biden’s plan to pause oil and gas leasing — and a Jan. 20 order temporarily putting decisions about oil and gas permits, mining operations, hiring and other matters in the hands of top Interior Department officials. The order provoked alarm across the oil industry, as energy companies worried they wouldn’t get approval to drill new wells or swift approval to amend permits for ongoing drilling operations. So far, there’s no sign of that blockade.”

“Empty seas: Oceanic shark populations dropped 71% since 1970” [Associated Press]. “Scientists have known for decades that individual shark species are declining, but a new study drawing on 57 global datasets underscores just how dramatically worldwide populations have collapsed in the past half century. Globally, the abundance of oceanic sharks and rays dropped more than 70% between 1970 and 2018, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. And 24 of the 31 species of sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, while three species — oceanic whitetip sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks and great hammerhead sharks — are considered critically endangered.”

Health Care

“China’s Zero-Tolerance Covid Tactics Now Include Anal Swabs” [Bloomberg]. • Oh.

Our Famously Free Press

Sad news [wipes tear]:

Thanks for nothing, Marty you putz. (Hilariously, Baron mentions neither Iraq WMDs nor RussiaGate. I wonder why?)

Silicon Valley prepares to destroy podcasting, just as they did with blogging:

We need some platforms. Plus, they’re easier to censor.

Groves of Academe

“Iowa lawmakers advance bill to eliminate tenure” [The Gazette]. “A bill to end tenure at Iowa’s public universities advanced out of an education subcommittee Tuesday, despite pushback from Board of Regents lobbyists and opposition from economic and industry associations — like those representing Iowa’s soybean, cattle, and pork producers. ‘I worry that we’re going to lose the best and the brightest,’ Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, told her colleagues in a House education subcommittee Tuesday, stressing potential losses from Iowa’s research enterprise and from its medical, veterinary, pharmaceutical and dental practitioner pool. ‘We have some of the best in the nation,’ Mascher said, noting recent work on COVID-19 vaccines within UI Health Care. “For us to lose that quality worries me a great deal.’ But Reps. John H. Wills, R-Spirit Lake, and Skyler Wheeler, R-Orange City, advanced the tenure-elimination bill, arguing Iowa’s publicly funded universities should be able to terminate faculty for reasons beyond what they define as ‘just cause, program discontinuance and financial exigency’ — per the regents’ current tenure policy. ‘In the real world, if you mess up, and you mess up that bad, you’re fired,’ Wheeler said. ‘You get canned. It’s going to be hard to get another job. So I won’t get into all the different details, but Rep. Wills and I are going to pass this on.'” • When I hear the phrase “the real world,” I tend to mentally substitute “my fantasy world.” As here.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Could Jeffrey Epstein Have Played Leon Black So Easily?” [Bloomberg]. “[T]he Wall Street tycoon’s inability to follow his own advice about Epstein is a curious thing. Black, 69, is worth about $10 billion and is as savvy and hard-bitten as they come. He shouldn’t be easy to hoodwink… If Apollo’s board hoped its investigation of the Black-Epstein nexus might provide closure, it’s wrong. The report raises as many questions as it answers, begs for more transparency, and leaves anybody who can’t afford to pay $158 million to save billions – which is almost everybody – tuned in to the obvious: Leon Black is not the kind of guy to get so easily played. So tell us more. ”

Class Warfare

“Why you should ditch ‘follow your passion’ careers advice” [Financial Times]. “Ms Jaffe wants people to imagine a society which is not organised ’emotionally and temporally’ around work. As she writes in the book: ‘What I believe, and want you to believe, too, is that love is too big and beautiful and grand and messy and human a thing to be wasted on a temporary fact of life like work.'” • I think Jaffe was “work” and “job” confused.

UPDATE “Neither Class Reduction nor Race Reduction: Toward a Revolutionary Left Framework on an Age-Old Debate” [Black Agenda Report]. “The white supremacist state cannot censor itself, nor does it have any interest in creating the economic conditions for its own dissolution. White supremacy and class are not separate phenomenon, especially in the context of the United States. Gerald Horne and Theodore Allen have both proven through historical record that white supremacy is embedded in the capitalist political economy of the United States… White supremacy and class struggle must thus be taken together as parts of a whole social system rather than separate categories of oppression…. White supremacy appeared in the historical development of the United States as an intentional policy meant to consolidate the rule of settler colonialism and capitalism. European settlers of all classes would be united by their racial affiliation rather than divided by contradictory class interests. Black and other non-white peoples would be terrorized by the racialization of their being, thereby enhancing class exploitation by way of chattel bondage, Jim Crow fascism, and the like….. The Capitol Hill riot was an outgrowth of a profound popular confusion that has taken hold in the United States over this basic history. Only a negation of the history of white supremacy could produce the conclusion that Medicare for All and $2,000 per month would have prevented the addle minded white Americans from storming Capitol Hill… The self-described ‘patriots’ who stormed Capitol Hill are the spawn of the Trump era—a period where the crisis of U.S. imperialism opened a lane for white reaction to pose as ‘working class’ interests. This lane was opened primarily by the Democratic Party, which used the Trump era to promote racist conspiracies of ‘Russian collusion’ and antagonize non-ruling class white Americans as ‘deplorables.’ All the while, white liberals and the so-called leadership of ‘Black Lives Matter’ have followed the Democrats down a ‘race only’ framework which seeks inclusion within a decaying imperialist state alongside openly racist ‘blue MAGA’ demagogues like Joe Biden.”

News of the Wired

“A New Way to Trace the History of Sci-Fi’s Made-Up Words” [Wired]. “The game gets played between writer and reader, for sure, but also among writers, and between all the writers and all the readers. Some words get used again and again, becoming a meta-canonical corpus as allusive as classical haiku. It’s a game so complicated that it’d be nice to know the rules, maybe see the shape of the pieces. That’s where a lexicographical mad scientist named Jesse Sheidlower comes in. His creation, the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction came to life online this week—1,800 entries dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, with not only definitions but the earliest known uses, links to biographical information about the writers, and links to more than 1,600 scans of the original pages where the words appeared. It’s a wormhole into not just one alternate universe but a lexicographic multiverse, where time-traveling canons overlap in unexpected ways with each other and with whatever universe the reader happens to be sitting in. Cool concepts from your favorite movies turn out to precede those movies by decades; science fiction gets things right before science. It’s a trip, and it might just lead to some answers about what science fiction is and what it means.” • Ansible is there. Shifgrethor is not. Hmm.

“Jim Haynes: A man who invited the world over for dinner” [BBC]. “Jim had operated open-house policy at his home every Sunday evening for more than 40 years. Absolutely anyone was welcome to come for an informal dinner, all you had to do was phone or email and he would add your name to the list. No questions asked. Just put a donation in an envelope when you arrive. There would be a buzz in the air, as people of various nationalities – locals, immigrants, travellers – milled around the small, open-plan space. A pot of hearty food bubbled on the hob and servings would be dished out on to a trestle table, so you could help yourself and continue to mingle. It was for good reason that Jim was nicknamed the ‘godfather of social networking.’ He led the way in connecting strangers, long before we outsourced it all to Silicon Valley.” • This sounds brilliant. Not for me, but I’m too introverted. Maybe some reader will think this is a good thing to try, when we can reduce our social distance?

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

goingnowhereslowly writes: “Geraniums in the snow as the nor’easter came through DC yesterday. I’ve been very proud of my geraniums this year and I’m keeping them going as long as possible. They survived the storm quite well, just a little beat up from the rain and wind that followed the snow.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Wukchumni

    I missed out on this backpack trip to Sespe hot springs with Wonderhussy and my longtime backpacking partner last week. We have around 3,000 to 4,000 miles walked together on the trail and not even one argument in all that time. We’ve shared the tops of around 40 peaks in the High Sierra.

    The eye doc tells me I have another month to go before regaining my eyesight fully in my left eye, there’s still about 50% of the gas he pumped in behind the retina, so no changes in altitude for me.

    Sespe is one of my favorite walk to hot springs, and they encountered a herd of Bighorn Sheep while there. It has the hottest source in Cali @ 190 degrees!

    It is also the only place i’ve ever camped under palm trees, another bonus!

    Backcountry Hot Springs Winter Backpacking Adventure Part 1 of 2: Sespe Hot Springs


    1. Arizona Slim

      Wonderhussy is a class act.

      How do I know this? Personal experience.

      During the recently concluded holiday season, I decided to send cards with a bit of moolah-moolah to three of my favorite YouTubers. Hussy was the only one who replied with a “thank you” email.

      1. Wukchumni

        When you’re with her, its almost as if she is never filming, so effortless in cobbling together a half hour variety show on the cheap out of a week. She’s a D-I-Y Hollywood studio.

        On my first trip with her, she could only be out 5 days while we were out for 8, and by chance ran into her again @ the McDonalds in Bishop-both of us getting our wi-fi fixes, and she was editing down footage to the finished product.

        For once, a reality show that’s real, and it really resonates.

  2. Carolinian

    Yay Melvyn and his guests.

    And breaking out the party hats for the departure of Marty Baron. Now can they get rid of that ridiculous “dies in darkness” slogan? Or was it a self description, not a warning?

    1. notabanker

      “There is no overriding reason why GameStop has attracted those smaller investors”

      From AP above, interesting narrative. A bunch of little guys just happened to like GameStop. The fact that it was shorted over 140% had nothing to do with it, or maybe they just got lucky. Surely no one could have outsmarted the masters of the universe.

      The schadenfreude is strong with this one, but the underlying trading analysis was sound by these guys and they knew exactly what they were doing. And they turned out to be right in a big way.

        1. ambrit

          I’m thinking that the ‘phenomenon’ yesterday was a misspelling of Carolingian. They, if I remember correctly, were fond of using stocks. (Alas, I am mistaken in the last point. Stocks as punishment did not come into common usage until about 1500, if wikipaedia is a true guide. See:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stocks)
          So goes my pitiful attempt at humour.

        2. Carolinus

          Close on the name, but the truth is I’m ultra cynical about stocks. My father is a true believer and he has taught me much, but we clash all the time now and can’t talk politics anymore. I don’t think anyone should be buying stocks, myself included. But as a wage laborer who has seen the rise in cost of living and has accepted the forced participation in the stock market for retirement survival, I’m aware of the landscape. I will admit it is hard to work as a nurse, especially in an intensive care unit right now, and go to work full time and see the landscape tilt away from me. And to know I’ve been extremely fortunate in a number of ways that others haven’t and still having struggles. And to think of billionaire hedge fund managers paying in pain in any way is something that I would burn a pile of cash to try to bring it about, even if there is skimming and dirty dealing along the way. Even if it never works and I never see a penny of the paltry sum I have laid out, it’s worth a shot. I told my friend it’s like our Bernie campaign contribution.

      1. occasional anonymous

        They chose it for a number of reasons. First is that it really was genuinely massively undervalued. The second is that GameStop is something of a longstanding meme among gamers (and these reddit nerds are definitely predominately gamers), in that no one actually likes it. Using it as a vehicle for financial terrorism is basically a giant ironic in-joke.

      2. allan

        Time for some gamete theory:

        Scott Galloway @profgalloway

        What happened here (i.e., GMS)?

        –It’s about sex…
        –Specifically, young men not having (enough) sex
        –Sex leads to relationships, obligations and guardrails (don’t get in fights, we need you. Don’t gamble your paycheck, we need to save for a house)
        3:51 PM · Jan 27, 2021

    2. Val

      I always took wapo’s “democracy dies in darkness” to be strictly aspirational. High fives, all around.

  3. DJG

    gray catbird: Well, now you have my attention. They are one of my great favorites. (Also, it appears that they are the only species of the mockingbird clan that ventures north.)

    The 49 seconds in the clip from Cornell are only the start. Catbirds are the great improvisers–the jazz singers–of the bird world. Your typical catbird will start over and ornament the melody and then move on to whatever else seems worthwhile melodically.

    All this from a bird the size of a slim robin, although they are covered in an elegant gray and have black eyes.

    Supposedly, catbirds have no fear of human beings. So they have seen through human fantasies. A reminder of birds as the messengers of the gods. [There is a catbird dynasty that lives in the trees in a community garden a block from my place, and I have been following catbirds and their stylings for several yerars.]

    1. Captain Obious

      “…no fear of human beings.” And little, if any, fear of cats. Many times I have observed the interaction that occurs when a catbird spots the cat in the yard and proceeds to mock him, and like a bully if he notices weakness, relentlessly torment him if the cat appears bothered. They love to make that cat-like cry when a cat is around to target. Birds are way smart sometimes, and the catbird is right up near the top, I would guess.

    2. LaRuse

      Working from home has made me a serious bird appreciator. We had our first ever catbird visit last summer and the call was unlike anything I had heard before. It proved wary of me in the yard, but made no effort to get far away either. Hope it returns this year.
      I also rescued a stray kitten last summer, and we have a Brown Thrasher who seems to live here all year who had not only no fear of that half starved little cat, it seemed to take a particular pleasure in torturing the little wanna be bird hunter. The bird never hurt the kitten but it made sure the cat knew it could.
      The most unusual sighting the past year has been a rose breasted grosbeak. Only a passerby each time – one sighting and then never again for another year. Gorgeous bird.
      My daily visitor who I may or may not have conversations with is a Red Bellied Woodpecker. It is the kind of bird that reminds me that 65 million years ago, it would probably have been a T-Rex.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, the mockingbird itself ventures pretty far north in the Appalachian region. It ventures deeply up into New York State even in Winter. I myself have seen mockingbirds in Syracuse, Saratoga Springs, Oswego Lake Inlet ( if I am remembering the name right) in dead winter.

      Where the mockingbird stays way to the south is in the flat Midwest. No mockingbirds in Michigan, for example. I have no idea why that is.

      Brown thrashers used to live in SouthEast Michigan. I haven’t seen any lately.

    1. Stephanie

      Sadly (or not) there are only 38 works listed under the Rahm Emmanuel tag at AO3. There are a couple shipping him with Pelosi and one with Maddow, but as usual, slash pairings win the day. Writers have set him up with Obama, Anderson Cooper, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert, Charlie Crews. He’s also tagged in a couple of Arthur/Eames Inception fics, not sure what that’s about.

      If you’ve never experienced AO3 before, do read the tags before proceeding into a particular work.

  4. Glen

    “Nancy Pelosi Buys Tesla Calls, Stands To Benefit From New Biden EV Plan”

    Normal people that do this type of stuff GO TO JAIL.

    1. Gonzo Gonzales

      I’m sure Nancy will be able to afford another freezer or two for her ice cream with all the winnings.

  5. fresno dan

    As I seen in the links, there is talk of Leon Black, here is something I posted this morning.

    We are told by the lawyers hired by the Board of Directors of Apollo Global Management to investigate the Chairman of that same Board of Directors that the $158 MILLION Leon Black transferred to his personal friend and convicted child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was for “legitimate advice on trust and estate planning, tax issues, issues relating to artwork, Black’s airplane, Black’s yacht, and other similar matters”. We are told that the bulk of the funds were transferred “on an ad hoc basis based on Black’s perceived value of Epstein’s work”, with no agreements signed or unsigned. We are told that the bulk of the funds were paid for tax advice that would only realize potential gains well in the future, advice that was later determined to originate not with Epstein but with Black’s regular tax lawyers. Payments of this magnitude and in this manner seem unlike the behavior of any enormously wealthy person in the history of the world, particularly a man whose enormous wealth has been notoriously built on precisely the opposite behavior, but Leon Black says this is the truth.
    It is difficult to get lawyers to understand something when their commissions depend on their not understanding it.

    1. km

      Sounds legit. /s/

      Before his untimely demise, Mr. Epstein was licensed to practice law and/or accountancy in the State in which his services were rendered to Mr. Black, right?

  6. Hepativore

    So instead of hearing about #TheResistance you will be hearing about the #Avengers for the next 4-8 years, consisting of the holy trinity of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, AND…George W. Bush!


    Yes, Dubya was certainly a paragon of virtue, and look at how Biden lovingly praised Dick Cheney not too long ago.

    The Biden years are shaping up to be another round or two of neoliberalism, war crimes, and austerity only with more hair-sniffing.

    1. Glen


      These were the President’s that were in charge when America was WRECKED. Trump only won because of American’s complete disgust with what these idiots did to America.

  7. FreeMarketApologist

    Jim Haynes: A man who invited the world over for dinner

    When I was in college, one of the university staff members regularly held a Sunday morning ‘open house’, where whomever wanted could drop by for coffee or juice, read the newspaper, have a muffin, some fruit, or toast, and converse. Like Haynes, if you knew about it, you could show up (and people often brought others, who then spread the word). Attendance varied from 2 to 20, some weeks were interesting, others not so much, but it was a simple and effective way to have a little community connection, and meet interesting people in a low-key setting. If I can get a bit more over my introversion, I’ll be starting up something similar once we can gather again (I’m also in a small college town).

    And I 2nd the vote for Melvyn and his guests. Smart people talking intelligently about all sorts of topics.

    1. dbk

      Hear hear for In Our Time and Melvyn Bragg. A friend happened to re-recommend it to me last week, and over the weekend I listened to the podcasts on (1) the Plague of Justinian, (2) John Wesley, and (3) Macbeth – all were excellent.

      Also, the website for each podcast has a scholarly bibliography. What’s not to love?

    2. a different chris

      >When I was in college, one of the university staff members regularly held a Sunday morning ‘open house’

      When *I* was in college, I don’t think I ever saw a Sunday morning… ROTFLMAO.

  8. Mark K

     “If you want to understand what a real insurrection is like, you could to worse than listen to Melvyn and his guests.”

    Reading Mila 18 would be another good way. It’s what I mainly thought of when people were bandying the word “insurrection” about regarding the riot at the Capitol. (For those who aren’t familiar with it, Mila 18, by Leon Uris, is a fictionalized account of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943.)

    1. Stephen C.

      BBC In Our Time podcast are terrific, and that one in particular. Also another one that I listened to just last night, “The French Revolution’s reign of terror.” The discussion of said terror being State terror, not just random terror, is pertinent, I think.

      There are 884 or so episodes of this excellent program, and I believe they are available on the BBC site, in case there are those that don’t like YouTube.

      The best part of the show is that one gets a glimpse into how people can discuss things without screaming, interrupting, and upstaging. Well, last night’s program got a little heated, so that’s not a great example, but in general, so much that we Americans can learn from the Brits about how to speak to one another.

      1. Carolinian

        You can download an mp3 of each week’s show from the BBC In Our Time website.

        I believe lately he does all his shows using Zoom or equivalent

      2. Old Sarum

        Re In Our Time: “The Rapture”


        If there is one episode I would recommend it is this one. I had to listen to it a few times to get my head around it – and I regard myself as a careful listener.

        I regard it as essential listening for anyone with passing interest in the current political scene.

        I am particularly reminded of this podcast by image (above) of the bearded one guiding Pres. Kayfaybe’s hand.


  9. Wukchumni

    “Jim Haynes: A man who invited the world over for dinner” [BBC]. “Jim had operated open-house policy at his home every Sunday evening for more than 40 years. Absolutely anyone was welcome to come for an informal dinner, all you had to do was phone or email and he would add your name to the list.

    We go forward to the retreat here in town for dinner 3-4x a year but not since Covid. You have to call ahead to make sure there’s space, and there’s a box with a suggested donation as you enter the buffet chow line.

    Father John is the brains of the outfit, pretty lefty, pretty outdoorsy and a heck of an artist. He seems to show up to shoot the breeze with you about 1/3rd of the time. We talk about everything except religion, and both believe in life before death.

  10. al

    WSB & GME: It appears that while Dad was sleeping, the youngsters broke into Dad’s liquor cabinet and availed themselves of the 25 year old scotch, metaphorically speaking, [What a party!]. You just wait until Dad wakes up, or so the story goes. Or maybe it is just consequence of a decade long easy money policy and the crazed speculative asset bubble that it encourages, [we are supposedly on the lookout for inflation after all], the underdog David and Goliath MSM narrative surrounding WSB & GME notwithstanding. Or maybe, just maybe, someone has found another way to incite and profit off of mob induced frenzies, in the manner of DJT.

    Far more interesting, to me at least, is the counter intuitive nature of the reality that we inhabit. For example,

    “Likewise, herpes makes mice less susceptible to certain bacterial infections, including the bubonic plague and listeria (a common type of food poisoning). Infecting people with herpes virus, bubonic plague and listeria to replicate the mouse experiment would be unethical, but the study’s authors suspect that their findings in rodents likely apply to humans. While lifelong infection with herpes viruses “are commonly viewed as solely pathogenic,” they write, their data suggest that herpes in fact enters into a “symbiotic relationship” with its host by conferring immune benefits.”


    But, then again, “ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat”, or something like that.

    1. fajensen

      The real slapstick short-squeeze action happens when someone on RobinHood lets his thousands of GME call options, now worth hundreds of thousands shares, expire in-the-money while forgetting that one need to specifically request “cash settlement” if one doesn’t want the stock!

      BooM goes the stock price, and then Splat goes the account with the margin call for buying the stock at strike price. Happened with Netscape back in the naughties.

      1. Wukchumni

        Of all the mysteries of the stock exchange there is none so impenetrable as why there should be a buyer for everyone who seeks to sell.

        John Kenneth Galbraith

        1. Stephen C.

          Interesting conceptual problem, but the elites do have access to near free money to pick up bargains.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        To a large extent, we’ve reached the real end stage. The thieves have run out of little people to steal from and are turning on each other.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The only reason I can think of that Maxwell is still alive is that she has pre-positioned all of Epstein’s and hers’s knowledge in an undisclosed secure location that the entire intelligence community has not been able to find yet. And that she has given the keepers of the information instructions to publish every single bit of it on every possible visible venue all at once if she dies. Hopefully she included ” or goes into a coma or persistent vegetative state” in those instructions.

            Otherwise , she would already have been assassinated in custody.

    1. Tom Doak

      Yes, the story doesn’t make sense as it stands. Sooner or later, once the shorts are destroyed, the price is going to crash back to somewhere near was it was, isn’t it? So what’s to stop the usual suspects from helping to bid up the price, and being sure to cash out just before the fall?

      1. Phillip Cross

        Everybody thinks they will be smart enough to get out just a teensy bit early! Whenever it be GME or SPY.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      There was a discussion here a while ago about Robinhood’s business model where they provide free trades to retail investors and make money by selling their order flow upstream, which just reeks of fraud regardless of whether some Congressional apparatchik in the thrall of filthy lucre has declared it all legal. From the verge article above –

      …Robinhood isn’t offering free trades to be nice; the company gets paid by some big-time investors such as Citadel Securities to see what retail investors are doing.


      The practice is controversial, though, because some critics say it harms investors. It’s theoretically possible to “‘front run’ orders by, for example, jumping ahead of a customer’s stock purchase to buy it themselves, making a small gain if the share price increases,” the Financial Times explains. “There is no suggestion that Citadel Securities engages in such activity, which is prohibited by SEC.”

      Why thank you Captain Renault for the vote of confidence!

      C’mon man – why else would you pay big money for the order flow if not to front run?

    3. Deschain

      Stoller has the right take on this; 99% of the takes on this are wrong (granted, the wrong take makes for a better story).

      The stock market is VERY illiquid right now. For instance AMC Networks – not AMC Entertainment, the theater chain wsb has targeted for the next squeeze, but the owner of the AMC cable network – opened up 20% today. It finished DOWN 20%. No news of course.

      When I’ve seen markets (incl stocks based on real businesses) do this kind of stuff in the past, it’s reliably an indicator that things are about to come totally unglued.

      1. JWP

        I think we are seeing a play by some big player to get Melvin’s short sellers to their company for next to nothing. By front running orders and jacking up the price for others, it could have easily been coupled with the prize of Melvin’s short sellers once it tanked.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Probably they will only be talking about Kurdish women fighters to lay the ground how American troops should go back into that part of Syria to protect them because oil’s, errrr, women’s rights. But what will be unmentioned is all the women in the Syrian Army that are fighting western-backed Jihadists doing jobs like infantry, tank drivers, snipers, etc-


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        There is not enough oil in Syria to be worth conquering. The only concern Clinton would have over that oil is to prevent the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic from being able to benefit from selling the oil. In order to prevent the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic from being able to do any reconstruction in its territory.

        And why would that be? Because Clinton supports the GAJ and the CLEJ. ( For those who have forgotten, GAJ stands for Global Axis of Jihad and CLEJ stands for Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis). Clinton still wants to turn Syria into an al Qaeda Jihadistan. And if she can’t do that, she would at least like to turn it into a third Somalia. ( Libya was her second Somalia).

    2. JTMcPhee

      This Vietnam vet says, to all the women who pontificate through media megaphones on this subject, “Ms. Custer? YOU go down there.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWGAdzn5_KU

      As a Vietnam veteran, I took flak for a lot of years from educated women claiming to be liberated, who insisted that negotiation and niceness were a feminine monopoly, and if only women ran things, there would be no wars any more.

      Now feminist success stories include women earning their way into the special ops, flying drone missions, combat pilots in attack helicopters and various fighter-bombers, running Abu Ghraib and the CIA and any number of other murderous and destructive roles (even CEOs of fraud-based corporate operations like Theranos. Just as good as men, or maybe even better.

      Proving nothing more than it doesn’t matter, in the big picture how many X and Y chromosomes one has, we are all just naked apes seeking dominance, with a lot of us having a blood-thirst that ought to sicken us if one goes by our aspirational statements of grandiose principles…

      And there are exceptions, but from my vantage point they are all exceptions that just prove the rule.

      It’s been interesting to watch the shadowing and diminution of Vietnam vets, as the narrative turns to other more recent Imperial activities…. But as one arrogant shite of a General observed, “Old soldiers just fade away.”

      Who will be the last veteran of WW II, and Korea, and Vietnam, and even Grenada and Panama< to die?

      And now actual warfighting is done by economically desperate specialists, https://www.baptistboard.com/threads/gis-and-food-stamps.104979/, and mercenaries and contractors and pet “militants” and what sure look like actual real insurrectionists to me, like the jihadis in Syria and Iraq. I read that the GWOT has resulted in less than 8,000 US troops dead (for millions and millions of brown people.) I am ashamed that I enlisted, that I effing volunteered, to “do my part” in the grand imperial slaughterhouse…

      I hope there really is a Hell for people like Pelosi and Clinton and Madaline Albright and Rice… and yes, Cheney and Bush and Schwartzkopf and Westmoreland and more recent Brass. But it doesn’t seem likely that there is any real retribution

      1. caucus99percenter

        First-world audiences worldwide have been conned into channeling their anger and revulsion away from the war criminals you listed and instead projecting it onto the figure of Donald Trump.

        The press / the news media used to see part of its mission as occasionally exposing the magic tricks of politicians and elites, explaining to the public (us rubes) how each trick is done. Nowadays the media are merely the magician’s attractive, fetchingly-clad assistant, just another accomplice in the misdirection.

  11. 430MLK

    I did a much, much scaled down version of the open dinner for about four years. Generally, the size ran from 10-20 people, and we gathered on Thursday nights. I made homemade pasta and sometimes a sauce (though mostly just grated parmesan, salt/pepper, olive oil), and people brought what they wanted or helped with washing dishes or such. I had a core invite list, but friends were always encouraged to bring or send friends. It was quite fun, and I got to meet a lot of people I would not have otherwise.

  12. Pat

    One of my favorite fantasies regarding corrections to the system involves the clear and deep corruption of Congressional insider trading. It makes every national elected official to put their entire financial life (meaning their spouse’s as well) outside of their salaries and a home in their home state and one in the DC area in a truly blind trust. As in they no longer have the stocks, investments, company shares they had (the trust can keep, sell them, or whatever they choose). They will have no idea what they are invested in besides the same kind of chart a lot of pension holders get (you have this percentage in bonds, this in stocks, this in real estate). They are allowed to request a withdrawal for a necessary expense (medical, tuition, etc). If they sell their residence, but must deposit any money not used to purchase a new residence. Everything is returned to them with any interest etc earned upon leaving office.

    Call me wild and crazy, but I’m betting that if this were the case, the amazing wealth increase we have seen for most of Congress would not have happened. And to be really effective it would need to be coupled with restrictions on post public life employment particularly for lobbying.

    In the meanwhile it would be nice to see Nancy perp walked from the Capitol in handcuffs and spending what is left of her Golden Years making ten cents an hour manning a prison call center. It will never happen, but it would be nice.

    1. Pelham

      Re congressional wealth: Has there been any study of the average growth in wealth of representatives and senators over their years in office?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I heard about this on NPR’s ” 1A” program this morning. This looks more effective than any “protest”.
      If the various Redditer hordes and K-POP hordes are able to mass-leaderlessly co-ordinate more such attacks, they might be able to bankrupt some hedge funds so comprehensively as to drive them into Roach Motel Liquidation and drive their owners into losing their personal domicile homes and houses and spending the rest of their lives sleeping under Bill Clinton’s bridge to the twenty first century.

      And that would be a very inspiring outcome.

      ” Eat my justice!” as the Tick used to say.


        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Revenge! Revenge!

          Burn their money down to the ground!

          I don’t want the rich man’s money. I want to turn it into used toilet paper.
          I don’t want the rich man’s diamonds. I want to turn them into little Kingsord charcoal briquets.
          I don’t want the rich man’s gold. I want to turn it into radioactive lead.

          The redditizers and the KPOPers may have hit on a very effective battlefield-killbox for the Class Enemy hedge fund owners.

          1. Glen

            If Biden really wants to be FDR, he can raise the top tax rate back to 90%.

            HA! That’ll never happen! Biden will be an FDR when monkeys fly out of my {family blog}!

      1. notabanker

        The timing of this is really, really interesting. This topic is ripping through my twentysomething kids social circles. If USGov goes after reddit traders while Pelosi is insider trading and Congress is crying debt austerity you can’t have checks……. is that roasted black swan I’m smelling?

        Rising did a great segment on this. SEC suggesting foreign powers on CNBC, lol.

  13. Mikerw0

    Truth, reconciliation and reform.

    As unpopular this is to say, its possible the only POTUS who was smart, fundamentally honest and got the big pictures right was Jimmy Carter. No matter how the media portrayed him.

    He led the right response to Watergate, which was as much about corrupt campaign finance as anything else, he didn’t start a war, he knew we needed to wean ourselves from oil, etc. Thus he was a threat to the inertial blob.

    You could argue that we need to go back to Eisenhower and the origins of the cold war a concoction by the Dulles brothers and the excuses to overthrow foreign governments — including in Iran.

    Kennedy and Johnson for Vietnam.

    Bush the Sr. and Reagan for Iran-Contra and cover-up and pardons of clear felonies. Walsh says in his book that if Reagan wasn’t already showing signs of dementia when he interviewed him he would have been indicted or recommended impeachment.

    Clinton – Bosnia at a minimum.

    Bush the Jr. – Iraq

    Obama – murdering American citizens without any due process.

    Then reform campaign finance laws, elected officials and all their backdoors to money via PACs, etc. actual oversight by Its, etc. Fundamental reforms with real teeth. Restore Glass-Steagall too.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      , its possible the only POTUS who was smart, fundamentally honest and got the big pictures right was Jimmy Carter.

      Nope. Carter’s foreign policy and domestic policy were the blue prints for what came after. His treatment of unions was appalling, and well, the whole funding the Mujadeen was just monstrous. His intentions were irrelevant. Just an appalling disaster. I’m sure he’s very friendly.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Airline and trucking deregulation also began under Carter. His presidency was the overture to full-on neoliberalism.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Umm… Isn’t Jimmy Carter credited with creating Al Qaeda by funding the Afgan rebels against the Ruskies? Kind of let Zbigniew Brzezinski run wild over the middle east. Not exactly my definition of “getting the big picture right”.

      1. Carolinian

        Thank you. I’d call that starting a war and arguably one of the most disastrous for the US–long term–even though US soldiers didn’t fight in it.

        Carter was a neoliberal governor of Georgia and a neoliberal president. By losing to Reagan he did start the ball rolling toward Dubya.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          John Anderson helped Carter lose to Reagan by pulling votes from Carter.

          Just as Perot helped Bush Senior lose to Clinton by pulling votes away from Bush Senior.

          1. RMO

            The unfortunate thing is that even taking all the terrible things mentioned into account Carter is still the least repugnant person who has been US president in my lifetime (Nixon was president when I was born). Praising with faint damns I know. Shows how low the bar is for this! Unlike Obama he has been willing to point out some largely taboo truths in his retirement and actually do a few things that don’t seem to be entirely for his enrichment and ego inflation.

            Last time I checked Wikipedia still said the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan came as a surprise to Carter a Zbignew… funny that, considering Z is on record as saying he was deliberately trying to provoke the USSR to intervene militarily.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      I worked very hard for Ted Kennedy’s campaign in Iowa in 1979-80 because it was painfully obvious that Carter could not stop Reagan. The party played hardball as they rallied around their incumbent, but nothing like the outright fraud the DNC has been perpetrating throughout this new century.

      Had Carter simply stepped aside like LBJ in ’68, Reagan could have been stopped and so much grief avoided. I can’t overlook his selfishness in running for reelection after four years of economic and political failure. There were no scenarios in which he could have beaten Reagan.

      I will concede he’s been an excellent ex-President.

      1. neo-realist

        The power and prestige of the presidency is as addictive as heroin. Incumbents can’t give it up no matter how hard they’re pooping the bed.

        I don’t know if Ted would have stopped Reagan. Looking back on the election, so many people who should have known better politically were seduced by his reassuring morning in america kool-aid. Teddy might have been portrayed as the big government spender who would have exacerbated the inflation.

    4. al

      “. . . . he knew we needed to wean ourselves from oil, etc. Thus he was a threat to the inertial blob.”

      I suppose, but then again, “Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

      It appears that, on “The Grand Chessboard” [at the time], and even now, Middle East oil represented [represents] a ‘national security interest’. In any case, a more interesting takeaway is the following [considering the stature of the author],

      “. . . . regularly overlooked is the fact that economic sanctions are always “acts of war,” even though not of a “kinetic” nature. That fact becomes even more patent when sanctions get near the point of crushing the people of the targeted country—as is now happening with Iran—with consequences that could have effects like those of kinetic actions (i.e., bombs and bullets).”


  14. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the Warnock campaign $2,000 check images . . . . and the Catfood LibDem walkback . . . .

    “Do liberal Democrats really believe people don’t notice these things?”

    I think the liberal Democrats understand very well that people notice these things. I think the Catfood LibDems quietly find Warnock too New Dealish for their tastes and they are preparing a possible campaign to undermine him and get him defeated by that “broken promise” if he runs for Senate again in 6 years. Just in case they decide they want him removed in 6 years.

    1. Glen

      Ha! Six years?

      But in 2022? That election cycle is going to start by the end of the year. Democratic Congress people up for re-election in 2022 better get worried. They WILL get flushed if that $2000 doesn’t go out.

      1. Wukchumni

        Grand Heft Auto is what i’m looking at if they give me a couple grandidos via direct deposit.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Catfood ConservaDems will try targeting that raging disappointment against the AOC-type squaddies most of all. The C CDs will point out how “ineffective and worthless” the AOCs turned out to be. They will be accused of showing their inability to bring home the bacon, or the $2,000 checks, or whatever. A “practical” opponent will be stood up against every squaddie-type in herm’s next Congressional election.

        1. Glen

          Good luck with that. Blue Dog Dems generally get voted out if it’s a choice between a Republican and a DINO. They’re not going to touch an AOC type even with the billionaires flooding in the bucks, and even if the MSM tries to destroy alternative media.

          After thirty years of watching this work, it’s pretty easy for the voters to know how they’re getting $crewed. Especially the younger voters.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Blue Dogs losing to Republicans would suit the Catfood ConservaDems just fine, thank you. They would prefer that to witnessing the spectacle of any Squaddie-type winning against a Republican.

            Didn’t they overtly de-platform some squaddie-wannabes in order to lose to Republicans by running Blue Dogs in the most recent election? I think I remember that they did. On purpose with malice aforethought. Though I can’t remember the names right now.

      3. Procopius

        I think so, too. It’s the most blatant case of bad faith I remember in a long life. I think the Democrats arguing against a plain $2000 for everybody are betting people won’t remember it by next year. Since I think they’re going to have us in a really, really bad war by then, I guess they might be right, but I believe they’re wrong (I try to remember, I am not a seer, I cannot see the future, but this is something the Democrat neoconservatives have been working for since Hillary was SecState). Not only did they promise $2000, they promised it RIGHT AWAY. Biden folding it into a huge “stimulus” bill and then submitting it to regular order means it’s not going to get through the Senate — thank Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema for that, but people know it’s really Biden choosing this. If he had just made it a clean, stand-alone bill it would have worked; what Republican would dare vote against his base getting free money? But no, he has to play games, he wants that [family blog] “bipartisan” thing so much. The Democrats learned nothing from the Obama years.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Hillary, Chelsea Clinton to produce series about all-woman militias that fought Islamic State

    I gotta take the extremely contrarian view on this controversial topic for… some reasons. Just as long as it doesn’t feature any foreign volunteers of non-Kurdish descent, doesn’t over-sexualize the women of the YPJ, and any pro-SDF production is good propaganda in my book. I also hope that Brace Beldon collects a phat consulting fee too. It’d be great if his price was a guest appearance on TrueAnon.

    The Turks were always going to be reaaaaal mad.

  16. Glen

    An interesting take on GameStop:

    How Reddit Is Tanking Wall Street Hedge Funds


    And an interesting comment that there is more talk of regulatory action here around common people as opposed to Pelosi and other Senators and/or Congresscritters acting on inside information.

    1. The Rev Kev

      What Wall Street has to do is get the Feds behind them so that this can never happen again. Pass the Fairness in American Revolving Trading (FART) Act of 2021. Make it that you cannot buy shares unless you are an institutional investor or can post a $1 million bond before trading. Have Homeland Security to closely monitor any small time trading groups. Have the FBI visit each and everyone of those reddit investors and come down heavy on them. Have the Federal Reserve make those Wall Street institutions whole again so they had no losses (standard operating procedure here). Then, and only then will the economy achieve stability.

  17. RMO

    The filibuster bluster has me thinking… Has there been a single time in the past three decades where the threat or possibility of a Dem filibuster has stopped the GOP from enacting legislation? I can’t think of one…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My memory is when Shrub was naming judges they looked for people they could count on 100%, so they didn’t always rush to fill jobs waiting on the next class of Regent Lawyers to pass the bar.

      The Constitution has an option for a tie in the Senate but nary a word about a filibuster. There is nothing stopping 50 Senators and the VP from passing anything that has the same standing as any McConnell approved double secret handshake.

      Though it is fitting progressive legislation is “stymied” (there are 10 non worthless Senators) by a 3/5 compromise.

  18. DJG

    If you want to read a great graphic novel about Rojava (Kurdish northern Syria) based on real people, including women in the women’s militias that Hill & Chel would like to exploit from afar, try Kobane Calling by the Italian writer/cartoonist Zerocalcare.

    Kobane Calling is available in Italian from Bao Publishing of Milan and in English from The Lion Forge publisher in Saint Louis, Mo.

    Unlike Hill & Chel who want to resist profitably from afar, Zerocalcare has made more that one trip to the Kurdish areas of Syria. He is also an anarcho-leftist, so he won’t be applying for a grant from the Clinton Foundation.

    Here he is talking about an updated Italian edition that he published last year. YouTube:

  19. flora

    re: “Iowa lawmakers advance bill to eliminate tenure”

    Happening in Kansas via the Kansas Board of Regents, which approved a new policy to allow termination of tenured profs at the unis’ will during this financial crisis. Except, the BoR and unis already have a financial emergency tool to reduce hours, restructure classes, etc. This is a power grab by the BoR and some uni admins. This just eliminates tenure as academic freedom from admin political bullying. Only one state uni has taken up the new policy – the one uni that went on a real estate campus building boom with borrowed money 5 years ago and is now deep, deep in the hole. (Did I mention it was a public-private partnership building boom?) The other state unis avoided that higher ed fad (lots of fads in higher ed admin) and are in somewhat better financial shape.

    1. Hepativore

      Scott Walker did a similar thing with tenured public university professors in Wisconsin a few years ago. This is how my father and thousands of other professors lost their jobs across the state despite having had tenure for several years. This is because many of Wisconsin’s schools replaced their previous faculty positions with that of adjunct professors with no benefits and meager pay.

      This has been a trend that has been going on for awhile at schools across the country and now the pandemic is just the latest excuse to accelerate the process.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        First rate minds won’t seek jobs anymore at no-tenure colleges and universities. They will either seek tenure jobs at foreign colleges and universities or private jobs for higher pay to go along with the permission to be fired at will.

        Is it part of a plan to burn down the American college and university system?

  20. Wukchumni

    I went to a lot of museums in Europe and you’d get tired of all the religiousness every old school painting had to have save the Dutch masters, if I had a Lira for every gilt halo I endured en route, grrrr.

    Making an angel out of John McCain takes it to another level though. Where’s his halo?

    1. The Rev Kev

      No, no – you have it all wrong with that image. Old Joe is actually sniffing Kamala’s hair and out of frame, Kamala is about to raise her dagger to Joe’s back. All those spirits have come back to enjoy the show and wait for old Joe to join them. Then it will be back to their ride and it will be “Goin’ down!”

  21. flora

    The Rand Corporation, not exactly a left-wing think tank (understatement). has a study out about income growth and distribution in the US from 1975 to 2018. The preface includes this bit:

    Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018

    We document the cumulative effect of four decades of income growth below the growth of per capita gross national income and estimate that aggregate income for the population below the 90th percentile over this time period would have been $2.5 trillion (67 percent) higher in 2018 had income growth since 1975 remained as equitable as it was in the first two post-War decades. From 1975 to 2018, the difference between the aggregate taxable income for those below the 90th percentile and the equitable growth counterfactual totals $47 trillion. We further explore trends in inequality by applying this metric within and across business cycles from 1975 to 2018 and also by demographic group. (my emphasis)


    The pols keep insisting “we” need more austerity for the good of the budget, for the good of the country. The last 40 years have been unrelenting austerity for the 90%.

    1. Paradan

      Rand surprises me with many of its studies. I have a nagging suspicion that its all just a psy-op.

      1. flora

        Their raw numbers are usually right, imo. Their spin on the numbers, their explanations of why the numbers are what they are – is the cause of the wealth disparity the displacement of workers with more efficient machinery, or is government favoritism toward the wealthy in tax treatment the cause for example- can be very wealth leaning in outlook.

  22. Wukchumni

    WW2 warbirds are just another bubble, here’s a 1941 P-40 for $1.575 Million…


    Here’s the local angle, it’s known as the day it rained P-40’s on Kings Canyon.

    Several WWII military plane crashes have been documented in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. On October 24, 1941, 19 Curtis P-40 Hawks of the 57th Pursuit Group left March Field at Riverside, California, to fly to McClelland Field, in Sacramento, California. A short time after takeoff, the aircraft encountered heavy overcast conditions, and many of the aircraft became separated. Four planes went down in the area of Kings Canyon, resulting in one pilot being killed, and three pilots parachuting to safety. First Lieutenant Richard N. Long was killed in a crash near South Guard Lake. (NPS)


    On June 28, I received an email from a hiker who stumbled across an aircraft crash site while cross-country hiking. He wasn’t positive of the model identification, and after he located my name on the internet, he sent me photos of the wreckage. Once reviewing each photo, I called for a second opinion from a professional restorer of WWII military aircraft, Kent Lentz. Twenty minutes later I received his response; yes that wreck-site is a Curtis Wright P-40 fighter aircraft.


    1. The Rev Kev

      Took all of one second to identify that plane as an old P-40 Tomahawk as confirmed by the text under that photo. Got an interest in that plane going back to when I saw the film “Tora, Tora, Tora” back in the 70s. It was with delight that I read that from all those P-40s from Pearl Harbour, one has still survived and that was because it crashed some time after that battle-


      And here is a scene from that movie showing two pilots – Taylor & Welch – who were able to get into the air. Both survived the war with Kenneth Taylor going on to become a General in the Alaska Air National Guard and George Welch marrying an Aussie girl while stationed here but eventually getting killed testing the F-100 Super sabre as a test pilot-


      1. RMO

        I don’t know if it’s really a bubble – there’s not a whole lot of them available, restoring one or even maintaining an already good one costs a lot of money (heck, even just the fuel bill alone as you’re going to be burning around 60 gallons per hour of 100LL is huge) so the only people who have been buying them any time since the 70s ended have had to be pretty wealthy and that wealth has to be stable. Prices are quite a bit higher than they averaged around 2000 though. At a certain point the value of an aircraft becomes high enough that as long as you have the legal identity of the craft making everything else from spares and scratch is financially worthwhile – the so called “two rivet rebuild” The DHC-2 Beaver has been near that state for ages. I’ve seen some that looked like a handful of crushed beercans come out of the shop looking like brand new aircraft right off the production line. Which was pretty much what they were.

        I remember Frank Tallman, who flew a lot of different warbirds and vintage aircraft considered the P-40 the nicest of the lot for just having fun in the sky.

    2. Glen

      When I was a kid, there was a guy with a P-51 with a jump seat behind the pilot. He would fly people around if they covered the gas. My Dad checked once on flying to Tahoe from the Bay Area. There and back was $1200 in av gas, and this was the late sixties.

      These have never been cheap airplanes to restore or maintain, or fly.

  23. allan

    Bill seeks two copies of photo ID to vote absentee in Georgia [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

    Georgia voters would be required to make copies of their photo ID and mail them to election
    officials twice before being allowed to cast an absentee ballot, according to a bill
    introduced Wednesday.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 29, would create a photo ID requirement for voting outside of polling
    places in Georgia. Voters would need to submit ID both when applying for absentee ballots
    and when returning them. …

    As envisioned by The Founders™. Going out on a limb here, seeing it upheld 6-3 in SCOTUS.

  24. marcyincny

    Cuomo says the post-holiday surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations is over.
    November 1 the weekly average new cases in NY was ~2,000, Monday it was 14,000 but now, in the middle of winter with a new, more infectious variant in the mix, Cuomo lifts the minimal restrictions we’ve had. I guess at least we’ll die in a ‘blue’ state…

  25. SlayTheSmaugs

    Dear Democrats:

    You should be worried that you lose one or both houses of Congress in 2022. You have a unique opportunity to govern. If you use it to enact wildly popular policies, you will win reelection handily. And you’ll have a mandate for more.

    If you choose to break your well understood campaign promises and fail to deliver good policy, you will lose. So here is an agenda:

    1. Send out the checks.

    The $2,000 checks you already owe us.
    And six more. The your-life-matters-and-so-does-stopping-the-pandemic so we’ll pay you to stay home six week stipend. A national, six week, we all stay home stipend. I guess you could just pay it as a single check if that’s easier, but then you need to pay it up front.

    2. Restructure and forgive loans of all kinds.

    The mortgages unpaid b/c Covid restructured to put the unpaid debt, without penalties or interest, at the end of the existing loan. The big banks can absorb the losses. And deserve to. Everyone understands that; it’s ok to say it. Voters want you to say it.

    The rent unpaid for months forgiven. Small landlords must be made whole by the government; they can’t afford the loss. Private equity landlords and similar can write off all the rent they’re owed, and if they lose real money, well they can afford to, and deserve it. They were lousy landlords anyway, and they’ve screwed so many people outside of the housing industry too. Everyone understands that; it’s ok to say it. Voters want you to say that.

    The student loan debt forgiven. We don’t need to launch people from their childhood homes into debt slavery. Escaping debt slavery was a primary goal for going to college. And the economy wide stimulative shockwave of forgiving student debt will be like the GI bill after WW2: Young, healthy people in the labor market in relatively high wage jobs with the disposable income to raise kids, buy houses and vehicles, take vacations.

    Car loans crammed down, restructured as needed. People need transportation.

    3. Deliver safe, reliable, basic, universal physical infrastructure. Basic infrastructure is a public good that the private market will never provide because universal basic infrastructure is not profitable.

    –Make mass transit safe, reliable, clean, and useful. It makes cities much more livable, and it’s better for the planet.

    –Build fiber optic internet throughout rural America. Build public urban fiber networks too; the current providers are extortionists.

    –Rebuild public water and sewer supplies across the nation. I mean, Remember Flint!

    –Fund ventilation rebuilds; we need to be able to be indoors together. Engineer our way out of the Covid crisis, head off the one to come.

    –Rebuild our bridges and tunnels. No new highways until we rebuild our bridges and tunnels.

    All of these projects require huge numbers of high skilled blue collar workers. All of them would be massively stimulative and popular. And you can enact them all at once. Tell people you are investing in them because they are Americans. Because we are America, and we take care of our people. Everyone will turn out to reelect you.

    4. Deliver safe and reliable intangible infrastructure: Break up Amazon, Facebook, Google/You Tube, corporate media, all the monopolies. Regulate afterward. Make the marketplace that is our economy dynamic and competitive. People will love you for it. Everyone will have so many more opportunities and choices.

    5. Clean the air, clean our water.
    Go after cancer alleys nationwide. Clean up coal’s wreckage. Deal with PFAS.
    These are good jobs too, and people will love not getting sick. Again, tell them that it’s what we Americans do: we take care of each other. People will love you. They will turn out for you and vote you back in.

    6. Enact E Pluribus Unum payer health care. United Payer health care.
    The obscenity that is our for-profit health care system has been on grotesque display this pandemic. You pass federally funded, universal, comprehensive health care and the Democrats will win office for generation.

    7. Pass federal voting reform.

    Whether or not HR 1 is the right bill I don’t know; I haven’t read it closely. But states’ voter suppression efforts are unconscionable. Elections should be easy to participate in, and accurate. No crazy lines, no broken machines. Paper ballots for everyone except those who need a tech solution because of disability. No risk of missing voting because of having to work, sudden illness, running out of time to stand on line. State by state variation of law is fine, but basic standards have to be set so people can participate easily and trust that their vote will be accurately counted. Voters want convenient, accurate elections. Also, you owe Black voters. You have to stop state efforts to prevent Black (and brown) people from voting.

    Look, I know it’s a lot, but it’s been a long time coming. And you’ve got eighteen months to get at least a real amount done; if you don’t you’ll lose Congress. Remember, if you want to win, all you need to do is enact wildly popular policies, like the ones above. Happy people reelect those that made them happy.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If ” the Democrats” are reading this, I suspect they are chortling to themselves as they think to themselves the following . . . . ” We are sorry, but you must have us confused with someone who gives a sh*t.”

  26. ambrit

    Just a curiosity to ponder.
    I have been looking at the ‘bare bones’ financial numbers daily. It’s like that fatal car crash you cannot keep from looking at.
    For a while now, the GB Pound has been trading at $1.37 USD. This after Brexit showed it’s “true colours” and BoJo had outed himself as a ‘Closet Incompetent.’ What’s going on here? Is the Pound strong or is it in relation to a weakening US Dollar?
    A clear case of “money quandaring?”

    1. Synoia

      The British pound was $ $5.00 in WW 1, $2.80 up until 1968, $2.40 in 1980 and is now $1.37.

      Is the Pound strong or is it in relation to a weakening US Dollar?

      The numbers speak for themselves. Getting weaker….

      1. ambrit

        Long term, there is no argument. I’m focusing on the short term situation. I do not see a fall off in GBP versus USD valuation yet, even after Brexit etc. Is this relationship a lagging indicator of relative economic strength? For, if it is anywhere near a real time indicator, then something curious is happening. Can both the GBP and the USD be falling equally relative to some third party?

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s a genius series that, flora. Saw it back in the seventies and never forgot it. In fact, a few short years ago I went out and got the whole series on DVD.

  27. CuriosityConcern

    Lambert, maybe the drops we are seeing in the graphs are due to the lessening of PCR cycles?
    Apologies if someone already pointed that out.

    1. ambrit

      If so, then it would be legitimate to suspect that an elite said something to the effect of: “Screw the real numbers. We need better optics! Get on it!”

  28. VietnamVet

    Nancy Pelosi purchasing Telsa calls is a guarantee that there will be no change in the current system. It enriches her.

    What would change the system is having healthcare for all Americans, funding research to find low-cost generic drug treatments that are effective against COVD-19, and federal government taking control from the 50 states and funding a comprehensive public health campaign to eradicate coronavirus.

    What would change the system is ending the forever wars.

    What would really change America is government by and for the people.

    1. ambrit

      What would really change America will be guillotines in Lafayette Square. That venue would be very appropriate.

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    Meanwhile, as predicted, Biden has already announced his goal of conspiring against Social Security. It will be false-flag cardboard-replica “improvements” designed to hide lethal poison pills. It will be a Trojan horse full of Greek soldiers.

    From the article, I will copy-paste a couple of paragraphs about the poison pills.

    “Conservative politicians would likely object to raising benefits across the board, said Rachel Greszler, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

    “There could be room for a compromise to be made here in terms of boosting the minimum benefit that’s provided, so it’s at least at the poverty level,” Greszler said. “But that would have to come … with a reduction in benefits at the top.”

    One challenge that could emerge in the negotiations is for leaders to face the decision of whether Social Security should be an anti-poverty or entitlement program, Greszler said. Heritage is advocating for a universal benefit to protect those who are low income, while reducing how much middle- to high-wage earners rely on benefits.”

    Here is the link to the whole article.

    And because Biden and Joshua Micah Marshall are both Catfood ConservaDems, I boldly predict that Joshua Micah Marshall will instruct his Talking Points Memo to either ignore Biden’s Catfood Plan 2.0 . . . or overtly support it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘One challenge that could emerge in the negotiations is for leaders to face the decision of whether Social Security should be an anti-poverty or entitlement program’

      If you spend your entire lifetime paying into it to the government, Social Security is not an entitlement then but a government financial obligation – just like US Treasury securities. And if I recall correctly, doesn’t all money that goes into the government for social security paid by tax-payers used to buy US Treasuries? So will people trying to cash a US Treasury be told that they are only ‘entitlements’ then? Inquiring financial markets wish to know.

  30. Daryl

    Update on covid vaccines in Texas. I put myself on a waitlist for a grocery store chain that has pharmacies. Today they emailed me to say that after looking at the state’s vaccine rollout plan, they have elected to stop accepting people onto their **waitlist**, I assume because they have no hope of getting through it any time soon. Things are not looking good at all here.

    1. RMO

      Here in BC the tentative timeline doesn’t have anyone in their 50s being eligible for a vaccine until August… and I expect that to get pushed back somewhat. If you’re in the 20-29 bracket (which is where the majority of cases are now) it will probably be 2022 before you can get the vaccine – unless production and purchasing of the vaccines increases. Right now the Health Ministry is also warning against a possible explosion of cases from the UK and South African variants which have arrived here too.

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