2:00PM Water Cooler 2/12/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Another city bird (although unfortunately there are no recordings from the Tower of London).


At reader request, I’ve added these daily charts 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:

Ruh oh. Look at the South.

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

Looks like the South could be Florida. Too early for the Superspreader Bowl, so could be B117.

Test positivity:

Ruh oh. South is up.

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


The South has flattened. Given that hospitalization is probably a more reliable indicator of trouble than case count, I certainly hope that’s the not first sign of B117. 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):

The case fatality rate has markedly increased, albeit slowly. I don’t like that at all. Deaths do look they are going down at last. Maybe this time they won’t head back up again. It would be about time.


“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


“A Vote to Acquit Trump Is a Vote for a Lie” [Peggy Noonan]. “Here is a human question. I don’t understand why I haven’t heard a single story of a member who supported the president in refusing Electoral College certification, who stood with him, and who, hearing what was happening in the first stages of the riot, went into the halls to speak with the rioters. Why did they not do that? They knew there was a rally and expected a march, presumably peaceful. Why didn’t they go into the halls where the clamor was and tell the people, ‘Friends, I share your beliefs and am arguing for them on the floor, but what you are doing is wrong and unlawful, and you must leave.’ Instead they were spirited from the floor by the police and hid in their offices and other rooms. Why didn’t they go out and speak to the crowds, their own people? Is it that they didn’t actually understand their own people? Or, in barricading themselves in, were they showing they understood them all too well? Another human question. Watching all the videotape, seeing all the posing of the rioters and holding up phones and live-streaming the event—there was something about it all that made you wonder if something about this age of hypermedia has made people less human, less natural, more like actors who operate at a remove from themselves, even in a passionate moment of insurrection. They acted as if the Senate was a movie set, and they took videos because they’re actors in a story called ‘Storming the Capitol.'” • This is why I have such a soft spot for Nooners; these are two perceptions I haven’t seen anywhere else. On the sentimental claptrap emotionalism: “Connected to this is the emotionalism of politics now. I’m not talking about the House managers this week, I’m talking about what is becoming our national style, or at least a public political style. I thought of this last week when Democratic representatives who wanted to share what 1/6 was like for them spoke on the floor. It was full of tears, full of personal information, full of feelings. People wept and got choked up. I don’t mean it’s insincere—it’s all too sincere. They think their feelings are important and must be voiced.” • Feelings aren’t facts, as they say in AA. More: “But when institutions seem so frail I’m not sure it helps that leaders are frail. I watched and thought: It’s like nothing bad has ever happened to them before. And I realized it’s not ideal to be governed by people to whom nothing bad has ever happened.” • “Nothing bad has ever happened” is not quite fair. That said, phoning loathesome donors for money four hours a day isn’t “bad” in the same way that working in an Amazon warehouse or a slaughterhouse is. The first two being “essential”; the second, not. On the case made, I disagree with Nooners. “Insurrection” is a feelings word for which there is no warrant; unfortunately, that’s what Democrats impeaced Trump for. And I rule out digital “evidence” with no provenance tout court; the Democrats had plenty of time to get statements from witnesses, as MSNBC (!) points out below. And yes, sincerity is not a value.

“Democrats need to subpoena Mike Pence, Elaine Chao and others to testify at Trump’s trial” [MSNBC]. “While the rules of interviewing witnesses have yet to be agreed upon, the process doesn’t have to drag out the proceedings. Each side could take one day total, eight hours each, to question these witnesses and any others. While a witness an hour or so is a pretty fast clip, it would also preclude any weird tangents or nongermane questioning…. The managers have done an admirable job planting the events of Jan. 6 firmly in the historical record. Now they need to go one step further. In historians’ parlance, they need to incorporate true primary source material from witnesses on hand into the catalogue of abuses that they’ve already compiled against the former president.” • I don’t want to be cranky about this, but isn’t incorporating “true primary source material from witnesses” the normal course of action for a trial? Even an impeachment trial?

“”We Lost the Line”: Trump Is on the Brink of Yet Another Senate Acquittal” [Susan Glasser, The New Yorker]. “The unprecedented second impeachment trial of Donald Trump is not yet over, though it soon will be, and the outcome is, once again, not much in doubt. A year ago, when Trump faced his first trial, Mitt Romney was the only Senate Republican to vote for his conviction. This time, despite the trial taking place at the actual scene of the crime, Romney was joined by only five other Republicans in voting to allow the trial to proceed. Whether or not those six ultimately vote to convict, the final number of Republicans is sure to be well below the two-thirds majority required for conviction. We lost the line. We lost the line, indeed.” • Well, we don’t know. But one thing is sure: The liberal Democrats will never, ever self-reflect on their loss. But wait! There’s hope–

“POLITICO Playbook: Could McConnell surprise us all?” [Politico]. “McConnell’s closest advisers admit they have no idea what he’ll do. Senate Republicans close with him say they’re genuinely in the dark — though they predict he will acquit. McConnell has said little, maintaining his poker face throughout the impeachment managers’ presentations, just as he did during the last impeachment. One reporter said he’s looked like a statue throughout the trial, hands folded in his lap and listening intently. McConnell’s office declined to comment, but the will-he-or-won’t-he parlor game goes on. Our best guess — it’s nothing more than that — is that McConnell will vote to acquit, then issue a blistering rebuke of Trump.” • Of the various factors McConnell might be considering — legacy, institutionalism, the Senate in 2020, and an outraged base putting up a challenger more serious than Amy McGrath [on this I am wrong]– I would guess the last two weigh the heaviest in McConnell’s mind. We shall see.

“NRCC finance chair: Republicans who voted for Trump impeachment will not be penalized” [The Hill]. “Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), finance chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), on Thursday affirmed that the House lawmakers who voted to impeach former President Trump would still receive funding for their respective reelection campaigns. During a phone interview with Politico, LaHood said that gaining control of the House in 2022 was more important than punishing Republican lawmakers by depriving their campaigns of cash.” • Seems like the ideal outcome for Republicans would be a majority of Republicans voting to convict, but not two-thirds. Best of both worlds!

Democrats en Deshabille

“New Allegations of Cover-Up by Cuomo Over Nursing Home Virus Toll” [New York Times]. “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his top aides were facing new allegations on Friday that they covered up the scope of the death toll in the state’s nursing homes from the coronavirus, after admissions that they withheld data in an effort to forestall potential investigations into state misconduct. The latest revelations came in the wake of private remarks by the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and a cascading series of reports and court orders that have nearly doubled the state’s official toll of nursing home deaths in the last two weeks. The disclosures have left Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, scrambling to contain the political fallout, as lawmakers of both parties call for censure, including stripping the governor of his emergency powers during the pandemic, federal and state investigations and resignations of Ms. DeRosa and other top officials.” • The Times “legitmizes” a story the Post broke. If we unfairly blame Cuomo for all the nursing home deaths, that’s ~15,000 / 44992 total deaths = 33%, which is in Trump’s league of 40% blame for all US deaths (the point being not to exonerate either Trump or Cuomo, but to urge that executive ability in our political class is severely, and systemically, stunted, across both parties).

Never, ever:

Biden Adminstration

“”I Will Destroy You”: Biden Aide Threatened a Politico Reporter Pursuing a Story on His Relationship” [Vanity Fair]. ” In a sympathetic profile Monday, People revealed that White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo is dating Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond, who covered the Joe Biden campaign. But behind the scenes, Ducklo had previously lashed out at Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, who was reporting the story, exhibiting behavior that led to tense meetings between the Washington news outlet’s editors and senior White House officials…. During the off-the-record call, [White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo] made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing [Politico reporter Tara Palmeri] of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was ‘jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to fuck’ McCammond ‘and not you.'” • Ducklo was suspended for a week (lucky dude; he wasn’t a Times reporter). Isn’t it a little early in the administration for this sort of story?

“Biden formally ends Trump’s border emergency, but troops will stay” [Politico]. “For the troops on the ground, not much will change. Roughly 3,600 military personnel will continue providing support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection in the form of surveillance, maintenance, logistics and transportation until September, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell said.” • So, good. Good enough?

“Meet President Biden’s legislative affairs chief” [The Hill]. “The White House declined to make Terrell or any members of her team available for an interview for this story and did not respond to questions about Terrell’s role in the early weeks of the administration. Legislative affairs directors are typically under-the-radar figures who play an outsized role in the administration, serving as a president’s envoy to Capitol Hill…. Outside of D.C., Terrell did stints at Yahoo as a director of federal policy and strategy, at Facebook as the company’s public policy director, and as deputy general counsel at McKinsey.” • Oh.


Well, so much for Yang:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“After the ballots are counted: Conspiracies, political violence, and American exceptionalism” [American Enterprise Institute]. “There is bipartisan agreement that the American system of democracy is failing to address the concerns and needs of the public. Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) Americans agree that American democracy serves the interests of only the wealthy and powerful. Seventy percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans hold this view…. A majority (55 percent) of Republicans support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life. Forty-three percent of Republicans express opposition to this idea. Significantly fewer independents (35 percent) and Democrats (22 percent) say the use of force is necessary to stop the disappearance of traditional American values and way of life. Although most Americans reject the use of violence to achieve political ends, there is still significant support for it among the public. Nearly three in 10 (29 percent) Americans completely or somewhat agree with the statement: ‘If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves even if it requires taking violent actions.’ More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans disagree with this statement…. However, although a significant number of Americans—and Republicans in particular—express support for the idea that violent actions may be necessary, there is a notable lack of enthusiastic support for it. For instance, only 9 percent of Americans overall and only 13 percent of Republicans say they ‘completely’ agree in the necessity of taking violent actions if political leaders fail.” • 22 percent of Democrats seems high. What’s their theory of the case? Bolshevism?

“Prominent anti-Trump Republicans reject third party” [Reuters]. “Reuters exclusively reported on Wednesday that more than 120 Republicans – including former elected officials, along with former administrators under Trump and former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush – met virtually on Feb. 5 to discuss forming a third party or a new center-right faction. Two of the most prominent anti-Trump Republicans in Congress – Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois – rejected the idea of a breakaway party in statements to Reuters on Thursday. Other Republican critics of Trump expressed similar skepticism – arguing a third party would accomplish little beyond splitting the votes of conservatives and helping Democrats get elected. The resistance to a third party among some of Trump’s toughest Republican critics underscores the extreme difficulty of such a political revolt. Such an effort would require walking away from the Republican Party’s massive political infrastructure – staff, money, connections and data on donors and voters – that would take years if not decades to build from scratch.” • I’s not at all clear there’s a base for such an effort:

Please, no:

Remember that Hispanics do not accept the “Latinx” formulation, so whenever you hear it, you know you’re hearing from someone who is unlikely to be from that community, but who is imposing their own categories upon it. (Stereotyping wildly, the irony is that the ____x types are also most likely to introduce themselves with their preferred pronouns.)

“EXCLUSIVE: Embattled QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘openly cheated’ on her husband of 25 years with a polyamorous tantric sex guru and then moved on to another affair with the manager at her gym” [Daily Mail]. • What did we learn, Palmer?:

CIA Superior : Okay. So, the gym manager is dead.
CIA Officer : Yes, sir.
CIA Superior : The body is?
CIA Officer : Tha-that’s gone, sir.
CIA Superior : Okay.

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.

Consumer Sentiment: “Preliminary February 2021 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Continues To Fall” [Econintersect]. “The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment for February came in at 76.2, down from January’s 79.0, down from December’s of 80.7, and down from November’s 76.9”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 06 February 2021 – Growth Rate Little Changed This Week” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). Container exports from China have recovered, container exports from the U.S. remain deep in contraction. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline…. But overall because of the strength of intermodal, rail is growing year-over-year.”

Leading Indicators: “05 February 2021 ECRI’s WLI Growth Rate Continues To Improve” [Econintersect]. “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward improved and continues well into expansion. Please note that the coronavirus is a black swan event and the decline was immediate. In theory, this index is now indicating that in the second or third quarter of 2021 the economy should be in expansion year-over-year.”

* * *

Retail: “‘I thought buying things would make me feel better. It didn’t’: The rise of emotional spending” [Guardian]. “n the past fortnight, I have bought the following items online: a hideous cat tree that takes up most of my living room, a lavender pillow spray, two scarves, a pair of gloves, two candles, a sheet mask, a pair of fleece-lined jogging bottoms (so comfy!), a card-holder and an under-eye brightening cream. None of these purchases were essential. Many I haven’t even taken out of the packaging, leaving them in a pile by the front door. Ten months into the pandemic, I know the rhythms of the courier networks better than I know my menstrual cycle. Royal Mail in the morning; DPD and Hermes in the afternoon. Amazon comes any time, including late at night. DPD couriers insist on taking a photo of you with the package, mortifyingly.” • Amazon is smart enough to know that delivery is a dopamine loop, too.=

Tech: “All you need to know about Bluesky, the decentralized social network created by Twitter, which allows you to build your own media platform” [Business Insider]. “In a call with investors on Thursday, Dorsey said: ‘I think the most important thing to focus on in terms of decentralizing social media is that it creates a much larger corpus of conversation.’ Dorsey, who cofounded Twitter in 2006, said platforms that operate without central governance allows people to access a wider public conversation, more content and ranking algorithms that suit people’s needs… The project presents a new model for social media platforms and offers an alternative to traditional, centralized platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter…. Bluesky will take inspiration from email, whereby users with different email addresses can reach out to each other, regardless of which email server they use. Instead of being controlled by the company in charge, the network will put the power into the hands of the user.”

Tech: “Clubhouse, the invite-only audio app, explained” [Vox]. “The audio chat app Clubhouse is built for two types of people: the talkers and the listeners. Tesla founder Elon Musk is a talker. So is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev is a talker, as are many other influential Silicon Valley figures, like investors Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who have staked millions of dollars into Clubhouse’s success. A regular user can be a talker too, although there’s no promise anyone (besides a few friends) will show up and stick around. As a listener, though, the app offers a smorgasbord of chatrooms on virtually any topic you can think of: foreign language practice, wealth management, Instagram marketing tips, therapy, a 24/7 lo-fi music streaming service. Toggling between public rooms on the homepage is simple: A listener can quietly drop, already muted, into rows of audience members and tune into the unfolding conversation. The catch to Clubhouse is that it’s invite-only, at least in its current beta-testing phase. People have to receive an invitation from an existing user to unlock access to the platform, which is only available for download through the iOS App Store. (Clubhouse’s founders say they are working to scale the app for a general audience, including Android users, but their expansion timeline remains uncertain.)” • The last thing I want to do is listen to Musk or Zuckerberg.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 60 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 12 at 1:33pm.

Health Care

“Is It Time to Wear a Better Mask for COVID-19? We Asked the Experts” [Time]. “Price and Chu suggest applying static electricity to all of your cloth mask’s layers—the cloth inner and outer, as well as the paper layer or filter—by putting on latex gloves, rubbing your hands together, and then rubbing each later before every time you put it on. This, he says, says can increase the mask’s particle-filtering efficacy, and the effect lasts for several hours. ‘Research that came out of work that we did with our colleagues at Stanford showed that static electricity can actually really improve the filtering capacity of masks,’ says Chu.”

Progress on aerosols in Quebec:

“Tocilizumab in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): preliminary results of a randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial:” (preprint) [medRxiv]. From the Abstract: “In hospitalised COVID-19 patients with hypoxia and systemic inflammation, tocilizumab improved survival and other clinical outcomes regardless of the level of respiratory support received and in addition to the use of systemic corticosteroids.” n=4116. On the same study–

“Arthritis drug cuts deaths in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, major study shows” [STAT]. “Tocilizumab, a drug usually used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, reduced the rate for death in Covid-19 patients, according to a major clinical trial. The result, from a U.K.-based study called RECOVERY, upends the thinking about the drug, which is made by Roche and which had produced inconclusive results in earlier studies. The RECOVERY trial has yielded many of the most important clinical results of the pandemic, including the earlier result that the steroid dexamethasone also reduces the death rate in hospitalized patients, and that several other drugs researchers thought might help patients, including the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, were not beneficial. Adding tocilizumab to dexamethasone prevented one death for every 25 patients treated. Researchers estimated that the combination of dexamethasone and tocilizumab reduces deaths overall in hospitalized patients by a third.”

“Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation for prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 mortality in patients admitted to hospital in the United States: cohort study” [British Medical Journal]. From the Abstract: “Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation compared with no anticoagulation among patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 was associated with a decreased risk of 30 day mortality and no increased risk of serious bleeding events. These findings provide strong real world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial treatment for patients with covid-19 on hospital admission.” • I keep seeing report after report like this, and they are all encouraging. That said, I don’t like the steady increase in the fatality rate in the United States. With all these new treatments, why is that happening?

Zeitgeist Watch

“Sorry, An*s Tanning Is Not Really a Thing” [Rolling Stone]. “There are a number of ways to go viral on Instagram. You can post a selfie with the cast of Friends. You can do yoga while breastfeeding a 4-year-old (preferably, not your own). Or you can have an elaborate gender reveal party that gives multiple people head injuries. But perhaps the most surefire way – the one totally unimpeachable, failproof method – is to post about the benefits of sunbathing your [glass bowl]. An aspiring influencer with the handle MetaphysicalMeagan proved this when she posted earlier this month about the benefits of the ‘ancient Taoist practice’ of ‘perineal sunning.’ …. The post contained virtually every element of instantaneous virality: pseudo-scientific, goofy wellness jargon, egregious cultural appropriation, and a photo of a lady with her clothes off.” • I can’t even. You’d think some of the Capitol self-takers would have thought of this. Perhaps it was too chilly.

Class Warfare

“The problems of authenticity under capitalism” [Global Inequality]. “Here I want to discuss another issue where we face a fundamental contradiction between the principles according to which hyper-capitalist societies are organized and what may be considered desirable outcomes. The topic is authenticity in arts, and to a lesser degree, in social sciences. When we deal with reproducible goods, the advantage of capitalism is that profit can be made only if somebody else’s needs are satisfied. Thus two objectives, personal needs of a buyer and the profit goal of the producer, are aligned. But this is not the case in arts. The reason is that arts thrive on, or require, individualism, uniqueness and authenticity. When you try to guess public’s preferences in shoes, and produce such shoes, this is good and useful. But when you try to guess public’s preference in literature, films or paintings, it may, if you guess them correctly, make you rich, but from the point of view of artistic creation, it could very easily be fake and ephemeral. In arts, we are interested in an individual’s view of the world, not in an individual’s ability to ape public preferences or prejudices. I will illustrate it with some extreme examples. When we read Kafka’s Diaries, we are sure that they represent his own true and unvarnished take on the world: he wrote them for himself, never thought they would be published, and explicitly asked that they be burned. The same is true, for example, with Marx’s 1848 manuscripts which were saved largely by accident and were published more than a century after they were written. Whether one likes or not either is a matter of taste and interest. But there is no doubt that they are authentic works of these two people. But when we watch a film whose ending was tested on different audiences to produce the ending that most people would like to see, and pay for, there is—likewise—no doubt that the author’s role in such an enterprise is diminished, and in some cases totally obliterated. The same is true for works of fiction.”

“Women Who Work in Retail Are Having Very Different Experiences in COVID-19 Times” [Footwear News]. “[A]s more and more data is collected and analyzed, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the health crisis has significantly amplified the divide between the haves and have nots — but the puts and takes are more complicated than meets eye. A report this week from ShopTalk offered new evidence that the pandemic has served up very divergent outcomes for women working in the retail industry — albeit in ways some may not have anticipated…. Two-thirds of Shoptalk’s survey respondents said they are doing more to address the challenges they or their female colleagues experience in the workplace because of the global health crisis — including 36% who said they’ve made themselves a resource for other women in the workplace. That number, said the Shoptalk, jumps to 47% for women VP-level and higher. While the survey offers some upbeat news for women in retail — and Shoptalk’s respondents are likely working in corporate roles which could slant some of the feedback — it’s difficult to overlook the scores of women working at the store level who have been impacted by mass layoffs and furloughs since last March. Major retail employers, including JCPenney, Neiman Marcus and J.Crew, filed Chapter 11 last year, citing COVID-19 induced setbacks — and moved to drastically reduce their store fleets and lay-off associates. (Shoptalk describes its 8,000-plus convention attendees as individuals and companies reshaping how consumers discover, shop and buy.)”

News of the Wired

Normally, I give holidays a miss, but this one time, since Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and this is Friday and the last Water Cooler of the week:

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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 (CK):

CK: “For the past five Christmases, this piece of driftwood, found in an Oregon creek, has been our tree. And, yes, we light the candles of an eve. The rest of the year it stands as an unadorned sculpture.” Clever! I should have published this over the holidays, but here we are.

* * *

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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. fresno dan

    “A Vote to Acquit Trump Is a Vote for a Lie” [Peggy Noonan]. “Here is a human question. I don’t understand why I haven’t heard a single story of a member who supported the president in refusing Electoral College certification, who stood with him, and who, hearing what was happening in the first stages of the riot, went into the halls to speak with the rioters. Why did they not do that?
    Duh…and maybe I’m just guessing, but maybe the loud, extensive shouts to hang Mike Pence? Hmmmmmm… And MAYBE, just MAYBE, they would have strung up some other repubs?
    Now, I happen to believe it was all social media posturing for the vast majority of the rioters, but its always possible that you could fall into the clutches of the one who meant what he said….
    Trump said that his supporters wouldn’t care if he (Trump) shot someone on 5th avenue. And I think they would support a Trump purge of all disloyal repubs.

    1. Sardonia

      Yeah, a bit hyperbolic from Noonan. No sane person walks into the middle of a riot – unless they’re a well-armed officer. Why didn’t Noonan herself wander into it to calm the crowd? I can see it now:

      “I’m with the Wall Street Journal and I implore you to leave!”

      Rioters pause for a moment, then from the rear comes “Perfect! I brought my pike! Grab her!!!”

    2. The Rev Kev

      It’s all very well to say that Trump’s Senators should have gone out to speak with his supporters but as they say, Republicans are afraid of their base while Democrats hate theirs.

      1. rowlf

        As a contrast, Boris Yeltsin went out into the protest in 1991.

        MOSCOW — Desperate for information and distraught at the thought that the freedom they had come to take for granted had vanished overnight, thousands of Muscovites converged Monday on the headquarters of the Russian Federation government to protest the coup that ousted Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

        The crowd raised nervous cheers as Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, once again their hero and the focus of their hopes, clambered to the top of one of the dozens of armored vehicles encircling his government’s building.

        Pretty much weak sauce in the US leadership.

        Moscow Crowd Urges Yeltsin to ‘Hang On’

    3. flora

      The pols and MSM are symbiotic at this point. Ramped up emotional heat sells. The problems come when those emoting start believing their emotion is more important than facts.
      Taibbi’s first video. ~7+ minutes. Click utube.com link in the tweet “Bombholed” window.

      “I had a blast collaborating with @mtaibbi
      on this new video about “bombholing,” the media’s new business model of dropping bombshell reports and then memory-holing them as soon as they’re discredited. ” -Leighton Akira Woodhouse


    4. Yves Smith

      One man with a shopping bag stood in front of tanks at Tienaman Square.

      Rachel Corrie also stood in front of tanks and had a less happy outcome.

      But those were single people with no police backup versus tanks.

      I don’t have time to look but there are plenty of historical instances of men staring down mobs, like:


      Minority protestors know they risk getting beaten up by police. There’s footage from NYC Occupy of an older middle aged woman being punched out by the police. Yasha Levine (a journalist, not a protestor) described having been rounded up by the cops in a bus with Occupy protestors, zip tied, with a woman in front in a cage crying and most (all?) of the people in the bus eventually peeing in their seats. His hands took 3 weeks after the incident to get their full functioning back.

      The point is that our soi-disant leaders are sorely lacking in physical and moral courage.

      If at least as many Rs as Ds had come out, they would have had stature as well as the police backing. It’s not an outcome the crowd would have expected, MOST OF ALL the Proud Boy types. It would have changed the dynamic and thrown the militants off their plan.

  2. cocomaan

    Just to give people outside the bubble an idea of the absolute terror of certain commentators about the January 6th events, here’s Juan Cole, a Mid East scholar, comparing 1/6 to the Libyan civil war and the US government to Libya’s government:


    In 2014, revolutionary Libya had parliamentary elections. The old General National Congress in Tripoli, supported by Muslim fundamentalist militias from Misrata, refused to go home. The newly elected parliament established itself in the west of the country, in Tobruk. There were effectively two governments, which fell into civil war. A new unitary government has just been established, but it isn’t clear what its chances are.

    I just want to point out that by the rules of the professors of democratic transition, the United States is no longer a successful democracy.

    It was an attempted coup.

    That is why the Republican senators will not vote to convict Trump. Whether they believe Trump was wrong to try to stay in office or not, they know that their wealthy donors and their constituencies believe he was right.

    There really isn’t any difference between the United States of America and Libya at this point. State Republican Party officials in Oregon and elsewhere still maintain that Trump won. The losers are not going home.

    This is a guy with a history PhD saying that two governments with independent capitols shooting at each other is the same as the United State of America. It’s wild. This is something teaching young adults history.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          He thought the Syrian “opposition” were Jeffersonian Democrats, so it is debatable just how much he even knows about the Middle East.

          He thinks the Arab States are democrofiable with just the right kind of intervention and outside support, so just how much does he even know about the Middle East?

          Colonel Lang knows vastly more about the Middle East than Professor Juan Cole does.

    1. Randy

      Professor Cole lost a shot at being tenured over being an Iraq war and Isreal critic prominent enough to attract the ire of the Bush administration. He’s still extremely knowledgeable about the Middle East. Unfortunately, he’s also a hero that has lived long enough to get TDS. I still respect him greatly but I wouldn’t recommend anyone read what he has to say about Trump.

      1. RMO

        He was also in favor of the NATO bombing and interference in Libya as I recall (for “humanitarian” and “democratic” reasons) and we can see how well that all turned out can’t we?

        1. witters

          I gave up on him when he said the ‘Libyan Revolution’ couldn’t fail, as it had the support of ‘the young people in Libya.’ Now that is(n’t) political analysis…

    2. Edward

      Cole was fairly reliable until the Libya intervention, which he supported. Since then he seems to take an establishment line sometimes.

    3. albrt

      I guess the main difference between the United States and Libya is that the United States government is largely to blame for the bad situation in both the United States and Libya.

      The United States doesn’t have two capitols shooting at each other yet, but the one capitol is doing such a bad job that it could happen very soon.

  3. urblintz

    “glass bowl”


    what a gorgeous cat…

    and Yang… really? Then again maybe he’s onto something… one might argue that btc reflects perfectly the “true” (i.e. fake) economy and the American way of making millions without doing anything except consuming energy.

    1. urblintz

      And my favorite response to Yang’s tweet: “NYC already specializes in fraud, may as well build on its strengths…”

    2. Wukchumni

      and Yang… really? Then again maybe he’s onto something… one might argue that btc reflects perfectly the “true” (i.e. fake) economy and the American way of making millions without doing anything except consuming energy.

      Watched this interesting video on people that don’t consume any electricity or gasoline in Belize, and the only entertainment they have is bibles written in old German. The kids go to school from age 6 to 13 and that’s it. A group of 50 of them decide to relocate to the deep back of beyond near the Amazon in Peru to raise crops & kids.

      It struck me that none of us really has a chance when the world goes dark-despite best laid plans, but they’ll do just fine, oblivious to it all-meekly inheriting the earth.

      The Mennonites – a trip back in time | DW Documentary


  4. fresno dan

    Swamp Yankee
    February 11, 2021 at 6:58 pm
    Re: the Capitol and Impeachment: I’m sorry, and I know I’m in the minority here, but I really think many people around these parts have almost become as entranced by being what I will call counter-savvy as those in the so-called Church of the Savvy are in being “savvy.” I really don’t think you are seeing this either clearly for the thing itself, nor through the eyes of the People.

    You are letting your priors — most of which I share! — shape your analysis, and I seriously think it’s leading many of you to get it wrong.

    Let me explain. Many of us, myself included, around here have a great hatred, justified, of the Democratic Establishment. That’s fine. But new events require new interpretations.

    And this was really bad!

    The seat of the Legislature itself, the First Branch, cannot be invaded without punishment. It was invaded! That is a fact that cannot be denied, and I think it is one that you all collectively underestimate in its psychic resonance among the American People. I say this as a community college Professor in a working class community that is in touch with lots of former students, themselves representing the median of American life. This rings with people like the Gauls on the Capitoline Hill in 390 B.C.

    I think you are missing an important shift in public opinion, and I would urge you not to do so
    Because we’re on the subject of impeachment, I repost Swamp Yankee’s comment, because it really did make me think. I always try to be aware of my own biases (over savvy) , and in trying NOT to be a person who has an opinion first, and than find facts to support it, I may go too far the other way.
    Undoubtedly, the election mechanics in the US could be better. I don’t know if its true that Nixon really won in 1960. But Johnson really did win in 1964, and we would not have been better off with Goldwater. Who knows if Gore would have been a better president, or Hillary for that matter. Bush and Trump won by the rules in place.
    But I believe that Biden truly won – and I believe that is obvious to those residing in reality. Maybe Biden will be worse than a second Trump term – that is debatable. But that was not the judgement decided within the predetermined rules of our election process.
    We already have the majority thwarted more than I believe is healthy in a republic. Making this government even less representative isn’t gonna make it better.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > cannot be invaded without punishment

      I think “invading” is doing a lot of work there, because it blurs the article of impeachment (“Incitement to Insurrection,” not invasion, whatever that means). As I keep saying, I support censuring Trump for inciting to riot. And the criminal justice system seems to be doing a good job tracking the rioters down. Who’s saying there should be no punishment? Not me.

      However, I don’t support impeaching Trump for inciting an insurrection, which is the actual charge, because it’s ludicrous to pretend that there was such a thing. And if one wishes a second, more draconian USA PATRIOT Act, then pretending there was an insurrection is a very good first step. There was a big shift in opinion after the Twin Towers, too, and many of the results of that shift were very bad. The Fourth Amendment was destroyed then, with Democrat connivance; the First looks in danger now, with Democrats leading the way.

      (Whether the Democrats ensured that there would be no punishment by butchering the impeachment process yet a third tine — both in the charge, and in the way they made their case — is another question.)

      1. flora

        The Fourth Amendment was destroyed then, with Democrat connivance; the First looks in danger now, with Democrats leading the way.

        Skepticism is not allowed. ;)

      2. km

        And if one wishes a second, more draconian USA PATRIOT Act, then pretending there was an insurrection is a very good first step.

        That is the money quote.

        There was a big shift in opinion after the Twin Towers, too, and many of the results of that shift were very bad. The Fourth Amendment was destroyed then, with Democrat connivance; the First looks in danger now, with Democrats leading the way.

        That is another money quote.

      3. Swamp Yankee

        Lambert, forgive me, but I think you’re being too cleverly by half when it comes to questioning what I mean by “invading” — Webster’s defines “to invade” as “to enter for conquest or plunder.” How does that not describe the events of January 6th? I mean, you literally have the podium of the Speaker of the House being looted.

        And again, I will repeat: there is a serious change in public opinion going on. You may not like it, but my impulse is to understand it. Or one can stamp their feet impotently and say fie on the world! as the US Left did after 9/11, while snarking about how silly and ignorant and facile one’s opponents are — which did not work out so well, did it? Wouldn’t it be better if they/we had sought to understand those shifts in public opinion, and if we disagreed with them, to meet them on their own terms and in their own context? You and I are both blogosphere veterans of the 2003-6 period, and that approach simply did not work. I fear many are repeating it here.

        Finally, I would urge you to really try to take my criticism about Counter-Savviness constructively, as I have intended it. One must look here not as most NC commenters are, news and public events obsessives who follow this stuff in minute detail. You’ve got to look from 30,000 feet; I am thinking about various acquaintances, young mothers, pensioners, working class middle aged men, and their genuine outrage about this.

        A successful Left will seek to understand, engage, and harness public opinion, not simply deny its validity because the Democrats were bad, too.

        That is, of course, if taking power is one’s goal. AOC gets this. Strangely enough, so do the Trotskyists at the WSWS. They are correct, in my view, that commentators like Greenwald who are minimizing the significance of what happened on the 6th of January last are really doing the Left no favors, and are missing one of the biggest stories of this century.

        If you truly want to avoid a Patriot Act II (as I do), we are simply going to have to engage with this widespread public sentiment.

        But reasonable people of good will can certainly disagree.

      4. Swamp Yankee

        Re: Insurrection.

        Lambert, you say it is “ludicrous to pretend that there was such a thing.”

        I frankly don’t see why that’s the case. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Insurrection” as “A violent uprising against an authority or government.”

        How do the events of January 6th fail to meet that definition?

        You can still think it wasn’t a coup d’etat in the sense of say, Myanmar in 2021 or Egypt in 2013, while maintaining that it does in fact meet the definition of Insurrection.

        As to your idea for Censure — I think it’s just too little too late. All of this is moot, now, with the acquittal, but it strikes me that Impeachment was the only responsible move here (unlike the RussiaRussiaRussia nonsense, which was and remains daft), the only one commensurate with the severity of what happened.*

        *Which perhaps is a basic problem here, we seem to disagree on exactly how bad it was. I will say that in this non-metropolitan neck of Massachusetts, a region badly affected by deaths of despair and not part of the Back Bay-Newton metro bubble — and I don’t have polling behind this, but anecdotal conversations and monitoring of what I call social media radio traffic — it splits about 2/3 of people outraged by the Riot/Insurrection/Invasion/Events of January 6th and wanting Trump to pay through conviction, and about 1/4 of passionate Trumpists going on bilious, red-baiting, and frequently deranged rants, with the remaining few percentage pts going for don’t know/don’t care/other.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      “…This rings with people like the Gauls on the Capitoline Hill in 390 B.C…”

      Look, the Gauls have had their economic problems lately and we really need to try and understand the angst that causes in their personas before we condemn them for this. They were *not* just a conquering army of easily-swayed brutish ignoramuses…if you look into their demographics and socio-economic status the vast majority were well educated, and even in some cases in the elite stratums of Gaulish society….they have fear & anxiety from the changing world and we need to understand that before any blanket condemnations.

      And Brennus – some are so deep in ‘BDS’ (‘Brennus Derangement Syndrome’) that they copletely overlook the good he has done in Etruria, for the Samnites, and even others in Latium. Sure, he is a bit of a boor and tends to run his mouth off – but he *is* delivering for his people, and we need to understand that he is just a symptom and not the disease itself.

      Lastly, I have to say – regardless of a little fuss and muss in the Capitoline area, the whole episode, to me, looked more like a party or rally that got a little out of hand. Yes, a couple people were killed but the vast majority of the Gauls just wanted to be heard.

      Now, I need to get back to the Senate observers gallery and see what Mitchus Testudus McConnelus has to say.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Principally, the lack of awareness of declining life expectancy was an issue not of low intelligence or lack of engagement — and not just in the tech-savvy Cisalpine area – but also in the more traditional/conservative Transalpine regions of Gaul….but instead mainly because of the increasing adoption of social media and its ability to deceive, deflect, gaslight, and disinform.

          Frankly, if we were to abolish Sectionus CCXXX, and make the creators/manufacturers/publishers of tabulae and stylii potentially on the hook legally for what is created with the tools they so flippantly spew forth on the Republic, this firehose of lies and disinformation could be controlled…even stopped and reversed!

          Carthago delenda est!

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Well played, King Over the Water!

            Has anyone considered deploying geese instead of razor wire around the Capitol?

  5. brook trout

    I would somewhat disagree with Lambert’s take that McConnell is seriously concerned about facing a primary challenger more dangerous politically that Amy McGrath. Having just won his race, he won’t be facing an election for another 6 years. I would also bet his heaviest calculation is not the 2020 Senate, where, short of the reconciliation process, he has a very heavy thumb on the scale of what can and can’t get done, but the 2022 Senate and the 2024 Senate, where presumably he has his sights set on regaining the position of Majority Leader. I see no evidence to the contrary that he does not want the job.

      1. John

        But, McConnell will be 84 in 2026 when he is up for re-election. What are the odds that he retires. I’m 84 and I would love to retire but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
        Even a couple of votes short of conviction would be a jolt. I can dream.
        Never underestimate the degree of pusillanimity in a person who desires re-election.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The Democrats will do anything to demonize the left. Them equating actual Leftist stances with a NeoNazi is just another example of the Dems “Hippie punching”.

      The saddest part of their tweet is that it says more about themselves than the actual left. They are saying they are for the Empire, and against M4All. They are stating that they are the Frank Herbert definition of a liberal. That the Empire serves them, not the hoi polloi.

      I am happy that they made this tweet. They are showing who they truly are.

      1. occasional anonymous

        That’s not what they’re saying. They implicitly support those things as well, but they’re saying just wanting those things doesn’t isn’t sufficient by itself to be a ‘liberal’.

        They’re very confused people. They’re confusing being on the left with being a liberal. The people they’re equating with ‘white nationalists’ are the actual left. Johnson and Wells mistakenly believe themselves to be leftists, or in their language, ‘liberals’.

  6. Reader_In_Cali

    Lambert –

    You’ve been following the burgeoning union movement in tech of late, and I wanted to flag that workers at Medium yesterday went public with their unionization effort.

    Also, I there’s a new podcast (What’s Left To Do?) getting stories from people on the left and this week’s episode was with an engineer that joined the Alphabet Workers Union. Part 2 of the interview gets into the union part of the story, but both parts are pretty interesting: https://soundcloud.com/whatslefttodo/rob-haunted-by-the-fear-of-april-pt-2

    It looks like the kids are alright!

  7. Carolinian

    will not be penalized

    Sure about that? There’s the thought of Trump starting or supporting a thiird party and polls show that a number of Republicans might join up. There’s also the nightmare of private citizen Trump actually campaigning against them. And finally what’s the upside of any Republican not of the gadfly persuasion voting yes–particularly for a circumstantial case not even made (and facts yet to come may further unmake it)?

    I’d say these press sallies are more impeachment flop sweat. Can we just get this over with and forget about Trump and the whole thing?

    1. wayne

      Lambert you missed the largest Holiday, the Lunar New Year is today. If no covid it would be the largest migration of people as people go home to celebrate.

        1. Procopius

          People under the sign of the Ox are usually hard working, honest, creative, ambitious, cautious, patient and handle things steadily. On the negative side, Ox people might be stubborn, narrow-minded, indifferent, prejudiced, slow and not good at communication.

          Don’t know if this is going to characterize the year or not. It’s supposed to characterize people born in an Ox year in the twelve-year cycle. I was, and am doubtful that this describes me. Indifferent, slow, and not good at communication, check. Stubborn? I hope not. Creative? I think not. Anyway, I sure hope the upside accurately describes the Biden administration. I think I already detect some of the negatives there.

  8. Alex

    The problems of authenticity under capitalism

    I’m not buying it. Historically the best art has been produced for the people and about things people wanted to listen, read or watch, in other words to satisfy public preferences. The Iliad was probably the most popular book in Ancient Greece.

    Sometimes it was the elites who commissioned art – think of the medieval and renaissance art commissioned by the church – but that probably has to do with the fact that we are mostly aware only of the elite art of the past as the popular art was often not considered worth recording.

    Sure, there are exceptions, like the ones mentioned by the author, but they *are* exceptions.

  9. Terry Flynn

    Re covid autoimmune meds and rheumatoid link. I’m now on betamethasone for an auto immune condition that mysteriously arose and went haywire within weeks of a suspected covid infection in Feb 2020. I and my elderly mother both have rheumatoid symptoms now – which we would NOT expect since only osteoarthritis runs in her side of the family.

    Other autoimmune conditions that had settled years ago have returned with a vengeance. With my background I quickly found published (and in good journals) case reports of my diagnosed conditions mysteriously arising following covid infection. Caring for mum now involves trying to get our “bad days” not in synch. I’m gonna get angry at the GP next month. He normally is up to date on the literature (even during early covid times) but he clearly isn’t now and is wary of me.

    I don’t like to get bolshy. It took 20 years for my heart condition to be diagnosed. Emergency room physician said if I had delayed another hour I’d probably have died of heart failure.

    1. marku52

      Read the book “Chronic” by Dr Steven Phillips. Goes into how a lot of “autoimmune” diseases are, he believes, actual immune responses to an infection, usually undiagnosed.

      He had to diagnose and cure himself from one of those infections, Bartonella, IIRC, and now has a practice specialty in it.

      1. Yves Smith

        Also read the Henry Scammell books on Dr. Tom Brown’s work in treating supposed autoimmune diseases with…drumroll….tetracycline, an old antibiotic.


        My father was diagnosed with dermatomyositis, a pretty obscure autoimmune disease. I found out about the Dr. Brown theory late. He argues most autoimmune diseases are actually causes by mycoplasma, which genetically are somewhere between a bacteria and a virus. Clinical labs test only for a tiny subset, some pulmonary mycoplasma that HIV positive people are susceptible to.

        Took my father six months with an MD helping to get his blood across state lines to a lab that could test for a broad spectrum of mycoplasma. The results? “Your blood is swimming in them.”

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    is that McConnell will vote to acquit, then issue a blistering rebuke of Trump

    The fantasies of liberals continue to get weirder.

    1. Big Tap

      On February 13 that’s exactly what McConnell did. He’s lost it ever since the position of no longer Majority Leader is no longer his. It was his own fault. Who said several days before the January 5 Georgia election that no way he was in support of $2000 checks? Well that was McConnel himself.

  11. shinola

    Perineal tanning??? (Rolling Stone article) WTF?

    Good quote at the end of the article:
    “I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that,” says Dante Fitzpatrick, head of operations at Beach Bum tanning salons. “Is this an L.A. thing? It sounds like a West Coast thing.”

    Oh well, at least I learned another new (to me) word today – perineal. (apparently new to spellcheck too)

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘You can do yoga while breastfeeding a 4-year-old’

      Tut, tut, tut. The woke new phrase is ‘chest-feeding’.

    2. hamstak

      I wonder if tanning salons are taking note.

      Ten years ago it was bleaching of a nearby anatomical feature which was en vogue. These things seem to run in cycles of extremes, like the shifting of the Earth’s magnetic poles.

      “Perineal” is the adjective form of “perineum”, which is the isthmus of flesh between the [glass bowl] and the female [Volvo] or the male [Balzac]. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as “the taint”, as in “I can go in through the taint.” (From “Requiem for a Gleet”, Deadwood, S2E4)

  12. Herbæ Malæ

    “Progress on aerosols in Quebec”

    That’s good news.

    The government also finally started buying some reusable N99 masks that are completely manufactured locally in the province: https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/2021-02-12/quebec-achete-40-000-masques-n99-a-dorma-filtration.php

    They were blocked from being used for a while because the CNESST, the organization that regulates labor standards and occupational health and safety, complained that it didn’t have the required NIOSH certification (done in the USA) at a time where NIOSH wasn’t accepting foreign products for certification. And that despite our own institutions testing the device and being impressed with its performance. It took a leak to the press and the intervention of the minister Jean Boulet to get things going.

    Otherwise unfortunately things aren’t going very well here in Quebec, we got hit pretty hard in the first wave, and despite strict measures (we still are under curfew, no one beside “essential workers” allowed on the street after 8pm in most of the province), we are reacting too late to reap the benefits, and often not targeting the right elements to block transmission.

    Basically the general population is having to live under prolonged severe restrictions because the government can’t take appropriate timely actions in regards to testing, tracing, border closures, protecting care homes, etc.

    1. RMO

      This is a real “you’ve got to be (family blog)ing kidding me” moment for me. They weren’t already using N95 or better masks? Because the reasons given to me for why I couldn’t buy N95 (or P100) masks was because they were being reserved for healthcare workers! A note along those lines is what inevitably came up with any online search of Canadian sources for such masks. Just recently I have managed to find some new N95’s at our local ACE hardware but every other potential source I’ve tried from last summer until now has marked them as unavailable for purchase by the general population.

    2. Old Sarum

      NIOSH certification:

      I did not bother to look up the acronym but I get the drift.

      Time to repatriate standards. It is the resilient thing to do; especially when the borders are closed.

      Aside from the pandemic, the leadership of any nation has got to face up to the possibility of civil war in middle-north America and plan accordingly. Path dependency is not an option.



  13. Roger the cabin boy

    “More than one in three (36 percent) Americans agree with the statement: “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” Six in 10 (60 percent) Americans reject the idea that the use of force is necessary, but there is significant partisan disagreement on this question.”

    A majority (55 percent) of Republicans support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life.

    “• 22 percent of Democrats seems high. What’s their theory of the case? Bolshevism?”

    I can’t speak for all Democrats but I have some ideas.

    Let me start by this survey question may be the dumbest question I have every encountered. Everyone involved is stupider for it having been asked. Force is the most essential element supporting the American way of life already. We aren’t in need of more force by any stretch of the imagination.

    If the context is to be understood as “force should be used on my political opponents,” then numbers over single digits should be considered a little alarming, though cynicism about ones fellow man offers a way to say nothing much to see here. The mainstream news media have been whipping up hate on both sides for quite a while now, though Republicans have been getting more of it and worse for longer.

    If there is a rational reason for Democrats to feel this way, that might be it. Right wing programming has been encouraging people to see liberals as evil monsters for a long time now. Democrats may be realizing the need for means of self defense.

    1. km

      Both parties’ respective partisans have been conditioned to feel that way.

      Of course, when my side does it, then it is a measured defensive response to outrageous provocation, or at most a necessary preemptive strike.

      When the other side does it, then Totalitarianism Is On The March.

  14. zagonostra

    >”We Lost the Line”: Trump Is on the Brink of Yet Another Senate Acquittal” [Susan Glasser, The New Yorker].

    In the five weeks since the attack on the Capitol, those who unleashed and enabled the rioters had every chance to apologize, to pull back, to offer regrets and make amends. They did not. Trump did not, and neither, it’s sad to say, did almost any of his fellow-Republicans.

    And I haven’t heard the Dem/MSNBC/Establishment apologize for 4 years of Russiagate. I haven’t heard or seen any self-criticism of how Trump was elected in the first place. Regrets? Amend? WTF is Ms. Susan Glasser talking about. Where are the apologies for stealing the Dem primaries in 2016, where are the amends for the night the “long knives.”

    The establishment, Right or Left, don’t have a clue. I read in the comments here at NC someone state that the Dems figured out what to do in the general what they did to Bernie in the the Primaries. That is the sentiment of many Bernie/Tulsi supporters. Then, you have the 75M people that came out in support of Trump and continue to support him, I believe I saw a poll where is approval ratings actually went up after the election. You can bet that more than a majority of people (voting and non-voting) loath their “leaders” in Congress more than Trump is hated. Yes the PMC/establishment was from day one was abashed by Trumps election, but they are not the majority. This impeachment trial is just furthering the divide.

    I think Scott Ritter, former Marine Corps intelligence officer and Iraq WMD inspector sums it up nicely.

    The collapse of the Russian collusion allegations is, today, historic fact. The recent declassification of additional documents related to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation targeting the Trump campaign only reinforce what most Trump supporters had come to firmly believe—that the FBI, working in concert with the Obama administration and sympathetic Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans (John McCain comes to mind), sought to manufacture a narrative that could sustain the perception of Trump-Russian collusion in an effort to prevent Trump from prevailing in November 2016 or, failing that, serve as the basis of undermining his presidency going forward.

    The persecution of Carter Paige, the politicization of the Steele Dossier, and the failure of the Mueller investigation have all been well documented, while the issue of legal culpability regarding the various Constitutional abuses associated with these, and other, activities may never be finalized.

    In the end, the lack of legal finality misses the point. In the minds of Trump’s many supporters, there was clear and incontrovertible proof that the establishment was conspiring to suborn the victory they had achieved at the polls. The drawn out political drama that was the Democrats’ first effort to remove Trump from office through the vehicle of impeachment only reinforced this conclusion.


    1. Aumua

      The establishment, Right or Left, don’t have a clue.

      Wait, the left establishment… where’s that? Cuba?

      Oh you probably mean the “left”. Yes of course, they have no clue, not even about the difference between left and right. But there’s a lot of that going around, isn’t there.

  15. Phil in KC

    In the matter of the RNCC Finance Chair LaHood’s promise to not punish lawmakers voting to convict Trump: Well, duh, isn’t the threat of a punishment such as withholding financial support witness tampering? For that matter, isn’t the meeting of Graham, Lee, et al with the Trump defense team also a fine bit of tampering? I must say that the quality of the jurors in this trial is below par, far below par.

  16. Lou Anton

    Lambert, I think something was going on with the data feed at 91-DIVOC. The South issue was due to some kind of massive jump on Delaware…had all the makings of a data dump or an error. Whatever it was, it’s fixed now (see here).

    You’re still not wrong about Florida flattening though.

  17. ambrit

    I just had to laugh at the M T Greene piece. If I remember correctly, Tantric practice involves the insertion of the “tenon” into a “mortise” and subsequently, the delayal of “gratifaction.” Advanced practitioners of the “art” can control the sensorium to various degrees of competence.
    So, ‘cheating on’ does not come into play here.

    1. Stephen C.

      Orwellian speech alert. “Openly cheated . . .”

      Is it cheating to do it openly, with an transparency among all parties involved?

      If anything, I think this will make her more popular. The Daily Mail journos could use to do research on the popularity of swingers in the English speaking world before attempting a character assassination.

      Sometimes I think if Bill and Hillary had gone public with their arrangement we could have skipped a lot of the b*s* that’s gone down the last couple of decades.

      1. ambrit

        Alas, if “B” and “H” had ‘gone public,’ the real money people, like Epstein would not have had dealings with them. The ‘essence’ of depravity is discretion. The more you ‘hide’ something, the more people want to ‘find’ it.
        Monotheism is it’s own reward.

  18. curlydan

    “Adding tocilizumab to dexamethasone prevented one death for every 25 patients treated. Researchers estimated that the combination of dexamethasone and tocilizumab reduces deaths overall in hospitalized patients by a third.”

    Looking at the paper, I found this: “Overall, 596 (29%) of the 2022 patients allocated tocilizumab and 694 (33%) of the 2094 patients allocated to usual care died within 28 days.” It backs up the preventing 1 death in every 25 patients treated.

    But it’s the very inexpensive dexamethasone that deserves the victory lap and standing-O here for reducing deaths by a third while the expensive tocilizumab should get a deserved golf clap for the assist. Sometimes the headlines make it hard to know who is doing major work here.

  19. Wukchumni

    My mom & wife got their first Moderna vaccine shots this week, and hello brave new world, my better half asked me if she could do grocery shopping in lieu of me going, to lessen the risk?

    I must admit to a little vaccine envy, if only I was old enough to score some drugs.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “We Lost the Line”: Trump Is on the Brink of Yet Another Senate Acquittal”

    What else are they going to do? As zagonostra points out above, they owe the Democrats nothing after four years of Russiagate and the secret Establishment campaign to give Biden the Presidency. I don’t think that all 57 Republican Senators are going to stand up and say ‘Present’ when it comes time to vote. Unfortunately for them, voting against Trump would cause an implosion in their party that they can ill afford. Which is why the Democrats are pushing them to do it. All these Democrat moralistic attacks are only encouraging a more hard-line Republican establishment that will be gunning for revenge in 2022.

  21. lobelia

    Oh, California:

    02/03/21 By Lauren Hepler How EDD and Bank of America make millions on California unemployment

    She didn’t know it at the time, but last September was when everything started to unravel for Julie Hansen. It was late in the month when the furloughed Disneyland candy maker noticed a string of suspicious charges totaling $12,222.23 on her state-issued Bank of America unemployment debit card. First, the money was credited back to her account. Then it disappeared again, setting in motion a chain of events that left her and her son homeless.


    The catch: while Hansen and other out-of-work Californians were left in financial purgatory unable to access unemployment money, a Great Recession-era contract ensured that the state and the bank kept raking in millions of dollars in merchant fees whenever debit cards still in circulation were swiped. In September, the EDD made $5.2 million on a debit card revenue sharing agreement with Bank of America — a sizable chunk of the $22.5 million the state raked in from March to October, according to public records requested by CalMatters.

    How much money did Bank of America make on its end of the deal? The state says it doesn’t know, and the bank won’t say, despite a contract requirement to report unemployment debit card fees and revenue each month. “EDD does not track BofA’s revenue,” the agency told CalMatters. The bank declined to comment on its unemployment revenue and financial reporting.


    Under Bank of America’s exclusive 2010 unemployment debit card contract with the state, which was first detailed by CalMatters, the Employment Development Department does not pay the bank directly for its financial services. Instead, the two parties split revenue on merchant transaction fees when the cards are swiped, and the bank charges limited consumer fees for things like ATM use or rush shipping on new debit cards. The contract specifies only that the state’s share of the fee revenue will “assist in offsetting program costs.”

    The bank was supposed to report at least monthly on any fees earned and its average revenue, according to the contract provided by the state. But when CalMatters asked for those reports, the state said it did not have any records on bank fees. The agency said only that Bank of America made $37.8 million in transaction fees during 2013 — a figure disclosed as part of a bond estimate in a year when California paid out a sliver of the record $111 billion in unemployment benefits from March to December last year.

    I vividly remember the roll out of those BofA cards, because both a bank manager at my bank, who was going on pregnancy leave; and myself; were outraged that California Governor Jerry Brown (who had made a BofA VIP the Jawbz Czar during that Obama/Biden Greatest of Recessions™) forced those who had existing Bank Accounts onto those BofA Cards for: Pregnancy Leave Pay; State Disability Pay; and Unemployment Pay. This was reported as being illegal* –YET NEVER STOPPED to my knowledge – in the [2013] National Consumer Law Center report ( https://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/pr-reports/report-prepaid-card-2013.pdf ) the article links to (unfortunately, the CalMatters article does not note that glaring illegality):

    Five states (California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, and Nevada) violate federal law by requiring workers to receive benefits on the state vendor’s prepaid card. In California, Kansas and Maryland, workers can set up automatic transfers to their bank account, but only 21% to 24% do so, which can result in a delay of one to four days in receiving payment.

    The bank manager agreed to communicate with BofA in a three way conversation, from my bank, to transfer the funds into my account and keep transferring them there – but despite her verification of my account, and my OK, BofA refused to transfer my Unemployment funds into the Account without my first giving them an e-mail address. The State of California illegally forced people into a Contract with BofA and forced them into giving personal information that BofA had no right to have. My then growing scorn for Brown, et al, whom I had once voted for, was totally cemented that day.

    *Despite that 2013 National Consumer Law Center Report noting the illegality, the same report sickeningly gave California its highest State rating for that nasty, Forced BofA Card.

    gotta run

    1. skippy

      I’m reminded of an decades old L.A. times article by its financial/tax jerno that noticed a huge irregularity in his account and recounted his entire experience of dealing with gate keepers from the bottom to the L.A. BofA CEO himself.

      Hilarious yarn … knew the black letter of the law too a fault and after many hours and days finally was offered a face to face with the CEO, on the CEO’s back, none knew who he was or his acumen on the topic.

      Long story short the jerno wangled with the CEO over legal rights and Reg whilst the CEO assumed the person was ignorant and he could deploy his Milligram’s white coat, only too at the end, be informed of the jernos knowledge and power of the pen ….. whooooboy ….

  22. fresno dan

    every once in a while I have an amusing day at HICAP. Today I got an earful from a lady about old Joe Namath. You know, he’s pitching medicare advantage health plans, and this lady (she was speaking for her husband who had dementia) found out, that people on TV lie. (I find it amazing that anyone would believe anything said on TV).
    Say it ain’t so Joe – giving up your credibility to shill – do you really need the money??? Well, I guess all those days of wine, women, and song were kinda pricey…

  23. fresno dan

    What’s next in Fresno’s Brewery District? More beer, restaurants, pot shops may be coming
    Downtown Fresno’s Brewery District is about to get some new businesses. Breweries, bars, pot shops, restaurants and places to eat and drink could be opening.
    Fresno Bee
    5 hours ago
    I certainly hope so. I’d add burlesque….for the historical aspect

    1. ambrit

      As to burley-Q-anon, I would imagine that the town’s new single A baseball team will fill that requirement.
      That film should have been named; “Field of Schemes.”

  24. fresno dan


    A 9-year-old girl pepper-sprayed by police in Rochester, New York, last month pleaded, “Officer, please don’t do this to me” as she waited handcuffed in the back seat of a police car, according to new police body camera video released Thursday.

    “You did it to yourself, hon,” a female officer in the front seat replies.
    “If you stick your head towards the window, the cold air is going to feel nice,” an officer tells her.

    “It’s burning too bad,” the girl says.

    “It’s supposed to burn. It’s called pepper spray,” an officer responds.

    1. ambrit

      I remember years ago having the subject of pepper spray come up in a conversation with a police officer we were friendly with. (They do exist.)
      He said that part of their training was to be sprayed in the face with the spray the police were issued with. “It is to get you to understand just what level of pain you are inflicting,” was his explanation.
      Do police forces still do this?
      If a parent or guardian was caught doing this to their child, they would end up in jail quickly.
      When the police contravene social norms this blatantly, it means that those “servants of the Law” no longer subscribe to those norms. The reverse can then be assumed to be in the process of being slowly adopted by the public.
      The Public is always the Nemesis for an out of control constabulary.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        They say the same thing about tasers, IIRC. As if it means something. I don’t recall ever hearing of any LEOs having life-threatening reactions from such “non-lethal” weapons. (Of course, if that had happened, would they have to admit the weapons aren’t so non-lethal after all? Or would they prefer to try to conceal the incident and spike the guns of protesters, so to speak?)

  25. jr

    Peggy Noooonan goes to Washington

    “Instead they were spirited from the floor by the police and hid in their offices and other rooms. Why didn’t they go out and speak to the crowds, their own people?”

    Perhaps because they are rank cowards? Innocent or guilty, these venal slime-molds didn’t claw their way into power to be lynched by the World’s Dumbest Viking. Does Peggy think she is dealing with people of moral substance? Who think beyond the next election? And what’s this “their own people”. Does she seriously think the GOP thinks of those ding-bats as “their people”? After they trashed the Museum of Freedom?

    “We are removing ourselves from ourselves. It’s all the image before your eyes and what you feel. There is no emphasis on thought, on reflection, on the meaning of things.”

    Nooners “ourselves” isn’t my “ourselves” and I’m not interested in being included in her “ourselves”. If she is just catching on to the disassociation caused by social media, she’s really off track. First she’s looking for statesmen in a rat’s nest, now she’s of a sudden noticed a significant portion of the population is lost in their phones. Profound. And what have you, as a journalist, actually done to develop the context behind the image and emphasize reflection? To develop meaning in the public discourse? Reagan’s speech writer, for [#r!$T’s sake. “…the meaning of things.” from a professional liar.

    “I watched and thought: It’s like nothing bad has ever happened to them before. And I realized it’s not ideal to be governed by people to whom nothing bad has ever happened.”

    What the hell bad happened to Reagan before his “emotionalism”-free reign of terror took hold? Who amongst our leadership has suffered anything more than a bad month at the Stock Exchange in decades? Oh, right, Beau.

    1. Procopius

      Perhaps because they are rank cowards?

      I see a lot of this. Not as much here as at other blogs that I used to find congenial. They went TDS/Russiagate four years ago and have added anti-Bernie since. Back when I was a teenager, I sometimes had the feeling people across the street, who were obviously having a good time together, were laughing at me. I eventually was able to realize that they probably didn’t even notice me across the street and that I couldn’t know what their reasons were for whatever they were doing. I am not a mind reader. Later, after reading Language in Thought and Action, I also realized that words have emotional baggage, too, and you have to take that into account when evaluating what other people say or write. I am not a mind reader; I do not know what people think, only what they say and what they do. I have to be aware that what they say may not be the truth. It may not be what they think. I have to be aware that the words they use may be chosen to paint a picture that is different from what I would see if I could view the original scene. I cannot walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins. I don’t think we are going to reduce polarization until we stop describing our adversaries as deplorable and despicable. Think it if you wish, but try hard to avoid saying it out loud. I hope I’m not violating policy with this rant.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I see nothing “cowardly” from taking reasonable shelter from a murder mob with zip-tie guys among it.

      Sheltering from a murder-mob is different than refusing to pass useful legislation.

  26. skippy

    @YS and others … per the Capital event.

    I should have added YS that events like this are a whole lot of stored psychological potential, where all it takes is the right flash point and the whole thing goes boom. Personally I’m relived that did not occur even with the localized events where life loss and injury happened, but I acknowledge that it could have been much different E.g. what would have happened if entrance to the chambers happen with members present or individuals which were on the bad list encountered in passage ways or in rooms with few or one exit – its very pot luck and depends on the aggressors actions when the moment occurs … 50/50 at best.

    I mentioned in the past I was present at the Fort Campbell riot between the 2/327th and the 502nd battalions back in the late 70s which occurred on a Friday night.

    So what originally started as a low IQ white kid getting harassed by some Black guys for his shiny new country attire, near a military convenience shop between the two units, getting beer, ended up in a melee of over 60 people from both units converging in the parking lot of the convenience shop.

    It was full on … one death [crushed chest], many completely knocked out, one solider had all his upper and lower teeth knocked out, and a plethora of lesser injury’s which took soldiers out of regular duty for a protracted period.

    The Base after hours OIC [Officer in charge] responded first in his military truck with driver. He existed his truck and started barking orders at the mob only to be rushed and quickly retreated back to his truck and drove off.

    It was only when an OH58 helo was used to low level buzz the mob and everyone could hear and see all the MP vehicles coming from the 4 winds did the mob disperse. That left me and our company medic, with a few others, to attend all the injured and specifically the solider that had his chest crushed, I witnessed it from about 50m away, but was a bit occupied with 4 others from the 502nd laying into one of our guys from the 2/327th.

    Hence you’ll have to pardon me and with due respect state that people with no experience especially or limited knowledge of such events should be very careful about their views.

    This does not change the fact that some will use this event for increased authoritarianism or political leverage [never let a crisis go to waste], but I think – on this blog – its imperative to recognize the actions of the leaders which promoted – funded this event and used their followers to advance their own personal agendas in a completely undemocratic manner by hook or crook.

    Too think the event I describe above was the result of “one soldier” in firstly ringing the alarm, too arms, then when at first it was about 5 of us initially confronting the other 3 soldiers from the 502nd, inquiring what was happening, only to have the initial soldier that rang the alarm run in from the side and hit the 3 soldiers from the 502dn in the face with the bottom of a break down pool stick and then it was pandemonium. Our 6’6″ medic was the first to go down from a blow by a plastic ring 6 pack to the head right next to me. Heck I’d only been in the unit for a few weeks after reposting from 1/75th RGRs. 6 months of interviews by JAG and the star witness in the court marshal of the 3 that killed the kid – that was skirting the riot. Powell was on the court, media driven racial event, Powell got an upgrade after the killers got off with a BCD because my testimony was thrown out on a technicality of having a article 15 within 6 months and the court deemed that diminished my credibility [morals] in the eyes of the court. Not that my class A’s where the epitomy of military morals with dressed slacks in highly polished Corcoran boots and festooned with all manner of military school badges and unit regalia.

    I unfortunately have many other examples of this dynamic, post this event, which leads me to conclude that some should really be careful in ascribing qualities to events which they might have no visceral experience with.

    1. skippy

      In retrospect I think its important to note the kid that originally informed of the 2/327th group, hanging out in the company entertainment/pool room, at the time, was a small white kid from Oakland that later on got discharged over having a loaded 357 magnum in his room locker E.g. one kids biases instigated the whole event.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I take the view that when the Democrats’ single article of impeachment is that Trump “incited an insurrection,” there should actually have been an insurrection (and not a riot, brawl, disturbance, rumpus, mob violence, or whatever). I also take the view that insurrections are actual events, not hypothetical ones.

      I have set forth my views in the form of a table. Perhaps this will help:

      Table I: Insurrection v. Not Insurrection, Illustrated

      Insurrection (the Tuileries, 1871) Not Insurrection
      Insurrection (Fort Sumter, 1870) Not Insurrection

      Did a military faction put tanks in the street? Did anybody take over the radio stations? Was a new State proclaimed from the podium? (The one later sold on eBay, according to rumor?)

      I think the continued use of the word “insurrection” reflects less the facts of the case than feelings of an embubbled, corrupt, unserious, and justly fearful elite who lack any knowledge of history, even our own history.

      1. skippy

        Not debating the impeachment or the notion of an insurrection, I am pointing out the factors that led to this event and how it could have unfolded had not a – few – things occured … out of happenstance.

        What do you think the response to that would have been and how that would have effected not only the nations psyche, but abroad as well.

        Would you care to roll the dice on a 50/50 chance of a worse case scenario. Lest we forget neoliberalism is a right wing agenda with the democrats shifting to the economic right late in the game. As such I don’t trust the republicans at all and the dino democrats as far as I can throw them. On top of all that Trump and posse have done more harm to labour and whatever state responsibility to its citizens than Bush Jr and Obama combined.

        On top of all that his followers are the same sort that thought Obama was the anti Christ and a commie socialist, yet here is Trump saying “I’ll be right with you” and ends every leading statement with “you knew that”. Hard to blame these people after getting the shaft for so long and vulnerable to suggestion by a sleazeball like Trump, yet the whole thing was right on the knifes edge. I won’t play that part down no matter what political antics are the game of the day.

        1. Yves Smith

          The supposedly scariest group touted before the 1/6 event, the Proud Boys, have all of 600 members per the FBI, which if anything has incentives to exaggerate. 600 people x maybe 4 groups is not enough to do anything except some localized mayhem, particularly because each would want to be in charge

          I stuck my neck out before hand and said odds were good the Trump fans were paper tigers.

          The last big showing of the neo-Nazis was Charlottesville, where all they did was march around with tiki torches (terrible imagery by design but no real threat). The one poor woman who was killed was because a guy panicked by having his car surrounded by POC (horrors!) and barreled through a crowd to get out.

          1. skippy

            In my viewing of the actions inside the building I never saw one person from the Trump supporters plead for non violence, just the opposite. That so much of it was a comedy is just the farcical nature of such absurd events in hindsight E.g. the kid described above popping those 3 guys with the bottom of a pool stick – bing, bing, bing, and then it was trench warfare hand to hand and whatever was laying around to beat people with.

            Had that not happened the whole thing would have never occurred, myself and the 6’6″ medic had it all under control and were deescalating the situation calmly. Social psychology is pretty clear on this sort of situation and people just go pop and do things they would never do otherwise. Its just blood lust pouring out uncontrolled and with it any accumulated fears or anxieties.

            On the latter is where I think the promoters and funders are culpable in instilling and focusing these groundless and manufactured irrational claims. How one approaches this issue is a completely different matter and I don’t have a dog in the hunt with regards to currant proceedings.

            What I have attempted to highlight is how close things were to going medieval and that should not be down played regardless of the political foot ball game, nor am I suggesting all in attendance should be ruthlessly hunted down and diminished for life.

            As someone that has confronted too many harsh realities in life, I don’t think pretending things weren’t so close to ending very badly for everyone is a good state of mind moving forward. This cuts both ways in the form of the rush to present arguments for political scoring points, its much, much, more deeper than that on a societal level, especially with a one in a millennia event [covid] and GFC trauma still raw.

            Its all tinder looking for a spark …

  27. jr

    The tweet about “Filipinx” was fun but the attached article did bring up an interesting point after the IDpol was brushed off. How do you deal with crime and not empower the police? Neighborhood watches? Safety escort programs? Do you try to make the cops tow the line (unlikely) or do you do your own thing (problematic)?

    1. skippy

      Idpol was a conservative agenda for’ver … its only now that non traditional [nuclear family good common stock = anti socialist] is being advanced in the market place that some take exception … but markets …

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      You empower the police with rules and within limits. And if they break the rules or exceed the limits you punish them.

      Part of establishing limits for police departments will be abolishing the nazi fascist unions they use to protect their high handed Blue Privilege with.

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      Seems to me that someone who would seriously use the designedly gender-neutral word “Filipinx” for (if not necessarily about) themselves would be unlikely to use the oxymoronic phrase “Filipinx man“. A reporter trying to be woke seems more likely in this case.

  28. jr

    Field Report: mid-town Manhattan

    According to video linked on the Citizen app a minute ago, 11 “anti-NYPD” protestors have been arrested. Group appears to be around 60 people in total, chanting “suck my [)!(l<“, affiliations aren’t clear.

  29. VietnamVet

    Peggy Noonan and Juan Cole are both past and present. What do you expect? A realist, if one can afford it, will have cut themselves off from strangers for over a year. If not, the elderly, like me, have a 50-50 chance of dying if they spend 20 minutes unprotected indoors with a virus spreader.

    “NCIS” had just broadcast the first Hollywood depiction I’ve seen of the new outside world. I couldn’t believe it. Life is exactly the same as before except putting on a mask to go outdoors, no mention of daily or weekly tests or quarantines. They had to have been in a bubble to film it. Then there was a character’s trauma that I had to go on the internet to figure out. Is it the times, old age or both?

    The old world of 2019 is never ever coming back. The fact is the US federal government is utterly corrupt and incompetent. It is becoming clear that the vaccines alone will not control the pandemic or end the economic depression. Janet Yellen earned 7 million dollars from Wall Street in speaker and seminar fees. She is bought and paid for. Financiers will continue to do anything they want at the expense of the 90% of Americans with no criminal prosecution. The USA has split between the heartland and either coasts; the rulers and the ruled. The 30 percent total increase in homicides in 2020 is urban, so far. There are no reported succession of states or cities yet; except, the proposed corporation-owned smart cities in Nevada.

    I am a Leftx; end the wars, healthcare for all, jobs for the able-bodied, and equal treatment for all under the rule of law. But the Plutocrats don’t have to send the paid enforcers after me. I am isolated.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It has occurred to me that the concept of the mRNA “platform”, with the manufacturer’s ability to rapidly swap in and distribute new “instructions” to deal with new variants, is brilliant technically but a little sketchy from a business model standpoint, at least from the user perspective.

      Because it’s a lot like software, isn’t it? Constant upgrades and new versions. So one might envision paid subscriptions to Big Pharma companies for various levels of protection (perhaps like ObamaCare’s Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum).

      “Living As A Service,” if you will.

      No doubt there would be some sort of mean-tested tax break so everybody had “access” to Bronze-level protection against the latest plague. As soon as distribution reached their “tier,” of course.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Turning the coronavid into a permanent endemic disease with a never-ending parade of new mutants for decades and decades and decades would fit right into that mRNA new-newer-newest-newester-etc. vaccinoid iteration rollout after rollout after rollout business model.

    2. ambrit

      Don’t be so sanguine there. Waco was pretty “isolated,” and yet the State managed to kill many who lived there.
      Also, that you are read here is proof that you are not intellectually “isolated” either.
      You are a ‘Double Threat’ to the Plutocrats. You can think and communicate effectively.
      Stay safe!

  30. Pat

    I did not remark on how cute and charming Valentine kitten was in a timely manner. Apologies.

    That is one very sweet cat. And patient to wear that sweater, no matter how cute and celebratory.

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