2:00PM Water Cooler 3/16/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

#COVID19

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

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching. If we are in the eye of the storm, we are still in the eye of the storm.

Vaccination by region:

This is yesterday’s data; no data for today. • Early in February, I said a simple way to compare Biden’s performance to Trump’s on vaccination would be to compare the slopes of the curves. If Biden accelerated vaccine administration, post-Inaugural slopes would get steeper. They have not. The fragmented, Federalized, and profit-driven lumbering monstrosity that we laughingly call our “health care” “system” has not responded to “energy in the executive,” but has continued on its inertial path.

Case count by United States regions:

Before we break out the champers, we would do well to remember that cases are still well above the peak New York achieved early in the crisis, then regarded, rightly, as horrific.

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

New York leads.

Test positivity:

Humongous drop in the West, but is this a data artifact?

Hospitalization:

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):

Good to see those deaths dropping. The fatality rate in the West is where it was last May.

* * *

Politics

“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

More to come. –lambert

Capitol Seizure

“What I Saw Inside the Capitol Riot” [Slate]. From January, still germane: “I saw a man in a conference room with his feet up. He and his friends were smoking weed, and when we clocked each other, they offered me a joint.” • Whatever the Capitol Seizure was, it wasn’t an insurrection. Come on, man.

“Capitol Police planning to start removing fence” [The Hill]. “Capitol Police in the coming days will begin scaling back and removing parts of the perimeter fencing erected outside the Capitol after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. In a memo to lawmakers and staff on Monday, acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett said that Capitol Police officials have stated that ‘there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.’ Due to the reduced threat level since supporters of former President Trump stormed the complex, the Capitol Police and the Architect of the Capitol will adjust the inner perimeter fencing this week to move it closer to the building and provide more street and sidewalk access. The Architect of the Capitol will also remove the razor wire lining the top of the inner perimeter fence. And late next week, the agencies will start removing the outer perimeter fencing and open Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue to traffic for the first time since January. But the modified inner perimeter fencing will remain around Capitol Square— the part of the campus between Independence Ave. NW and Constitution Ave. NW and First St. NW and First St. NE — while the Architect of the Capitol “continues to make necessary security repairs to the Capitol building,’ Blodgett said. Blodgett also wrote in the memo that ‘it is anticipated’ that the National Guard will start to reduce its presence at the Capitol in the coming weeks.” • Maybe “start” is doing a lot of work there? I don’t know the Capitol area well enough to know if these measures would mean, subjectively, that the Capitol was no longer fenced in (though no more razor wire is a good start). Readers?

Biden Administration

About “cutting poverty in half”:

Not the Biden Administration per se; just the talking point everybody is using.

“How Biden, Republicans and public health leaders are trying to persuade GOP skeptics to get their Covid vaccinations” [NBC]. “While efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy and access have so far been mostly focused on African Americans and Latinos, recent polls suggest the largest group of Americans either hesitant about the Covid-19 vaccine or outright opposed to it are Republicans, and efforts to reach them are only in their infancy. Success convincing skeptical conservatives could be the difference between the United States reaching herd immunity or not. That’s why a group of Republican pollsters and politicians, plus the White House, are all already working on getting the skeptics on board. Messages targeted at minority groups were overt and discussion of hesitancy among people of color was clear. But when it comes to targeting a partisan population, appearing overtly political opens up new risks and could backfire, those working on the efforts warn.” • From Frank Luntz:

UPDATE “Historic benefits in stimulus bill may answer a big question for Democrats” [CNN]. “The vast scale of this material assistance to financially strained families of all races will test whether any conceivable set of government economic benefits can loosen the GOP’s hold on working-class Whites — or the modest but measurable gains that Trump recorded in the 2020 race among working-class Hispanics and even some Black voters (especially men in each case).”

2022

“Billionaire Peter Thiel gives $10 million to super PAC backing potential JD Vance Senate bid in Ohio” [The Hill]. “Vance is a venture capitalist and author, who rose to prominence for his 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy that has since been made into a Netflix film of the same name. He grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and now lives in Cincinnati. Vance previously considered challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in 2018, though he ultimately declined. That hasn’t stopped efforts to recruit him into the state’s 2022 Senate race.” • I imagine the Trillbillies will have something to say about this.

Democrats en Deshabille

Neera’s back on the job?

“Democrats, Pushing Stimulus, Admit to Regrets on Obama’s 2009 Response” [New York Times]. “Party leaders from President Biden on down are citing Mr. Obama’s strategy on his most urgent policy initiative — an $800 billion financial rescue plan in 2009 in the midst of a crippling recession — as too cautious and too deferential to Republicans, mistakes they were determined not to repeat. The pointed assessments of Mr. Obama’s handling of the 2009 stimulus effort are the closest Democrats have come to grappling with a highly delicate matter in the party: the shortcomings in the legacy of Mr. Obama, one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party and a powerful voice for bipartisanship in a deeply divided country.” • Twelve years after the debacle, Democrats are wondering whether creating the conditions for Trump was a bad thing.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Families, activists call for COVID-19 Memorial Day to be declared in March” [Today]. Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of the advocacy group Marked By COVID (just look at the bios): “Why do we need a national COVID-19 Memorial Day? March really is the time in which everything changed for us, so we wanted to set the tone for the entire month.” • Not for everyone, it wasn’t.

This could be read as a takedown of Jack Goldsmith’s article on the history of the Federalist Society, quoted yesterday. It’s a long and good thread, but here’s the best one-liner:

Stats Watch

Retail: “Year-over-year import price indices inflation grew from +1.4 % to +3.0%” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales have fully recovered their pre-virus levels overall. There was a significant upward adjustment to last month’s data. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which were little changed. Overall, this report is considered weaker than last month.”

Manufacturing: “February 2021 Headline Industrial Production Declines Due To Weather” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) declined month-over-month – and remains in contraction year-over-year. Our analysis shows the three-month rolling average marginally improved.”

Housing: “January 2021 CoreLogic Single-Family Rents: Sharp Rise in Single-Family Rents from a Year Earlier” [Econintersect]. “The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and across major metropolitan areas, for January 2021 shows a national rent increase of 3.8% year over year, up from a 2.9% year-over-year increase in January 2020. In January, rent growth continued to show promising strength. National rent prices reached the largest annual gain since June of 2016, and prices in three of the four price tiers exceeded pre-pandemic levels.”

Inflation: “February 2021 Import Year-over-Year Inflation Grows To +3.0%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year import price indices inflation grew from +1.4 % to +3.0 %.”

* * *

The Bezzle:

The Bezzle: “Bitcoin ATMs are coming to a gas station near you” [Reuters]. “A new feature has appeared at smoke shops in Montana, gas stations in the Carolinas and delis in far-flung corners of New York City: a brightly-lit bitcoin ATM, where customers can buy or sell digital currency, and sometimes extract hard cash…. As of January, there were 28,185 bitcoin ATMs in the United States, according to howmanybitcoinatms.com, an independent research site. Roughly 10,000 came within the prior five months.”

Concentration: “How Washington fumbled the future” [Politico]. The deck: “A decade ago, a surging Silicon Valley giant was making plans to dominate the internet. Given a chance to stop it, regulators chosen by Barack Obama misread the evidence in front of their eyes.” Wait. Obama? Actual reporting (!), well worth a read. Here is a summary of they key moment: “The FTC’s decision to let Google off the hook reflected an era when the Obama administration had a close relationship with Silicon Valley and Americans held largely positive views toward the emerging tech giants. But the documents also demonstrate how the Obama-era FTC took a cautious approach to antitrust enforcement, deferring to the wisdom of the agency’s economists over its lawyers — an attitude anti-monopoly advocates are now questioning as Congress considers sweeping changes to antitrust laws.” • Ah, economists. I recall reading today that peer reviewers in the world of economics don’t review blind, but actually know who wrote the articles they’re reviewing. Can this be true?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 60 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 16 at 2:08pm. One year ago: 3 (Extreme Fear).

Health Care

“Testimony of Linsey C. Marr, Ph.D., Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech” (PDF) [Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Committee on Education and Labor, United States House of Representatives]. Important!

At the beginning of the pandemic, most of the emphasis was on wiping down your groceries to avoid transmission by touching contaminated surfaces. However, all evidence suggests that transmission from contaminated surfaces is rare. It is possible, but there are zero documented cases involving this type of transmission. Although laboratory studies have shown that this coronavirus can survive for many hours on different types of surface materials, the experiments used unrealistically large amounts of virus in unrealistically large droplets.

For over a century, physicians and many scientists have believed that colds and the flu are spread mainly by large droplets released during coughing. The droplets could land on your eyes, nose, or mouth, and they are large enough that, if they don’t hit anybody, they fall to the ground within 3 to 6 feet of the sick person. Many cases of COVID-19 have been traced to “close contacts,” and this was incorrectly interpreted to mean that large droplets were responsible for transmitting the disease.

However, this assumption ignores the fact that when people breathe, talk, sing, laugh, cough, or sneeze, they release far more aerosols than large droplets, as shown in Figure 1. When we speak, we release hundreds of aerosols for every one large droplet. These aerosols are most concentrated close to the sick person, and they don’t fall quickly to the ground. Instead of falling like cannonballs, they remain floating in the air and follow air currents like cigarette smoke. Thus, when you are close to someone, you are in the most concentrated part of their exhaled air, as shown in Figure 1. When people are talking in close proximity, it is much more likely that they will breathe in each other’s respiratory aerosols than shower each other with large droplets of spittle. Because aerosols can float in the air for long periods of time, they can easily travel more than 6 feet, filling a room and building up over time if the space does not have good ventilation

“A new study suggests 3 feet, not 6 feet, is sufficient distance for school students, with mask-wearing and other safety measures kept in place.” [New York Times]. “The new study, published on Wednesday, compared the incidence rates of virus cases among students and staff members in Massachusetts school districts that required at least six feet of separation with those that required only three feet of distance, and found no statistically significant differences in infection rates among staff members or students.” •

“Effectiveness of three versus six feet of physical distancing for controlling spread of COVID-19 among primary and secondary students and staff: A retrospective, state-wide cohort study” (PDF) [Clinical Infectious Diseases]. The Conclusion: “Lower physical distancing policies can be adopted in school settings with masking mandates without negatively impacting student or staff safety.” • However, according to Table II, 90% of the schools studied also had “ventilation interventions,” which would be (if I have my statistical jargon correct) an enormous confounding factor. So, we are about to conduct yet another enormous natural experiment…

Our Famously Free Press

“How Do Big Media Outlets So Often “Independently Confirm” Each Other’s Falsehoods?” [Glenn Greenwald]. Based on RussiaGate (for which there’s a great recap: “When a news outlet such as NBC News claims to have “independently corroborated” a report from another corporate outlet, they often do not mean that they searched for and acquired corroborating evidence for it. What they mean is much more tawdry: they called, or were called by, the same anonymous sources that fed CNN the false story in the first place, and were fed the same false story.” And a current case: “On January 9, The Washington Post published a story reporting that an anonymous source claimed that on December 23, Trump spoke by phone with Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, and directed her that she must “find the fraud” and promised her she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so. The paper insisted that those were actual quotes of what Trump said. … But late last week, The Wall Street Journal obtained a recording of that call, and those quotes attributed to Trump do not appear. As a result, The Washington Post — two months after its original story that predictably spread like wildfire throughout the entire media ecosystem — has appended a correction at the top of its original story. Politico’s Alex Thompson correctly pronounced these errors ‘real bad’ because of how widely they spread and were endorsed by other major media outlets.” • Lol, we know all about “corrections” at the top of unretracted garbage stories; that’s what WaPo did with its PropOrNot story smearing us. In any case, I suppose I should have been following the story of the Trump Georgia call, but at this point I always look at the lead first: If the story has anonymous sources, I figure it’s fake, and move on. Sad but true.

Zeitgeist Watch

“A Bucks County woman created ‘deepfake’ videos to harass rivals on her daughter’s cheerleading squad, DA says” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “A Bucks County woman anonymously sent coaches on her teen daughter’s cheerleading squad fake photos and videos that depicted the girl’s rivals naked, drinking, or smoking, all in a bid to embarrass them and force them from the team, prosecutors say…. After analyzing the videos, detectives determined they were ‘deepfakes’ — digitally altered but realistic looking images — created by mapping the girls’ social media photos onto other images. Detectives traced the phone numbers to a website specializing in selling them to telemarketers, and followed the data to an IP address that showed activity from within [Raffaela] Spone’s house in Chalfont. After searching Spone’s smartphone, detectives found evidence linking her to the numbers used to send the harassing texts and images, the affidavit said.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“What Happens When a Slogan Becomes the Curriculum” [Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic]. This is all about a curriculum adopted in Evanston, IL, which is a bit of an outlier. Ends with a question: “In persuading Evanston educators to adopt a BLM at School curriculum, Black Lives Matter activists did their job. Did the District 65 public schools do theirs?” • The curriculum started as a volunteer effort. I doubt that will last; curricula and textbooks are very profitable, as are all the ancillaries, like speaking gigs, book deals, etc.

“It is Time for Accountability” [STATEMENT FROM THE FRONTLINES OF BLM]. “It was recently declared that Patrisse Cullors was appointed the Executive Director to the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) Foundation. Since then, two new Black Lives Matter formations have been announced to the public: a Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee, and BLM Grassroots. BLM Grassroots was allegedly created to support the organizational needs of chapters, separate from the financial functions of BLMGN. We, the undersigned chapters, believe that all of these events occurred without democracy, and assert that it was without the knowledge of the majority of Black Lives Matters chapters across the country and world.” • What might be expected from an organization without staff or board on its About page, that’s also asking for money, and collected rather a lot of it.

“Tamir Rice’s Mother Calls Tamika Mallory and Celebrity BLM Activists ‘Clout Chasers'” [Jezebel]. “Mallory was one of the original co-chairs of the Women’s March, but quietly stepped down with two other Women’s March leaders following allegations of anti-Semitism and organizational mismanagement in 2019. In the spring, Mallory spoke at rallies for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Rice shared a clip of Mallory’s Grammy performance on Facebook Monday morning, writing, ‘Look at this clout chaser did she lose something in this fight i don’t think so. That’s the problem they take us for a joke thats why we never have justice cause of shit like this.’… Rice is perhaps understandably skeptical of some of the corporate infrastructure that has been built up around what is, at its core, an organic, grassroots movement.” • But what’s at the core of BLM is the issue, as the link above shows.

Guillotine Watch

“Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene” [Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic]. This is a well-trodden beat, but: “Parents at elite private schools sometimes grumble about taking nothing from public schools yet having to support them via their tax dollars. But the reverse proposition is a more compelling argument. Why should public-school parents—why should anyone—be expected to support private schools? Exeter has 1,100 students and a $1.3 billion endowment. Andover, which has 1,150 students, is on track to take in $400 million in its current capital campaign. And all of this cash, glorious cash, comes pouring into the countinghouse 100 percent tax-free.” • Since apparently we’re going to have a tax bill, this might be a fun place to start.

Class Warfare

“Conquest and Slavery as Foundational to Property Law” [K-Sue Park, Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works]. “This article demonstrates that the histories of conquest and slavement are foundational to U.S. property law. Over centuries, laws and legal institutions facilitated the production of the two commodities, or forms of property, upon which the colonial economy and the United States came to depend above all others: enclosures of Native nations’ land and enslaved people. By describing the role of property law in creating markets for lands and people, this article addresses the gap between the marginal place of these histories in the contemporary property law canon and the growing scholarly and popular recognition that conquest and enslavement were primary modes of property formation in American history.”

“Google’s Colosseum” [Google’s Colosseum]. “In the formulation of Gebru’s paper, large language models (‘large’ because they’re trained on a massive, unsanitized corpus of texts from the wilds of the internet) re-present, or ‘parrot,’ the problematic linguistic status quo. And in parroting it, they can perpetuate it… As someone who trained as an historian, it’s not at all surprising to me that what was true of the Roman Colosseum — in everything from the class-stratified seating arrangement to the central spectacle — is also true of a the massively complex and expensive public display of cultural power that is Google’s language model.” • With a neat diagram of the Colosseum showing the class stratification.

News of the Wired

“Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: projections with a Bayesian model ensemble” [The Lancet]. “Life expectancy is projected to increase in all 35 countries with a probability of at least 65% for women and 85% for men. There is a 90% probability that life expectancy at birth among South Korean women in 2030 will be higher than 86·7 years, the same as the highest worldwide life expectancy in 2012, and a 57% probability that it will be higher than 90 years. Projected female life expectancy in South Korea is followed by those in France, Spain, and Japan. There is a greater than 95% probability that life expectancy at birth among men in South Korea, Australia, and Switzerland will surpass 80 years in 2030, and a greater than 27% probability that it will surpass 85 years. Of the countries studied, the USA, Japan, Sweden, Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia have some of the lowest projected life expectancy gains for both men and women. ”

“What If You Could Describe Your Dreams While Dreaming?” [Nautilus]. “[Psychologist Karen] Konkoly and her colleagues trained lucid dreamers to receive and send messages, demonstrating that dreaming people can remember and follow instructions from when they were awake and engage in cognitive tasks when asked to. Interestingly, when the researchers woke up their subjects and asked them about their dreams, the dreamers sometimes misremembered the math problem [(their cognitive task)], showing strong evidence of the problems associated with relying on dream reports of waking people. People’s memories of their own dreams can be wrong, even when those dreams were lucid.”

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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.

80 comments

  1. shinola

    “…Whatever the Capitol Seizure was, it wasn’t an insurrection. Come on, man.”

    Perhaps the most appropriate term for it would be “hooliganism”

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I noticed the other day that the Guardian runs articles about this event under the heading “Capitol Breach.” I like the relative absence of hyperbole.

    1. km

      If the Capitol Hill rioters were half as dangerous and volatile (not to mention, heavily-armed and fanatical) as is routinely claimed, what’s to stop them from assassinating low-level federal government functionaries?

      They can’t all hide behind a wall, and there aren’t enough Secret Service to keep all of them safe, all the time.

    2. PHLDenizen

      I’m waiting for Biden to seize on the fact that they smoked weed as proof that his vehement opposition to legalization is justified:

      “As I’ve said countless times, drugs bleed the soul of nations. This…pot…or grass or dope or MJ as the kids call it. You know, I was playing Mario Go Kart on the Atari with my granddaughter and she taught me this word: taint. It’s this kind of transitional area between… the front and the back. No child should be left back behind. I’m going to start requiring The Urban Dictionary be taught in schools. We gotta build back better with some good old fashioned smut. Corn Pop…he was a bad dude, but had good taste in porno. So this taint. It’s the dividing line between…the meaty tumescence…of what makes this country so great…and that place that my staff has assured me is a place where no soul exists. I think Jenn Psaki said it was called Q Anon. It’s just unimaginably foul and lewd. I remember when Hunter had diapers. I’d stare into them…wondering…has the soul of the baby died? You have to understand, man. I never fought in a war, but I smelled death every single day until he was potty trained. I didn’t need to go to Vietnam. It came to me each and every day. Hunter got pushed around in his little chair. One day he saw a couple of bad dudes puffing away on a doobie. And he looked up at me and he said to me — Joe Biden — “daddy, can you tell them to just say no?” Well, I did. My god, Beau! My poor, poor Beau! He’s always weep at that story with pride. So the facts, Jack, are that Marijuana is the taint and once you start down that path, man, you just have to see where the other end is. Crack, meth, PCP, heroin. See? You smoke a little grass and next thing you’re storming the capitol, half naked. Come on, man! At least wear a shirt with buttons when you’re defiling this great nation. The soul of the nation is always clothed! But if we’re going to prevent another insurrection, we have to get the DEA involved. So, my fellow citizens, let’s appeal to the spirit of bipartisanship and just say no together!”

      1. km

        You should consider signing on as a Biden speechwriter. I mean, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so why not make the kinds of speeches that the Biden we all know and (don’t) love is capable of giving.

    3. zagonostra

      And it wasn’t a seizure. The crowd was egged on to trespass by a small subset within the crowd. Where the 2×2’s came from to smash the windows and if there were any agent provocateurs involved yet remains to be answered, as well as for the National Guard to stand down and video of Capitol police opening the gates to allow crowd in.

      If you ask cui bono it certainly wasn’t Trump.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Personally, my favorite part barely touched on by #OurCorporatePress🧻 was the slick way the FBI yanked out their instigator the day before.

    4. Roger the cabin boy

      No one is allowed to smoke pot during an insurrection? I did not know that. I’d bet it is a marker for an unsuccessful one though, perhaps similar to beer and putsches.

    5. Pavel

      I remain bemused and offended by all the Dem OUTRAGE over the so-called “insurrection” and ostensible violence when Bill and Madeleine famously killed 500,000 Iraq kids via sanctions, Hillary and Sarko and Dave Cameron turned Libya into a literal slave market*, and Obama killed thousands by drone warfare (including a 16 y.o. US citizen). And Biden and Pelosi supported all these actions.

      NOTE: the Repubs are even worse on warmongering. Just slightly less hypocritical.

      *If Dr Seuss can be canceled for racial stereotyping 30 or 40 years ago can we cancel HRC for creating actual slave markets 10 years ago? Please?

    6. The Rev Kev

      ‘Perhaps the most appropriate term for it would be “hooliganism”’

      I think that you have something there. Maybe they were like English football hooligans. Once in Scotland I saw a large crowd of football hooligans walking down a street with police escorting them. it would be like having people like this break into and wander around the Houses of Parliament in London.

      1. Old Sarum

        Perhaps not hooligans.

        Back in the late 70’s or early 80’s police in the UK started to really work out how to handle football fan violence. Police often escorted crowds of supporters from the railway station to the football ground. As I understand it, the police escort was often a protective measure to dissuade the “home” hooligans from attacking the visiting fans.

        As I recall it, the real troublemakers arrived by car, thus avoiding the police escort.

        Back in the day I recall that there were links between the organized traveling hooligans and the National Front; not to be take lightly.

        Pip-pip!

        ps Organized sport: not really my scene; never was into religion and pilgrimages.

    1. ambrit

      And here I am thinking that Elon I was emulating Thutmose IV and riding the Sphinx.
      And the Spirit of the Hidden Hand spoke to Elon in a dream, saying: “Clean away from my Temple the stultifying sands of Regulation and I will make you Pharaoh of all you survey.” This did Elon do, and the Spirit rewarded him and made him Elon I, Pharaoh of Mars.

      1. eg

        Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
        Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
        The lone and level red sands stretch far away.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Did you hear the letterhead for his new Tesla plant here in Texas refers to him as “Technoking”?

  2. flora

    re: Greenwald

    Based on RussiaGate (for which there’s a great recap: “When a news outlet such as NBC News claims to have “independently corroborated” a report from another corporate outlet, they often do not mean that they searched for and acquired corroborating evidence for it. What they mean is much more tawdry: they called, or were called by, the same anonymous sources that fed CNN the false story in the first place, and were fed the same false story.”

    Also known as gossip. But, but… high level gossip. See: Propernot. / ;)

    1. km

      Gossip is usually less politically motivated, and therefore inherently more reliable as a source of information.

      The russiagate conspiracy theory was motivated solely by a desire to make Trump look as bad as possible, and its adherents were willing to go whole hog in supporting the most absurd accusations, just as long as they fulfilled their essential function,

      I am yet to meet one russiagate conspiracy theorist in the wild who will admit that they were fooled. Instead, they are still doubling down.

      1. Milton

        Brand new article in the Guardian today about Putin’s attempt to swing the election from Biden to Trump. All allegations based on unnamed Intel.
        Bottom line – the ruling class will never stray from providing the nourishing pap from whence the PMC depend.

        1. km

          To believe the russiagate conspiracy theory, one must simultaneously believe that Putin has these superpowers that would put Goebbels, Lex Luthor or Ivy Lee to shame, but that at the same time, he has no idea how to use these superpowers.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            And that Russian intelligence operators are so unbelievably stupid they’d leave easily located “breadcrumbs” behind after hacking into a server.

      2. Pelham

        Yes, and this causes me to wonder about congressional Dems on intel committees who all along stared unblinkingly into the TV cameras and pushed the Russia line. Surely being privy to the intelligence they at least had the opportunity to know how unsupported it was. If that’s the case, their lies were rather breathtaking.

        I’d really like to see an interrogator nail Adam Schiff or Eric Swalwell to the wall on this point. Sadly, you’d need someone like Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi to do the interrogating, and congrescritters can easily keep their distance.

    2. fresno dan

      flora
      March 16, 2021 at 2:35 pm
      So, in this age of facts playing second fiddle to analysis, what analysis will occur concerning the errors* of quotation??? NONE!??!!!? Who will be fired? Demoted? Anyone of significance?
      OUCH! I hurt myself laughing…. If I have said it once, I have said it billions of times – what isn’t QUESTIONED is more important than what is. The question of whose interest was it to misquote and why will never be asked.

      *errors….true errors….or purposeful errors? (purposeful errors – agendas advanced that can be denied ownership by claiming they were advanced due to inadvertent mistake)

    3. The Rev Kev

      This goes back a long way. So the Bush regime through Cheney would pass along a story to the Washington Post or New York Times that Saddam Hussein had nukes capable of hitting Des Moines or something – but anonymously of course. That paper would only refer to high level officials giving this “leak.” Then Cheney would go onto weekend TV and when asked about that story, would more or less confirm it. The story that he had planted. And all you would need to stop this happening would be papers refusing to print any story which is sourced anonymously on its first ten pages but we know that that will never happen. At this point, the main stream media is part of the government-intelligence block.

  3. Big River Bandido

    Community announcement, inspired by Yves’ post this morning on severe loss of jobs in NYC last year: After 25 years living and working as a musician in New York, I have “pulled an Yves” — my partner and I moved to Davenport IA last Oct. 29.

    Like Yves’ move, ours was inspired by a combination of personal and professional considerations; in fact, Yves’ announcement and reports since last summer figured heavily in our information gathering. I, too, have elderly parents with health issues; they are not under any economic pressures, but I can see them growing frail and the next few years will be a last opportunity to bond with them. Mr. BRB has roots and a large extended family a mere 90 minutes away. It has long been a goal of ours to buy a home together, preferably something historic and classy — it goes without saying that our small nest egg will buy us a much better property in Iowa. This had been our plan for “a few years down the road”. When pandemic completely wiped out the music industry, it sort of advanced our timetable. At my age (53), any economic recovery in the NYC music industry will come too late for me to benefit. The clincher was when our management company decided to *raise* our rent. We had a nice one-bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood in Queens (Kew Gardens)…but the rent was high, and if you can’t take advantage of the cultural benefits of living in New York, why bother living there?

    On the flip side…in the move to Davenport, our rent declined by over 1/3, and we doubled our space and the quality of amenities. Pleased to report that the Mexican restaurants here are comparable in quality and authenticity to those in Chicago, there is an excellent NYC-style pizza joint downtown, and Tommy’s Cafe makes donuts which are the best I’ve ever had anywhere, bar none. And in what we interpret as a hopeful omen: just as in Kew Gardens, our apartment building is across the street from an Indian restaurant.

    Just hoping the Mississippi doesn’t flood this year!

    1. km

      I grew up in a small town not an hour away from Davenport.

      Much as I enjoy complaining about my hometown, it’s not a bad place. In fact, it’s a great place, if you can make your own entertainment.

      1. Big River Bandido

        We’ll have some assists…the Figge Art Museum (permanent home of the Grant Wood archives) and the River Bandits stadium are nearby.

          1. ambrit

            As Pharaoh Elon I said: “The plangent hums doth sooth us when in our darker aspect.”
            I do not know if the Theramin Festival is sponsored by the Apocalyptocracy or not. I do know that it is said to be held “where the stars end.”

    2. JBird4049

      >>>The clincher was when our management company decided to *raise* our rent.

      Maybe they are trying for some tax breaks and NYC is not yet economically devastated enough to qualify for them? Or they are hoping to cash in on this here new Airbnb craze?

      Or more likely the management company is on autopilot with no one actually running the company as it is a grift?

      1. Big River Bandido

        I think you’re probably correct on the tax breaks for unrented apartments. Mr. BRB saw an ad for our Kew Gardens apartment, and they were asking what we had paid when we moved in back in 2017.

    3. QuicksilverMessenger

      I wonder how widespread moves like these are becoming- out of the big coastal cities, east and west, to much more affordable and probably very pleasant towns. And, with a name like Davenport, the name itself just says ‘kick back and relax’!

    4. The Rev Kev

      Congratulations on your successful move. More money in your pockets, more living room, good amenities. What’s not to like? Never knew that Bix Beiderbecke came from there. And if you are worried about old Mississippi flooding, just have a coupla bug-out bags in the closet.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Only a couple of the vaccines are based on engineered intentional genetic modification. I was going to wait for the J&J vaccine, out of concern about any encouragement of fooling around with genetic material in any aspect of “science” which is really “engineering” with a “F__k You” to the precautionary principle, but the opportunity to get the vaccine (Moderna) was presented and I gave in, not knowing how long it would be before the J&J shot (let alone Sputnik or the Cuban vaccine) became available. Part of the incentive for me and my wife, who is similarly cautious of GM or CRSP-r’d fireworks, is that she especially is a hugger and giver of love, and was going a bit unhappy about not being able to spend time with her son, daughter and grandkids and her large circle of friends. (As a misanthropic hermetic, not so much an incentive for me, but I don’t care to increase the risk of passing on community-acquired disease to her.)

      1. Michael

        Went to my 2pm appt at Riteaid here in SD for the JnJ vaccine.
        They looked at me funny and said did you make an appt online? I said yes, it’s the only way to do it right?
        Bad news followed in that the County errored in updating the site so would you like the Pfizer instead? No thanks. Online portal still shows JnJ available at said store and appts available.
        All other appt slots in County for the next 4 days are filled.
        Start over at 6am tmrw.

      2. Michaelmas

        JTMcPhee wrote: Only a couple of the vaccines are based on engineered intentional genetic modification. I was going to wait for the J&J vaccine, out of concern about any encouragement of fooling around with genetic material

        No. All the vaccines available so far — including the J&J — result from genetic engineering, except for the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, which uses classical-style inactivated virus (COV19) vaccine technology. (Though I think Brazil has a couple more of this type in phase III trials, IIRC.)

        Indeed, the Johnson & John vaccine is arguably a more genetically-engineered vaccine inasmuch as it re-engineers a whole adenovirus to be a vector carrying a sample of the COV19 spike protein to show your immune system; the Russian Sputnik V works on the same principle.

        By contrast, the mRNA vaccines only engineer a small strand of RNA. It’s a more sophisticated, recent synthetic biology-based genetic engineering, true, but much more precise and, arguably, limited.

        1. Michaelmas

          FYI —

          https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/hcp/viral-vector-vaccine-basics.html

          ‘Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus as a vector to deliver instructions, in the form of genetic material (a gene), to a cell. The vaccine does not cause infection with either COVID-19 or the virus that is used as the vector.

          ‘The genetic material delivered by the viral vector does not integrate into a person’s DNA.

          ‘Many vaccines use a weakened or inactivated form of the target pathogen to trigger an immune response. Viral vector vaccines use a different virus as a vector instead, which delivers important instructions (in the form of a gene) to our cells. For COVID-19 vaccines, a modified virus delivers a gene that instructs our cells to make a SARS-CoV-2 antigen called the spike protein. This antigen triggers production of antibodies and a resulting immune response.’

          1. ambrit

            Thanks for this. I guess we’ll hope for the Sinovac to make it’s way over here. I wonder if the People’s Republic would sell it over the internet? They sell just about anything else you can imagine that way.

  4. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Google’s Colosseum”

    OK, I am far from any expert on AI/ML systems, having just tinkered around the ever-expanding edges. But from one of the ‘experts’ pointing the finger at the models, seems to directly contradict themselves in their tweet (Sarah Hooker):

    “One of the reasons the model matters is because notions of fairness often coincide with how underrepresented features are treated.”

    “underrepresented features” are an attribute of the data set. duh. I am with LeCun on this one. These are data driven algorithms. Sure, some model aspects may exacerbate biases, but you could probably put a totally different dataset in and that data would be skewed in yet a different way by the same model.

    1. Alternate Delegate

      I appreciate the author’s reference to Cathy O’Neil’s book “Weapons of Math Destruction”, because people like O’Neil and LeCun actually know what they’re doing.

      The contrast to know-nothing pseudoscientists like Timnit Gebru and Sara Hooker couldn’t be more stark. But then, when you see the title “ethicist”, you already know you’re getting a preconceived agenda in search of a made-up justification.

      Training sets are in fact difficult. And because AIs can be dangerous – depending on who is wielding them for what purpose – the central battle is to beat back the constant spying, to stop the steady leakage of personal information to tech companies, and to insert bad data into their systems whenever possible. I’m saying it is in our best interest to make their training sets worse.

      1. Mr. Magoo

        Extending your point on tracking, one could argue that under-represented minorities (either by incomplete data sets and/or biased models) actually benefit from the bias as they would be more difficult to track and spy upon.

        Sign me up!

  5. jsn

    “in Massachusetts school districts that required at least six feet of separation with those that required only three feet of distance, and found no statistically significant differences in infection rates among staff members or students.”

    I read this to mean, “people aren’t spitting on each other, doofus, it’s aerosols and 3′ OR 6′ isn’t nearly out of range if there isn’t good ventillation!”, but that’s probably not how it will be interpreted…

    1. marku52

      That was my take as well–if the ventilation isn’t good, 6 feet isn’t good either.

      Not a well designed study–unless they had the desired outcome already in mind.

    2. Jeff W

      And this study covers the Fall, 2020 period when the more transmissible variants (B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1) were not yet in the community that was studied. The findings simply do not apply to those variants at all.

  6. John Siman

    And late next week, the agencies will start removing the outer perimeter fencing and open Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue to traffic …. • Maybe “start” is doing a lot of work there? I don’t know the Capitol area well enough to know if these measures would mean, subjectively, that the Capitol was no longer fenced in (though no more razor wire is a good start). Readers?
    — I will be in D.C. next week and again at the beginning of April: will send you photos, etc.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The difference between inward-facing and outward-facing fortifications.

      I would be fine if these fences and razor wire constructs were left up, and a siege of the Imperial Capital begun. Expand it to include the Pentagram and K Street. Cut all communication, and as does Israel with occupied Palestine, only allow in the minimum of calories to slowly starve the population. As in Palestine, the existing population contains a modicum of medical doctors and other professionals, to let them struggle along under the conditions they impose on so much of the rest of the world.

      I guess I would stop at using catapults to loft the diseased carcasses of Deplorables into the place…

      just kidding…

  7. jsn

    “Historic benefits in stimulus bill may answer a big question for Democrats” [CNN]. “The vast scale of this material assistance to financially strained families of all races will test whether any conceivable set of government economic benefits can loosen the GOP’s hold on working-class Whites — or the modest but measurable gains that Trump recorded in the 2020 race among working-class Hispanics and even some Black voters (especially men in each case).”

    That we tossed sofa change to the poor ONCE and it didn’t immediately and pemanently fix everything (despite instantly dropping the child poverty rate at the time the coins were tossed), even as we continue to shovel billions to billionaires, means you can’t really help the poor so quit trying.

  8. fresno dan

    “What I Saw Inside the Capitol Riot” [Slate]. From January, still germane: “I saw a man in a conference room with his feet up. He and his friends were smoking weed, and when we clocked each other, they offered me a joint.” • Whatever the Capitol Seizure was, it wasn’t an insurrection. Come on, man.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbjHOBJzhb0
    C’mon man – obviously the capital invasion was a Putin inspired (don’t make me pull it out…my rabbit earned commie antennaed pink bunny slippers) plot to get the entire congress HOOKED ON WEED!!!!!!
    How can capitalism prevail with everyone lounging about, heads lolling, listening to jazz, toking away….soon, no one would feel like oppressing anyone, mellow and grooving…

    1. The Rev Kev

      A lot of those “trespassers” were ransacking the desks of the legislators and I always assumed that they were looking for incriminating documents to give to Team Trump. Maybe what was going on was that they had use all their dope up and were looking for the good stuff that the legislators used instead.

    1. voteforno6

      An issue for who? The Democrats never made this an issue – this decision was essentially made by the market, which the Republicans claim to love.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      The “Dr. Seuss controversy” is an “issue” like Meghan Markle’s royal family travails are an issue…… as in not much of one at all. It’s just greasy baloney served up in order to be chewed on loudly by outrage mongers on both sides of our binary political “spectrum”.

      Meanwhile…… reporting on things like the information contained in the Panama papers somehow never gets spun into anything sexy enough for continuing coverage. The details of political maneuverings that resulted in Texas losing power for a week never make it past a few articles in the Texas Observer. And I had to read NC for 3-4 days before finding out that the putative buyer of the beeple NFT was a close cohort of the seller.

      We’re being drowned in BS in order to obscure the news items that actually damage us in the wallet.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And the Cuomo conflagration is a squib compared to the crap Cuomo got away with and the pain he heaped on most of the state of NY over decades of corruption and abuse. Where’s the in-depth reporting on that aspect of the Cuomo “problem,” compared to his reaching a point of combustion on his abuse of PMC females?

        But I guess he is having his Gary Hart moment… Lo how the mighty are fallen, and other mighty take their place… From earlier today, and from observations going back probably to the first granaries and walled fortifications to protect them, “There are those who are destined to rule, and those who are destined to be ruled…”

        I wonder if there will ever be an algorithm to break that set of chains…

        1. Jason

          The algorithms can only tighten those chains. They can only ever serve power because their very essence is dehumanizing.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          See? You’ve already been distracted from the unquestionable fact that, having taken a big, fat check fro the owner of nursing homes in the state, he deliberately lied about 15,000 sick and elderly people having died of COVID in said facilities after cramming a provision exempting nursing home owners from liability for same. Instead, it’s all about the allegations of sexual misconduct (which I believe, for the record).

          I’m sure you’re aware of both matters, but notice which one is getting the bulk of the attention? And media coverage?

          As a byproduct of this skillful manipulation of the material, the Cuomo apologists and Blue Magas are referring to both issues as “allegations”. If it weren’t so terrifying watching them play with people’s minds, it would be highly entertaining.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: projections with a Bayesian model ensemble” [The Lancet].

    From the discussion:

    Notable among poor-performing countries is the USA, whose life expectancy at birth is already lower than most other high-income countries, and is projected to fall further behind such that its 2030 life expectancy at birth might be similar to the Czech Republic for men, and Croatia and Mexico for women. The USA has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country, and was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity. The USA is also the only country in the OECD without universal health coverage, and has the largest share of unmet health-care needs due to financial costs. Not only does the USA have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups. Therefore, the poor recent and projected US performance is at least partly due to high and inequitable mortality from chronic diseases and violence, and insufficient and inequitable health care.

    Thats about as devastating a summary of US public health policy as you’ll read. I wonder if it will be widely noticed. I may be wrong, but while many people are aware of poor health problems in the US (both inside and outside the country), I’m not sure many people understand just how appalling it is in comparison to every single other developed country on earth.

    1. JTMcPhee

      But, but, we have ACCESS to the finest medical system in the world! People flock to the US to get their cosmetic surgery and hip replacements!

  10. marym

    Brennan Center report on how H.R. 1 can address voter suppression proposals now being considered around the country.

    “Forty-three states are trying to enact legislation that could make it harder to vote. The Senate can stop voter suppression by passing the For the People Act, which recently passed the House.”

    (Not endorsing the laundry list of a bill as it now stands or disputing concerns Lambert has documented – but the report does provide a summary of the proposals in the states and possible alternatives)

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      There’s already a way to stop voter suppression — if we can manage to use it: Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, with its Mal-Apportionment Penalty.

      Any state which denies or abridges the rights of its citizens to vote for President or VP — or seats in the US or state legislature — is to lose a proportional share of its US Representatives . . . and the Electoral College votes they carry with them. And thanks to the one-person-one-vote SCOTUS cases of the 1960s, one way for a state to deny voting rights is to dilute voting power — for example, by awarding EC votes on a winner-takes-all basis. (Loser-takes-all allocation, as could happen under the National Popular Vote compact, would be a worse dilution yet.)

      See, for example:

      https://gpblackcaucus.blogspot.com/2016/06/map-initiative-to-be-honored-and.html?m=1

  11. lobelia

    Welp, after a very odd silence, after the unelecteds took office (sigh, no I did not vote for Trump, didn’t vote for anyone), on Gavin [Getty] Newsom’s countless ‘gaffes,’ there’s this:

    Empire of California Governor, Gavin [Getty] Newsom, is in the newz again. A Master of Identity Politics [IDPol], Governor Gavin [Getty] Newsom has (quite expectedly, and no doubt after conferring with Kamala the Cop, whom he endorsed over Sanders) announced: 03/16/21 By Nikki Schwab California governor Gavin Newsom says he’ll appoint a black woman to the seat if 87-year-old senator Dianne Feinstein steps down https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9368091/California-governor-Newsom-choose-black-woman-Sen-Dianne-Feinstein-retires.html

    I knew San Francisco Mayor, London Breed’s, name would be on the list – because what good is Identity Politics [IDPol] if it can’t be used for something totally nefarious amongst our elites, and wanna be elites, such as Gavin and London.

    I’m sure those who care about California’s monstrous and exploding homelessness will be further outraged. Some LOCAL backdrop, emphasis mine:

    05/26/20 By Julian Mark Trove of text messages reveals Mayor London Breed ordered homeless sweeps directly — despite frequent denials

    As a mantra, Mayor London Breed has told the people of San Francisco that “we don’t do sweeps” — organized roustings of homeless people and their tent encampments, even if those individuals have no place to go.

    But text message exchanges between Breed, police Chief Bill Scott, and other staff — published after an anonymous public records request — show that the mayor frequently asks her staff, including the police chief, to “clear,” “clean,” and “fix” specific areas around the city — areas where, at times, she was merely going on about her day.

    “Man sleeping on bench on Hayes st near gough. Can someone come ASAP. I’m in the area having lunch,” reads a message from Breed to Scott and Sean Elsbernd, her chief of staff, and others on August 22, 2019.

    “Copy. We are sending a team,” Scott replied.

    “Police are there but we need to clear it out and clean it up. 800 block of market in front of Walgreens” Breed wrote to Scott, Elsbernd and others the next day.

    “800 block of Market in front of Walgreens cleared,” Scott replied hours later.

    “Thank you. Let’s keep that block safe and clean. It is our bread and butter,” Breed replied.

    ….

    https://missionlocal.org/2020/05/trove-of-text-messages-reveals-mayor-breed-ordered-sweeps-directly-despite-frequent-denials/

    02/25/19 By Tim Redmond Has Breed made an impact on homelessness? – The mayor brags that 1,000 people have left the streets since she took office. The real numbers are a bit more complicated.

    Generations of mayors – Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom, Ed Lee – decided that promoting economic development that helps a few rich people is more important that protecting vulnerable communities from displacement (and often homelessness).

    I have not yet seen any indication that London Breed has a different approach.

    So Breed can celebrate and get applause for taking 1,000 people off the streets – but 1,000 more San Franciscans who are evicted, displaced, released from SF General, and generally cast aside by the tech boom are taking their place.

    That’s nothing to celebrate at all.

    https://48hills.org/2019/02/breed-impact-homelessness/

    1. JTMcPhee

      Does not say how those 1,000 people were gotten off the streets of SF — like by giving them a one-way bus ticket to Vegas or Bakersfield…

  12. converger

    The Bezzle: the number of public Bitcoin ATMs in the US is almost exactly equal to the number of public electric vehicle chargers in the US.

  13. Jason Boxman

    I don’t know if Google quietly killed it or not, but as recently as 2017 they were piloting a service that let you schedule a service appointment for a haircut or exercise or similar services, at least in the Boston area, and there were ads plastered on map kiosks throughout the city at that time.

    This is another example of leveraging search dominance to abuse market power. Certainly this would be the end of other scheduling apps and web sites, if Google simply lets you do it directly from the search page like booking a flight. And it would be another flow of user information to use to extract economic rents.

    Of course I have no idea what happened to this pilot. It might have died a silent death like so many other Google initiatives, and I honestly forget what is was called now, so I can’t really dig up any information on it now sadly.

  14. The Rev Kev

    About “cutting poverty in half”

    I heard a guy have a radical idea. Why stop at cutting poverty by half? Seriously. Why stop at half? Just double the money you are spending to cut poverty and eliminate it altogether. The Chinese eliminated poverty because they decided to so I am sure Washington could do the same.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Dr. Tom Frieden
    Here was my attempt to reach people who have deep suspicions about the Covid vaccine, government, and the virus.’

    That fourth point he made – ‘the more we vaccinate, the faster we can get back to growing our economy and getting jobs.’ I have heard the same spiel a year ago here in Oz. You have a medical doctor on TV and instead of talking about medical problems and resolutions, they go off at a tangent and go on and on about the ‘economy’ as if they were economists instead. I don’t believe that they are supposed to talk like this nor is it ethical I feel. If that doctor really wanted to convince them, he should be making personal appeals. Like if everybody gets the vaccine, you get your old lives back again and go back to having a good social life in bars and restaurants. I think that would appeal to a lot of people that.

  16. marym

    Re: Trump phone calls

    From a transcript of the 12/23/2020 Watson call:

    “But if you go back two years, and if you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. The dishonesty that we’ve heard…

    But whatever you can do, Frances. It’s a great thing. It’s an important thing for the country. So important.” (Link)

    Trump also used “dishonest(y)” but not “fraud” in his 01/02/2021 phone call to GA SoS Raffensperger (for which there was audio that was made public with the initial report). (Link)

    Endless media reliance on anonymous sources is really harmful. It’s good that investigators found the audio, even though in this case the corrected phrasing doesn’t make the substance of the call seem any less inappropriate.

    Anyway, per the twitter Trump’s on Fox complaining that the courts didn’t overturn the election. (Link to video snippet)

    1. polecat

      ALRIGHT! … A cage match between Beauty (debatable, I know..), and the BEAST!

      What’s not to love.

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