2:00PM Water Cooler 3/8/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

At reader request, it’s Owl Week at the Naked Capitalism Water Cooler. Here we have an American Barn Owl. This clip was hard to find, because most of the really intriguing sonograms turned out to be night-time insect noise!


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, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

I’m holding the vaccination chart in abeyance until I look at data issues at DIVOC-19 and/or Johns Hopkins, after I get the rest of the post done.

Vaccination by region:

Patient readers, I must apologize for mistaking a data artifact for data. Alert readers cpm and shrewd wookie pointed out the vaccination decline I was worried about didn’t conform to the data in the New York Times, which showed a steady increase. I had allowed my priors, which include both pessimism and a distrust of the (paywalled) Times and the institutional media generally, to get in the way of double-checking the data. From the 91-DIVOC data log, the Johns Hopkins data was successfully merged over the weekend, meaning that whatever pipes were clogged got unclogged. So I have restored the chart. Thanks again to alert readers cpm and shrewd wookie. The NC commentariat is the best commentariat. However, I still stand by this comment–

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, the slopes would get steeper. What I expected was that that the slopes would remain the same; that the fragmented, Federalized, and profit-driven lumbering monstrosity that we laughingly call our “health care” “system” would not respond to “energy in the executive,” but would continue on its inertial path.


Case count by United States regions:

South heads downward again, Northeast flat.

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

Texas drops below New York.

Test positivity:

Jumps in the South.


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):

That fatality rate in the West (red) is rising still, which is what worries me. Now it’s at it’s highest in over a year. It’s not going vertical, which is what I feared. Is the reason nobody else is worrying about this is that it’s not really a problem? Is this some sort of statistical artifact as well?


“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 UPDATE All done!

Capitol Seizure

Maybe so:

Or an innovative form of parallel reconstruction. Not that I’m foily.

Biden Administration

“Building the big one: Behind the scenes of Biden’s $1.9 trillion bet” [Phil Mattingly, CNN]. This is from February 11, but I’m posting it because the reporter seems to have gotten the big things right — granted, for a liberal Democrat’s definition of right — on the relief package, before the sturm und drang began. “For all of Biden’s talk of bipartisanship, Democrats now had the power to move their top priority without a single Republican vote. It was the same situation as 2009, when the Obama administration rushed to pass a relief package during his first month in office. Back then Democrats lowered the size of the plan to garner some Republican support, a decision many of them came to regret during the slow recovery that followed. This time would be different. From the outset, the common goal among Biden’s team was to go big — even if that meant going it alone.” • Let me use this story as a hook for remarks on the relief package. First, it’s remarkable that conventional wisdom has now become that the Obama administrations response to the last Crash was a debacle. Schumer + Biden > Reid + Obama (with Pelosi, I suppose, being an equally pernicious constant throughout). Who knew? Even more remarkable is that “deficits don’t matter” (as Dick Cheney put it) has also become conventional wisdom. Not remarkable at all is that all those who were were wrong are still in power, and that all those who were right — particularly the MMTers, but also the left in general — are not. We saw the same pattern with Iraq. As for the details of the bill, $1.9 trillion can’t help but have a good impact, as did CARES. The childcare provisions are probably good, even if they only last for a year. That said, the bill does, late and partially, what should have been done long ago and universally: Pay Americans for staying home. It’s also noteworthy that the bill carefully reinforces means-testing at every opportunity. The bill also continues the immiseration of the working class because it does not raise the minimum wage. Liberal Democrats gotta liberal Democrat.

Oh, and here’s Mattingly on the famous $2,000 checks:

“If you send Jon and the Reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door,” Biden said during a campaign stop in Atlanta the day before the runoff election.

And in the very next paragraph:

After Warnock and Ossoff both won, Biden’s team made those checks — an additional $1,400 to the $600 already disbursed — a central selling-point for the proposal

Do you know a check that works like that? Not “out the door” and “already one-third out the door” at the very same time? I sure don’t. The double-think is absolutely remarkable, by which I mean perfectly normal.

And speaking of checks, this is important, and Mondaire Jones is a Representative, so I assume he knows whereof he speaks:

Holy moley, what an insane system! Why not — hear me out — just send a check for the same amount to everybody, and claw back later from the rich if you want? Instead of this goofy rigamorale that leaves your rent check depending on whether the IRS processed your return on time or not! But you’ll pry means-testing from liberal Democrats’ cold, dead hands.

UPDATE “The Senate’s Second COVID Recovery Vote-A-Rama, Vote-by-Vote” [Jonathan Cohn]. • Very useful tick tock. Worth skimming.

UPDATE “The Daily 202: Kamala Harris is playing an unusually large role in shaping Biden’s foreign policy” [Olivier Knox, WaPo]. “It’s too early to say whether the president will formally entrust Harris with a specific national security portfolio, the way President Barack Obama handed Biden Iraq, Ukraine, and relations with Turkey after a 2016 coup attempt there. But the skills, knowledge and relationships she is building as vice president could serve her well if Biden — at 78, the oldest person ever to take the oath — bows out after one term, leaving the former California senator his designated heir.” • I like Knox, but this is shameless puffery planted by anonymous administration sources. What Harris knows about foreign policy comes from her service on the Senate Intelligence Community. So, great.

* * *

Krysten Sinema (1):

Where’s the backpack? Kristen Sinema (2)

* * *

UPDATE “Two Cheers for Joe Manchin” [Jeet Heer, The Nation]. “The crucial point to understand is that the move from the second position (of House Democrats) to the third position (the first Senate deal) is essentially a wash. Going from $400 to $300 is a loss, but it is made up for by tax forgiveness. The final Manchin deal is a genuine trimming, cutting the top-up for three weeks of potential beneficiaries. Given the economic suffering, it’s a miserly move. But it’s a bad policy detail that pales besides the massive positive benefits of the stimulus bill as a whole.” • I agree that tax forgiveness is good. What liberal Democrats and the political class generally don’t seem to understand is that bills and checks are now, and tax code is later. If you’re drowning a mile out, it makes no difference that the Democrats moved the shore one-half mile closer.

UPDATE “Manchin’s next power play” [Axios]. “Manchin said the infrastructure bill can be big — as much as $4 trillion — as long as it’s paid for with tax increases. He said he’ll start his bargaining by requiring the package be 100% paid for.” • Attaboy.

Democrats en deshabille

“Cuomo faces mounting Democratic backlash as top New York state lawmakers call for resignation” [CNN]. The lead: “The walls are closing in.” Where have we heard that before? More: “Powerful state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called for her fellow Democrat’s resignation on Sunday after two more former aides came forward alleging inappropriate conduct by the governor, including one who accused Cuomo of making an unwanted sexual advance in a Los Angeles hotel room more than two decades ago while she worked for him as a paid consultant.

Stewart-Cousins’ decision to join a growing number of state Democratic lawmakers pushing for Cuomo, who has repeatedly denied inappropriately touching anyone, to step down upped the pressure on the three-term governor as his grip on the state capitol he has ruled for a decade appears to be slipping.” • So, following the logic through, here, thousands of dead elders in nursing homes are “appropriate.” Which makes sense when you look at the record: Covid, deaths of despair, no Medicare for All, etc. Our political class sure knows how to make the hard choices.

Realignment and Legitimacy


UPDATE “Taibbi is Right: Wither Marcuse” [Midwest Socialist (flora)]. ” As long as Marcuse’s central ideas linger in the background of Leftwing thought, the Left will never be able to mobilize the type of majoritarian movement necessary to transform power. People do not willingly join movements whose intellectual leaders fundamentally do not see them as capable of making their own decisions….. The supposedly transclass radicals that consumed so much of the New Left’s energy, largely due to Marcuse’s influence, were not transclass at all. In actuality, they were college-educated middle-class individuals. They kind of people who had immense access to education and leisure largely because of social democracy’s economic prosperity…. Despite Marcuse’s sympathetic words towards “the outsiders and the poor, the unemployed and unemployable, the persecuted colored races, the inmates of prisons and mental institutions,” his real goal was always the “absolutist rule by our intellectual betters.” The reason is simple. When a social identity is established through an intellectualized cultural aesthetic, support for oppressed groups becomes an extension of that aesthetic. Solidarity only exists to the point where it does not threaten that aesthetic radicalism.” • Well worth a read.

Stats Watch

Wholesale Inventories: “United States Wholesale Inventories” [Trading Economics]. “Wholesale inventories in the US increased 1.3 percent month-over-month in January of 2021, in line with preliminary figures, and following an upwardly revised 0.6 percent gain in December. Inventories of durable goods were up 1.2 percent, with those of computer equipment recording the biggest gain.”

* * *

Tech: “How SEO Is Gentrifying the Internet” [Current Affairs]. Hard to excerpt this one, though it’s worth reading to make sense of your crapified search experience. Basically, “Since the 1990s, SEO marketing has been a lucrative pursuit for the world’s most scruple-free douchebags.” But I’m not familiar with any of the techniques. Since Google downranks us for Links, we can’t make SEO our business model, and so nobody at NC writes with SEO in mind. Read with confidence!

Tech: “I haven’t bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?” [The Register]. “We’ve got pants that have lasted longer than some computers, thanks in part to the excesses of the likes of Apple and Microsoft.” • Due to exigent circumstances, I had to buy another laptop. Reader, I got a bottom-of-the-line iPad, because I didn’t and don’t have time to configure and learn Linux, even an easy version. (Plus, I need Lightroom.) Nevertheless, I had to spend a lot of time removing functionality I didn’t want. For example, I don’t want to be Notified about anything, ever. I don’t want any animation. I don’t want Siri advising me, or indeed knowing anything at all. And so on and on and on. More bloat, maintained by very smart and well-paid people who could be doing something useful with their time.

Tech: “Amazon is filled with fake reviews and it’s getting harder to spot them” [CNBC]. “Since Amazon’s early days, reviews are the one big metric customers have relied on to determine the quality and authenticity of a product. Amazon’s listings often have hundreds or thousands of reviews, instead of the handful found on competing marketplaces. But many of those reviews can’t be trusted. Thousands of fake reviews have flooded Amazon, Walmart, eBay and others, as sales have skyrocketed.” • Of course, Amazon uses some crap AI, because human moderation has yet to be scaled.

The Economy: “Yellen says Biden COVID bill to fuel ‘very strong’ U.S. recovery” [Reuters]. “U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package will provide enough resources to fuel a “very strong” U.S. economic recovery, but will not address longstanding inequality problems. She repeated her expectations that the package would allow the United States to return to pre-pandemic “full employment” levels by next year.” • For perspective:

“The Scariest Job Chart” ran regularly during the last Crash.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 8 at 12:39pm. Mr. Market came back from the Nineteenth Hole on Sunday no longer in a grey mood.

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on Oil Supply/Price. “Oil prices have hit a yearly high” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 180. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.) Worth noting we are now at Record Highs. Angst in the Heartland?

Health Care

UPDATE “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People” [CDC]. From today: \

The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

As usual, CDC suppresses all mention of aerosol transmission, emphasizing physical distance and not ventilation. So, don’t bother to open windows, don’t invest in filtration, feel free to enter poorly ventilated spaces and stay a long time, etc.

UPDATE The end of the Atlantic’s Covid Tracking Project:

I hope that means The Atlantic thinks the pandemic is over, but maybe it means they think it’s no longer a story. That would be bad.

“Multitude of coronavirus variants found in the US — but the threat is unclear” [Nature]. ““It’s a Wild West,” says Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport who co-led a team that, last month, spotted a fast-rising variant in Louisiana, New Mexico and elsewhere. In the absence of clear data on a variant’s behaviour, ‘it’s as if there’s an unofficial policy that every variant is a variant of concern until proven otherwise’, says Kamil.” • Amazingly, the article lauds the UK’s unified national sequencing effort, without mentioning that the NHS might have something to do with it.

Groves of Academe

I should probably file this under Guillotine Watch:

The whole thread is worth reading.

The Agony Column

“MiB: Controlling Your Limbic System Determines Your Financial Success” [Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture]. The advice part: “The human limbic system controls our emotion, behavior and long-term memory (among other functions). ‘To the extent you succeed in finance, you succeed by suppressing the limbic system, your system 1, the very fast-moving emotional system. If you cannot suppress that, you are going to die poor.‘ So says Dr. William J. Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., retired neurologist, principal in the money management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors, and author of several best-selling books on finance.” The political economy part: “The book focuses on three of our key characterizations: Humans are the Apes that tell stories, imitates others, and seek status. This combination ultimately leads to group dynamics where an entire population can become deeply entrenched in a belief system, that before it is revealed as false, runs amuck. The consequences range can include economic collapse, personal financial ruin, and 1000s of deaths.”

So I’m in class or at work, and an on-demand mental health top-up from an AI is gonna solve whatever problem I’m having:

“There’s a Better Way to Parent: Less Yelling, Less Praise” [The Atlantic]. Yeah, yeah, ancient wisdom from the periphery vouchsafed to bougie traveller. Nevertheless: “In the U.S., when a child calls you a name or smacks you, many parents think that the child is pushing your buttons, that they’re testing boundaries and want to manipulate you. The Inuit parents and elders I interviewed almost laughed when I said that. One woman said something like, ‘She’s a kid—she doesn’t know how to manipulate like that.’ Instead, what they told me is that young children are just these illogical, irrational beings who haven’t matured enough and haven’t acquired understanding or reason yet. So there’s no reason to get upset or argue back—if you do, you’re being just like the child.”

“Reading John Gray in war” [Aeon]. “it was only through [the English philosopher John] Gray that I saw the similarities between the doctrines of Stalinism, Nazi fascism, Al-Qaeda’s paradoxical medieval, technophile fundamentalism, and Bush’s ‘war on terror’. Gray showed that they are all various forms (however incompatible) of utopian thinking that have at their heart the teleological notion of progress from unenlightened times to a future utopia, and a belief that violence is justified to achieve it (indeed, from the Jacobins onwards, violence has had a pedagogical function in this process)….. [S]cientific knowledge and the technologies at our disposal increase over time, but there’s no reason to think that morality or culture will also progress, nor – if it does progress for a period – that this progress is irreversible. Gray points to the re-introduction of torture by the world’s premier liberal democracy during the war on terror as an example of the reversibility of progress. The irreversibility idea emerged directly from a utopian style of thinking that’s based on the notion that the end justifies the means. Such thinking is often accompanied by one of the defining characteristics of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns: hubris.” • I like the framing that violence has “a pedagogical function.”

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Core Message of Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Interview: Racism Drove Us From the Royal Family” [Time]. “It was explicit in perhaps the most shocking allegation: that a member of the royal family came to Harry while Markle was pregnant with their son Archie with “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born.” Meghan is American and identifies as biracial.” • Commentary:

I can’t vouch for this particular podcast, but I’ve had good luck with “You’re Wrong About” on other topics.

Class Warfare

Why the DNC had to keep her off the debate stage:

News of the Wired

America in the 60s:

America in the 70s:

Far more surreal than anything Warhol ever produced!

* * *

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 (HH):

HH writes: “I waited until today to take these photos, because we wanted to see how our second batch would turn out. Our first batch, while tasty, had some processing issues (cooking for too long, basically — caused some caramelization). In these photos of today´s batch, there is a deep orange, barely translucent color. The first batch was opaque and very dark, and so we are unsure whether it should be called ‘marmalade’ or just ‘candied orange rind.'” Holy moley, look at that glow! (I suppose I should declare processed plants honorary; I think activities like canning, pickling, and drying are to be encouraged. But no plant meals, please; nothing plated.

* * *

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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. a different chris

    >So if you lost your job, lost income, or had a kid in 2020, file your taxes as soon as possible!

    And if you were one of the lucky ones whose life didn’t get that overly upset (in fact was improved as you didn’t have to drive to work) and your income drifted from below to above, make sure to not file your taxes until the last minute.

    What an idiotic way to think. If they are so obsessed with overheating, people “getting money who don’t need it” — Tax. It. Back. Next. Year.

    But only do it if said economy is overheating, which will happen shortly after you look out your window and see pigs flying by.

    1. Ed Miller

      Re: Obsession with people getting money who don’t need it.

      You miss the point. Why would anyone sign up to a simple $1.9 Trillion package? Where are the opportunities to consult with everyone who matters in Washington, especially lobbyists? Where are the kickbacks? Where are the special deals for friends? The governing process serves the insiders. Screw the public.

  2. a different chris

    >“There’s a Better Way to Parent: Less Yelling, Less Praise”

    My mom, as far from being an Intuit of any sort as you could imagine, would be right in line with that. Actually she went one even better, she said (correctly) that her and Dad’s parenting style was “benign neglect”.

    I have followed suit and my kids grew up pretty darn great.

    1. John

      I suppose you could call my upbringing benign neglect, but then I was a youngster in the 1940s on a farm. If I was off to wherever, the mantra was be home for dinner. I did the same.

      Seems to have worked.

    2. ian

      I became a parent first in 2006 and again in 2010. I developed an approach that I call “active ignoring” – I find it useful in many (not all) situations. I would define it as the OPPOSITE of “helicopter parenting”.

  3. petal

    So people are supposed to hurry up and file their tax forms in to the IRS to get this new $1400 cheque, when there are how many people like my coworker whose last year’s taxes haven’t even been processed yet? Someone explain this to me because my brain is hurting from all the stupid today.

    And ps Meghan Markle is a raging narcissist, and her lies from last night are already being called out.

      1. Yves Smith

        Woke watch! Meghan is playing the woke card big time on not legit looking grounds and the Royal Family is trying to parry. Also UK readers, who wind up taking note whether they really want to or not.

        1. ambrit

          Would Markle be trying to financialize the Royal Family?
          Imagine, a ‘brand’ with a dedicated Household Guard, ie. a private army.
          If Harry and Meghan were trying to play the race card to try and shift policy, I would applaud. But no, they are merely angling to make moolah out of it.
          The Queen must be thinking right now like her many times removed predecessor; “Will no one rid me of these meddlesome kids?”
          Harry and Meghan are not Scooby and the gang.

          1. The Rev Kev

            They already tried to use a brand and they called it ‘SussexRoyal.’ Went ahead and registered it as a trademark and all until the Palace said that it was not done to exploit the ‘Royal’ bit-


            Have to confess that I have only seen only bits and pieces of this interview but I have never seen an event with so much pre-planning and it filled up my bingo card of things mentioned. It had race, Dianna, suicide – the whole megillah. It was the wife – who watched most of it – that said that they never brought up her family in that interview which was odd in an interview talking about families.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              They could call it Sussex Feudal or Sussex Estate and see how that goes over.

            1. ambrit

              Non Fungible Token? As in ‘Token _____ (fill in the blank?)
              I rather suspect that Harry and Meghan are “token” something strong.
              During WW-2, the former king Edward VIII, of Wallis Simpson and Edward fame, to sideline him, was appointed Governor of the Bahamas. He still managed to get himself embroiled in scandal, the Sir Harry Oakes murder.
              See: https://medium.com/the-history-buff/a-prince-in-hot-water-the-duke-of-windsor-and-the-murder-of-sir-harry-oakes-daf9d3778d67#:~:text=For%2C%20on%20'a%20dark%20and,innocent%20man%20for%20the%20crime.
              Perhaps the same treatment could be meted out to Harry and Meghan. Say, make him Governor General of the Falkland Islands. Then take away his private aircraft privileges.
              Don’t piss off the Queen. She has been around a long time and knows a thing or two.

              1. The Rev Kev

                The main reason that Edward VIII and his wife were sent to the Bahamas was they this couple had too many frequent contacts with the Germans who were thinking of putting them back on the throne in case the invasion went ahead. The story goes that Edward VIII thought this a fine idea too so Churchill sent them to the other side of the Atlantic so that that option was closed.

                1. ambrit

                  Well, isn’t the present day push by Harry and Meghan to financialize the Royals at a similar threat level to the continuance of the Realm? Nothing could gladden the hearts of the Anti-Royalists more than a move that makes the royal family look like a repugnant bunch of narcissists.
                  Meghan married into the Royal Family. She doesn’t get to run it. At one extreme of the possibility spectrum is Meghan having an “unfortunate accident.” If I were her, I would avoid riding around Paris in a limo. (It’s the Continental analogue of an American politico riding around in a light aircraft.)

                  1. Follow the Money

                    Neoliberalization of the Royal Court. They try to monetize and privatize their royal status.
                    The Queen should have put Thatcher in her place when she had the chance, but, hey now it comes back to threaten the Royal Court with delegitimization. Without the institutional stability who would buy the mugs?

        2. petal

          And not just Woke watch-lots of shady stuff has been going on since she came on the scene. Grifter central. Harry Markle blog is a good source. It’s been like watching a train wreck. She’s a real piece of work, even dressing exactly like his mother and copying her poses. The psychological manipulation has been something else. Anyway, fun but scary rabbit hole to go down.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I read that she has been planning this interview for the past two years which I can fully believe. But when you stop and think about it, they were still part of the royal family back then. So would that imply that she was planning to leave the family a year before she did?

            1. petal

              From the time she identified her mark(Harry), after bagging him her plan was to return to the US after a short time to become a huge, rich star-something she wasn’t able to accomplish on her own as a z-lister.

              1. pjay

                These are interesting comments, to say the least.

                I have no horse in this race. I don’t really follow celebrity news. But I do have opinions on (1) the Royals, and (2) the British media. Neither are very high. As best I can tell, these snarky comments sound like repeats of the British tabloids. So just out of curiosity, is there evidence for these claims — I mean actual evidence, not the usual tabloid gossip stuff? Again, I’m not going to lose sleep over this either way. But I have an interest in media spin, so I’m curious.

            2. Lynne

              I believe she said they started planning to leave within 6 months of the wedding.

              And Harry showed their true colors when he said what he was really upset about was that his father stopped paying their expenses and giving him money, “forcing” him to live on his mother’s inheritance. Yes, I say cry me a river, Harry, and then go grow up.

              1. Pat

                All from someone who made a proclamation of seeking financial independence. Even better, while they repaid the money spent refurbishing Frogmore Cottage from the Netflix proceeds there has never been any word they repaid Dad for the down payment he reportedly provided for the estate they are living in. Of course I am pretty sure if the press hadn’t made a big deal of the millions in public funds spent on them that one repayment would not have happened.

                I am sure it was a big shock to the thirty something year old man who had never had to consider money to suddenly be paying a mortgage and for all the security. Financially independent as in able to cash in on the family but not about all the mundane things like security and housing. Dad would always take care of that.

            3. Jr

              I had to listen to the interview with the Interviewer herself; Oprah was exhausted by the Interview it seems. “You didn’t sleep the night before!” her MSM interviewer exclaimed in concern and amazement. I think she referred to Oprah as the “Consummate Interviewer” or something like that. It’s a hall of broken mirrors.

    1. cocomaan

      Petal, I would have barely believed you saying that your coworkers 2019 taxes hadn’t been processed, but turns out one of my family members is waiting on a refund and the IRS hasn’t processed their 2019 taxes yet, taxes that were filed on time.

      Apparently, it’s happened to millions of people.

      This is embarrassing.

      1. ambrit

        Earlier, someone mentioned that the IRS has had it’s budget cut several times over the past decade.
        Someone wants the IRS to fail.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Steady de-funding and de-staffing of the IRS is having the intended effect.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My taxes haven’t been processed either. Apparently the SSA didn’t get the W2s, and my payroll company dropped the ball on another tax matter.

      What Jones is saying is the people who dropped below the threshold due to 2020 need to file, so they can still get the money at some point.

      1. o4amuse

        I guess it’s my turn to chime in here. IRS accepted my 2019 return as prepared by HR Block. They failed to credit our separately filed check and after a few months billed us for non payment and late fees. Being good citizens, we paid up before complaining through our tax preparer (after all we ordinary Americans have no standing here, do we?) We have BOTH cancelled checks, have reported this with documentation, and our government is simply cheating us to the tune of $2,600+.

  4. a different chris

    >o the extent you succeed in finance, you succeed by suppressing the limbic system, your system 1, the very fast-moving emotional system. If you cannot suppress that, you are going to die poor

    >leads to group dynamics where an entire population can become deeply entrenched in a belief system, that before it is revealed as false, runs amuck

    Huh? Um, some nobody named something like Keays, or Means, or Kaneanes, something like that said “The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

    But again he was just some old-timey nobody. Seriously, Ritholz is good so I should and probably will look a bit deeper into what’s actually being said.

    *Actually it apparently wasn’t Keynes at all, but I think the quote in the below link does attribute to him was even better.


    “There is nothing so disastrous as a rational investment policy in an irrational world.”

    1. Yves Smith

      This of course presupposes you buy securities, as opposed to invest in real estate or private companies, which don’t have button-triggering price moves (they may hit you buttons in other ways like bad tenants, but most people get they don’t react to that kind of emotional stimulus in real time if they can avoid it).

      1. JP

        Invest is not really a good term for putting your savings into stocks and bonds. Investing more accurately describes buying a machine or tools to enable an income or investing in an education. Inflation decreases our cash savings and forces us to save our money in speculative proxies for money. Ben Graham said something like short term the market is like a voting machine but long term is like a weighing machine. Ritholtz is saying speculators are prone to voting on short term results and savers are looking for long term security. Parking money for the long term in the broad market and ignoring the ups and downs is a proven secure method to save and beat inflation by a considerable margin

    2. Roger the cabin boy

      MiB: Controlling Your Limbic System Determines Your Financial Success” [Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture].

      I think this is clearly valid, but there are some corollaries. 1 Poor people face constant low grade and not so low grade emergencies. These have the effect of activating the limbic system strongly. 2. Habitually repressing the limbic system when you are faced with a real emergency is liable to get you killed. 3. Repressing the limbic system when you are confronted with a threat makes you look like a perfect victim, and will at least get you bullied heavily.

      1. eg

        Poor people are also exposed to chronic stress, bathing in cortisol which inhibits cognition and fosters obesity.

    1. Terry

      Two of my favorite authors, or thinkers, or whatever you want to call them. The folks who run the Robert Anton Wilson Trust are also great to converse with. I would throw Wilson’s Schrodinger’s Cat and Sapolsky’s A Primate’s Memoir on the the list as well.

    2. Patrick

      Loosely related are two taibbi reads posted today – one an interview with and the other a discussion about Martin Guri. Good stuff.


  5. jr

    Re: Groves of Academe

    Every time I read something about graduate school it’s a nightmare, either stupIDity or credentialed mediocrities like the antagonists described in the Twitter thread. For some reason Steve Pinker’s dimwitted face always comes up in my mind. Boy I’d love to be a contributor to the school paper at whatever institution he is soaking in his entitlement at. I think perhaps it would be fun to audit some graduate classes where you have no real stake, perhaps you have more freedom to say what you think.

  6. Dr. John Carpenter

    I don’t know if this link has been posted here before but as a Simpsons fan, this is a thought I’ve had before and i guess I’m not the only one:

    The Life in The Simpsons Is No Longer Attainable


    TLDR: the idea of a high school grad getting a good paying union job and supporting a family of three children and a stay at home mom on one salary may have been plausible when The Simpsons first aired but isn’t anymore. Even if you take into account they’ve always been shown one paycheck from disaster, they couldn’t even be where they’re starting from in today’s economy.

    1. Wellstone's Ghost

      This is entirely true.

      I believe a nice beach setting analogy is in order.

      Once the High 5’ing from the 1.9 Trillion has subsided, the reality will once again set in.

      The upper echelons of society will continue to ride the K wave onto the beach while wipeout city will swamp the less fortunate in society.

      Deferred rent and mortgage payments for both small businesses and renters/homeowners are a rogue wave collapsing upon the drowning swimmer alluded to in Water Cooler.

      The drowning swimmer who was never taught and did not know how to swim(lives paycheck to paycheck with no emergency savings) and was pushed overboard mid beer sip(unemployed with no notice last March 16th).

      Yes, I remember the day well.

      The Lifeguards(Democrats) smoked a bowl and had a beer before their shift in the parking lot because the surf report read sunny weather and calm seas(vaccinations increasing and case counts dropping).

      I guess America really is going to be like Brazil with beautiful beaches and abject poverty and gross inequality as the reality.

      Ol’ Joe beat Bolsonaro to the punch a few years ago with his “Give me a break!” moment.

      I’m sure even today he is thinking “Stop Whining!”

      I for one will be roundtripping my stimulus check to the IRS this year.

  7. Even Keel

    So, March is Women’s history month, and I was interested in whether anyone is aware of, and/or can refer me to, any political science type studies of major political policies that can be attributed directly to women’s suffrage (taxes, spending, domestic, foreign). That is, identify the ways in which women’s suffrage has directly affected the material well being of the population (I suppose it could be a positive or a negative, but I really just want the data from a broad perspective). I am specifically trying to exclude subjective cost/benefit to the individual, e.g. the pyschological benefits of feelings of control related to possession of political rights, or the opportunity cost of being socially expected to participate in and be informed about politics. Are there specific policies which are considered to have been adopted precisely because women had suffrage? I suppose this could include policies which were advocated precisely in consideration of women’s suffrage.

        1. Even Keel

          Thanks. Yes, prohibition, I think I’ve heard that in this connection before. Of course, the 18th amendment (prohibition) was ratified 12/18/17, some time before the 20th amendment (universal women’s suffrage) was ratified (8/18/20). Of course, there was state by state suffrage for women in 1917 (maybe 1/3 of the states allowed some sort of suffrage in 1917? see this cool map! https://brilliantmaps.com/1917-womens-suffrage/). What I’ve heard is that prohibition was promoted by many women’s groups, and may have been “enacted in consideration of suffrage” (or perhaps in an attempt to mollify suffragettes?) but was not actually ratified in a way that depended on women’s votes. So suffrage was not a precondition to prohibition. The actual policy outcome did not depend on having women vote. Ultimately, prohibition was repealed.

          I guess I was thinking, besides “we are more free” or an abstraction like that, in what way has women’s suffrage made this country a better place to live? It would be nice to have some sort of empirical evidence. I’ll have to try to do some research next time I get to the university library.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, did women’s suffrage make America a better place for women to live? ( I mean before America itself was put on the path to fall-of-the-USSR-failure . . . ) If it did, then that is a benefit right there.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They could vote. I mean that is all you need. Who cares if they just vote the way their husbands or male guardians tell them? Its still their vote.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Well, that would be a human rights and freedom expansion right there, true enough.

          2. ambrit

            One big improvement I can see is the delegitimation of spousal abuse. Back before Women’s Suffrage, a man beating his wife was generally considered “normal.” (The very description of a woman as some man’s property describes the pre-suffrage system pretty well. Patriarchy was a thing.)
            Go on back to Chaucer’s day and the laws merely set limits to how badly a man could beat his wife.
            You’ve come a long way baby!

            1. Alternate Delegate

              Sometimes it’s complicated. My grandfather’s sister had a husband who beat her. My grandfather and his brothers beat the crap out of that guy and put him on a one way train out of town. They certainly didn’t treat it as “normal”. And that was before suffrage.

              1. Alternate Delegate

                To clarify: this is family history through my father, which was passed down as a warning about how a guy shouldn’t behave. The point being that many people before 1920 didn’t accept wife beating, regardless of whether the wife had brothers to defend her.

          3. Patrick

            Prohibition was in part an anti-immigrant movement , specifically anti-Irish and anti-German (both were identified as drinking cultures; German farmers brewed beer with their excess grain and the Irish … well you know (and I am on the roles as my grandparents were born there).
            One reason (among many lol) women’s suffrage was opposed: it was thought women would vote against war.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Anti-Italian too, wasn’t it?

              And when the FedGov saw how much organized crime that Prohibition called into being and helped to grow, they decided to outlaw more drugs in order to create more organized crime.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In regards to the US, women flocked to Hoover. Score one for chicks! The US has had all the problems with voting we have today, so drawing conclusions is not so clear cut as many of the newly registered women voters were the spouses of petit bourgeois types anyway. Temperance is the big one though in the US anyway.

      1. marym

        Yes, there continued to be restrictions on citizenship and/or voting for men and women in many demographic groups long after the 19th amendment became law.

  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    The very smart and well paid people are paid to do something harmful-to-others with their time in order to stop them from doing something useful with their time, both by being rewarded for doing harm with their time in order to re-inforce their psycho-mental deep-brain association between ” do harm to others” and “get very well paid”; and also to prevent them from even having any time to even be able to do good with the time they are very carefully prevented from ever even having.

    I also am not a devoted computerology hobbyist and I also would want a computer machine-program system which I could buy, plug in, and use. So Linux will never be my choice in any form.

    One wonders whether some bright young computer company would decide to see if there is a market for leaned-down de-bloated durable non-obsellecsing computer machines which run leaned-down, de-bloated , durable, non-expiring programs which don’t need upgrading for years or even decades. I hope someone gives it a try.

    1. David

      It’s interesting that most of the comments on the original article are from people who are still using computers that are older than any clothes they still have. I recently passed a ten-year-old Macbook Air on to its third owner and it seems to be working fine. This is being typed on an iMac that still works perfectly and that’s nearly seven years old and has been used far more intensively than any five pairs of trousers I have ever owned.
      IANA computer scientist but I’m not sure I would define notifications as “bloat”: they’ve been around since you could set reminders on Nokia phones, and there might be occasions when you actually want to be notified of something, like an appointment you made. As it happens, I don’t like notifications very much, and I must have spent, oh, two minutes at least, turning off the ones I didn’t want on the last phone I bought.

      1. RMO

        I think you’ve been lucky. I’m not particularly hard on computers but I’ve had one Macbook Pro suddenly die on me (all research into what happened said it was an essentially unrepairable failure on the main board, a known but not common issue) and the replacement had the keyboard start failing about a year and a half into its life.

        The inexpensive Asus/Acer laptops I changed over to in the last couple of years have been OK – one dead hard drive on the first one within a year. At least they were cheap to begin with. I also went from loving the Mac OS to becoming progressively more disappointed with it in each update starting with my first Macbook (first ever laptop) in 2006. The hardware problems, growing dislike of the software and the expense eventually turned me off Apple completely.

        I’m going to try to try Linux at some point. The last time I tried to install it I failed completely thanks to being unable to get the BIOS to boot from a Linux install USB drive.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Just paid over $300 to have my second MBP mid-2015 battery replaced. (Actually in-store quote was almost $900, but shipped to the repair warehouse it’s only about $400; and that’s after I got a $100 knocked off.) The first was free due to a warranty recall, but this one is not.

          Owning a Mac seems to be like having a luxury car. The sticker price is just the beginning.

        2. JBird4049

          I still prefer Macs over Microsoft, but yes, the grift is growing. Increasing unstable and bloaty although still better from my limited current experiences with Microsoft.

          That’s America’s economic model today. Take good, profitable stuff (jobs, companies, clothes, apps, entire cities and states, whatever) and turn it into crap for even more profit. Microsoft just started from a worse state.

          1. swangeese

            As a Linux user, UEFI shouldn’t be a problem with booting another operating system.

            By default the Bios usually will look on the hard drive first for an operating system. So the Bios will ignore a bootable USB drive unless you tell it to look for the USB drive first before checking the harddrive. In the Bios you can select the device boot order in the settings.

            However some computers have an outdated Bios that cannot boot from a USB drive. In that case, burning a bootable image onto a CD will work.

            In any case make sure you check the integrity of your Linux distro download before attempting to install. There are usually instructions on how to do this on the Linux distro’s download site. And that you formatted the USB stick/CD properly. Simply dragging and dropping the download on a stick or CD won’t work.

            Just about every Linux distro has a guide that will walk you through it.

        3. David

          I don’t think the article was really so much about reliability, nor was my comment (I had a MB failure on a five-year-old MacBook for example) as the idea that somehow you are forced by evil manufacturers to change machines every few years or you can’t do anything. This is clearly false, since it’s analogous to the argument that everybody now has to buy an electric or hybrid car or they won’t be allowed on the roads. The fact is that if you buy a reputable brand of computer today then there’s a very high chance that it will last a long time, even if it can’t manage the latest new functions. Many new functions are optional anyway: I declined to enable Siri with my latest MacBook and it’s never bothered me since.

    2. Alex Cox

      Regarding age of things, all my computers are ten years old or older, running old Mac OSs or new Linices. Whereas my trousers wear out within a year!

    3. philnc

      Now on my 2nd refurb Thinkpad. A T430 I got 4 years ago met with an ignominious end a few weeks ago, so I replaced it with an X250. Like the last one, its now running Linux. As a former sysadmin, I never found Linux particularly hard to install, but have been frustrated at times with the abjectly stupid choices made by desktop release makers in their quest to make it “easy to use” that wind up compromising stability and reliability. Kind of like Windows and Mac. Fortunately I have the skills necessary to tame the beast, but feel for those who don’t. We’re far along enough now in the personal computing revolution that things should be a lot better for users, not the two steps back for every one forward we seem to be cursed with.

    1. rowlf

      Israeli version:

      According to his still unpublished data, Schwartz said, the drug was shown to help “cure” people of the virus within just six days. Moreover, the chances of testing negative for coronavirus were three times higher for the group that received ivermectin than the placebo, he said.

      “From a public health point of view, the majority of patients with corona are mild cases, and 90% of these people are isolated outside of the hospital,” Schwartz said. “If you have any kind of drug that can shorten the duration of the infectiousness of these patients, that would be dramatic, as then they will not infect others.”

      However, Schwartz said that because ivermectin is already FDA-approved for other indications and its safety is well known, once those studies are completed it is likely to achieve authorization. He said he hopes his new study will “be a cornerstone to get this permission.”

      Five Israeli teams fighting for a COVID-19 cure

  9. Adam Eran

    Re: Pain as pedagogy, it’s an old American tradition. “Those things that hurt also instruct.” – Ben Franklin.

    Franklin’s “Poor Richard” counseled child raising that first taught obedience, then taught “what you will.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, it’s part of the Puritan Biblical inheritance.

      Spare the rod, spoil the child.

      Spare the fanbelt, spoil the child.

      Spare the tire iron, spoil the child.

      and etc. and so forth.

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    I can think of a way to slowly destroy Amazon from within and below. Write fake reviews. Make them very real-seeming and make the misleadingness very well hidden. Keep steering customers to shit by convincing review readers that it is shinola.

    If enough people did that well enough over enough time, they could destroy Amazon’s “customer review” function and attrit and degrade public trust in Amazon as a source of things worth buying, owning and using.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I think they’re already mostly there. 10-ish years ago, Amazon reviews were the gold standard for determining the value of a product. Now, almost every product with more than 20 reviews has an equal share of “most amazing product ever” and “worst product ever” reviews – just like restaurant reviews on Yelp. Then you spend time checking the veracity of said reviewers, then you just buy it, counting on Amazon’s liberal return policy or walk away disgusted (my typical reaction).

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I’ve only ever used Amazon for books. I haven’t ordered from them in years but I do still occasionally take a peek at the reviews to find out about a specific edition so I can then go order it from my local bookstore. Now it’s such garbage that the reviews aren’t even specific to a certain product anymore, at least with books. If you try to find a review of a new version of Plato’s Dialogues for example, you’ll be treated with reviews of Plato in general and not reviews of the latest edition or translation. I’ve found them to be largely worthless.

        But of course if you do a search for a specific book on a search engine rather than going to Amazon, the first things that pop up are links to Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository and every other website owned by Amazon. It’s increasingly difficult to escape their abject and gormless crapification.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I mean, reviews for specific editions of Plato’s Dialogues is a pretty specific niche, and I’m not sure I would expect a lay-customer to have enough specialist experience to be able to discern between editions and reflect on the relative merits of their translations, editorial decisions, supplements etc. It stands to reason that such a reader will leave a general review of the underlying text rather than the edition. In my experience you need to rely on enthusiast websites/blogs for good information of that sort. Crapification is definitely a thing but this seems like a poor example of it.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well then, they may just need a few more years of steady pushing by people writing well-disguised misleading reviews on purpose, in order to maximise the bad experience of fresh millions of disappointed and then embittered customers.

        The point is to exterminate Amazon from existence and wipe Amazon off the face of the earth, isn’t it?

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        Don’t forget the reviews complaining about the transaction, the “I bought this as a gift” non-reviews and the comedians trying to make their review go viral. Shills aren’t the only problem Amazon’s reviews have.

  11. km

    Re: Widmer kidnapping:

    Remember boys and girls, the lesson from the Sixties – the first one to suggest violence is always a cop.

    And don’t be a bit surprised if the cop suddenly develops amnesia when it comes time to testify.

    1. Lee

      One of the most well documented examples of this is the Panther 21 case. In this case the agent provocateur cop didn’t develop amnesia, but testified honestly and favorably toward the defendants, all of whom were acquitted of all 156 charges.

  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    About using sexual harrassment as the weapons-system of choice for Operation Destroy Cuomo instead of his mass-murder of nursing-home-elderly, well . . . as Donald von Rumsfeld might have said, ” you go to Operation Destroy Cuomo with the weapons9systems you have, not the weapons-systems you wish you had or would prefer to have at some later date.”

    If Operation Destroy Cuomo can succeed, then Cuomo will be destroyed, which will be a good thing. And then wall-to-wall coverage of the thousands of old people he mass-assassinated with Covid will be gravy, and might even turn treating old people that way at all into an “issue”. It would be kicking Cuomo after he is down , which is after all the ” safest way, sir”.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      It feels to me like the sexual harassment charges are the fight the Cuomo camp wants to fight. They probably feel they can bluster/ride them out. The “Cuomo killed grandma” issue has to be a little harder to dodge.

      1. Tom Doak

        I think the sexual harassment charges are the fight the Dems want to fight. Look at this quote from the article:

        “called for her fellow Democrat’s resignation on Sunday after two more former aides came forward alleging inappropriate conduct by the governor, including one who accused Cuomo of making an unwanted sexual advance in a Los Angeles hotel room more than two decades ago while she worked for him as a paid consultant.”

        They are trying to make it about something that happened two decades ago, so they don’t have to talk about what a leading Democrat did for grandma.

        1. Pat

          It is. Cuomo’s sexual harassment problems are his alone. The missteps in the handling of Covid are his via the legislature essentially panicking and handing it all over to him even giving him expansive powers. While the nursing home mistakes were the deadliest, they aren’t the only ones. And I think other Democrats know this. If the public really starts looking, they all lose. Frankly everyone’s first choice was it was all forgotten…

          Just my view from the cheap seats.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m surprised by this idea that going after Cuomo on sexual harassment is avoiding anything. “Captured” women’s groups normally would protect DLC style hacks. They serve as gatekeepers. Getting Cuomo on this effectively disarms the “captured” groups.

            Cuomo would have Emilys List, NOW, and a host of high profile women denouncing the sexists going after Cuomo, champion of women, if there was movement on another front. Those groups would gladly protect Cuomo.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If that is the diversionary fight that Cuomo and the #MeToo Democrats are conspiring to fake-have, then thousands of people with Covidead grandmas will have to start demonstrating on the streets with ” Cuomo killed my grandma” signs. Perhaps with a photo of their own personal grandmas.

        Perhaps a funereal march down main street after main street, with thousands of marchers dressed in funeral black, all holding up huge Icon-Style Signs of the Photograph and Name of their Covidead grandma.

        Keep shoving it in the face of Big Democrat Media.

  13. drumlin woodchuckles

    I can think of a great book title if there is someone out there smart enough to write the book . . . .

    ” From Marx to Marcuse: the Necrotic Rot Weasels Who Ate The Left’s Face”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Or one could even fancy-up the title further . . .

      ” From Marx and Marcuse to SJWs and the Wokeness Mongers: the Necrotic Gangrene Rot Weasels Who Ate The Left’s Face.”

      1. Baldanders

        I’m not smart enough to write it, but subtitle it the architects of America’s authoritarian left and I bet it gets a higher Amazon rating.

  14. Michael Ismoe

    I’m pretty sure that Biden won’t win Arizona the next time (You can probably say “Adios” to Senator Kelly too.

    We now have open borders with Mexico. Greyhound bus line was complaining because all the new arrivals get on the buses without being tested for Covid 19. The Biden Administration is literally taking busloads of people from Nogales to the Greyhound bus station to send them to their ultimate destinations.


    1. Grant

      Can you explain something for me? I see lots of stuff from the right on the flow of labor across borders. They conveniently forget how many libertarians think of this. If you stop the flow of labor across borders, what about the flow of capital? Which can cross easier, and faster, labor or capital? So, what happens when all the focus is on immigrants and the flow of labor but the right and capital at the same time make it easier for capital to flow across borders. How does that not make capital even stronger versus labor, and this when there is already a huge power differential? Truth be told, the right wing oligarchs that own and control the right wing media propaganda system know the score, and the average American worker has a thousand times more in common with a Mexican worker than Bill Gates. But, that reality is really dangerous for those in power and so a lot of money goes into getting American workers to think in those terms, to say nothing of what we have done to Mexico and Central America.

    2. marym

      The US doesn’t have open borders with Mexico. ICE has been dropping immigrants at Greyhound stations for years. There have alway been issues, no doubt exacerbated by the pandemic, but this isn’t new. Testing procedures may well be flawed, and Greyhound may have decided to demand documentation from immigrants, but the policy on testing hasn’t changed from that of the previous administration. (Link)

      Democrats may or may not win in AZ but whether or not Greyhound immigrant passengers are required to document their health status may not be the deciding factor.

      “Arizona leads the nation in proposed voter suppression legislation in 2021, with 19 restrictive bills.” (Link)

    3. Aumua


      “Anti-Immigration Stories

      In January 2019, the Washington Examiner published a story with the headline, “Border rancher: ‘We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal'”. Shortly thereafter, President Donald Trump cited the story as another justification for a border wall amid the 2018–2019 federal government shutdown. The story in question cited one anonymous rancher who offered no evidence of these Muslim prayer rugs, such as photos. The story provided no elaboration on how the rancher knew the rugs in question were Muslim prayer rugs. The author of the story formerly worked as press secretary for the anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform. Stories of Muslim prayer rugs at the border are urban myths that have frequently popped up since at least 2005, but with no evidence to substantiate the claims. The Examiner never issued a clarification or retracted the story.”

  15. Toshiro_Mifune

    There’s a Better Way to Parent: Less Yelling, Less Praise” ….. The Inuit parents and elders I interviewed almost laughed when I said that. One woman said something like, ‘She’s a kid—she doesn’t know how to manipulate like that.

    A quick story about my youngest daughter; When she was about 2 I was getting some laundry done and had Yo Gabba Gabba on. She was on the couch watching. I’m in and out of the living room getting clothes upstairs, etc. I come back down and she’s standing on the coffee table watching the TV. I tell her, “Ok peanut, no standing on the coffee table, please.” She gets down and I go back to getting the clothes put away.
    A few trips later I come back down and she’s back on the coffee table. I ask her “Why are you standing on the table?” She looks at me, looks down at the table, looks back up and says “I love you”.
    Maybe Inuit toddlers aren’t manipulative… ones in NJ are though.

    1. Jason

      Ah, kids. And cats. And all sentient beings, I imagine. That inner rascal must be nurtured too. Makes life interesting. It’s why the bees dance with the flowers.

      Gotta go. My cat’s hungry and he’s rubbing my leg. Funny, he never rubs it when he’s done.

  16. Tom Doak

    Lambert, your “parallel construction” link is an important one. I had not considered how many ways that monitoring people’s email and phones could be finessed into probable cause.

    P.S. Trump was derided for calling it “wiretapping” back in 2017, it is much more sophisticated than that now.

  17. Grant

    The left continues to pay for not fully embracing and fully understanding the unsights of MMT. It would radically change the conversation. But, Bernie hired Kelton herself and I see no evidence he is willing to use those insights. I don’t understand not doing so if the left in government is serious about pushing its program forward. But, maybe that is it, they aren’t serious about pushing its program forward.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe we don’t have the time and energy to try push-explaining such a massively counter-intuitive understanding of Fed Goverspending.

      Try telling normal people who have spent their lives paying their FICA taxes that taxes don’t pay for Social Security and never did. They will assume that you are part of the Catfood Conspiracy plotting to take their Social Security away.

      The so-called “left” has a real intellectual snobbery and poseury problem. They want to show how they are better and smarter than everyone else so they keep bragging about their superior understanding of counter-intuitive mysteries like ” Emm Emm Tee”.

      If there was a cynical militant do-something left which wanted Power to Do Something, they would run on Tax the UpperClass and the OverClass to pay for the programs, including taxing back all the tax-cutted money which was tax-cutted on purpose to bankrupt the government to force the government to cancel Social Security.

      And if such a cynical power-political left really DID get power, and if ” Emm Emm Tee” really IS oh-so-very-true in the Real World, then they can just go right ahead and use their precious ” Emm Emm Tee” and use the restored taxes against the Upper and Overclass to domesticate and housebreak those classes, and to prevent the inflation and then the hyperinflation which such taxation saves ” Emm Emm Tee” from causing.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If we have money for planes that don’t work, we have money for everything else. Thats it.

        At this point, everyone worrying about the “deficit” is full of it anyway. The opposition to good spending isn’t about a lack of understanding about MMT as much as “Centrists” and Republicans don’t want to do it.

        Its like the opposition to Medicare For All. It has nothing to do with anything other than the fear of empowering workers and the powerful being less powerful.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Less than a year ago they passed the CARES Act which was well over $2 trillion in funding whose design was to ensure that no billionaire suffered any losses out of investments hit by the pandemic and likewise with corporations. And the money went bang, straight out the door to them overnight without worry about who was eligible and who had paid their taxes last. Anybody who ask how any program can be paid for should have the CARES Act thrown into their faces. Maybe they should have renamed it the No Billionaires Left Behind Act to make it more clearer.

      3. Baldanders

        I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I find the basic concept seems to register with folks if I counter the “we’ll run out of money to pay the Chinese!” argument with “how can you run out of money when you run the printing press?”

        It doesn’t take a genius to understand that federal finances are fundamentally different than personal finances, and the simple-minded narrative behind austerity is that they are one and the same.

        MMT is a terrible name for the concept, though. The Right are so much better at propaganda. Lefties are too obsessed with signaling their wit and proper indoctrination to manage it, generally.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think you are underestimating how many of these people are simply being disingenuous. It’s not a position to move because they are “worried” about chinese bond holders. It demonstrates they know nothing about who owns the bonds.

        2. Grant

          I have discussed this myself with people. It is not complicated to also discuss how fundamentally different state and local governments are from the federal government when it comes to money creation, deficits and the like. It really isn’t complicated. The state of California and the city of LA cannot create the money we use, the federal government can. The conversation from that point on is easy to digest, and in my experience, light bulbs emerge. My guess is that the poster above doesn’t have tons of experience in actual organizing and talking to people about stuff like this.

      4. Grant

        Why assume a left that supports MMT thinks they are smarter than others? I certainly don’t think that the people with fancy degrees that propose the present system, and say things about deficits, public debt and money creation, are inherently smarter or dumber than MMT proponents. I think they simply have ideological and class biases, and they were taught to analyze issues in a particular way.

        Your post said a lot, but nothing about what to do about the fact that the way deficits, debt and money creation is discussed is highly problematic and not factually correct. If you can come up with an aw shucks way of explaining that, the floor is yours. There are also practical concerns. Like, how exactly do you deal with the environmental crisis if markets don’t capture relevant environmental information and private banks can create most of the money we use. Again, if you have a really humble, not arrogant way of discussing this, let me know. You seem to have that figured out.

        If you want to move beyond though just critiquing the left, which has no power by the way, and comment on what I said, do so. Cause all you argued was that the left was arrogant, that people couldn’t handle being told something more accurate and to continue to tax so as to continue on with a system that is highly problematic if we want to deal with the issues facing us.

        As far as informing people about taxes and Social Security, is your argument that continuing to say inaccurate things is the way to go? Using what logic? If people are told inaccurate things by powerful interests, it would seem arrogant to assume they couldn’t deal with having a better understanding of those issues and realizing that taxes can be used for other things (to influence behavior, to lessen inequality, etc.).

        My point was that not talking about the insights of MMT is harming the left, working people and the environment. I see no logical reason to avoid a discussion about this, and you surely didn’t provide one.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      There is a part of the left not in government which supports a somewhat different, and arguably more radical, change in monetary policy. See, for instance, this article.

  18. allan

    Mike Elk reports from Alabama:


    The tide has turned at Amazon in Alabama completely in the union’s favor.

    Biden’s support was a game changer – I’ve never seen anything like it

    1:06 PM · Mar 8, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

    The votes will be counted on March 30.

  19. chris

    Re: “Scariest Job Chart EVAR!”

    Has anyone looked at the cumulative job deficit in the US since 2000? I’ve been looking for that data today for my own interest and I haven’t found it.

    We’ve had a number of recent recessions, and the statistic of how many new jobs created per month is often discussed, and the number of jobs lost over a recessions is discussed, but what I’d like to see is the number of jobs plotted against the population potentially needing employment. Say, individuals between the ages of 18 and 70. How many jobs are we down compared the people in that age group who should be employed? I think the series we’re shown for things like jobs lost creates an illusion that we’re OK if we get back to zero. When of course that’s not true. Thanks in advance.

  20. ambrit

    Thank you very much for the Owl Week!
    Our owl eyed parliamentarian rules in favour of the motion. It’s quite a hoot!
    I know it’s an assignment, but, years ago, when we lived literally out “in the sticks,” I was scared by a screech owl. It was sitting in a bush at head height and we were within five feet of each other for a short time. (I had to go in and change my drawers, much to the wife’s amusement.)
    NC is the bestest place, period!
    Stay safe.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Owls are cool and if NC had an emblematic mascot, an owl would make a good choice.

  21. dk

    “If you’re drowning a mile out, it makes no difference that the Democrats moved the shore one-half mile closer.”

    More accurately, they move you one-half mile inland if and after you reach the beach.

  22. John Steinbach

    While reading the Midwest Socialist analysis of Tabibi’s criticism of Marcuse, I was reminded of Angela Davis’ role as a student of Marcuse. In 2018, she published the following essay on her relationship with Marcuse.

    She is unswervingly supportive of Marcuse & makes no mention of his elitism. I’m thinking that Marcuse’s teachings have had an impact on Davis’ liberal drift.

  23. neo-realist

    Re Stollers remark about being disillusioned with progressives, he appears to be irresponsibly painting with a broad brush just cause one flaky dem cultivated by People for the American Way went neo-liberal on the minimum wage. Jayapal has still been fighting the good fight on the minimum wage as well as others like Khanna. When I see people groomed by Justice Democrats start to leave the progressive boat en masse, then I think he’ll have a case.

  24. Carl

    Reading Cesar Hidalgo’s thread put me in mind of a book I read years ago: Disciplined Minds (2000) by Jeff Schmidt. He deals with the acculturation process in graduate studies and the working world of professionals. Subtitle: A critical look at salaried professionals and the soul-battering system that shapes their lives. Made me glad I was a college dropout.

  25. tegnost

    ” “U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package will provide enough resources to fuel a “very strong” U.S. economic recovery, but will not address longstanding inequality problems

    Um,duh…they’re using the inequality to drive the economic recovery. No $2000, no min wage hike.
    Like bezos et al. didn’t make enough off the pandemic already…maybe there will be some trickle down…

  26. Mikel

    RE: “Taibbi is Right: Wither Marcuse” [Midwest Socialist (flora)]. ” As long as Marcuse’s central ideas linger in the background of Leftwing thought, the Left will never be able to mobilize the type of majoritarian movement necessary to transform power. …”

    Except a “majoritarian” movement is not needed to transform power. Examples abound where power is transformed without majorities.

    Trying to remeber the post about only 20 – 30 percent of a population committed to change to cause it….

    99% vs 1% is not an organizing principle, it’s a slogan to raise awareness.

    1. Darthbobber

      I get the impression that the author read a different version of One Dimensional Man than I did. He seems to me to mischaracterize what Marcuse is saying.

      I also admittedly have trouble with a PhD candidate at University of Illinois-Chicago using “middle class college students” as a pejorative.

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