2:00PM Water Cooler 12/15/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Nice and long, so you can make your coffee now. Another migratory bird (with accompaniment).

* * *


Lots of charts today:

Vaccination by region:

A roller coaster. More data problems? (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax, despite all the sturm und drang in the press.

61% of the US is fully (doubly) vaccinated (CDC data, such as it is, as of December 14. The stately 0.1% rise per day returns. We have broken the important 61% psychological barrier! Mediocre by world standards, being just below Estonia, and just above Peru in the Financial Times league tables as of this Monday).

Case count by United States regions:

I whinged about the period of fiddling and diddling that appeared before the previous peak (and hadn’t appeared hitherto). Things went up, peaked, or went down. Now we are fiddling and diddling again. I have helpfully highlighted both periods. Also, as happened in 2020, I would expect a second, higher peak, from Omicron if for no other reason.

I find the Northeast, South, Midwest, and West fanning out like that concerning, so here are the individual regions:


New York and Pennsylvania leading in tandem, as they have for some time. I would have expected Massachusetts to be worse.


Ohio and Wisconsin coming up.


Yikes, Texas! And things were going so well…


Yikes, California!

At a minimum, the official narrative that “Covid is behind us,” or that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), or “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) is clearly problematic. (This chart is a seven-day average, so changes in direction only show up when a train is really rolling.)

One of the sources of the idea that Covid is on the way out, I would speculate, is the CDC’s modeling hub (whose projections also seem to have been used to justify school re-opening). Here is the current version of the chart from the CDC modeling hub, which aggregates the results of eight models in four scenarios, with the last run (“Round 9”) having taken place on 2021-08-30, and plots current case data (black dotted line) against the aggregated model predictions (grey area), including the average of the aggregated model predictions (black line). I have helpfully highlighted the case data discussed above:

Case data (black dotted line) has been within the tolerance of the models; it does not conform to the models’ average (black line), but it stays within aggregated predictions (the grey area).

I wrote: “It’s too early to say ‘Dammit, CDC, your models were broken’; but it’s not too soon to consider the possibility that they might be. The case data still looks like it’s trying to break out of the grey area. We shall see.” The case data has now broken out of the grey area (see at “Oopsie!”). Since the models are aggregated conventional wisdom, it’s not fair to call them propaganda, exactly. Nevertheless. conventional wisdom is looking a little shaky, and anybody who relied on them to predict that we would be “back to normal” by early next year should be taking another look at their assumptions. And this is — I assume — before Omicron!

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection, not updated:

A steep drop in the average, like the last peak. We’ll see if gets choppy again, or not.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

West Coast much better, Midwest better, New England going solid red. More flecks of red, especially in Texas. Weird flare-ups, like flying coals in a forest fire. They land, catch, but — one hopes — sputter out.

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

I have helpfully highlighted the states where the “trend” arrow points up in yellow, and where it is vertical, in orange. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 821,335 819,315. Modest rise. At this rate, I don’t think we’ll hit the million mark by New Year’s.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid):

Hard to believe we have no excess deaths now, but very fortunate if so. (CDC explains there are data lags).

Covid cases in historic variant sources, with additions from the Brain Trust:

South Africa’s rise looks linear, even though this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.


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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“One of These Riots Is Not Like the Other” [National Review]. “What has been clear to some of us for a long time — and what is becoming more difficult to deny every day — is that the events of January 6 were part of an attempted coup d’état, one that proceeded on two fronts: As the rioters occupied the Capitol and disrupted the process of certifying the Electoral College votes, Trump’s legal minions sought madly for some pretext upon which to nullify the election. Meanwhile, Trump allies occupying several points on the far-right tail of the bell curve of glue-sniffing madness hatched all kinds of supplementary schemes, some of them involving the military. A riot that is part of a coup d’état is not very much like a riot that is part of a coup de Target.” • Quoting a RINO on this because I so don’t want to have to master the detail in WaPo and the Times. Based on past form, every lead paragraph is going to quote anonymous sources, and then everything will go downhill from there.

Biden Administration

“Top secret JFK assassination files are FINALLY released: Lee Harvey Oswald was in contact with member of KGB two months before shooting and anonymous phone calls said Russia was behind it, trove of 1,500 documents reveal” [Daily Mail]. • Those darn Russkies! I knew they were behind it!

* * *

So do something about it (1):

So do something about it (2):

So do something about it (3):

Democrats en Deshabille

Lambert here: Obviously, the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself. Why is that? First, the Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community. (Note that voters do not appear within this structure. That’s because, unlike say UK Labour or DSA, the Democrat Party is not a membership organization. Dull normals may “identify” with the Democrat Party, but they cannot join it, except as apparatchiks at whatever level.) Whatever, if anything, that is to replace the Democrat Party needs to demonstrate the operational capability to contend with all this. Sadly, I see nothing of the requisite scale and scope on the horizon, though I would love to be wrong. (If Sanders had leaped nimbly from the electoral train to the strike wave train after losing in 2020, instead of that weak charity sh*t he went with, things might be different today. I am not sure that was in him to do, and I’m not sure he had the staff to do it, although I believe such a pivot to a “war of movement” would have been very popular with his small donors. What a shame the app wasn’t two-way.) Ah well, nevertheless.

For an example of the class power that the PMC can wield, look no further than RussiaGate. All the working parts of the Democrat Party fired on all cylinders to cripple an elected President; it was very effective, and went on for years. Now imagine that the same Party had worked, during Covid, to create an alternative narrative — see Ferguson et al., supra, to see what such a narrative might have looked like, and with the unions (especially teachers) involved. At the very least, the Biden Administration would have had a plan, and the ground prepared for it. At the best, a “parallel government” (Gene Sharp #198) would have emerged, ready to take power in 2020. Instead, all we got was [genuflects] Tony Fauci. And Cuomo and Newsom butchering their respective Blue States, of course. The difference? With RussiaGate, Democrats were preventing governance. In my alternative scenario, they would have been preparing for it.

And while we’re at it: Think of the left’s programs, and lay them against the PMC’s interests. (1) Free College, even community college. Could devalue PMC credentials. Na ga happen. (2) MedicareForAll. Ends jobs guarantee for means-testing gatekeepers in government, profit-through-denial-of-care gatekeepers in the health insurance business, not to mention opposition from some medical guilds. Na ga happen. (3) Ending the empire (and reining in the national security state). The lights would go out all over Fairfax and Loudon counties. Na ga happen. These are all excellent policy goals. But let’s be clear that it’s not only billionaires who oppose them.

Showing the PMC’s inability to govern, as a class they seem unable to expand their scope of operations into new fields. Consider the possibilities of the “Swiss Cheese Model.” Layered defenses include extensive testing, contact tracing, ventilation systems (not merely blue collar HVAC work, but design and evaluation), and quarantines. If we look at each layer as a jobs guarantee for credentialed professionals and managers, like ObamaCare, the opportunities are tremendous (and that’s before we get to all the training and consulting). And yet the PMC hasn’t advocated for this model at all. Instead, we get authoritarian followership (Fauci) and a totalizing and tribalizing faith in an extremely risky vax-only solution. Why? It’s almost as if they’re “acting against their own self-interest,” and I don’t pretend to understand it.

And I’m not the only one who’s puzzled. “Even if you…

NEW A second example of the PMC’s inability to govern comes under the rubric of “our democracy.” Of the various components of the Democrat party, NGOs, miscellaneous mercenaries, assets in the press, and the intelligence community all believe — or at least repeat vociferously — that “our democracy” is under threat, whether from election integrity issues, or from fascism. But other components — funders, vendors, apparatchiks, and electeds — don’t believe this at all. On election integrity, HR 1 has not passed. Gerrymandering continues apace (also a sign that Republicans take their politics much more seriously than Democrats do). On fascism, I suppose we have Pelosi’s January 6 Commission. But nothing unlawful took place, or we would have Merrick Garland’s January Investigation. The combination of hysterical yammering from some Democrats and blithe indifference from others is extremely unsettling. (This leaves aside the question of whether Democrats, as a party, have the standing to whinge about either the erosion of democracy or the imminence of fascism. I say no.) Of course, there is a solution to the problems with “our democracy”:

* * *

“Democratic governors worry about threat to democracy but don’t see it as a winning message for 2022” [CNN]. • Oh.

“The Democrats Fighting to Protect the Coastal Elite” [The Atlantic]. “[Robert Menendez, the senior senator from New Jersey] leading the opposition to a first-of-its-kind policy that would force homeowners with property closest to the water to pay more for federal flood insurance. The pricing scheme, known as Risk Rating 2.0, was first developed under the Obama administration, but the Trump administration delayed its implementation. Now it represents one of the most progressive changes that President Joe Biden can make without new approval from Congress: By overhauling premiums in the National Flood Insurance Program, the government can simultaneously price-in the risks posed by climate change and correct historic inequities in which millions of lower-income homeowners have essentially subsidized flood protection for their much wealthier neighbors. At the center of the fight are the questions of who gets to live by the water, and who should shoulder the burden of costs that rise with the sea level. The estimated 13 million people who reside in the officially designated floodplain are divided between those who can buy pricey waterfront homes and those consigned to live in less desirable, low-lying areas because that’s all they can afford.”

Trump Legacy

Graphic treatments aside, Trump creating his own media platforms doesn’t seem like such a bad idea:

If he can execute. Or pick the right people. There, Trump has uneven form, to put it mildly.

Republican Funhouse

Here we go:

“Max Linn, a colorful candidate, dead at 62” [Sun-Journal]. “Max Linn, one of the more colorful characters in Maine politics and perhaps the first Mainer to catch COVID-19, died over the weekend.” • On a visit to Wuhan in December 2019! Commentary:

Just another liberal Democrat celebrating the death of a political opponent….

Clinton Legacy

“Hillary 2024? Given the competition, she may be the Dems’ best hope” [The Hill]. • I think a Trump v. Clinton rematch would be… beautiful, somehow. As flaming rubble sometimes is, particularly in the gathering darkness.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The New York Empire State Manufacturing Index rose to 31.9 in December of 2021 from 30.9 in November, beating forecasts of 25, pointing to strong growth in business activity in the New York State…. Labor market indicators pointed to a solid increase in employment (21.4 vs 26) and a longer average workweek (12.1 vs 23.1)…. Plans for capital and technology spending were strong.”

Retail: “United States Retail Sales]” [Trading Economics]. “US retail trade rose 0.3 percent from a month earlier in November 2021 after surging 1.8 percent in October and well below market expectations of 0.8 percent, adding to signs of slowing domestic demand amid the fastest inflation in decades. The so-called core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of GDP, edged down 0.1 percent in November.”

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 43 thousand from the previous period to 184 thousand in the week ending December 4th, the lowest level since early September 1969 and below market expectations of 215 thousand, as demand for labor remains strong amid the ongoing economic recovery and as many employers seek to retain workers.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production Index fell to 17 in November of 2021 from 25 in the previous month. Factory growth was driven by increased activity at durable goods plants, particularly machinery manufacturing, electrical equipment, transportation equipment, and furniture production. ‘Regional factory activity continued to grow but at a slower pace than in recent months’, said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.”

* * *

Retail: “‘Diet’ soda is disappearing from store shelves” [KMOV4]. “That’s because some diet sodas are disappearing — or at least, that packaging is gone. Instead you’ll find those beverages under their new branding: zero sugar. ‘Zero sugar’ has replaced ‘diet’ for many no-calorie soft drinks. Canada Dry and Schweppes ginger ales, 7Up, A&W and Sunkist, made by Keurig Dr Pepper, now label their diet drinks ‘zero sugar.’ (One exception is the namesake Dr Pepper brand, which will still come in ‘diet’ packaging in addition to a different zero sugar version.) The reason for the overhaul: The word ‘diet’ has fallen out of fashion — especially for Millennials and Gen Z-ers…. Evolving attitudes toward dieting as a concept mean soda makers have to de-emphasize diet branding as they steam ahead with zero-sugar offerings — even when, as in the case of those brands owned by Keurig Dr Pepper, they’re selling the same exact drink. The tactic could help soda makers bring more consumers, especially younger ones, into the fold. The industry needs those customers if it wants to grow the soda market.” • How about “Additive Free”?

The Bezzle:

The Bezzle: “Digital Scarcity”:

Walter Benjaman, right-click stan.

The Bezzle: “Dr. Seuss Characters Get NFT Treatment in ‘Seussibles’ App (Exclusive)” [Hollywood Reporter]. “Through a partnership with Dapper Labs — the company behind CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot — and the NFT startup Tibles, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is releasing its NFT offerings through a mobile and web app called Seussibles. Users 18 and over can sign up for an account and purchase packets of Seuss collectibles with their credit cards, with “blind” five-packs — where the buyer doesn’t know what five NFTs they’re receiving — starting at $4.99. Prices will increase for the collectibles as they increase in rarity, and users can use the Seussibles app to chat with other fans and trade their collectibles.”

Tech: “The Log4J Vulnerability Will Haunt the Internet for Years” [Wired]. ” A vulnerability in the open source Apache logging library Log4j sent system administrators and security professionals scrambling over the weekend. Known as Log4Shell, the flaw is exposing some of the world’s most popular applications and services to attack, and the outlook hasn’t improved since the vulnerability came to light on Thursday. If anything, it’s now excruciatingly clear that Log4Shell will continue to wreak havoc across the internet for years to come…. The hard part will be tracking all of those down. Many organizations don’t have a clear accounting of every program they use and the software components within each of those systems…. By its nature, open source software can be incorporated wherever developers want, meaning that when a major vulnerability crops up, exposed code can lurk around every corner. Even before Log4Shell, software supply chain security advocates had increasingly pushed for “software bills of materials,” or SBOMs, to make it easier to take stock and keep up with security protections.” • Commentary:

Tech: “Her Instagram Handle Was ‘Metaverse.’ Last Month, It Vanished.” [New York Times]. “n October, Thea-Mai Baumann, an Australian artist and technologist, found herself sitting on prime internet real estate. In 2012, she had started an Instagram account with the handle @metaverse, a name she used in her creative work. On the account, she documented her life in Brisbane, where she studied fine art, and her travels to Shanghai, where she built an augmented reality company called Metaverse Makeovers. She had fewer than 1,000 followers when Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, announced on Oct. 28 that it was changing its name. Henceforth, Facebook would be known as Meta, a reflection of its focus on the metaverse, a virtual world it sees as the future of the internet. In the days before, as word leaked out, Ms. Baumann began receiving messages from strangers offering to buy her Instagram handle. ‘You are now a millionaire,’ one person wrote on her account. Another warned: ‘fb isn’t gonna buy it, they’re gonna take it.’ On Nov. 2, exactly that happened. Early that morning, when she tried to log in to Instagram, she found that the account had been disabled. A message on the screen read: ‘Your account has been blocked for pretending to be someone else.’…” • After the Times starting calling Facebook, Baumann’s account was restored. But Facebook can do whatever it wants with Instagram handles, so the situation hardly seems stable.

Tech: “Five Former SpaceX Employees Speak Out About Harassment At The Company” [The Verge]. “A group of former SpaceX employees are coming forward about their experience working at the commercial rocket company, claiming that there is a culture of sexual harassment in the workplace and that managers and the human resources department handled complaints poorly. The individuals are speaking out in light of an essay published by one former employee, Ashley Kosak, who left SpaceX in November. In her account, Kosak details multiple instances of being groped and feeling uncomfortable after fending off sexual advances by her male co-workers. Four additional people who spoke with The Verge described their own troubling experiences at SpaceX or witnessing other women and nonbinary people being harassed. In three cases reviewed by The Verge, SpaceX HR was made aware of the allegations and had inconsistent responses that the employees felt were inadequate.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: The Fear and Greed screen is blank again! [CNN]. Last updated Dec 15 at 11:27am. New intern?

Health Care

Unsettling Omicron anecdote:

Plenty more downthread. What’s frustrating about Omicron is that there doesn’t seem to be any new tactic I can employ against it. The virus ups its game. I can’t up mine.

Unbelievable that people are being forced to take N95s and replace them with surgical masks:

I have read that this is a continuing problem in Canadian hospitals, because they’re run by infection control droplet goons, who actively oppose the notion of airborne transmission. I have also heard anecdotes of officious PMC gatekeepers doing the same thing in the United States. So by “unbelievable,” I mean “all too believable.”

“Sinovac Provides Inadequate Shield Against Omicron in Hong Kong Study” [Bloomberg]. “Among a group of 25 people vaccinated with two Coronavac doses, none showed sufficient antibodies in their blood serum to neutralize the omicron variant, said a statement from a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong released late Tuesday night. The Beijing-based company then released its own findings on Wednesday, saying that seven of 20 people — 35% — who received two doses in its study showed sufficient antibodies to neutralize omicron. The picture improved somewhat when a booster shot was added into the mix, with Sinovac’s lab results showing that among a group of 48 people who had received three doses, 45 of them, or 94%, had sufficient antibodies to neutralize omicron, the company said. It didn’t elaborate on details of its study or whether findings were going to be published in a scientific journal.”

Is “disinformation” too harsh a word for what CDC and WHO have done with airborne transmission?


Be prepared:

Feral Hog Watch

“30–50 feral hogs? Why Twitter memes are more positive (and much faster) than you might think” [The Conversation]. “The seeming absurdity of the response, along with the format of the tweet, made for ideal meme material. The jokes soon began, and the meme quickly evolved and began referencing other Twitter memes.” • And very funny it was, too!

Zeitgeist Watch

No wonder:

Whatever pr0n is about, it’s not about sex.

Groves of Academe

This is a very sweet-tempered thread:

Why not, say I.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Reminds me of Reconstruction:

Since that worked out so well…

Class Warfare

“‘Pollution everywhere’: how one-click shopping is creating Amazon warehouse towns” [Guardian]. “The Inland Empire region, where Parker lives, is now one of the biggest national hubs for the e-commerce industry. The changes it has undergone are being replicated in cities and towns across the country. To feed the one-click, one-day delivery demands of the nation, new warehouses are opening quickly, often in Black and brown neighborhoods. They sometimes chew up entire suburban blocks and communities in the process, crowding roadways with delivery trucks and vans and air space with cargo planes, clouding the air with more pollution. Located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, the Inland Empire has the third-largest concentration of Amazon warehouses in the US, according to a database of Amazon facilities Consumer Reports (CR) purchased from MWPVL, a logistics consulting firm.” • I wonder how earthquake-proof they are?

News of the Wired

I seem not to be wired today. Oh well!

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) 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 (SR):

SR writes: “November in So Vermont. We’ll eat the tops of the kale and the hens will finish
the rest of it before the first of the year. It’s been a warm fall so they are all still
out on the grass right now.”

* * *

Readers, thank you for all the plant pictures!

* * *

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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. CanChemist

    Re the CDC data, including the article in Links this morning saying it’s 3%,

    There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that is accurate, speaking as your neighbour to the north.

    Omicron already dominant 2 days ago in London, ON area (near Detroit, MI)

    Omicron is doubling so fast it’s predicted to be the dominant strain in every jurisdiction within a time frame of now, to next week.
    I saw it mentioned this morning that they are estimating 80% of new cases in Toronto are Omicron at this point.

    During the pandemic we have tracked or followed New York state / Michigan pretty much the whole way through. There’s no way it isn’t already dominant or near dominant, at least in the NE USA.

    And yes as mentioned above, the continuing denialism of aerosol transmission in Canada is being actively promoted by IPAC and is the reason medical providers are still being forced into this charade.

    1. Soredemos

      I assumed it was going to be bad, but Omicron seems set to absolutely steamroll through the US.

      And Delta is still around.

    2. eg

      In a press conference this afternoon Ontario Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, admitted that Omicron is the a-word — airborne — though he implied that this was a new feature of the virus unique to this variant rather than something we at NC have long held to be true of Covid from very early on in the pandemic.

      Baby steps?

      1. SES

        OMG, this can be how they save face! Pretend it’s something new, not that they missed, ignored, or lied about it previously!

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > he implied that this was a new feature of the virus unique to this variant

        I’ve seen this alibi elsewhere. It’s just stunning in its shamelessness. OTOH, I suppose I should be encouraged that even the most reactionary droplet-dogma dinosaur can display adaptability.

  2. Huey Long

    RE: N95 Mask Forced Removal

    I have read that this is a continuing problem in Canadian hospitals, because they’re run by infection control droplet goons, who actively oppose the notion of airborne transmission. I have also heard anecdotes of officious PMC gatekeepers doing the same thing in the United States. So by “unbelievable,” I mean “all too believable.”

    This is INSANE!!! What’s the logic behind making somebody downgrade their mask? Is it a power thing? Some kafka-esque regulation?

    1. Objective Ace

      Trying to give them as much of the benefit of the doubt as possible–they may not be capable of checking everyone’s mask. Forcing everyone to wear one specified mask that they provide eliminates this issue: https://www.reddit.com/r/ParlerWatch/comments/pdx1w5/sociopaths_at_ar15com_discuss_which_brand_of_fake/

      Not really sure that fake masks are that big of an issue though. There seems to be no problem wearing masks incorrectly which has the same effect

    2. Meg

      I was in a Kaiser hospital facility in Oregon and was directed to replace my KN 94 with a flimsy surgical mask. I said no way what’s the deal? And they said we have no idea how old or how dirty your mask is. we know what we are giving you is clean. They did allow me to put their shi**y mask on top of my good one.
      And mask anecdote the second: went to a Vaccine clinic in a hospital in Oregon on Monday. The nurse administering shots was wearing a Santa Claus cloth mask and the doctor with her was wearing a surgical mask. WTF???

    3. CanCyn

      It is insane. I had to go to an eye clinic recently, it is located in one of the big area hospitals. At check in they asked me to switch my KN95 mask for one of their surgical masks. I was dumbfounded. When I got my voice back I said I didn’t want to make the switch because my mask was better than theirs. She said I could wear it over top of mine.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You want insanity? The State of New South Wales in Oz got down to about 500 cases daily after opening up several weeks ago. In the past few days though, it has shot up to 1,740 cases a day and they expect cases to go to 2,200 cases a day soon. This being the case, NSW are easing restrictions across the board because why not? Insane-


  3. Wukchumni

    What a clip, Keanu loses it over the NFT matrix, and now we’ve got Dr. Seuss NFT’s, ye gads.

    And now here is a Hoodwink

    Who winks in his wink-hood.

    Without a good wink-hood

    A Hoodwink can’t wink good.

    And, folks, let me tell you

    There’s only one NFT circus

    with wink-hood Hoodwinks!

    The non-fungible Circus McGurkus!

  4. fresno dan

    One of These Riots Is Not Like the Other” [National Review]. “What has been clear to some of us for a long time — and what is becoming more difficult to deny every day — is that the events of January 6 were part of an attempted coup d’état, one that proceeded on two fronts: As the rioters occupied the Capitol and disrupted the process of certifying the Electoral College votes, Trump’s legal minions sought madly for some pretext upon which to nullify the election. …
    Well, in the last 20 years, not ONCE, but TWICE, the candidate who indisputably won the popular vote failed to become president because of the US’s rather bizarre and ridiculous electoral college system, which the status quo keeps telling us is the best political system EVAH devised. And BEFORE the attemped coup of 2020, we had the attempted coup of 2016, which is arguably as serious as the 2020 attempted coup, and also went full tilt for 4 years, with the added benefit of increasing the chances of war between the US and Russia.
    And finally, the US government is an Oligarchy and only represents the 1%. The population has figured out that defending “our democracy” is a war not worth fighting. So, why EXACTLY are the coupers of 2020 deserving of legal sanction, but not the coupers of 2016???
    As Michael Kinsley said, the scancal isn’t what is illegal, the scandal is what is legal.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is why Trump was crippled and his own lack of focus. It wasn’t about OMG Russia. That crippled any potential attempt at addressing the Obama Presidency and Clinton candidacy. The GOP jumped whenever he said jump. Remember that Summer he and Pelosi fought over whether the wall should be 17.5 feet tall or 18 feet tall?

    2. Terry Flynn

      Love your final sentence. Apologies to those who’ve heard my hobby horse before but we in UK have had similar problems and once at an arguably crucial point in history: the 1951 general election. Back then universal suffrage was taken seriously and turnouts were MASSIVE, not the 60% ish of the neoliberal era when “you can win with only 20% of eligible voters supporting you because so many voters stay home”.

      Labour Prime Minister Attlee got the HIGHEST EVER % OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS in modern history of the UK….. Yet he LOST to Churchill. In hindsight the 1951 winner was guaranteed power for years….. Ability to abolish last remaining wartime rations, growth etc….. The Empire was dead but the domestic economy was Making Stuff That Mattered (as a MMT advocate would want).

      Labour took 13 years to get back. All because Churchill knew how to manipulate first past the past voting to “win” despite losing the popular vote in the most egregious manner in UK history.

      1. John

        How do you suggest we “fix” the electoral college? Who benefits from its abolition? You can be sure the loser won’t go for that and it takes a constitutional amendment. Good luck with that. That said we have muddled along about as far as we can go.

        You could assign electoral votes by congressional district and give the two senatorial votes to whoever has the most. Try it. It actually makes little difference. An interstate compact is not going to fly because it would mean the parties would have to cooperate and they are incapable of that at the moment. The problem at the bottom of every idea for change assumes that the politicians are in favor of “good” government and not their individual self-interest.

    3. Alphonse

      I really think the electoral college thing is a distraction.

      When you lose by a tiny margin in a properly-run election, I’m sorry, that’s not a great injustice. Here in Canada we routinely have majority governments with percentages less than 40%.

      Trying to change the constitution rather than persuading another 1% of the population is ridiculous. It’s killing a fly with a sledgehammer. The system is not your problem.

      It’s remarkable, isn’t it: again and again, elections are decided by tiny margins. Why is that? What are the chances? I don’t think it’s accidental. At some point, it becomes design – some kind of negative feedback mechanism that drives party votes towards the 50% line.

      For the population, close contests reflect and create polarization. But for the parties, they’re great. As NC points often out, they provide the perfect excuse for not delivering promises. They make rewarding the winning coalition of supporters cheaper (see Bueno de Mesquita, The Dictator’s Handbook). The parties don’t want more supporters than a bare minimum, because they would have more to pay off with policy goodies. It’s a far better deal to trade gerrymandered seats to ensure jobs for life.

      I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy. I’m saying this serves their interests. It’s evolution at work. The Electoral College business is a shell game. It’s the perfect culprit: something virtually impossible to change that can always be blamed. It’s beside the point.

      1. eg

        This process has the added advantage (in the eyes of those whom the arrangements favour) of increasingly turning off larger and larger numbers of voters from exercising their franchise at all.

      2. Acacia

        These are good points. Killing a fly with a sledgehammer indeed.

        It’s remarkable, isn’t it: again and again, elections are decided by tiny margins. Why is that?

        Because for the average voter there’s in fact little meaningful difference between the two parties?

      3. fajensen

        Maybe it is just easier to change the constitution than telling Hillary Clinton that her campaign sucked?

  5. Watt4Bob

    I sure wish someone had a clear explanation for the fact that mention of aerosol transmission has been universally accepted as taboo world wide?

    1. Judith

      Check out the twitter thread under “Aerosol scientist discovers political economy. Brilliant thread:” in the Links this morning. Basically, lots of money would be required to update schools and other public buildings to improve the ventilation. Spending money to help people in need is verboten under neoliberalism.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Spending money to help people in need is verboten under neoliberalism.

        I think it’s even more sociopathic than that. If under neoliberalism, as Maggie Thatcher said, “there’s no such thing as society,” then by definition all pandemic response is down to the individual + the market. Hence, vax vax vax is the natural outcome toward which our political economy tends.

        As I keep saying, democidal elites is a parsimonious explanation. The democide doesn’t need to happen as a political act (not all elites are animated by eugenics as an ideology); as Engels points out in his passage on social murder, results can be achieved by omission (as, for example, the Biden administration omitted to take action on non-pharmaceutical interventions that would curb airborne transmission),

    2. Juanholio

      Noble lie…because they need us in the store/office/restaurant spending money etc so that the global economy doesn’t collapse, else we all starve to death in a Mad Max style dystopia.

    3. clarky90

      ……..to save the planet from climate change?

      Sort of like Alec Baldwin’s self-actualizing, movie-prop, handgun.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It was not taboo in Japan and a number of other East Asian countries.

        Yes. It’s very clear that the US and the UK were the drivers in making sure that Covid would not be eradicated. Let ‘er rip and “lead your life.”

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      I would say it’s analogous to how the relationship between GDP growth and carbon emissions is studiously ignored outside degrowth circles. If it’s too disruptive to our profit-uber-alles society to upgrade ventilation in public spaces, consider how much it would overturn things to admit finally that you can have continued economic growth or a planet livable for billions of humans.

  6. Eloined

    JFK: Hats off to the declassifiers and their press agents for leading with Oswald in Mexico City > the Russians. No mention of course of Hoover telling LBJ the day after the assassination that the embassy pop-in was “very confusing for this reason. We have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet Embassy, using Oswald’s name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man’s [Oswald’s] voice, nor his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet Embassy down there.” (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=807#relPageId=2; see also https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/oswald-the-cia-and-mexico-city) Can’t help but laugh.

    1. pjay

      Yes. Pretty funny for those who are knowledgeable. But that’s not the intended audience for such stories, of course.

      We know about the CIA and Mexico City thanks to Oliver Stone’s first JFK movie, which forced the 1990s declassifications. Maybe they are afraid that Stone’s current JFK documentary might break through the media blackout, so they are trying to get ahead of the story.

      1. jsn

        Don’t worry, there are plenty more layers of fiction to be revealed in due course.

        CIAs had better part of 60 years to grow their onion.

        New tears of laughter each time another ring comes off.

        1. John

          If you assume that there is an individual who was 20 years old on 22 November 1963 and either knew the “real truth” or was “vulnerable” and assume we want to protect that person and the reputations of … of who? … well everyone who was “important.” Make all those assumptions and decide how much time must pass for all those people to be dead. I figure the last declassification could be done safely in about 2055 by which time only a few cranks will care anyway.

          1. jsn

            No, if Nixon could “disappear” some White House recording, I figure CIA files can be papered with anything.

            I figure the founder of the CIA new how to keep his reputation clean in perpetuity, he hoped. And had the capability and resources to manage a long term disinformation program to protect him and the institutional structure he’d built to maintain and advance a paleo-liberal, soft imperialist system he and his brother were at the heart of from before the war.

            It is interesting to read Talbot’s bio of Alan Dulles, he’d known Oswald for a decade or so by that day in 63 and had bailed him out a few times, for some reason.

  7. Wukchumni

    Walter Benjaman, right-click stan.
    When I was in business, counterfeit coins weren’t really much of an issue, fake older US gold coins had been struck in Lebanon in the early 1970’s, and they were easy to differentiate from the real thing, and there had been a small number of other coins both U.S. & foreign also counterfeited, but again it really wasn’t a bother as anybody experienced could tell the difference…

    When I retired from pushing old metal that was the state of the hobby, no near perfect fakes of damn near every old coin you could imagine that were even fooling experts, this all came about when the Chinese started using digital technology to counterfeit coins and flood the market with fakes.

    The way they did it was ingenious, all they needed was an image of both sides of an older coin taken from online photos to create the obverse & reverse striking dies and the right minting equipment and presto! an NFT (Numismatic Fake Token) was born.

    It’s a big issue now in the hobby with even bullion coins being faked, here’s a few articles to get you up to speed.

    There are Chinese counterfeiters who admit they produce 100,000 fake coins per month—exceeding the volume of legitimate coins struck by many small nations. These counterfeits are in compliance with Chinese law as long as they are dated before 1949, the year the People’s Republic of China was founded. Unlike the United States, China does not require replicas or copies to be marked as such.


    The photos in this gallery were taken inside a Chinese coin counterfeiting operation. This counterfeiting ring is suspected of putting thousands of fake coins onto the world and U.S. coin markets every month. These striking photos first emerged on certain Web-based coin discussion boards in Europe and the Far East. They came about through a numismatic watchdog/satire blog called Biddle’s Bank. These are the same coins that are put into counterfeit PCGS and NGC coin holders, although they are most frequently sold raw coins (non-slabbed).


  8. Mildred Montana

    >“Hillary 2024? Given the competition, she may be the Dems’ best hope” [The Hill]. • I think a Trump v. Clinton rematch would be… beautiful, somehow. As flaming rubble sometimes is, particularly in the gathering darkness.

    Their rematch would certainly be a fitting and somehow poetic end to American democracy.

    If I may take the liberty of complementing your metaphor, here’s a lyric from Al Stewart’s ????? ?? ??????, his beautiful song about the German invasion of Russia in WWII:

    “Two broken tigers afire in the night, flicker their souls to the wind.”


    (I’m not at all sure, though, that Trump is a broken tiger. A wounded tiger maybe, which only makes him more dangerous.)

  9. John B

    In the “Rapid Riser Continuum” map, note the big splotch of green in the east — Maryland. Yay, Maryland! No Omicron wave here. Or is it because the Maryland Department of Health experienced a “server outage” on December 5 and has been unable to update its reported COVID data since then?

  10. Terry Flynn

    This is a “cancer during covid” issue that given my new affiliation you are entitled to take with grain of salt. I’ve been transcribing stuff. I cannot possibly comment on the degree to which cancers are being “missed” by primary care during the pandemic in UK but diagnosed patients here (i.e. in secondary care) seem to have had pretty good continuity of care.

    I’m saying this HERE merely because I can’t find the comment made about delays in scans etc during the pandemic. For us here in middle of UK scans were done, there were some delays in interpretation but good doctors in oncology, cardiology and some other specialities can usually spot “something really suss” immediately even if the radiologist is overworked or living somewhere with awful internet (yes it might happen).

    Our main problem is “less clinical” and more “administrative” – otherwise why employ a non-touch-typist like me who is having increasing breathing difficulties using a, basic surgical mask all day and who already knows his childhood heart condition probably wasn’t cured and certainly seems worse after a “mystery infection” early 2020 when producing PPE for members of the public who just showed up to buy? ;-)

    I seem to be doing OK by the docs because I know how to do clinical searches, connect the dots when I can’t understand a dictation etc….. But if things “return to normal”? Who knows…. All I can say is that the cancer patients are getting continuity of care. I am not able/qualified to speak about other groups.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. TBH a lot of “the problem” was me “scaling the top of my field at 43” and then being lost when I got edged out for not putting up with shenanigans of others.

        The career reboot is a breath of fresh air (single person properly ventilated office at moment so pun intended) and I can work unmasked. When that changes next year as they recruit to try to clear backlog of letters? I may have to rethink at that point but right now it’s fun returning to square one with few responsibilities and watching how consultants seem puzzled that I couldn’t make out a seemingly simple word but worked out a really obscure cancer plus chemo drug combination!

  11. Joe Well

    A Harvard health expert’s advice: Require the COVID-19 vaccine — not universal masking
    “I don’t think the path out of this pandemic — or even through this surge — is masking the vaccinated.”

    “Allen says he would advise officials in Massachusetts to follow in the footsteps of New York’s recently implemented policy requiring masks only in indoor public places that do not require proof of vaccination for entry.”

    >>”Proof of vaccination.” That is hilarious. A little reminder card with just your name on it.

    1. omgtake2

      Umm someone needs to tell the “expert” that vaccine status does not confer protection against TRANSMISSION. Never had high regard for that illustrious institution but seriously?

      1. eg

        Yeah, the persistence of this misunderstanding is puzzling — it’s almost like someone is profiting from the disinformation campaign?

  12. johnherbiehancock

    Re: Just another liberal Democrat celebrating the death of a political opponent….

    From the article:

    During his Senate campaign, Linn was an ardent foe of public health measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. At one point, he denounced Dr. Nirav Shah, who heads the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, calling him “the very doctor of death.”

    This was after Linn endured COVID himself, and according to the article, may have been patient 0 in Maine, spread it around, refused to get tested or even acknowledge it was a threat? From the other personal issues detailed in the article, doesn’t sound like he contributed more to humanity than he took.

    Maybe we shouldn’t celebrate his death, but at least add his name to the “better off without em” file?

  13. Lee

    “Today’s Fear & Greed Index: The Fear and Greed screen is blank again! [CNN].”

    Blank, as in the look on the face of a deer in the headlights.

  14. jr

    I hereby name the phallus-flag above Rittenhouse’s head a phlag. Pronounced “Puh-lag”. He should hitch up with the McCloskey’s. Gold, baby.

    1. Wukchumni

      If you had told collectors in the mid 1970’s that their limited edition Hummels then worth hundreds to thousands of Dollars, that they would be worth a pittance almost 50 years later, they might have got as upset as a cryptocurrency investor presently, were you to explain that there is no there, there.

      1. JBird4049

        It is almost as if the less real something is, the more “valuable” it is. I’m sensing a theme, here

      2. JohnA

        I loved the scene in ‘About Schmidt’ where Jack Nicholson puts all his late wife’s Hummels on the roof of their winnebago.

  15. JBird4049

    >>>I wonder how earthquake-proof they are?

    If they are the same construction as the one in Illinois, how about none?

    And don’t nobody tell me that any particular place or building is not near a fault line. Seems like after each large quake they find another fault or two. California is riddled with them. You cannot see them unless they are large like the San Andreas or until they move or react to one another one that does moves first (like a zipper or cracks), they are hidden.

    Big, empty buildings that are zippered together…

    And unlike storms, it is there are almost always no warning, whatsoever. You, or your chair, or the building just starts dancing. Aside from the terror, it’s almost fun. Like an amusement part ride. ;-)

    Somehow, I ain’t finding the trust in California’s currently very corrupt, developer controlled governments, state or local, especially in the poorer areas to properly enforce the earthquake code. If they are not places like residences, hospitals, freeways, or dams, especially so. All of them have had lethal collapses in the past century, so the memory and the building code reflects it. But what real harm could come from an empty warehouse collapsing?

    It almost writes itself, doesn’t it?

    1. Wukchumni

      The Inland Empire is a bit of a misnomer, oh yes it’s inland, but empires don’t usually require people living there to drive an hour or 2 to a job in LA, so they can afford a home in Norco-adjacent.

      I know nothing about preparedness for earthquakes in the huge industrial buildings you see all along interstate 15, but at least a tornado is highly unlikely.

      1. IMOR

        An hour or two? On I10, or “the 10” as they say there? Great news, because 25 and 20 years ago I spent 3+ several times out of a half dozen trips.

    2. Carolinian

      Going by the above link the real problem may be with Californians unable to find a place to live except in what was already a warehouse district. It says the reason Amazon is different is because the noise and pollution is 24/7.

      We have a warehouse here but nobody lives around it–still lots of open space in Dixie.

  16. XXYY

    Unbelievable that people are being forced to take N95s and replace them with surgical masks…

    When I visit my MD, the security dude at the front door makes me put a surgical mask over my n95.

    Okay, whatever.

    1. Carolinian

      Don’t know that much about N95 but don’t the pre covid versions have a not filtered exhaust vent? Perhaps that’s their beef?

      1. Yves Smith

        All the ones I’ve seen don’t have exhaust values. Among other things, they’d be more expensive. The 3M model some readers tout has definitely been around a long time.

        The issue may be as one reader suggested that hospitals etc are insisting on surgical masks even when worse because they don’t want to have to argue with those who try to get away with cloth masks: “That guy is not wearing a surgical mask so why must I?”

  17. R

    The landlord of these parts wrote “South Africa’s rise looks linear, even though this is a log scale.”

    I think I understand what he means – that the rise looks like it is exponential even though it is plotted on a log scale. Or the graph looks like it is plotted on a linear scale when in fact it is on a log scale [because it appears to increase exponentially]. But could I politely ask for a re-write for clarity?

    Also, BoJo just announced omicron has a doubling time in parts of the UK of UNDER TWO DAYS. But he doesn’t want to tell anybody not to party or enforce immediate FFP2/3 masking (which would stop it in its tracks), just introduce a divisive a pointless vaccine passport when, as we all know, the wild-type vaccines are next to useless against transmisssion of omicron.

    Jesus wept!

    Apart from the appalling inaction on ventilation, filtration and masking and the enormous displacement activity of administering boosters to a population who will all be infected before they are anywhere near finished, the covid broadcast tonight was pretty good when it came to:
    – the risk omicron poses systemically even if the individual risk may be lower
    – the point that we have no data to justify that belief so should be very cautious because SA has different immunity trajectory and age profile in its time series pandemic data than the UK)
    – and at one point, the CMO seemed to go off script and said she was reducing here social activity and she was cancelling her kids’ activities (“hi kids, if you are listening, sorry!” – that bit was hilarious). I am not sure that was supposed to be the words of comfort they had intended. :-)

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    That trove of so-called documents about Oswald being in so-called “contact” with the “Russians” is just one more effort to shock the rotting corpse of the ” Oswald Diddit” theory with yet more information-operation electricity to get it to jump and twitch in order to attract some attention.

    It won’t impress very many people.

    1. JBird4049

      Yes. Even if I believed that Oswald did it, this release would smell as well as week old fish in July.

    2. The Rev Kev

      One last gasp of Russiagate? To paraphrase Bill Maher – “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful Russiadidit, but you know what? It’s over”

  19. drumlin woodchuckles

    Kyle Rittenhouse . . . such a nice young man. Judging from just the smile and the hair, he has a future in politics.

    I can see it now. Congressman Rittenhouse . . . Senator Rittenhouse . . . . maybe someday President Rittenhouse . . .

    1. Tom Doak

      Thankfully he can’t be President until he’s 35, which will be well after his fifteen minutes of fame have expired.

      So, he’ll have to get there on the merits!

      1. eg

        On the evidence of the characters who’ve held the office for 50 years or so, what makes you think “merits” have anything to do with it?

    2. Sailor Bud

      Predicted this on Water Cooler or Daily Links the day of his acquittal, a day or two after I had predicted his acquittal. I said they were going to groom him into the zoomer voice of the future. Everything is obvious now, if you simply look for the most in-your-face outcome.

  20. Expat2uruguay

    Vandimonian made a comment in today’s links post https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/12/links-12-15-2021.html#comment-3648732
    Where he alluded to some difference that Omicron may have because it propagates in the bronchial instead of the lungs? Anyway he made it seem like it was a discussion somewhere about this and I’m looking for some help finding and that discussion. Can anybody help?

    Here is the text of the comment I’m referring to: “True in part, Keith, but there’s a timing issue. If the virus can spread to others before the first victim dies, it w ill prosper. Omicron seems to have a longer period between infection with virus shedding and the appearance of symptoms. Bronchial infection rather than lungs, as noted above.

    It’s a cunning little devil…”

      1. Yves Smith

        Our Covid Brain Trust is skeptical of this analysis at 24 hours. I know it’s only anecdata, but it took >three days for my mother’s cough (upper respiratory infection) to progress to pneumonia. But the NHS also says the fastest that pneumonia develops is 24 hours and a bit longer seems way more typical:


        It’s hard to believe it would invade the bronchial tubes so ferociously and not progress…when we ain’t got no meaningful immunity till you get to the bloodstream.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    A Clinton v Trump Presidential Election in 2024 would give Tulsi Gabbard an opportunity to run as an Independent if she can assemble a big enough organization and inspire a big enough movement to get her name on as many state ballots as possible, starting with the biggest Electoral College states.

    I hope it happens that way. She could do some real damage, at the very least, to the Depublicratic BiParty. And what if she actually got elected?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      And what if she actually got elected?

      She’s lose every vote in Congress. None of her nominees would ever get a confirmation hearing, let alone a vote. We’d be ass-hole buddies with Modi.

      Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

      1. Carolinian

        Be careful what you recklessly predict? But I take it you simply really don’t like Tulsi.

        As for the Hill’s Hillary feeler…I wonder which of Hillary’s secret surrogates she got to plant that story. America to Hillary: “please just go away.”

    2. John

      Tis devoutly to be wished. I passed on the presidency in 2016. Tulsi as opposed to two “gerontocrats.” What a splendid vision. Imagine: Hilary and Donald mud wrestling for which one really actually won the election .

    3. MP

      If she won, she’d govern like Biden, like Trump, like Obama, like the Bushes, like Clinton, like Reagan.

      1. Andy

        Exactly. Gabbard is a yet another sideshow clown opportunist who mixes and matches her “principles” depending on which ones she thinks will get her elected. She posed as an antiwar candidate and a Bernie supporter for a while, even though she then went on to endorse Biden, but in reality she is a serving member of the US military who’s long been openly pro-Israel and prejudiced against Muslims.

        She qualifies her “antiwar” stance by saying she is against ‘regime change wars’ only and claims that Islamic terrorism is America’s number one threat.

        Just recently she revealed on Tucker Carlson’s show that she’s a full-on supporter of US interventionism and strongly defended US drone strikes that kill civilians. Carlson was visibly taken aback when she said this.

        Both the left and the right recognize that she’s a slippery character who can’t be trusted.

  22. Josef K

    I did a double-take that the National Review isn’t spuriously defending the Jan 6th insurrectional riot; good on them for waking up and smelling the reality.
    So the coterie of constant commenters here who, especially in the months following, downplayed it and ridiculed those of us who understood it’s significance, congratulations, you’re to the right of the National Review! IIRC, that’s the same spot occupied by the wrong side of history.

    1. tegnost

      It’s significant that the fusion centers were unable to track a crowd of real estate agents and carpet cleaners as they rampaged through the nations capitol and took selfies and generally made fools of themselves, some are going to jail for it so dumb sure…but are you honestly saying we don’t have 2 republican parties with one of them being more socially acceptable to the bougeoisie? I mean the frelling (h/t ath) natonal review agrees with them! WTF?

      1. rowlf

        Just a few more selfies and mean tweets and the government could have been toppled. It was that close.

        (Maybe I am a little jaded from observing South East Asian politics for 25 years. Thai friend/coworker on a military coup: “We do this every once in a while to reset things.” Then again, the US does not have anyone like Prem and someone above him to call for order from competing factions.)

            1. marym

              The riot was a bunch of people who believe their votes should be the only ones counted, and expected that if they said it loudly and rudely enough Trump would somehow continue to be president even though he lost the election. In itself the event wasn’t a threat to the republic – cops and fusion centers, etc. as you say – but it wasn’t “dissent” against anything but other people’s right to vote. That’s not a belief that’s good for the republic.

    2. Carolinian

      You are obviously unaware that there have always been some establishment Republicans who despise Trump. Nat Review was never in his corner.

      And if you really think it was a coup attempt please explain in detail how that was supposed to come off. The media spent years talking about Trump’s bufoonish incompetence and suddenly he’s a Machiavellian schemer. They had it right the first time.

      Here’s suggesting Trump’s refusal to accept the election result was his idea of payback for Hillary’s refusal to accept his election. If memory serves there were quite a few riotous reactions to that event.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        My position would be both that Russia!Russia!Russia! was wrong, and that storming the national legislature — however shambolic it was as coup attempt compared with Southeast Asia or Latin America — to overturn an election is also wrong, and I think a very worrying sign. Indeed, I think it is hard to emphasize how anti-Left the putative Golpistas, or putschists, or rioters, or whatever you want to call them, and their sympathizers are, at least in my experience (which is, to my knowledge, with the latter group). Your mileage may vary, of course.

        1. Josef K

          Exactly, the tu quoque from people who think (or profess) that 1/6 was NBD pretty much demonstrates the lack of any substantive argument for it being….what….good for the republic?

      2. Josef K

        Par. 1: You’re misrepresnting (blowing out of proportion) what I wrote. I’m not going to explain what I didn’t write.

        Par 2: Same, straw-manning–more than selfie-party means coup attempt. Black and white thinking. I won’t engage with that either.

        As to explaining, I suggest checking out the copious evidence emerging about what Trump et al were in fact planning, evidence which continues to emerge daily. That the on-the-ground actions were shambolic is as likely lack of ability to follow through as lack of intent.

        Par 3: This is tu quoque and based on a false equivalence.

        It seems to me that many or most of the people calling 1/6 nothing more than a picnic would be screaming for heads to roll if it were the other “party’s” minions. For my part, I decry anyone trying to mess with The Vote, regardless of whom they support. This time, it was Trump et al.

        1. Carolinian

          copious evidence

          Got any links? Otherwise just rhetoric. But please, no links from the same people who told us for years that Trump was Putin’s Manchurian Candidate.

          Turley has talked about this and the fact that 1/6 was so outrageous that for some reason the judicial system can’t find anything above misdemeanor trespass to charge most of the perpetrators. Some witnesses at the time have said the great majority of the participants had walked down from the previous rally and were then encouraged by a mysterious group of militants to enter the building. Given that we’ve been lied to for four years about Russiagate I’d say we scoffers are having a hard time believing anything the media have to say about this incident.

          But re my par 1, got some evidence, please supply. But make it hard evidence, not some interpretation tacked onto something Trump may have said.

        2. Yves Smith

          Oh, really? You posture as if you are politically well informed and don’t even know that National Review has long been in the traditional R/ Trump opposition? Then you accuse people who don’t buy the Dems’ desperate efforts to revive “Orange Man bad!” after their Russiagate fail as right wingers? You further present zero evidence that this was anything other than a stunt that got Team Dem’s and Trump R’s opponents offended because it was more successful than it should have been due to Capitol Police incompetence (and failure to call in the DC police, who do understand how to control crowds) and attacked a symbol? No one was armed, for starters.

          And then YOU try going into “straw man” mode?

          You need a mirror, bud.

  23. The Rev Kev

    ‘Too bad the Dutch prime minister continues to spread misinformation about COVID-19 mitigations.

    His podium shows handwashing as the first measure, even though there are ZERO proven cases of surface transmission

    Does not show masks for an AIRBORNE virus!!’

    I guess that even after nearly two years, Rutte has still not given up on his initial idea of achieving ‘herd immunity’ in the Netherlands. Don’t know why but sometimes he reminds me of Bolsanaro from Brazil.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Her Instagram Handle Was ‘Metaverse.’ Last Month, It Vanished.”

    This all started when Facebook changed their name to Meta or whatever. Guess they were jealous of what Google did with Alphabet. And so they just tried to steal that women’s account for her name and I recall that this is not the first time something like this has happened. The real fun begins down the track when some mega corporation decides to change their name to ‘United States Government.’

  25. Brian Westva

    Make sure you check out the Frontline COVID Critical Care alliance protocols for prevention and treatment. https://covid19criticalcare.com/covid-19-protocols/ I took a leap of faith and ordered some ivermectin from a pharmacy listed on their website around thanksgiving when omicron was first emerging as a variant of concern. Hat tip to a commenter (don’t recall who) here who shared that information. I just received my order earlier this week and it provides me some peace of mind knowing that I have that option readily available if I happen to get COVID. Actually just tested negative today along with my daughter who was exposed at school on Monday. I’ve been taking vitamin D, C, zinc, turmeric, on mostly a daily basis. Eat plenty of oranges, fruit, etc. Of course masking, avoiding people, and good hygiene is important. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the medical establishment would allow early treatment with off label drugs?

    1. clarky90

      I agree with you.

      I bought 1 kg of kalongi Seeds (aka, Black Seeds or Nigella Sativa) at my local India Mart. It was in the spice section. I use it as a delicious flavoring when I cook. ……

      COVID-19 early treatment: real-time analysis of 1,200 studies

      Nigella Sativa is #6 on the list.

      Very inexpensive.

  26. marym

    > Capitol seizure

    The “front” that consisted of “Trump’s legal minions [seeking] madly for some pretext upon which to nullify the election” didn’t start on January 6 or even with the planning for it. If we’re only talking the Trump era, it started well before Election Day, and continued for the next two months of lawsuits, pressure on public officials, and propaganda.

    The “front” of Capitol rioters was a mostly temper tantrum by a segment of the non-elite who believe only they are Real America and entitled to have their votes counted. Some of them may have intended more extreme violence, and some on the Trump-and-minion front may have seen them as useful dupes; but many of them seem to have imagined that by just showing up and yelling loud enough, Real America would be heard, and Trump would still be president despite losing the election.

    The long-term Republican project to nullify the voting rights of those they see as unlikley to vote for them continues on many fronts, unopposed by establishment Republicans and Democrats alike. National Review writers (and Congressional Democrats) posturing about a Trumpist riot/coup just prefer to take a more sedate path to permanent minority rule.

  27. lance ringquist

    this is for “left in wisconsin” or anyone else that’s perplexed about how trump is getting away with it. i could have written this article.


    “It is a common refrain among moderate and progressive Democrats when the subject is white working class voters: “The poor misguided fools. They keep voting against their interests.”

    In truth the Democrats are the misguided fools; the working class knows exactly what it is doing. It is voting for anyone—whether Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders—who promises to blow up the current system, a system which favors billionaires and corporations. And when the choice is between a bomb thrower and someone representing the party of Goldman Sachs and free trade, that choice is a no-brainer.”

    i dare no post more, it might get pulled as is. but the next paragraph and the rest of the article is all about nafta billy clintons nafta, and other things nafta democrats did.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It is voting for anyone—whether Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders—who promises to blow up the current system

      Since 2008, this has been the calculus. Interesting to think that if Palin had been the Presidential candidate, and McCain the Veep, the Republicans might have won.

  28. IMOR

    An hour or two? On I10, or “the 10” as they say there? Great news, because 25 and 20 years ago I spent 3+ several times out of a half dozen trips.

  29. Samuel Conner

    I’m sure that fomite transmission is eminently feasible. You just need to take a nasopharyngeal swab fresh from an infectious patient and jam it into your own nasal cavity.

    Not that handwashing would be much help in that case, though.

  30. Jason Boxman

    Workers! Sit. The. F*k. Down.

    Complaints about high inflation have been surging since the spring, but Mr. Powell and the Fed stuck to their view that it would fade and that they needed to move gingerly in pulling back on stimulative policies. That started to change with a piece of economic data on Oct. 29 that is closely followed by economists but gets relatively few headlines — a surge in the employment cost index.

    That surprisingly high number suggested that employers’ spending on wages and benefits was rising faster in the summer months than economists had thought. It put Mr. Powell on alert that inflationary pressures had the potential to be broader and longer lasting than the Fed had been expecting.

    Well done, Biden! Well done!

    Can’t have those workers getting any ideas, even in an environment with rising costs for food and fuel.

    Why Jerome Powell Pivoted on Inflation

  31. Soredemos

    “Whatever pr0n is about, it’s not about sex.”

    Er, what? Yes it is. It’s about being an aid to help people get off.

    No, kids shouldn’t be exposed to it, but there are lots of things kids probably shouldn’t be exposed to.

      1. Soredemos

        As someone who has, uh, utilized, a lot of porn over the years, I completely disagree. It’s primarily about providing stimulus for sexual release (does this come under ‘spectacle’?). Yes, power and abuse are definitely flavors that exist in porn, it would be foolish to try and deny that, but that isn’t what all porn is.

  32. Acacia

    Re: “The Log4J Vulnerability…”

    As some wag on Twitter commented:

    “We don’t need everyone to upgrade log4j, just enough for herd immunity to take over.”

  33. Steve Ruis

    In the COVID graph under “West” with the caption “Yikes, California!” the y-axis of that graph is “new cases” not new cases per 100,000 population or some other relative indicator. And California has a population bigger that all of the other states combined, and if you plotted all of the other western states combined, that would be performing more poorly than California, no?

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