By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I had to focus on beating up on Zeints, Walensky, and Fauci, and so I got a late start. Here is a skeletal version. I will break my rule on UPDATEs, and add more material in an hour or so. –lambert UPDATE I added a Politics section, since that seems to be today’s energy vortex. Tomorrow I will return to the regular order.
Bird Song of the Day
I’m having a good time with migratory birds because their songs are so various.
I’ve started adding “NOT UPDATED” in front of the charts (mostly CDC) that were not updated by the time of this posting. —lambert
The South and the Northeast plunge. Could be reporting. (If by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba had been doing pretty well on vax, despite all the sturm und drang in the press.
61.4% of the US is fully (doubly) vaccinated (CDC data, such as it is, as of December 19. The stately 0.1% rise per day returns. We have broken the important 61% psychological barrier! Mediocre by world standards, being just below Hungary, and just above Turkey in the Financial Times league tables as of this Monday).
Case count by United States regions:
The fiddling and diddling abruptly ends. Also, as happened in 2020, I would expect a second, higher peak, from Omicron if for no other reason.
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.)
NOT UPDATED 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. Not updated:
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:
I wrote: “We’ll see if gets choppy again, or not.” This blip upward is the first sign of choppiness.
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.
NOT UPDATED From CDC: “Community Profile Report” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:
Maine improved. Upper Midwest improved. Acela corridor sketchy. 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 fleck of red in the middle of New York near the Pennsylvania border is, I think, Ithaca (i.e., Cornell).
The previous release:
NOT UPDATED 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):
824,520. At this rate, I don’t think we’ll hit the million mark by New Year’s. I have drawn an anti-triumphalist “Fauci Line” to demonstrate that the “new normal” for deaths is quite high, even before Omicron has hit.
NOT UPDATED. 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 is looking better (I highlighted them) but I think that’s a reporting artifact. Gauteng empties out in the holiday season, I am told; some go to the beach, others up-country. So it’s really too soon to declare victory. Look at the UK, too. 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
““A Punishing American Zeitgeist” | An Interview with Nikhil Pal Singh” [The Drift]. I linked to this when it first ran, back in February. Pretty good call: “One of the strongest arguments against Trump as a harbinger of the death of our already anemic democracy is the one that points to his fundamental weakness and laziness: Trump was not ultimately interested in staffing the government with the kind of personnel who could pull the many levers that you would need to pull in order to pull off a coup. Even the judges that have been put into place by conservatives, including by Trump himself, over these last four years shot down every gambit he put before them to try and overturn the election. We still have to think about what it means to get a crowd of that size willing to do what they did, which is a serious thing. I don’t want to minimize what happened. In relative terms, however, there was no significant mass mobilization against Trump’s defeat. This suggests that Trumpism remains civically thin, lacking durable associational force. By contrast, every powerful institution — from Congress to the Chamber of Commerce to Twitter and Facebook and the big financial donors and the big corporations — closed ranks very quickly and harshly against the rioters and the people who incited them. ”
“The Paperwork Coup” [The Atlantic]. ” Evidence about the insurrection suggests that although the mob was an obvious threat to human life, it was never an especially serious one to American democracy. Coordination within the crowd seems to have been sporadic, and if White House officials were in touch with organizers, they weren’t likely directing them. Moreover, it’s not clear how the insurrection might have successfully kept Trump in office, even if it had managed to prevent certification that day.” But on a separate track: “That left Trump with one last gambit: keeping Congress from certifying the election on January 6. Most legal scholars agreed that the day’s proceedings were meant to be a formality, but Trump’s kitchen Cabinet had decided they were a place to make a stand. One prong was a bid to get the Justice Department to simply say the election was corrupt “+ leave the rest to me and the R[epublican] Congressmen” (as a DOJ official recorded Trump saying). It’s still not entirely clear what Trump hoped to do once he’d received that declaration, but in any case it came up short. Rosen refused, and Trump’s attempt to replace him with a loyalist atop the department crashed at a January 3 meeting, where Cipollone and top Justice Department officials threatened to resign en masse. The second prong was to persuade Pence to block or delay certification on January 6.”
“Biden Concerned Ambitious Agenda Could Be Stalled By Him Not Really Caring If It Happens Or Not” [The Onion]. • From May. The Onion nails it again. Cf. Stoller:
A rule of thumb for Democrats is that it’s important not just to lose but to be thoroughly humiliated.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) December 19, 2021
This is another view of the mentality I’ve labeled auto-Kinbaku-bi…. The trick handcuffs are, indeed, humiliating, especially when its obvious you could have removed them at any time.
“Why you shouldn’t expect a Biden shake-up” [The Hill]. • I don’t think they can get better people than they already have. Best part of this article: “The White House is also dealing with a nagging pandemic….” A “nagging pandemic”? Really?
“Manchin hits back at White House pressure on Biden plan” [The Hill]. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) hit back at White House staff Monday and warned that Democrats had miscalculated by thinking that they could pressure him into backing President Biden’s spending plan. ‘They figured surely to God we can move one person. We surely can badger and beat one person up. Surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough that they’ll just say, ‘OK I’ll vote for anything,” he said in a local radio interview. ‘Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period,’ Manchin added.” • Clad in the armor of a righteous cause, yadda yadda yadda…
“White House Calls Out Manchin for ‘Inexplicable Reversal’ on Build Back Better” [Rolling Stone]. “According to Psaki, Manchin met with Biden at the president’s Wilmington, Del., home ‘weeks ago,’ where he ‘committed … to support the Build Back Better framework that the president then subsequently announced.’ Manchin then ‘pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework ‘in good faith.”… The president and Manchin then spoke again this week on Tuesday. The White House said Manchin ‘submitted—to the president, in person, directly—a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the president’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities.'” • As we know, Manchin does like to write down these things; that’s what he did with Schumer. And if the story is true — are there recordings? — I can see Biden being ticked off about being lied to in his own home. On Capitol Hill, surely. But not at his home.
“White House blasts Manchin’s “inexplicable reversal” on Build Back Better Act” [CBS]. “Whether Manchin’s comments Sunday morning represent an outright end to talks over the Build Back Better Act or were simply a negotiating maneuver remains to be seen. People familiar with his thinking told CBS News that he remains committed to working on provisions in the bill with more targeted legislation through regular legislative order.” • With plenty of means testing! And no dental for the good people of West Virginia, gawd forbid.
On testing, from Michael Mina, who is very sound on that topic:
Let’s give credit where credit is due – the last administration (particularly @DrGiroir) made massive strides on tests. We went from no rapid tests to distributing hundreds of millions – and created @NIH RADx!!!
The Current admin spent 8 months mostly neglecting them. https://t.co/XUK983crF7
— Michael Mina (@michaelmina_lab) December 18, 2021
In retrospect (and no, I don’t love Trump), Trump left Biden with a not entirely bad hand to play. The former guy gave Biden the vaccines that Biden subsequently put all his chips on. Not only that, the former guy gave Biden the business model: Operation Warp Speed. Why in the name of all that is Holy didn’t Biden apply the same model to tests? And masks? And treatments?
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!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“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…
already did suspend the filibuster for specific reasons in the past and would now for SC nominees. It has razor-thin margins yet can still pass massive spending bills. Invoking Manchin or Sinema doesn't really explain the puzzle; it just re-describes it.
— corey robin (@CoreyRobin) December 2, 2021
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”:
Democrats will solve the problem of minoritarian tyranny by losing the popular vote. https://t.co/hdw4IxTu2b
— Alice in Winter (@AliceFromQueens) November 18, 2021
NEW It is said, I believe by Thomas Frank, that the Democrats are the Party of Betrayal. Certainly the “Build Back Better” debacle provides many examples of combinatorial betrayal. Manchin betrayed Biden (by lying to Biden at his house). Biden betrayed everybody (by believing, I am persuaded, and acting as if he had Manchin’s vote in his pocket*). Schumer betrayed everybody (by keeping Manchin’s written request a secret). Pelosi betrayed Jayapal (by splitting BIF and BBB into two bills and by relying on Republican votes). The Democrat leadership betrayed the Progressive Caucus (by explicitly and verbally making the face-to-face promise that BBB would be passed, and then not delivering). And, though this is harsh, Sanders betrayed his voters with his 2020 turn toward electoralism (by personally liking Biden, and relying on his deal-making ability, now shown to be a sham). I don’t think the Squad betrayed anybody, unless you regard participating in the process as a betrayal, so there’s that. NOTE * I believe Biden’s top line was Manchin’s from the beginning, and nowhere near Sanders’.
* * *
“Liberals disappointed after Biden’s first year” [The Hill]. “‘Biden deserves high marks on how his team has navigated a national health crisis,” said Michael Ceraso, a progressive strategist and former campaign worker for Sanders. ‘But that doesn’t give his administration or congressional Democrats a pass on not reforming the criminal justice system, watching voting rights erode and the right to protest stripped, and allowing reproductive health to be under siege.'” • Lol no, Biden doesn’t deserve high marks when his death count is higher than Trumps. (And now we don’t just have “Democratic strategists,” we have “progressive strategists.” Oh, good.)
“Pretending Problems Don’t Exist Won’t Make Them Disappear” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. “The real shock, for Democrats and left-leaning observers at least, came in a select few neighborhoods of New York City. For the second November in a row, a nonwhite demographic swung hard toward the Republican Party. In 2020, Latinos nationally voted in greater numbers for Trump than they did in 2016. The story was no different in the five boroughs, where Spanish-speaking neighborhoods cast votes for Trump at a much higher rate than four years prior. What came to the fore last month was how Asian voters, particularly Chinese and Korean voters, had migrated to the Republican Party. Though Sliwa lost the race, he won areas that had in earlier elections backed the Democratic standard bearer. In the 40th Assembly District, which ropes in the Asian-majority Queens neighborhood of Flushing, Sliwa beat Adams outright. A year ago, Biden had won almost 62 percent of the vote there. Hillary Clinton, in 2016, broke 67 percent. De Blasio won Flushing too. Sliwa’s performance there got some media attention, given Flushing’s position as one of the largest hubs for Asian immigrants in the United States. The improved Republican performance was not limited to Flushing. In the nearby 25th Assembly District, which takes in several eastern Queens neighborhoods with large Asian populations, Sliwa won 51 percent of the vote to Adams’ 45 percent. In the 26th Assembly District, which ropes in both whiter suburban neighborhoods like Douglaston and the increasingly Asian Bayside, Sliwa ran up the score, netting about 58 percent of the vote. All of this was notable—Biden won 57 percent of the vote in the 26th AD and a whopping 62 percent in the 25th. Another place where the Asian movement to the GOP was pronounced was in my own backyard in southern Brooklyn.” • If only Jebbie had run in 2016….
I’ll file this under 2022, on the hopeful assumption that by 2024, we will have forgotten all about the pandemic:
The political emergency of Covid is over everywhere but among public health nerds and the increasingly fringe group for which The Pandemic gives them purpose. https://t.co/b9pix07uOV
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) December 18, 2021
NC readers are disproportionately public health nerds, so we may be in a bit of an echo chamber, but I’m not sure Stoller’s correct. Surely one way Biden was going to be “not Trump” was solving Covid? Which he has not done? And there’s been plenty of work on the ground by dull normals, not Beltway nerds: Every non-pharmaceutical intervention you can think of, school fights and collective action over ventilation and Corsi boxes, etc.
“GOP maps Biden probes, prelude to 2024 culture war” [Axios]. “House Republicans have begun mapping aggressive probes of the Biden administration if they win back the majority — including inquiries into the origins of COVID, a leak of IRS data about billionaires, and accusations the NSA spied on Tucker Carlson.” • What fun. Seems like pretty minor stuff. Why don’t they just impeach Biden for butchering Trump’s vaccine?
“Kanye West’s ‘Independent’ Campaign Was Secretly Run by GOP Elites” [The Daily Beast]. “New documents show Kanye West’s doomed White House campaign—styled as an “independent” third-party effort—appears to have disguised potentially millions of dollars in services it received from a secretive network of Republican Party operatives, including advisers to the GOP elite and a managing partner at one of the top conservative political firms in the country. Potentially even more alarming? The Kanye 2020 campaign committee did not even report paying some of these advisers, and used an odd abbreviation for another—moves which campaign finance experts say appear designed to mask the association between known GOP operatives and the campaign, and could constitute a violation of federal laws. At the heart of Kanye’s political operation was Holtzman Vogel, one of the most powerful and well-connected law firms serving major Republican political and nonprofit organizations today. And weaved throughout his campaign, whether the multi-platinum rapper realized it or not, were Republican operatives who may have been less interested in seeing a President West than in re-electing President Donald Trump.”
A land war in Asia:
"we need men "who want to sit on a throne of Chinese skulls” 😡😡😡 https://t.co/Yk29kf3dg2
— CM – Zero Covidista (@xuchuanmei) December 19, 2021
That’s not who we need at all. We need people who know what to do when an enormous fleet of Chinese drones appears from the mainland and heads for our carriers. That has little to do with piling up skulls (unless we go nuclear, of course).
Realignment and Legitimacy
John Adams on Sparta:
John Adams had thoughts on Sparta. He really…. *hated* it. " Human nature perished under this system of frigid national pride," writes he: pic.twitter.com/z0bAoQhBfD
— T. Greer (@Scholars_Stage) December 19, 2021
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 (AG):
AG writes: “Last Thursday night, we got our first freeze of the year here in the Sierra foothills of CA, 2700’ elevation. So, still in a daze before coffee kicked in, I went out to see what I could see, hoping for some frost patterns.
The native Black Oak leaves (and acorns) that had fallen looked very interesting, just as the sun peeped over the hill and lit them softly. Especially the ice crystals along the edges of each leaf. I had about five minutes before this very delicate frost melted entirely. As I’m sure any physicist will tell you, the edges or corners of any body will experience the greatest delta transfer of energy, so the crystals along the edges of these leaves will get colder (and most likely bigger, if sufficient water is available from the leaves and air—think dew point— to support their growth) and will also melt first when the sun arrives—relative to the crystals on the surface of the leaves.
The green shoots are the first shoots of the (unfortunately, non–native, meaning European annual, and most unwelcome invader) grasses stimulated by the first rains a couple of weeks ago, and already four inches or more long.”
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Why big drug are in place and who help make it come true. Why we don’t use natural cures any more. There’s no Profit in it.
Some good news if true.The govt my start to track virus and others.
That story is over a year and a half old.
Sorry so it didn’t I guess
The American Elites “Talk A Good Game.”
Stay safe there in Slumberland!
AG–what an artistic, exquisite photo. Bravo!
“Manchin hits back at White House pressure on Biden plan” [The Hill].
@Lambert …. per mention of Chicago School indoctrination.
This is the most important factor above all others in assessing Manchin moves, corner stone to his entire world view[.]
When I recently saw him quoted as saying the nations debt was his driving concern I stopped all other further introspection on what environmental conditions might be influencing his views/agenda – personal interests or otherwise. He is a vassal filled and no amount of wrangling will ever change his beliefs, probably thinks the private sector creates all the wealth for the nation of which the government relies upon to function – you know people like him and his.
Its this perspective that mentally allows him the hall pass for letting the unwashed take the brunt of all the bad decisions pre and post GFC and now Covid. Might actually think he is fighting for some higher purpose, would explain his intractability in allowing any social good which might threaten his perspective.
That’s not to say all the looters in the rest of the Dem or Rep parties would make BBB resemble 3rd world aid or Afghan school building.
PS. people are not dealing with Manchin the person/human … they are dealing with his Faith and until someone takes him to task on that specific front its just a mugs game e.g. needs to be publicly nailed down on it and then see how he reacts to that.
Manchin, it turns out, has principles. Just bad ones.
It depends on how you spell ‘princip–.’
Now America is learning what the Chileans and later Russians learned.
For a group of “West Wing” re-enactors the Biden crew seems to be, I guess they forgot about this episode.
Manchin in one fundamental way is representing his constituents. While many individual provisions in BBB are popular in West Virginia, the bill as a whole is opposed by a large majority. Manchin is a snake, yes, but he also has this one very good reason to oppose the bill.
Personally, I’d almost be inclined to join him. Many of the wonderful sounding provisions come in the form of block grants to the states, a notorious way to make programs sound as if they’re universal when they really end up applying to only a tiny fraction of the population. In sum, the bill is a massive deception. If it has any saving grace, it’s the extension of child tax credits.
They oppose the bill due to sitting around the radio listening to the liars, misinformers and sinners by omission at:
every time i’ve seen anything out of Mansion in the last several months, i’ve thought of Pete Peterson….and wished his grave was a little bit closer to me(the better to pee on it)
and remember, nancy gave a heartfelt eulogy at peterson’s funeral a few years ago.
his ghost obviously has taken up residence in the big white cathouse on the hill.
nafta billy clinton called him a great american.
My reading is that Manchin feels to be the ‘victim’ here of attacks by old Joe. Being the victim always plays well.
This sort has no dramas with lower classes/unwashed being ground up to serve ***their principles***[h/t Lambert] … but ZOMG … watch out when anyone attempts to get them to bend a bit for the common good ….
Down right screams about authoritarianism and being forced[tm] against ones will with the destruction of reality as we know it.
So the next question is if things really start to break down and social norms with it … where will he stand on the question of deploying force to pull everyone in line. My bet is he will be loud and proud … funny how that works … eh
I worked with Ceraso on Bernie’s 2016 campaign in NH. IIRC he came from Uber. Always struck me as disheveled and a poor communicator. And, while I’d like to say he is a poor measuring stick of Bernie camp alumni, I know a saddeningly high number of people who have gone into liberal and imperial projects post-campaign rather than work to build the movement (Harvard MBAs, Indivisible, counterterrorism). (I cannot say I have contributed a great deal to that end, due to recurring mental health issues, though I have still not given up the fight in my heart.) There are exceptions, of course, but the American Left remains as adrift as it ever was, at least since the betrayal of the AFL in the ’30s.
“We are intent on not letting omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this,” he said. “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.” – Zients White House Covid Response team.
What anti-vaxxer is going to get a shot after that kind-of messaging?
Joe Biden is threatening to kill us. It’s happening guys.
Lambert, I checked 91-DIVOC and did some math:
1/21/21 was 323 days since 10 deaths, roughly 1,290 deaths per day (417k deaths/323 days).
Since then (last day of data on the site), another 322 days, 806k deaths, so 1,208 deaths per day.
One can fiddle a bit with the numbers, but the results would be close.
Of course the current admins responses are as you have documented and detailed mostly sorely lacking; OTOH the more transmissible varients have appeared since 1/21/21.
So I have trouble seeing how Biden’s death rate is higher. Perhaps I’m missing something.
I think that it is based on the fact that more American have died after Inauguration Day than in the days before it. And it will only get worse as their only solutions are Big Pharma vaccines with zip on masks, paid lockdowns, ventilation, and other things like zinc and Vitamin D for example. If they had gotten on top of the pandemic they would have been heroes who would have crushed the Republicans in 2024. Now? Nothing but a pathetic whimper to go on.
I wrote “806k deaths” but that’s from the beginning, 806-417=389k deaths in virtually the same amount of time (323 days before 1/21/21, 322 days after). So as of today, yes more have died, but at the point 91-DIVOC is at, where the time before/after inaugeration is about equal, 28k fewer deaths. Neither per-day nor total is higher.
Give it another 12 weeks.
> And there’s been plenty of work on the ground by dull normals,
Me thinks N95s and lateral flow assays may become the new normal “bring to dinner” gifts, and for many other expressions of “I value your existence”.
I don’t expect much in the way of such expressions from our rulers.
There’s something rather Nietzschean about Carlson’s guest, and the pathos behind the sentiment. The right supports the modern war machine, and would do nothing to get in its way. But, fundamentally, they’re not satisfied by it. It brings death and destruction in a way the warfare of old doesn’t, but it doesn’t create Heroes the way the warfare of old did. It’s precisely because a theoretical sino-american war would be fought entirely by drone pilots manning joysticks in offices that upsets them.
They make a big mistake in not considering that any American complicity in a strike against Chinese interests will be countered with similar strikes against American interests. This is no sandbox in which to play soldiers.
Why does the idea of an American Empire headed by a senile old fool remind me strongly of AustroHungary in 1912?
Pat Tillman is the only household name of any GI Joe or Jane in our last couple of decades of futility, and he bought the farm thanks to friendly fire.
I could name a dozen allied or axis fighter pilots from WW2, but couldn’t tell you the name of any of our jet jockeys, not a 1 of them.
wife was nuking leftovers when i played that clip(rather loudly).
“i bet he j**ks off to conan movies”.
the biggest takeaway from my youth as a weirdo genius kid in rural texas: bullies are generally wimps underneath…frightened little boys.
that’s who talks about thrones of human skulls…wimps. such rhetoric is the blanket they hide under.
Not all bullies are wimps.
One of the Sadists I have encountered has his picture on the Marine Corps recruiting poster, a highly intelligent totally amoral stone killer.
He did very well in business after being asked being asked to leave the corps, something about dead and crippled recruits…
“But, fundamentally, they’re not satisfied by it. It brings death and destruction in a way the warfare of old doesn’t, but it doesn’t create Heroes the way the warfare of old did. It’s precisely because a theoretical sino-american war would be fought entirely by drone pilots manning joysticks in offices that upsets them.”
I think you’re onto something. There’s a weird vibe of insecurity where they are itching for a war as an opportunity to prove their masculine credentials. A lot of these folks agree with Josh Hawley’s complaints about video games as a kind of thing that drains away the masculinity, too.
In order to deploy these sorts of guys in a less dangerous fashion, we’re going to have to revive the Olympics a bit more, or find some other sporting competition (World Cup?) where they can play out their cartoonish fantasies of achieving a satisfactory level of chest-beating superiority over a foe.
““A Punishing American Zeitgeist” | An Interview with Nikhil Pal Singh” [The Drift]. I linked to this when it first ran, back in February.
And finally what we have to pay attention to is what Trump actually did while he was president. There was a theater of cruelty in the Trump administration — around the border, around the wall, around detention. There was a willingness to break from prohibitions on overt racist utterances; rhetorical cruelty is part of the Trump repertoire. But in a sense, the greatest achievements of his administration were massive tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate tax cuts, and appointing conservative judges at every level of the court system — all longstanding conservative and GOP priorities.
The government has been oriented, for the last fifty years, towards a tremendously unbalanced and unequal political economy and criminal punishment regime, one that arrested and locked up tens of millions, and that has now rendered more than 40 percent of the population one paycheck or medical emergency away from financial ruin. We have to ask big structural questions, and I think when we do, the idea of Trump’s exceptionalism is really put into perspective. He’s more a symptom of the kind of governing orientation that has led us to this point.
Former President Donald Trump was booed* by a portion of an audience in Dallas on Sunday when he said he had received a Covid-19 booster shot, according to video of the closed press event that was shared on social media.
The comments by Trump — who, despite championing his administration’s efforts to develop Covid vaccines, rarely discusses his own vaccination and has largely declined to encourage others to get it — came during a stop of his tour with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
According to video tweeted by O’Reilly’s “No Spin News,” the former Fox News host says, “Both the President and I are vaxxed” and then asks Trump, “Did you get the booster?”
“Yes,” Trump says to a smattering of boos in the audience. “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,” Trump says in the video, seemingly trying to quiet the boos. “That’s all right, it’s a very tiny group over there.”
* booed by how many???? Is 30 people in five thousand newsworthy? HOW MANY?
If it has been said once, it has been said a zillion times – Trump is just a standard repub who says the quiet part out loud. And rarely, Trump will acknowledge some profound truths (e.g., to O’Riley that American has done bad things too in response to the idea that Putin is a bad man; that McCain was not a hero, etcetera).
Trump doesn’t lead, Trumps follows. But with regard to health insurance or other things that the vast majority wants – in that respect, Trump fails to represent the majority like both parties do…
I don’t see how they could get a count, but its audible enough in the video.
While self-identifying as a Republican or leaning Republican is one of the strongest identification predictors of remaining unvaccinated, it is important to note that a majority (59%) of this group (Republican and Republican-leaners) does report receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Taking a guess that it’s a higher income bracket of the party so it’s probably not 40%, but could see it being 5% of the crowd.
For me I found the story to be affirmation of my feelings that he doesn’t plan to run again. If he was he’d know to have worked out with O’Reilly before hand not to bring it up. Other Republican media stars know not to admit their vaccination status. Could be put under “Trumps Waning Star Watch”
It’s going to be interesting to see if the GOP “bends the knee”, allowing Trump to run again in 2024 or if they promote one of their own. Let’s see how many “Trump-backed candidates” are able to successfully challenge the establishment GOP types. Trump mania seems to have subsided a bit to my reckoning. Curious if anyone feels otherwise or has differing anecdata. Someone commented recently about there still being flags/lawn-signs etc being displayed prominently. Im weirdly looking forward to ’22 if only for the mid-terms. Not looking forward to #OmniSurge, though …
It’s going to be Tucker Carlson, and he’s going to win unless the Democrats completely implode in 2022 and then succeed in building a functional party with all new leadership in a year.
and throne of skulls guy as secdef….
as for the trump signs, flags and banners:
out here, most of the remaining trump bling on barbed wire fences and fancy ranch gates is in disrepair…tattered by the wind, bleached by the sun…like the one’s who hung it died, and have no heirs to clean up after them.
but there are a few…obviously the most trumpy of all, given the over the top ostentation…who have updated all that mess, and proudly carry the torch.
one of these is a welding shop owner in the town up the road…a hateful, misogynist, racist asshat*…who erected about 20 full sized flagpoles in front of the shop for the purpose…all “2024”.
i think trump’s star has faded, as well…at least barring some new development.
and the revolutionary fervor, too…feels exhausted…tired…ready to move on.
all that’s left is the residuum of hatred and animosity…but without real focus…
all of which feels, to me, a lot like where we were out here in 2015: politics is meaningless, and none of them care about us.
(*i hate doing business with the guy, but it’s the only place to refill oxy/acetylene for 100 miles…i always wear something radical when i need a refill, make sure the bernie stickers are visible to everybody…and when he polls/interrogates(which he does to everybody), am honest and forthright regarding new new deal, etc…because i’m armed, too, dammit)
The attempts to manipulate reality are getting even more ham handed. CNN can’t handle the cognitive dissonance that Trump isnt the cause of “vaccine hesitance”, and so has to insert snide commentary that he isn’t pro vaccine enough according to some unsubstantiated failure to reach an undefined level of exuberance. As if he turned into Orange Fauci everything would be fine and the pandemic would end. It’s jarring to read.
So in other words, Russiagate and Ukrainegate did nothing to stop the forward motion / progress of the ruling class via the dual-faced political party. Something already well in progress; gaining evermore momentum.
Well nothing but provide us with 4 plus (and still going) years of distraction, entertainment, and analysis. And to further stymie whatever momentum the Sanders 2016 revolution might have gained. Remember also Trump at times used similar populist language in his ads. I’m sure there was overlap and similar expectations, or perhaps hopes, from the seemingly different groups.
In all likelihood nothing ever would’ve come of it anyway, but I think Russiagate was an insurance policy to make sure nothing could.
Pelosi announces plans for observance of one-year Jan. 6 anniversary
Pelosi Organization reveals plan to celebrate Jan 6 Anniversary with Special Commemorative “PeloCoin” NFT.
(Why not? Even PayPal is now pushing Crypto on it’s platform.)
Kente cloths and mail-in ballots?
And by 2040 they will have the “Jan 6 Association” made up of surviving members of the Capital Police and the Rioters who were there that day who will share a meal and swap stories of where they were and what they were doing that day. For entertainment, they will watch the “Jan 6 Reenactors Society” stage a representation of what happened that day who will be wearing the clothes and uniforms of that time period. Souvenirs available at the Capital Building Souvenir Shop after the walk through the Capital Building by members of that Society.
Dress up like a barbarian and chase some doddering legislators around? Sounds like a good time. Bring the kids.
Ashli Babbitt Day
May i remind you….
Jim Cramer was shown simply affirming “Your money is safe in Bear Stearns”, followed by a Daily Show statement that the global investment bank went under six days later. “If I’d only followed CNBC’s advice, I’d have a million dollars today”, Stewart said during the piece, “provided I’d started with a hundred million dollars.”
I referenced the quote in that Cramer caught Covid today despite being 3x vaxed, and might need to take his own advice, ha ha.
I still remember when Stewart raked Cramer over the coals in that epic interview. I should dig it out to see whether or not it still resonates like it did back in the day.
Funny how all these years later Cramer is still around after that public pounding he took. Or maybe that’s just my nostalgia showing its face.
Is that what they call, “a buy signal”?
Is he shorting the market?
Good news on the vaccine development front: Novavax’s Covid Vaccine Is Authorized in Europe.
Now we’ll have to see how effective it is in the wild.
So we’ll see.
As near as I could tell, the pandemic ended over a year ago judging by how busy I saw downtown Somerville last year, with restaurants as packed as was then allowed, or in Raleigh around that same time, with every venue I drove past packed with cars. And mind you, this was before any vaccine availability.
We’re headed down a dark path.
The thought occurs that if long Covid and immune dysregulation-induced cancers become widespread, it will have significant consequences for the sustainability of American Empire.
Maybe the dysfunction at the top of American governance is actually a well-camouflaged peace operation. (Very well camouflaged, given the rhetoric toward geostrategic competitors.)
> The thought occurs that if long Covid and immune dysregulation-induced cancers become widespread, it will have significant consequences for the sustainability of American Empire.
Well, and essentially everywhere except for China.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
You’d think that the red-baiting China-China-China! hyper-ventilators would see this. But apparently their paranoia is coupled with a healthy dose of myopia. The future will belong to the Chinese and those who align with them. African nations will turn their backs on Europe and the US wholesale within the next decade. And I’m totally here for it.
At this point China could find a cure for cancer and discover a viable method of harnessing fusion power, and the clowns who run things in DC would find a way to spin even that into a negative and use it as an excuse to send more carrier strike groups into the East China Sea.
Dead Eyes Tony, Porcine Pompeo, Deplorable Hillary, WMD Powell and Kill Em All Albright, and the presidents that appointed them, have more in common with assassins and mob enforcers than serious and sober diplomats and heads of state.
Negotiations between nations with conflicting interests aren’t always easygoing but that is where the skill of diplomacy is supposed to come into play. America’s chief diplomats’ habit of issuing threats and ultimatums, making promises they don’t intend to keep, spinning outrageous and dangerous lies, bullying rivals and allies alike and disrespecting human life to the extreme is embarrassing to behold, not to mention harmful to peace and stability on planet Earth.
They could learn a lot from Sergei Lavrov who is probably the world’s premier contemporary diplomat and a joy to watch in action. But of course they won’t. Because that would be downright un-American.
Our so-called diplomats ignore the most basic principle of all, namely that what goes around eventually comes around. One of these days America is going to overextend itself or tangle with a rival that can actually shoot back. Bullies get their way because they are feared, not because they are respected. But all that changes when their power fades or their victims get stronger and are no longer afraid. Then it’s payback time.
When America’s 15 minutes in the Empire spotlight are over will we accept normal country status and reinvent ourselves in a constructive way that benefits our people, or will America lash out like a wounded animal and as a final act of Empire unleash the Jackpot upon the world?
the nafta democrats and the wealthy were duped by the chinese communist party, today they have found out they own nothing, the chinese communist party owns there proprietary property, their factories, the chinese now have the skills of the american workers that the nafta democrats threw away because of their hatreds for working people.
that hatred runs deep, but they refuse to look into the mirror and admit its their own fault.
the nafta democrats have a plan, blame the deporable and make them pay.
they are like mad dogs striking out at anything, very dangerous indeed.
Yea – Stoller is objectively right that most of the public have given up and is supportive of “Let Er Rip”. You’d have to never leave the house to not realize this.
He was objectively right about where the public mind was yesterday, but he is probably wrong if it was meant to be a prediction of where the public mind will be in a few weeks, much less November.
I’m not saying that the public is right just that he’s right about the public’s position. And they’ve mostly shrugged off the first 800k deaths what’s a few hundred thousand more. Deaths can climb but as long as the case fatality rate doesn’t climb too high back up I think people are just going to accept it much like they accept other shitty aspects of life under capitalism.
Stoller is an odd one, his monopoly takes are great and I follow him daily. On COVID however – he’s called the vaccines a “magic bullet” in the past and he personally thinks the emergency is over, that we just have to live with it. Frankly, when it comes to COVID he’s a bit of a crank.
This is an odd model for what happens when Cryptocurrency goes the way of the Dodo, but it’s eerily similar with incredibly unsophisticated ‘investors’ leading the charge…
Sounds a bit like Scotland’s Darien scheme-
Just to be clear, Joe Manchin is a scumbag of the highest order:
Per the St. Louis Fed, the median income in W. Virginia is $51,615 in 2020.
And from KFF (2017):
The US Census estimates a population of 1,792,147 in W. Virginia in 2019.
Check my math, but that’s about 31% of the human beings (in 2019) in wealthy Joe Manchin’s state are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. And this is all before the pandemic devastated the working class’ finances.
And he talks like he cares about the people of his state, heh, yeah. Monstrous.
That guest on Tucker’s show is ridiculous. Keep nuts like that away from the reigns of power.
There is NO military answer to hypersonic missiles, much like there’s no military answer to the Chinese ‘carrier killer’ missiles or, as lambert points out, to Chinese drone swarms.
That guy doesn’t realize he needs to placate himself with the number of Chinese skulls racked up by Douglas MacArthur in the 1950s during the Korean War. MacArthur was another hot-headed nut that was rightfully fired by Harry Truman for wanting to go nuclear against the Chinese.
The Chinese, just like the Russians, have nukes. Period. End of story. Any war with China risks nuclear annihilation. That caveat/disclaimer needs to be required just like the ones the tech companies put on social media posts about covid.
There is NO military answer to hypersonic missiles
reigns of power
Nice play on words. I like it. Book title anybody? Hillary2024?
Minor quibble: Truman didn’t fire MacArthur because he wanted to go to war with China, nor even because he wanted to nuke them. That was a damned good reason to fire him, but MacArthur was publicly calling Truman a chump and a coward. No President can tolerate that. See the case of Wossisname McChrystal.
Watching one of the more boring games of the year between the Browns & Raiders which was rescheduled on account of so many players having Covid, and every other tv commercial is for gambling on NFL games and then comes a commercial with a has been NFL coach (Steve Mariucci) who has been out of the league for 15 years, writing gibberish on a chalk board and it turns out to be a PSA for ‘responsible gambling’ ha ha!
Except for Lottery ads (and do they count?) I’ve never seen a gambling commercial in my life.
This is typical fare, a Caesar’s Sportsbook gambling commercial…
Had no idea that was Halle Berry as Cleo.
I was wondering who that was! thanks
Come Downunder. They are non stop on every sporting telecast. The volume of gambling ads on free to air TV here is incredible. They have completely normalised gambling and odds making in children as they are now immersed in it when they watch any sport. Completely primed for when they turn 18.
NFL Officials Allowed To Skip COVID Testing Line In Manhattan [Gothamist]
Remembering for no particular reason that bread lines helped spark the French Revolution.
pelosi ignores that smell and pivots effortlessly:
the highway bill is all we’ll hear about in campaign ads from team blue.
“Because Democrats Deliver”
gag me with a spoon.
and Mansion can pirouette, too:
in his plan, CTC is out.
wanna lay odds that mansion will be the team blue fave for preznit in 2024?
Meanwhile, here in Oz our political misleadership says that the way to deal with Omicron is – wait for it – a booster shot. So the new “vaccination” will be a three-shot course with the booster shot possibly being given within three months of the second shot. So, it won’t be about closing borders, lockdowns, masking etc. but our government supplying the shots and, their duty being done, it being up to people to go get them-
“Not only that, the former guy gave Biden the business model: Operation Warp Speed. Why in the name of all that is Holy didn’t Biden apply the same model to tests? And masks? And treatments?”
Nothing about Sleepy Joe screams “warp speed.”
Sharing this link to the latest COVID situation update from the Mayor of DC.
If you download the presentation at that link, you’ll see that DC is planning to provide every citizen in the District up to 2 free rapid antigen tests per day. They’re also delaying a return to school after Christmas break so that kids can be tested prior to returning to class. For the data lovers among us, they broke out the case rate data for the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated.
I can’t help but feel that the approach outlined by the Mayor of DC is a slap in the face to the Biden administration. Note to Jen Psaki, yes, the government is just giving everyone tests for free right outside your door. It’s just not the Federal government…
Maybe I hangout at the wrong places on the Internet, but I keep getting Survey Monkey surveys about the pandemic. Question:
Several questions about gas prices.
I don’t even know what half this stuff is and I read NC all day long. (Maybe I have a compulsion.)
They do ask about party affiliation if any and the usual demographic questions.
And then it’s over; No “thank you” for participating or nothing. Fun. Like Joe Biden thanking everyone for their sacrifices during the pandemic.
At least they didn’t promise you an “extra” $600 USD.
Re: Stoller thinking the pandemic is over.
Massachusetts (and I’m sure other states) has suspended most inpatient elective surgery.
Someone I love is in real pain and should have had surgery months ago but backlogs and now this.
The smugness of Stoller telling other people they live in a bubble. Even if most Americans are living in Stroller’s bubble now, it’s still a bubble and it will pop as more people they know suffer from the collapsing healthcare system.
This is something NC has covered, but a common sense light seems to be coming on in people’s heads:
“…essentially making ordinary drivers on public roads part of a vast experiment of the company’s autonomous vehicle technology….”
Because the only way they are going to be able to call any of it “intelligent” is after actual humans do all the adapting to change – like always with all tech.