2:00PM Water Cooler Christmas Eve 2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Here is the King’s College Cambridge Choir, singing “Once in Royal David’s City.”

No commentary needed. A Merry Christmas to us all!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. fresno dan

      I wish you good times, good health, and a very good year!
      And I wish the same for all the contributors, commentariat and readers!!

    1. foghorn longhorn

      The wife and I referenced that earlier today.
      It’s not a bad little isle, we rather like it here.
      Merry Christmas to one and all.

  1. Pat

    The good conversation has been covered by Yves and her elves. But I also wish for good health, good food, good will, and good friends for everyone here.

    And light in the deep midwinter…

  2. Arizona Slim

    It’s RAINING here in Tucson! Woo-hoo!

    I wish the same kind of weather wonderment to everyone else.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas
      Just like the ones I used to know
      Where the tree tops glisten
      And children listen
      To hear downpipes and gutters flow

      It looks like ours will be sunny, warm, and (as usual) full of seasonally inappropriate iconography.

    2. Mantid

      Yes, Merry Christmas, hope everyone had a good Hanukkah and we too are getting lots of rain. Here in the Pac. N.W. the rain is quite cold. Trimming fruit trees I had to give up – it’s gonna be a snow day – indoor recess to everyone. Hotep!

  3. Patrick Morrison

    I am grateful for being informed, educated, and challenged every day by the site’s keepers and commentators. I wish you all a time of rest and refreshment and hope for the year to come.

  4. chuck roast

    My family is what I got, but my extended family is what I need. All the best to the NC family members everywhere.

  5. Wukchumni

    Twas the night before Christmas and all through the blog, no news stirring, or mouths agog. Stalking stories halted by a lack of care in hopes that the new year would soon be here. The moderators were nestled away from their reads, while visions of sugar-plum comments danced in their heads…

  6. skippy

    Marry Xmas from day origin … taking beasties for a long walk …

    Slim we have some rain too, at least temps are down in the high 20C with all the humidity around. BTW my memory of AZ was rain = flood … mixed outcomes – beautiful desert flowers.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      And no birthday tidings for Baby Jesus without honoring Mommy, with a beautiful, understated “Ave Maria” from Brazil… and Merry Happy to all…


  7. Michael Ismoe

    Just a quick note of thanks to the Biden Administration for making sure “that we even have a Christmas this year.” It was their quick thinking and “can-do” attitude to untangle the ports that has not seen about these parts since all of America’s manufacturing got together to beat back the Nazi hoards. Christmas 2021 was saved by the Democrats. If you ever want to see another Christmas again, Vote straight Blue, no matter who.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Christmas day here so happy holidays to everyone and may you all be at peace. Special Christmas wishes to NC’s hosts too who have to deal with so much through the year and are now on a well deserved break.

  9. ChrisRUEcon

    To Everyone:

    ¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Prospero Año Y Felizidad!

    The pandemic is a pox upon the world, but having #NC as a site from which to draw knowledge and through which to share, gives me hope!

  10. John k

    Wonderfully informative and civil site.
    Seasons greeting, and best wishes to all for a happy, healthy 2022.

  11. Mark Gisleson

    Mercury rose above 30° in SE MN today, a heavy fog rolled in and stayed. This far inland a lighthouse foghorn wasn’t in the cards but I kept hoping for a hound baying on the moors (er, corn fields — but in the fog who can tell?). Instead I got the yappy dog two houses over.

    Still, a spookier Christmas than most with Omicron lurking around every corner.

    Have a Happy Christ-o-ween or a Merry Boo-mas, whichever your faith celebrates!

  12. Fiery Hunt

    Merry Christmas and seasons greetings to one and all!

    Whatever beliefs, whatever traditions,….

    Be good to yourself and yours. And enjoy another day above ground.

  13. tsyganka

    Peace always in all ways to everyone, and thanks to all who make this site what it is. — Here are wishes for the new year – selected verses from “In Memoriam” (ring out wild bells):

    Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
    The flying cloud, the frosty light:
    The year is dying in the night;
    Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

    Ring out the grief that saps the mind
    For those that here we see no more;
    Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
    Ring in redress to all mankind.

    Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
    Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
    Ring out the thousand wars of old,
    Ring in the thousand years of peace.

  14. Coy Lay

    I think making a contribution to West Virginia Can’t Wait (WVCantWait.com) is the best way to poke Joe Manchion in the eye right now. JM is a product of a life time in corrupt WV politics and the more progressive candidates that can be elected in WV the more information will be available to the people of WV. These folks are social conservatives but most are open to honest discussion and haven’t heard any from their politicians since the coal wars of 1912-21. A tide of contributions would send a fearsome message to the WV old guard and to JM to quit messing with national politics because of their own reactionary conservative preferences.

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