Mind-Boggling White House Presser Deploys Covid Blame Cannons, Vaporizes “Public Health” (and Walensky Slays)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

The nice thing about stooges is that there are three of them: Jeffrey Zients (Coordinator of the COVID-19 response in the Biden administration), Rochelle Walensky (CDC Director), and Anthony Fauci (Chief Medical Advisor to the President). Together, they held a virtual press conference on December 17, 2021. Here is the transcript.

Frankly, I nearly lost it when I saw the quotes floating around the Twitter; so I determined to pull on my yellow waders once more. I should really cover the entire transcript, but I just… can’t. So I’ve picked out some salient passages and annotated them. As usual, paragraphs are numbered in bold, thus: (0). Notes are in square bracketes: [0].


Our vaccines work against Omicron[1], especially for people who get booster shots[2] when they are eligible. If you are vaccinated, you could test positive[3]. But if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild[4].

[1] Not necessarily. See “Breakthrough Infections with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Despite Booster Dose of mRNA Vaccine,” linked today.

[2] We have plenty of data on breakthrough infections on the vaxed and the double-vaxed. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren were infected and triple-vaxed.

[3] Um, the word you’re looking for is “infected.”

[4] On mild, the jury is still out.

(1) We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school[1] for the vaccinated[2]. You’ve done the right thing[3], and we[4] will get through this.

[1] This has always been the priority. Even Andy Slavitt knows it didn’t have to be this way: “We can virtually eliminate the virus any time we decide to. We can be back to a reasonably normal existence: schools, travel, job growth, safer nursing homes and other settings. And we could do it in a matter of weeks. If we want to.” Do a hard lockdown, and pay people to stay home. Of course, we never did and never will.

[2] Blame cannons deployed…

[3] Biden has consistently failed to praise those who did “the right thing” with Non-Pharmaceutical interventions, including social distancing and masking, let alone the construction of Corsi boxes.

[4] Clearly the “we” doesn’t apply to all Americans. Lebensunwertes Leben is no way to run a public health care system.

(2) For the unvaccinated[1], you’re[2] looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves[3], your families, and the hospitals you[4] may soon overwhelm.

This is the sentence that almost made me stroke out. And a lot of other people, too.

[1] Blame cannons, fire!

[2] “The unvaccinated,” otherized as “you”, including people with chronic illnesses, the immune-compromised, children under 5, the pregnant and/or lactating, plus infants, the homeless or evicted, and prisoners, to name a few. That’s a lot of innocent bystanders to fire the blame cannons at. The Lancet:

Public health implicates government obligations to realize the health of populations, focusing on “what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions for people to be healthy” [[4]]. Securing public health does not merely reflect the health of many individual persons, rather a collective “public” good that is greater than the sum of its parts…. The current US approach continues to undermine the fundamental notion that all people are equal in dignity and rights. When the CDC Director speaks of a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” [[10]], this implicitly assumes that those who become ill are responsible for their own suffering and that their deaths are acceptable—because they could have been vaccinated. These moral deficiencies reflect a larger neglect of collective responsibility, equity, and human rights in US public health policy. CDC guidance must consider the moral foundations of public health, providing a normative framework to support public health policy and practice.

Not to mention the ghoulish public relations efforts of these three stooges.

[3] “The unvaccinated,” otherized as “yourself” being disproportionately Black and Hispanic people. From Bloomberg:

A year since the first Pfizer and Moderna doses were administered in the U.S., large racial vaccination gaps remain.

A handful of places, some with large Black populations, such as New York City and Washington, D.C., are close to parity among races and ethnicities. Several states in New England, which have generally high vaccination rates, are also leaders in vaccine equity.

But in nearly half of U.S. states, Black and Hispanic vaccination rates lag White ones by 10 percentage points or more. Many of those are in the South and Southwest, respectively.

Here is a handy chart, which practically screams “structural issues:”

(I outlined the directions at top center in red.) “You” is also disproportionately lower income (i.e., more likely to be working class. From Kaiser Health Foundation:

“Notably, parents with household incomes under $50,000 are more likely than those with higher incomes to say they are very or somewhat concerned about issues related to vaccine access.”

Here is a handy chart, which screams the same scream:

Leaving the moral issue noted in [2] aside, politically Zeints has lost his mind: He fired the blame cannons at the Democrat base.

[4] Nobody ever asks why hospitals have optimized away their surge capacity, or why the supply chain isn’t delivering the necessary.

(3) So, our message to every American is clear: There is action you[1] can take[2] to protect yourself and your family. Wear a mask[3] in public indoor settings. Get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get a booster shot when you’re eligible.

[1] It’s all up to the individual. This, again, is the antithesis of public health

[2] The individual cannot “take action” to improve ventilation in their workplace, their children’s school, or buildings generally. That requires collection action, which is no doubt why Zeints omits it.

[3] The quality of the mask isn’t specified. This is important, since N95s are more protective than surgical masks (as the public health establishment well knows, which is why they want them, and why Fauci told his “noble lie” to prevent the public from demanding them).

(4) We[1] are prepared to confront this new challenge. We have plenty of vaccines and booster shots available at convenient locations[2] and for no cost[3]. There is clear guidance on masking to help slow the spread. And we have emergency medical teams to respond to surges as necessary.

[1] Who’s “we”?

[2] Studies consistently show vaccine accessibilty varies by location and especially by class, just like all other forms of health care delivered by our for-profit system. (And vaccines still are not available at the workplace, the obvious way to get them to as many people as possible.)

[3] Many of “the unvaccinated” don’t believe this; having had experience with our health care system — perhaps with surprise billing — they assume “free” is a scam.

(5) So, this is not a moment to panic[1] because we know how to protect people and we have the tools to do it. But we need the American people to do their part[2] to protect themselves, their children, and their communities.

[1] Who’s panicking? The West Wing?

[2] See my comment (1)[3].

(6) The more people get vaccinated, the less severe this Omicron outbreak will be. One hundred sixty thousand unvaccinated people have already needlessly lost their lives just since June, and this number will continue to go up until the unvaccinated[3] take action.

[3] Fire! It seems that the administration believes that the only possible strategy is exhortation and blaming. Obviously, this hasn’t worked, and so naturally they double down on it. In reality, there has been anti-vax sentiment for every vaccine going back to Edward Jenner. (Cotton Mather’s house was bombed in 1721 because he was pro-vax.) Anti-vax sentiment should have been expected and planned for by the “adults in the room” who were elected to solve the problem.


(7) We have vaccines, we have boosters, and we know multi-layer prevention strategies[1] — masks in public indoor settings, practicing physical distancing, frequent handwashing, improving ventilation, and testing to slow transmission[2] — are vitally important, especially as we prepare for more Omicron and even if you are vaccinated and boosted.

[1] I’m not sure how long a layered strategy has been Walensky’s messaging, but no matter, it hasn’t gotten through, cetainly not to Biden (see his “winter plan” of 14 days ago at paragraph (15)), and not to the general public, either. In any case, it was never Biden’s plan, or Klain’s, or Zeints’, or Faucis, because otherwise non-pharmaceutical interventions would have been stressed throughout the Biden administration. They were not.

[2] Walensky shows the incoherence of making recommendations without a theory of transmission. Since for whatever reason — gatekeeping hospital infection control goons? — Walensky cannot utter the word “aerosol,” we get this gallimaufry of real remedies and hygiene theatre. Since Covid is not transmitted by fomites, handwashing is irrelevant. Since Covid is airborne, Walensky might have mentioned monitoring for “shared air” with CO2 meters, and building Corsi boxes. But of course not.

(8) Today, we’re releasing CDC science on “test[1] to stay” that allows unvaccinated children[2] to stay in school even if they have been exposed to the virus so that they don’t have to miss school while they’re quarantining at home.

[1] Sounds great. Leaving aside the Biden administrations’s idiotic pay-now-get-reimbursed-later-maybe plan of working through the insurance companies, If only we had the tests!

[2] Wait. Zeints thinks or at least says that “the unvaccinated” are to blame for tens of thousands of “needless” deaths. So why are we allowing them in the schools?

(9) And, finally, as we head into the holiday season, when many will be gathering with their loved ones, I want to again encourage everyone to utilize the proven prevention strategies that keep everyone safe: get vaccinated and get boosted, mask in public indoor settings, physical distancing, handwashing, improve ventilation, and testing to slow transmission[1].

[1] Walensky repeats the incantation at (7), except that handwashing need no longer be “frequent.” That’s a mercy.


(10) So the bottom line[1] of what we’ve been telling you all along: It is critical to get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimal protection to get boosted.

[1] If vaccination is the bottom line, then Fauci contradicts Walensky’s advocacy of the layered strategy at (7) and (9).

Question Period

Zeints (11): “The right way to think about the percent boosted is those eligible, and we’ve now boosted about 60 million Americans[1]. That’s about 40 percent — 4-0 percent — of the eligible Americans.”

[1] Apparently, Zeints doesn’t read Bloomberg:

The U.S. government has over-counted the number of Americans who are at least partly vaccinated against the coronavirus, state officials warn, meaning millions more people are unprotected as the pandemic’s winter surge gathers stea…. On the bright side, the miscount means more Americans have received booster shots than shown in official federal data.

Zeints has no basis for giving a figure at all (and you know the qualifying “about” will be lost in the ocverage). Further, Zeints has aimed the blame cannons at plenty of innocents, who have in fact gotten vaxed but not been counted on CDC’s abacuses, or tally sticks, or whatever it is that they use.

Zeints (12): Let me start with the fact that the U.S. has strict protocols[1] in place to help protect the American people and stop the spread of the disease[2], as it relates to international travel. Foreign nationals[3] — all foreign nationals coming into the U.S. from a part of the world where the travel is not restricted due to Omicron must be fully vaccinated and show proof of a negative test.”

[1] No, it very doesn’t. A “strict protocol” would be a fourteen-day quarantine.

[2] Which totally explains how the virus got here. On the wings of little elves, no doubt.

[3] Totally sensible, since as we all know, the virus checks your passport before infecting you.


In the headline, I wrote that Walensky came to slay, but that’s not fair: Zeints and Fauci came to slay, too. It gets harder and harder to make excuses for the Biden administration. I don’t generally quote the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page, but the numbers are pretty stark:

President Biden may not recall what he said during a 2020 campaign debate last fall, but Americans should: “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.” At the time the U.S. had recorded 220,000 Covid deaths.

Covid deaths this year have now surpassed the toll in 2020 with 350,000 since Inauguration Day. It would seem that Mr. Biden has done no better than Donald Trump in defeating Covid despite the benefit of vaccines, better therapies, and more clinical experience.

Walker Bragman has the right of it:

A catastrophic failure of governance by embubbled Democrats:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here: This administration is guilty of social murder. They should all be in the Hague, charged with (negligent*) democide. This debacle is worse than Iraq.


* Maybe.

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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. Sutter Cane

    “Get vaccinated” as the only solution to the pandemic has the same vibes as “vote blue no matter who” being the only solution to the country’s problems.

        1. Michael McK

          My ideal policy preference is for only women to legally posses firearms. Probably also not of this timeline.

      1. Db

        Not quite. outsourcing production of the vaccine’s active ingredient to a contractor in India with quality control problems would make it even more American.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Almost there. Outsourcing production of the vaccine’s active ingredient to a contractor in China with quality control problems would make it even more mostest American.

          Or should that be . . . Clintonian?

    1. Kris Alman

      Denmark data shows ~91% of new infections of B.1.1.529 Omicron are in double or triple jabbed. https://files.ssi.dk/covid19/omikron/statusrapport/rapport-omikronvarianten-20122021-9j51

      Mostly young (20-29). Only 35 cases hospitalized. Less than 5 in ICU.

      That said, the report notes “Omicron cases are identified through variant PCR and whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Few test results may not be included in the report due to data delays. Furthermore, small changes in data can occur retrospectively.”

      Can PCR tests discriminate between omicron or delta? Well…


      Omicron is also missing a bit of the spike protein that causes what’s called “S gene dropout” in 26 PCR tests from various manufacturers, meaning that the spike gene isn’t detected even though the person is infected. That’s generally not a problem since those tests are looking for multiple viral genes. In fact, the missing spike signal may be a clue that a person is infected with omicron rather than delta and that their sample should be examined more closely. Alpha and some other variants also caused S gene dropout, so it’s not a slam dunk that the missing spike heralds an omicron infection.

      On the flip side, a second version of omicron that has been spotted in some places doesn’t cause S gene dropout. So a sample might test positive for the S gene and other markers and be mistaken for a delta variant infection, when it is really omicron.


  2. antidlc

    Serious question:

    WHAT do these people do all day? They don’t seem to be doing their jobs.

    Do they just sit around joking with pharma reps and execs all day?

    What do they do?:

    Thanks for the commentary, Lambert.

    1. bob

      Meetings. Lots and lots of meetings. The most common agenda item- How do we make out PR better?

      And this is the result. They aren’t even good at PR. Not good at public health, not good at PR.

      Trust the experts! Trust the science!

      1. v

        Stoller? Matt Stoller? The guy who goes on every podcast and hyperventilates over China saying that the CPC are like the Nazis and Xi is literally Hitler?

        Thank you, but no thanks.

        1. lordkoos

          Stoller is excellent on some subjects. Hopefully you can pick and choose, because otherwise like many other Americans you will throw out the good in favor of the perfect. I don’t understand why people insist that others must agree with them on everything.

        2. Yves Smith

          Textbook cases of the cognitive bias known as halo effect, of seeing people as all good or all bad.

          Stoller is not recognized as a foreign policy expert even though he likes to opine on that too. His wife is from Taiwan…..

          1. Jessica

            “His wife is from Taiwan”
            Suddenly, Stoller’s attitude toward China makes sense. I lived in Taiwan about a year (7-8 years ago) and even then, for the Taiwanese I knew, the PRC was definitely a very definite threat. Watching events in Hong Kong can’t have made them more sanguine.

            1. Synoia

              When the Chinese fled to Taiwan, they were not very charitable to the Taiwanese locals.

              I’m told there was a bit of a purge of the locals.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Its like with a restaurant. If you see something on the menu that you don’t like, don’t eat it.

          If you see something on the menu you like, eat it.

          1. Aumua

            Yeah that’s true I suppose, but I also always consider the source. And if a source is questionable, then it’s questionable regardless of valid points mixed in.

        4. Joe Well

          On any subject that is not antitrust/industrial policy or Democratic Party inside baseball, I’ll give Stoller a miss. His recent tweets about the pandemic have been sociopathic.

        5. lance ringquist

          i do not blame china at all. if you were approached by nafta billy clinton and he offered you americas wealth on a silver platter with the only strings attached was that a few wealthy parasites have access to chinas horrendous labor and environmental conditions, so that the few wealthy parasites can increase their already obscene wealth, you would take him up on it also.

          lincoln surely understood this,

          “The globe is divided into different communities, each seeking to appropriate to itself all the advantages it can, without reference to the prosperity of others.”

          thats why when i looked at the faces of the nafta democrats hillary and empty suit obama and their pivot to asia, the rage on the dim wits faces was priceless, the dim wits actually thought that the asian sub humans were going to be their cheap labor colony for ever.

          this of course can turn dangerous, a spurned free trader is like a wounded animal, or a caged animal, quite dangerous.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Stoller’s pretty curious on Covid lately (and I’m a fan of his). On the one hand, he’s clearly not oblivious to the problem and those responsible and ways to genuinely ameliorate the situation beyond vax vax vax.

        But on the other hand he tweets stuff like (paraphrasing) “Covid’s only a problem for public heath nerds whose life is defined by Covid, for everyone else it’s over.” Well, it is, until it isn’t. That’s the point.

        And if his wife is from Taiwan, that might be a good place to be taking some guidance from. They can presumably afford to be a lot more blasé about C19 there because they are a lot more meaningfully on top of the problem.

    2. fjallstrom

      Generally speaking, politics consists of policy, managing the bureaucracy, and power games. If they are not doing any of the first two, then the last one it is. Power games includes meetings with important people (like pharma execs), but also PR and jockeying for position (which in turn includes back stabbing).

      Politicians that focuses mostly on policy or management of the bureaucracy has less time for power politics and also has lines they can’t cross, making such politicians weaker and more vulnerable. If the system – parties, primaries, elections – doesn’t weed out the pure power players, they tend to win.

  3. JBird4049

    Lambert, I think I see the problem here.

    >>>Public health implicates government obligations to realize the health of populations, focusing on “what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions for people to be healthy”

    Or as a certain prime minister said:

    “There is no such thing as society” —Margaret Thatcher

    After all, that liberal rag the San Francisco Chronicle is just full of comments blaming the poor and homeless for being the poor and homeless because it is obviously all their own fault.

    Nice post. I think the comment about the Hague is the best, but then we would be treating our leaders just like Slobodan Milošević. Can’t have that, or can we?

    1. Kevin Carhart

      This is part of it, but consider Johnson’s remarks as he was in the hospital for covid. “Self-isolated PM uses video message to self-consciously contradict Thatcher mantra


      I think superficially-ingratiating is one strategy which is increasingly available. The blame cannons are the opposite so they don’t do it all the time. But they do it some of the time. Biden likes to be homey. If they have new ways of embedding what they want to do in Brave New World, why out yourself as a polarizing figure and diminish your teflon coating?

      I think the capacity for finer and finer-grained units of measure in computers facilitates this. For instance, Zuboff’s book, or the “social credit” schemes. Zuboff quotes an internet-of-things software developer saying “We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.” You get to keep your “society” if you can do this instead.


    This is a yet another huge shift. We are seeing overtly aggressive and threatening language toward the unvaccinated (de Blasio celebrating taking away paychecks on CNN, whitehouse.gov memo saying “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.”, DC having no testing opt out for workers + this conference^) the day before Biden’s “Omicron Conference” tomorrow.

    I have a terrible feeling about the measures that will be rolled out tomorrow. Can’t help but feel this messaging is orchestrated to amp up resentment and prime us for extreme measures against the unvaccinated.

      1. bob

        I just went down to the CVS closest to the capitol in DC and got a test and a booster at the same time, I don’t understand the problem. Why can’t you people just move!?


    1. Sawdust

      About 1/3 of my relatives (invariably the most NPR/NYT/MSNBC deranged) have cut me off because I decided to remain in the control group. At this point, they’d probably be ok with me getting sent to a camp.


        I was speaking with a friend today who said “if omicron wipes out the majority of unvaccinated – i’m all for it”. I pressed and explained that besides being genocidal – his views were all really inconsistent – vaccinated people were spreading this thing too – look at Cornell + other examples. Unvaccinated aren’t some harbingers of disease (more so than anyone else anyways) as much as they are people who are looking at risk/reward for their personal health differently.

        …he accepted all of this and then reiterated his position. Fearing the diseased/spreaders of diseased is such a primal emotion that for many people, even if they accept that their position is logically inconsistent – they remain unwilling to revise it. The feels are too strong.

        1. Jeff

          I wonder if this is what Americans sounded like when we sent Japanese Americans to internment camps during WWII. The ignorance is stunning.

        2. T_Reg

          I like to throw such comments back in their faces. “if omicron wipes out the majority of vaccinated – i’m all for it”. I’ll just have to hope that Omicron keeps up with the definition of “vaccinated”; I got one shot of Pfizer.

      2. Mantd

        I’m like you. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care. When anyone, friend or foe brings up “those darn non-vaxed” or comments like that, I get into it, but only briefly, unless they want to continue and debate. At this point, with a subject as important as this, life and death literally, I stand my ground and am polite but firm. With global warming I was always a bit tame and changed the subject if it got heated. Not no more.

    2. cocomaan

      Now come on. Just because they’re dehumanizing people and trying to create the perception that a segment of the population is dirty and untouchable, doesn’t mean that they’re TRYING to create conditions for atrocity!

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Perhaps if we tatooed the dates of our booster shots on our forearms it would make it easier to identify those who lapsed?

        No vaccine passport needed, just short sleeves.

        1. megrim

          What would I, as a person with two full sleeve tattoos do? Also my legs are tattooed. Well, I guess it’s face tattoos.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If one did this with skin-surface-staining ink which would eventually wear off and away, it could be a bit of social performance-satire.

  5. Jasbo

    These people are darkly evil, and that gets clearer (and louder) every single day. No way in hell I’m going to consent to receiving the injections at this point. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

    They are literally hardening the resistance.

    1. juanholio

      I’m sure they won’t lose any sleep over that Jasbo.

      In fact, by taking the stance you have, you’re doing them a favor, and giving their failing strategy a cover story.

      What would they do if everybody did get the door and things were just as bad?

      1. Jasbo

        Have had those exact same thoughts (thanks for sharing them BTW).
        Doesn’t change my stance though.

        Increasingly, my focus is on local, relational, and real. In my experience, people are generally better and more caring than TPTB would have us believe – regardless of political persuasions.

        We are certainly living in “interesting times”…

    2. Mark Sites

      “These people are darkly evil”, I can construe as having little to do with science and even less to do with public health. These people are incompetent in their communications, and if being incompetent makes one evil then what was Trump: “we need less testing so there will be less cases”? As for hardening the resistance, that will continue to be done with vigor throughout by the right-wing media-sphere no matter what the science or appropriate public health care measures would be.

      1. Jasbo

        A lot of assumptions in this paragraph. More than I’m willing to engage.

        That said, I would find it genuinely interesting to know how many “right-wing” (or even right-leaning) friends you have.

      2. Yves Smith

        You ignore side effects, which these vaccines have at an unprecedented level. I have one and I’m now having to go through imaging and testing. I shouldn’t have to suffer expense, time costs (yours truly is chronically time stressed) for running around doctors’ offices (my GP and now a new specialist) and testing centers and worry from a friggin’ vaccine.

      3. Alphonse

        These people are incompetent in their communications, and if being incompetent makes one evil then what was Trump

        What makes them evil is unpersoning a large chunk of the population. That’s my long-standing personal definition of evil: treating human beings as though they aren’t. Usually systems do that (Because markets. Go die.) This time it’s ordinary people.

        I don’t think Trump’s sins excuse anything. This isn’t a few misplaced words. It is a consistent strategy.

        The best excuse I can think of is that these are just ordinary people using convenient justifications. Are we going to give evil a pass if it’s banal enough? I think banality makes evil more dangerous, not less. We’re at the point where Lambert casually throws out Lebensunwertes Leben as if it’s a commonplace attitude. Which it is. Which is terrifying.

        I don’t see this leading to mass murder: but psychologically I don’t see the difference. Are bloodthirsty people retroactively less hateful if they don’t get their wish?

        Where will that hate go? A tremendous amount of vile energy is being generated. Where will it go? To use a metaphor, I don’t think you can just summon a demon and then wish it way. I fear the price of exorcism.

  6. Randall Flagg

    Again, my deepest appreciation for going through these things and commenting! But I have to ask, do you at times think it would be be less painful to slam your forehead into a brick wall than read their press releases?
    The aggravation that comes with the thought process of these folks this deep into this pandemic…
    Thanks again to you and the entire NC Braintrust. A true public service to us all.

    1. Jasbo

      Fellow commenter commenting: THANKS for making me laugh (“less painful to slam your forehead into a brick wall”). Needed that. :-)

      NC “Braintrust” folks: Ditto on the thanks. We have wildly divergent views on numerous topics related to economics and commerce, but I am so appreciative of your sincere thoughts and efforts, and full hearts.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>it would be be less painful to slam your forehead into a brick wall than read their press releases?

      Eventually, he would be unconscious, which would reduce the pain, but personally, I would take to drink while reading, myself. A case of Chimay beer would do.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > would be be less painful to slam your forehead into a brick wall

      I cultivate a very, very, very detached attitude:

      Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s _______ can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation. Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively.

      It’s the only way to be sure. I guess I’m being pretty condemnatory when I say “Send them to the Hague,” but I try not to be driven to that conclusion.

      1. Randall Flagg

        I was trying to be sarcastic in my comment, your method of trying to stay detached is really one of the few ways to deal with the daily horse manure shoveled about while keeping one’s sanity intact, not allowing anger ( or numerous other emotions), to take control and eat you alive from within.
        But I suppose at times, getting angry enough to do something constructive about a situation is needed. Especially when so many that are innocent need somebody to stick up for them.
        Thanks again and be well.

  7. Jason Boxman

    Truly appalling, although lately I’ve begun to wonder, is hand washing with the actual flu virus also just theater? Has that always just been a bill of goods, to keep people in circulation during flu season along with annual flu shots?

    It’s a shame that as a society, we have to question every utterance and proclamation from our elected betters. The X-Files had it right: “Trust no one.”

    1. Late Introvert

      Sitrep from my house. Nobody has been sick since March 2020 (3 total) after masking, distancing, hand washing (still very good advice), D3/Zinc, povidone gargle. Very limited travel, gathering outside, masked indoors for short times with small groups, I think it works against all the buggies.

      We are semi-vaxxed at this point, meaning 1st round but now saying “huh” about the booster nonsense. Really? So it fades out, and might not work on the new one? And I’m going to be shunned from society for saying this? Already being shunned from the family for saying no to Xmas dinner/gifts in a winter basement with 20+ unmasked. They keep telling me they have the booster!

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      I notice Singapore has started unplugging the Dyson/Blade air jet dryers in public restrooms. Even pre-Covid I used to screw my eyes shut and hold my breath while using them. Aerosol plume generators.

      I think reality is beginning to dawn, slowly.

      Early in the pandemic I mused about whether ceiling to floor ventilation/pressurization technologies long used in semi/pharma clean room environments to push/pull airborne contaminants, including aerosol microdroplets downward and extract them via ‘waffle floors’ might become used in certain spaces, such as elevators or interview rooms, in spite of the quite large retrofit costs. Another layer of ‘swiss cheese’ as it were. Haven’t seen it yet, but we are now going into our third year of Covid….

  8. Rattib

    The Lancet article liked with the text “Covid is not transmitted by fomites” shows no such thing. The article shows that aerosol transmission is overwhelmingly likely dominant. It does not rule out fomites or droplets.
    The virus can walk and chew gum; please keep washing your hands.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      First quote:

      Detailed analyses of human behaviours and interactions, room sizes, ventilation, and other variables in choir concerts, cruise ships, slaughterhouses, care homes, and correctional facilities, among other settings, have shown patterns—eg, long-range transmission and overdispersion of the basic reproduction number (R0), discussed below—consistent with airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2 that cannot be adequately explained by droplets or fomites.6 The high incidence of such events strongly suggests the dominance of aerosol transmission.

      Second quote:

      enth, there is limited evidence to support other dominant routes of transmission—ie, respiratory droplet or fomite

      I myself have never seen an epidemiological study showing fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2. So I think your comment verges on logic chopping.

      Personally, I think handwashing is on a par with the the Drug That Shall Not Be Named: Low cost, low risk, huge potential payoff, so it’s a no-brainer to do it. But Walensky pretends that handwashing is on a par with masking and venitilation and that, not to put to fine a point on it, is a lie.

          1. Mantid

            DuckDuckGo. A much more reliable search engine. A handful of comments have mentioned that this/that article had been swiped or scraped from the internet. I have found nearly every one via “ducking it”. The more one uses a google product the worse one gets. I just tried and got it bang bang by ducking it. A very good site that is updated nearly every day.

            1. Objective Ace

              I also have success and recommend the Brave search engine/browser if anyone wants additional alternatives

  9. MP

    I’ve been thinking of the Iraq parallels a lot lately. I think the biggest difference is that in this case, your views largely (with possibly the exception of right here) cut directly across class lines. The more likely you are to see COVID as a mild disruption of consumption, the more likely you are to be a PMC (of which I’m part!). The more likely you are to see it as deadly, the more likely you are a line cook or factory worker. Which is why Iraq did not require even this level of moral clarity, because it was so abstract a concept. Unless you lived in NOVA, your daily economic life was not disrupted by ending the war. You could feel bad for the poor Iraqis, and then go about your day normally. Here, reorganization of social life to mitigate risk for workers will necessarily hurt not just capitalists but the PMC on up. Which again, is why I give major props for the moral clarity shown here.

  10. Tom Stone

    I am more enraged than horrified by this, but it is close.
    My Nazi ( Literally) grandmother told my parents, in my presence, that I should be “Put down for the good of the Nation”.
    I was eight years old.
    My crime?
    Contracting western equine encephalitis due to a mosquito bite that left me with noticeable spasticity, which has happily decreased over the decades.
    Zeints,Fauci and Walensky are not ignorant,they know very well that they are condemning multitudes to death or to lives diminished by long covid.
    For what?
    A little $, a title and the opportunity to go Onna TeeVee and look important.
    That’s it.
    They have less class than a $2 whore.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > they know very well that they are condemning multitudes to death or to lives diminished by long covid.

      I am increasingly being forced to this conclusion by their behavior. Not an enjoyable process.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>They have less class than a $2 whore.

        The whore is probably trying to keep body and soul together, while looking for food and shelter, which our betters already have. Well, they might be missing their unused souls.

        >>>I am increasingly being forced to this conclusion by their behavior. Not an enjoyable process.

        That they are doing so is not surprising, when looking at American history. This history is mostly, and conveniently, ignored: that the United States has been the main advocate for, and practitioner of, eugenics after its very modest British origins as theory; during the first half of the 20th century, first the institutionalized, then the incarcerated, then the poor especially those on welfare, and finally Blacks, were legally targeted for sterilization. This was given approval by the courts including the Supreme Court, especially for the first two categories.

        Several of the organizations that funded the movement eugenics can be found in the list of supporters for NPR and PBS programs, especially, but not only, the Ford Foundation. This funding also include Germany. First, to the more mainstream research and intellectual institutions and individuals. By 1930, it was the Nazis as well. Hitler even gave Henry Ford a lovely award for his advocacy. They were mutual admirers.

        Each wave of advocacy was more extreme then the previous one. The British thought of it. Other Europeans, including the French and the Belgians thought it a wonderful idea. Then the Americans sterilized an increasing number of categories, while the Germans started the euthanization of the institutionalized disabled. Not only were the relatives not told. Like with those who had Jewish spouses, the often strenuous objections of German relatives often stopped the murders. That, and the very occasional protests of the various churches.

        Eugenics died with the Holocaust. After camps with the shear numbers and the many different groups chosen, even mere racism got tamped down. If it only took from the word being coined, IIRC, six decades to go from suggestion to multi-ethnic genocide, people were terrorized from the whole breeding, inferiority/superiority, and financialization of humans. (The costs of welfare, institutionalization, and criminal activity/prisons/jails were all used to justify both in the United States and Germany sterilization and later euthanization.)

        Sterilization of the institutionalized, often without consent or acknowledgement, did continue in a number of American states, including California, into the early 70s. Illegally in California’s prison system into twenty-first century. Is it still going on? Who knows?

        About every ten to twenty years yet another California women’s prison gets outed as doing illegal sterilizations. Often with bribes, threats, or covertly, after a “check up” (check ups much the same with various American public health clinics everywhere in the twentieth century, but especially the South and Appalachia. There are good reasons why some are distrustful.).

        It was barely legal to do so in California’s mental health institutions into the late 1960s. Then it was outlawed. When did it actually stop? Again, who knows? Eventually, it did by the early 70s. Getting clear answers to this is like getting clear answers to many things people really don’t want you to know. Or perhaps don’t care to know. Maybe, I will do yet another attempt to find out.

        This reminds me of those illegal, compulsory prison matches in California (and the San Francisco jail!) It pops up, becomes routine, and after x number of years, enough inmates, ex cons, lawyers, etc scream for it to be “noticed” and then stopped. Somebody loses their license or gets fired and it’s “there, all fixed.” Until the next group of guards or doctors gets ideas. Probably from some of the older employees. It is not like anyone goes to prison or even jail, after all. And after all, nobody actually listens to those prisoners or those hospital inmates and often, it is done without their knowledge or even paperwork.

        Here is my own personal connection. A poor family and a troublesome, disabled child. I am just old enough that had my parents followed the recommendations of the “doctors,” I would have been institutionalized when they were almost certainly still doing them. Perhaps, even legally. Probably without my knowledge, or those of my parents, certainly without consent. Not at all Nazi like.

        Hmm, with the passing of those who survived the Great Depression, financial chicanery started to grow. Those who survived the Second World War and saw the camps, or even lived through it, are almost all gone. I can’t grab my relatives, people I knew, or anyone else, now, and go “talk to them!”

        The two world wars and the Great Depression seem to have given our ancestors maturity that we do not have. It is not about their politics, religion, or ideology, or conviction, but the maturity of having seen hard or evil times. I am unable to visualize any of the leaders or peoples of the mid twentieth century acting so unseriously or even incompetently as the current bunch. Much, but not all, of the various charges of homophobia, racism, and sexism by the current Woke would have laughed into oblivion. Compared with what was, what is today, is mild. Also they would all have been survivors of various epidemics, even pandemics, that had killed millions and this making incompetence, penny pinching, or politicking, not only unacceptable, but unforgivable as well.

        A deeply unserious, even childish, ethically bankrupt, morally vacuous, classist, corrupt, and murderous leadership we have here. And it does has strong ties with the past. Only the past was more serious and competent.

    2. tennesseewaltzer

      Scott Atlas’ book, A Plague On Our House, paints a picture of the government doctors, Fauci, Birx, Redfield, as supremely disconnected from any understanding of the scientific process, of the facts on the ground, and as quite arrogant in their ignorance. They are petty bureaucrats rather than true scientists, long removed from any real scientific efforts. He also paints a picture of a White House fearful of being too contradictory to these doctors, who have used the media to support their positions. Whatever one thinks of Atlas, his book has many apparent kernels, and often the whole cob, of truth. Read in conjunction with the RFK, Jr. tome, one is left with a sense of despair at the ability of our government to function for the benefit of the citizens.

      1. flora

        Interesting, to me at least, that Fauci, Birx, and Redfield are part of the old “search for an AIDS vaccine” gang. Walensky was Chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health from 2014 to 2015. That’s where the big grant money was found back in the day.

        1. tennesseewaltzer

          Yes. And Atlas asserts that the three had a pact that if any one of them was fired, they would all go together. The feeling, on their part and also on the part of Trump’s advisors, was that such an exodus would be disastrous to Trump’s reelection prospects.

      2. Grebo

        Must be Scott Atlas day. I’d never heard of him before but earlier I read this Ars Technica piece. Quote:

        Deborah Birx, who played a major role in the administration’s COVID response, testified that the problematic advice was inserted by Scott Atlas, who advocated for allowing the virus to generate immunity by spreading widely. Birx indicated that Atlas changed the language specifically in order to reduce testing and that the attempt to eliminate his interference and restore science-based testing guidelines was opposed by some administration officials.

        Despair seems an appropriate response.

        1. tennesseewaltzer

          Scott Atlas is a Hoover Institute Public Policy medical doctor. He was asked by Kushner to advise Trump on covid treatment policies, and he came to DC for four months from August to November of 2020. He kept a detailed journal of meetings, interactions, concerns. His approach was to focus on treatment of the vulnerable first, which ran counter to the Birx/Fauci lockdown of the entire country policy. He says he was constantly being misquoted by the media and by the government doctors.

    3. Randall Flagg

      I would also argue that we would get more for our money from a $2 dollar whore than for what we are paying these clowns at the top.

    4. Randall Flagg

      Though we should ask ourselves, what did a two dollar whore do to deserve being be brought into this discussion ? They deserve better than this. Life is tough enough.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      @Tom Stone,

      What if ” A little $, a title and the opportunity to go Onna TeeVee and look important.” is not their real motive? Or at least not their deepest motive?

      What if their real deepest motive is to do their part in advancing an undisclosed-to-the-public program of long-range population reduction?

      Would it be irresponsible to speculate? Or would it be irresponsible not to speculate?

  11. Jen

    Adding my thanks, Lambert, for your analysis. I truly almost threw up when I first read this line: 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.

    There’s a long history of “othering” in times of political crisis. It never, ever, ever goes well.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wonder if this statement is an effort at psychological terrorism, extortion-of-compliance, and/or blackmail designed to terrorise, extort and blackmail the un-vaccinoided into getting vaccinoided.

      ( I say “vaccinoided” because an mRNA para-vaccinoid is not a “vaccine”. And yes . . . . I got the Moderna mRNA vaccinoid X 2, and I am mulling over whether to get the vaccinoid boosteroid or not).

      1. notbored

        Do what seems right to you but I think we’ll soon know if being vaccinated (and boosted) with the current “vaccines” is good, bad or indifferent wrt Omicron.

  12. Wukchumni

    Had a chat with my neighbor in his 70’s who swings hard right and assured me that Omicron was mild because that’s what he heard on Fox and he uttered “I want to build up some antibodies and hope I get it!”.

    Misinformation is all we’re capable of uttering these days, from the White House to the average Joe and everyone in between.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      It’s so interesting, this assurance that all Omicron is mild based on what we’ve seen so far. Kind of reminds me of cancer, which is also mild at the beginning. We don’t know, that is the sum total

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Where did Fox News hear it from?

      I heard the same thing on NPR. Where did NPR hear it from?

      Did Fox and NPR hear it from the same place?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        They all hear it from each other and the original source is erased in the transmission. I can’t bring the quote to mind without another cup of coffee, but LeCarré describes Bill Hayden using a technique like this in the Circus, somewhere in the Karla series.

  13. Maritimer

    “(2) For the unvaccinated[1], you’re[1] looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, …”
    Yes, but will Santa Claus be coming to the homes of the Unvaccinated? (leave it to the MSM not to ask the important questions.)

    1. ObjectiveFunction


      … And do the blessed saints cry when they show themselves in public?

      Unclean! Unclean!

  14. flora

    Thanks for this post. sheesh! I wonder if our national public health ” leaders’ ” goal is public health. Never questioned that before, ever. Can’t avoid the question now.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . . if the Global Overclass wanted to kill 7 billion people over the next hundred years and make it look like a series of unfortunate accidents and diseases and bad luck, how would they do it?

      1. Anon

        No one stops to consider how holistic the anti-health policy is. On the upside, this whole experience may lower the retirement age. Optimism.

        1. JBird4049

          I guess I would consider that diseases are tricky, uncontrollable things that often break through whatever protections there are a good thing if it pays a visit to the this Global Overclass.

  15. Elizabeth

    Didn’t Joe Biden say when he was campaigning that his major goal was to unite the nation. I seem to remember something like that. Frankly, he and his stooges have done more to disunite the nation into vaxed v. unvaxed populations. He has also succeeded into tearing lots of families apart – the vaxed v. unvaxed where there is so much blame and animosity. Is anyone in the West Wing aware of this?

    I agree that the public health liars should be sent to the Hague for social murder. I can’t seem to shake my thoughts that this pandemic is a depopulation program. I can think of a lot more people I’d send to the Hague – re the Iraq war.

    Thank you, Lambert for wading through this family blog.

    1. cocomaan

      Is anyone in the West Wing aware of this?

      I think they’re keenly aware of what they’re doing. They want this schism between Americans, and want to see ideological lines drawn this way.

      I was politically awakened by the Iraq War, when questioning of the dominant narrative of “Kill, invade, overthrow” got me into vicious fights. Years later, this was all a mistake, millions died, but it was a “hoocoodanode” situation.

      I remember standing in a pep rally in high school in October of 2001, watching the hooting and hollering and death wishes. It was incredibly disturbing then and it is now.

      1. Mantid

        Yep, I’m old enough to remember this drivel during Vietnam. The whole domino theory thing being pushed by my parents, who were actually quite liberal. But as a paper boy reading the news as I folded papers, I began to think “wait a minute”. Gulf of Tonkin, Mei lai. support the troops. All just diversionary Bee ess. People falling for the same tricks, year after year.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Vividly recall being at a party in 2004 and nearly choking on my whiskey when the general consensus of the better-educated, certainly higher paid guests was that the Abu Ghraib torture was just fine as “they were terrorists”.

        Our moral compass has been broken for at least 40 years.
        Makes me alternatingly sick and rage filled.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Who broke our moral compass and how did they break it?

          It would be nice to track the trail of the compass-breakers footprints back to the first footprint.

        2. Anon

          40 years? We always fueled ‘progress’ with the cheapest resource: bones.

          There is a compass, but it was never moral. Conscience does not scale well.

          1. flora

            I disagree.

            IN the last 30-40 years, the West has forgotten that what it is against is as important as what it is for. It was once understood the West was against ‘strong man’ rule, against the Axis powers, against govt by diktats, and all that oppressions those represent. The West, after nearly 70 years of relative peace and 30 years of no major geopolitical opponent, has forgotten what it is against is every bit as important as what it is for. Now the West only remembers what it is for, and under neoliberalism what it is for is “profits”. My 2 cents.

            1. flora

              Adding as example: The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution as a check to what the writers were against – overreaching govt power and intrusion into citizens’ lives.

              an aside: listening to moderns who should know better talk like the Constitution is some antique impediment to getting what they want is shocking to me in its short-sightedness.

              Again from Greenwald:

              This WPost op-ed by “3 retired Generals” – calling for the US military to turn its planning against the citizenry on domestic soil in the name of stopping “insurrection” and “misinformation” – is vastly more dangerous and anti-democratic than 1/6 itself.


              1. Anon

                “It was once understood the West was against ‘strong man’ rule”

                It was once understood I was 3/5 of a man. That is to say, what is ‘understood’ is not necessarily wisdom.

                More than democracy, I yearn for accountability.

                1. JBird4049

                  3/5, yes, but that was a provision to stop the slave states from getting too much power from their “property,” and not racism, per se. The slave states wanted to not only keep their slaves, but also have proportional representation reflect the total population of their states, not just the free citizens.

                  Since slaves don’t vote, that meant the citizens of the Southern states would have more power than the citizens of other states. The very power that was used to keep slavery going. Had slaves been classified as equal as everyone else for the apportionment of representation in the United States Congress, the slavocracy would have had more power to perpetuate slavery.

                  One of the reasons for the Southern Slavocracy for leaving was that the growing population in the rest of the Union was overwhelming the advantage in political power that the 3/5 clause was given them. Slavery probably would have lasted longer, if the anti-slavery members had not bargained so hard during the Constitutional Convention.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I remember reading somewhere ( can’t remember where) that a lot of the American ruling class rulers were so impressed with Nazi German performance in the war ( Fighting Britain AND America AND USSR and still almost winning) that they decided America should be made more like Nazi Germany. And some of those elites, like the Dulles brothers , were always sympathizers with the “better class of nazi” . . . . the German Aristocrat, the oak paneled boardroom and brown leather chair and china teacup sort of elite nazi . . . . not those nasty “street” nazis like Hitler and the gang, to be sure.

              They paperclipped and ratlined thousands of EuroFascists into America and elsewhere in their undeclared project of making America a little more naziform.

  16. CenterOfGravity

    This is a very tough moment to be in. The inhuman savagery of the US ruling order has finally come home for many of us who have until now been able to carry on with our lives in relative ease. Due to COVID, the accumulation of harmful effects has reached a monstrous level that was only well-known to the marginalized and criminalized segments of our society. But that’s over now. Believe your own good sense telling you what has become unquestionably true: the United States of America is a failed state.

    The deliberate COVID policy decisions all Americans are now being subjected to can only be employed by an illegitimate ruling regime. And yes, those decisions are still deliberate even if market algorithms are chiefly determining policy. COVID policy is by no means the beginning of inhuman savagery visited on us by the ruling order, but the concrete in-your-face reality of a massive domestic health crisis finally strips away enough abstractions to lay it bare.

    Separate from basic survival and care for loved ones, neighbors, and coworkers; a central difficulty of this moment for many of us will be finding the courage to finally withdraw our support from the current order we are be subjected to. Let’s not be shy, it’s a fair assumption that many NC readers derive from the professional and formally educated ranks. As such, a lot of us we have benefitted greatly from our investment and ongoing associations with the ruling order. This is by no means an attempt to assign blame. We have all the blame we can stand and more from the ghouls that see fit to sacrifice society in service for their narrow self-interest. Rather, this is only to say that it will be incredibly tough to let go of the only path that was offerred for so many of us. Suspending belief in the occassionally democratic liberal institutions that still rain down economic and social benefits is akin to abandoning one’s faith. But we can now be fully confident in knowing that those benefits will only rain down for a shrinking cohort of chosen faithful. The transition to armchair eugenics as official policy is enough to know. It is.

    Now we need to suspend belief. Which will not be easy without a ready alternative to adopt. It isn’t in our tradition to throw out the script, tear-up the syllabus, willingly turn away from enticing rewards, and operate without the comforting reassurance that political power can be safely installed within our mythical institutions.

    But we must. Even while we continue rendering what me must to Caesar, we must stop believing. And from whatever hell we soon find ourselves subjected to, conviction can then endure.

    “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” – Cormac McCarthy

    1. Anon

      Due to COVID, the accumulation of harmful effects has reached a monstrous level that was only well-known to the marginalized and criminalized segments of our society.

      After Trump was elected, I chided liberals, that they were upset because the mirage they had been living till then, was dissolved by his success, and they were taking issue not with the President, but acting out in denial of the reality of their own shortcomings.

      I wrote, “A lot of people woke up today to discover that they are, indeed, black, despite their pink complexion.”

      1. lance ringquist

        The Rise of the Forgotten Deplorables has been a work in progress for some time. For him, “Clinton was the final lifeline to a neoliberal bubble built by the Clintons and many others — that finally popped on November 8th, 2016.
        He cites some of the factors that might have had contributed to the disenfranchisement and disillusion: Bill Clinton, not Ronald Reagan, “pulled” down Glass-Steagall, the cornerstone of banking regulation for 60 years. Clinton, not Reagan, deregulated credit-default swaps (CDS), the “financial WMDs” that blew up the world’s economy in 2008. And it was Clinton, not Reagan, who signed NAFTA, the largest nail in the American middle class’ coffin.

        Fall and Rise of the Forgotten ‘Deplorables’
        November 22, 2016

  17. thoughtfulperson

    Check this out, I just got it from the assisted living place where my mom lives. The last sentence is nuts! Probably from either CDC or VA dept of health.

    “COVID-19 is still circulating in Virginia, and outbreaks continue to occur in long-term care and other congregate settings. If you are visiting a loved one who is a resident in an Assisted Living community this holiday season, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your loved one.
    DO NOT ENTER the community if you:
    • have a positive viral test for COVID-19, or
    • have symptoms of COVID-19, or
    • currently meet the criteria for quarantine (close contact with someone who has COVID-19 unless you have been fully vaccinated)”

    Wait a minute, we know fully 3 shot vaccination is not stopping infection vs omicron, whivh is about to become the dominant variant. So they are saying it’s ok for vaccinated to go in a apartment complex full of 80+ year olds if you “meet the conditions for quarantine” WTF!! Attempted murder!

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Do they really not know that?!?
      Are we as a society so lost?

      Never mind.
      I know that answer already

  18. Andy

    I think Covid antivaxers (not to be confused with Covid vax critics) are confused/paranoid but aren’t competent governments supposed to attempt to understand what drives polarization and serious divisions among the citizenry, rather than pouring fire on the flames by backing one side against the other?

    The messaging from the WH is absolutely appalling. Can’t believe they thought scolding and demonizing the unvaxed and blaming them for something that hasn’t even happened yet is a good idea. This is true failing state stuff.

    On my more pessimistic, doomer adjacent days I wonder if we’re on the slow (or not so slow) road to a “Yugoslav Style Civil War with American Characteristics.” How many Yugoslavians circa 1986 foresaw the civil war that would begin five years later and tear their country apart?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And Syrian characteristics, too. So plan for that.

      But its a big country and there may be ways and places to side-step it.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Anybody remember this comment from PlutoniumKun back July of 2020? I do-

    ‘I’ve been referring to Coronavirus for a while as the worlds most effective stress test of institutions, maybe the biggest such experiment in history. It has unerringly found the weak link in every country and society its hit – whether that weak link being weak institutions, stupid politicians, sclerotic bureaucracies, religious nutcases, institutional groupthink, authoritarian tendencies or whatever. In the US its found not just one, but a whole series of weak links it can exploit. The results are not pretty.’

    It is not just the US that is proving this. The three stooges here have not been made monsters by the pandemic. The pandemic has revealed them to be who they always were. And neoliberalism has forced them into the stance that there can be no solution to a problem without a profit motive for a bunch of corporations and public health is to be privatized. And now we are seeing the result. Their only solutions are to do things than have been already proven not to work and set up the unvaccinated to be the ‘other.’ And you know that they will refuse to look at any evidence but will instead double down on what does not work.

    1. coboarts

      It’s just like arguments about religion. When the smoke clears, the ones who got it right will be standing, all the others, no matter how smart or righteous they thought they were, will just be gone…

    2. Mantid

      True Rev. However, from their prospective, it’s working. “And you know that they will refuse to look at any evidence but will instead double down on what does not work”. For them, the Word Economic Forum, the Gates wanna bees and the largest corporations, it’s working quite well. They’ve convinced many of us we need to have a tracking device (that we pay for) to show the world we are members of the “in crowd”. Since they’ve got that locked in, they’ve moved to the next step, only the vaxed are members of the “in crowd”. The mandates, as the next logical step (for them) will never be rescinded. It’s difficult for a caring person to put themselves in the shoes of Bezos, Gates or Musk, but when you do, it’s moving along swimingly. Hey, cool. I got swimingly into a comment. Is that even a word?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > swimingly into a comment. Is that even a word?

        “Swimmingly” is a word, pronounced with a short “i” in swim.

        “Swimingly,” if it were a word, would be pronounced, according to the so-called spelling rules of English, with a long “i” (because of the doubled “m”). I rather like it as a word, though. It would be a portmanteau word of “slime” and “______”…. readers?

      2. lance ringquist


        “I left the Democratic Party in 2016 because I couldn’t stomach the dishonesty and duplicity. When you rip of their mask, what is revealed is troubling: the Party of Davos masquerading as the Party of Scranton, Pennsylvania, that essentially hoodwinks much of the electorate.”

  20. ChrisPacific

    The right way to think about the percent boosted is those eligible…

    Is this also true of vaccination? I didn’t notice them adding that qualifier to the blame cannon sections.

  21. rjs

    dig up the paper on Covid that got Walensky the CDC job….i’m under the impression that she says vaccines and messaging are all we need to control the pandemic (paraphrasing, of course)….once one has staked a position like that, it’s doubly hard to adapt…

  22. polar donkey

    Major covid scandal in Memphis. Saturday, the University of Memphis basketball team was supposed to play the University of Tennessee Vols in Nashville around noon. At 930, it was found that 2 Memphis basketball players tested positive. Turns out only 4 players on the team got vaccinated. By NCAA covid protocols, vaccinated asymptomatic players can still play even if thought to be exposed to COVID. Memphis couldn’t field a team and game cancelled. Next morning in a virtual press conference, the coach of Memphis said he spoke to players about vaccination prior to season. Players said they would get vaccinated, so he never followed up. In October, the coach stated 90% of team vaccinated. Monday he also said he can’t make players get vaccinated. There is a pretty good chance the coach isn’t vaccinated either. Well, the coach’s statement went over like the Hindenburg in local media. Comparisons made to Alabama and Ole Miss football teams vaccinating all players so why can’t Memphis basketball. Media people repeating all the talking points listed above.

    1. ambrit

      You’ve got to remember that Ole Miss is situated in Oxford, Mississippi, the “Woke” capitol of Da Sout! Memphis, I have it on good authority, is the Home of Soul. I’ll take Soul over Woke any day.

  23. PaulinMontrealCanada

    There is no mention of the American technique of vaccination that makes ones susceptible to pericarditis and long covid. This has been changed in other countries, and is common in China, east Asian countries and western Australian from what I understand and a few of the European countries changed their technique after realizing their error.

    Here is an interview with someone who was improperly vaccinated.

    I written to the chief medical officer in Canada about IVM and was told that if it works the drug company can apply for a patent!!
    I have written to our provincial rep and he told me its not my job..I also sent a letter to my federal rep and the opposition and the national broadcaster looking for story ideas.

    1. Basil Pesto

      There is no mention of the American technique of vaccination that makes ones susceptible to pericarditis and long covid. This has been changed in other countries, and is common in China, east Asian countries and western Australian from what I understand and a few of the European countries changed their technique after realizing their error.

      Let’s not be overly sure of ourselves: it’s a hypothesis. An ostensibly convincing one, imo, but not yet proven. My thinking is as with Lambert above on handwashing and not childishly stigmatising Ivermectin: it’s low risk and could potentially do a lot of good (including benefiting the vaccination campaign as a whole by potentially reducing adverse effects)

      That all said, I asked for my second AZ jab to be aspirated at a state vaccination facility in Melbourne a couple weeks ago. I was polite to the point of obsequiousness. My first nurse was young and very diffident and wasn’t comfortable doing it and fetched her supervisor, who was condescending but said that it would be possible for them to find a doctor (instead of the nurses who were administering the vaccines). The young doctor came and was also a bit condescending but was also more than happy to do it. I mentioned the study in Science about ChAdOx vaccine binding to proteins in the blood potentially causing thrombocytopenia, and he said he and his colleagues had seen it but they weren’t fussed, as the “protocols” hadn’t changed.

      Mind you, these may or may not be the same protocols that told me to remove my P2 mask on entry to the vaccine hub and replace it with a surgical mask.

      And it’s all moot now anyway as, even though I am ‘fully vaccinated’ according to the state, I now in fact consider myself quite unvaccinated until I can get a (non-AZ) booster. Three cheers for the utopia of protocols!

  24. ambrit

    I’m beginning to apply the Socratic method to the few instances lately where my vaxx status came up. I state that I’m a Deplorable, and proud of it. Then I subtly dare my interlocutor to adapt to me, not the other way around. It is wierdly emancipatory to no longer care about the overt acceptance of self styled elites. (It can be argued that anyone who ‘pushes’ the “Official Narrative” wishes to be considered a member of the Ruling Elites, even if only by association. No wonder Ego is considered a Mortal Sin. It leads to so many malign outcomes.)

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Someone thinking that pushing the “Official Narrative of the Ruling Elites makes them a member of the Ruling Elites . . . . is like a field mouse thinking that standing in the shadow of a bear makes it a bear.

      Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so? But it doesn’t always work out that way.

    1. Jeff

      Gawd, Twitter is an insufferable place filled with dime store virologists 100% sure they know the truth.

      What a cesspool. I can’t click on those Twitter links anymore.

        1. Mason

          Or it’s the replying commentators pushing Greenwald to admit ‘It’s the truth’, and the ‘unvaccinated had it coming.’

          I just want to see in three to six months if they advocate warcrimes against the unvaccinated.

  25. VietnamVet

    Thanks. The most important Christmas gift that NC gives us all is the knowledge that we are not alone.

    The parallels to both the Weimar Republic and the fall of the Soviet Union are chilling; inflation, supply shortages, lost wars – WWI and the Empires withdrawals from Afghanistan, and gross incompetence – wheelbarrows full of deutschmarks, Chernobyl, obvious big lies, and the coronavirus pandemic.

    The signs are clear. It is just that we do not want to see them. The global Fasci elite are in charge of the Western Empire. Democracy is gone. The unvaccinated are the scapegoats who will be blamed for aristocracy’s failings.

    73% of new US coronavirus cases are omicron. 91% of omicron cases in highly jabbed Denmark are in the vaccinated. The NFL has stopped testing vaccinated players. Senators Brooker and Warren plus Maryland’s GOP governor Larry Hogan are infected. Tomorrow’s President Biden’s announcement likely will be a Reichstag moment – January 6th coming to fruition. The unvaccinated are to blame. Not the warp speed non-sterilizing mRNA vaccines with proven side effects and the government’s ignoring of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Not the destruction of the US public health system. Deplorables are the cause.

    If Omicron isn’t mild, the failure of the privatized US healthcare system is inevitable. The 50 State Union will not remain together. If the USA is lucky the heartland (like Russia) will remain united and will have access to the coasts and nuclear weapons. Otherwise, there will be a third American revolution/civil war.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      A third American revolution/civil war will be fought with every CBA ( ChemBioAtomic) weapon in America’s arsenal. The victory, if there is one, will by pyrrhic.

  26. Jessica

    Thank you for wading through the muck for us. When I saw the quote “For the unvaccinated[1], you’re[2] looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves[3], your families, and the hospitals you[4] may soon overwhelm.” on Twitter, I thought it was a forgery and was waiting for someone to point out that they never said this.
    ZOMG. Even if you really were a reptoid bent on reducing the population to pave the way for final conquest, you would at least shut your mouth. They must really think that the unvaccinated have been rendered utter outcastes, if they think it wise to be talking like this.
    And by their silence, the Democrats and (most) all the progressives have become identified with this.
    I have had the two jabs (though hesitate more and more about the (first of how many?) booster), but this is reprehensible. And it is not the way an elite that can hold society together for much longer acts. That scares me.

  27. LAS

    Communications such as those collected here emit from burned out public officials who feel compelled to keep speaking instead of yielding communications to a less burned out person. They do not want to share the podium and its power, afraid people might realize that the march can go on without them out in front.

    It is rather extraordinary that so many Americans have participated in vaccination (scarcely 1 year old and still not fully researched), wear masks, strive to better understand, improve ventilation, get tested, and socially distance, etc. The amount of behavior change that has been asked of people, the disruption, and the changes of guidance they are asked to absorb is under-appreciated and ignored. It’s from the people’s participatory actions that all population protections actually derive, and these have largely occurred despite large distributional, information, health, and resource disparities among people.

  28. SouthSideGT

    Happy holidays everyone. My two cents. I am a retired 67 year old in good health. I have gotten both Pfizer shots this past spring and the Pfizer booster this past early fall. I got the initial two shots along with crowds of people at the large university hospital/health system in the Chicago area. I got the booster at my local pharmacy.

    Incredibly, I have suffered no ill effects. And neither has MrsSSGT who has also has the vaccines and a booster.

    After the holidays I will be using my industrial N95 mask, which I purchased in February 2020, for the duration of the surge when I am out and about and exposed to crowds. I will let the commentariat know if I come down with COVID of any mutation. I would be interested to hear what the commentariat both vaxxed and unvaxxed are doing as a practical matter to protect themselves during this surge and if they, both vaxxed and unvaxxed, if they don’t mind, would post their COVID status as this surge continues if they unfortunately contract the virus.

    Thanks in advance and Merry Holy Chrismahanukwanzakah.

  29. William Hunter Duncan

    I just read the transcript.

    My first question would be, did Jen Psaki write these press questions?

    My second question is, do you folks get paid for prostituting for Pharma?

    My third question is, is “we are continuing to follow the science” a nervous tic, and have you had that tested for?

    My fourth question is, why not simplify the thing and just say, vaccines are good, the people who take them are good, if you don’t get the vaccine you can die and that is your problem?

    My fifth question is, a lot of people I know are asking to what degree the term “long covid” actually has to do with adverse vaccine effects, since everybody seems to know somebody who has been hurting pretty bad since they took the vaccine; since you are so vague and seemingly indifferent to anything other than getting vaccinated, would you like to comment on that?

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