2:00PM Water Cooler 1/20/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

The notes say “continuing flock.” They certainly are voluble!

* * *


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

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

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Biden Adminstration

And still the one-year retropsectives pour in:

“Op-Ed: One year into his presidency, Biden’s accomplishments have been short-changed” [Los Angeles Times]. “For decades, we’ve heard the familiar refrain, “it’s the economy, stupid.” So, let’s look at the economy under Biden: Jobless claims are at their lowest levels since the 1960s. The 2021 job increases were the largest on record. Unemployment dipped below 4%, a historic drop from the 6.2% rate Biden inherited just a year ago. The S&P 500, the metric the last guy used to measure success, hit new record highs 70 times, finishing up 29%. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq were up 19% and 21% respectively. Economists are predicting that the growth will continue at the fastest pace since 1984. Of course, inflation is concerning, but the way the media is framing things, you would think that our economy is mired in a Great Depression, when we’ve come through the biggest job creation in a year in the country’s history.”

“Biden’s Disappointing First Year” [Bloomberg]. “When he took office one year ago, President Joe Biden faced extraordinary challenges. He had to contend with a global pandemic that had crushed the economy and confounded the experts. He had to repair shattered alliances and restore American credibility after four years of President Donald Trump. More pointedly, he was taking charge of a country left bitterly divided — with trust in government plummeting, Republicans disinclined to cooperate, and Democrats commanding only the barest majorities in Congress. At the outset of a new administration, things have rarely looked so bad…. The gravest threat is not Covid-19 but the possibility that America’s creaking machinery of government might break down altogether. The president’s most important job was to restore some semblance of national unity and persuade Democrats and Republicans to work together. If he ever tried, it wasn’t hard enough. Lately he seems to be calculating, no less than Trump did, that disunity will advance his political goals. From the outset, Biden has deferred to the progressive left of his party — its most energetic wing, but one that is badly out of touch with much of the country and sees any kind of compromise as capitulation. This alliance delayed and almost killed a much-needed infrastructure bill that had bipartisan support. It also impeded sensible tweaks to the American Rescue Plan that passed in March. As now seems clear, that $1.9 trillion measure helped fuel excess demand and push the inflation rate to 7% in December — confronting the Federal Reserve with the challenge of tightening monetary policy without crushing the recovery.” • Never spend money to help working people! (Recall also from yesterday that pricing pressure is coming from only two sectors: Automobiles and energy. I’m hard-pressed to see how the Fed can fix either. And why all the frothing and stamping instead of targeted analysis of the actual problem? I’ve almost getting to the point of viewing the entire discourse as tendentious…

The Ratchet Effect in action:

“Fact check: A look at Biden’s first year in false claims” [CNN]. “Biden’s imaginary or embellished stories about his own history were the most memorable falsehoods of his first year in office. They were not, however, the only ones. The President also made multiple false claims about important policy matters, notably including three subjects that occupied much of his time: the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic. And Biden was incorrect on numerous occasions when ad-libbing about a wide assortment of facts and figures — sometimes in a way that appeared inadvertent, but other times in a way that helped him make a political point. Unlike his uniquely dishonest predecessor, Biden did not bury fact-checkers in a daily avalanche of serial falseness. Biden never came close to making a dozen false claims in a single speech, let alone five dozen false claims in one address, as Trump once did. In fact, the total number of Biden false claims so far is in the dozens, while Trump delivered well over 1,000 total false claims in his own first year and more than 3,000 the next year.

So Biden is no Trump. With that said, dozens of false claims from the President of the United States is not nothing.” • Surely simply counting the claims without weighting them is a foolish methodology? For example — and for your reference, I don’t love Trump — Bush’s lies about WMDs were far, far more consequential than any of Trump’s lies — a single cannonball does a lot more damage than a blizzard of feathers. (And who ever believed Trump about anything anyhow? The worst lies come from those one trusts, not from carnival barkers or New York real estate sakesman.)

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

NEW Here is a passage from Bordieu’s Forms of Capital, which is not, I think, central to his argument, but may find contemporary resonance, and besides, introduces a new word! From pp 33-4:

You can see the difficulty that arises in this description: the analysis cannot avoid becoming purposive [or, as I like to say, the yarn in the yarn diagram is drawn too tight. –lambert] We [as sociologists –lambert] should not say: ‘they wanted this,’ ‘they fought for that,’ ‘it’s a revolution,’ ‘they belong to a category that is dominated from one angle but dominated from another, and have seized power through the revolution of imposing an order of merit.’ No, we should talk in terms of what I call allodoxia [oh, come on! –lambert, marginal note], after Plato’s Thaeaeteus. We see someone in the distance, and we ask, ‘Who is it? Is it Thaeaeteus?’ ‘No, it was Socrates’; we mistake one thing for another. The interest of this concept is to indicate that the mistake has been made in good faith. It is an error of perception linked to the categories of perception of the person who employs them: they have insufficient powers of discrimination and they confuse things someone endowed with greater visual acuity would discriminate. Allodoxia designates what happens to people who perceive things for which they lack categories, and often they lack categories because it is not in their interest to have them. [Paging Upton Sinclair. –lambert]…. This is a very general social law; we do not desire what we cannot attain, we cannot attain what we do not desire [TINA –lambert]. Each contributor perpetrates his own little individual act quite innocently, but nonetheless plays his part… If they were petty, cynical manouevres…. they would lose much of their efficacy. Whence the expression allodoxia: In doxa there is belief. They believe in it, poor things.

The loanable funds theory would be an example of allodoxia. Or the idea that Federal taxes fund Federal spending. I haven’t had so much fun reading a sociologist since I read Erving Goffman! (The root allo- is interesting too.) Another example:

See also today’s “Zeitgeist Watch.”

* * *

“Schumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates” [The Hill]. • Democrats abolish the filibuster just in time to lose the Senate. Hilarity ensues.

“Why Biden Had No Other Choice on Voting Rights” [The Atlantic]. • Funders.

Would this were so:

Manchin was strongly supported by the DSCC. DSCC staffers actually ran Sinema’s campaign. The Democrat electeds are the elected the Democrat Party chose. And here we are!


* * *

“DNC torn over Biden messaging as midterms loom” [The Hill]. “Democratic National Committee (DNC) insiders are debating how to handle the disappointments of President Biden’s biggest legislative fallouts, adding to the already mounting sense of despair in a party searching for a 2022 comeback. As Biden passes the one-year mark of his inauguration, some involved with the party committee say the ground game phase leading up to his first midterm is already challenging, with little or mixed guidance about how to prop up an administration that has so far failed to deliver on basic promises. While officials desperately want to keep Democrats in power, some sources say there’s a lack of consensus about how to do that from outside the White House. And the thought that things could go downhill is further depressing those supportive of the president’s agenda who want to see him succeed. ‘We’ve never been consulted on them, about how to frame them, about what impact we’ve had,’ said one DNC member in touch with leadership about how to message around the chance that a voting rights bill and Build Back Better could both collapse completely. ‘Talking points are written by people who we don’t even know who they are,’ the member said. ‘You’ve got people on the DNC — from state chairs, to elected national committee people, to union leaders — who ought to be consulted about these things, who aren’t.'” • Idea: Have the DNC and the CDC swap personnel! Walensky could head the DNC; Jaime Harrison (whoever he is) could head the CDC. Could things get worse?

“Five Warning Signs for Biden as He Marks First Anniversary in Office” [Rasmussen]. One of a long-established genre of Republicans helpfully explaining to Democrats how to win: “1. Biden’s overall job approval has stagnated…. 2. Biden is having trouble with key subgroups…. 3. Republicans are gaining strength… 4. Inflation has led to political turbulence in the past… 5. … and the public sees an administration not focused on its top concerns.” • IMNSHO, Biden had one job: End Covid. As he himself said: “I will end this.” He had one job, and he blew it. Simple as that.


Trump Legacy

“Trump Deal Faced Widespread Investor Doubt Before Raising $1 Billion” [New York Times]. • And so… One billion is bad? What would the number be if investors were enthusiastic? Ten?

“145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever” [Politico]. “Trump, so unabashedly unlike any other former president, simply has refused to let people not have to think about him, and what he’s doing, and what he’s saying, and what it might mean. To reengage with the reams of news coverage of Trump from the course of the last 12 months, to read and reread his statements in chronological order, is to get a visceral, dizzying reminder of the persistence, of the manic relentlessness with which he has done this and is doing it. Biden, the man who beat him, has ushered through Congress trillions of dollars of legislation, and might manage to persuade lawmakers to spend trillions more, no small record of accomplishment in spite of setbacks and stalemates in a historically challenging time. And yet there remains a sense that it is not the current but the former (and the next?) occupant of the Oval Office who is somehow the one who is imposing his will, still, on the body politic and the national discourse. ‘Even Andrew Jackson in 1825, when he lost under shady circumstances in the House, did not pretend he was actually president,’ Jen Mercieca, a professor of political rhetoric and the author of a book about ‘the rhetorical genius’ of Trump, told me. ‘Trump,’ she said, ‘is a genius at making everything about him. He polarized our politics around him. That was the strategy in 2016 and it worked.'” • They want him back so bad.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Senate President Stuart Adams tested positive for COVID twice Tuesday before publicly announcing he was negative” [The Salt Lake Tribune]. “After testing positive for COVID-19 last week, Senate President Stuart Adams opened the 2022 session unmasked, conducting business as normal and trying to reassure senators and the public he was fully recovered. In his opening comments to Tuesday, Adams initially said he’d tested positive twice for COVID-19 since yesterday but backtracked seconds later. ‘I tested negative twice,’ he said, joking that he’d misspoken to make sure people were listening. In reality, the senator had indeed tested positive twice Tuesday morning.” • Adams staff defends him by saying that the second of two tests only had a faint line, but come on. Assuming the error to have been in good faith, that simply shows that Adams should have been masked, as an added layer of defense. Again, doing the minimum when, in a pandemic, that’s just not sensible.


Case count by United States regions:

A smallish bounce up, smallish by comparison with the rest of this wave. If you look at previous peaks, you’ll see we’ve had declines, followed by rises, followed by final declines.That said, it would sure be nice if “rise like a rocket, and fall like a stick” applied, but we can’t know that yet. Previous peaks — how small the early ones look now — have been roughly symmetrical on either side. But the scale of this peak, and the penetration into the population, is unprecendented. I broke down the national aggregates into regional numbers, to see if I saw a pattern:

The official narrative that “Covid is behind us,” and that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), and “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) was completely exploded. What a surprise!

* * *

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging.

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

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Good news in the Midwest, bad news in the Carolinas, no news from Tennessee, who decided to do reports only weekly. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very encouraging. I added green for the states trending down. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 880,976 877,240.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Good news here too. For the time being.

The excess deaths charts will appear weekly, on Friday.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 55 thousand from the previous period to 286 thousand in the week ending January 15th, the highest level since mid-October and well above market expectations of 220 thousand. It was also the largest weekly increase in claims since mid-July, as a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant disrupted business activity and as employers continued to have difficulty retaining workers amid record rises in job quits.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US increased to 23.2 in January of 2022 from a 1-year low of 15.4 in December and above market expectations of 20. The survey’s indicators for general activity, shipments, and new orders posted modest increases after falling sharply last month. The employment index remained positive but decreased. The price indexes remained elevated. Responding firms remained generally optimistic about growth over the next six months.”

* * *

Concentration: “How Microsoft bailed out Activision Blizzard’s greed” [The Week]. “A good window into Activision Blizzard’s problems is World of Warcraft, long one of its primary cash cows. This is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO for short) which first launched in 2004. In its initial form, Warcraft players had to fork over money for the base game, plus more for each expansion, then play an additional subscription fee each month. Like any MMO, Warcraft was designed around fairly grubby psychological tricks to get people hooked and keep them playing — a constant drip feed of items and rewards, a near-endless progression treadmill, and extremely difficult end bosses that take large groups and dozens of attempts to defeat. This is an attractive business proposition, but MMOs are hard to launch because the technology is difficult and a key attractive element is a large existing playerbase — the easiest way to be successful is to already be a hit. But Warcraft was a huge success, and subscriptions soared to over 12 million by 2010. That meant perhaps $150 million in revenue each month from subscriptions to a single game, and all Blizzard had to do was keep trickling out fresh content every few months and full expansions every couple years. Enter Bobby Kotick. Previously in charge of Activision, then a separate company, he personally pushed through a merger with Blizzard, creating a new company with himself as CEO in 2010. The new company added ever more exploitative monetization schemes to Warcraft. Even before Kotick, there had been cosmetic items you could buy, but under his leadership Warcraft added a paid “character boost” in 2013 that allowed players to skip the process of building their character’s skills and power through gameplay and go right to the end game. Worse, in 2015 they added a “WoW token” as an in-game item to buy with real cash which provided one month of game time and could be sold in the game’s auction house. Both of these features directly undermined Warcraft’s entire value proposition. With the character boost, players were paying to get the game, paying a monthly fee to keep playing, and now paying even more to … avoid most of the content. With the token, the company was openly allowing people to buy top-quality game items for real money — a practice it had previously punished harshly when players managed it through third-party sellers because it cheapens the gameplay to let people buy their way to success. As Warcraft became less about cultivating a community of dedicated fans and more about wringing out every last possible cent, players gradually soured on the game.” • In other words, the WoW became much more realistic?

The Bezzle: “Delaware Chancery Court Judge Joseph Slights III set to retire” [Reuters]. “Vice Chancellor Joseph Slights III, who was presiding over two lawsuits by Tesla Inc. shareholders against CEO Elon Musk, will end his 12-year term six years early by retiring, according to a Thursday court filing.” • Oh.

The Bezzle: “The Worrisome Rise of NFTs” [Nautilus]. “Already there’s been a lot of grumbling about the extraordinary energy demands of cryptocurrencies. Now there’s grumbling about the absurd growth in the market for NFTs. This is because both commodities use a robust system for tamper-proof bookkeeping: the blockchain. Blockchain technology is purposefully burdensome and computationally distributed, making it notoriously energy intensive. Estimates put the energy used to create and trade a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin on a par with the total consumption of a country like Sweden. And that’s without accounting for the environmental footprint of the physical computer hardware. It’s possible to see a purpose for cryptocurrencies, but NFTs are (for now) almost comically bereft of anything most of us would associate with social or cultural value.” • I see NFT ads all the time on Twitter, and the artwork is uniformly paintings-on-velvet cheesy. The two living artists whose accounts I follow, Scott Benson (Sid and Fern’s staff) and Simon Stålenhag, both digital, hate them.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 20 at 1:26pm.

The 420

“Drug-laced beer may have forged ancient Peruvian empire” [Science]. “Between 500 and 1100 C.E., the highlands of Peru were home to a far-reaching empire known as the Wari. Like the Inca after them, the Wari managed to spread their culture over the vast distances and rugged terrain of the Andes Mountains. Now, new finds from a small site in Peru suggest the Wari may have forged political alliances by serving drug-laced beer to local elites at periodic parties, extending their empire one trippy feast at a time…..Around 900 C.E., after just a few decades, the Quilcapampa settlement was abandoned. Breakdowns in long-distance trade meant the Wari there were cut off from their supply chains, and Jennings thinks their efforts to win over the locals eventually failed. The goodbye party was a rager, though. In one last, massive blowout, residents of the compounds spread smashed pottery, burned food, and left offerings on the clean floors of their houses. Then they blocked off doorways and abandoned the site, in a signature Wari farewell.” • The whole article is worth reading. Thumbs up to the archeologists!

“British Psychedelic-Drug Firm Eleusis Plans $450 Million SPAC Deal” [Bloomberg]. “The fresh capital is expected to support development of Eleusis’s lead drug candidate, an IV formulation that delivers the active ingredient in psilocybin.” • I’m glad to see all that stupid money sloshing about is doing something. That said, if you want the active ingredient of psilocybin, why not — hear me out — just take psilocybin? The thrill of inserting the IV?

Zeitgeist Watch

880,976 really ought to be making more waves in the zeitgeist than it is (though I suspect the general rise in assholery is linked to it):

There is, of course, an Ursula Leguin bot:

“Night thoughts” [Stop Me Before I Vote Again]. ” So before it happens one would like to make a few gestures; to tell the kids what a joy they always were – mostly; to acknowledge the saintly forbearance of lovers and spouses, and apologize sincerely for all one’s assholery. To thank whoever arranged it for one’s having seen the stars and breathed the air; to have watched the Moon come up over the open sea during a night passage through the Gulf of Maine. For that whale who came to visit the next morning, and eyed me with his big wise eye. For J S Bach and G F Handel. So much; it all crowds to mind. To put on record, in short, how amazingly lucky one has been, even with all the discontents and sorrows and regrets that dog every human track through the chances and changes of life. Say it now, I’m thinking; because when the time comes there may not be time. So I’m saying it now.” • An old-school blogger I had though defunct and who is not!

“What Happens When We Die” [The Marginalian]. Quoting poetic physicist Alan Lightman: “Released from their temporary confinement, her atoms slowly spread out and diffused through the atmosphere. In sixty days’ time, they could be found in every handful of air on the planet. In one hundred days, some of her atoms, the vaporous water, had condensed into liquid and returned to the surface as rain, to be drunk and ingested by animals and plants. Some of her atoms were absorbed by light-utilizing organisms and transformed into tissues and tubules and leaves. Some were breathed in by oxygen creatures, incorporated into organs and bone.”

That undiscovered country:

Groves of Academe


How much you wanna bet the adminstrators also took out “dead peasants” insurance on her?

Class Warfare

Onward to the immortal overclass!


News of the Wired

“Likely energy source behind first life on Earth found ‘hiding in plain sight’” [Frontiers Science News]. “What are the sources of chemical energy in the reactions of metabolism itself, the reactions that make amino acids, bases and co-factors from H2, CO2 and ammonia? The standard answer from a textbook standpoint would be ATP, adenosine triphosphate, the universal energy currency in all cells. ATP helps sluggish reactions in metabolism to go forward. But ATP is not a primordial metabolic compound, rather it is highly derived. In other words, ATP is a product of metabolism, not its starting point. We found that only 80 of the 400 reactions at the heart of biosynthetic metabolism require ATP, the other 320 do not. What drives those 320 reactions forward? They go forward all by themselves because they release energy…. The reaction goes forward because it releases energy. This underscores the principle that the chemical reactions of metabolism are older than the proteins that catalyze them and that minerals preceded proteins as catalysts in evolution. Taken together, such findings help to explain how something as complicated as metabolism could have evolved. The new findings uncover a natural tendency of metabolism to unfold under the environmental conditions of H2 producing submarine hydrothermal vents. No light or other source of radiation was required. Just H2 and CO2 in the dark.” • The article is dense but the language and argument are lucid. Well worth a read. Science is popping!

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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 (CV):

CV writes: “Not a plant, but ice crystals on glass.” True. I’m publishing this under The Bylaws: “Because I want to.”

* * *

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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. wsa

    As much as possible I try to confine my social media connections to people I know, and stretch out a bit to include people who I share a (somewhat obscure) hobby with. There’s very little specifically political I follow. Even with that isolation, though, it seems like I’m seeing a lot of recent activity devoted to disciplining all but the most hawkish opinions about China. It’s starting to make me think about those Iraqi WMDs we were promised.

    Perhaps this has been going on longer—or it isn’t actually going on at all—but from my admittedly narrow view of things, it’s fairly striking.

    1. Carl

      Our attitude is similar in that we ignore all international, national and regional politics. We concentrate only on the local and whatever policies that directly affects our health, our family, our local schools and our community. We keep and share lists for a future reckoning, either positive or negative.

  2. DJG, Reality Czar


    The company isn’t just in London: From their web site, I get, “Eleusis is a life science company based in London and New York, dedicated to transforming psychedelics into medicines.”

    Why does the use of the name Eleusis, attempting to evoke what is undoubtedly one of the greatest mystery rituals, strike me as more Theranos?

    We don’t know what was in the kykeon. There has been much speculation, but the basic recipe, so far as I know, is still thought to be pennyroyal (mint) and barley water. But then I read Kerenyi’s book on Eleusis, and he wasn’t much into drug use.

    So I am detecting some commercially sponsored desecration of a great ritual that lasted more than fifteen hundred years until it was smothered by Christians (who certainly enjoy God + Mammon).

    To lift from Ursula LeGuin: “To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”

    As Lambert Strether suggests: Just eat your mushrooms.

    And leave Demeter and Persephone out of Nasdaq. They are much too sublime for Nasdaq.

    1. juanholio

      I think the holy grail for these business ventures is: delivering the medicinal effect, without the trippiness.

      I am dubious, but if it was possible, that would be useful. I don’t think everyone is up to a heroic dose!

      1. albrt

        The point of intravenous administration is probably to make sure that people will only do it under supervision in a medical facility rather than getting hold of the drug and doing it recreationally.

      2. MT_Wild

        Can’t be having the staff growing their own in jars. Think of the profits!

        As far a dosing everyone, I bet giving high school seniors a one day field trip would provide greater positive returns than any semester long class.

    2. lordkoos

      Many people believe that there are benefits to consuming the natural and unaltered whole product, ie using the entire herb, mushroom etc.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah… i reckon there’s something to that…based on decades of informal research, mind you.

        however…that synthetic DMT i took that time, 30 or so years ago, remains the most profound 3-4 hours of my life.
        but that experience was almost too much…and hard to process.
        bewildered for a week, and wanting to just hide out and listen to jazz.
        much different from the shroom experience, when one begins ingesting as one wanders in a sunny cow pasture with zen master cows and bees and dragon flies and flowers and little seeps on the hillside with lurking frogs and only realises an hour later that one is tripping balls and has collected almost a pound of shrooms.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          re DMT. As Terrence McKenna says, with that, there is a definite possibility of “death by astonishment”

        2. Wukchumni

          much different from the shroom experience, when one begins ingesting as one wanders in a sunny cow pasture with zen master cows and bees and dragon flies and flowers and little seeps on the hillside with lurking frogs and only realises an hour later that one is tripping balls and has collected almost a pound of shrooms.

          You turn into a picky bastard in finding that just right location in the pyrite rich regions of the High Sierra in which to go nowhere fast for a 3 hour tour-a 3 hour tour. Ideally its off-trail so as to lessen chances of having strangers in your midst.

          This year will be amazing for Morels after the big burn left moonscapes all over the foothills of Sequoia NP, allowing the speedy growers to shine.

    3. Paradan

      I think the whole active ingredient thing is by product of FDA regulation, and general scientific practices. If shroom have like 20-30(?) potential bio-active components, there’s no way in hell you can ever run safety trials to ensure use for the general public.

      Keep in mind that if aspirin was discovered today, it would never, ever be allowed for over-the-counter use.

  3. Jason Boxman

    From TNR earlier today. And worth quoting.

    Justin: In the U.S., the CDC and White House have been saying this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated since, I think, July. They wanted to cast the pandemic in very individualistic terms. You can make the choice and opt out of the pandemic, or you can remain unvaccinated and have your health at risk. Let me be very clear here that vaccines reduce individual risk considerably. Unless you’re immunocompromised, you get a lot of protection from the vaccines. At the same time, the power of the vaccines has somewhat weakened due to waning immunity, and these variants are much more transmissible than the variants of the past. So while Fauci was claiming that 99 percent of people dying were unvaccinated, CDC’s actual data showed it was something around 18 percent of deaths were vaccinated people. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bit of a lag in the data and about a third of the people dying are vaccinated.

    (bold mine)

    So Biden and liberal Democrats left approximately 18% of vaccinated people to die, the virtuous people! (So far.) Those taking ‘personal responsibility’ for their health. Dead. For capitalism.

    Somehow, I don’t think enabling mass death was what people voted for Biden to accomplish, but then nothing fundamental has changed.

    1. LawnDart

      Dr. Anthony Fauci is a national treasure… …no other medical person is more respected than Dr. Fauci by the public…

      I don’t understand why you and other people on this site hate on Dr. Fauci and the liberal democrats so much. It’s only been a year since Biden was elected, and he and the other heroic members of his administration are committed to attempting to clean up the enormous mess left behind by Trump and the republicans. And that 18% that you mention? Well you didn’t mention their comorbidities, so quit your uneducated bashing of liberals and the good doctor, you villain!

      Beyond Fauci: When Physicians are Victims

      [Blue pill? Red pill? Dear gods, for Mercy’s sake, please give me the black one! Now!]

  4. Wukchumni

    Rather than organizing grand public ceremonies or military invasions, the Wari may have built their empire one party at a time, the researchers theorize today in Antiquity. Artifacts from other Wari sites suggest they had a heady party culture: Much of their pottery is dedicated to beer brewing or serving. “Wari statecraft is happening on a smaller scale,” Jennings says. “I see these as boozy family dinners, building social relationships one [feast] at a time.” And because vilca was an exotic substance in Quilcapampa, a vilca-fueled party there would have been special, cementing the new arrivals’ prestige.
    From what i’ve read, most of the native tribes here used Datura (Jimson Weed or Loco Weed if you’d prefer) at stages of one’s life, and I drove by about 100 unharvested Datura plants the other day, so there isn’t a lot of interest, as the results tend to be so awful with hallucinations and nightmares and worse, it’s a nasty piece of work.

    Vilca sounds similar to Datura, but they toned it down and combined it’s consumption with the right stuff along with it.

  5. jefemt

    The 420– Peruvian parties… made me think of the archaeological record Boris may leave behind at # 10 when he and staff host his departure Kegger? Visions of Belushi and Animal House

    1. ambrit

      I dunno. I flash on the ending “party” scene in Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now.”
      “The Horror! The Horror!”

    1. ambrit

      A big old movable three dimensional “memory hole!”
      This is exactly like what Orwell was writing about in “1984.” History will be “sanitized” to meet contemporary ‘tastes.’ Eventually, History will become explicitly State approved propaganda, (if it isn’t so already.)
      The old saying was that: “History is written by the winners.” Today that would be: “History is written by the whiners.”

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m for erasing Teddy on Mt Rushmore and replacing him with a revolving electronic billboard including a bevy of ambulance chaser attorneys looking to make money off of your misfortune for you.

  6. FriarTuck

    Re Bloomberg: “…From the outset, Biden has deferred to the progressive left of his party — its most energetic wing, but one that is badly out of touch with much of the country and sees any kind of compromise as capitulation.”

    What kind of universe is the Bloomberg author living in? The BBB has been through several layers of “compromise”!

    Is Bloomberg taking the position that any kind of social legislation is outside the mainstream?q

    1. Pelham

      I think it’s a purposeful confusion on Bloomberg’s part. They’re looking at the woke agenda, which Biden is fully on board with, and deliberately turning a blind eye to the material benefits that progressives for the country want but won’t get. It’s similar to the purposeful confusion that many use to support their otherwise insupportable priors on Covid, masking and vaccines.

      1. Tomfoolery

        This. This happens all the time, and is how they tried to blame the Virginia election loss on ‘progressives’.

    2. Glen

      Biden should get more credit from Bloomberg for coming through on his campaign promise to Wall St – nothing will fundamentally change.

      Which is also why his ratings are in the toilet and the Republicans are going to sweep Congress in 2022, and we have a darn good chance of getting Trump in 2024.

      I don’t know why Bloomberg wouldn’t be pleased with that.

  7. marym

    Rep. Jamaal Bowman arrested during voting-rights protest near Capitol, spokesman says

    Marcus Frias, Bowman’s director of communications, said the congressman “was arrested alongside at least 20 others, including faith leaders and youth who have been hunger striking for our democracy.”

    “Today, Congressman Jamaal Bowman joined a voting rights non-violent direct action at the North Barricade of the U.S. Capitol Building and was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police,” Frias said in a statement. “We will provide more information and updates as we gather them.”


  8. Randy

    “I see NFT ads all the time on Twitter, and the artwork is uniformly paintings-on-velvet cheesy.”

    I’ve seen NFT advocates flat out say the ugliness is a feature, not a bug, because what really matters is the “rarity”, man. It’s like they’re giving the finger to the basic idea of aesthetics. Everything about the NFT project is designed to show we live in a diseased society.

      1. Count Zero

        I am not an artist, of any kind. So I am not going to create an NFT. How do I not sell it? I am worried a few million has been placed in a bank account I don’t know I have — and some charlatan is going around saying they own my imaginary non-art object.

  9. griffen

    Super serums. Is there an updated program run by the likes of those who ran the Balco operation for many years?

    Barry Bonds had to order a bigger hat, I want to recall. Marion Jones won 4 medals in Sydney, only to later relinquish them.

      1. Mantid

        Speaking of Barry Bonds and steroids, imagine if “Babe” Ruth or Hank Arron had taken steroids! They would have had to increase the size of the out field like they did the lane for Abdul Jabbar in his Alcindor days. Bonds, what a cull.

  10. amechania

    video games: Amazon made an MMO

    “New World” – literally about conquistadors dominating the Amazon. Originally imagined as a cut-throat player vs player game, last minute player feedback revealed what game-makers already knew… only six percent of people or so actually like a game where strangers can wantonly murder you and take your stuff.

    Microsoft’s premier game studio Bethesda (sorry, Activision) just made the same mistake with releasing an empty world based on the assumption that player conflict would be enough of a game, and failed epically with ‘Fallout 76.’ Learning from mistakes, however, is just not one of capitalism’s strong suits.

    Just to repeat, how interesting that a pitch seemingly designed for none other than Bezos himself (has he been working out?) focuses on owning everything and direct player conflict in an explicitly colonial setting. Even ‘normies’ find that one quirk of the game quite wierd. Weren’t they already in trouble for appropriating “Amazon”?

    Just watched a good video on this yesterday, not quite worth linking, but some interesting economics and literal game theory going on for those interested. They had two or three infinite gold bugs, some infinite health glitches, and players teaming up to mass-report and ban opposing guilds through the supposed anti-abuse systems.

    New World started with a million players day one and has lost nearly all of its player-base, but despite being considered a failure is still the 8th most popular game on the dominant gaming platform, Steam, at 77K current players after their release in late September.

    1. Soredemos

      But counter to your example, Eve Online is entirely built around player vs player backstabbing, and it’s going on twenty years old now.

      1. amechania

        A niche market. Most people think ‘pay to win’ is a dirty word. The eve people also knew how to code a secure game. Also, their admin understand you cant have a nanny state banning players in a free for all.

        Thematically, eve online is still colonialism. Hmmm. Just seemed off brand for the squeaky corporate persona of Amazon. Like its ‘guilds’ mowing down digital savages. Strange days.

        1. Soredemos

          Eve has an average monthly player count of 300,000, so, that’s a pretty substantial ‘niche’.

          1. jr

            EVE is the game other, lesser gamers speak of in fearful tones. It’s the exception to the rule above. You can lose months, years, of work along with thousands of real dollars in seconds. It’s hard to pin down what it means to win EVE but there are innumerable ways to lose and lose everything. I’ve had to talk down screaming, blubbering adult men who lost the 400M credit ship they spent six months buying and outfitting just ten minutes after undocking because they forgot some minute detail.

            It’s not all back-stabbing. It takes some close teamwork to pull off some operations, guys you trust 100%. Some people play just to thwart backstabbers: vigilantes, mercs of good will, and bounty hunters.

            I have seen though that they have a “pay to win” problem as well. I understand they were losing players due to the game’s difficulty. They softened it to attract a wider audience, I bet. People sometimes used to rage-quit EVE within hours of joining.

    2. Thistlebreath

      Re: Amazon ‘n games.
      One word.

      Then consider New Coke, the AMC Pacer, the Chevy Bolt (drove one, escaped incineration), Kurt Schilling’s 38 Games ($150MM whiff), etc.

      Remember Hubris and Nemesis, aka, ‘arrogance and downfall’– when money thinks it can will success into being.

      1. Taurus

        Imagine people playing “Lumberyard “ for real in the analog world. 300 k people insulating their neighbor’s houses …

  11. PHLDenizen

    Didn’t see this in any of the links today: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/congresss-16-committee-claims-absolute

    But this is likely the Dem strategy for a) knocking out lefty primary challengers and b) preventing Trump or a supporter re-elected.

    The stuff involving Loretta Lynch is revolting and she’s a monster who should be in gitmo with Gina Haspel in charge of hospitality.

    Anyone on the left who says this 1/6 nonsense is distracting bullshit will wind up with secret subpoenas for phone records, bank statements, emails, texts. At which point they’ll find “something” to threaten them with. “If you drop out, we’ll drop it.” Trump may have feigned populism, but people like Bernie genuinely believe it. And if you come out too hard in your convictions that are coincidentally and superficially congruent with Trump’s claims, you’re inviting war against congress.

    I suspect it’s also a means to conduct opposition research prior to the mid-terms. Aside from Liz Cheney, all Republicans are supposedly secret Trumpers and so must every detail of their lives be scrutinized in secret by this star chamber. Campaign donations, email lists, texts. All the intelligence you need to effectively neutralize your opponent without them even being aware.

    Even the fear of such a thing is enough to dissuade would-be contenders.

    Nazis, East Germany, Stalin. None of these things is even remotely as awful as what’s happening in the US. There’s no antecedent and people need to stop relying on lazy comparisons. It blinds them.

    1. JBird4049

      Nazis, East Germany, Stalin. None of these things is even remotely as awful as what’s happening in the US. There’s no antecedent and people need to stop relying on lazy comparisons. It blinds them.

      Lazy comparisons, sure, but maybe what is happening in the United States today should be compared to what happened in the United Sates? Maybe people should look at what has happened in my Grandparents’ lifetimes.

      Although the carceral state arising from the War on Some Drugs leading the the world’s largest prison system is pretty horrible and rarely seen, we do not have to use hyperbole. The Creel Commission and the Palmer Raids of 1915-1921, where the teaching of German became verboten and the Socialist and Communists were destroyed, often through illegal means? The Nadir with its Red Summer of 1919? McCarthyism? The KKK? Assassinations of unionists, political organizers, and politicians? COINTELPRO. Or the various epidemics that were routine into the 1960s? The civil unrest of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The Cold War?

      Much of this stuff happened in the lifetimes of people still living, including many of our “elites'” lifetimes. Certainly their parents’ lifetimes. Certainly McCarthyism and latter for many of them personally, but Nazis…

      But, no, we live in the worst times ever!

      BTW, it is very interesting to see Congress gain some balls for the first time in decades, but only for propaganda purposes. I would love to see what our current Congress would during the 1850s or in 1941.

    2. TBellT

      The Havana Syndrome bill passed unanimously, that should tell you how much of a lock the CIA already has on government. They don’t need Jan 6th to sideline anti-imperialists because none of them are anywhere near close to power anyway. The last stand against the imperial project was decades ago. Acting like the Jan 6th commission is pivotal and the horse hasn’t left the barn is pathetic; although good for a laugh I suppose.

      Nazis, East Germany, Stalin. None of these things is even remotely as awful as what’s happening in the US.

      I don’t know what to say to this except “lmao, Godwin’s law”

  12. shinola

    So Biden has a NSS** moment:

    “President Biden says he’s not trying to pull the country to the left: “I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist. I’m a mainstream Democrat…”

    (**No Sh*t, Sherlock)

    1. The Rev Kev

      The strategy last year was just to get old Joe elected, then pull him left. Someone who has spent his career as a hard right-winger mind. I’m not seeing it happen but there appears to be this effort to make people believe that it actually did happen and that this is why Joe has all these problems. Such as spending money on average Americans caused inflation while ignoring the several trillion dollars given to billionaires and America’s largest corporations for free with the CARES Act for example. And all I see is old Joe kicking away every prop supporting average Americans such as rental freezes, student loan deferment, etc. It will be interesting the second half of the year as the media touts all of Joe’s major accomplishments to help in the elections, even when there won’t be any. I think that the media is going to play psych games with people’s minds.

    2. chris

      And Scranton Joe said that in the same presser where he said he likes Mitch McConnell. He has told us who he is.

  13. Soredemos

    Regarding NFTs, my perception is that they’re going down like a lead balloon even among most of the usually gullable tech nerd crowd. They may represent the peak of crypto insanity, they’re just so blatantly stupid that a lot of people won’t jump on board.

    1. JM

      I might have missed something, but the Nautilus article seemed to be arguing that imposing artificial scarcity on digital media may have been a better idea. That NFT’s are possibly a sign that we got it wrong from the start in that regard.

      Maybe I’m being dense but I can’t see any way that would be an improvement. I would think it would have lead to the internet and digital technology being the plaything of the rich only, since every hand-crafted bit that was used to craft the flashing text of your MySpace page would surely be priced accordingly. It seems like utter madness and a fundamental misunderstanding of why digital technology has expanded like it has.

      I can only hope that all the scorn being heaped on NFT’s drives this line of thinking underground for at least a decade. Ideally “crypto” and the blockchain will follow it into the grave.

  14. Carolinian

    I had though defunct

    Me too. I used to read this site about the same time I used to read Corrente from the mighty Corrente building. A friend was once highly offended when he went after Jackie O.

  15. Jason Boxman

    Biden’s insane testing reimbursement policy, realized:

    As communicated last week, beginning on January 15th, associates can now receive reimbursement through Cigna for at-home COVID-19 diagnostic testing. [company] Cigna plans will cover 8 individual over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 tests per person enrolled in the plan per month. Each individual test will be counted separately; e.g. if a package consists of eight tests, it will count as eight tests, not one test.

    (bold mine)

    Got that?! You gotta count the tests in the package, and keep track of your month buys, to ensure you don’t exceed 8, if you want the free benies.

    1. Jerk

      Oh thank god. For a second there I thought we were in danger of receiving actual material relief during this nightmare, but it’s just more obtuse bullcrap.

  16. Hana M

    I love the “plant”. It’s fascinating how fractiles govern both plant and ice crystal growth. If you need a new way to meditate on vast, impossible things try getting hooked on Mandelbrot Sets. Here’s a very understandable math introduction. Seriously, it’s really fun and easy to follow! And beautiful.


    Sadly my tin foil theory about the MWRA data is now proven wrong but I’m glad the trend is encouraging. Getting multiple reports from fully vaxed, and often boosted local friends that they are testing positive so immune escape is clearly a thing now.

  17. Lee Too

    “What happens when we die.” Put me in mind of Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days, reflecting on the dead of the civil war:

    “. . . the land entire saturated, perfumed with their impalpable ashes’ exhalation in Nature’s chemistry distill’d, and shall be so forever, in every future grain of wheat and ear of corn, and every flower that grows, and every breath we draw . . .”


    1. Mantid

      What happens when we die? It’s beautiful. I died once and returned when I was about 15. Amazing: Love, no judgement, incredible light – almost clear. I wouldn’t suggest trying it, but if you never listen to a rant of mine about Amazin or cell phones, thrust me on this one, it’s beautiful – you’ll see, eventually.

    2. eg

      “Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel?”

  18. polar donkey

    Tennessee covid reporting. If you only got bad news, then better to have no news. Here in Memphis, reported covid cases dropped each day all this week 1,600 Monday, down to 1,000 yesterday. Today 1,500. Something is wrong with testing or data collection if you keep having these big swings. A week ago it was 2,300 a day.

  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    Not only did Biden fail on the legislative side. He and Pelosi denounced the left for obstruction and demanded they pass subsidies for coal companies and more highways. He clearly succeeded. Then failed.

    Its about Biden’s betrayal. Not his failures.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Although it isn’t like it wasn’t clear that, once “decoupled”, the Biden “agenda” would wither and die, as it has. So after Obama’s presidency, what passes as “the left” in Congress ought to have known better, but predictably participated in the betrayal. So I’d say Democrats as a whole are culpable for this abject failure.

  20. flora

    Taibbi’s latest, no paywall:

    “Thomas Friedman Roars Back to Form

    ‘Two amputee British actors, sitting in a tree, something, something, C-O-W!’ Plus, a contest with prizes!”


    Because of course Thomas Friedman, author of ‘The World is Flat’ (pace, Galileo) and the meme “the next 6 months are critical” (aka ‘the Friedman unit’), would say so. Of course he would! /heh

  21. Soredemos

    While Microsoft buying Activision isn’t going to be good for the industry as a whole, it almost certainly will be good for the employees of Activision. Because Activision is by all accounts a hellhole to work at. If Microsoft is smart there’s going to be a great purging of the executive wing at Activision, starting with Kotick himself.

  22. Grant

    “Op-Ed: One year into his presidency, Biden’s accomplishments have been short-changed”

    I am sick to death with claims like this. Long term economic, social and environmental trends are horrible. Five trillion dollar infrastructure gap. Widespread corruption and utter elite failure. Biden hasn’t changed anything, which is exactly what he promised. It reminds me of a story I heard from Manfred Max-Neef. He talked about doing research on poverty in South America, and finding himself stuck in a rainstorm across the road from a poor man, barely able to survive. Max-Neef was an economist at the time, I think, from Berkeley and he had a sudden epiphany. He had nothing to say to the poor man. What would he tell the man? Yes, you live in abject poverty, but GDP growth was this, inflation was that? This led to him developing his barefoot economics. The difference between him and the type of people that write those articles should be obvious. To pretend that things are going well is bonkers. I struggle with whether articles like that are written by liars and propagandists, or people whose economic class and material conditions result in them being untethered with reality. Maybe both, but I doubt those people would ever study poverty close up, deal with the realities and have the capacity to even have an epiphany like that in the first place.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i didn’t get an introduction to poverty until after high school, and i helped that girl escape some troubles(knight errant), and became a pariah and had to run.
      i’ve become very well versed in it since that time.
      some of the best people i have ever known were, literally, at the bottom of the barrel…even on the streets.
      and the people who write articles like that are totally divorced from the reality of life at or near the bottom.
      as are the experts they listen to.
      I’d never heard of Max-Neef…and i’m no berkley economist…but it sounds similar to my experiences, way back when.
      self educated polymathic weirdo, self trained in anthropology in order to survive junior high and high school…discovers something akin to Ur Community at street level…and more, even further into the bushes of the “greenbelts” of austin, Texas.
      or similar Ur Communities in disparate places…Atchafalaya Basin swamp people…Beach People all along the Louisiana Coast…Boat People literally everywhere i looked…and, once i came off the Road way out here, the Barrio…the Old Barrio..even the “White Barrio”…
      the things people do to get by…I’ve often thought of, somehow, requiring MBA’s to live for a winter in a trailer park in the shit part of town— living on foodstamps and minwage…power going out at worst times, and sleeping under every blanket, sheet, towel and article of clothing, and whatever pets you might toss a bone to… beater car towed ,or broke down(and then towed,lol)…hamburger helper for dinner…or snare a rabbit in the park—-in lieu of a dissertation, or whatever fancy writing MBA’s have to do to get their sheepskin.
      Humanism is what’s missing in that rarefied air…and while the amurkin Right began the evisceration of the Humanities, the corpsedems have taken it well into the end zone.
      the proverbial People of the Abyss I have known in my time, generally do not vote, or pay much mind to politics…but they can see the fancy cars and the nice clothes, and know who sent the cops or CPS to hassle them…they know who raised the rent, or caused the shitcar to be repossessed, and are in the main well aware of where the blame lies…even though it can be difficult to understand their articulation of it all.
      I hope that i’m still around when those people have some ah-ha moment of mass epiphany and do something about this mess, however incomprehensible or ill advised.

      choices always have consequences, and Nemesis forever stalks Hubris.

    2. c_heale

      If the next financial crash happens under Biden, will he be able to mount an effective response. Given his uselessness regarding C19, it doesn’t look like it. And given his poll ratings looks like their won’t be a Democratic President next time round.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Kurt Bardella is a contributing writer to Opinion. He is an advisor to the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is a former senior advisor to Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.

    4. Glen

      Heard on the radio as i was driving to work today:

      A PR polling Fred Myers and Kroger’s workers found out that over 10% of them are homeless.

      I was surprised it was that high, but i guess i shouldn’t be when you learn that 3% of the students in public schools are homeless.

  23. dcblogger

    Howard University student’s experience with education/healthcare hellscape
    My health insurance waiver randomly got revoked in the middle of last semester they charged my account $2000, created a hold that stopped me from registering for all classes. lost $7300 in scholarships bc i’m not full time (bc i can’t register). paid and still can’t register.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, but Nicole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nahisi Coates have the sinecures, so it kind of works out.

  24. deplorado

    Lambert, bird song lessons!

    Poetry and beauty are alive and well, even if they have to fight hard to be heard and seen.


    Lucy Lapwing @Lucy_Lapwing
    So excited (& nervous) to announce my new YouTube series: #Birdsong Lessons with Lucy Lapwing!!
    Lockdown’s naff, but we can use the time to learn the voices behind birds BirdMultiple musical notes Hopefully this can help! Watch Episode 1: Introduction here

  25. lance ringquist

    there is absolutely no credibility at all that nafta joe biden and the nafta democrats are going to try to reverse nafta billy clintons disastrous free trade policies that have left the west as a burning smoldering tire.

    to even go to the free trade forum gives the corporate thugs credibility. then let a free trade w.t.o. private sector corporate thug say to fix free trade, we need more free trade.

    can’t take them seriously.


    “(Reuters) -U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday that global trade policy makers should not try to recreate the pre-pandemic trading system but build one that is more resilient, sustainable and supportive of higher living standards.”

    “World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the forum current disruptions in the global economy presented an opportunity to diversify supply chains to developing countries that have not benefited from previous waves of globalization.”

    gee i feel better already:)

  26. Synoia

    “Democratic National Committee (DNC) insiders are debating how to handle the disappointments of President Biden’s biggest legislative fallouts

    Yes, domestic Policy is in tatters. When in trouble at home, go adventuring abroad.

    How about a nice war with Russia over the Ukraine as a distraction from domestic failings?

  27. Mikel

    “Democrats abolish the filibuster just in time to lose the Senate. Hilarity ensues.”

    More like “right on cue.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The filibuster never stopped Republicans. Fear of losing “respectable Republicans” and not having pliable enough judges was what stopped them.

  28. Mikel

    “That said, if you want the active ingredient of psilocybin, why not — hear me out — just take psilocybin? The thrill of inserting the IV?”

    They can insert the hospital administrators and health insurance companies.
    And manipulate scarcity with the “IV middle man.”

    1. Grateful Dude

      psilocin is the ‘active ingredient’. Albert Hoffman synthesized it in the 60s after a visit to Maria Sabina in Huatla. If there’s a patent, Sandoz has it.

      Why? No side effects except very pleasant and colorful auras. Mushrooms are shamanic: they require a shaman and a ritual . My experience is that there’s another being-spirit in my head and I have to deal with it because it has messages for me. And I can’t do much else at all. Psilocin is just perfect joy – not as intense as LSD, but very nice. A good party favor in small doses.

  29. Mikel

    “This is because both commodities use a robust system for tamper-proof bookkeeping: the blockchain.”

    Call 911. I’m laughing so hard I can’t get up….

    “tamper-proof” and “secure”….famous last words.

  30. Terry Flynn

    “under his leadership Warcraft added a paid “character boost” in 2013 that allowed players to skip the process of building their character’s skills and power through gameplay and go right to the end game.”

    Was it the Sword of a Thousand Truths? South Park foretold all this years ago (as usual). The fact an accountant hid it back in the “good old days” is just so funny.

  31. Wukchumni

    …the Abominable Showman

    “145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever” [Politico]. “Trump, so unabashedly unlike any other former president, simply has refused to let people not have to think about him, and what he’s doing, and what he’s saying, and what it might mean.

  32. Andrew Foland

    I have been having the same reported issues with popups in the last couple of days and have some screenshots. I will send by email, just want to forewarn you here to expect it because the shots themselves look sketchy.

  33. ambrit

    File this under “You Can’t Make This S— Up.”
    Shopping in the local grocery a few days ago and ran across a signage ’embarrasment’ on the sugary drinks aisle. Coke products were listed as ‘$1.99 per three litre bottle’ on the shelf. A row of medium small coloured placards taped to the same shelves announced; “Sale Price: $3.99 for two three litre bottles.” I told the floor manager about it. After he stopped laughing, he promised to “look into it.”
    I guess that errors must be expected when the prices of groceries are going up weekly.
    “Brain fog.” It’s everywhere!

    1. skippy

      Who said it was an error … just as pricing tricks like .99c especially in Oz is just a mental tripwire.

      1. ambrit

        Right you are. Like gasoline (petrol) is always priced at $XX.99 per gallon (or litre, etc.) The ‘marquee’ number is the “big” dollar amount. Few I have mentioned this to ever remark about the “extra dollar” in the price.
        My favourite is how Bigg Boxx stores put up ‘Sale Price’ signage that is the same price as the ‘regular’ price. I then know that a price rise is in the works. WalMart is particularly fond of this strategy. (Someone has to pay for the yachts!)
        At our ‘local’ grocery mini-chain, (which is emulating the Whole Foods strategy,) there is one ‘older’ woman, (my age range,) who has been changing the price signage on the shelves two days a week, (all day jobs,) for the last six weeks. I stopped and talked with her a month ago. When I joked about her having a “job for life,” she rolled her eyes and said, “Just shoot me now.”
        Be safe in the Antipodes!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          this morning’s rabbithole feels somewhat germane to all that^^^:

          the Enclosures continue, apace.
          it’s taken 23, 20 and 16 years respectively, to get my wife and sons to see the Psyops at walmart…let alone on TV(the Cheerios box towards the beginning of the first Superman movie, long ago, is what initialised this awareness in me)
          and, of course, i employ/deploy my own aesthetic manipulations in the construction, garden beds and random embedded art(including playlists for the speakers in the tress throughout(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR68YCLIZTY) around here…that my eldest has noticed on his own, and marveled at.

          I like to think that i am at least somewhat immune to such manipulations….from the layout of apartment complexes to the subtle suggestions of plus selling to the way things like bingewatching Law and Order produce an apprehension of the world outside as more dark and dangerous(wife’s currently watching that show, reminding me of the actual sociopsychological research about that very phenomena)…but it’s difficult to be objective enough to actually know if i’m immune, after all.
          the class in “Copywriting”(writing commercials) in college…and Adorno and Horkheimer much later…were instances of profound and sudden epiphanies that have stayed with me…but there are sophisticated methods being employed, here.
          it’s hard to tell….which just lends credence to the idea that “his mind was not his own”…and the tenuousness of subject/object….and the thoroughgoing existential and ontological crises we find ourselves in.

  34. rowlf

    Ok, this is kinda weird.

    Hank Williams No, No Joe

    Now look her Joe quit acting smart
    Stop being that old brazen sort
    Don’t you go sellin’ this country short?
    No, no, Joe

    Just because you think you’ve found
    The system that we know ain’t sound
    Don’t you go throwin’ your weight around?
    No, no Joe

    Cause the Kaiser tried and Hitler tried it
    Mussolini tried it too
    Now they’re all suttin’ around a fire and did you know
    They’re saving place for you

    Now Joe you ought to get it clear
    You can’t push folks around with fear
    Cause we don’t scare easy over here
    No, no Joe

    What makes you do the things you do?
    You getting’ folks mad at you
    Don’t bite off more than you can chew?
    No, no Joe

    Cause you want a scrap that you can’t win
    You don’t know what you’re getting in
    Don’t you go around leading with your chin?
    No, no Joe

    Now you got tanks some fair size tanks
    But you’re acting like a clown
    Don’t go Yanks a mess of Yanks
    And you might get caught with your tanks down

    Don’t go throwin’ out your chest
    You’ll pop the buttons off you vest
    You’re playing with a hornet’s nest
    No, no Joe

    You know you think you’re somebody we should dread
    Just because you’re seeing red
    You better get that foolishness out of your head
    No, no Joe

    And you might be itching for a fight
    Quit braggin’ about how your bear can bite
    Cause you’re sitting on a keg of dynamite
    No, no Joe

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