2:00PM Water Cooler 1/25/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Rather like chamber music for spring songbirds. I like the human voice at the end with the birds singing along, as opposed to the “LNS catalog number [blah blah blah blah] one must so often slog through at the beginning. “I’m in a gully….’

Birdsong lessons:

Could be fun!

* * *


“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

“Biden’s Ukraine Problem” [National Review]. • Nobody gives two sh*ts about Ukraine except a tiny cabal of Beltway lunatics who think Putin’s death rays are cooking their brains.

“GOP grabs for the post-Trump upper hand on Moscow” [Politico]. • Repeat after me: “Nobody gives two sh*ts about Ukraine except a tiny cabal of Beltway lunatics who think Putin’s death rays are cooking their brains.” Although it is amusing to watch the Republicans try to steal the Democrats’ RussiaGate clothes.

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.

* * *

As I clamber through Bourdieu’s Forms of Capital, I found this nugget on pages 39-40:

The problem is that in explaining and communicating the results of our analysis, we are often obliged to use the phrase “in the last analysis.”…. People who cannot tolerate scientific objectification will immediately jump on this kind of phrase, saying “How stupid it is to say that the Critique of Judgment, one of philosophy’s most sacred writings, expresses the objective interests of a category of the German bourgeioisie!” (I can say this because that is what they said about my analysis of the Critique of Judgment.) In fact, things are more complicated: since these objective interests coincide with the interests of the commentators on the Critique of Judgment, who are professors of philosophy at a certain moment in time, the Critique of Judgment is, so to speak, read and not read: People are so at home with it that they don’t see that they are involved.” Fish: “What is water?” More: “In truth, the mystery of social facts and social logic — although I am not keen on the word mystery — for me is that formidably complicated things are at work, a kind of labyrigth of intentions appears, which can be grasped and summarized in the sort of proposition that I summarized just now: “There is an objective intention to….”, “Everything happens as if….”. The problem is that very often in political polemics, people have got into the habit of using very rudimentary sociological analysis, and saying things like “This is only the interest of the upwardly mobile petite bourgeioisie. One of the major problems of sociological analysis, as I concieve it, is that it often takes an enormous efffort to reconstruct this kind of extremely complex network of relations, with their minor mystifications, petty prejudice and personal attacks, to reach conclusions that in the last analysis boil down to something extremely simple.” • Hence our difficulties, which I freely admit, with the term “PMC” — see above — which is at best a placeholder. But you go to class warfare with the placeholders you have. When I read Bourdieu, it’s like everything I’ve read or written as a more-or-less daily political blogger for 2022 – 2003 = 19 years is being named, ruthlessly examined, and tightened up, or discarded. It’s exhilarating, though I hope, er, in the final analysis to have terms slash concepts that are a bit more, well, weaponized usable. In a good way, of course.

* * *


* * *

“Poll: Democratic Party More Unpopular Than Donald Trump” [Peter Daou, Direct Left]. From an NBC News poll conducted January 14-18, 2022: “Donald Trump: 37 percent positive, 51 percent negative (-14). Democratic Party: 33 percent positive, 48 percent negative (-15).” • Hardly surprising.

“With Some Voters ‘Ready to Move On,’ Democrats Search for New Message on Virus” [New York Times]. • The Democrats butchered their response to the pandemic. The Republicans have no solution other than “live your life.” Surely there’s an opening for a candidate that hates both parties? (And I use the word “hate” advisedly.)


“Progressives wake up: Eric Adams’ war on crime is about class, not color” [New York Post]. “Adams, a former NYPD captain who pushed for reforms, insisted last year that ‘the prerequisite for prosperity is public safety.’ That message won him the lion’s share of black votes in the Democratic primary — a whopping 63%. Adams beat Defund-the-Police-and-‘create trauma-informed care in our schools’ Maya Wiley and wealthy hotspot favorite Kathryn Garcia handily in Brooklyn and The Bronx, including in public-housing units. Adams won by making crime his campaign’s center. Some voters worried a lot about the historic increase in violence heading into the primaries: Just 53% of New Yorkers without college degrees felt safe walking around their neighborhoods — compared with 72% of those with college degrees. And when asked how to deal with the surge in shootings and violent crime, college-educated voters were significantly more likely to select the ‘Defund the Police’ option — ‘Move resources away from police to fund programs that deal with mental health’ — than those without degrees. As is so often the case with today’s overeducated white progressives, the price of the policies that make them feel righteous is paid by the most vulnerable — poor and working-class people of color who have to live with the consequences.” • Throwing that red meat!

“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!” –2 Samuel 19:1

2020 Post Mortem

“Fulton judges greenlight special grand jury for Trump probe” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “The judges on Fulton County’s Superior Court bench on Monday cleared the way for a special grand jury to be used for District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation of former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results…. Willis’ criminal probe, launched nearly a year ago, is centered on the Jan. 2, 2021, phone call that Trump placed to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he urged the Republican to “find” the 11,780 votes to overcome Joe Biden’s win here…. Special grand juries, which include 16 to 23 people, are rare in Georgia. They can’t issue indictments but can subpoena witnesses and compel the production of documents and information. Unlike regular grand juries, they can be seated for longer than two months and are focused on a singular topic rather than many.”

“Judges on top Texas criminal court deluged with calls, emails as AG Paxton fumes over election fraud ruling” [Houston Chronicle]. “Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judges’ phone lines and email inboxes have been flooded for more than a week by callers angry about a ruling made by the state’s highest criminal court last month that stripped Attorney General Ken Paxton of the authority to prosecute election fraud cases without cooperation of the local district attorney or county attorney…. Paxton has publicly blasted the court’s Republican judges for the decision. He and other Republicans have also suggested Democratic district attorneys will not be vigilant against election fraud. ‘Now, thanks to the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, Soros-funded district attorneys will have sole power to decide whether election fraud has occurred in Texas,’ Paxton wrote on Twitter at the time of the decision, referring to the Democratic mega-donor. ‘This ruling could be devastating for future elections in Texas.'” • But… the judges were Republican. Is Soros spreading his money around that lavishly? Maybe this Paxton dude and Rachel Maddow could go on cable, together. They could try to outdo each other.

Trump Legacy

“Donald Trump’s New Media Company Is the Top SPAC Short of 2022” [Institutional Investor]. “SPAC short sellers have sensed a gift in the not-yet consummated deal between Trump Media and Technology Group and the Digital World Acquisition Group, a high-flying SPAC that is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to its securities filing. That SPAC is now the most shorted one in the world, according to a new report from S3 Partners, which tracks short interest. Digital World is also the only short in the market with more than $100 million in short interest, S3 Partners found. As of January 20, the short interest in that SPAC was almost 13 percent, for a total of $323.73 million. So far, shorts have been losing money on this bet.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Warnings of ‘Civil War’ Risk Harming Efforts Against Political Violence” [War on the Rocks]. “The emerging cottage industry of speculation and alarm specifically about a civil war in the United States worries us. The shape and content of this debate — covered in venues as mainstream as NPR — risks mis-framing an urgent problem for non-specialist audiences. Rather than asking whether the United States will have a new civil war, commentators ought to be asking: What kinds of risks for political violence does the United States face? What forms might that political violence take? Who might perpetrate this violence, and which communities will be most affected by it? Retraining our focus on political violence allows us to consider the real risks ahead for the country, to work alongside the many groups already actively trying to push back illiberal violence, and to protect its most likely victims. Scholars of civil war typically understand the concept as one specific manifestation of violence among many. Although researchers may disagree on the particulars, they agree broadly that civil wars are conflicts within a country between the ruling government of that country and named, politically motivated armed groups that commit violence against one another above some threshold of battlefield casualties. For expert audiences, civil war violence is not one-sided violence — where an armed group targets civilians or the government with no organized retaliation — nor is it simply one-directional state repression. It is not indiscriminate terrorism aimed at the population, or even systematic, targeted campaigns of violence against minorities or specific groups. Rather, to be categorized as a “civil war,” violence must be part of a meaningful contest over the central government of the country, or a meaningful effort at secession. Civil war scholar Barbara Walter, who has been a prominent voice in this debate, has been careful to note she wants to avoid “an exercise in fear-mongering.” When she warns of a civil war, she points not to something akin to the U.S. Civil War — still the most destructive war in the country’s history — but rather to something with the intensity of Northern Ireland’s Troubles or Italy’s Years of Lead. ‘The next war is going to be more decentralized, fought by small groups and individuals using terrorism and guerrilla warfare to destabilize the country,’ Walter told Vox’s Zack Beauchamp, adding that ‘We are closer to that type of civil war than most people realize.’ In our own work, we have researched political violence that can occur in the absence of civil wars, or alongside them. Our concern with the frame Walter and others offer — and with the attached ‘civil war or not‘ headlines — is that it misses the wide array of other kinds of political violence the United States has not only historically experienced, but is currently experiencing. Crisp scholarly definitions belie the lived experience of political violence, which can be pervasive without ever rising to the level of civil war.

“Why More Inexperienced Candidates Are Running — And Winning” [FiveThirtyEight]. • Handy chart:

“This Isn’t Jim Crow 2.0” [The Atlantic]. “Jim Crow was a terrible injustice and remains a stain on our country, but that is not where we are today. The 2020 election had the highest voter turnout in the nation’s history, including among Black, Latino, and Asian American voters; 59.4 percent of eligible African Americans voted, compared with 65.3 percent of white Americans. And that discrepancy in the percentage of white and Black voters is partially reflective of age—white voters tend to be older, and older Americans are more likely to vote—not systematic disenfranchisement. The voting-law changes made by state legislatures since 2020 also do not take us back to Jim Crow. Many of these laws simply return voting practices to those in effect before the pandemic. Are we really supposed to believe that the voting laws in place in 2012—when our nation’s first Black president and then–Vice President Biden were reelected—are equivalent to Jim Crow?… Ambiguity in an existing law called the Electoral Count Act, written nearly a century and a half ago, led the January 6 rioters to believe that they could change the result of a free and fair election—which should worry every American. If that were the case, a sitting vice president would be able to simply anoint the ticket nominated by his or her party—which would be entirely at odds with our constitutional system of transferring power based on statewide popular votes. To end this absurd notion, the process needs to be spelled out more clearly in the statute. Thankfully, a bipartisan group of leaders is now focused on that issue.” • This thesis does give an account of why the NGOs are up in arms on this (they are funded to be) and the electeds are not (they know their districts).

“Pro-Trump death threats prompt bills in 3 states to protect election workers” [Reuters]. “In Vermont, lawmakers are considering bills to make it easier to prosecute people who threaten election officials. In Maine, proposed legislation would stiffen penalties for such intimidation. In Washington, state senators voted this month to make threatening election workers a felony. The measures follow a Reuters series of investigative reports documenting a nationwide wave of threats and harassment against election administrators by Donald Trump supporters who embrace the former president’s false voting-fraud claims. Sponsors and supporters of the legislation in all three states.”


Case count by United States regions:

Bouncy bouncy. But that’s peak behavior, albeit at an amplitude hitherto unseen. Looks like the Northeast is leading the rest of the country down (as they would, being first). If you look at the two 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 unprecedented. Should be interesting what happens when B.2 arrives.

Note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” seems to be the case in South Africa (with a very different population from our own):

(I am but a simple tape-watcher, and say nothing of clinical effects, long Covid, stress on the health care system, co-morbidities, etc.)

Then again, speaking of gaming case numbers (ChiGal):

Again, I am but a simple tape-watcher. I look at the curves as narratives; I don’t trust the numbers whatever. But in the aggregate, I think we can dope out when and where things are getting better, when and where they are getting worse, and the state changes between them (particularly when as now, different streams of data reinforce each other). Given the Third World quality of our data, that’s probably the best we can do.

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!

“The kids are not alright: Data suggests 10% of children with COVID-19 become ‘long-haulers'” [Salon]. “Because the data is preliminary, estimates thus far vary wildly on the prevalence of what is now known as “long Covid” in children and adolescents. …. While there is no official definition of pediatric long Covid at this time, the parameters typically include the persistence (or return) of symptoms 12 weeks following the initial infection. Some criteria look for new or persistent symptoms 30 days out from the acute infection. Another key is ruling out of alternative medical explanations — making the process of diagnosis lengthy and requiring a multi-disciplinary team. … However, there is now growing consensus that somewhere around 10 percent of COVID-19 cases in kids turn into long Covid — at least according to the data collected for primarily pre-omicron and pre-vaccine cases.” • Trump came for your parents. Then Biden came for your kids….

* * *

NOT UPDATED MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging. No jump from the return of the students yet.

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.

“Strengthening Public Health Surveillance Through Wastewater Testing : An Essential Investment for the COVID-19 Pandemic and Future Health Threats” [World Bank Open Knowledge Repository]. From the PDF, a handy chart:

Don’t we want to “interrupt the chain of transmission”? This is something else the molasses-brained Biden Administration could have done a year ago, before they adopted their disastrous Vax-only policy (and always remembering that democidal elites are a parsimonious explanation).

* * *

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

Great news in California, the Northeast, the lower Mississippi (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):

Great news (reinforced by MWRA data and case data). (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: 891,595 889,197. I have added an anti-triumphalist black “Fauci Line.” As we know, deaths are a lagging indicator. I assume the absurdity of the “Omicron is mild” talking point is, at this point, self-evident.

“People Are Hiding That Their Unvaccinated Loved Ones Died of COVID” [The Atlantic]. “Now the majority of COVID deaths are occurring among the unvaccinated, and many deaths are likely preventable. The compassion extended to the virus’s victims is no longer universal. Sometimes, in place of condolences, loved ones receive scorn… [M]any obituaries and memorial posts on social media don’t tell the full story, referencing pneumonia or other complications that stemmed from COVID-19 without invoking the coronavirus itself. Sometimes, no cause of death is given.” • I would imagine this desire to hide feeds back to hospitals and coroners too, as IIRC it did during the AIDS crisis…. So, the PMC shaming and fingerwagging turns out to nuke the very data professionals rely upon for their own decision-making.

And speaking of the PMC:

Apparently, I am not the only one who can draw a “Fauci Line:”

“Omnicron is milder… milder…. milder” [echo effect]….

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Good news here too. For the time being.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Manufacturing Activity Index in the US fifth district fell to a 4-month low of 8 in January of 2022 from 16 in December, due to declines in the indexes for new orders and employment. Survey results indicated firms continued to struggle to find the skills that they need despite solid increases in wages. The third component in the composite index, the index for shipments, increased slightly. The backlog of orders index dropped considerably, while the index for vendor lead time remained high and inventories indexes remained near historic lows. Firms’ perceptions about changes in local business conditions remained slightly negative; however, firms are optimistic about future conditions.”

Housing: “United States Case Shiller Home Price Index YoY” [Trading Economics]. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in the US rose 18.3% year-on-year in November of 2021, the least since May but slightly above forecasts of 18%. House prices remain elevated due to low inventory and fast turnaround but the increasing mortgage rates are starting to weigh.”

* * *

Manufacturing: “Boeing Adds $450 Million to Air-Taxi Effort” [Wall Street Journal]. “The company’s Silicon Valley-based Wisk venture joins an expanding crowd of electric air vehicles that have attracted billions of dollars in new funding over the past year. Some aim to start service by the middle of the decade, though those efforts hinge on an evolving regulatory framework to ensure passenger safety…. Wisk was formed in 2019 through a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corp., an electric aircraft maker co-founded by Mr. Page. Wisk is developing an aircraft seating three to four passengers that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, flying autonomously without any pilot…. Details on the latest version that Wisk intends to operate commercially—and which likely will be larger—are due to be disclosed later this year, according to Boeing.” • Air taxis? After the 747? The 777? Heck, the B-52? Air taxis? Really?

Tech: This is so, so bad:

To answer one question downthread: The avatars in the Metaverse have nothing below the waist, because if they did, the Metaverse would be instantly deluged in pr0n. You’re welcome.

Mr. Market: “U.S. stocks renew slide after wild day on Wall Street” [MarketWatch]. “Here we go again. After a wild day of trading that saw a 1,000-point-plus upside reversal by the Dow, U.S. stocks were back under pressure Tuesday as the Federal Reserve kicked off a two-day policy meeting and investors sifted through a mixed bag of corporate earnings. Trading remained volatile, however, with equities tumbling sharply in early trade before trimming the decline.”

The Fed: “The Real Secret of Central Banking: There Are No Maestros” [James Mason, Barrons]. “Perhaps, though, we should take a step back and ask if the Fed is really all-powerful. You might like to see inflation come down; I’d like to see stronger labor markets. But can the Fed give either of us what we want?… To be sure, no one would claim that the Fed is powerless. Raise rates enough, and borrowers unable to roll over their loans will face default; as asset values fall and balance sheets weaken, households will have no choice but to drastically curtail consumption. But being able to sink a ship is not the same as being able to steer it. The fact that the Fed can, if it tries hard enough, trigger a recession, does not mean that it can maintain steady growth. Perhaps it’s time to admit that there are no central banking “maestros” who know the secret of maintaining full employment and price stability. Balancing these critical social objectives requires a variety of tools, not just a single interest rate. And it is, for better or worse, the responsibility of our elected government.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 37 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 25 at 1:37pm.

Department of Feline Felicity

And so what if it’s Russian:

Groves of Academe

Thia does seem odd:

Guillotine Watch

Sitting duck:

This guy… First, he foments war with Iran, as a Republican. Now, he foments war with Russia, as a Democrat:

Class Warfare

Why are there so many [glass bowls]?

“This Company Spent More Than $1 Million On Union-Busting Consultants” [HuffPo]. “When Cemex truck drivers in Las Vegas and Southern California decided to join the Teamsters in 2018, the ready-mix concrete company did all it could to stop them. Cemex quickly hired a “union avoidance” firm that it would pay more than $1 million to try to dissuade workers from organizing. Cemex managed to narrowly defeat the union in a March 2019 election, but not without traipsing all over the law and illegally firing a female driver who had been organizing her co-workers, according to trial testimony. The anti-union campaign was so rife with threats that a judge at the National Labor Relations Board ruled last month that Cemex committed “extraordinary violations” right up until ballots were cast. The case offers a window into how aggressively many companies respond when workers exercise their right to form a union — even at a place like Cemex, which already employs Teamsters members in other locations and has previously negotiated contracts with the union. ‘It was so traumatic for me,’ said Diana Ornelas, 29, the driver who the judge found was wrongly suspended and then fired. NLRB administrative law judge John T. Giannopoulos found many of the company’s witnesses not to be credible when they testified about what happened. He even determined that one of Cemex’s anti-union consultants — who is supposed to understand the legal boundaries better than anyone onsite — violated the law by telling workers Cemex might simply close its ready-mix cement operation rather than deal with unionized drivers.”

News of the Wired

The measure of all things?

Big time! Big time!

(The comments, unusually for YouTube, are insightful and humane.)

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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 (kd):

kd writes: “Abandoned shed in the Willamette Valley.” Amazing prospects!

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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. Wukchumni

    “Donald Trump’s New Media Company Is the Top SPAC Short of 2022” [Institutional Investor]. “SPAC short sellers have sensed a gift in the not-yet consummated deal between Trump Media and Technology Group and the Digital World Acquisition Group, a high-flying SPAC that is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to its securities filing.
    Got this from a source on the inside, an advance copy of Trump’s speech for the next rally in Bull Run, it ain’t Lincolnesque even if it takes liberties.

    “Threescore and fifteen years ago my mother brought forth, on this continent, a new infant, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that not all men are created equal. Now we are on the verge of another great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war.

    We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those Confederates who here gave their lives that that nation might continue to be remembered even though they came in second place. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”

  2. Howard Beale IV

    We lost a co-worker yesterday from COVID. We don’t know if she was vaxxed/boosted or not. Apparently she left bind a teenage son. Tragic news.

    1. LaRuse

      Sincerest sympathies. We lost two guys the week of Thanksgiving. No idea of their vaxx status. They were part of a group of employees that got together for an outdoor fishing trip as a way to be connected with their teams. The entire group got the virus. Outdoors. Both employees were under 50 and both left behind kids. As managers in the construction wing of our business, they each left behind separate teams without leadership.
      Every. Loss. Matters.

  3. Howard Beale IV

    A 31-year-old man in need of a heart transplant has been bumped from the transplant list at Brigham and Women’s Hospital because he won’t get vaccinated against Covid-19, CBS Boston reports.

    Said Dr. Arthur Caplan: “The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, Covid could kill you. The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving.”

    Source: https://boston.cbslocal.com/2022/01/24/covid-19-vaccine-heart-transplant-boston-brigham-womens/

    1. urblintz

      How ghoulish is that?

      If anyone can die of anything then why is Caplan putting those scarce organs in anybody?

      He should lose his license to practice medicine.

      1. Raymond Sim

        You’re calling a man who puts dead people’s hearts into other people’s bodies a ghoul? I’m pretty sure a ghoul would just eat them.

        1. urblintz

          The answer to your first question is yes, and I appreciate the second’s ghoulish humor… I’m a big fan of Edward Gorey.

    2. IM Doc

      This is exactly the same Dr. Caplan (sorry I called him Dr. Cohn yesterday) I was referencing yesterday – he is the chief medical ethicist at NYU Langone (Home Depot) Medical Center. I guess we have a different billionaire in this article – Grossman – I am going to have to research that and why the sudden name difference.

      Dr. Caplan is the ethicist brought out all the time to do whatever possible to denigrate the unvaxxed when the MSM needs a go-to-guy to do this kind of dirty work.

      I have been involved in medical ethics as an academic physician for many years. I believe I am speaking for most of my colleagues in that field – it is highly inappropriate for any medical ethics professional to make public comments about any specific case. Unbelievably immoral.

      Furthermore, trying to place a very complicated patient like a transplant patient into your repeatedly stated worldview that the unvaxxed are sinners needing punishment is just over the top.

      I had a very very similar situation a few months ago. As the PCP, I discussed the situation professionally with multiple physicians. And we all together decided NOT to COVID or FLU vaccinate the patient prior to transplant. And he is doing splendidly. You would never know that actually not vaccinating transplant patients may be the best course of action listening to Dr. Caplan. They are very complicated and each patient is very different.

      When I was in the big city, the media called me ever once in a while to opine on the ethics of an unfolding medical event. I politely told them every single time that I would not dream of making any comments about a patient’s medical condition or course. It was wholly inappropriate for me to do so.

      How dare these ethics “experts” like Dr. Caplan do this kind of thing in an unfolding situation like this. It is completely and totally unprofessional and makes me question the credibility of anything coming out of his mouth.

      1. flora

        Making a public example out of a dying patient? Sure, that’s “ethical”… for some definition of “ethical.”

    3. jimmy cc

      my aunt was required to get a flu shot after her transplant. I thought is was because your immune system is weak afterwards.

    4. dave in Austin

      But new livers for alcholics… that ok.

      Either both should get the organ or neither based on a “who will last longest? benchmark. And I might vote for neither…

  4. Matthew G. Saroff

    It appears to me that they are Brahman faculty at that CSU are arguing for the right to discriminate.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If they don’t get their way, could the Brahmans then sue because their rights to discriminate are being discriminated against? That’s discrimination that!

      1. Even keel

        Ooh. What if their traditional cultural practice required discrimination? Nothing bad, really, just s subbing at tea time. Then the anti discrimination law is being anti diverse?

  5. Swamp Yankee

    I’ve been saying for a few years now that we are in a situation that resembles Italy’s Anni di Piombi/Years of Lead. My uncle, himself an Italian immigrant from Campania who lived through them before coming to the US and marrying my Mother’s
    Sister, agrees wholeheartedly.

    I think I even said so on here in the last week or so!

    Feels nice to be vindicated, but wish it weren’t the case that we are in such a bad way. It won’t be sectional, like in 1861, though section/region will no doubt play a huge role. But there are wokeista identitarians and Tankies in Texas and Arizona, and MAGA heads and far right militia types in Massachusetts and Minnesota … it’s just completely fractured and increasingly atomized.

    Troubled waters.

    1. Wukchumni

      It won’t be sectional, like in 1861, though section/region will no doubt play a huge role. But there are wokeista identitarians and Tankies in Texas and Arizona, and MAGA heads and far right militia types in Massachusetts and Minnesota … it’s just completely fractured and increasingly atomized.

      It’d be weird here in the red bastion of the state-which is greatly outnumbered by coastal types, most of whom have never fired their guns, let alone in anger, and the closest they’ve come to hunting is walking serpentine through the aislerderness towards the meat counter.

      The idea that the CVBB is largely flat as a pancake doesn’t bode well for a defensive posture, but what would you do with the land festooned with fruit trees and penitentiaries anyhow?

      Add in the official boundary line for the 2 main Mexican gangs: Norteños & Sureños is in Delano, where there are a number of prisons for prospective members to meet, and most of their activity is on the down low, running concurrent with right wing nutters albeit on completely trajectories and typically never the twain ever meets, but in a turf war of occupation, who knows?

  6. Georgia

    Cemex, union busting;
    but not without traipsing all over the law and illegally firing a female driver”

    Oh dear, they fired a fragile weak female? Why does the female need special protection? I thought women were as capable as men and deserved the same rights and therefore no special considerations, protections, outrage if abused?

    1. jo6pac

      Maybe because she was a pro union organizer. That’s a normal practice to scare the others. She sounds pretty tough to me.

      illegally firing a female driver who had been organizing her co-workers, according to trial testimony.

      Just saying

    2. jo6pac

      Owners don’t like thinkers

      illegally firing a female driver who had been organizing her co-workers, according to trial testimony.

    3. judy2shoes

      Oh dear, they fired a fragile weak female? Why does the female need special protection? I thought women were as capable as men and deserved the same rights and therefore no special considerations, protections, outrage if abused?

      My guess is that you didn’t read the article.

  7. antidlc


    Long Covid: doctors find ‘antibody signature’ for patients most at risk

    Low levels of certain antibodies found to be more common in those who go on to develop long Covid

    Doctors have discovered an “antibody signature” that can help identify patients most at risk of developing long Covid, a condition where debilitating symptoms of the disease can persist for many months.

    Researchers at University hospital Zurich analysed blood from Covid patients and found that low levels of certain antibodies were more common in those who developed long Covid than in patients who swiftly recovered.

    When combined with the patient’s age, details of their Covid symptoms and whether or not they had asthma, the antibody signature allowed doctors to predict whether people had a moderate, high or very high risk of developing long-term illness.

  8. fresno dan

    “GOP grabs for the post-Trump upper hand on Moscow” [Politico]. • Repeat after me: “Nobody gives two sh*ts about Ukraine except a tiny cabal of Beltway lunatics who think Putin’s death rays are cooking their brains.” Although it is amusing to watch the Republicans try to steal the Democrats’ RussiaGate clothes.

    After spending four years on the defensive about Donald Trump’s often-conciliatory posture toward Moscow, Republicans are hoping for their own Russia reset this week.
    More broadly, though, Republicans see an opportunity to turn the page on an era that found them struggling to defend the former president’s periodic coziness with Vladimir Putin’s government amid Russia’s documented meddling in the 2016 election.
    Seriously, of all the possible candidates in 2024, is Trump, at least rhetorically, the one most willing to take hostility toward Russia off the table?

    1. Wukchumni

      I don’t know anything about the Ukraine other than what my mom told me of their few week stay there in the early 90’s, and when they got back I asked her how it went, and she replied:

      “It was like Iowa but without the charm…”

        1. Raymond Sim

          I was at rest stop on I-80 in Iowa that had a patch of tallgrass prarie on it. What could be more charming?

          Yeah, yeah I know …

        2. Wukchumni

          The Hawkeye state has sadly never had my presence there, so i’m ignorant on it’s charm status but was always wondering if Maytag was really a Commie front as it meant May Day in German, those socialists will one day sell you out to the lowest bidder down under down Mexico way, I remember thinking.

          1. Big River Bandido

            Maytag had a plant in Newton, Iowa, that employed thousands of workers, and another in Galesburg, Illinois.

            It was not socialists who sold them out and sent the plants to Mexico. Both those once-thriving towns are now skeletons.

        3. urblintz

          First know that I chuckled at your comment!

          But few people know that the colleges and universities in Iowa produce some of the best choirs in the country and Iowans are rightfully proud of their nationally regarded choral tradition. I sang a recital at ISU in Ames and found a most receptive audience. The students at my master class the next day were really interesting, talented and, yes, charming! Mind you, that was 40 years ago…

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Why would anyone fight over the remnants of Chernobyl, it would be like fighting over Fukushima.

        1. SomeGuyinAZ

          “Step right up folks and get your hands on this wonderful Fukushima spring water – it’ll cure anything that ails ya. Only $45/liter.” /s

          1. clarky90

            “Radithor” was advertised as “A Cure for the Living Dead” as well as “Perpetual Sunshine”. The expensive product was claimed to cure ………”


            “Dr. C.C. Moyar, Pittsburg physician who prescribed “radithor” for Eben Byers, who died Thursday in New York City, denied today that “more than 100 patients” are suffering from radium poisoning. Dr. Moyar said Byers died from a combination of blood diseases which had induced gout. Dr. Moyar said: “The statement of a New York physiotherapist to the effect 100 patients of a Pittsburg physiotherapist were suffering from radium poisoning was an absolute lie. I am the physiotherapist referred to. I never had more than a dozen patients on radium water at any one time. I never had a death among my patients from radium treatment… I have taken as much or more radium water of the same kind Mr. Byers took and I am 51 years old, active and healthy” (UP press release of April 2, 1932).

            1. Yves Smith

              Yes, we’ve written often about Radithor.

              Radium drinks had been popular tonics for nearly 30 years, but they were harmless because the radium isotope they used had an extremely short half-life, like 3-4 days, so by the time it got to a store, it had no more radiation in it than background radiation levels.

              Radithor was an innovation. More potent isotope with longer half life. Marketed as better because stronger.

              1. clarky90

                Millions received nasal radium therapy in 1940s, ’50s and ’60s;


                “The treatment, called nasopharyngeal irradiation, was pioneered by Johns Hopkins physicians. They threaded radium-tipped probes up through the nostrils to shrink swollen lymphoid tissue at the back of the nose. Doctors prescribed the therapy to treat hearing loss, tonsillitis, allergies and even colds…..”

                My Mom was one of the children who was enrolled in this program. She would have been 14 or 15 years old. A very beautiful human being………..

                Both of mom’s parents (my GM only believed in homeopathy) lived to be 97yo and 98 yo respectavely. My “trust the science” mom, died age 71 yo from cancer of the thyroid, which metastasized. (Born in 1925, she should still be alive (just) today. sigh). She had grown up to be a Professor of Medicine at Duke, and had been waiting for the fateful diagnosis for many years.

                “…. roughly 67,000 Marylanders underwent nasal radium treatments as children.”

                My friend, and USAian neighbor, also lost his precious mom from radium induced cancer. His mom had worked in a watch factory, in NYC during WW2. She was painting the radium on the watch dials so they would glow in the dark. The young women workers, formed and moistened the tiny brush with their mouth.

                really really sad

                Thank you, Yves, for remembering topics that others wish to Dump Down the Memory Hole.

                1. nvt

                  Interesting timing for this comment. I had these treatments at Johns Hopkins in 1959 at age 4, at the highest dosages. This week, I am going to have tests to see if I have some undiagnosed cancers that are leading to my jawbone dying. BTW — this treatment led to Roger Ebert having salivary gland cancer and having his jaw fall apart. And, as far as I can tell, there is even less interest in these children now than there was when your mother died of cancer.

              2. Alex Cox

                Did American shoe stores in the 1950s have xray machines? They did in England. You could stick your feet in one and see your bones. My parents, luckily, wouldn’t let me.

      2. Late Introvert

        “It was like Iowa but without the charm…”

        Isn’t it charming what the crybaby welfare farmers are doing to the rivers and lakes and Gulf of Mexico? For freakin’ ethanol.

        I get special family rights, as I’m from Iowa, and even moved back after I got out. My sister is really fat, and a little ugly on the side.

  9. doug

    I watched Joe Biden say ‘inflation is great’ where the story line seems be he called the reporter a name. I found the other utterance more germane myself. Watching that video made wonder again about animatronics, or whatever Disney called those fake people. He did not see alive in the short segment I saw, but calling inflation ‘great’? He may want to ask Mr. Carter about that.

    1. Screwball

      It’s easy for me to find humor in all this since I have no use for anyone in DC. Watching the hyper-partisans in both parties either justify what Biden said, or be outraged about it on the other has been quite entertaining.

      On another note, not convinced this is true, but I saw a tweet today that someone who got some .gov issued covid tests posted a picture that they were made in China, and the kit didn’t work as it should. I have some ordered, so I will see.

      Between the masks/tests and the SOB comment (probably not a good idea, but whatevs…) are we in the Bread & Circuses stage of this failing empire?

      I am retired, so other than a few college classes I teach for fun money, I get to sit around all day, reading every corner of the Internet along all spectrum of partisanship and watch the country continue the spiral into the crapper.

      Are there any adults in the room? Prolly wouldn’t matter.

    2. BlakeFelix

      I think that he was being sarcastic, the reporter asked if it was a problem, that annoyed Biden, because of course inflation is a problem, so he was like, “No, inflation is just great, I love inflation. Idiot.”. Not terribly professional, but not as bad as if he actually did think inflation was great. Although that said I would argue that some inflation can be good sometimes, at least as the lesser evil. Our system has been through some real shocks, if a short period of 5-8% inflation can avoid mass evictions and general collapse that isn’t a bad deal IMO. And inflation is good for debtors, if they have fixed debts and floating incomes.

      1. aj

        I don’t think what we are seeing is inflation as people typically think of it (where too much money is chasing too few good). What we are seeing are price shocks caused by supply shortages. There is nothing the Fed or Biden can do about it. Also, a full cycle of “inflation” means wages go up too and we are not seeing that yet. Although I’m not sure how long businesses will be able to put off doing so to hire workers. Most of them continue to try to suffer through being understaffed because they are not about to raise wages

      2. doug

        Thanks. I had not considered that, but thinking back to the video, you are probably correct. He thought the mike was off, making a joke. Tis a shame the mike was not off.

  10. Mildred Montana

    “Nobody gives two sh*ts about Ukraine except a tiny cabal of Beltway lunatics…”

    Well, I think a bunch of Russian/Ukrainian oligarchs/plutocrats also give a few sh*ts.

    The whole thing reminds me of two high-level mobsters threatening to kill each other. I can’t even give ??? sh*t.

    1. Soredemos

      In reality Russia hasn’t done anything other than move troops around inside its own borders. It’s had at least 90,000 troops ‘on the border’ with Ukraine (in reality nowhere near the border) since April. The whole thing is fake news.

      It’s more fake than even the WMD scare. At least there Saddam actually existed. I’m not quite sure how DC plans to get out of this one, because instead of saying they have to invade a place to stop a thing, they’re claiming someone else is going to do the invading. And when week after week and month after month the invasion fails to happen? Or will they eventually just claim the ‘threat’ is over and NATO scared the nefarious Rooskies off?

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      “Insane in the Ukraine! Insane in the brain!”

      … to the tune of everyone’s favourite Cypress Hill’s rap … ;-)

      > “Nobody gives two sh*ts about Ukraine except a tiny cabal of Beltway lunatics…”

      > > Well, I think a bunch of Russian/Ukrainian oligarchs/plutocrats also give a few sh*ts.

      Crimea is more personal to Putin … and there is no love lost for those whom Putin called the “Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites” who ousted Yanukovych (Sean Guillory via Warscapes). Lambert is right to call the Russia-hating cabal in the US lunatics. Their madness, like so much else about their pathetic existence, is the result of greed. “Russia! Russia! Russia!” a.k.a. #RussiaGate is two things: the first is a sickening attempt to deflect blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump; the second is raw manifestation of the rage of US oligarchy at the fact that the dissolution of the USSR did not provide a direct windfall to the ruling class here. I won’t be profligate with links here, but any search engine will show you the photos of Bill and Hillary Clinton having a “coke and a smile” at a Coke bottling plant in Russia. Russia was on its way to being our BFF – but a funny thing happened on the way to Дисней Город, Moscow. Yeltsin appointed Putin, and every US oligarch’s wet dream of carving up Russia like a Thanksgiving turkey died. Since that day, it’s been a case of “our oligarchs don’t like their oligarchs”, but the 2016 election added a gear. With MSNBC shills like Maddow pumping up the volume every single night, it’s become far more real that it actually is. Like the little mouse’s Gruffalo, a series of lies have come to life, and now the US has to deal with a beast borne out of its own greedy, imperialist imagination.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        ChrisRUEcon: Thanks for this. I would point out that I’m already seeing triple-axel logic at FBk, where someone was posting that Putin wants a war to re-install Trump. Just when I was thinking that liberals are only detached from reality a tad…

        What could possibly go wrong with a land war in a place like Ukraine in winter? Should we check in with Napoleon Bonaparte?

        Word of the day:
        “Nobody gives two sh*ts about Ukraine except a tiny cabal of Beltway lunatics who think Putin’s death rays are cooking their brains.” —Lambert Strether

        Yes, the Gs came from primeval Lithuania. But even a land war in January in Lithuania would be ridiculous, stupid, and wasteful. Maybe someone could check in with Alexander Nevsky.

        1. wilroncanada

          By all means check in with good ‘ole Nap. Joe will understand everything he says because both are about the same age.

    1. chris

      Good god why???

      I can’t think of any place more likely to be a risk for anything and everything bad. Be careful!

      1. dcblogger

        I seriously doubt there will be trouble. But while I don’t think that we will accomplish anything, I mean to do everything that lays within my power to stop a nuclear war. It is incredible to me that so many otherwise intelligent people do not get how dangerous this is.

        1. chris

          It’s incredibly dangerous. We’re past the point of lunacy when it comes to our diplomatic position with multiple nuclear powers. And you’re right, no one in power is likely to listen to you or care that you marched or protested this.

          Except, they will undoubtedly try to scan your face and may hassle you. There may be agent provocateurs in the audience trying to make it look like you’re an unruly bunch with Russian sympathies. And it will likely be a super spreader event because of the temperatures and close quarters. I admire the civic attitude but this seems like too many risks and too few rewards.

          1. dcblogger

            let me guess, you have never, ever been to a demonstration in Lafayette Park. Unless this is very different from every other demonstration I have participated in, there will be nothing like that. My face might very well be scanned, and they will see that I am the same dcblogger who has attended a zillion previous demonstrations. I am a retired lady living in obscurity East of the Anacostia river. There can be no professional repercussions.

            1. chris

              Nope, never been. Too many job repercussions to risk not being able to support the family. Also zero evidence it does any good. But if it makes you feel better, good for you. Seriously, civic engagement is rare so I hope you do get something from it.

  11. meadows

    “….it’s just completely fractured and increasingly atomized.”

    Agreed. The combo punches of Covid and incompetent Gov’t has created a weird feeling of “you’re on your own”-like abandonment which is mixed with lots of fractured, hysterical media messages. True conspiracies are blended with bizarre conspiracies and there is insufficient rational discourse to decide which is which, all layered thickly with propaganda of all sorts. We’re just being gaslit from dawn to dusk.

    As a fish swimming in this turbid culture I can’t tell the temperature or see clearly any more, but I do sense baited hooks all over the place…

    1. steve

      It seems everyone is camped out on their own tiny islands. Mental health has to be at dumpster levels low and the crazy shows no sign of leveling off. Unmoored from reality and being fed a constant stream of disinformation and propaganda and mind f**kery in general gotta leave its mark. Its amazing we are only dysfunctional.

      Stay safe.

  12. Samuel Conner

    > you go to class warfare with the placeholders you have

    the deep-ventilation laughter benefits of ‘in passing’ remarks like this are one of the reasons I find NC indispensable. It is objectively good for my health.

    O Lambert, live forever!


    Thank you! (a check is in the mail.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you! After a solid few weeks of reading, I’m like 40 pages in…

      OTOH, the famous chapter 52 of Volume III of Capital (“Classes”) is only one page long and ends:

      [Here the manuscript breaks off.]

      So there is some catch-up to do. I just hope I’m not getting sucked into some French rathole, like Foucault or DeLeuze/Guattari. Bourdieu doesn’t feel that way, but then he wouldn’t, would he?

      1. Darthbobber

        He’s vastly better. The Logic of Practice has some brilliant chapters, and one of the more devastating critiques of economics as intellectual straightjacket I ever read. Its discussion of habitus is very good, and useful since he keeps returning to that in the later corpus.

        1. enoughisenough

          Agree, he’s incredibly incisive and coherent!

          I’m using some of his Habitus stuff in my dissertation – it’s really helping the understanding and articulation of how particular images and traditions become part of a culture’s mindset and internalized as natural.

          (coming from a place of a “social history of art”, as Michael Baxandall pioneered.)

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Bourdieu is what Foucault et al. wish they were.

            I love his habitus stuff, too, enoughisenough.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Agree, he’s incredibly incisive and coherent!

            You know how when you get a new pair of glasses the entire world seems fresh and new? That’s what reading Bourdieu is like….

  13. Wukchumni

    Total: 891,595 889,197. I have added an anti-triumphalist black “Fauci Line.” As we know, deaths are a lagging indicator. I assume the absurdity of the “Omicron is mild” talking point is, at this point, self-evident.
    I’m thinking if we do a good old fashioned telethon, but take it online and Jerry Lewis is dead-I get that, but trust the séance.

    This would be a very different telethon with people calling in to report deaths to a large bank of those tabulating such things on phone, with numbers mounting on the big board…

    …operators are standing by

    1. Samuel Conner

      You could have a secondary tabulation of health-care worker quits for mental health reasons.

  14. JBird4049

    “As is so often the case with today’s overeducated white progressives, the price of the policies that make them feel righteous is paid by the most vulnerable — poor and working-class people of color who have to live with the consequences.”

    Yes, I am just a bit grumpy today, but I’m sorry, how is this news? Over educated, well off, identitarian progressives feel good by screwing the vulnerable because reasons?

    It just like the Victorians’ idea of the deserving and undeserving poor, with the deserving getting crumbs and the undeserving fed to the wolves using some arbitrary matrix with the Victorians getting their righteous feel goods by doing this. The more I compare the Victorian Era with today, the more I see the similarities. Corruption, war, poverty, libertarian ideology, even some disaster capitalism.

    The progressives, better to called them the privileged class, are doing whatever they can to ignore the real causes of the suffering of the lower classes whatever their color, partly by doing feel good, but often performative and pernicious nonsense.

  15. Tommy S

    About that Eric Adams NY Post article: I always try to check where the polling data comes from. And yep, it is ONLY from likely Dem voters…which of course mattered in such a LOW turnout (30%) and a closed primary, but that hardly represents ‘NYC’ views to me….There are over a million independents in the city. Just saying….but these types of ‘registered democratic only’ views were used over and over in both presidential primaries to outright LIE about Sanders mass over all support in a potential general election. That and in NYC, the ‘progressive’ got knocked out early…I never take those polls as meaning what the working class, most of whom don’t vote, believe or want.

  16. marym

    Re: Jim Crow 2.0
    “Why is “Jim Crow 2.0” an apt description for the new voting laws? A thread”
    The documents and news reports are screen shots, not links. However, it’s a good quick list of points that rhyme. Further news about current voter suppression and election subversion features being added to state law isn’t difficult to find on-line.

    Re: Electoral Count law
    Reforming the Electoral Count law would limit the ability of the VP to reject certified electoral votes. I doubt anyone who supports the voting rights bills would say this isn’t something that also needs to be done. However, there’s a lot that can happen in the states as far as voter suppression and election subversion before those electoral votes get to Congress. A “bipartisan group of leaders is now focused on that issue” for the same reasons bi-partisan “centrists” want to focus on or divert focus from anything.

    Even if one believes the election of a black president means there’s no more discrimination in voting or wherever else it gets invoked, these laws aren’t just rolling the clock back to 2012.

    The Republicans have been increasingly transparent about why they want to pass voter suppression and election subversion laws. There’s no reason not to believe them, or not to believe that they aren’t working toward being better positioned to accomplish what they failed to accomplish in the weeks before the Capitol event.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I thought that was a good Twitter thread, lots of interesting info. For example:
      (Hopefully will reproduce legibly)
      Louisiana voter registration by race
      Year 1897 1900 1904
      Black 130,000 5320 1342
      White 164,000 125,000 92,000

      So in order to disenfranchise virtually all Black voters, the powers that be were willing to also disenfranchise almost half of white voters.

      1. John

        Of course they did. Struck a lot of “undesirables” off the voter roles leaving those who knew the correct way to vote.
        I remember the elections in the 1950s when the networks had their big boards. The “solid south” came in first. Virtually all the Senators and representatives were Democrats, the usual suspects, and the presidential vote was similarly one sided. That was the reality of selecting the electorate with a heavy hand. Eisenhower was the first Republican since Hoover in 1928 to carry any of the formerly seeded states. It did not change until Johnson and the voting rights act when the solid democratic south began to shift to the the semi-solid republican south. What’s next?

  17. Wukchumni

    One day in the life of Ivan Isolationist…

    Tested positive ten days ago and i’m calling an all clear on you Omicron in a little D-I-Y faith healing-out, out out! I exclaimed in the general direction of one of the cats, who woke from a slumber and fell back to sleep.

    I then exhorted the expired pathogen to go straight and make something out of itself, in the next interview with a prospective host, emphasize the potential reach of company.

  18. jr

    I seriously thought the ad for “Horizon” was a spoof. It’s going to be so bad. All the new friends you’ll make and not have to really care about! Like, say, where they are actually from. But gender fluid with swappable mustaches. Everyone in muumuu’s! How creative!

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      AOL in VR. I will have a morbid curiosity for what these corporate drones set up as their fun virtual worlds. I’m expecting a mall where all the consumers are hassled like a skateboarder. Are you allowed to drink in the metaverse? Smoke? They obviously won’t let you run around naked.

      And humans look like dorks in VR gear.

      1. jr

        The missing legs thing, it’s so freakish. The cartoony feel and cheery colors are sickly sweet. It’s like living inside a children’s cereal commercial.

        I can’t wait to see how people game and grief it. I would consider opening an account if only to wreak havoc for a while before being banned. I’m sure it’s going to be a train wreck.

          1. JBird4049

            I am now an indoor desk jockey. I still remember and intend to go back to the wilderness (hello Redwoods!). Fake shopping and fake realities. No, I will stick with the redwoods I can see from my windows. Just a few. It ain’t much, but it is real.

            Can I assume that the third of the country that does not have fast, or often no internet, is being written off by the Overlords so that they can give better, more reliable, and more expensive internet to the third of the country that already has decent, but never world class because we’re Americans, fast internet, yes?? Well, maybe they will throw a few crumbs to the middle third.

            I assume that bad, overpriced internet is just another reason children are having a hard time. Besides the isolation that is. It is also a
            problem for the people being herded to government websites instead of human beings or the mail.

            Although I would love to see the flying toasters and bananas (the 80s and 90s had interesting taste) again, but in craptastic 3D instead of 2D.

  19. Raymond Sim

    Note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” seems to be the case in South Africa (with a very different population from our own)

    School let out before Christmas, for their Summer break. Personally I only just learned this a few days ago. Seems relevant.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Daily death toll is not coming down and we have been told it will stay that way for a long time. The interesting bit will be in a few months time when the ‘immunity’ that all those people got through the present Omicron wave wears off and then the next wave starts off. By my count, over 2,300 people have died since the government decided to open up and let ‘er rip and the meter is still ticking. Mission accomplished.

  20. mrsyk

    “Judges on top Texas criminal court deluged with calls, emails as AG Paxton fumes over election fraud ruling”
    Perhaps the reference to Soros was in part referring to ERIC (Soros funded database of eligible voters unlikely to vote). I don’t see Texas on the ERIC map, but it appears to not have been updated since 2017. This article was linked here late last week. I’m curious if others see this as a an election fraud tool. Seems custom made for it.
    ps: How does one unlink the text here.

    1. marym

      03/2020 -TX joins ERIC

      The Office of the Secretary of State today announced that Texas will become the 30th state to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a non-profit consortium of member states. ERIC’s mission is to assist states in increasing voter participation and improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls. ERIC is governed and managed by the member states, and was formed in 2012 with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts

      “The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Texas is very pleased to hear that Secretary Hughs is moving Texas forward by joining ERIC,” said Grace Chimene, President of LWV Texas. “We advocated for Texas’ participation, and we applaud the bipartisan legislative effort that funded this program.”


      01/2022 – Conservative groups trying to find more reasons to purge voter roles in states that already have procedures including ERIC

      “The lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal actions filed by conservative groups claiming states and counties don’t do enough to maintain their voter rolls, weakening the integrity of elections.

      Voting advocates warn that these lawsuits have dangers beyond just the burden on counties and the voters being potentially purged from the rolls. Allison Riggs, co-executive director of the SCSJ, called the latest North Carolina lawsuit a “dangerous escalation” of the GOP’s tactics to erode voter access.

      [Jeff] Loperfido [an attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice who is representing voting rights groups] “explained how the allegations are tied to the Republican narrative that inflated voter rolls lead to rampant voter fraud, and voter fraud cost Trump the 2020 election.“The right is driving these narratives and bringing these lawsuits in sort of a vicious loop,” he said.”


      08/2017 – Trump commission tries to get information from ERIC

      The recent request from President Donald Trump’s vote fraud commission for a mountain of sensitive data from the states sparked a backlash and baffled many officials — not only because of concerns about privacy and security but because an organization already exists doing much of the same work.

      “There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel when we’re already here…and we do it very well,” said Shane Hamlin, executive director of the Election Registration Information Center, also known as ERIC.


      08/2018 Trump’s vote fraud commission was disbanded after not finding fraud.

  21. Wukchumni

    Continued declines in runoff into the Colorado River are forcing federal officials to alter releases from Glen Canyon Dam and leading to a year-long closure of the Dangling Rope Marina at Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

    According to a BuRec release, the 2022 water year got off to a promising start in the Colorado River Basin with a wetter-than-normal October, but it was followed by the second-driest November on record that resulted in a loss of 1.5 million acre-feet of inflow for Lake Powell compared to the previous month’s projections. December projections showed the reservoir dropping below the target elevation of 3,525 feet as early as February 2022, the agency said. As defined in the Drought Response Operations Agreement, the target elevation provides a sufficient buffer to allow for response actions to prevent Lake Powell from dropping below the minimum power pool elevation of 3,490 feet, the lowest elevation that Glen Canyon Dam can generate hydropower.


    As long as they can plunder Lake Powell to keep Lake Mead going, they will. But we’re talking about 35 feet of leeway in which the Glen Canyon Dam can generate power…

  22. Raymond Sim

    The SCAN SF Bay Area sewer data is putting me through some changes. Gilroy and Modesto have posted some very high daily readings again, and the ongoing declines in Palo Alto and San Jose have been of the sort that often see the curve bending the wrong way.

    S-gene dropouts seem to be trending with overall ‘N’ everywhere though, so, fingers crossed, no BA.2 yet. That said the current situation is reminiscent of the period just before Omicron was announced.

    Here’s the page I watch:


    Speaking of BA.2, Kristian Andersen’s thread comparing Denmark and San Diego makes me think BA.2 may not be the first thing we Californians will need to worry about:


  23. Pelham

    Thanks much for the Band/Ronnie Hawkins video. Back in the day I would spend a succession of whole evenings with the Band’s latest album. I still marvel at how a small group of musicians from not anywhere particularly notable could come together and produce such distinctive sounds and worlds. There were others, but the Band was right up there. Has the period in time that made such wonders possible passed?

    1. urblintz

      Slightly OT, as I don’t think he played on that album, but Nicky Hopkin’s work with QMS was some of his best. One of rock’s greatest keyboard players, he endured ill health for much of his life and died too young.

      Thanks for the link.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The ultimate (imo) “Who do you love”.

      Possibly What I liked about the video I chose was that the musicians were having a really good time, because they knew each other so well. They’d shared a lot of history.

  24. John

    In re Ukraine: I saw elsewhere that Sen. Blumenthal of Connecticut, or is it General Dynamics, was speechifying to the effect that the navy will play a large roll in the coming confrontation with Russia.

    Congress as a whole seems to have its instructions from the MCI or, I like this better, MICIMATT complex as to the correct line on the Ukraine kerfuffle.

    1. The Rev Kev

      When this little scuffle is all over, I would expect to see reports of how the military was at a disadvantage with the Russians because they did not have enough ships, aircraft, weapons systems, artillery, etc. so that they will need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade to catch up.

  25. LawnDart

    “Boeing Adds $450 Million to Air-Taxi Effort”

    The eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) market is much more than air-taxis: it’s last-mile delivery, inter and intra-city transport, EMS, firefighting, police and military applications, etc.. And much, much quieter and cheaper to operate than old-school helicopters.

    It’s actually an exciting market in which to witness the various concepts and designs utilized: manned/piloted vs autonomous/drone; the technologies at play in the power systems– electric battery, hydrogen, hybred or conventional; airframe and lift.

    At the moment, most eVTOL manufacturers (Joby, Archer, Lillium) are “expecting certification and commercial operations” to begin in the next few years or so, with one exception– a Chinese eVTOL manufacturer called Ehang.

    Ehang has ten-thousand plus filghts of its aircraft and is likely to receive certification to begin commercial operations from China within the next few months. They are already fulfilling orders and taking pre-orders for the EH-216 model within China and abroad: https://au.sports.yahoo.com/ehang-receives-pre-order-50-130000721.html

    In short, air-taxis will become a reality this year, and the USA (and Europe) already years behind China in this market.

    Who said China can’t do tech?

  26. Andrew Watts

    RE: RE: Bourdieu’s Forms of Capital

    I see little reason to mystify the process of capital accumulation or an individual’s relation to labor. It seems like a method of intellectually undermining class solidarity. Broudieu’s writings coincide with the collapse of the French communist party in the 70/80s at any rate.

    I know exactly what he’s critiquing though. Most left-wingers denounce something they don’t really like as being bourgeois. Which makes a great deal of sense given that our modern culture was formed as a byproduct of that class This includes military operations and strategy by the way. The bourgeoisie were always lacking in martial spirit as a class… which is to say they’re cowards.

    The mystification of the PMC seems like it has a relatively simple answer. Americans are indoctrinated with the belief that we’re all middle class and the Horatio Alger myth. They don’t really consider an individual’s relation to capital, how they derive their living through labor, or lack thereof, as being relevant to distinguishing themselves from one another. Only your net worth or the petty distinctions in consumer choice is applicable in that regard.

    You know, like if you vote for a Democrat or Republican or not.

    1. LifelongLib

      The “PMC” has about the same relationship to capital as the “working class” does — they both live off paychecks and can be easily fired. So economically (as opposed to culturally) they’re about the same.

      I can imagine a world without rich people. I can’t imagine a (modern) world without “professionals”, “managers”, and “workers”, or at least people who are doing similar things. In a better setup they will have a fair relationship to each other, or will divide up the functions in a more fair way. But one way or another they will all still exist.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I see little reason to mystify the process of capital accumulation or an individual’s relation to labor.

      I take it you’re not a capitalist?

      The United States is a policy that includes, say, the State of Utah, as close to a theocracy as one is likely to get. That’s but one example of how we are extremely large, and incredibly various, with significant regional differences in class structure. And that’s before we get to race, gender, etc. If you want to get any purchase at all, you have to prise apart the actually existing class structure where and as encountered. I think your comment may be confusing developing the tools to reduce complexity to simplicity (“in the last analysis”) with mystification or obfuscation. If so, that’s a mistake. (If it were a simple matter of chanting “the bosses vs. the workers” the United States would have achieved fully automated luxury Communism by now.)

  27. Henry Moon Pie

    Related to the climate crisis and earlier discussions had here about David Keith’s idea to shoot sulfur in the sky every few years, a group of scientists has banded together to write a letter pretty clearly in response to Dr. Keith:

    Solar geoengineering is not necessary. Neither is it desirable, ethical, or politically governable in the current context. With the normalization of solar geoengineering research moving on with rapid speed, a strong political message to block these technologies is needed. And this message must come soon.

    If Musk and/or Bezos is not connected with this, I would be shocked. Either would be happy to the be contractor on this job.

    I had reported earlier on a meeting I had attended of a college alumni group interested in the environment and climate change. At that meeting, it was disappointing to see how the school’s business school element was co-opting such a committee. I had another meeting today with different attendees. This time, Keith’s name came up in connection with a recent presentation before the school’s new dean of the faculty and the head of the alumni association at which Keith was featured. One of the attendees at my meeting, a professor in a French university, reported that she had attended a meeting of academics in Europe at which our alma mater’s name, along with Dr. Keith’s, came up in a very unfavorable light, and that she was very embarrassed for the alma mater and alarmed if this was something they were backing. I unmuted at that point and seconded her views, something for which she expressed appreciation after seeing the uncomfortable looks on the faces of the other attendees.

    This is going to be a big fight. If we think the response to Covid has been wrong-headed, concerned with money over people, and determined to keep the bars and restaurants open at all costs, then we’ve seen nothing yet compared to the geo-engineering battle that’s brewing.

    1. Judith

      Thanks,Henry. I am glad people are pushing back against geoengineering, but I am not hopeful. I fear the way the oligarchs are managing the pandemic is a dress rehearsal for managing any protest movements that interfere with their quest for power. I note that Dr Keith receives funding from Bill Gates. (I do admire your hopefulness and work for change.)

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        He’s also very prominent among the Ecomodernists. These very dangerous people believe–perhaps because their income source requires them to–that the way to solve the problems we’ve cause with our technology is to double down on more technology. As the scientists’ letter lays out, these clowns have no idea what their “solutions” will do to an extraordinarily complex system we call Earth, but that’s not going to stop them.

        We have to stop them, and the way to do that is expose their Strangelovian plans.

  28. The Rev Kev

    ‘That Facebook’s first ad for Horizon tried SO hard to make it seem like The Good Place is indisputable proof that it’s The Bad Place’

    Anybody notice that there was a lounge that had been placed to block off access to the balcony? Possibly in case a person wearing that headset got so wrapped up in their VR that they wandered out onto the balcony? There is a TV ad on in Oz right now where a woman is wearing one of those headsets and is accidentally smashing up vases and the like while reacting to what she is seeing in her headsets so it could happen. Something tells me that there will be a lot of funny business going on in that Metaverse. So if a bunch of people got together to help organize a union there, it would not be long before Facebook had an ‘interruption of service.’ Or maybe if a group of people got together to talk about ‘off-shelf’ medicines over vaccines, they would also be policed. You know its coming. That is how Silicon Valley rolls.

    1. flora

      from the longer article:

      There are people who will read this and cry, “Where’s your outrage against Vladimir Putin? Why don’t you denounce him?” To which I say, fine, I denounce him. Then what? When you’re done wailing, you’re still faced with deciding whether or not to go to war with Russia, which is not a real choice, unless you’re an idiot or General Jack Ripper-insane. Unfortunately, the Nulands and Blinkens who’ll be making this call just may fit those descriptions.

      The more recent crew is made up of Extremely Online, Ivy-educated fantasists who rarely leave their embassies abroad and view life as an endless production of Sloane or The Good Fight, soap operas about exclusive clubs of fashionably brainy pragmatists with the guts to color outside the lines and “get things done.” Lines like “Yats is our guy” make them tingly. This is perhaps the only subset of people on earth arrogant and dumb enough to think there’s a workable plan for pulling off a shooting war with Russia.


      1. urblintz

        “…Biden explained he had to cut things short because, “You guys will ask me all about Russia.” He appears days from pulling his pants down to show reporters the electrodes White House chief of staff Ron Klain has probably attached to his testicles by now.”

        The Taibbi touch!

  29. VietnamVet

    “Civil War” is not the fate of failed states with nuclear arms. Also, even Joe Biden said “Capitalism without competition is exploitation”.

    The all or nothing nature of a nuclear exchange means that the most optimal case is that there is never a war between nuclear armed states. This is also applicable within the USA itself. As long as the U.S. military doesn’t split apart, and the rotating President announces before the inaugural a Defense Secretary acceptable to the corporations and military, the exploitation continues; “Profits over lives”.

    Except Americans are becoming mentally unstable due to stress, illness with no healthcare, and isolation on their own. Unsafe public education is collapsing. Union Pacific container trains are looted in LA. Will the pandemic ever end?

    Adding to the growing fear is the realization that the only safe alternative (replacing the current corporate democrats with progressives in local and national elections) may be impossible. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg didn’t donate $400 million dollars to local election offices for nothing.

    Oases of wealth may remain within nuclear umbrellas (e.g. Naval Base Kitsap). The rest of America, outside the safe zones, where wealth and resources are gone, will be a homeless no man’s land – favelas.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Except Americans are becoming mentally unstable due to stress, illness with no healthcare, and isolation on their own. Unsafe public education is collapsing. Union Pacific container trains are looted in LA. Will the pandemic ever end?”

      Two stories from my neighborhood:

      Two blocks from our house, there’s a Dollar Store truck, hijacked and now ransacked, sitting in the parking lot of a restaurant that’s closed down.

      Second, we’re having a very cold snap right now, and two nights ago, the pipes froze in a house occupied by an 80 year-old neighbor of a friend of a friend. The broken pipes thawed in the morning and started filling the basement, and friends of the woman called the police for a welfare check. They refused until the electricity was turned off. The friends called the electric company who was unable to even give them a time for a shutoff because of the snow and cold. The city water department refused to shut the water off with the same excuse. Eventually, people went and rescued the woman themselves and delivered her to family.

      YOYO is the message we’re getting from government regardless of who’s in charge. There are more and more people who are taking that to mean it’s Mad Max time and grab what you can. What we must do is act like the friends of that beleaguered 80 year-old and take care of each other.

  30. lance ringquist

    they want to lose, or are so out of touch and corrupt, they will lose. nafta joe biden had his chance to stock up, instead he said your on your own deplorable.

    you cannot make this stuff up, after nafta nancy handed out made in china face masks, now nafta joe biden will be handing out made in china test kits.

    and the vote blue no matter who crowd simply cannot figure out how a trump got elected, or a rick scott for that matter.


    Sen. Rick Scott accuses Biden admin of supporting China’s ‘genocidal regime’ with ‘Made in China’ COVID tests

    1. Carla

      Covid deaths in China, pop. 1.5 billion, in 2021: approx. 2. Covid deaths in USA, pop. 334 million, in 2021: approx. 400,000.

      And China is the genocidal regime?

  31. ChrisRUEcon


    This from State Department (January 20th 2022):

    Russia’s Top Five Persistent Disinformation Narratives

    To me, this looks like it started off as a thread on Twitter or somebody did a @ThreadReader unroll. I mean, I guess if there are CTR trolls on Twitter to tone-police the discourse, it stands to reason that some of them work for the State Department and they write stuff like this.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This from State Department (January 20th 2022): Russia’s Top Five Persistent Disinformation Narratives

      From the final section:

      Russia has used the same technique of flooding the information space with many false claims following other events, such as the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and Russia’s 2008 invasion and ongoing occupation of Georgia, to distract conversations from their role in the events. Again, the purpose is to confuse and distract others and manipulate the truth to suit Kremlin interests.

      I notice that nowhere in this document is RussiaGate or election 2016 mentioned. So, the final death of that narrative? With not even a whimper?

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > I notice that nowhere in this document is RussiaGate or election 2016 mentioned. So, the final death of that narrative? With not even a whimper?

        Ha! We should be so lucky! I had a sad thought the other day – what if “The Blob” just let her win one? That’s the only way we’d be rid of #HRC and #RussiaGate … once and for all.

        #RussiaGate goes back into the pantry till the State Department is ready to “cook up” some other BS. This “Chicken Kiev Done Five Ways” thing looks to be a strictly Ukrainian-michegoss dish.

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