2:00PM Water Cooler 2/25/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this is a not-completely-truncated Water Cooler, because I had to finish up this post on Ukraine. Also, I’ll try to paste only one copy; I write and produce Water Cooler at breakneck speed, but my whole workflow is designed to prevent such a thing from happening. So I’m not sure what went on there. Strange thing happen at sea. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Amazingly, only three recordings!

* * *


“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


“How Facebook Twisted Canada’S Trucker Convoy Into An International Movement” [The Verge]. “This pipeline — from physical protest to social media to establishment outlets — is what has helped the convoy evolve from a local standoff into a televised event that can raise millions from supporters thousands of miles away. Almost all of that infrastructure pre-dates the convoy itself, drawing from anti-vaxx groups, QAnon, and other fringe communities. And while the convoy itself may soon be broken up by the Canadian government, those online pathways are much stickier. To understand how this echo chamber works, we have to start with the Ottawa protest itself. The “Freedom Convoy’’ started as a loosely affiliated group of Canadian truck drivers led by a group called Canada Unity, founded by far-right activist and QAnon conspiracy theorist James Bauder. But over the last 30 days, Bauder has managed to build a coalition of fed-up truck drivers, fringe Canadian political party members, neo-Nazis, anti-vaxxers, and an international coterie of scammers, grifters, and low-level online creators that has been able to generate major headlines around the world.” • “Fed-up truck drivers”… Power was lying in the street. Bauder picked it up. Where was the left?

Just putting this one out here:

Not sure of the provenance….

Biden Adminstration

I don’t agree with everything Stoller says on this thread, but I think he’s got this right:

Also, Biden did withdraw from Afghanistan (albeit following through on a commitment from the former guy, and something [genuflects] Obama was unable or unwilling to do). That took stones, and the press went into their pull-the-wings-off-flies mode shortly thereafter. As for Taiwan, Stoller continues:

There’s a timing issue there, of course….

“Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court” [Associated Press]. “In [federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson], Biden delivers on a campaign promise to make the historic appointment and to further diversify a court that was made up entirely of white men for almost two centuries. He has chosen an attorney who would be the high court’s first former public defender, though she also possesses the elite legal background of other justices…. That timeline could be complicated by a number of things, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the extended absence of Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, who suffered a stroke last month and is out for several weeks. Democrats would need Lujan’s vote to confirm Biden’s pick if no Republicans support her…. Jackson was confirmed to [the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit] on a 53-44 Senate vote, winning the backing of three Republicans: Graham, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.”

Propaganda works:

The Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) for Iraq was bipartisan, too. So was the USA Patriot Act. Many, many very bad ideas are bipartisan.

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.

* * *

Two Hearts Beat as One:

To be fair to Sanders, I expect liberal Democrat McCarthyism to go off the charts. It might be expedient to get out of the way of the juggernaut.


* * *

“In a Contested Oregon Primary Race, Democrats Back Candidate Taking Fossil Fuel Money” [DeSmog]. “Late last year, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) announced his retirement from Oregon’s 4th District, opening up a seat that he held for more than three decades. He’s earned a reputation in Congress as a champion of transportation and climate policy: He was one of the original cosponsors of the Green New Deal in 2019, and most recently, he helped craft the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law last year, and also helped shepherd President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda through the House of Representatives, before it ran aground in the Senate. Within hours of DeFazio making his retirement public, Val Hoyle announced her intention to seek his seat. He quickly endorsed her. Hoyle served as a representative in Oregon’s legislature from 2009 to 2017 and is currently the state Labor Commissioner. She quickly consolidated the backing of powerful Democrats, with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) endorsing her in late January. But at a time when the climate emergency is worsening and the Democrats’ climate agenda is sputtering, DeFazio’s anointed successor for his relatively safe Democratic seat is a candidate who has a long record of supporting Jordan Cove, the now-defunct liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project that southern Oregonians battled for more than 15 years.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Electoral Turnovers” (PDF) [NBER]. The Abstract: “In most national elections, voters face a key choice between continuity and change. Electoral turnovers occur when the incumbent candidate or party fails to win reelection. To understand how turnovers affect national outcomes, we study the universe of presidential and parliamentary elections held since 1945. We document the prevalence of turnovers over time and we estimate their effects on economic performance, trade, human development, conflict, and democracy. Using a close-elections regression discontinuity design (RDD) across countries, we show that turnovers improve country performance. These effects are not driven by differences in the characteristics of challengers, or by the fact that challengers systematically increase the level of government intervention in the economy. Electing new leaders leads to more policy change, it improves governance, and it reduces perceived corruption, consistent with the expectation that recently elected leaders exert more effort due to stronger reputation concerns.” • The dataset, however, is worldwide, i.e., not confined to the United States.

“Tracking Viral Misinformation” [New York Times]. The deck: “Times reporters will chronicle and debunk false and misleading information that is going viral online.” Starting with Iraq WMDs? “The nonprofit and nonpartisan group found that 16 percent of Americans, or roughly 41 million people, believed last year in the three key tenets of the [QANON] conspiracy theory. Those are that Satanist pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation control the government and other major institutions, that a coming storm will sweep elites from power and that violence might be necessary to save the country.” • Fortunately, the release of Epstein’s videos and the complete flight logs put that theory to rest. Oh, wait….


Case count by United States regions:

Rise like a rocket, and fall like a stick; the slope of the downward curve is more or less the same as the upward curve. 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. I wonder if there will be plateau when BA.2 takes hold. Since the Northeast has form, that is probably the region to watch for this behavior first. I have added a Fauci Line to congratulate the Biden administration for having passed the former guy’s second highest peak on the way down.

The official narrative was “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! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging (and independent from the CDC).

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:

What’s with Idaho? Not ski resorts, my first thought, at least from a cursory look at the map. Of course, Idaho is not populous, so a small rise in absolute numbers could be considered “rapid.” Maine is a data problem. (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:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission:

Continuing slow improvement.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Sea of green once more, including the Northern Marianas. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (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: 969,602 966,530. A continous drop in the death date, which is good news. Sadly, as of February 22, 1,000,000 – 960,157 = 39,843, and 39,843 / 6 days until Biden’s State of the Union Speech is 6,640.5, so I guess we won’t break a million in time. I was hoping for a ribbon cutting ceremony of some kind. Maybe the West Wing staff could have staged a photo op with funny hats and noisemakers. Walensky’s staff could have joined in by Zoom. Ah well, nevertheless.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

* * *

And now it’s complete because it’s ended here, as the Fremen say in Dune. Ah well, nevertheless.

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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. IMOR

    “Many, many very bad ideas are bipartisan.”
    No Child Left Behind
    Telecomm Act of 1996
    W.’s feed the rich tax cuts
    Actually, hard to find an important very bad idea after about 1960 that wasn’t bipartisan. To an extent, aid to the contras and murderous El S and Guat regimes was GOP only- but bipartisan in the Southern Upper Chamber.. ah, the U.S. Senate.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        You need to put in text (e.g., “see here”) and then close the tag (you will see on the toolbar that “link” changes to “/link”. Put your cursor where you want the link to end (right after “here” but before the paren) and click.

        Basically, if you open it, close it. Think of the “/” as the spring that closes the screen door.

    1. griffen

      Crime bill, 1994.
      Bankruptcy reform, 2005 I think.

      Instead of Oh the Places you’ll go, we get the evil equivalent of a Dr Seuss

  2. Mo.B

    Stoller has some awful takes when he wanders away from antitrust. “Biden” deserves no praise for Afghanistan where millions of people are starving, and he just stole their money. (I put Biden in quotes, because I mean whoever is actually in charge in the whitehouse, not the demented remnant of a once consequential, though always painfully stupid, war criminal.) A few lefties I respect are blaming him for the Ukraine crisis because he refused to negotiate when it was very clear that Putin was deadly serious. He f’ed around and found out.

    1. Darthbobber

      Stoller on anything foreign policy related is just mainstream beltway blobthought.
      And since while endlessly predicting an invasion (when a child could see that the Russians were certainly making sure that was an option) he refused to engage in anything that could really be called diplomacy to seek a different outcome I’d say the credibility gain is….err…limited.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden also said we would be out of Afghanistan by 2014, and we only left after a meeting where he was given an assessment on the Afghanistan situation. Prior to that, he barely cared.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Biden” deserves no praise for Afghanistan where millions of people are starving, and he just stole their money

      You would prefer our troops still be there?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Glad the troops are out, but they were supposed to be out by May according to the deal Trump had made and Biden delayed by a few months.

        Once the US began the saber rattling against Russia shortly after withdrawing from Afghanistan, the reason for the delay became clear. The military contractors were not going to let one war end until there was a guarantee of another. Whether the US jumps into this current conflict militarily or not, the runway has been foamed for a lot more weapons deals so no need to worry now about that military budget being cut.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        There are plenty of problems with the withdrawal, but given Biden’s laziness and reputation for cramming, my guess is he learned about Afghanistan for the first time and recognized we needed to leave. The Pentagon simply had not done the work for a better withdrawal once Trump was gone. Trump likely didn’t order it done given he is also lazy.

        Karzai is still there and active. Once the May 1st deadline passed, I think simply getting out was the best possible outcome. The Pete Buttigieg of Afghanistan should never have been there.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            My memory is hazy with the swing to Iraq, but the Karzai from last year seems leaps and bounds better than my memory of him. I have to wonder if he really grasped the situation and was hemmed in by Shrub’s demands. We did a bunch of stupid stuff in regards to infrastructure and agricultural policy.

            The Taliban 2021 is not the Taliban 2001 either, so the early players were different.

            The bright lights and media attention probably didn’t help. My gut is Ze wasn’t prepared for that in Munich, taking him down a bad path, versus his previous position.

      3. Sailor Bud

        Hmmm..if you don’t mind me saying so, you are far better than this binary thinking.

        My lack of praise for this snake does not equal support for the troops staying there. Holy cow, he does two things that aren’t lies and I’m supposed to praise him and treat him as “credible”? Stoller also says I’m supposed to be an economics expert in order to be “serious.” Stoller says a lot of things that aren’t as wonderful as he usually is.

        And pulling out of Afghanistan could be the result of any one of dozens of nefarious reasons that we know diddly about, because our leaders don’t like telling the truth about much of anything. They are so untrustworthy that I’ll presume this before I ever praise any of them. Biden’s whole 40+ year career is why he gets no praise from me. The theft of Afghani money is another reason.

    3. Carolinian

      Agree re Stoller. And Biden knew if he got his Ukraine clients to attack the Donbas Putin would move in. They did and he did. It self licks.

      Now the world is in an even bigger mess.

    4. Bart Hansen

      Someone should ask the press secretary whose evil idea it was to steal the seven billions from Afghanistan. My guess would be someone at Treasury.

    5. urblintz

      I realize it’s not a Biden prediction and wouldn’t want to be accused of putting words in the blood-soaked mummy’s mouth, but here’s a familiar prediction from the US military intelligence blob that hasn’t panned out, although it was surely designed to provoke the tiny minds who would believe it into paroxysmal paranoia and victimlust. From business insider, 2/6/22: Up to 50,000 civilian casualties and Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, could fall in days if Russia mounts a full-scale invasion, report says


        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’m sorry about your eyebrows, and I hope you can find the medical help you need; it sounds like a serious condition, akin to problems others have with their knees. As for this:

          continues to suggest a different narrative:

          The Rice-Davies Principle applies: “They would, wouldn’t they?”

          I wouldn’t hang a dog on digital evidence, and that includes these oh-so-convenient feeds.

    6. Soredemos

      Mods might consider this ad hom, but I’ve heard, somewhere or other, that Stoller is married to a Taiwanese woman. No idea if it’s true, but if it is, that snaps his anti-Chinese paranoia into focus for me.

      As for Taiwan and its defense, he seems to miss the fact that Taiwan will never be able to truly defend itself against China. If it came to war, it would be a completely one-sided steamroll. Taiwan’s defense rests on an American fleet showing up within a week. Everything Taiwan does is just a delaying action. And their biggest defense isn’t any weapon, it’s the fact that they can and will blow up their chip factories if threatened. China is as, or nearly as, dependent on those as the West is. That might change in five or ten years, but for now that’s the case.

      (though I’m sure the Chinese are looking at the Russia paratroopers ability to take and hold, counter to Ukrainian propaganda claims of wiping them all out, the Hostomel airport and pondering if they could do the same to chip factories)

      1. Heraclitus

        I read a piece by a Taiwan based American journalist several years ago evaluating Taiwan’s chances to thwart a Chinese invasion, and they weren’t bad. The Taiwan Strait is rough, so the Chinese are more or less restricted to invading in October or May. If this were easy, they’d have already done it.

        I find it interesting that we’re hearing, just this year, that Taiwan is woefully defended.

  3. Andrew Watts

    Russia conducts what it calls its largest naval exercise in the Pacific since Cold War -CBS News

    Here ya go Lambert. This is the original story that reported the Russian military exercises in the Pacific that involved their surface ships near American waters. It’s likely the initial details came from a press briefing conducted by the Pentagon / DoD, Whether they knew where the Russians were headed isn’t known.

    Which means I owe everybody an apology for a previous comment that was filled with a significant error in timing and typos. I wrote that it took place in January instead. If I’m wrong about something it’s either through earnest error or an accident. It’s still a pretty big oopsie so my bad.

  4. Robert Dudek

    The question isn’t to stand up to Putin or not, but rather HOW? I personally don’t see any good options that don’t increase the risk of nuclear war.

    1. Brian Beijer

      The question isn’t to stand up to Putin or not, but rather HOW?

      I would say, “The question isn’t to stand up to Putin or not, but rather WHY?” Putin has a long history of demonstrating retstraint, logic and a willingness to negotiate as a first resort rather than a last resort. FAR more than the US or other Western countries. In this situation, I will put my trust in his rational that this war is necessary to the defense of Russia until the preponderance of evidence shows otherwise. Putin is arguably the most intelligent leader in the world today… maybe 2nd, depending on how one evaluates Xi’s presidency. Even if I can’t decipher at the moment exactly why Putin chose to use military force against Ukraine; I trust that it wasn’t a rash decision. After 8 years of trying to deal with this situation diplomatically, it certainly wasn’t his first choice.

    2. The Rev Kev

      How about talking to the guy. Not giving him demands. Not promising him punishment if he does not get Russia to do what the west wants. Just sit down and talk through issues. Of course that would mean upholding our side of agreements and we have a terrible reputation for that.

      1. Gc54

        A dumb president and divided Congre$$ “representing” a distracted, demoralized nation of phone thumb twiddlers are indeed ” agreement incapable”. There don’t indeed seem to be rationale adults in DC, just spinners for grifters. And Jen had just articulated that they don’t give $hi* what the proles think. So, no wonder serious people have given up on this clown car.

        1. Nikkikat

          Lol your comment about phone thumb twiddles was funny. Sadly you are correct. Jen perfectly sums up the attitude of the DC clown Car.

  5. Randy

    Lmfao. Is Ryan Grim telling Taiwan to get nukes? Because I don’t see what “real defensive weaponry” lets a small island win out against an industrial country with over one billion people. Grim is deranged on every topic that isn’t monopolies and his insane takes outside of that area are making me question him there too.

    1. KD

      There can be no doubt that nothing would bring about a Chinese invasion faster than credible evidence that Taiwan was developing a nuclear capability.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Agreed. I really didn’t understand him saying that once Taiwan has defensive weapons, then China can’t win. Huh?!? I re-read that a few times just to make sure my brain wasn’t tricking me.

      1. K.k

        I find the idea that China will sit idly by as Taiwan arms it self or try’s to develop nuclear weapons as absurd. Are they trying to the get the Taiwanese to sign up for a murder suicide pack?

  6. Screwball

    I don’t know what will happen with the “war” and I’m also worried about unintended consequences (as always), but I can say one thing for sure; my PMC friends are giddy we are sticking it to Vladdie. They are also making lists of everyone not completely on board as Russian assets. For example, Tulsi spoke out and was called human garbage. Of course Tucker, Greenwald, Mate’ are on Putin’s payroll. It’s insane. These people still have stage 5 TDS and want nothing but pain for anyone they can blame for 4 years of Trump.

    Of course the other day Pelosi said something along the lines of Putin was responsible for what happened in 2016. Yea, keep beating that horse. Not helpful.

    Unhinged defined.

    1. John Zelnicker

      Good points, Screwball.

      I remain astounded that very few pundits, politicians, and normal folks can’t seem to understand that Russia has legitimate security concerns in regards to the expansion of NATO right up to their borders.

      We broke the promise we made in the early 90’s, that NATO would not move “one inch closer” to Russia. It was part of the negotiations over the unification of Germany.

      An early sign of our agreement incapability.

      And recently, we have flatly refused to engage with their security concerns and demands. No discussion, we just ignore them.

      As far as I’m concerned the US, and the US alone, is responsible for the way the situation has unfolded.

      I fervently hope that Putin keeps his word to protect civilians and bring the perpetrators of the Odessa massacre and other major crimes to justice.

      /rant off

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The US is good guys. Like GI Joe! That is it. Pundits are bringing up George W. Bush with no sense of irony. The myth of America starts with democracy and exemplified by Lincoln’s line “government for the people…” This is important to understand. Now that so much of the world is officially democratic, what made America special is gone. We’ve gone from America is exceptional because we do these things to America is exceptional and can do what it wants.

        There are good things about US democracy, most notably freedom of religion and speech, but we largely expect the ruling parties in Brazil and Turkey to be ousted in elections. Germany is a democratic leader. Chile is writing a constitution to include environmentalism.

        We don’t lead because we are an inspiration and helpers of the downtrodden but thugs who control key international organizations.

      2. Screwball

        I see it that way too, but to be honest, I don’t know how anyone can know what to think. Who do you believe? Who do you trust? At this point I’m just an observer as I don’t believe anyone. But they have the big button, as do we, and I sure hope it doesn’t come to that.

        One little oops, somewhere, and this gets ugly fast. There are reports of navy “things” going on; what’s up with that? Is it true, is it not. I sure don’t believe the spooks, and I don’t believe our State dept., out administration, or do I believe Russia. So we watch, wait, and hope for the best.

        At best they get something solved and this can be over, but I’m not sure that’s what they want. There are those defense contracts and $$$$$$, and I think we are lead by psychos.

        But on the home front, just another issue that is tearing this country to pieces. People are not happy, and they shouldn’t be. I get that, but jeez Louise – why do so many have to be at each others neck. Too much hate, too many want to get even, too much blame and no self-reflection, and too much tribalism.

        I think it goes back to the old saying; a fish stinks from the head down. When our leaders act and say as they do, that sets the tone, and the followers follow.

        It is all so depressing.

        1. John Zelnicker

          Screwball – “But on the home front, just another issue that is tearing this country to pieces. People are not happy, and they shouldn’t be. I get that, but jeez Louise – why do so many have to be at each others neck. Too much hate, too many want to get even, too much blame and no self-reflection, and too much tribalism.”

          Again, very well said.

          If we don’t do something to quickly reestablish the social contract and sense of community that existed when I was growing up in the 1950’s and ’60’s, we are truly f**ked. Of course there were serious problems back then, segregation being the most obvious along with the war in Vietnam.

          But, folks generally cared about each other in their communities and would help out whenever needed. And there were plenty of times, at least in my experience, when that caring was interracial.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, some of the ongoing folly of Russiagate, which used demonization of Russia in a ludicrous factional struggle to remove/neutralize Trump.

      Some may gain solace in the fact that events are hastening the implosion of the Democratic Party, which almost seems inevitable now, but the moral vanity and inability to reason of #McResistance liberals may just kill us all…

    3. Bart Hansen

      Put me on the Tulsi list. Got the t-shirt and only took the bumper sticker off this past summer. That election saw a dearth of bumper stickers in the Charlottesville area, nothing like with HRC.

    4. Glen

      Paul Jay of theAnalysis.news has re-posted a Reality Asserts Itself (RAI) series of interviews with Stephen Cohen. The first one is here:

      Is Russian ‘Meddling’ an Attack on America – RAI with Stephen Cohen 1/5

      As usual, some excellent journalism on display here. Long, but well worth your time. Going from when America first invaded Russia to very close to the present – I think these interviews were conducted in 2019. And yes, you heard me right, America invades Russia:

      The Day That The USA Invaded Russia And Fought The Red Army

      But the other much more recent details covered in this series are even more eye opening – like how Clinton worked his butt off to get Putin elected – talk about election meddling!

      1. judy2shoes

        “like how Clinton worked his butt off to get Putin elected”

        Clinton probably has been slapping himself silly since then. (buyer’s remorse)

        Thanks for the links.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It was so blatant, that Hollywood made a comedy film about it after called “Spinning Boris”-


          I always remember the description of how Clinton had some ginormous sum of money sent to the US Embassy in Moscow to pay for Yeltsin’s campaign and it was so big that to guard it, an American spook actually slept on it.

  7. Wukchumni


    About the only USSR product available on retail shelves here was Stolichnaya vodka, and it’s the same with Russia now.

    Anybody notice any other Russian imports for sale?

    It’d be hard to rally our hoi polloi under the spell of umbrage over the Ukraine if there isn’t anything that affects them…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Gawd. Even the politician that came up with that name “Freedom Fries” said that he never should have done that and regretted it.

          1. ambrit

            And that was perfectly good vodka. A canny ski resort proprietor would have perhaps sacrificed one or two bottles and quietly transferred the rest into unmarked “Bar Back Brand” generic vodka bottles.
            When virtue signalling gets in the way of honest drink, then virtue signalling has passed it’s ‘sell by date.’
            What next? Sacrificing all the Russian orphans adopted into America over the past few decades?

            1. The Rev Kev

              Though not a vodka drinker, I would have volunteered to take those bottles off them. I’d be willing to make that sacrifice. As to what is next, I think that we need to get serious here. I think that America should ban all colours in the American flag which appears in the Russian Federation flag. That will teach them!

              1. Wukchumni

                I was having lunch today @ an eatery in the CVBB when I couldn’t help but overhear somebody 2 tables over ordering Russian dressing on their Cobb Salad, and felt the need for an intervention if only on the grounds of giving her a dressing down for lack of stiff upper lip in these trying times in swallowing Putin’s lies, and why not order blue cheese dressing like everybody else?

                Realizing her food faux pas, she thanked me for my courage a few days into Shock & Awe-light, and I made a diversionary feint back to my seat.

              2. ambrit

                In the interests of buttressing our “Unipolar World,” Congress should outlaw negative electro-magnetic fields. “Be Positive! It’s the American Way!” “Stay tuned for tonight’s ‘Two Minutes Hate,’ bought to you by Raytheon.”

  8. KD

    Steve Hsu pointed out viz. Taiwan is that with Chinese long range missile/satellite capabilities, they will simply be able to blow up ships going into Taiwan within 5 years. They already have a law restricting Taiwan’s “resistance” to re-unification, so they declare Taiwan in violation and shut down all shipments of food, petro, and everything else. What does Taiwan do then? What does the US do?

    1. Robert Dudek

      I think Taiwan is at the mercy of China. If/when China deems it advantageous, they will take it. If I were Taiwan, I would be quiet as a mouse, in the hopes that everyone forgets about me.

      1. ambrit

        We’ll know that something on that front is in the offing when Taiwanese Oligarchs begin ‘vacationing,’ along with their valuables, in their overseas ‘residential investments.’ A more subtle sign would be the Taiwanese banks suddenly imposing or tightening the terms of account withdrawal rules.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      There are those in the Blob who are calling for direct military action against China within the next five years since beyond that timeframe China’s military capabilities will have advanced such that defeating China militarily will be near impossible. All the hysteria regarding China, Huawei, etc…is a reflection of these fears. Keeping China down is of paramount importance to the Blob. Russia is seen as far less a threat, despite the handwringing over Ukraine.

      1. K.k

        “Defeating “ China militarily is is batshit crazy. Do these people really need to be reminded China is a nuclear power? The only chance to overturn the revolution in China and to subjugate it was after the Korean war. Its far too late now. Psychopaths trying to get us to sign up for murder suicide pack, no thanks.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Yet if this same Blob supports Free Trade, how does that Blob reconcile Free Trade with Keep China Down?

        Since Free Trade has lifted China partway towards ruling the world, and will lift China the rest of the way toward ruling the world in some years more.

    3. Glen

      Maybe Taiwan can do what America CEOs did and just ship America’s industrial base to China to maximize their income and wreck the American middle class.

      It’s sorta like handing them your balls. Then all China has to do is squeeze whenever they want. Squeeze, squeeze. Oh look, the American President cannot ship out his free COVID tests because it’s made in [family blogging] China!

      The best thing Taiwan can do is not trust or pay attention to America’s elites, collectively they are a bunch of short sighted greedy idiots.

  9. clarky90

    In light of recent geo-political events, I am making enquiries for a friend…….

    For privacy, I can only refer to him, as “The Big Guy”. Up until now, he has relied on a 10% annuity, regularly repatriated to him, from his Ukrainian charity foundations.

    Can we petition Vladimir Putin, to honor the financial commitments that this brave old humanitarian (“The Big Guy”), so sorely relies on? Are we not all human beings? This nascent movement could become a Beacon of Peace in OUR troubled times…..?

  10. lyman alpha blob

    Podium pincher sentenced

    75 days with credit for time served for violently threatening to overthrow everything good in the world seems a little light, no? /s

    1. Synoia

      “for violently threatening to overthrow everything good in the world seems a little light, no? /s”

      Please list all the “everything good in the world” to which you refer. I’m curious about specifically what you believe was threatened.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Thanks for posting that… I wonder why their data is so much different than the map Lambert posts everyday that’s just starting to show some non-red counties. Actually, I don’t wonder. It’s been pretty clear for some time that the CDC stopped being serious about science some time ago.

    2. Utah

      Both are CDC maps. The one Lambert posts is community transmission. The one linked, and providing “guidance” is just community level. So it’s a per Capita thing.

  11. dcblogger

    Election conspiracy theories flutter around Cross Village break-in case
    CROSS VILLAGE — Township Clerk Diana Keller was in office for two months last year when she said three men — one wearing a gun on his hip and a bulletproof vest over his sweatshirt — walked into the township hall asking for election equipment.

  12. Tom Stone

    The Rooskies have been Boogeymen since the US Invasion failed and our troops were withdrawn in 1920, except for the few years “Good old Uncle Joe” Stalin was Henry Luce’s BFF.

  13. Val

    “Times reporters will chronicle and debunk false and misleading information that is going viral online.”

    Just as he who cannot sweat sends cash to those he never met.

    I assumed “debunk” implied some sort of objective process, and was keen to learn how the world was not subject to violent satanic pedos. Was I misinterpreting other phenomena?

    But it turns out that a NYT debunking is merely thought-policing and demographic ridicule from privileged kids with status degrees.

    This from PRRI, an amusing little rabbit-hole just off of K Street no less, associated with Atlantic and Brookings.

    Thank goodness the children are well cared for and our institutions incorruptible.

  14. The Rev Kev

    Bernie Sanders in lockstep with Neera Tanden? Does he really believe what he is saying? He may be old but he’s not stupid. Just wait until later this year when Neera demands to know from Bernie why he is receiving donations from Putin. It has been done to him before.

    1. Pat

      I am very fond of Bernie but yes he does believe it. I wanted to think he was going along and knew better but a few years ago I realized something. He has never shook the Russian enemy belief he grew up with, and it makes him susceptible to believing Boris and Natasha level garbage about Russia.

    2. LawnDart

      Defense Industry Gives More To Bernie Than Any 2020 Candidate


      …why he is receiving donations from Putin..?

      Obviously for his support for MIC graft and profiteering– who wants to fight against weapons systems that actually work?

      Sanders says nice things, but look at what he does– he’s as much a pillar of the party, the duopoly, as any fedpol: he offers a safety-valve in terms of stage-managed dissent, as does his heir-apparent, AOC, just like their compatriots on the harder right.

  15. Pat

    Change of subject, one of the local stations here has an ask the doctor section on Covid. I was hoping it would be posted on their website, but apparently they aren’t willing to put it fully on the record. The doctor is supposedly an expert in infectious diseases at a Northwell hospital branch in I believe Long Island.
    I found myself wondering how bad education is in medical schools as I listened. Mind you the questions were pointed towards the current only endemic fantasy. The final question was about if we were past the worst, and the doctor did hedge by mentioning a variant but said it was very possible with immunity from vaccines and infection giving us herd immunity.
    I weep for us. They really want us all dead. If not Covid, it will be something else. I hear the grid is extremely vulnerable. I am not sure I want to see America if the majority of the country is without electricity for weeks.

      1. Pat

        Ha. A few cars run into the appropriate stations would work as well, but considering the lack of interest in upkeep and updating your “illness” will probably be the culprit…

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Nothing big required to break the grid, just a lack of medium sized carnivorous mammals. Power has gone out in our town a few times recently due to squirrels.

          1. The Rev Kev

            A coupla days ago I read about a trial of a coupla right-wingers in the US who were going to take down power grids using high-powered rifles. Yeah, the FBI nabbed them but the idea is still out there.

            1. Tom Stone

              Rev,there are literally thousands and probably tens of thousands of people in California alone with the hacking skills to take down the grid.
              It’s about as well protected as HRC’s private server was, in other words less secure than your Gmail account is.

              1. Rainlover

                Don’t forget all those nuclear reactors storing spent fuel rods in water pools. What happens to those when the grid goes down? Shudder.

  16. Dave in Austin

    Three comments:

    We got out of Afghanistan just in time. Remember, our supply lines ran through Russia.

    On a more serious note, I’m afraid increasing the pain on Russia, the Ukraine and most of Europe may be one way of telling the Chinese what the cost of taking Tiawan might be.

    Last night while driving home I had an idea for what the war memorial for this unnecessary war should be. A cylinder about five feet high and of whatever radius turns out to be needed, half on Ukrainian territory, half on Russian territory on the main road leading from Moscow to Kiev, with a slanted ribbon of names in alphabetical order running round-and-round, top-to-bottom in alphabetical order. The names being all the dead, Russian, Ukranian, civilian or military. The Next of Kin decide which alphabet each name should be in. No officials of either nation should attend the opening ceremony. Neither should the American ambassador.

  17. Vikas Saini

    The problem is that we don’t know if those positive tests are infectious particles or not. I just recovered from COVID and tested negative on Day 7. My kid tested positive on Day 5 and then negative on Day 8. But if someone tested positive on Day 10 or 12 or 14, especially if all symptoms have resolved, and some kind of immune mopping up is presumably going on, I don’t think anyone would be able to say if they were infectious without some other kind of assay.

    So the CDC guidelines, which sounded goofy when they came out — focused on masking after symptom resolution without antigen testing in the Day 5- Day 10 window, The AMA disagreed and advocated for a negative test, as did most clinicians I know. But I don’t think anyone has a good answer for beyond Day 10.

  18. Hambone

    Deleting the “Fauci Line” when it doesn’t fit the site narrative isn’t a good look in terms of journalistic impartiality. I’m frankly disappointed.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m so sorry not to live up to your expectations. As I am sure you noticed, I produce Water Cooler at breakneck speed, and I didn’t have time for the niceties. You can be sure that the Fauci line on cases showing the Covid debacle over two administrations will go right back in the next time I get a change. I hope you find a site that meets your standards elsewhere. Best of luck!

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