2:00PM Water Cooler 2/3/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this Water Cooler is a little bit light, because ProtonMail had an outage in the middle of production. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

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“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

“Islamic State leader killed during US raid in Syria” [Associated Press]. “The leader of the violent Islamic State group was killed Thursday, blowing himself up along with members of his family during an overnight raid carried out by U.S. special operations forces in northwestern Syria, President Joe Biden said…. About 50 U.S. special operations forces landed in helicopters and attacked a house in a rebel-held corner of Syria, clashing for two hours with gunmen, witnesses said. Residents described continuous gunfire and explosions that jolted the town of Atmeh near the Turkish border, an area dotted with camps for internally displaced people from Syria’s civil war… First responders reported that 13 people had been killed, including six children and four women.” • I hate to indulge in easy cynicism, but it seems early for this (unless Biden is sending some sort of message to Putin). Also, do we have a body? Or did we throw the body into the sea, as we are said to have done with Bin Laden?

“So long, Omicron: White House eyes next phase of pandemic” [Politico]. What a Charlie Foxtrot: “Emboldened by falling case counts, the Biden administration is plotting a new phase of the pandemic response aimed at containing the coronavirus and conditioning Americans to live with it. The preparations are designed to capitalize on a break in the monthslong Covid-19 surge, with officials anticipating a spring lull that could boost the nation’s mood and lift President Joe Biden’s approval ratings at a critical moment for his party. Biden and his top health officials have already begun hinting at an impending ‘new normal,’ in a conscious messaging shift meant to get people comfortable with a scenario where the virus remains widespread yet at more manageable levels. But it’s a delicate operation. The White House is wary of declaring victory too early, only to get hit with another catastrophic variant, a half-dozen administration officials and others close to the Covid response said. Officials are also anxious that voters will be disappointed by the idea of living with an endemic virus under a president who once pledged to shut it down completely. And they realize that it will take vigilance — and billions more dollars from Congress — to prevent the nation from backsliding into crisis once again.” • No kidding it’s “delicate.” And I don’t think “the nation” backslid at all; it was tripped up and then shoved, not least by the Biden Administration’s democidal policy choices in January 2021.

“Endemicity Is Meaningless” [The Atlantic]. “Endemicity, then, just identifies a pathogen that’s fixed itself in our population so stubbornly that we cease to be seriously perturbed by it. We tolerate it. Even catastrophically prevalent and deadly diseases can be endemic, as long as the crisis they cause feels constant and acceptable to whoever’s thinking to ask.” • In other words, endemicity is a matter of public relations. Rather like this:

That’s our Democrats!

“Joe Biden Praises Mitch McConnell As ‘A Man of Honor'” [Peter Daou. Direct Left]. “I worked in the upper ranks of the Democratic Party for a decade, believing the people I worked for were as interested in fighting the GOP as I was. Once I recognized that the system cannot be changed from within and that both ruling parties uphold a corrupt system, I changed my registration to become unaffiliated. That independence from the duopoly has given me the clarity to see how Democratic leaders deceive their voters…. I hope that more Democrats and liberals see through the performative opposition of the Democratic Party’s ruling elites. Biden, Schumer, Harris, and Pelosi are not “defending democracy,” they are protecting the oligarchy. Just like their friend Mitch McConnell.” • “Man of honor” has a distinct mafioso flavor to me….

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.

Currently, I’m working my way through an example: A “Top Ten” list of intellectuals, chosen by a panel of judges. This is a tiny olive out of which Bourdieu is squeezing an incredible quantity of juice; more later when he finishes with it. (The example is directly on point for the subject of this section; for example, Mark Halperin’s The Note focsed on the “Gang of 500,” which refers to “political insiders and journalists who influence the daily media narrative in U.S. politics.”) For my own purposes, I’m interested in “design without a designer” issues in political decision-making; how does a group (vague word) of people from disparate fields come to a collective decision — like “live with it” — without central planning? (A useful question to ask when we get the architects of our Covid policy before a Truth and Reconciliation Community — or the Hague.) For example, it occurs to me that a useful dynamic takes place with Keynesian Beauty Contests (the neoliberal alternative to the Wansee conference?). But we will see what Bourdieu comes up with.

* * *


* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats Move to Purge Half of New York’s House Republicans” [Cook Political Report]. “The biggest redistricting weapon of 2022 has always been the Empire State, and Democrats are poised to finally use it. On Sunday, New York Democrats unveiled a gerrymander that could expand their lead in the delegation from 19D-8R to 22D-4R — the largest single-state shift in the country. Gov. Kathy Hochul has already said she supports using the redistricting process to give her party more seats. The main reason for the shift: back in 2011, a stalemate in Albany prompted federal courts to draw a politically neutral plan. This time, Democrats fully control Albany — and redistricting — for the first time since the Voting Rights Act’s passage. The plan takes some creative liberties, to say the least: it pairs Trump-loving Staten Island with Whole Foods-shopping Park Slope to oust GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11). The proposed Long Island 3rd CD, where Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi is running for governor, jumps across Long Island Sound to pick up more Democrats. The 24th CD pairs Watertown with Niagara County, more than 200 miles away.”

“Militia-aligned group will control a Northern California county if recall vote totals hold” [Sacramento Bee]. “After two years of threats and conspiracy theories, the militia-backed movement seeking to seize control of one of California’s most conservative counties, so far, appears to have prevailed — a major victory for far-right factions vying to replace more moderate Republican elected leaders across the state. On Tuesday, Shasta County voters chose to recall Supervisor Leonard Moty, a Republican former Redding police chief, according to early election returns posted late Tuesday night. With all precincts in Moty’s district reporting Tuesday night, nearly 53% of voters choose to remove him. Still, fewer than 400 votes separate the tally, and local election officials caution that the race remains too close to call. But if the early vote totals hold, Moty’s ouster will tip the majority of the five-member board to a movement aligned with local militia members. Moty’s replacement will be either Dale Ball, a local construction superintendent, or Tim Garman, president of a local school board. Ball had a lead of just 33 votes over Garman. Both candidates were at the ‘victory’ party Tuesday night with members of the local militia. If it proves successful, the recall represents a major political victory for far-right factions in California as they seek to take power on local elected boards across the state.” • Hmm…. Do we have any readers who know Shasta County?

The United States is such an enormous and various country:


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.

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!

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging. No jump from the return of the students yet, which is even more encouraging.

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

From Fox 13 News Utah:

Key screen:

Good thing the Biden Administration set up that national wastewater testing dashboard in January, 2021. Oh, wait….

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

Finally, Minnesota starts to come down. There are state border effects; Tennessee, for example, reports weekly. Not sure what’s happening with Oklahoma and Vermont/New Hampshire. (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):

Only one orange jurisdiction; c’mon, Guam! (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.)

Just a reminder:

As with everything else, because the United States is not a serious country, our hospitalization data is bad. Here the baseilne is off:

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 917,600 913,960. I have added an anti-triumphalist “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. If you know somebody who’s in “lead my life” mode, you might consider telling them their odds of dying from Covid are now worse than with the first wave in New York.

American exceptionalism:

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Good news here too. For the time being.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 23K to 238K in the last week of January, the lowest reading in 3 weeks and below market forecasts of 245K, as demand for labour remains strong and the impact of the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant apparently starts to fade. The 4-week moving average which removes week-to-week volatility was 255K, the highest level since mid-November.”

Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured goods dropped by 0.4 percent from a month earlier in December of 2021, the first monthly decrease since April 2021 and the steepest since April of 2020, above market expectations of a 0.2 percent decline.”

Services: “United States ISM Non Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI for the US fell to 59.9 in January of 2022 from 62.3 in December, pointing to the slowest growth in the services sector since February of 2021. Still, figures came slightly above market forecasts and remained well above the long-run average of 55.”

Services: “United States Services PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The IHS Markit US Services PMI was revised slightly higher to 51.2 in January of 2022 from a preliminary of 50.9, but still pointed to the slowest growth in the services sector since July of 2020. The spread of the omicron variant hampered the upturn in new business and domestic and foreign demand conditions weakened. Firms were able to expand their workforce numbers further, however, which helped to soften the degree of pressure on business capacity. As a result, backlogs of work rose at the slowest pace since August 2021.”

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Big Ag: “Has The Farm Financial Picture Turned Dire? Ag Economy Barometer Reveals Reality of Input Price Pain for 2022” [AgWeb]. “Issues with input issues are evident in the latest Purdue University/CME Ag Economy Barometer. The January barometer fell 6 points, which marks the lowest reading since July 2020. The survey of 400 producers showed supply chain disruptions aren’t just causing angst, prompting producers to adjust their outlooks for the farm financial picture for 2022…. ‘The sharp drop in the financial performance index this month indicates producers expect a sharp decline in income in 2022 compared to 2021. In the December survey, producers were focused on comparing a very positive income year, 2021, to 2020, which really supported the index at year end,’ says Jim Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.” • Hmm. Maybe I sh

Real Estate: “Mall Customers Shop for New Hips or Knees as Surgery Centers Fill Store Vacancies” [Wall Street Journal]. “Closed department stores and rising vacancies, which accelerated during the pandemic, mean landlords are increasingly desperate to fill big blocks of space. Medical tenants, along with schools and warehouses, offer a way to do that. They represent the latest sign that mall owners are focusing their efforts to offset declining retail business with new offerings and services that can’t be easily replicated online. Many medical providers, meanwhile, have been looking to expand amid rising healthcare spending. Malls offer cheap real estate, ample parking, easy access to highways and plenty of nearby customers.” • I wonder how the ventilation is. Good, maybe? Good in public areas, bad in stores or offices? I don’t know…..

The Bezzle: “More than $320 million stolen in latest apparent crypto hack” [CNBC]. “One of the most popular bridges linking the ethereum and solana blockchains lost more than $320 million Wednesday afternoon in an apparent hack. It is DeFi’s second-biggest exploit ever, just after the $600 million Poly Network crypto heist, and it is the largest attack to date on solana, a rival to ethereum that is increasingly gaining traction in the non-fungible token (NFT) and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems. Ethereum is the most used blockchain network, and it is a big player in the world of DeFi, in which programmable pieces of code known as smart contracts can replace middlemen like banks and lawyers in certain types of business transactions.” • “Certain types” is doing a lot of work, there.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 36 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 3 at 1:29pm.

Feral Hog Watch

“‘30-50 feral hogs’ guy feels vindicated after reports of California being overrun by pigs go viral” [Daily Dot (MT_Wild)]. “The man who was mocked on Twitter in 2019 for raising concerns about feral hogs is now being defended as a modern-day prophet due to a ‘feral swine bomb’ that is ravaging the San Francisco Bay Area…. [Arkansas resident Willie McNabb] says that not a day has gone by since 2019 where he hasn’t been reminded of his initial tweet. ‘It feels like I’m stuck in some type of perpetual groundhog day—like I’m reliving the same day over and over again,’ he said. ‘I do remember feeling when the tweet first happened a bit overwhelmed—which was most likely my naïveté about social media and how far-reaching it can be.’ McNabb says his intention was never to politicize the gun debate and that the longevity of his tweet speaks to legitimate concerns regarding the spread of feral hogs. The current praise of McNabb also seems to be divorced from the gun control debate as well, with the majority of users focused on the growing feral pig phenomenon. ‘My state of Arkansas received $3.4 million from the Federal Government three months after my tweet,’ he said. ‘There have been many great articles written and segments produced on various media platforms about feral hogs since then. All of these things help address the issue that they are real and a real problem for millions of Americans.’ McNabb says overall his interactions online have been positive and that he enjoys the memes. ‘I quickly learned to be more careful in what I say, and how I express my thoughts. As I tell my kids—you can only control what you can control—and that starts with how we speak to each other,’ he added. ‘Be respectful, kind, and decent—you never know where someone is coming from until you engage and listen.'” • Perhaps a little too much self-professed country wisdom, here. Nevertheless… I don’t think I’ve ever posted on feral hogs, at least not in the last decade. Perhaps I should!

Class Warfare

So, having destroyed the very notion of public health, we will have destroyed public education as well:

Go long charters, I suppose….

“Efforts to scrap school mask rules may run into parent opposition, polls show” [ChalkBeat]. “A Chalkbeat review of over a dozen polls since this summer found that support for masking in schools consistently outstrips opposition among parents and the general public. That could change, of course, and a substantial and vocal minority of parents have opposed masking requirements. The existing polling, though, suggests that masking rules might be difficult to quickly dislodge. Most recently, a January poll conducted for the New York Times found that 68% of Americans backed required masking for students in order to try to control the spread of the omicron variant. A separate survey from December found that only 28% of adults supported in-person schooling without masking during a COVID spike.” • The official and official-adjacent propaganda on masking is so thick; and oddly, the voices of the minority are constantly amplified.

News of the Wired

“If We’re Going to Live With COVID-19, It’s Time to Clean Our Indoor Air Properly” [Time]. “The relationship of room ventilation to risk of infection isn’t linear—that is, doubling of ventilation rate further reduces the concentration of air contaminants by only about half. This means that doubling poor ventilation from 1 ACH to 2 ACH provides relatively greater improvement in protection for room occupants than, for example, the increased protection from doubling ventilation from 6-12 ACH. This is because when air contaminants are low, much more air movement is required to dilute and remove them. Moreover, increases ventilation rates are costly, often requiring larger fans, blowers, ventilation ducts, and more electricity, as well as greater heating, cooling, and dehumidification capacity. At the same time, as noted, for the much more infectious Omicon variant, very high ventilation rates are needed to keep up with high viral concentrations and infectiousness . Therefore, because mechanical ventilation may not be sufficient to reduce the risk of infection, mechanical ventilation in public buildings should be supplemented by other methods of air disinfection. For current and future viral pathogens like SARS-CoV-19, relatively high levels of “equivalent” ventilation by supplemental air disinfection will be needed.” • I don’t think the ventilation community understands that the meta-policy of “live with Covid” is to do the absolute minimum. Or worse. I’m just waiting for Johns Hopkins Institute for the Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise — so very many tells in that name — to come out with another meta-study showing that ventilation should be halved, not doubled.

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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 (JG):

JG writes: “Central Iowa. Looking westward from living room window.” Generally, I don’t think of Iowa as quite this dramatic….

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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. Jason Boxman

    The White House is preparing to move on from Omicron.

    Emboldened by falling case counts, the Biden administration is plotting a new phase of the pandemic response aimed at containing the coronavirus and conditioning Americans to live with it.

    Fixed it for ya!

    Go die for capitalism!

    “We are moving toward a time when Covid doesn’t disrupt our daily lives,” said one senior administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations. “But in order to get people to view the pandemic differently, they have to feel differently about the pandemic.

    (italics mine)

    And by normalizing so much death and disease, that just might be the ticket to breaking whatever resistance might remain. The beatings must continue until morale improves! Just realize the truth: You love Big Brother!

    And as to what metrics will signal success against the virus, officials said they’re still figuring that out — and hope they’ll know it when they see it.

    Better optics!

      1. Robin

        No matter what the optics, the spin, or the reality, there will be
        no unwinding of the controls, restrictions or other things.

        For example, now that ‘terrorism is over’?,
        have they canceled the Patriot Act?
        Or, Obama’s suspension of habeus corpus?

        Are Zoom “public meetings” the future of democracy?

      1. DS

        Except that was exactly what helped Trump win.

        The disconnect between the marketing and the product itself grew wide enough that a lot of people noticed.

        I’d predict it will be even less effective this time around.

    1. clarky90

      Re; “the share of Americans, who have been killed by the coronavirus, is at least 63 percent higher than in any of these other large, wealthy nations.”

      Is this, an inarguable case of “Institutionalized, Ivermectin-Denial”?. In the face of obvious American death and misery; A Euro-centric, racist clique, utterly discount the lived experiences/knowledge of Brown People. (Uttar Pradesh, Japan, South Africa……”) And at what cost?

      Someone please, offer an alternate explanation, to the previous two years of frantic, orchestrated Ivermectin hesitancy?

    2. Darthbobber

      The key word I take away is “conditioning”, which reveals perhaps more than intended. They still haven’t learned that there’s an upper limit to one’s ability to condition the people.

      Of course, conditioning implies the opposite relationship between government and governed from the one our mythology touts.

    3. djrichard

      You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying!

      — Joker

  2. 1UnknownSubject

    Narrative shift to say the pandemic is over is perplexing especially with BA.2 and BA.3 coming up in other areas of the US and world. However, the data seems to indicate at least that the BA.1 version of Omicron is dropping quite rapidly.

    Really hard to interpret the tea leaves as to what happens next.

      1. Soredemos

        This doesn’t really explain the cavalier attitude of elites themselves though. All the maskless parties. They themselves could end up dead or crippled.

        1. LifelongLib

          Good point. Are they just fooling themselves? Or does their lifestyle protect them (more time in better-ventilated areas, overall health)? Or (speculation) access to meds/knowledge the rest of us don’t have? Hmm.

          1. Mikel

            They won’t be waiting a week or two or longer to get in to get medical attention. They won’t be worried about the cost. There’s comfort in that.

            They scold everybody else to take a shot and hope it works.

            1. Yves Smith

              The longer form explanation is they are sure even if they get sick that they’ll get super duper medical care and will pull through. And they are clueless about the morbidity costs.

    1. Ira Leifer

      Actually, its not hard to interpret what happens next. Whatever is happening in Europe happens here a month-ish later (but more moronically with more dead, higher cost, etc.). Also, the US will choose the worst possible choice (as it makes the most $$) for public health.

      1. DS

        There’s no telling where the next variant could come from. It could come from anywhere.

        Having said that, international travel hubs and other points of entry are clearly the most important nodes on the contagion graph, even if they are “downstream” of the source, and should continue to be valuable for finding out what’s coming next.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          >Having said that, international travel hubs and other points of entry are clearly the most important nodes on the contagion graph, even if they are “downstream” of the source, and should continue to be valuable for finding out what’s coming next.

          Right, right, let’s not shut them down, let’s maintain them as lookout posts!

    2. jsn

      Ideally, the common over the counter test won’t work for the new variants so people can just go on dying but it doesn’t have to be reported as COVID.

      Best possible outcome for Biden and the Dems. /s

      Still, I don’t see how killing the working class is going to keep labor cost down. Maybe Powel can sort that for us.

  3. Verifyfirst

    Covid question–can anyone point me to a layperson level explainer for the difference between the cold viruses; the flu; Covid and HIV virus? Thanks!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The wiki, but if you want the relevant differences for us plebes, here goes:

      -common cold virus. These are the cold viruses we get. Often mistaken for allergies. The key point is anti-bodies tend to fade away around six months.

      -Influenza. Another virus that causes the flu. Immunity to one flu strain confers a fair amount of immunity to other flu strains for several years. Occasionally nasty ones get through. They are primarily spread through aerosols and gross surfaces. Partially because of how influenza is spread and acquired immunity through vaccines and infection, we just kind of accept it from year to year.

      -SARs type viruses. This includes Covid. Basically, its a bad cold with a high mortality rate. And unlike the flu, its a virus like the common cold. Immunity developed from infection goes away after 3 to 6 months. This is why the “Let er rip” strategy is a disaster. Transmissability varies between strains.

      -HIV is a virus spread through bodily fluids and infected needles, usually through sharing, that attacks the immune system most notably the T Cells leaving the body open to other infections and cancers leading to AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Ag input prices up–

    Meaning nitrogen fertilizers reflect an increase in natgas prices along with that Peak Phosphorus issue. And that could be a little good news on the ecological front. Remember that what drove Gabe Brown to regenerative practices was initially an inability to afford chemical fertilizer applications.

    Of course, the sad truth is that nothing would be better for the Earth (and, in the not-so-long term, us) than the Mother of All Depressions. The drop in GDP in 2020 because of Covid was the one and probably only time we’ll meet that 7.6%/yr drop in carbon emissions for every year from 2020 to 2030.

    1. Louis Fyne

      7+ billion people. we need industrial farming. otherwise countries like Egypt will have revolutions.

      don’t flame me, i’m just the messenger. and wish there was an alternative

    2. Roger

      The UN has analyzed this and noted that the world’s population can be supported using sustainable agricultural practices. Problem is that industrialized agriculture has all the money and made sure that the report was buried.

      “Smallholder farmers were integral to the global system, he said, noting that farmers operating two hectares of land or less managed only 12 per cent of total agricultural land but produced more than 80 per cent of the world’s food in terms of value.”

      What is needed is to stop cash crop exporting to richer nations so that poorer countries can go back to food self sufficiency and remove all of the subsidies to industrialized agriculture (e.g. the massive EU and USA subsidies to their farm corporations).


      1. Grateful Dude

        “Industrialized agriculture has all the money …”. Oil drives it. Imagine cracking oil to make urine. Uh huh. Makes capital sense. We’ll have to pry those oil wells out of their cold dead hands. Better get to work.

  5. Judith

    Biden continues to NOT surprise me.


    When former President Donald Trump paved the way for his private equity donors to skim fees from Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts, Joe Biden’s campaign denounced the stealth executive action and promised to oppose such changes if he won the presidency. But less than two years later, Biden’s administration just quietly cemented that same policy, delivering a gift to the Democrat’s own finance industry sponsors, even as federal law enforcement officials are warning of rampant malfeasance in the private equity industry.

    At issue is a Trump Labor Department ruling in 2020 that authorized retirement plan administrators to shift workers’ savings into high-risk, high-fee private equity investments, despite regulators’ long-standing interpretation that federal laws prohibited such moves.

  6. Wukchumni

    The Bezzle: “More than $320 million stolen in latest apparent crypto hack” [CNBC]. “One of the most popular bridges linking the ethereum and solana blockchains lost more than $320 million Wednesday afternoon in an apparent hack. It is DeFi’s second-biggest exploit ever, just after the $600 million Poly Network crypto heist, and it is the largest attack to date on solana, a rival to ethereum that is increasingly gaining traction in the non-fungible token (NFT) and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems.
    I gotta say these hacks where they get hundreds of millions of $ are spectacular and yet boring. Hollywood could never make a movie of the Great Crypto Heist, after 10 minutes of watching the perp bang away on the QWERTY in a 2 hour flick, we’d hightail it back to the box office and demand a refund.

    No guns, no violence, no shit blowing up, heck wouldn’t even need any CGI, just a lot of artful dodging of 1’s & 0’s.

    And props to DeFi.. the coolest nom de hack in robbing hoods.

    1. Greg

      No word on the name of the hackers yet, DeFi is “Decentralized Finance” of which NFTs and Crypto claim to be the core.
      Maybe you were making a joke about the hack-prone nature of crypto cash, and I missed it, in which case apologies.

    2. griffen

      All in all it’s just another crypto brick in the Wall
      We don’t need no strict protocol control
      Teacher leave that bridge alone

    3. ChrisRUEcon

      The “$” are the “useless fiat” denomination all the crypto bros denounce. If someone said 15K ETH/BTC, no one would care.

  7. Laughingsong

    I know this was in links and not today’s cooler but I can’t help myself, I just gotta point this out:

    “Tesla recalls cars that may roll past stop signs”

    This is what we who are California natives call the “California Stop” ….. S-T-O-P spells “pause”…. And it’s now codified in software! What a world.

    1. Carolinian

      No, no it’s the South Carolina stop after we failed to secure our borders against the infection entering from California. The intersections at both ends of my block have had “failure to yield” accidents. I theorize running stop signs is my middle class neighbors’ version of being badass.

      1. Laughingsong

        On behalf of other fleeing Californians I apologize for our collective lack of training. I left there I 1990 and I live in Oregon now (also spent 10 years in Ireland since but now back in OR), and was rightly schooled by folks here, who have your problem in spades due to the proximity.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Tesla recalls cars that may roll past stop signs

      There were several Tweet storms in yesterday’s Water Cooler. Really amazing to see “Break the Law” as a setting in the user interface — not in so many words, but anybody who passed the California driver’s test knows the meaning.

      1. Laughingsong

        Yeah I wouldn’t be surprised if the test I had to take has been reduced to just backing up between two rocks.

        I think it’s dementia caused by the unending traffic jams. Everyone is in constant KeepItMoving KeepItMoving KeepItMoving mode, desperate not to stop. It’s actually a big reason why I finally left and I’m so glad I did. I refuse to drive when I visit family in the Bay Area.

        1. harrybothered

          I live in the Bay Area now and, yes, the traffic is bad, and many drivers are thoughtless (no turn signals, etc.) but I also lived in NY and the Bay Area is not as bad as that. People here will actually give you space to get onto a highway here. In NY you had to shove your way in.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          My wife introduced me to the term California Stop over forty years ago. I always assumed that it was related to the small number of pedestrians outside of San Fransisco.

          1. LifelongLib

            I recall my dad using the term in the early 70s when I was learning to drive. We lived in a town about 20 miles outside of Seattle so I guess it was widely known.

  8. Cocomaan

    I hate to indulge in easy cynicism, but it seems early for this (unless Biden is sending some sort of message to Putin). Also, do we have a body? Or did we throw the body into the sea, as we are said to have done with Bin Laden?

    Allow me: we are doing what to whom in Syria? I didn’t even know a war was still being fought there. Who are the sides? What purpose does it serve to be blowing people up there?

    The Biden administration is just begging for a war for the midterms.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Manchin emasculated Biden, so now Biden is trying to look like a manly man. Its that simple. Its not Bin Laden. Given our drone war fare, why was the President even awake for this?

      1. Carolinian

        Getting his manhood out of its blind trust? Thought that was George H.W. Bush.

        After Bush invaded Panama a protestor held a sign “Ok you’re not a wimp.”

      2. Art Vandalay

        Both the President and Kamala were up solely for the photo op of them sitting in the Situation Room to observe the proceedings, of course. Cannot hope to be an effective instragram influencer otherwise.

    2. HotFlash

      “The leader of the violent Islamic State group was killed Thursday, blowing himself up along with members of his family…”

      ‘Scuse me, blowing himself up? Some reporter wrote that? Some editor OK’d it? We have passed beyond Lambert’s ‘lack of agency’ to inverted agency!

  9. amused_in_sf

    I’ve wondered for a while if the Biden plan for Omicron was to let it rampage (blaming any catastrophes on the unvaccinated), and hope the combination of immunity and warmer weather makes the winter experience a distant memory for Americans.

    Honestly, not the worst strategy in a nation with such short memories.

  10. MP

    Hard to feel any sort of optimism when day-after-day we were bombarded with Omicron Mild Omicron Mild Omicron Mild and, despite all that and despite everyone here knowing the truth, another 100K deaths wash over us, with nary a thought. Immediate pivot to being happy that the wave is over and then waiting to be caught off guard by the next one, with the same ready-made excuses. I believe the observation was made that whenever David Leonhardt at the NYT says that covid is receding, a wave follows in two months. So that should be fun.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I believe the observation was made that whenever David Leonhardt at the NYT says that covid is receding, a wave follows in two months. So that should be fun.

      Ah, a Leonhardt Unit.

      1. JBird4049

        So, April Fool’s is the due date for the next COVID Whatever Variant? How appropriate. My college is already planning for us to go back into the classrooms next week, which is just silly.

        Yes, we are all supposed to be vaxed and masked, with bonus air filtration and open windows in the classrooms, but the danger next week will really not much less than last week’s, never you mind this week’s. However the school’s decision is based on whatever opaque reasonings of the state and county do have. Three sets of people who are predisposed to have things “back to normal.” (Here’s where I roll my eyes.)

        So now we will have up to thirty students in one room for an hour and a half at a time. If I want to continue to work on my degree and get aid, I have to go there. Of course, my continuing education also depends on having a working brain as learning statistics or Spanish, or anything really, depends on it. Fudge.

  11. Otis B Driftwood

    … a ‘feral swine bomb’ that is ravaging the San Francisco Bay Area….

    News to me. I live in the SF Bay Area and we have a lot of wild turkeys pooping everywhere. But no hogs.

    1. JBird4049

      Maybe the hogs are up in the hills? There is lots of very open, wild space in the state and national parks around here. Aside from the occasional cranky tom, turkeys are more cute than dangerous.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which must have been written close to twenty years ago, Michael Pollan and a friend go hog hunting in Sonoma County. As I recall, they were not uncommon then… lotta critters in the draws of those golden hills, with the widespread poison oak a detterant to human incursion outside of trails and roads.

      2. NoName

        I grew up there and know the area well. There are plenty of raccoons, possums, and even the occasional skunk. I’ve never heard of a wild hog problem.

  12. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs that the “cumulative COVID mortality” (or Cumulative COVID Croaked — could one call that JRB’s version of the CCC?) looks set to get quite close to the emotively significant level of 1 Million by SOTU day.

    I guess they’re hoping for some big legislative wins by then to compensate.

    1. Judith

      According to the New Normal, when U.S. reaches one million deaths from Covid, the counter goes back to zero,

  13. Samuel Conner

    Thanks for the lovely plantidote.

    Trees silhouetted by post sunset sky have an … Elvish feel for me.

    “I don’t know why, but it makes me sad.”

    1. Lee

      How Clear, How Lovely Bright
      by A. E. Housman

      How clear, how lovely bright,
      How beautiful to sight
      Those beams of morning play;
      How heaven laughs out with glee
      Where, like a bird set free,
      Up from the eastern sea
      Soars the delightful day.

      To-day I shall be strong,
      No more shall yield to wrong,
      Shall squander life no more;
      Days lost, I know not how,
      I shall retrieve them now;
      Now I shall keep the vow
      I never kept before.

      Ensanguining the skies
      How heavily it dies
      Into the west away;
      Past touch and sight and sound
      Not further to be found,
      How hopeless under ground
      Falls the remorseful day.

  14. Fredericka

    “ militia-backed movement seeking to seize control of one of California’s most conservative counties, so far, appears to have prevailed”

    They have their own Youtube channel, quite revealing. A Peruvian American Marine is their spokesman..or, you could just let others describe them for you. More people read book reviews than the books.

    Red White and Blueprint

  15. anon y'mouse

    what i know about Shasta county could fill a thimble.

    it’s the west coast’s version of a beautiful hinterland filled with hillbillies and all that word connotes. or at least it was in the 80s/90s.

    so, meth and whatever the CA version of “trailers” is (never seen too many trailers in CA while growing up there and travelling all over the backroads of the Northern half of the state in my teens and 20s.

    Redding is a good place to stop if you’ve driven from points north or south and are intending to continue journeying for many hours. i think i got an insanely great mexican meal there one time, as you do. another at a hole in the wall run by a Nepali family further north in Weed. that was some seriously good mexican food, better than i’d had in mexico itself!

    sorry, us CA metro types just usually “pass through”.

  16. Fiery Hunt

    Shasta County…

    Dry, dusty land dominated by ranchers and meth. Hotter than blue blazes in summer (116 F is not uncommon). Long time supporters of State of Jefferson. No real economy outside of tourism centered on Lake Shasta. Lots of older poor whites. Barely noticeable on the long haul of northbound Highway 5. Bout a 3 1/2 hour drive north of the Bay Area.

    Owned 30 acres up there in another lifetime.

    1. Robert

      There is a spectacular mountain in that county: Mt. Shasta. I think the First Nations people called this mountain “The Mother”.
      It is an amazing sight. Rather than lying in a range of other lesser peaks, it just rises by itself from a flat valley floor. People with an interest in various types of spirituality have long been drawn to the town of Mt. Shasta. It is a pleasant and picturesque place. Driving along I-5 I would always stop in in for a smoothie at the Berrydale organic grocery store there, or perhaps for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy in the Black Bear Diner. They say a race of people called the Lemurians live inside the mountain. You can read about them in the link.


      When you wander through town you’ll notice that people have, in some cases, painted their front doors or garden gates the color purple. I’m told that this is a signal to the Lemurians that the resident is a friend, and if a Lemurian should need anything, this person will help.

      To Fiery Hunt: 30 acres in “another lifetime” must have been nice. Sadly, you are spot-on with your description of the demographic there today.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Mount Shasta is actually in Siskiyou County, not Shasta County.

        The 30 acres was beautiful for about 2 months of the year.
        The rest of the year, star thistle and heat made it very tough to enjoy.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Hmm…. Do we have any readers who know Shasta County?

          What I know about Shasta itself is almost less than nothing, but the state’s Republican Party has been increasingly reactionary, if not just crazy, for years and it started before the national party did.

          The red/blue areas of the state is like a bowl with the blue areas on the coast filling the bowl and the red areas are the bowl. The more politically “interesting” areas are either centered around the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles Metro, the northern most counties and in the Sierras. So we have the neoliberal Awoken Ones in San Francisco and LA and having Hillbilly John Birchers is not surprising.

          If you want to see just how the national parties can become, just look at California as the national parties still have more insanity to come. (God help us.)

          The depressing thing of all this is that I still barely remember what the California parties were like. I mean California, as the saying goes, gets all the fruit, flakes, and nuts, and many of them became politicians, but there was a good connection to reality in both parties with some honest and effective people. Now it’s mostly a grift with the honest ones often crazy or at least acting so.

          If I ever do a master’s degree, I think I know what my thesis will be on.

  17. enoughisenough

    Looking forward to more Bourdieu commentary! :)

    Meanwhile, our rudderless, sadistic government keeps wanting to pretend Covid is over, even though we had 3,600 deaths yesterday in the USA alone.

    That Politico piece outlining their propaganda plans is making me ill. Yes, the pandemic is just a “feeling” we all can “choose”. Your family is dead? Your feelings are incorrect! You’re worried about getting permanently sick? Your feelings are incorrect!

  18. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “(unless Biden is sending some sort of message to Putin).”

    It is also seems to be necessary to massage the domestic public mind with messages promoting certain ideals and values such as, empire, global dominance, strength, resolve, precision kinetic force projection on a global scale, an effective global kill chain, the ‘high value’ placed on human life by minimizing caualties and incidental kills, or collateral damage, ect. That the ‘message’ is publicly advertised to the entire world should speak for itself.

    Beyond that, the basic message and the killing (of those individuals that do not respond to pubilic messaging and other softer forms of persuasion) has remained relatively constant. Because,

    “This operation is testament to America’s reach and capability to take out terrorist threats no matter where they try to hide anywhere in the world.”


    Compare and contrast with, ” … we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”


    1. Samuel Conner

      > no matter where they try to hide anywhere in the world

      I suppose violent neo-nazists openly living in Ukraine doesn’t fall under this, since not ‘hiding.’

  19. antidlc


    Kim Reynolds ending COVID disaster declaration, shutting down vaccination and case count websites

    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will soon end the public health disaster proclamation that Iowa has operated under since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly two years ago.

    Reynolds, a Republican, first announced the disaster proclamation on March 17, 2020. In the early days of the pandemic, she relied on the proclamation to close businesses, limit large gatherings and encourage other pandemic responses like limiting nonessential surgeries and — briefly — requiring masks to be worn in certain indoor settings.

    Reynolds said in her statement that she will allow the proclamation to expire on Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. She said it’s time to reallocate state resources that have been dedicated to treating COVID-19 as a public health emergency.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, I’ve been anticipating this. The pandemic will be declared over this year, either by way of omission and misdirection (Biden) or directly and forcefully (Republicans).

      Stay safe!

  20. Tom Stone

    Biden has done what I thought was impossible.
    He makes Trump look compassionate.

    You betcha, 3,000 deaths a day is OK.
    It’s the new normal!
    Don’t worry, be happy, those lewy bodies will make it easy to do…

    The whole administration is effing delusional, do they think peeing on the dog food makes it more appealing?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It could get worse. He could make Trump look competent as Operation Warp Speed was done under Trump’s watch. Biden had only to pick up the ball and run with it – or hobble in his case. Instead, Biden has gone with the Obama ploy of throwing pr at the pandemic to make it go away so that he can declare ‘Mission Accomplished.’ It’s not his fault that the virus refuses to cooperate.

      1. Jason Boxman

        It’s a concerted policy of mass murder through callous disregard. Biden does make Trump look good by comparison! The Biden administration keeps saying “we have the tools” as if that somehow excuses them from pushing Americans into an oncoming train.

        I can’t wait for November. At least Republicans are honest that everyone needs to go die for capitalism.

    2. Mikel

      3,000 deaths a day and they thing a couple of 1200 dollar handouts over 2 years, that only reached some people, is the reason people “aren’t working.”

      Did anybody check the graveyards for the missing workers?

  21. IMOR

    Re: NEA poll of teachers.
    Those numbers would only have been about 10-15% lower in each category at any pre-pandemic time that followed the crap implementation of the crap No Child Left Behind law(s), let alone following the salary cuts in several states after the 2008 crash. Pandemic nonresponse has simply added urgency and put a bow on the now multidecade war on teachers and teaching. (Taught in four distinctly varied districts in three states during this period; blood relatives and longtime friends in the profession add 40 years’ or more perspective to my view.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s nothing personal mind. But about $1.3 trillion is spent on education in the US each and every year so American corporations want as much of that honey pot as possible – and teachers are in the way. Sure, education in America at all levels will in future have the same effectiveness as American healthcare (with the same sorts of costs) but a lot of institutional shareholders will be very, very happy so there is that.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      It’s heartbreaking, because prior to Covid it seemed as if corporate education reform might be a spent, or at least weakened, force. Unending charter school scandals combined with enough liberal/left’s (who previously had done little or nothing to defend the public schools) seeing the gross hypocrisy of charter operators mouthing their social justice cliches, while cashing Trump’s checks.

      But Covid has put the public schools in greater danger than ever before: the corporate privateers are still there, the Right is getting traction attacking them, and the teachers and their unions are in a damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don’t position.

  22. OIFVet

    “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
    ~ Mark Twain

    There is a curious historical claim made in the proposed H.Res. 741, a proposal to designate the month of September 2022 as “Macedonian American Heritage Month.” The proposal opens with the following claim:

    “Whereas there is evidence that the earliest Macedonian presence in the continental United States arrived on or around the year 1492”

    This leads to several mind-boggling possibilities. The first is that the House sponsors believe that Columbus discovered the continent in 1492, and that his crew included Macedonians who managed to leave anthropological and archeological footprints. Columbus of course did not discover the continent in 1492, and in fact never did set foot on the continent of North America.

    The second, less plausible possibility is, that the House sponsors have unearthed a previously unknown European expedition, which discovered continental North America in 1492. That expedition also included Macedonian members, apparently.

    The third and most likely possibility is that the House sponsors unwittingly proved Mark Twain right. Macedonia is suddenly very important in the Russia Russia Russia roulette game, and DC critters are tripping over themselves to rewrite history to court Macedonian lobbying dollars (and Tenney used to be at the employ of the Macedonian Embassy, apparently). Yes, the resolution is not at all a big deal, but the quoted opening paragraph illustrates so many things that are wrong with DC.

    And BTW, Macedonia and the United States existed in 1492?!

  23. Left in Wisconsin

    So, having destroyed the very notion of public health, we will have destroyed public education as well:

    I don’t think the Dems understand how disastrous this is going to be for them. At the local level, education was the one issue people trusted them on.

    As more evidence of how bad this is going, two local stories about the declining state of the public schools in Madison WI, esp the inability to recruit and keep enough teachers. While some of this is Covid-related, it is not only that. Twenty years ago, Madison was a model of a successful urban school district (though achievement gap was always enormous) and teachers from surrounding districts would often switch into Madison because the pay was better and the district was seen as teacher-led. Now, the district can’t keep teachers, the pay is no longer better than the suburbs (despite very high prop taxes), and the school board is seen by many as obsessed with performance over support for teachers.



    1. Fiery Hunt

      Public education has been destroyed by the grifters.

      Basic public education used to be getting children to learn to read, write and THINK.
      Seems like since Reagan, the focus has been on serving the every-year inflating tuition cost of colleges and feeding the newly graduated conformists into a corporate maw.

      The Teachers Unions have been a huge part of this.

      Trying to teach kids in California is a nightmare of 6 languages spoken and understood amongst the student body while bending to every administrators’ resume-padding fad (“restorative justice” for feral criminal offenders, or disparaging of White teachers for their “privilege”, anyone?). Not to mention the “educational non-profits” who sell assemblies and textbooks and “action plans” for any “disenfranchised” subset of the population.

      Until we can decide to settle on what we as a society actually value, we’re going to continue to shovel sh*t against the tide.

      And I’m taking the under on that bet.

  24. Carolinian


    [Consortium News was similarly attacked on the weekend by PropOrNot, the anonymous group that smears U.S. critics as Russian agents, as well as by Louise Mensch, the former British MP and current right-wing provocateur. CN was on PropOrNot’s original 2016 list, and its founding editor Robert Parry was repeatedly smeared as a “Kremlin stooge” for his independent reporting. The Washington Post called PropOrNot “experts” but allowed them to anonymously attack websites.]


    PropOrNot (it’s still around!) on the warpath again. Can one speculate that Biden and the Dems’ current weakness is also a threat to any and all who disagree with Blinken et al

  25. Duke of Prunes

    About teachers: my daughter is midway through her first year of teaching 2nd graders at a lower middle class elementary school. She hates it. The kids are horrible. They swear. They fight. They talk back. 2nd graders! Oddly enough, most are sweet as can be when she sees them outside of the classroom. About 3 of the 20 in her class actually try to learn. This is not a bad neighborhood, nor are the students “those people” (as my upper middle class friends imply when we discuss this). “Those people” are in the English as a second language classrooms, and some are better behaved (imagine that! /s).

    Every teacher says it’s never been this bad. We’re hoping she can stick it out until next year when maybe the kids will be more “normal”. Although she is beginning to think about another career (which is sad because she is a great teacher). The older teachers are scared to death of covid. The younger teachers are looking for jobs outside of education. The administration is clueless and gets most of the blame from my daughter. Her principal thinks this year should be just like a “normal” year, and it’s the teachers’ fault for the misbehavior, not the effects of lockdowns, masks, etc. No change to the 2nd grade curriculum (even though they started the year academically as kindergarteners since they learned nothing last year as 1st graders), and the teachers are exaggerating the behavior problems. Subs are getting harder to find since they’ve experienced the chaos.

    My daughter thinks the mask mandates are ineffective. Maybe for older kids, but the tykes don’t wear the masks correctly no matter how many times they are corrected. Meanwhile, they’re missing the socialization that comes from seeing an entire face, and hearing nuances in language vs. everyone yelling through their mask. She’s had covid twice (fully vaxxed and boosted). Most of her kids have had it at least once. Parents still send their sick kids to school, but they do weekly testing to catch a few of them.

    She lives with us and luckily has not passed the covid to us… unless my wife and I have both been asymptomatic… then again, are these aches and pains and mild exhaustion just from age or is it long covid? I worry about the long term impact of the vaccines as well as long covid, and what about the next wave?

    We’re not a serious nation. Enjoy the little things in life while you still can.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Used to have a student in my hobbyist glass class who was an elementary school teacher. Would discuss “normal” vs “bad” years of students. His last couple of years were all “bad”. Said it was just worse than he’d ever seen it with SEP’s (or whatever they call “special education plans”) , and generally “just dysfunctional kids”.

      That was nearly 3 years ago, prior to COVID,

      Disinterested but honest advice?
      Encourage your daughter to get the hell out of that “career path”.
      It’s only going to get worse.

  26. Mikel

    “‘30-50 feral hogs’ guy feels vindicated after reports of California being overrun by pigs go viral” [Daily Dot (MT_Wild)]. “The man who was mocked on Twitter in 2019 for raising concerns about feral hogs is now being defended as a modern-day prophet due to a ‘feral swine bomb’ that is ravaging the San Francisco Bay Area….

    Move along…nothing to see here. It’s not like viruses can jump from pigs to humans. (snark off)

  27. Mikel

    “If We’re Going to Live With COVID-19, It’s Time to Clean Our Indoor Air Properly” [Time].

    Two years of lies about airborne viruses were propagated to avoid indoor air regulations on businesses. I’m not going to “hold my breath.”

  28. The Rev Kev

    Things are getting a bit tense at the White House briefings. So Ned Price was telling a bunch of reporters that the Russians are going to do a false flag event in the Donbass. An AP reporter named Matt Lee asked him for the proof of this allegation. Ned told him basically that he just gave it to him and it went downhill from there. In the end, Ned said that maybe Lee would be more comfortable listening to Russian sources rather than the US or UK government-


    1. rowlf

      Refreshing to see actual journalism occur in the news space.

      AP’s Matt Lee Grills State Dept. Spox on Russia/Ukraine: An Accusation Is Not Evidence, “I Remember WMDs In Iraq”

      “The fact that Russia continues to engage in disinformation,” Ned Price said.

      “You’ve made an allegation that they might do that. Have they actually done it?”

      “No,” said the reporter. “You made a series of allegations and statements… That’s not evidence. That’s you saying it. That’s not evidence, I’m sorry… I would like to see some proof that you can show that shows that the Russians are doing this… I remember WMDs in Iraq. And I remember you saying that Kabul is not going to fall. I remember a lot of things. Where is the declassified information other than you coming out here and saying it?”

  29. VietnamVet

    Sometime during the Delta Surge I became convinced that Joe Biden’s regime was finished if there was a another surge. The fourth omicron BA.1 surge has come and is fading away. But the deaths never significantly decreased in the USA and have climbed back up to around 3,000 a day. It is like a D-Day at Normandy, “Groundhog Day”, that never ends and keeps repeating. This simply cannot continue. Society will break apart.

    Canada’s Freedom Convoy is the canary in the tar pits. Australia shows what works and what doesn’t. Letting coronavirus rip through the population to prop up the economy is self-defeating. There is no economy without workers. There is no nation without teachers, nurses, truck drivers — essential workers. The stupid arrogance of oligarchs and their overseers who know that they are the only humans who matter because of their wealth has proven throughout history to be completely unsustainable.

    The catastrophic problem for humans on earth now is that oligarchs, protected by mercenaries armed with nuclear weapons, will destroy the earth through pollution and the endless wars if left uncontrolled without any functional national governments.

    1. JBird4049

      Assuming that year three of the Plague Years is the new normal at 3 X 3,000 x 365 / 330,000,000 = .995% or just about one percent of the entire American nation are fatalities. Swell. I keep forgetting what the ratio of dead to sick or damaged is in Covid but if it is 100 to 1 then 30% of the entire American nation will have died or likely be injured in some way especially without a functional medical system; even with the Black Death, having people assuring that you were feed, bath, sheltered, and just having people to talk with could increase the chances of survival. Unless it is something like rabies that is true for any disease. If there are any even slightly effective treatments, it can really matter. Even in the Middle Ages and we know at lot more now.

      Joining all the others here at NC with my criticisms of the Ruling Class and the nomenklatura, apparatchiks, literati, and even the glitterati that serve them, but I vacillate between evil people with their modern Wannsee Conference with some modern Reinhard Heydrich or some large group of grifters, pinheads, and opportunists stuff into a giant clown car. Maybe it is a hybrid of both with Heydrich and his people using the clowns.

      As for justice, if we ever get to that, we will probably need to send some to the dock at The Hague and many more to a Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > As for justice, if we ever get to that, we will probably need to send some to the dock at The Hague and many more to a Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

        I imagine that the responsible parties may flee the country before things come to that.

  30. JBird4049

    >>>For example, it occurs to me that a useful dynamic takes place with Keynesian Beauty Contests (the neoliberal alternative to the Wansee conference?). But we will see what Bourdieu comes up with.

    The Wannsee Conference was about 90 minutes long with something like 15 participants. If you include the staff who set up the conference room before it started, it might be 20 people involved. With the personal staff handling the requests, booking the transportation and so on, the whole conference might have had 50 people directly involved including the typist who wrote and mailed copies of the meeting’s minutes.

    I have sat, both as a participant in a chair and as backend office staff for such meetings. It is a routine annoyance and the idea of such a meeting in an upper American governmental echelon makes it easier to accept when I remember Wannsee. Mind you that Wannsee Conference was merely Heydrich getting the various departments involved to agree that the SS had exclusive control once the Jews were deported towards Poland. 15 people and nobody had any objections to the Final Solution and everyone in that room knew of it.

    Such a regularly scheduled meeting would get no notice. It could about exterminating fluffy bunnies or the cost of coffee. Just say it is regular meeting on X. Keep the staff at a minimum and nobody would know or care as there are always problems and crises that need regular meetings. Just keep the meetings going for new agreements and fixing kinks in whatever and you could get a lot completed.

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