By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Bird Song of the Day
“Butts for nuts: can crows do our dirty work (and should they)?” [Corvid Research]. “A Swedish start up, Corvid Cleaning, is attempting to train corvids to pick up cigarette butts in exchange for food, as a means of combating the pervasive litter problem across their city. They plan do this through a machine that according to their website, they’ve already successfully ground tested with wild birds. So, will this work and is it a good idea? In my opinion no and no, for many reasons. This whole idea rests on the premise that corvids are smart, (which they are,) but being smart and being motivated are very different. It’s not an issue of whether crows *can* learn it, but how you keep them engaged over time (the company hopes to save 75% of the city’s current cigarette clean-up costs). Having fed a lot of crows a lot of peanuts, I can tell you that the appeal of unlimited peanuts wanes drastically over time. While there might be an initial rash of participants, or at least a couple highly exuberant ones, there’s a serious question of meaningful sustainability without the introduction of a more desirable (and more expensive) food. My skepticism here is born both from my experience with crows and the cold hard fact that this has simply never worked before. This isn’t the first time someone has tried this, but the 4th.” • Examples follow. Maybe we should try the same idea with cats.
“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
“In Scrutinizing Trump and His Allies, Jan. 6 Panel Adopts Prosecution Tactics” [New York Times]. “The House select committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol is borrowing techniques from federal prosecutions, employing aggressive tactics typically used against mobsters and terrorists as it seeks to break through stonewalling from former President Donald J. Trump and his allies and develop evidence that could prompt a criminal case.” • Don’t we have a Department of Justice for for criminal prosecutions? Madison did not look with favor on mixing legislative and executive functions. Federalist 47: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
“White House gets set for cautious pivot on pandemic” [The Hill]. “‘It’s time to have a serious conversation with the American people and say that we are going to be living with this for a long time,’ said Democratic strategist Rodell Mollineau. ‘We’ve been looking at this in a very binary way. Things are likely to never go back to normal, but it doesn’t mean we have to .'” • I hate that talking point so much, so I’m unsurprised to see a Democrat strategist adopting it. Quoting myself yesterday: “Imagine if when you put your seatbelt on, people said ‘Oh, so you’re a coward? I’m so done with seatbelts.’ A society that confuses fear with carefulness (and care for others) is sick to the core. This will not end well.” Anyhow, how do we gin up war fever without getting people to live in fear?
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!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“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.
“How the Establishment Functions” [Craig Murray]. We ran this in Links on 2/4, but I want to call out this nugget for the record: “On Alan Duncan’s birthday on 7 June 2017 Ian Burnett and his wife were part of the dinner celebration, alongside former Tory leader William Hague, and the arms dealer Wafic Said and wife. Wafic Said was central to the largest bribery scandal in British history, the Al-Yamamah BAE contract for arms to Saudi Arabia, where an eighty billion pound contract involved hundreds of millions in corrupt bribery payments swirling around Wafic Said and his friend Mark Thatcher. The only reason several very rich people did not go to prison is that Tony Blair – another Oxford University man – and Jack Straw, the recipient himself of BAE largesse, made a historic decision that the Serious Fraud Office investigation must be stopped ‘in the public interest’. The Serious Fraud Office subsequently ‘lost‘ all the thousands of documents proving the corruption. Thus enabling the central fixer, arms dealer Said, to enjoy a jolly dinner and banter with the new Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, rather than eat his dinner in Ford open prison. That, my friends, is how the British Establishment functions.” • Jolly dinners:
fyi (L to R, 2004):
Alan Dershowitz, lawyer, Harvard prof
Jeffrey Epstein, child rapist & billionaire, dead.
Robert Trivers, Rutgers prof
Larry Summers, Former Pres of Harvard
Steven Pinker, Harvard prof
Seth Lloyd, MIT profhttps://t.co/Embv1I46OS
— Rudy Havenstein. Stay Awake. (@RudyHavenstein) February 1, 2021
“Ghislaine Maxwell Trial: Day 18” (podcast) [TrueAnon]. Concluding sentence: “The message is very clear here: If you have enough money in your bank account, you can rape a kid. And it’ll be fine.”
“The paradox that leads professionals into temptation” [Financial Times]. “Now a professor at Cornell University and an honorary fellow at Cambridge’s Judge Business School, [Sunita Sah] has filled in more gaps with a new study that sheds light on the dark side of professionalism and how to avoid it. Her findings are stark and surprising. The greater a manager’s sense of professionalism, the more likely he or she is to accept a gift or bribe. Worse, high-minded professionals may be more susceptible to unconscious bias towards gift-givers, precisely because they are convinced they think they know how to ignore their blandishments…. ‘I NEVER turn down something for free that I know isn’t going to kill me!” retorted one manager in response to Sah’s survey. “A free lunch from someone? Go for it! If the guy is fool enough to think his free lunch/dinner/use of cabin, etc, is going to influence me, he doesn’t know me at all! People don’t influence me beyond what I, and I alone, allow!/. In the study for the Academy of Management Perspectives, Sah equates this ‘professionalism paradox’ to the Dunning-Kruger effect, according to which poor performers lack even the ability to recognise their own hopelessness…. Professionalism ‘isn’t an individual characteristic, or a feeling’, says Sah. Instead, she would like to redefine it as ‘repeated behavioural practices that demonstrate a deep understanding of the concept, backed by appropriate rules and codes. In that form, anyone can aspire to deep professionalism.” • ”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle. See above: “The Democrat Party is as ‘unreformable’ as the PMC is ‘unreformable.'”
What Stoller said:
I think the most surprising thing I've learned over the last couple of years is just how insane elite liberal institutions have become. I don't really know what to do about it.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) February 2, 2022
Disentangling this insanity is an ongoing project at Water Cooler, however inadequately. My view is that the best way forward is to give an account of the Democrat Party, since that’s the conduit or circuit through which elite liberal institutions exercise political power (and see my first cut on the structure of the Democrat Party, above. Electeds and apparatchiks are only one aspect or component of the Party).
* * *
“The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Has a New Corporate Megadonor” [ReadSludge]. “E-commerce, web hosting, and media giant Amazon donated $1.8 million to the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) affiliated foundation and institute last year, according to new lobbying contributions filings. The majority of the money, $1.7 million, was donated to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that researches how policies affect Black communities, publishes legislative reports, and hosts an annual legislative conference.” The foundation has eight House representatives and CBC members on its board of directors. The donations are a dramatic increase in Amazon’s prior giving to CBC groups.” • That’s nice.
Neera needs to get Stacy a better team:
The fact that her team even let this happen is amateurish. They should know better by now https://t.co/CQ6o1ElOnZ
— Niles Francis (@NilesGApol) February 6, 2022
* * *
“Michelle Obama: Democrats’ 2024 ‘break glass in case of emergency’ candidate” [The Hill]. “1) She has a winner’s aura that could instantly clear the primary field and allow Democrats to focus on the general election. No Democrat would want to contest her if Biden does not run, including the vice president. 2) Michelle Obama’s popularity would attract crowds equal to Trump’s and reminiscent of her husband’s. Crowd momentum translates into positive news coverage and voter enthusiasm. Her record-breaking 2019 book tour filled arenas in 31 cities. 3) She is “qualified” to be president with the new qualification standard: If you get elected, you are qualified. 4) Mrs. Obama is active in the 2022 elections with a hot-button issue. Consider this recent Hill headline: ‘Michelle Obama announces push to register 1 million new voters ahead of midterms,’ affording her unlimited media exposure.” • Well, it worked for Imelda Marcos. (The author is a Republican strategist, so perhaps there is a “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch” aura to this….)
“Judge temporarily halts Youngkin order making masks optional in Va. schools after lawsuit from school boards” [WaPo]. “An Arlington judge on Friday barred enforcement of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s mask-optional order for schools — a major victory for the seven school boards that sued to stop it, and a sharp rebuke for the new governor. In her 10-page order, Arlington Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo offered a check to Youngkin’s assertion of gubernatorial authority, writing that the Virginia Constitution gives authority to local school boards to make safety and health decisions — including masking — for their students. She also wrote that a state law passed over the summer requiring school districts to comply with federal health guidance makes Youngkin’s mask-optional order impossible to carry out, because it, too, delegates authority over decisions such as masking to local school boards. ‘The single issue before the Court is whether the Governor, via his emergency powers, can override the decision of local school boards delegated to them,’ DiMatteo wrote in the ruling granting a temporary restraining order. ‘On this pivotal point, the Court concludes that the Governor cannot.’ Youngkin (R), in a statement issued by spokeswoman Macaulay Porter on Friday, vowed to appeal. Porter called the Arlington judge’s ruling ‘just the first step in the judicial process.'” • Since Virginia governors can’t succeed themselves, its up or out for Youngkin.
Our Famously Free Press
“Surprise! Tucker Carlson Draws the Most Democratic Viewers in Key Demo, Even Topping Rachel Maddow” [The Wrap]. “There is an entire cottage industry within media dedicated to disseminating Tucker Carlson’s nightly Fox News musings to presumably liberal audiences who may not be tuning in to hear what the leading conservative voice is telling his large following. But recent data from Nielsen MRI Fusion suggests those nightly dispatches may not be necessary: In October, the most recent month for which data is available, Carlson’s 9 p.m. ET program was the top cable news show among Democrats in the advertiser-coveted age range of 25-54.” • Lol.
Man, we went super fast from "not teaching a book is a ban" to "disappearing episodes of a podcast is responsible and necessary"
— PoliMath (@politicalmath) February 6, 2022
Realignment and Legitimacy
“When People Lose Trust In The Mainstream, They End Up Swimming With Crocs” [Indi.ca]. The author writes from Sri Lanka: “Take the American CDC for example. They’re issuing obviously corrupt and politicized advice and failing on every front. You can’t trust them. But then who do you trust? Everybody has to do their own research and that can lead to very different places. Some people like me are furious for the CDC not doing enough. Others are furious for them doing too much. Into this void of authority step all kinds of snake-oil salesmen and women, telling people even worse bullshit and selling them ever worse ‘solutions’. You fall out of the mainstream and suddenly you’re swimming with crocs and logs. What do you cling onto? One will float and the other will tear you apart…. I have found that in times of trouble you often attract the worst people, people trying to profit from your misery, people preying on you when you’re weak and separated from the herd. This is where so many Americans are now. I dunk on America but I honestly feel so bad for Americans. Collectively y’all suck, but individually it’s hard.” • Bracing. (I don’t agree that the State is a representation of Americans collectively, though it may appear that way outside the country.)
“The Covid Policy That Really Mattered Wasn’t a Policy” [Ezra Klein, New York Times] (original). “More unexpected was what the researchers found when they looked at the factors that predicted how many people got infected. Some of the obvious candidates — population density, G.D.P. per capita, and exposure to past coronaviruses — failed to predict much in the way of outcomes. But both trust in government and trust in fellow citizens proved potent. This yields the paper’s most striking finding: Moving every country up to the 75th percentile in trust in government — that’s where Denmark sits — would have prevented 13 percent of global infections. Moving every country to the 75th percentile of trust in their fellow citizens — roughly South Korea’s level — would have prevented 40 percent of global infections.” • I wonder what makes Korea like that…
“Rensselaer man says ballots filed for him and his wife are frauds” [Times-Union]. ” A 32-year-old Rensselaer man said absentee ballots applied for on behalf of him and his wife — and submitted to the Rensselaer County Board of Elections — were fraudulent because he has never voted in an election or applied to vote by absentee ballot, and that someone had forged their signatures on the documents. The man, who spoke to the Times Union on condition of not being identified, also said that he has never met Rich Crist, whose name was listed on the absentee applications as the person authorized to pick up the couple’s ballots from the board of elections. Crist is the county’s operations director, a longtime Republican operative and a confidant of county Executive Steve McLaughlin. The ballots, sealed in envelopes, were returned to the board the day before the Nov. 2 election, records show. They are among more than 120 absentee ballots in the city of Rensselaer that have not been counted and are the subject of a court battle between incumbent Mayor Michael E. Stammel, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Richard J. Mooney, who trails by 11 votes…. He also recounted what he described as an unsettling telephone call he received from Stammel on Sunday regarding his ballot. ‘I told him me and my wife would not be talking about this matter, and his exact words were (that) it would be in my best interest just to say that this vote was mine and just that nothing was done wrong,’ the man said. ‘To tell you the truth, me and my wife know nothing about this — we don’t know why ballots were applied for in our name; we didn’t take part in the election. … It’s now affecting our lives. We want nothing to do with it. We didn’t vote. We don’t vote. I don’t like either of the candidates.'” • Hmm.
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. I have added an anti-triumphalist “Fauci Line” to highlight that even though we are “done with” Covid, the case count, after a steep decline, is higher than the previous highest peak. (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!
NOT UPDATED 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.
“In New York City Sewage, a Mysterious Coronavirus Signal” [New York Times]. “Last January, a team of researchers searching for the coronavirus in New York City’s wastewater spotted something strange in their samples. The viral fragments they found had a unique constellation of mutations that had never been reported before in human patients — a potential sign of a new, previously undetected variant. For the past year, these oddball sequences, or what the scientists call ‘cryptic lineages,’ have continued to pop up in the city’s wastewater…. ‘At this point, what we can say is that we haven’t found the cryptic lineages in human databases, and we have looked all over,’ said Monica Trujillo, a microbiologist at Queensborough Community College and an author of the new paper [in Nature]. The researchers themselves are torn about the lineages’ origins. Some lean toward the explanation that the virus is coming from people whose infections aren’t being captured by sequencing. But others suspect that the lineages may be coming from virus-infected animals, possibly the city’s enormous population of rats. Even then, the favored theory can change from day-to-day or hour-to-hour.”
From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
Continued improvement, especially in lagging Minnesota. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isn’t, well, rising rapidly.)
The previous release:
Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
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.)
Death rate (Our World in Data):
920,829. I sure hope we break a million before Biden’s State of the Union speech.
Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):
Good news here too. For the time being.
Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US increased to 71.9 in January of 2022 from an eleven-month low of 70.1 in December, amid unseasonably high rates of inventory accumulation although capacity remains constrained, and prices continue to grow quickly. Inventory grew the most since early 2018 as firms that had stocked up anticipating a continuation of the hot consumer economy may now be facing the opposite problem, with more inventory than needed to meet demand. Meanwhile, warehousing capacity read in at 47.1 marks 17 consecutive months of contraction and firms will continue to require more warehouse space, particularly in urban areas as soon as it becomes available…. Looking forward, respondents do not predict much relied over the next 12 months.”
The Bezzle: “Chicago Raises New Allegations in Lawsuit Against Grubhub” [Eater Chicago]. “Grubhub’s “Supper for Support” promotion, which offered consumers $10 off orders of $30 or more, entreated consumers to “help save the restaurants we love” by placing orders through the Grubhub Platform. Grubhub misrepresented Supper for Support as a win-win opportunity for consumers and restaurants. In reality, Grubhub required that participating restaurants cover the steep cost of the discount and charged them Grubhub’s full commission on the pre-discount order price.”
The Bezzle: “In retrospect”:
"In retrospect" – *weep-rages on behalf of entire professions of researchers and practitioners saying this for decades and whom he could have consulted at any time* #Ludicrous #Autonomous pic.twitter.com/izgD9ScUHW
— Tara Goddard 🚸 (@DrTaraGoddard) February 5, 2022
Tech: We’re not the only ones:
google search has become almost unusable
there was a period before censorship, maybe coming to an end around 2014/2015, where you could even find forum posts or section comments with a close enough search
an old Wired magazine article did a neat article on it – so advanced
— Rich 🐺 (@heywildrich) February 7, 2022
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 7 at 1:27pm.
Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)
Our Famously Free Press
What could account for the change in tone:
NYT May 24, 2020: U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, An Incalculable Loss
NYT February 5, 2022: 900,000 Dead, but Many Americans Move On pic.twitter.com/CfRccN7ijy
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) February 5, 2022
The Agony Column
“Memory Replacement, Confabulation, and Repression: Remembering” [Inquiries Journal]. “The specific purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the factors that would permit an individual to dissociate himself from his true identity, including at a minimum threshold the change in knowledge of some personal events. It is not required that a person believe he is superman to have dissociated from his true identity; all that is required to fit the definition is for the person to blot out a memory of a single event and replace it with another…. The two main concepts involved in this discussion are confabulation and repression…. Confabulation is the falsification of memory in which gaps in recall are filled by fabrications that the generating individual accepts as fact (APA, 2006). Patients with confabulatory disorders have been known to fabricate information, remember the confabulation, be presented with proof of the truth and continue to believe their initial confabulation…. Most people do not suffer from pathologies that tend to give rise to significant gaps in memory. The next part of this paper will discuss how gaps can be created in a string of memories through the process of repression. The concept of memory repression was first described by Freud in 1915 as a “banishment of unacceptable thoughts, feelings or wishes”. (Repression, 2001). That that is “unacceptable” is to be defined as that which cannot be assimilated into the repressor’s schema.” • Note that any ideological proposition or formulation — schema — that propagates through a class must survive or adapt to these processes.
Whatever these rooms are, they are not an “enchanted fantasy world”:
These rooms are really jaw-dropping. And hopefully, for a brief moment, take you away from your troubles into some enchanted fantasy world. #FridayNightZillow pic.twitter.com/18gdQ1R5gt
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) February 5, 2022
Nor do they take me away from my troubles, except in the sense that when I’m grinding my teeth I’m not thinking of anything else. Readers, do these rooms take away your troubles?
“Vaccine mandates and the labor left (with Richard D. Wolff)” (audio) [Eoin Higgins, Callin]. • No transcript. Sorry! But Wolff is always worth a listen.
News of the Wired
“Sunlight as Infrastructure” [Boston Review (anon y’mouse)]. “What would the energy transition look like if—at least, in part—we tried to make free, public light even freer and more democratic?…. By the end of the 1950s, passive solar had become the province of boutique suburban and rural houses and a handful of urban projects, mostly in Europe. Little has changed. In 2020 a beautiful eighteen-unit building of subsidized housing opened in Vienna. Along the entire five-story south façade, glass and automatic sliding doors afford winter gardens, thermal masses, and terraces for each unit. The structure is—to quote a review of its ground-floor café and bike shop—“a wonderful place where lovely and open people stand up for the quarter and have great visions for the public space!” Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, I teach in a top-floor classroom with two small panes of glass. They cut horizontal light to a shard while the solid roof without skylights blocks overhead insulation. Two feet below that roof and various ducts, fluorescent bulbs illuminate my students and me. This is nonsensical and wasteful: . This is the windowless, all-electric, not-so-great vision that we are supposed to embrace.”
Think about it pic.twitter.com/MvF8gz9qor
— Oilinki (@oilinki) February 6, 2022
A quick thread on in the importance of being careful what data you share – even if you're the Queen. Today, Her Maj tweeted this lovely picture, gor bless er, etc. You might think that the contents of the red box would be official business. And you'd be right. 1/6 pic.twitter.com/y1RspNRUzy
— Adam Kay (@amateuradam) February 6, 2022
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 (IM):
IM writes: “First trip to the states since the pandemic started! A juniper in a dry streambed near Sedona.”
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I guess the pandemic’s over.
Went through the drive-thru at the nearby bagel place and the guy at the window wasn’t wearing a mask.
The dentist office receptionist wasn’t wearing a mask either.
That definitely conforms to the emerging message. I note in The Hill story about learning to live with Covid that there wasn’t one mention of Long Covid. So far as I can tell, allowing Covid to become endemic means perhaps permanent and severe disability spread across anywhere from 10% to more than half the population. And that’s just initially, with further waves of the virus inflicting more misery.
I wish that somehow, somewhere someone in our famously free press would raise this subject with one of the many clowns in a position of actual authority. Just one brief grilling on Long Covid and its possible consequences for our species is all I ask.
Nobody I know talks about Long COVID. A bunch of my partner’s friends got Omi and they are all doing fine. So far. I just told one of them about the mouthwash and gargle. She had no idea the damage from COVID alone can accumulate. I didn’t have the heart to tell this 25 year old about the risks of Long COVID. So it goes.
Recent research has given strong evidence that EBV may be a potent trigger for MS. In a large study using army medical records a strong connection was shown between subjects who had mononucleosis and later contracted MS.
There is conjecture that viral infection may be linked to Parkinson’s disease. In both cases we are talking about possibly years before symptoms. If a virus can cross the blood-brain barrier, then neuropathy is a possibility- and not next week, month,or even year, but in a decade or two.
SARS crosses the BBB. We may have to redefine “long COVID”.
The cashiers were 50/50 in the PMC-heavy Trader Joe’s I visited in the swank East End in Pittsburgh, PA. Customers were maybe 2/3’s masked. I am having a really bad feeling about this “let ‘er rip!” approach. Think of all those poor T-cells! And the poor cashiers! I looked inside ritzy coffee shops, and saw nobody wearing masks.
> The Queen’s Tweet
I had seen a clickbait headline that she was a political news junkie, this explains it. Colonialists.
You read all the way to the end?
Never gonna …. brilliant.
I read all the way to this bit … https://twitter.com/thomasm2221/status/1490409887721009154
… then started dancing about in a trench coat.
The Falkland Islands are a case in point.
I did. Haven’t had that happen in almost a year.
*Shakes fist at Lambert.
OTOH photos probably do give out a lot more information than most people ever realized.
I must say, that was pretty clever…..
3 words in reality dawned bc my brain switched from reading words to singing
“I sure hope we break a million [COVID deaths] before Biden’s State of the Union speech.”
Do you really hope this? What a depressingly, [family blog] take.
No, that is the light irony for which I am, in a small way, famous.
sorry, my irony meter is broken. thanks for the clarification.
Our society is out Onioning the Onion; it is kinda hard to be ironic when reality is trying so hard to be irony proof, isn’t it? Reminds me of a story I read of a Roman emperor (Nero or Caligula?) ordering his soldiers to beat the ocean for being bad. Our rulers seem to be at that level of insanity, and like much of the insane, they can’t see it.
It was Caligula. And he ordered his soldiers to collect sea shells as a trophy. Recording the event in 40 CE, Suetonius writes:
‘At last, as if resolved to wage war, he drew up his army on the shore of the ocean [the English Channel – Northern France], with his ballistas and other war machines. And while no one could imagine what he intended to do, he suddenly commanded them to gather up seashells, and fill their helmets and the folds of their tunics with them, calling them ” the spoils of the sea due to the Capitoline and the Palatine.”
As a monument to his success, he erected a lighthouse, upon which, as at the Pharos of Alexandria, he ordered lights to be burned in the nighttime for the direction of ships at sea. Finally, promising the soldiers a reward of a hundred denarii each, as if he had surpassed the most eminent examples of generosity, he said “Go your ways and be merry; for now you are rich!” ‘
At least the lighthouse proved to be useful.
It was Xerxes at the Dardanelles, his first boat bridge got hit with a storm, so he had people go out and “flay” the ocean to make it submit.
Also, Suetonius can’t be considered unbiased.
I read somewhere of the seashell thing being a mistranslation. He told them to gather up their tents.
The comment by the management was more sardonic than ironic, but then, I’m being pedantic.
It helps the Democrats try to win the midterms.
Needing it again and again, with this Public Health regime for Covid, with attendant deaths appears Inevitable.
To Summarize my understanding of Lambert’s work:
To me there appears to be a relationship between winter, ambient temperature and sunlight, for airborne viral infections. Based on NC’ focus on Ventilation and Infection rates I believe poor indoor air circulation and close proximity, are possibly the, main factor on Infections, especially when people are collected together in close proximity in winter – probably eating or watching TV.
It helps to preserve public health authority for when it’s needed again.
Great idea! I have some formaldehyde. I would value storing it on my bookshelf with my other relics.
What authority? The U.S. public health establishment destroyed its credibility and authority quite awhile ago, thanks to quacks like this.
The ratio on that tweet is quite something.
“It helps to preserve public health authority for when it’s needed again.” – no, it emboldens an entitled minority to demand fewer and shorter mask requirements in the next wave.
I guess it’s a corollary of the general maxim of the effing PMC-corporate Democrat Party, the one about “keeping our powder dry for when we really need it…”
Neera and Stacy and Nancy and Chuck, the whole happy lot of ‘em. A deadly bunch. Even
AOC is “going maskless” at Gala Events… effing frauds…
Shorter Wen: Let ‘er rip.
Longer Wen: Before guillotine.
Shorter Wen: After guillotine.
(Insert touchy feely Biden Boilerplate here.)
New Improved Zeitgeist! Bugs Bunny, ‘Hassan chop!’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siqPMOYh7DA
The state is absolutely a representation of Americans collectively, or we would change it.
Who is this “we”? I don’t feel included.
Me neither. But as the author from Sri Lanka indicated, we are unable to act because we are atomized (and because the Kardashians’ butts are so much more compelling than that boring government stuff).
I am a lawyer. Our legal system is barely comprehensible to lawyers, and not at all comprehensible to most non-lawyers. I don’t know why non-lawyers would think this is a good system, but we never vote to change it. It’s not even on the ballot.
Our government very much represents us and the state we are in
When I was a mid-career lawyer, in the late 90’s, I said that I had never seen a witness tell the whole truth. After about 2010, I never saw a judge tell the whole truth. This was not about straight-up corruption, it was careerism; like if they ever ruled against the more powerful interest they would not get assigned important cases in the future, or get to sit with the cool kids.
It matters little where you are in the pecking order if being cast out means starving. You’re still a slave.
I’ve just started Brian Aldiss’ “Helliconia” trilogy beginning with “Helliconia Spring.” The central character, a “savage,” joins a well-established settlement, and finds that actually becoming a member of the society means learning and following a very complex set of what appear to him to be nonsensical rules and behaviors. Of course he also quickly grows to understand that these are how the society binds and enforces the roles and behaviors that constitute that the corporate entity, and how some groups have established and maintained more favored places, keeping others out. The parallels with our human society are obvious but usually we are so enmeshed we don’t think of them as such. The law, with all the nonsense is involved such as “all rise” etc along with the arcanities that take many years of study to master, is just one part of this.
We (a mom and pop consultancy) were involved in a 5 year IP litigation versus an energy industry association. The defendants lied throughout the matter and even at trial and shrugged when confronted with evidence. Our attorney said in 25 years of litigation experience, he never once saw perjury prosecuted even when blatant. The magistrate and judge let it all pass and usually ruled favorably to the defendants.
As a small business or individual going into the courts, the playing field is seriously slanted against you.
JLS posted once about Judge Jed Rakoff… if only the system had people with such scruples.
I’m lucky to have been able to swap the law degree and bar admissions in three states for a nursing license and a chance to actually do something good for people…
Lamber’s breezy quip about the nature of the state (i.e. USA) is hard to get a handle on. If the state is not THE ‘representation of Americans collectively’, what is it then exactly? For instance, we the so-called people lauded in the basic founding document are not collectively responsible for the two A-bombs exploding over Japan or the horrendous destruction of Iraq, etc. Who or what mighty be? Granted, things might look different up there in the far-reaches of New England from Orange County, California. Let us know what it is Lambert.
It all depends on the definition of ‘Americans’ being used.
I have heard a theory about atrocities carried out by combat troops (and not just US) which holds that 15% of soldiers in a company will never rape, kill, or torture anyone, and 15% will instigate these events if the situation presents, while the rest will go along either way, depending on which 15% is most influential. I think this pattern probably applies to whole nations as well. When we put the political psychos in charge, we get bad policies, but 85% of the population would also be happy to go along with sane policies instead.
the class text when i attended criminology said that there’s a hardcore 4% of the population that will do wrong regardless of any real benefit, another 4-5 that trend that way more often than not, and most of the rest are lawful and rule abiding.
i seem to remember another pop research thing going around within the past few years that said about 10% are totally bad (totally as in regardless of what is going on around them, they will usually do bad things), 10% are totally good (strongly internally motivated to try to never do wrong) and the rest depend upon social context to make up their minds which way they will move.
human beings are malleable. since we live in a looting society from top to bottom which believes in “economic man”, can you guess what output we’ll end up with more often than not?
When I was an enforcement attorney for the US Environmental Protection
RacketAgency, we actually shamed the Justice Department into pursuing a criminal prosecution against a particularly bad actor. This guy rigged up a typical municipal garbage truck with a 5,000 gallon tank inside the body. He would go around to metal plating shops, small chemical companies, auto repair places and the like with a regular tanker truck and get paid to empty their hazardous liquid waste into the tank truck. He would then decant the brew into the garbage truck, which had a 6 inch dump valve out of site under the frame, drive to one of the local landfills or just “wastelands” including state parks and roadsides, and activate the valve via solenoid connected to a switch in the cab. Dumping 4 or 5 thousand gallons of toxic crap.
When he got caught he was asked why he did this, when he could have made better money with no fear of ‘getting caught.’ His answer? “Because if there are two ways to do something, legal and illegal, it’s a lot more fun and exciting to do the illegal one.”
There are a lot of corporate officers and other professionals who work to the same guiding principle.
Sounds like John Menard, the richest guy in Wisconsin.
Your last sentence makes me think of a statement by Peter Maurin, who was a philosophical mentor to Dorothy Day. When asked what his goal was, he said something very close to, “A world where it’s easier for people to be good.”
Maurin and Day knew, and It should go without saying now, that “making it easier for people to be good” includes providing them with a long list of material benefits, and dignity in work. That pathological 15% would still be there, but there would enough moral redundancy in society to cushion and limit their damage.
According to some anthropologists homo sapiens lost the power to shame the pathologically selfish once we started living in population groups greater than 150. Those same anthropologist say that we now live in a system that rewards the pathologically selfish.
It’s all about exploitation
As Thucydides noted,
The strong exploit the weak as they can and the weak endure what they must
A cop from Boston(?) made a video about that in relation to our police forces. Its been part of my mental modeling tool set ever since.
I go to worldometer to check Denmark every day. They got, or noticed, BA.2 before anyone else. Also, they are very heavily vaccinated and boosted. As far as I can see it just keeps being bad, bad, bad, especially the daily deaths: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/denmark/. I wonder how many of their cases are reinfections. I wonder how long their daily deaths will be so high. The spike is not so high as the Dec. 2020 spike, but the current death spike seems to be going on and on.
I just heard from a relative in PA, and she said that the test positivity rate in her area is 40 percent.
I have been reading the Daily Mail for the past couple of months, because they still have a comment section. For the very first time I have come upon an article there that has no comment section; it is the article about the truckers in Canada; the article claims that they are a bunch of racist bigots. It is very odd that this is the first ever Daily Mail no-comment-section article that I have seen.
I’m increasingly dissatisfied with “The Democrats” emphasis on the leftish sphere that Naked Capitalism is a part of (I see this tendency also with Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi). I think it’s clear that the two party system is an illusion–that the same players, as a class, control both parties. The analysis here could be more dynamic if it examined the Democrats more in terms of continuity with the Republican party.
They all represent the oligarchic interest, and both parties’ function seems to be to “civicwash” those interests so as to dress them up as the general interest for mass consumption. If the parties find that the dogs won’t consume that particular dog food, then their role is to go to phony war with one another so as to divide, distract, and demoralize the people as much as possible to enable oligarchic looting.
Maybe I’ve just gotten too cynical–but American politics seems to me a dog and pony show. The real stuff goes on behind the scenes with elite turf wars. Politics is increasingly the mere shadow of oligarchic interests on the cave wall. Thus I find I’m skipping a lot of this “The Democrats!” analysis that I used to eat up.
Now my attention is drawn to the “rumblings” occurring outside official political channels that portend more direct confrontations between the people and the oligarchs. For example, the unofficial general strike as well as the unionization drives (witness the rapid spread of unionism at Starbucks).
The analysis here could be more dynamic if it examined the Democrats more in terms of continuity with the Republican party.
I cannot speak for our esteemed hosts of course, but the events of the past two years have altered how I think about the power dynamics of this country and the Duopoly. Like you, I see some continuity between them in terms of specific players looking to hold on to power or acquire more, and I find ideology to be a weak explanation. Two pieces shared here have reshaped my thinking:
Patrick Wyman – American Gentry: a description of small-town power dynamics in a typical American hinterland, and how that effects local and regional politics
Dissent Magazine – Family Capitalism and the Small Business Insurrection: a more specific look at the family businesses and capital that underpin the same regional/local power discussed in the first piece, and how that led to the events of 1/6/21
I take the view that the Republicans are backed by these family/business interests, and this has turned into the cronyist/multilevel marketing-style funhouse that red state state-level politics have devolved to where they are in power. There are lots of opportunities for individuals to rise in these quasi-feudal state/regional power centers, if they know the right people and play the game – compared to the Democrats at least, who primarily pull their support from big corporations (not family capital/family corporations where the money is controlled by a patriarch or small family core) and rely on the revolving door there to maintain their own influence networks.
What I don’t know much about, but I am sure exists, are the people who are not publicly affiliated with either party but do work dependent on the largesse of one, the other, or both. Consultants, lawyers, real estate developers etc. People who can organize a group of interested parties to get particular laws or initiatives passed so they can organize the allocation of the money to their friends.
Re;”…….just how insane elite liberal institutions have become.”
Eichmann In Jerusalem
“……..”What could we have done? What could we have done?” And the only response to this came from the presiding judge: “I do not think this is an answer to the question” – a question raised by the gallery but not by the court.
The matter of cooperation was twice mentioned by the judges; Judge Yitzak Raveh elicited from one of the resistance witnesses an admission that the “ghetto police” were an “instrument in the hands of murderers” and an acknowledgment of “the Judenrat’s policy of cooperating with the Nazis”.
Judge Halevi found out from Eichmann, in cross-examination, that the Nazis had regarded this cooperation as the very cornerstone of their Jewish policy.
But the question the prosecutor regularly addressed to each witness, (except the resistance fighters), which sounded so very natural to those who knew nothing of the factual background of the trial, the question; “Why did you not rebel?,” actually served as a smoke screen for the question that was not asked.
And thus it came to pass that all answers to the unanswerable question Mr. Hausner put to his witnesses were considerably less than “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” True, it was that the Jewish people as a whole had not been organized, that they had possessed no territory, no government, and no army, that, in the hour of their greatest need, they had no government-in-exile to represent them among the Allies (the Jewish Agency for Palestine, under Dr. Weizmann’s presidency, was at best a miserable substitute), no caches of weapons, no youth with military training.
But the whole truth was that there existed Jewish community organizations and Jewish party and welfare organizations on both the local and the international level. Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people.
(According to Freudiger’s calculations about half of them could have saved themselves if they had not followed the instructions of the Jewish Councils)…….
there would be a bigger choice between D and R if there were no culture wars.
Culture wars are the divide-and-conquer that keeps economic issues off mainstream consciousness….unless you get times like now when the economic issues (real wage growth/inflation) is so overwhelming that it is impossible to ignore.
And the Wokeness Vampires do the job of keeping economic issues off the DemParty agenda. The Vampires of Wokeness are the malignant culture war cancer cells within the DemParty membership which the leadership can call on to smear and destroy economic-agenda wannabes like Sanders.
Appsidian arrowheads tend to be target specific, no?
Reminds me of Earth Abides. In that post-apocalyptic book, survivors eventually use coins as arrowheads.
The tweet linked to the Friday night zillow listings. Yeah enchanted is not the thought coming to mind.
Want to live in a converted church? You’ve not really looked into the market close enough, the resale value of a converted church will surely bless thee. And just above that what I assume is a view in southern CA, the home from afar just has a Mordor kinda vibe to it. Behold the view from Sauron estates and manor. Hobbit entrance at the dungeon level!
the only troubles they ease in me are those that require things be tasteful, useful and to-scale with human life forms.
his and hers differently colored yet matching appliance bays do none of those things.
waiting rooms (oh, wait—was that supposed to be a room for “living” in?) that look like a hotel pretending at some modernized version of Louis XVI don’t either.
they do relieve me of the idea that having more money would suddenly infuse me with class, taste and the need to dust and vacuum less, though.
Ensorcelled is more like it, by the unholy power of “Moar!” Talk about sugar on honey. Talk about too much information. Those rooms remind me of a graduate student in film making his first mocku-musical-mentary; if you pile crap high enough you can claim it’s a mountain.
Wait! Does “jaw-dropping” mean ugly now?
Remember how the NY Times listed the names of the COVID victims when the death count reached 100,000
Now the count is over 900,000 so we “honor” those lost (including healthcare workers) by removing mask mandates.
Someone wake me from this nightmare, please.
Jill biden is now the bearer of bad news.
Yep bbb will have about $1.95 by the time it gets vote and potus muchkin will still stop it. In other news joe b. still owes us $600.00
But SALT limit removal moves forward inexorably.
There are priorities and then there are priorities.
I bet it’ll be retractive to 2021 taxes, as well!
For some of my women friends and women family not on Twitter, I share the Steven Dennis #FridayNightZillow content. Reply commentary is regularly a salty and creative “point and laugh” with routine “Good Gawd” response. Pure smug mockery delight.
For a perspective from outside the country, I think this is not the point. Very few states represent their people collectively and proportionately. However, the people of a country cannot deny their responsibility for the state and its actions.
Americans are responsible for what the American government does, whether it represents them or not.
Youngkin and school masks. He already won, despite the ruling. Yes, a handful of school boards decided to sue, and a somewhat larger number of school boards stayed mum on the issue. But many, maybe most?, including my County’s school board decided to roll back their policies on mask mandates. So today, Kidlet came home today from a normal, middle school day and reported no change in the mask situation from last week – about 50/50 masked and unmasked in the “comprehensive” student population. In her School-within-a-school gifted program, interestingly, every single kid has kept their masks on (even if many do ride below the nose from time to time).
I would hazard that the majority of the kids in the gifted program (including mine) are middle and and slightly middle upper class families. Many of them are QUITE conservative (this is the county that elected Miss Trump In Heels Amanda Chase after all), but the families with a bit of financial security that are still opting to keep their kids in public school are keeping their kids masked.
Not sure what it says about the mask idpol stuff, but I find it interesting.
It says these parents want their kids to be covid-cautious darwinners in a State full of covid-idpol darlosers.
Good to see gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is doing her bit to encourage masking in schools.
I can’t think of another politician in the USA who is so pleased with herself and at the same time so oblivious as to how she comes across.
And to think she thought it was a good idea to put out that tweet! Sheesh.
“Rensselaer man says ballots filed for him and his wife are frauds”
That’s called Ballot Harvesting. Individuals and non-profits, like homeless service agencies whose mail address the recently arrived homeless can register out of, get to handle other’s completed ballots and deliver them to the registrar of voters. That’s how civicsuicide candidates that promise ever more money for homeless services keep getting elected.
That program was to be instituted nationwide in the failed John Lewis “voting rights act”.
That’s how civicsuicide candidates that promise ever more money for homeless services keep getting elected.
I’m sure you have a pertinent example?
As the more perceptive boys and girls down at the encampment put it; “Think outside of the box. (Cardboard box, that is.)”
Those candidates are promising more money for the managers of said ‘Services,’ not any actual material benefits for the clients. Money is fungible. It can supply bennies to down and out PMCs on the beach in the islands just as well as it can supply beanies for down and outers in the wastelands of the former industrial zones. It’s all a matter of priorities.
Should we be voting instead for the guy who wants to back almshouses?
Get real. Halliburton has wasted more government money in a week than any hundred homeless service agencies do in a decade..
Maybe we could sell hunting licenses to rich dudes to shoot a few. A revenue source and it reduces homelessness. Win/win.
That’s where the Myth of America comes in. The “homeless” get to shoot back.
Please cite the specific law that would allow fraudulent ballots and the offenders go free. Because you sound like Rush Limbaugh, spouting crap like that.
Except that this particular operation looks more like Republican officials with access to the registration lists identifying likely non-voters and casting ballots on their behalf for the threatened GOP incumbent.
That was clear from the article.
This is how it would happen in the state of Wisconsin. A homeless person can register by giving the address of a social service agency and technically they can have an absentee ballot sent there, but the agency cannot open that envelope containing the ballot. Only the voter can do that. To vote that ballot, a witness has to do the following on the return envelope: sign it, give their full address and date it. At that point, current law allows anyone to put that sealed envelope containing the ballot in the mail or in a dropbox.
Seems to me like the NY situation is someone other than the voter actually having complete control of the ballot.
There are audits and people (League of Women Voters) watching all that happens with absentee ballots. The most seen event is a absentee ballot that is filled out wrong (spoiled) where the intent of the voter cannot be determined. There are complete rules on how the election workers handle these. Most of them are coming from nursing homes. You will see more spoiled ballots in wards with more nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It’s just a normal realistic part of the process.
Re Michelle Obama: As a former Chicagoan, I would advise any remaining journalists who are worth a lick to examine her background working for the University of Chicago medical system before her husband emerged as a national figure. And that would include what her actual function was and for what salary.
Just off the bat, seeing a former employer, the law firm Sidley Austin immediately rings a bell. That law firm was frequently the outside counsel used on securitized ABS (asset backed securities) and trusts issued by a former employer / consumer finance. Them lawyers ain’t working for pennies!
Princeton undergraduate, JD from Harvard Law. I don’t really have any context for what she was doing or her work prior to becoming the First Lady.
She spends her time between an 8 acre estate in Hawaii and a 26 acre compound in the Vineyard. She has a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with Netflix.
NO ONE is giving that up just to be president.
Why give anything up? If you believe liberal Democrats, Trump didn’t give up anything and grifted his entire time in office. Why not Michelle Obama?
After all, Barack Obama was all about normalizing what Bush did, so why not Michelle Obama normalizing Trump?
I think normalizing Trump is Joe Biden’s job, and he seems to be doing it pretty well.
Normalizing mass death from Covid – check
Normalizing the end of all Trump’s economic stimulus – check
Normalizing border babies in cages – check
Normalizing leadership dotage – check
I could go on, but it’s basically all the same.
Michelle Obama 2024’s job will be to grant impunity to all of them including (especially) her husband.
Plus, as a “Democrat Party Woman, (TM)” she would validate Hillary and the ‘stolen election’ meme.
An interesting theme I recently encountered is that Bill and Hillary were exemplars of ‘Nouveaux Riches’ Politicos. Barak and Michelle are seen as reversions to mean, Old Money Establishment Politicos.
Bill and Hillary came out, politically, in the South. Barak and Michelle are from the Midwest. Provenance is everything.
Did Michelle Obama invent the practice known as ” patient dumping” ? Or is my memory wrong?
Patient Dumping has been around over 100 years.
She was criticized for a program started back in 2005 that encouraged patients, particular poor, with inadequate insurance , to go to local clinics rather than visitings ER at her hospital.
The board tried to push through some more changes around 09 that looked more like patient dumping. At this this point however, from what i remember Michelle Obamas involvement was minimal. These changes were resisted and criticized by Physicians across the country and the attempt was halted.
Thats how machine politics work. Her family before Obama was a long standing part of the democratic party machinery. That position affords family members opportunities to sit on all of boards where they collect 250,000+ salaries doing nothing. I have seen it argued Obama himself would not have made it to the heights he did if not for his marriage and the connections that opened up for him.
The comment just above the “jolly dinner” picture with Epstein, “And here he is despising Epstein at a dinner party.” has me confused (not really that hard to do). Just which which “he” does the comment refer to?
The thread is a series of images of Steven Pinker looking happy in Epstein’s company. I presume Pinker has declared post-mortem that he despised Epstein in order to keep with the current norms.
Pinker said he had only met him once in passing
I believe he also stripped his feed of images of them hanging out, right after Epstein was arrested or so.
Steve Pinker’s hair. Oh, the things I could do with that hair. Without the rest of him.
Re: What Stoller said.
Kind of amazed this was posted here. It is another Covid denialist rant by Stoller.
In the next tweet he complains that NYC is not “opening up” like Berlin.
Gee, Matt, you think you might have a look at Germany’s death rate vs the US?
Stoller is hardly a ‘denialist’. Many people i know have already had it, and they’re not particularly fearful anymore. They’re fine taking measures to protect the vulnerable, but it’s hard to argue people should keep doing what they were doing before when what they were doing didn’t work.
The US society is structurally set up to deliver botched, failed outcomes and it’s hard to keep hectoring people to fix this through their individual actions anymore than it works to fix obesity through hectoring people to exercise and eat better.
Every time an individual gets re-infected with covid, that individual’s long-term health and lifespan is a little more degraded and shortened. That is part of the upper class plan and the upper class reason for making covid into a permanent perma-spreading endemic disease.
Those individuals who feel that advice on how to avoid covid re-infection is just hectoring can just ignore it and they can go ahead and get covid over and over and over again, so that they can die just in time to avoid being able to collect any of the Social Security they have spent a lifetime working for.
Those individuals who understand that advice on how to avoid covid re-infection over and over and over again is advice on how to pass through the Darwin Filter that the elites have put in place to make us all keep running into will not dismiss it as mere hectoring. And in not dismissing it, they may well decide to act upon it it and raise their own individual chances of living long enough to collect the Social Security they are spending their whole life working for. They may even live long enough to play a part in the deeply-to-be-hoped-for eventual roundup and mass slaughter of the OverClass which has engineered this covid pandemic to begin with, and which is working to make this a perma-plague endemic Darwin Filter disease for decades to come.
How many times have we heard over the years that the US healthcare system spends the most money per capita and delivers among the worst results? So is it at all surprising that the US has dealt with the rona worse than most all other countries countries?
If we want a better result, we need to demand a better healthcare system. Without that, this situation isn’t going to get any better . I mentioned the other day that if two years in hospitals are really so overcrowded, maybe it’s time to start building more hospital capacity. A real NHS-type national healthcare system would be nice, but I’d settle for single payer.
What is definitely NOT going to fix things is expecting the same corrupt and feckless political leadership to fix things by laying down more rules and mandates which somehow just so happen to benefit the richest members of society, and then blame the bubbas when that turns out not to work.
I went to a wake yesterday in a brew pub. Just a guess based on the crowd of mostly Northeast college graduate upper middle class liberal leaning types, but I assume the vast majority were vaccinated. Masks were required to enter, the room was crowded, and it got quite warm. People were eating and drinking so masks were not worn most of the time and nobody enforced anything. One thing that did not happen was anyone opening the double doors that opened directly to the outside to provide some cool air and ventilation. Two years in and this is what the rules and mandates have brought us. People are just done with it.
Lockdowns vs. everyone dies is not the option.
The option is everyone dies vs. the government, starting with the CDC, actually does a strong public awareness campaign about how the virus is spread through the air, how to reduce risks through ventilation and filtration and going outside, and most important, the real harm that even a mild infection can cause.
They could also do mass testing and distribution of N95 masks.
All of which could cost less than a fighter jet OR could even create lucrative boondoggles for our corrupt elites if any of them had enough imagination.
Either way, definitely within the realm of possibility of our currently existing system. No national health plan is required, as nice as that would be.
He’s not a denialist, but he’s untethered from reality I think; a higher level version of ‘vax and done’. Oh well. He also dabbles in ‘Omicron can’t be stopped’ nonsense. The hypothetical that shows up how ridiculous this line of thinking is is axiomatic: if Omicron had a CFR of, say, 30% and all other properties with respect to transmissibility the same, would anyone in their right mind be saying that? Utterly disingenuous/self deceiving reasoning. We know how to stop it. We’re just not doing it.
His analysis in that twitter thread is comically facile. It’s that problem of trying to shoehorn one’s political weltanschauung onto an analysis of an all-encompassing problem like this – which is crucially a physical problem, not a political one – which is ultimately useless when it comes to actually solving the problem. The worldview, established pre-pandemic and popular here, is that liberals are insufferable and incompetent and malign. True enough. But this has nothing to do with the nature of the Covid problem and how to fix it, which we already know how to do. But to try and reframe attempted, albeit inadequate, Covid mitigation, and its advocacy, as out of touch elitism perpetuated by public health nerds is just delusional. The idea that Covid is no longer a problem because ‘liberals’ (like celebrated liberal… Yves Smith, lol) say it is a problem is transcendentally dumb. Arnade does a similar thing and tries to pass this off as him being a ‘man of the people’, the people that we are so callously sending out into a miserable world of uncontained disease with a cheery ‘you got your free vaccine, what else do you want?’. Other cute and fun things for aforesaid people to look forward to: unpleasant and life-shortening cardiovascular complications. Groovy. The ones guilty of out-of-touch elitism in this situation, are surely they themselves. I say that fully understanding that Covid restrictions suck and make life less enjoyable. All the more reason to actually deal with the problem than pretend it doesn’t exist.
He elides things like Long Covid. He reads NC at least sometimes, he must know it’s a serious problem, and yet he just ignores it, because of course it undermines his conclusions, perhaps fatally. It’s an extremely bad look. Maybe he actually is a denialist, actually? I dunno. Like, I don’t think he claims to be an economist when the subject comes up and despite his thinktank, but boy, his Covid takes sure do seem to be economist-adjacent. He’s taken lately to retweeting some no-mark ‘Covid is over’ historian, instead of any number of HCWs treating C19 patients, or good-faith scientists who would quickly point out that his takes are stunningly ridiculous bullshit, and how bad the situation on the ground has been. For someone with such a keenly professed interest in real resources and the real world, it’s surprising that he doesn’t realise or understand that HCWs are a finite resource that take years to train, and isn’t alarmed by the endless stream of barely mitigated shit we are putting them through in the west.
He has also repeatedly pushed this ridiculous idea now that high hospitalisations are a consequence of the corporatised wheeling and dealing of American hospitals. I have no doubt that this is a real problem that should be fixed but as an explanation of the post-vaccine disease clusterfuck in America it is just beyond silly. It ignores that this is a worldwide problem and that January 2022 was the 4th deadliest month of the pandemic thus far. To every anti-trust hammer, everything looks like a concentration of monopoly power nail, I guess.
Part of his view also seems to be a kneejerk reaction based on his China hatred. I’m generally on board with criticism of China in a non-covid context. It’s not a state I care for and I’d rather live under western hegemony that chinese hegemony, even if the food in the latter would probably be better. Which is probably all the more reason to take it as seriously as they do (it’s hard to imagine, in the first cold war, that an obvious technical success like China’s in… controlling dangerous transmissible disease, would go unanswered – one imagines the west would be doing everything to match or one-up China, and that it wouldn’t begin and end at a vaccine arms race, a game China stopped playing long ago). Or to put it another way, consider this tweet of begrudging admiration from Alex Meshkin:
The fact is, China is making us look like fools, and he can’t stand it. I can’t either, to be honest, but my reaction is not to pretend despite all non-propagandised evidence to the contrary that China are the ones fucking up, not us.
He often correctly points out that Fauci, Walensky, Zients etc suck and should be fired (although he then goes to bat for people like Wen, who is of exactly the same mould as the former mob) but it’s a rather mind-boggling sleight-of-mind to convince yourself that the correct response is to do less than what those idiots have been doing.
useful comment separating the wheat from the chaff. I like Matt Stoller but he has his blind spots.
Matt Stoller is a to-the-manor-born member of the PMC who now opines from the safety of a home office. As such, it takes a great deal of effort for him to see restaurants, stores, and schools as workplaces rather than as amenities that exist only for the consumer.
He also has thrown in his lot with mid-sized US businesses, and sadly, those businesses have decided collectively to bet big on letter rip and hope for the best.
re: the first paragraph: I mean, maybe. It’s an ad hom but perhaps an ostensibly persuasive one. But then I’m a lot closer to that description than a salt-of-the-earth type myself, and it just seems axiomatic to me that what we’re doing is bad and dumb for everyone. Perhaps that’s a credit to GM, whose reasoning I find to be really very strong.
Your second paragraph, though, might have more persuasive explanatory power. Hmm.
But it’s not just him though, the sort of ‘anti-liberal’ media clique (Stoller, Taibbi, Ball, Greenwald etc) all seem to have coalesced around this ‘liberals are trying to make us scared of the pandemic 4eva when everybody knows it’s over’ meme, with some major journalistic shortcomings flowing from that readily observable. I mean, for Taibbi to turn to Prasad of all people was embarrassing.
Are the left-libertarians (if that’s what they are) so devoid of imagination that they think the state is the only entity capable of curtailing our freedoms and diminishing our way of life? And not (inter alia) contagious disease, the thing we’ve spent hundreds of years working so hard and successfully to bring under control as best we can, including this century right up until 2020? The thing that makes/made us think when we read old literature “haha holy shit that sounds effing terrible, I’m sure glad to be alive in an era where we got our shit together and used our ingenuity to solve those problems!!”? I’d say that SARS2 will make a mockery of that line of thinking, except unless you’re hopelessly blinkered, it clearly already has.
privileged “bro” gonna privileged “bro. what can you do?
they don’t see what they’ve never had to.
they aren’t vulnerable, or have not been vulnerable to what the rest of us poor slobs have thus far. so for them, these risks do not exist.
and yes, they all appear to be “left” libertarians. although i wonder just how left you can be if you’re engaging in a “laissez faire” public health policy.
and i say that, even while agreeing that some steps have gone too far (yet still not solved any issues, really).
I like him too, which is why it’s so frustrating. I’m not mad, just disappointed :’(
>>He’s not a denialist, but he’s untethered from reality I think
I was thinking there should be a new term, “minimizationalist” but something sounds wrong with that.
I am going to bookmark this comment and then link back to it anytime anyone mentions Matt Stoller’s covid opinions (or Chris Arnade’s).
Can’t believe I missed this on Saturday. Delta Airlines is not letting the idea of private access to the no-fly list go. What an amazingly awful idea!
Received my at-home covid tests in the mail via USPS today. They were made by SD Biosensor in Korea and distributed by Roche. Was shocked they weren’t the chinese ones. They expire July 13th, 2022.
gee, it’s almost like it was a free kick (well, we still all had to sign up and ask for them explicitly, even though the mail already comes here every day)in the teeth simply for showing up Psaki, isn’t it?
four tests with a soonish exp. date.
this reminds me of the Seinfeld “sponge worthy” sketch.
Michelle Obama . . . a Republican strategist’s choice for DemPrez nominee? Perhaps its an early telegraphing that the Republican Party plans to run its own Pied Piper strategy to get the second-most defeatable DemPrez nominee possible. ( Because the first-most defeatable DemPrez nominee would be Hillary herself, and I don’t think any Republicans could give her the Pied Piper buildup without laughing in public).
If she runs in the DemParty primaries, and millions of Republicans cross over to vote for Michelle in the DemParty primaries, we will know that Pied Piper is the plan. And meanwhile, if Gabbard were to run in the Republican Primaries, millions of Bitter Berners would cross over to vote for Gabbard in the Republican Primaries. Maybe a few non-Clintonite Democrats would do so as well.
Gatekeepers incentivized to retain their chokehold role: Patients may die, but shareholders are rewarded
Well, when there are only three of you in the richest market and you make a product that is literally not optional for people that need it, keeping that happy status quo is a pretty nice deal. But just how profitable is selling expensive insulin?
To give you a sense, let’s drop in on a study published in the open-source journal BMJ Health. To quote: “the study estimated the cost of production for a vial of human insulin is between $2.28 and $3.42, while the production cost for a vial of most analog insulins is between $3.69 and $6.16.” The price charged? Depending on who you ask and where you are, it varies, but the answer is a lot more than that. This chart from a 2018 Rand Corporation study is indicative:
Indeed, a recent (2020) paper looking into the matter found that the three dominant companies producing insulin derived “vast profits” from their sales. And where did those profits go? To shareholders in the firms. Share repurchases and dividends to company shareholders between 2009 to 2018 totaled some $122 billion. As the author points out, more funds are going to shareholders than to basic R&D.
I can’t reproduce the graph here, but basically the US charges about 10X what other countries charge for insulin. Go USA! /sarc
I’d say that I’m shocked but sadly I am not. Average price in US of $98, for what they list as a standard unit. Same comparison, average price in Japan of $14 to $15. Those were the 2018 prices they were showing.
And the original patent was basically made free to all nearly 100 years ago. Diabetics can’t really go without insulin but will allow I am no doctor by any stretch.
Moar American exceptionalism …
obese people disproportionately occupy hospital beds along with people who don’t take their meds drink, smoke, drive, etc etc etc..
how is this different?
Blame the victim it is.
We’ve all seen this strategy before. It obscures the fact that commercial food preparation is heavily infested with high fructose corn syrup and other malignant “cheap and easy” ingredients.
If we want the “average” person to take their health seriously, we have to teach them not only how to do so, but the reasons why it is important in the first place. Education.
education is insufficient when people are time, money and otherwise pressed.
what we have is junk masquerading as food, and it is ubiquitous.
if healthy food were ubiquitous, we’d be telling a different story.
Re: Bezos buying the Congressional Black Caucus — I got an email from Jobs with Justice today. It began thusly:
Whether you live in Washington, D.C. or even if you’ve never visited, we can all agree that Jeff Bezos trying to buy his way into slapping his name onto an auditorium at the recently renovated Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library is wrong.
Bezos’s track record of exploiting workers–especially Black and Brown workers–flies in the face of Dr. King’s own legacy. Make no mistake, adding the Bezos name to the library is gross. That’s why we’re joining with the Athena coalition this week to call on the DC Public Library Board of Trustees to REJECT Bezos’s bucks and his hollow attempt to tack his name onto the legacy of Dr. King…
Tell the DC Public Library Board of Trustees to REJECT the Jeff Bezos Auditorium at the MLK Library!
So Bezos ain’t stopping with buying Black politicos. He wants to buy the entire Black community. Nice, huh?
Well, as the quote above from “Eichman in Jerusalem” by Arendt shows, there will always be ‘Community Leaders’ willing and able to lead their communities into the slaughter pen.
Black Politicos of the like of Clyburn and Obama gladly stabbed Sanders in the back at the behest of their Oligarchic Overlords. Sanders was the “best” candidate for the Black community available at that time. He was a threat to “money,” so he had to go. Thus, Bezos is just ‘normalizing’ a practice previously hidden from sight.
Eliminate the trappings of ‘race’ from this and it all becomes clear. Follow the money.
Looks like Joe Rogan’s gonna be OK –
TL;DR version – Rumble is offering Rogan $100 mil to leave Spotify. Heh. Spotify is going to be begging him to stay now – nice work wokies!
I’ve only watched Greenwald on Rumble so not that familiar with it. The link describes it as a “right wing” platform – not sure if that’s accurate or just a need to label for easy tabloid consumption. Also, I had no idea Rumble had those kind of resources to throw around. Wonder who’s behind them?
Just to be upfront, I don’t know anything specifically about the Rumble site but it’s been in prior discussions several weeks back or maybe just late 2021.
Peter Thiel invested into the platform, along with JD Vance / Vance affiliated investment outfit. I think they have a notable names on their frequent posters. As for the notable part, Others Mileage May Vary. It was small potatoes not long ago.
Thiel is or at least once was heavily in the Trump camp, unless I am mistaken. I am certain there have been discussions about Thiel and his oh so lucky Roth IRA planning. Lucky is an understatement, no sarcasm.
Greetings from Beijing-adjacent…
Where’s my precious!?
What we have here is a failure to accumulate, was the common refrain on team USA, with the drought monitor signalling crimson red in China.
Screw gilt* seemed to be the emphasis among athletes~
* Olympic gold medals are gold-plated over silver and have been since 1920. Kind of chintzy as is most anything gold-plated**, i.e. tawdry.
** high tech applications notwithstanding
The only thing that matters in the West is money. In order to sell its more expensive liquid natural gas to Europe, the Western Empire (UK/USA) is intent on preventing the opening of NORD Stream 2 which would allow Russia to sell more of its lower cost natural gas under long-term contract to Germany. This would draw Germany (and the EU) into the Russian – Chinese orbit. Russia has stopped selling its gas on EU’s spot market to pressure Europe to open the pipeline.
Today Joe Biden vowed to shut down this key Russian gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine plus warned Americans to leave Ukraine. This is getting scary. Nazi agents staged a fake attack on the German radio transmission tower at Gleiwitz, on the German-Polish border to start WWII.
With so many things going bad at once (shortages, missing workers, inflation, and the pandemic’s death toll) the West’s rulers may just take the risk to increase corporate profits plus divert the public’s attention. And, start WWIII.
The Bezzle: “Chicago Raises New Allegations in Lawsuit Against Grubhub”
There’s another gem buried in that article besides Lambert’s quote:
“The city claims that in the case of “unaffiliated restaurants” — that is, those who don’t partner with Grubhub — its drivers are instructed to impersonate customers and place the orders themselves, allowing restaurants to believe they are individual patrons rather than third-party employees.”
Setting aside how much of a soul-crushing job that would be, this to me looks similar to the “disruption” that Uber and Airbnb love so much.
You are a resturaunt, and for whatever reason, you do not wish to list with Grubhub? Sorry, we’re going to list you on our website anyway! And we’re going to have out-of-date menus, and customers (not the ones who ordered from you!) upset or complaining about various parts of their orders, and if we cause a problem for the customer we’ll just blame it on you. The only way to fix this, unaffiliated restaurant, is to affiliate with us! These customer complaints that we created and directed towards your business will continue until you do, you cannot stop this just like how Airbnb and Uber couldn’t be stopped. But to help you out, we’ll give you more business by making you charge $10 less and making your loyal customers think they’re supporting you even though you’re now selling at-or-below-cost.
Sounds like they stole a page from DoorDash’s book, though one restaurant took advantage nicely:
A pizzeria owner made money buying his own $24 pizzas from DoorDash for $16
Slate reporter: SCOTUS Just Blew Up the Voting Rights Act’s Ban on Racial Gerrymandering
“By a 5–4 vote, with Roberts joining the liberals in dissent, the Supreme Court halts a lower court order that required Alabama to redraw its congressional map, which diluted Black votes in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
It is hard to overstate how lawless the Supreme Court’s order is. The five ultraconservative justices broke the court’s own rules to intervene with an unreasoned shadow docket decision that effectively nullifies a key provision of the Voting Rights Act…the Supreme Court’s five far-right justices have effectively rewritten the Voting Rights Act, obliterating its vital protections against racial gerrymandering—and doing it through the shadow docket.”
Thread on decision: https://twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/1490810409586200576
“Republicans’ claims were so weak that Roberts, who engineered the decades-long crusade against the VRA, could not bring himself to humor them. But on a 6–3 court, the chief justice’s vote doesn’t matter. The five justices to Roberts’ right halted the district court order demanding new maps and took up the case on the merits. It’s unclear whether the court will hear Merrill v. Milligan this term or next, but either way, it won’t matter for the 2022 election. The primary is in May, so the court’s stay effectively locks in the current maps for the upcoming election.”
More background and analysis: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/02/supreme-court-alabama-racial-gerrymander-roberts-kavanaugh.html
Re: Ezra Klein’s piece — I sent in the following comment, which although it was buried by previous postings at least got a few “Recommends” —
Ezra Klein’s column starts out and proceeds well, only to fail utterly in its last sentence. Rather than asking “What does good pandemic policy look like for a low-trust, high-dysfunction society?” we desperately need to be asking “What does a high-trust, low-dysfunction society look like and how do we get there?” The way the U.S. has handled the pandemic is just a symptom, Ezra — and as long as you only address symptoms you may never even discover what the disease is. That’s why, I suspect, human beings are so dedicated to distracting ourselves with curing symptoms rather than solving fundamental problems. You’re only one among many millions, Ezra, but you have a helluva big megaphone. Try using it to point out that the problem we must solve is unregulated capitalism that is leading us straight into a fascist hell. Takes guts, but you only live once.
“The Covid Policy That Really Mattered Wasn’t a Policy”
“…Moving every country to the 75th percentile of trust in their fellow citizens — roughly South Korea’s level — would have prevented 40 percent of global infections.” • I wonder what makes Korea like that…
But I wonder if that isn’t in danger of eroding in South Korea.
Just taking a example from media, there is a new one season series on Netflix called “All of Us Are Dead.”
It’s a teen zombie flick, but with more than a little social commentary.
It’s totally about trust and lack of trust in a community and country and how it affects dealing with an viral outbreak. And I get the impression from the flick that the youth of South Korea have a bone to pick with the way things are turning out in their country now after the past decades of economic liberalization and financialization.
One one hand, I could clearly see how they still have the elements of this necessary trust and then you see all of the things bubbling up that would have made it look like how an outbreak here would have been handled.
It’s late, but here is a wonderful picture of solidarity – you’d have to open the tweet though:
Turin, Italy.. this is absolutely epic.. citizens dine together in the streets to resist against vaccine passports.”
And the corvid article is hilarious.
This tweet could help explain why deaths in Israel and Denmark are so out of line with omicron’s purported mildness:
Gabriel Hébert-Mild™ ⓥ
Israel Warning sign
Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Hosp, Prof. Rahav:
“We have identified a phenomenon of omicron recoverers who deteriorate and reach a severe condition after about 10 days, with problems that are not necessarily related to the airways”
3:27 PM · Feb 6, 2022
Red Cross withdraws from ‘Austria vaccinates’ campaign
The Austrian government fanatics will soon be alone because the vaccination front is crumbling quite spectacularly. Even the Red Cross is now abandoning the sinking vaccination ship and withdrawing from the “Austria vaccinates” campaign.
The Red Cross rescue commander Gerry Foitik made this clear in an internal letter that is available to the daily Wochenblick. Like Caritas and Diakonie, the Red Cross also reported concerns about mandatory vaccination. There is an increasingly great legal uncertainty and the risk of years of legal disputes in the health, social and care sectors for those actors who insist on the jab.
Red Cross withdraws from vaccination campaign
The law on prescribed bodily harm with experimental genetic engineering injections was passed yesterday in the Bundesrat, but the Corona regime is losing its support. More and more are turning away, including the Red Cross. According to the rescue organization, the Federal Chancellery had already taken over the “communication measures” of the vaccination campaign since July.
The question now arises: Why now when this withdrawal was “transparently and publicly communicated” in the summer already? The reason may be that Foitik, previously a measure extremist and known for his bizarre mask interviews, is concerned about the legal implications of forced vaccination.
Red Cross boss sees jab as ‘state-imposed individual responsibility’
Foitik announced on Wednesday via a letter that the Red Cross would withdraw from the “Austria vaccinates” campaign. After being responsible for the “Austria vaccinates” campaign in summer 2021, the homepage and all social media channels will now also be returned to the Ministry of Health’s area of responsibility. In his letter, Foitik himself described the obligation to vaccinate as “state-imposed individual responsibility”.
The FPÖ General Secretary Michael Schnedlitz asked whether Foitik’s letter could not also be seen as a withdrawal from the obligation to vaccinate: “Mr. Foitik, who was royally rewarded by the government for his comments at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, is now distancing himself from the vaccination campaign – and thus also from the obligation to vaccinate?”
More and more arguments against compulsory jabs
Even more interesting are Foitik’s statements against the background that before the adoption of the compulsory vaccination law in the Bundesrat on Thursday, social organizations such as Caritas and Diakonie expressed their concerns about the compulsory vaccination law in addition to the Red Cross.
As a result, they all see great legal uncertainty and the danger of years of legal disputes for the health, care and social sectors throughout Austria. “The closer the compulsory vaccination law comes, the greater the concerns from all sides that this measure has no justification. Apparently the Red Cross has now pulled the rip cord and decided to withdraw from the vaccination campaign,” Schnedlitz said.
Billions spent on jabs
The pharmaceutical industry has been closing deals worth billions with Austria. This was revealed by the FPÖ’s parliamentary question to Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens).
FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl noted with great surprise that more and more genetic engineering injections are being ordered, although less and less of them are being consumed.
“This exposes the crude and expensive dealings of the Austrian government with the vaccination industry, which not only confirm the worst expectations, but exceed them,” Kickl said.
Austria has so far been billed 246 million euros by the pharmaceutical giants until the end of October. So far, 23,9 of the ordered 57 million vaccine doses have been delivered. More than 300 million euros will have to be paid for the 33,1 million vaccine doses still to be delivered. The government still wants to buy another 33,5 million.
At least 283 140 vaccine doses have gone where they actually belong: on the rubbish heap.
Over half a billion euros for vaccine manufacturers
“In total, the Austrian Federal Government has done business with the vaccination industry to the tune of over half a billion euros so far. And with the purchase of another 33 million vaccine doses planned for this year, another 300 million euros will be added. So the Corona vaccinations of Austrians are a billion euro deal of the federal government with the vaccination industry,” Kickl added.
Less than half of the vaccine doses consumed
Huge quantities of “vaccines” were ordered, which they can only get rid of “by forcing the population to have the vaccine administered”. Vaccination lotteries and raffles are used to lure people, Kickl explained. Less than half of the quantities ordered have actually been delivered and consumed so far. “The legally imposed and unconstitutional compulsory vaccination is due to nothing more than a pathological compulsion to buy on the part of the federal government.”
All corruption indices show that the pharmaceutical industry is among the most corrupt business sectors in the world. “Who benefits from Austria ordering more and more vaccine, although less and less vaccine is needed and the Corona pandemic continues to decline?”
> You might think that the contents of the red box would be official business.
Leicester’s last letter?
(Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’ve been watching the ’80 years war’ YouTube channel. Boy, the Netherlands were a complicated place.)