2:00PM Water Cooler 3/25/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Six solid minutes of peents. And on the other hand, this, from 1953 (!):

Has lots of interesting chirps and calls before we get to the peents, including commentary.

This concludes American Woodcock week at Naked Capitalism. Readers, do you have another bird you’d like me to curate? I was amazed the American Woodcock had so many fans!

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“Ginni Thomas sent Mark Meadows texts urging efforts to overturn election: report” [The Hill]. “In one of the 29 texts exchanged between Ginni Thomas and [then-White House chief of staff [Mark] Meadows, sent on Nov. 10, she wrote: ‘Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History,” according to the Post. The text was sent shortly after many media outlets began projecting then-nominee Joe Biden as the country’s next president. ‘This is a fight of good versus evil,’ Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, per the Post. ‘Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career [bathos!] on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.” • Woo woo. Commentary:

It may be that the Democrats are working themselves up to impeach Thomas. Which would be ironic. Impeachment summer fun!

Biden Adminstration

“1 big thing: Scoop – Manchin spells out BBB deal” [Axios]. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told a group of climate activists and energy executives he’s open to supporting revised Build Back Better legislation narrowly addressing three issues: climate change, prescription drug prices and deficit reduction…. He’s talked about a deal that includes roughly $500 billion for climate and $1 trillion in new revenue….. And Manchin’s insisting on reducing the deficit with at least half of the revenue from new corporate taxes, as well as the estimated savings from allowing Medicare to directly negotiate the cost of prescription drugs.”

“Biden Administration Drafting Order To Invoke Defense Production Act For Green Energy Storage Technology” [The Intercept]. “The Biden Administration is drafting an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to alleviate shortages of key minerals needed for the technology to store clean energy. The act, which would bolster the manufacturing capacity of electric vehicle producers in particular, indicates that the administration is open to using executive power to achieve progressive policy goals as Congress remains reluctant to pass key parts of his green energy agenda. The order would declare that ‘ensuring robust, resilient, and sustainable domestic industrial base to meet the requirements of the clean energy economy is essential to our national security,’ according to a draft of the document that remains in the ‘pre-decisional’ phase. That reasoning follows a renewed push from the administration on its climate change priorities in light of shocks in the oil and gas market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The order would specifically says ‘domestic mining, beneficiation, and value-added processing of strategic and critical materials from sustainable sources for the production of large capacity batteries for the automotive, e-mobility, and stationary storage sectors is essential to national defense.'”

“Student loan forbearance is set to end … or is it?” [MarketPlace]. “Payments were paused more than two years ago at the start of the pandemic as part of the CARES Act; they are scheduled to start again on May 1, although there are hints it may be extended further. ‘This is a monumental task to restart payments for 37 million borrowers,’ said Daniel Mangrum, an economist at the New York Fed and one of the authors of the new report. ‘Millions of them have never made a payment because they graduated during the pandemic and have never had to make a payment before.’ Easing people into that will be hard, but if you look at this as a game hot potato — the potato being the debt — it’s the government that is losing. ‘Eighty-five percent of all outstanding balances are owned by the federal government. So essentially, this is kind of increasing the cost of the federal student loan program,’ Mangrum said.”

“Private Medicare make windfall for senior care” [Axios]. “Health insurers that sell private Medicare plans collected $12 billion more caring for seniors in 2020 than it would have cost in traditional Medicare, according to a report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Details: MedPAC laid blame on aggressive medical record coding, specifically ‘risk scores’ that insurers assign to members based on the medical conditions they have. The higher the risk score, the more conditions, and the more money the insurer gets for covering them.” • Ah, coding. I’m starting to think that coding = gaming. In all contexts.

“Seniors’ Medicare Benefits Are Being Privatized Without Consent” [Lever News]. “A new Medicare privatization scheme developed under President Donald Trump and now being expanded under President Joe Biden is forcing hundreds of thousands of seniors onto new private Medicare plans without their consent…. The new Direct Contracting Entity (DCE) program similarly adds a private-sector third party between patients and Medicare services. Medicare allows these intermediary companies to offer unique benefits, like gym membership coverage. But as for-profit operations ranging from private insurers to publicly traded companies to private equity firms, these intermediaries are incentivized to limit the care that patients receive, especially when they are very sick. While Medicare Advantage patients choose to sign up for private insurance plans, patients are being enrolled in these DCE health care plans without their informed consent.” • See NC on DCEs, last September.

“MI Workers: USPS Reform Bill Would Create Opportunity for Postal Banking” [WXPR]. “Congress has passed a bill to help shore up the U.S. Postal Service, and it’s now on to President Joe Biden for a signature…. [Roscoe Woods, legislative director for the Michigan Postal Workers Union] pointed out the bill allows the Postal Service to partner with state, local or tribal governments to provide property and nonpostal services to the public such as banking, or selling hunting or fishing licenses or public transit passes. He said postal banking in particular would be a major boost for rural America; he noted some small towns do not have any banks or credit unions.”

“There is a lot to monitor at the USPS, with the Postal Reform Act looking to make changes” [Logistics Management]. “[The plan] calls for the USPS to continue its universal six-day mail delivery, as well as expanding seven-day package delivery, with the latter being a major revenue source for the organization. A key part of the plan stated that the USPS will generate $24 billion in net revenue, partly from enhanced package delivery services for business customers, including same-day, one-day, and two-day delivery offerings. Other key objectives outlined in the plan include: improving cash flow for the investment of $40 billion in workforce, new vehicles, improved Post Offices, technology improvements, and infrastructure upgrades; a move to an electric vehicle delivery fleet with Congressional support; adjusting select delivery standards to improve efficiency and reliability; enhancing customer experience through a new suite of consumer and small business tools; stabilizing the workforce with a goal of cutting non-career employee turnover in half, and creating more opportunity for growth, including more predictable progression into career workforce; aligning pricing to reflect market dynamics; and ask for bipartisan legislation in Congress to repeal retiree health benefit pre-funding mandate and to maximize future retiree participation in Medicare.”

“The White House can’t just wash away the stink of Hunter Biden’s laptop” [New York Post]. “[A]s a grand jury in Delaware moves closer to potentially indicting Hunter, 52, over alleged tax evasion, money laundering and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, pressure is mounting on the president finally to explain his role in the international influence-peddling scheme run by his son and his brother Jim Biden while he was vice president. The laptop, along with evidence provided by Hunter’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski, and Treasury documents provided to a Senate inquiry, reveal millions of dollars flowing to the Biden family and associates from dubious foreign sources, including three flashpoint countries vital to US national security: Russia, Ukraine and China. Evidence also exists showing that Joe Biden financially benefited from his then-drug-addicted son’s overseas business dealings — perhaps by several million dollars. White House press secretary Jen Psaki played dumb last week and refused to answer questions from The Post’s Steven Nelson about how the president is navigating conflicts of interest during the Ukraine-Russia war when it comes to sanctioning people who have done business with his family. Specifically, Nelson asked about Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, who has not been sanctioned, but who allegedly wired $3.5 million on Feb. 14, 2014, to a firm associated with Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer. That wire was flagged in a suspicious activity report provided by the Treasury Department to a Senate Republican inquiry, chaired by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson. Now, new evidence has emerged via the laptop showing that Baturina wired as much as $118 million to various offshoots of Rosemont Seneca Partners, the consulting firm co-founded by Hunter, Archer and John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz.” • Hmm. I haven’t followed the detail on this. However, I believe The Bidens would say that the Biden family has form, and this is what it is. Readers?

“Biden’s Own Goals” [The American Conservative]. “Whatever the future of progressivism, Joe Biden has clearly become its greatest present liability. We may never know the real reason for his abrupt turn from a campaigning moderate to a committed leftist—his debt to Bernie Sanders’s supporters or genuine conviction—but the president has politically damaged the progressive brand in a way that no other public figure could.” • Who knows, the writer may actually believe this.

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.

* * *

Trump Legacy

“Donald Trump sues Hillary Clinton and allies over Russia claims” [Politico]. “‘In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton and her cohorts orchestrated an unthinkable plot – one that shocks the conscience and is an affront to this nation’s democracy,’ the complaint says. ‘Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty.'” • True so far! Here is the complaint. I read about twenty pages in, and it seemed like a coherent narrative and common knowledge to me, as it worked methodically through the cut-outs that the Clinton campaign used to fire up RussiaGate. (I didn’t examine questions of standing, however, or go into detail.) I think the key point is the lawyers and the venue: “The suit was filed by Alina Habba, a Bedminster, N.J.,-based attorney Trump tapped last year after dismissing other more prominent lawyers who had been handling much of the wide range of litigation he faces in various courts. A Deerfield Beach, Fla.,-based lawyer, Peter Ticktin, is serving as the lead local counsel…. The suit was assigned on Thursday to U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who is based in West Palm Beach, Fla., and was appointed by former President Bill Clinton. In 2015, Middlebrooks tossed out a civil racketeering suit filed against Hillary Clinton over her practice of using a private email account and server while she served as secretary of State.” • So, not looking good. In fact, looking exactly like Trump’s election theft lawsuits, where he couldn’t get decent lawyering either. It’s so hard to find good help these days!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Those were the days:


Case count by United States regions:

Fellow tapewatchers will note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” phase is done with, and the case count is now leveling out. At a level that, a year ago, was considered a crisis, but we’re “over” Covid now, so I suppose not. I have added a Fauci Line.

Here are four big states: New York, California, Texas, Florida:

You could call this leveling out (hat tip, Florida, for really following through on your conviction that “Covid is over”). I dunno… Perhaps this says more about my temperament than it does about the data, but occasionally I watch Japanese tsusami videos. The first signs, at least in the videos I’ve watched, are not roaring sounds or giant waves, but strange ripples in the water, boats rocking when they should not, and so on. And so, for those inclined to pick up on creepy little signals, we seem to be getting rather a lot of them, even leaving Europe out of the equation.

The official narrative is “Covid is Over.” In the fall, 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). That narrative was completely exploded. What a surprise! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.

For grins, here is the Walgreens tracker on variants:

Hat tip, ChrisRUEcon:

Walgreens has a COVID-19 Tracker (via walgreens.com) complete with BA.2 variant info.

Looks like it’s based on data from PCR testing done at Walgreen’s based on what is said here (via news.walgreens.com):

“Data will be updated frequently and provide a rolling snapshot of the previous 7 days’ data based on analysis of positive tests at more than 5,000 Walgreens testing locations.”

What a terrible situation to be in, when us tapewatchers scream with joy because we get a new tracker from a private source, like Walgreens or Biobot Analytics, because the United States is not a serious country, and the government can’t get the data together, and if it does, games it, as with CDC’s “Community Levels” farrago.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

The MRWA is divided into two sections, North and South. North is rising, South is falling. The rise has visibly affected this chart, which aggregates them. The aggregate of the enormous Omicron spike conceals change, but change there is. Of course, it’s a very small rise. Maybe this time the movie will end differently.

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

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

Every so often I think of doing away with this chart. Then something like Nevada happens. Or Colorado, which momentarily flashed red. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)

The previous release:

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

Continuing slow improvement, assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Again, I don’t like the sudden effloresence of yellow and orange. I don’t care that the baseline is low. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,002,259 1,001,175 . We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. Fortunately, the numbers are headed downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:

Look at the qualifications in that drop-down. And the ginormous typo, helpfully highlighted, has been there for weeks. CDC, if you’re reading this, please send a signal by getting this fixed. And then throw some documents over the transom. In complete confidentiality! Obviously, nobody at CDC is checking the excess deaths chart, because otherwise the typo would be fixed. One can only wonder why.

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment: “United States Michigan Consumer Sentiment” [Trading Economics]. “The University of Michigan consumer sentiment for the US was revised slightly lower to 59.4 in March of 2022 from a preliminary of 59.7, the lowest reading since August of 2011. The subindexes for both current conditions (67.2 vs preliminary of 67.8) and expectations (54.3 vs 54.4) were both revised down. Inflation has been the primary cause of rising pessimism, with an expected year-ahead inflation rate at 5.4%, the highest since November 1981. More consumers mentioned reduced living standards due to rising inflation than any other time except during the two worst recessions in the past fifty years: from March 1979 to April 1981, and from May to October 2008. Also, half of all consumers unfavorably assessed current policies, more than three times the 16% who rated them favorably.” • Not good news for Biden.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Exxon Considering Expanding Bitcoin Mining Pilot to 4 Countries: Report” [Vice]. “The oil giant, which launched a pilot program in January, 2021 that uses excess natural gas that would otherwise be flared or vented generated by the Bakken oil field in North Dakota—the site of fervent protest in 2016 near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation—to mine the Bitcoin blockchain, is thinking about recreating the project in Alaska and four other countries: Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana, and Germany…. Mining has recently become desirable among energy producers, especially in fossil fuels, where gas that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere can be captured and turned into energy.” • Not sure why it wasn’t “desirable” before?

Supply Chain: “Why the U.S. Can’t Quickly Wean Europe From Russian Gas” [New York Times]. “President Biden announced Friday that the United States would send more natural gas to Europe to help it break its dependence on Russian energy. But that plan will largely be symbolic, at least in the short run, because the United States doesn’t have enough capacity to export more gas and Europe doesn’t have the capacity to import significantly more. In recent months, American exporters, with President Biden’s encouragement, have already maximized the output of terminals that turn natural gas into a liquid easily shipped on large tankers. And they have diverted shipments originally bound for Asia to Europe. But energy experts said that building enough terminals on both sides of the Atlantic to significantly expand U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, or L.N.G., to Europe could take two to five years. That reality is likely to limit the scope of the natural gas supply announcement that Mr. Biden and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Friday. ‘In the near term there are really no good options, other than begging an Asian buyer or two to give up their L.N.G. tanker for Europe,’ said Robert McNally, who was an energy adviser to former President George W. Bush. But he added that once sufficient gas terminals were built, the United States could become the ‘arsenal for energy’ that helps Europe break its dependence on Russia.” • Oh, so that’s what this is all about. A pipeline war?! In the near term, of course, the oil supply chain is optimized, like all our supply chains. Why on earth would anybody think there’s enough slack in it so that removing a major player would make no difference?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Neutral (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 37 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 25 at 1:36pm. Not sure what’s in Mr. Market’s mind, here. Settling in for the long haul in Ukraine? Weapons stocks?

The Conservatory

“Classical station WDAV recently made US radio history. Why that means a lot to me” [Charlotte Observer]. “n January, WDAV made radio history by topping the Charlotte market and becoming the first ever classical music radio station to be No. 1 in any market in the country. The station averaged 102,900 listeners per week in January — a 36 percent increase over the same time last year, WDAV said in a news release…. Before I was a journalist, I worked at my local library in Fort Mill, S.C. The closing shift ended at 7 p.m., and during the spring and summer evenings, I’d spend my commute home with the windows down and WDAV 89.9 playing as the sky entered into golden hour…. The most recent Nielsen data shattered my illusion. It seems as though the moments I shared with myself, the station, and the music did not just belong to me after all. There are a number of possible explanations for the unexpected growth. The last two years of pandemic madness, natural disasters and civil unrest could have sent people in search of music that calms the spirit. The early days of quarantine were a time of deep reflection and introspection for many…. Dominguez, the general manager, credits the station’s success to a combination of community efforts and its reputation as a place of refuge. ‘We provide pleasant companionship and an oasis during troubled times,’ Dominguez said in an interview. ‘But we’re also involved actively in the well-being of our community by donating recorders to young music students, and celebrating the diversity of our audience in our programming. ‘I think this engenders real loyalty on the part of our listeners, and so they gladly spend more time with us.’ • Encouraging!

Groves of Academe

“USC pulls education school out of annual rankings due to ‘history of inaccuracies’ in data” [Los Angeles Times]. • Well, it was an ed school.

News of the Wired


(More on Ishmael.)


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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. Via TH:

TH writes: “Lichen refuses to let the monotones of Winter rule. (Mueller Park Trail, Bountiful, Utah)”

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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. CG

    Re: Thomas

    Am I apparently the only person who remembers that Ginni Thomas was part of W’s transition team in 2000, when Justice Thomas heard Bush v. Gore rather than recusing himself? I will never not be annoyed at how Trump makes Democrats forget about anything that happened prior to 2016. After all, I can’t remember among mainstream Democrats anything resembling a similar level of outrage after 2000 to what we’re seeing now that Ginni Thomas was texting and emailing kooky right wing nonsense that she picked up from the random right wing personalities to Trump’s administration.

    1. Librarian Guy

      Is there no honor among thieves? Ginni wanted to help throw the election to the loser after all the help the then-copos mentis Senator Joe Biden helped Clarence’s nomination by not leashing the ReThug Senator dawgs who were smearing Anita Hill during the hearings as “a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty,” etc!! These people are almost beyond belief.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Oh, I remember. It’s just been my experience that people who don’t already know, have no interest in knowing. They didn’t then and they don’t now.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Has anyone come up with one concrete example of how this election was stolen? Just one?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Well there was that article that came out in the New York Times a few weeks after Joe got the nod and it was the insiders, security establishment and the media boasting how they had mounted a four-year campaign to successfully get him out. And then there was the media deliberately censoring the story of Hunter’s laptop and labeling it Russian misinformation while knowing all the while that it was all true. Otherwise, no.

            1. Señor Dingdong

              Seems to be about as much evidence that Trump actually won 2020 as there is for Trump colluding with Putin in 2016. In other words, nothin’.

  2. nippersdad


    I was just watching Mercouris and Christofourou on The Duran answering questions, and they had one that asked them if they could have a program with Michael Hudson. They said that they would like to do that but have no way of contacting him. It sounds like a good idea, and your connections might bridge the gap. The comment is at the 2:18 mark.


    I think that would be an good program myself, and it would be interesting to see Naked Capitalism’s take on it.

    1. jonhoops

      I would like to see this too. The Saker just interviewed Michael about the ruble oil move by Putin. Bill Mitchell showed up in the comments. I would like to see a Zoom call with Michael and Bill Mitchell or Randy Wray on the Duran. I’m not sure if the Duran guys understand the MMT perspective and seem to get lost in the weeds with all the Petrodollar stuff. It would be good to have someone who can clarify things for them.

  3. antidlc


    Drugmakers, scientists begin the hunt for long COVID treatments

    March 25 (Reuters) – After producing vaccines and treatments for acute COVID-19 in record time, researchers and drugmakers are turning to finding a cure for long COVID, a more elusive target marked by hundreds of different symptoms afflicting millions of people.

    Leading drugmakers, including those who have launched antiviral pills and monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19, are having early discussions with researchers about how to target the disease, five scientists in the United States and UK told Reuters.

    Companies including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), Vir Biotechnology (VIR.O) and Humanigen (HGEN.O) confirmed they had spoken to researchers on trials using their current treatments against long COVID. Others including Pfizer (PFE.N) and Roche (ROG.S) said they are interested but would not elaborate on plans.

    1. Rod

      I heard this about first thing this morning and felt it grating to hear before sunrise.

      Nina Feldman–NPR Journalist had Covid.
      She mentions how young and healthy she is at least three times.
      Without saying so directly, she implies ‘how could this happen to me’
      She thinks we need a new term–Medium Covid


      Even though covering it for more than a year :
      she “was surprised that my Symptoms lasted more than 30 days”.
      Although she could work from home she wondered “what would happen if she worked in a restaurant and had to be on her feet all day.”

      back in the day they used to say an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure

      1. flora

        I think that – and this a serious and kindly well meant and not at all a ha-ha suggestion – I think that she and many others would do well to watch the movie version (if they did not see the stage play) of “Wit” .

        1. flora

          Adding: While “Wit” is about the most dire of medical conditions, even the less dire changes in health and examining the thought processes of the credentialed, the “good”, the “approved of” in their thinking they are (or should be) somehow exempt from life’s unforeseen changes in circumstance by virtue of their accomplishments, being surprised by the changes, is well worth considering. A PhD doesn’t exempt one from life’s physical frailties and demise. (No matter what Peter Thiel or the ‘cyber singularity’ group might wish and think. Sorry to sound pedantic and tendentious, but so I am on this subject. We are all human. ) My 2 cents.

      2. hunkerdown

        We keep calling peak centrism, and they keep one-upping themselves. Next up, Extra Medium COVID.

      3. BeliTsari

        Seems like, HCWs with PASC are trying to get into PAXLOVID™ trials. We’d really had hope after a study at Allegheny Health System, that mRNA would alleviate some of the brain-fog, POTS & LPR/ sinusitis type inflammatory symptoms. Well, at first, they seemed to (but spring 2020, was kinda uncharted territory for PASC). We’d any number of auto-immune style, arthritic, diverticulosis and sweats, then and a whole new set, as EVERYONE’S got BA.1 and it took nearly a month, for the delayed long symptoms to show up? I was due for a booster, a month after we got Omicron, but I’d hoped to await a new vaccine (like one that didn’t have worse side-effects than either acute infection?



    2. Lee

      This might benefit those of us with ME/CFS, an assumed post-viral syndrome with much of the same symptomology as long Covid. There has been over the decades very slow progress in the recognition and treatment of ME/CFS from “it’s all in your head” to some more recent successful off-label use of antivirals and other medications aimed primarily at calming chronic, low-grade central nervous system inflammation. With many more patients suffering from these chronic post-viral conditions, sufficient research funds may at long last start flowing, assuming the collapse of civilization is not imminent.

    3. jo6pac

      Well that’s good news. They are now going to find a cure the vaccine that’s not a cure for the virus. I hear nothing $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ tax payer funded of course and then tax payers pay for the jab. I think they have taken lessons from their friends in the defense industry.

      I had the long thing and when got my drug we can’t talk about it went away.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Part of the plans involve making sure millions of people get long covid, so that millions of people can pay decades-long revenue streams to Big Pharma, which will share some of the money as donations to officeholders.

      1. BeliTsari

        It certainly seems, it didn’t take long for our betters to monitize POOR workers’ fed to a virus, that elsewhere HAD been minimized by pragmatic, grown-up NPIs (as opposed to virus-only, bullshit lies & obfuscation) and Let ‘er RIP Catastrophe Capitalism? If they basically fork deluded lemmings to FIRE & PhARMA Sector to flip homes, indenture re-re-reinfected PASC adults into 1099 gig serfdom; hide, gaslight or blame victims for “preexisting comorbidities” including any caused/ exacerbated by mRNA with only cursory (if ANY) diagnostics, as essentials lose ACA, sick-pay, child-care (or infected caregivers)… well, maybe Joe could pick a war to save fracked LNG/ oil exports, as we the peons cant afford gas, let alone a fuel efficient used car? (Somebody 425 mi away, called me Friday afternoon, to offer me twice Blue Book value for a dorky 2L wagon, I’d garaged 2yrs back?)

    5. Lemmy Caution

      >Drugmakers, scientists begin the hunt for long COVID treatments

      What’s the big hurry? It’s only been 2+ years.

      1. c_heale

        Markets are completely inefficient! Starting to look like the Chicago school of economics was not even wrong.

  4. Lena

    Lambert, I would love to hear a Northern Bobwhite quail call. They were quite common when I was young but are sadly rare in these parts now. Maybe do a whole series on New World quails?

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Lena and Lambert Strether:

      Crows. Of course. Intelligence? A crow, a member of the Congress? Which wins?

      Cranes. Eerie. Primeval. Let’s hope that, just as they arrived before human beings, they will survive human beings.

      Catbirds. The masters of jazz. Elegant plumage. Reputedly have no fear of humans: So they know that their adversaries are cowards.

    2. BrianH

      How about wild turkeys? Definitely not the usual bird call, but they still have a lot to say. A magnificent creature.

        1. BrianH

          I second that. The farm across the valley from my boyhood home had peacocks. Their calls sounded like someone calling for help. And of course, very beautiful.

  5. Glossolalia

    Re: Trump suing Hillary… Trump might have a legitimate case but will undoubtedly undermine himself by hiring fringe right nutjob conspiracy theorists as lawyers.

    1. Yves Smith

      He just won with Stormy Daniels, who I believe was well represented.

      This is essentially a defamation case, like the Daniels case, so he does have competent representation there.. It should to be able to get past summary judgment, which means he can do discovery. If he gets to discovery, he wins in the court of public opinion regardless of the formal outcome because he will unearth slimy conduct.

      The one thing that could work against him is if his lawyers filed suit in a jurisdiction where Hillary et al can file an anti-SLAPP suit. That will force Trump to deal with the anti-SLAPP suit first, effectively forcing him to fight the same case twice. He again ought to be able to prevail, but the point is delay, since delay works against plaintiffs (memories fade and records have a way of disappearing) and in particularly, to delay anything of import past the 2024 election cycle.

  6. Carolinian

    Re WDAV–I just tuned it in on my car radio although reception not good (70 miles away).

    Probably better at night. And getting me to turn on my car radio is a Water Cooler accomplishment.

    1. JeffC

      wdav.org lists a bunch of ways to stream it. I’m using one right now.

      Also of note that in addition to the usual high-quality audio streams, they offer a mono-only 24 kbps stream, the least data-gulping classical music stream I’ve ever seen and the only one I feel I can use occasionally on “cellular data” on my quite limited plan.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > How we got herd immunity wrong

      We? The author (a historian of science) writes:

      This was essentially what Sweden did and, though mistakes were also made there, it navigated the pandemic with its children attending school in person and with substantially lower per-capita mortality from both Covid-19 and all causes than the European Union, the U.K., and the U.S.

      But the right comparison is with other Nordic countries. See this brutal takedown in Nature:

      The cost in terms of infections and deaths of this pandemic in Sweden has been larger in some other more densely populated and more centrally located countries, yet is still markedly higher than in the other Nordic countries (Rizzi et al., 2021; Nanda et al., 2021) and long-term health and societal effects cannot be ignored. Several studies have shown that the human costs would have been significantly lower in Sweden if stricter measures had been implemented, without more detrimental impacts on the economy (Kamerlin and Kasson, 2020; Sjödin et al., 2020; Sheridan et al., 2020; Born et al., 2021b; Amiri, 2021; Born et al., 2021a). The Swedish strategy has not shown to be superior in any measurable aspect compared to the Nordic neighbours or internationally (Balmford et al., 2020, 2020k; Braithwaite et al., 2021; Bjorklund and Ewing, 2020). This Swedish laissez-faire strategy has had a large human cost for the Swedish society.

      There’s also this from the abstract:

      The Swedish people were kept in ignorance of basic facts such as the airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission, that asymptomatic individuals can be contagious and that face masks protect both the carrier and others. Mandatory legislation was seldom used; recommendations relying upon personal responsibility and without any sanctions were the norm. Many elderly people were administered morphine instead of oxygen despite available supplies, effectively ending their lives.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It looks like the SwedenGov got aboard the Jackpot Train early, along with all its victim subjects.

      2. Bugs

        “Many elderly people were administered morphine instead of oxygen despite available supplies, effectively ending their lives.”

        Again, this is mass euthanasia. In other words…

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    I heard reports about Biden-EU co-pledging that huge new amounts of American LNG would go to EUrope.
    Maybe this was not a major goal of setting of the Ukraine war, but is has to be a much-desired side-effect from the DC FedRegime viewpoint.

    If that scenario plays out as the DC FedRegime and its Fossil Fuel Owners and Patrons hope, so much NatGas will be sent to EUrope as LNG that the price of NatGas in America will rise high enough that coal will become price-competitive for electric power plants again. Meaning, way more gas gets burned AND way more coal gets burned on into the future. Russia will of course be able to sell all its gas into the Great MaKinder World Island, where all of it will be burned.

    We are all prisoners on a bomb train full of gassy Bakken oil and dynamite. We can’t slow it down. Can we switch it onto another set of tracks so that it runs right into the fossil fuel industry itself and blows that up along with itself?

    I will wait to see what thoughts others offer on switching the bomb train onto new tracks before I offer any thoughts myself.

    1. Rod

      Oh–as an aside:
      The Bezzle: “Exxon Considering Expanding Bitcoin Mining Pilot to 4 Countries: Report” [Vice].

      “The oil giant, which launched a pilot program in January, 2021 that uses excess natural gas that would otherwise be flared or vented generated by the Bakken oil field in North Dakota—the site of fervent protest in 2016 near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation—to mine the Bitcoin blockchain, is thinking about recreating the project in Alaska and four other countries: Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana, and Germany…. Mining has recently become desirable among energy producers, especially in fossil fuels, where gas that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere can be captured and turned into energy.” • Not sure why it wasn’t “desirable” before?
      my bold

      Let me say Value Added:
      the amount by which the value of an article is increased at each stage of its production, exclusive of initial costs.
      (of goods) having features added to a basic line or model for which the buyer is prepared to pay extra.

      If they want–and can– to do it for that they should be made to do it on every well head everywhere–because it is just the right thing

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let’s all recite the crypto-currency pledge . . .

        I will not use crypto-currency,
        and I will not tolerate those who do.

      2. Rod

        OK– Lambert, todays Water Cooler Bezzle has really agitated me I’ll admit.
        Why?? well there isn’t enough space to explain, but sometimes the ‘Universe’ is there helping me–so– I hope this surfaced on your Radar.

        On Friday’s Marketplace Radio https://www.marketplace.org/ there was this piece about Crypto Mining in Texas by an imaginative and entrepreneurial young man that has been several years in the making: .

        Several Years mind you.
        What he built was a gas-powered generator connected to a shipping container full of crypto mining computers. That was in 2019.


        Now, Fugitive Emissions from Oil/Gas Wellheads have oft been discussed here at NC because of their hidden lethality in Raw Emissions and Flared Emissions. Waste of resources also.

        and of course this:
        New Study Finds Higher Methane Emissions from Fracking
        Posted on December 2, 2013 by Yves Smith

        Oh Woe the Dilemma whose Solution was unsolvable(according to the Producer$ for REA$ON$)

        and now The Bezzle: “Exxon Considering Expanding Bitcoin Mining Pilot to 4 Countries: Report” [Vice].

        Well, Flare these numbers (from the Marketplace article);
        So you have about 87,000 cubic feet of natural gas being burned per day. That crankshaft turns a generator, that generator puts out electricity.”
        87k cf/day x 365days = 31,755,000MILLION cf (my god that is BIG) per year—that would have just been fugitive or flared.
        that’s one 100 acre plot of piddlers in Texas.
        editorializing for myself—we are soooooo fu***d in the midst of soooo many solutions

        According to Lohstroh, this unit produces enough electricity to power about 720 homes in the area.
        In the world of bitcoin mining, that’s extremely small scale. A much larger mine in Rockdale, Texas,, has the capacity to use enough energy to power 333,000 homes.

        And what makes all this possible??? (Remember I said ” an imaginative and entrepreneurial young man”

        They call their business Giga Energy.


        Lohstroh explained how a “Giga box” that sits next to an oil well just south of Texarkana, Texas, works. About $150,000 gets you a wired-up container; the generator and the mining devices are extra. The box can hold more than $1.5 million worth of computers.

        cheapest Power Plant ever!!!! See!!! Great Picture—Amfortis ought to have one in his town–or Deerfield(my old Homeplace on the edge of the Permian–the one where most everyone has a well or three in fields and pastures from the the first wave drill out in the 1980s)

        but wait: Giga Energy to go public in up to $7 billion SPAC deal

        and that is all from one chump field in texas–not the Baaken/Permian/ or Laramide
        Yup, no solution available to our Energy and By-Product woes.

        I may be flaring out–but the THE CRIMENALITY and INTENTIONALITY –it burns like White Phosphorus

    2. ambrit

      Seeing how ‘vibrantly’ authoritarian America is becoming, I am thinking in terms of small scale autarky, as much as is possible, and avoidance of the Public Square. I see a wave of witchunts coming when the bankruptcy of the neoliberal dispensation becomes too obvious to obscure. The PMC cannot fail, only be failed. Finding sacrificial victims for the wailing and gnashing of teeth phase of America’s devolution will become a booming business. (That’s why, in line with my above mentioned Grey Man strategy, I will predict that a lot of “snitches” begin to turn up “pining for the fjords.”)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Witchhunting is harder if the millions of witches all have millions of guns and billions of rounds of ammunition.

        So the revival of Draconian gun control plans would be a sign of pre-witchhunt battlespace-shaping.

        And that might trigger off a civil war right there.

        And small scale autarky , at least medium term survival-autarky, would be good. If it could be made to look attractive enough that many “other” small-scale jurisdiction-loads of people self-recruit into small-scale survival autarky, so much the better.

        It becomes part of growing the oppositional defiant better greenculture.

        1. ambrit

          I see it more in terms of the increasing frequency of violent crimes. Most people do not organize their thinking when confronted with evil in it’s many guises. Here is where the idea of a Vanguard of the Proleteriat comes into it’s own. For example, Trotsky fulfilled that function. Arguably, Trotsky saved the Communist Revolution from the interventions of the West, plus Japan, and the White Guards. Then along comes Stalin and the Russian State reverted to it’s traditional status of Oriental Despotism.
          Consider also that Russia has a history going back at least two thousand years, (I include the Scythians in the ‘traditional’ Russian history.)
          America, as a State is barely two hundred odd years old. The European colonization of the Americas is only five hundred years old. (Any earlier European or Asian incursions into the Americas were temporary at best and left no major influences.)
          My sardonic “snitches” comment was made in reference to the enablers of any Witch-hunt. There will always be those who will “go along to get along,” and turn on and turn in their nearest and dearest in the search for public approval. I will gleefully watch as the Witch-hunt is countered with a Cowitchpro. Alas, if history is any guide, the struggle against any Witch-hunt will be a long and nasty war in the shadows.
          Stay safe. Stack early, stack deep.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Our leaders seem to be in magical thinking territory. They haven’t even built the fleet of ships that will be needed to carry that gas and they are not simple to build – not by a long shot. Then there are the facilities needed to convert that liquid gas to normal gas before shipping by pipeline. And if any of that gas comes from the Gulf, you had better hope that the increasing storms in this area do not play havoc with European supply. And who is going to pay for all that infrastructure and the fleet of ships needed? I bet Biden already knows the answer to that one. Hint – it won’t be him. Here is an article talking about aspects of this problem-


      Basically, Europe has just agreed to hobble their own economy for decades to come and will make them less competitive on the world market. And they had better follow what Washington wants or maybe some of those ships will be delayed in sailing. Idjuts!

  8. scarnoc

    I had a conversation this morning with a good friend and business partner. I told him that I had read that energy rationing might be coming to Germany, and that he should consider a real risk-off stance for business and investment. He told me I’m not paying close enough attention to the news, and that Russia has lost the war and will collapse very soon. This is an educated and wealthy man. The media is only presenting one side to people, and it is going to cause extreme cognitive dissonance and emotional outbursts from many people when reality can no longer be hidden.

    1. Screwball

      The same people have ate and digested the Russiagate (same with Hunter) BS for 5 years with no end in sight. They will believe whatever they are told to believe. The truth wouldn’t change a thing if it hit them upside the head, as they will never admit they were wrong. When things change, or the truth becomes obvious, they will do exactly what the people they worship do – blame someone/something else.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Gas und Diesel könnten schon bald rationiert werden’? Well that was quick. Maybe somebody woke up to the fact that Europe has only about 40 days worth of diesel left in the tank. Crunch time would be in only May then. Maybe you should mention that to your friend.

    3. VietnamVet

      The ruling western ideology’s foundation belief is that markets self-regulate. Prices rise due to shortages. Corporations profiteer. “No problem”. Except, no amount of money can produce diesel if there is insufficient supply of crude oil to crack. The era of cheap oil is gone. Replacement energy is costly, will take years, and reopening coal mines and accelerated fracking will aggravate climate change. Trucks and autos can’t distribute food, medicine, or goods if there is no fuel. Raising interest rates to fight hyperinflation won’t reduce shortages. All it does is reduce the number of jobs and workers.

      The embargo of Russian resources in order to trigger a regime change in the Kremlin is analogous to the abject failure of western public health in the coronavirus pandemic. The total of American dead with COVID-19 just passed a million. Only good government can contain the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Western governments are intentional too dysfunctional to tax or regulate corporations. They are simply incapable of rationing, protecting the public, or winning wars. The West’s decline will now accelerate into a terminal dive.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        VietnamVet, you’re one of the folks I enjoyed reading comments from at Pat Lang’s place back in the day.

        I still head over there every so often, but domestically Col. Lang seems to have gone pretty far right.

        Nevertheless, glad to see you!

        1. VietnamVet

          I still go over to Turcopolier to read the articles and comments. The month-old war has perked up the wounded warriors. Colonel had a cerebral hemorrhage and TTG tinnitus. Larry Johnson split. Patrick Armstrong, Russia Observer, is on Hiatus. The Colonel is 100% for the USA. Moon of Alabama is on Russia’s side. I am in the untenable middle position that all of the privatized corporate/states engaged in the war are equally responsible. Profits over lives will kill millions more humans. Nuclear war is likely if this is now an approved NATO response to Russian conventional or chemical attacks.

          Apparently, no one in power will risk losing profits and kickbacks to partition Ukraine, sign a peace treaty, end the war, and avoid a nuclear holocaust.

  9. jr

    USPS anecdote:

    I received a letter from the USPS the other day informing me that my change of address grace period is up. I threw it out in digust after reading that I could continue it for 15$ a month and if memory serves a small chunk up front. Thieves.

  10. Tom Stone

    I’ll be having coffee with my Daughter in Woketon ( Formerly Sebastopol) tomorrow and may have an opportunity to have some fun with the natives.
    There’s a corner by Whole Foods where .aggressively woke trustafarians congregate to wave BLM and “I stand with a Ukelele” signs and I am considering walking by them because I know they will demand to know where I stand.
    I had a sweetie decades ago who taught me how to gush in an admiring tone while my words ( Lots of genuine quotes) convey a different message.
    Do it with a straight face and good voice control and it confuses the heck out of them.

    1. Sardonia

      Suggested line – “Yes, I totally support the Ukrainians! Why, if instead of only killing 10,000 fellow Ukrainians who had Russian ancestry, they’d have committed genocide on ALL of those other Ukrainians, the Ukrainians wouldn’t HAVE this problem! Right?”

    2. BeliTsari

      Watched a GLORIOUS demo derby in their parking lot, once. A Porsche Macan vs some CSi style BMW cabriolet. Slpendid creatires, repeatedly bashing each other & emerging to claw and gouge and tug at exceedingly impressive protoplasm & doos squealing like pigs in unearthly invectives, threats and epithets as iPhones live-streamed whatever euphamism Besos used back then for indentured 1099 peons tried to keep from laughing or getting splattered with vindictive spit or squirting Botox.

  11. fresno dan

    During the 2020 campaign Mr. Biden promised to work toward a policy in which the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would be to deter or respond to an enemy nuclear attack.

    Mr. Biden’s new decision, made earlier this week under pressure from allies, holds that the “fundamental role” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal will be to deter nuclear attacks. That carefully worded formulation, however, leaves open the possibility that nuclear weapons could also be used in “extreme circumstances” to deter enemy conventional, biological, chemical and possibly CYBERATTACKS, said the officials.
    Great, someone is rude on Facebook and the world ends. I don’t know if its just wordsmithing, or is an actualy substative change. It seems if it was important, there would be more in the press about it…but on the other hand, most important things ARE left out of the US press…

    1. Tom Stone

      It is a substantive change, it’s beltway speak and deliberately obscure for those not familiar with thieve’s cant.

    2. Tom Stone

      To clarify,it is now the official US position that it will initiate a nuclear war in response to conventional, biological,chemical or cyber attacks if it feels sufficiently threatened.
      It’s time to use the 25th amendment to remove Biden, he is overtly and inarguably insane.

      1. Sardonia

        Wait. Have you SEEN who’s next in line??

        Kamala probably spends her days wandering around the White House demanding to know, “Who do I have to f*** around here to get my next promotion??”

        1. Mike Mc

          My current bet/prediction is this: some kind of scandal (ha!) envelopes Kamala Harris, forcing her to resign a la Spiro Agnew (might be tough to gin up since she seems mostly petty, shallow and incompetent rather than an outright crook…).

          She is replaced by – ta da! – DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Shortly thereafter, President Biden suffers a stroke, heart attack or just plain dies.

          Voila. The Blob’s victory is complete. Of course, the above scenario practically guarantees President DeSantis, but hey – just thinking out loud here.

        2. c_heale

          When I see her performances on the internet, I feel sorry for her. She is so obviously out of her depth. Bit like Liz Truss in the UK.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Did he think this up all by himself?

        Or did he accept it from his stable of advisers? And if so, why should we assume a different president would have any different advisers with any different advice?

        Remember, Biden was the mainstream DemParty Overlords’ pick.

  12. Mikel

    “In the near term, of course, the oil supply chain is optimized, like all our supply chains. Why on earth would anybody think there’s enough slack in it so that removing a major player would make no difference? ”

    You’re going out of your way to even refer to that as thinking.

    Here there is an establishment that encircles the globes with military because of threats and then in the same breath tells people its a good idea to outsource and otherwise create long travelling distances for production important to an alleged national security.

  13. enoughisenough

    RE. postal banking, I think that article is incorrect. There was an amendment in it that specifically prevents banking, and even money orders, which they already did.

    I need to see that that amendment had been removed, but I don’t think it has. Other reports did specify that banking would NOT be allowed.

    1. Bart Hansen

      A while back I read that outgoing Senator Toomey slipped in an amendment to the bill to prohibit postal banking.

      A search on ‘senator toomey postal banking’ will give background. If the amendment failed he won’t get his payoff.

      1. Nikkikat

        BART, Don’t you just love how really egregious crap like that just gets slipped in to legislation? The entire USPS debacle that had them paying for benefits and pensions 75 years in advance as I recall was just slipped in there. A lot of BS, things this bad are not just slipped in.

      2. enoughisenough

        yes, that’s right it was Toomey.

        Why don’t people know about this? Postal banking is verboten now. It’s excruciating, but also more so because it’s being hidden so no one can raise hell.

  14. Wukchumni

    ‘This is a fight of good versus evil,’ Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, per the Post. ‘Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career [bathos!] on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.”

    I’m hoping that’s crazy evang talk for Jesus and not a second term for Trump triumphing, but it is genuinely difficult to separate the two at this point.

  15. Librarian Guy

    I had a good laugh reading that fail-son Hunter is 52!! And still living and profiting off Daddy’s rep . . . It reminded me of the smarmy hypocrite & misogynist anti-abortionist (for poor women) Henry Hyde years back pursuing a long adulterous affair with a decades-younger women starting at age 41, & excusing himself with the “youthful indiscretion” pass!!! . . . Which leads me to a fave Right wing hypocrite who openly embraces the hypocrisy, I think it was Rich Lowry who somewhere said, excusing a Republican sex-scandal frat boy that at least Religious people feel Genuine Shame about trying to live up to Bronze Age religious dictums that nobody except a castrati could follow, and that’s why they remain morally superior to the evil Libs and Lefties who embrace sexual immorality!! . . . Anyway, the Ruling Class hypocrisy about Moral Purity for Thee, & License for me has clearly been bipartisan for decades, going back at least to music scold Tipper Gore’s inquisitional Congressional hearings supported by good, upstanding Repub Senatorial wives and “mothers”. Anyway, glad that Hunter is “forever young” (as Bob Dylan once sang), & that they youthful indiscretion for the Elites card will soon be extended even to AARP members.

  16. Pat

    I heard that Joe once again called Joe called Putin a war criminal.

    This is rich, because in a fair and reality based world Joe Biden wouldn’t be in a position to call anyone a war criminal. All because so many Americans would be in The Hague for war crimes, and even if he escaped that himself he would be known as an accessory to those multiple crimes and wouldn’t be able to hold a government position, even as a sanitation worker.

    1. Sardonia

      Oh, didn’t you know? Obama is already scheduled to appear. He’s doing a song-and-dance parody duet with Jussie Smollett – “Putin on the Ritz.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      Biden wants Zelensky at the G-20 in Bali in October. Anything to stir and insult Putin. By then however, he may be President of the Ukraine in the same way that Juan Guaidó is President of Venezuela.

    3. begob

      The Academy will use a helicopter to aim the Oscar won by the White Helmets on to his head. Cue Kevin Costner bounding across the stage to take the hit.

      “And I-eee-I will alwaays luv yooo. Ooo-ee-oo-ee-ooo.”

  17. petal

    Vermont sending hundreds of pieces of body armor to Ukraine

    “WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Hundreds of pieces of body armor are headed from Vermont to Ukraine.
    Over the course of two weeks, the Vermont State Police collected 876 soft armor vests, 122 tactical vests and 30 helmets.
    Citizens, as well as police agencies, donated the equipment.
    Much of the armor is used or expired, but it’s still safe.
    “Most vests have a warranty of five years, then after those five years, they are removed from service. But they, it’s well accepted that they can still offer protection many years past their expiration date,” Vt. State Police Capt. Michael Manley said.
    Vermont is one of the few states to collect military supplies to ship overseas.
    Troopers were moved to help while watching the war unfold in real time.
    “Like everyone else, we watch the TV every night and see the violence in Ukraine, and you know, you feel for the people that are fighting for their freedom and we’re happy to give this equipment if it can make them safer,” Manley said.This effort was started by the California National Guard and the details to get the gear to Ukrainian soldiers are still being worked out.
    State police have no plans right now to coordinate another equipment drive.”

  18. rowlf

    Nicholas Moran, a tank historian, has a Youtube channel where he talks about, well, tanks. Being a historian that likes to access historical data from archives that are now available and explain the development process that made one; each; object; tank, I enjoy his explanations of what developers and testers were thinking as the development process fascinates me and helps me on my aircraft projects

    Being a historian that is aware of how crappy news reporting always is, Moran has refrained from commenting on current events. However, he has made a recent video offering suggestions on how to consider conflict area videos.

    There are a lot of videos coming out of Ukraine, leading to a lot of opinions. Not to be a wet blanket, but I caution that these are merely small data points, and normally will only permit conclusions supported by that one snippet, not larger trends. [Edit. Dear God, people, this is a video about critical thinking. It’s not about who I think is going to win or who I hope is going to win (Ukraine, for the record). Listen carefully to my words: saying “Not everything unpleasant is a war crime” is NOT the same as “Russia is committing no war crimes”.]

    Be careful drawing conclusions from the Ukraine videos.

  19. Anonymous

    Anniversary today of the NATO bombing of Belgrade. My spouse, a poet and rather famous person in the country was never expecting it because they thought they were liberal and rump Yugoslavia was going to be part of the West. To the Yugoslav liberals, it looked more like the Albanians were against a future integrated into Europe. What a joke, huh?

  20. CanCyn

    Reporting on mask wearing from eastern Ontario now that the provincial gov has dropped mask mandates.
    First note is that our Conservative premier, Doug Ford, plans to continue to wear his mask in the legislature even though it his gov that decided it is safe enough for us to go mask free (Sorry, read it the other day, no link).
    Locally, I would say that the majority are still wearing masks but there are noticeable numbers of mask free people. At our local full service gas station, the proprietors are still wearing masks, both have vulnerable people at home. They say that some people have been giving them a hard time. We have a small independent dairy with a little retail shop, owner and staff are still masking and they are asking customers to wear masks. When asked by someone (polite/curious, no attitude), owner said she was doing it in order to keep her staff!
    Last, here is a link to a column from our local paper reporting on interviews of 3 local business owners – they are leaving it to staff and customers, no rules anymore.

    1. Mikel

      “…owner said she was doing it in order to keep her staff!”

      She has a free pass from me to be more dramatic. She could have said she was doing it to keep her staff healthy and alive.
      And it’s either that or increase paid sick days off to keep staff under these insane conditions.

      1. CanCyn

        Agreed Mikel. My exclamation mark doesn’t indicate that she said it in annoyance, not pride. Sigh

  21. Tom Stone

    A remark on mask wearing in Sonoma County, masks are being worn by between 10% and 20% of the people I see.

  22. Tom Stone

    For those not familiar with what a Nuclear exchange entails or the symptoms of radiation poisoning I recommend Johnathan Schell’s book “The Fate of the Earth”..
    It’s a short book, however I had to put it down several times for a day or more because the subject is so horrifying.

    And if you think my concern that Biden might start a Nuclear war is overblown, remember how the sanctions were decided upon.
    No one outside of the White House was consulted and no thought was given to the consequences.
    It is now the official US Policy that Joseph Robinette Biden can,at his discretion,initiate a Nuclear exchange if he finds a conventional,chemical, biologic or cyberattack against the US or an ally sufficiently threatening.
    That scares the crap out of me and I am certain it got the attention of people
    in Russia and around the world.
    It’s time for Joe to go and for that policy change to be loudly and clearly reversed

    1. Mikel

      The entire character of the governing branches needs to be changed. Joe being gone wouldn’t be enough. They are all stuck on stupid. Stupid and corrupt travels easily and freely from administration to administration – and not replacing them with tv stars or singers. This happens now so much all over the world that it’s beginning to strike me as a calculated cynical ploy to discredit representative govt.

  23. eg

    Would someone please tell that muppet, Manchin, that deficit reduction in a country with a trade deficit means shrinking the economy and throwing people out of work? Ye gods …

    1. Michael Ismoe

      The dude wants to roll back the Trump tax cuts. It doesn’t matter what excuse we use, take the win and run.

  24. lance ringquist

    there is a much easier way of getting rid of trump,
    oh dear, more bad news on the trump derangement syndrome front, another nothing burger:)

    instead of self reflection in how trump got there in the first place, america would be far better off today if the nafta democrats understood “ITS THE POLICIES STUPID”

    “Perhaps one of the most interesting, if not frustrating parts of the rise of Trump is the inability to get Democrats to accept the idea that the economic policies of Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama set the stage for a man like Trump. I think that among the Clinton Liberals, the madness has reached the stage the Tea Party reached with its “Birther” conspiracies around Obama.”


    The Manhattan DA is reportedly returning evidence to witnesses amid signs it may abandon its Trump investigation Tom Porter and Jacob Shamsian 14 hours ago…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Got caught out by that back in the late 70s. Before going to South Africa, I researched (pre-internet) what voltage of electricity they used so could bring my electric razor. Finding it the same, I packed it in. First day on Jo’burg, I got it out to use it and you can see by that chart what happened next-


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