2:00PM Water Cooler 3/28/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I am in CDC delenda est mode, hence this post is an open thread. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow! –lambert

* * *

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 Copeland:

Copeland writes: “Anemone coronaria are now blooming in neighborhood gardens.”

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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. jo6pac

      Abramovich was working with Russian govt. on a deal for the ukraine. I doubt any one in Russia did this and he is old friend V. Putin. He is the only billionaire Russian that hasn’t been sanction yet. Strange.

      Thanks Lambert for the extra nap time;-)

      1. lyman alpha blob

        It could never, never, NEVER have been US spooks and/or Ukrainian nazis trying to squelch a peace deal in order to keep the MIC gravy train rolling.

        So probably Chelsea soccer hooligans or ultrasonic Cuban crickets.

        1. Wukchumni

          They renamed one of the runs in Mammoth that used to be called ‘Spook’ and was obviously the path that CIA operatives would most likely be hurling themselves down the mountain at breakneck speed in search of the bad guise.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Well, apparently the Deputy Head of Ukraine’s President’s Office is relying a message from the Ukrainian negotiating team that the “story was false”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have heard a theory to the effect that he was shot by Ukranazis for not being Ukranazi enough and as a warning to Zelensky not to compromise anything in negotiations.

        If this all ends up with Ukraine being partitioned into an eastern Russiakraine and a western Galiciakraine, then the Ukranazis will work to transform Galiciakraine into Banderazovistan. Banderazovistan will present lots of interesting problems going forward.

    2. Greg

      Another bellingcat special, after Skripal worked so well for them. The WSJ happily amplified their bs and gave it journalistic cover, and it’s been carried from there.

      It does raise the question of what the advantage to this story for US spooks is. I can’t see it, beyond generalised distrust and Putin bad, which is already at a high so seems a waste of propaganda.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Bad luck that this supposed incident from a coupla weeks ago was blurted onto the media – only to be immediately eclipsed by the Chris Rock Oscars incident. Shame that.

  1. antidlc


    President Joe Biden tested negative for Covid-19 Monday morning as a part of his regular testing cadence, the White House said.

    Biden’s negative test comes after White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday after returning from Europe. Jean-Pierre had traveled with Biden during the trip and was in a meeting with him on Saturday.

    1. Jen

      So, Covid is just the flu but we should still breathe a collective sigh of relief when Joe Biden tests negative?

    1. lance ringquist

      i think nafta billy clintons davos man is the one that is going to experience the great reset:)

  2. Sub-Boreal

    If you are able to jump the paywall, FT has a good interview with forest ecologist Suzanne Simard: https://www.ft.com/content/ab6ada00-685e-499d-bd31-e975e43c5033

    I think it captures her personality quite well: reflective, grounded, inquisitive, unpretentious. I’m sure that she’ll handle this recent burst of fame without it going to her head.

    We both left the BC Forest Service around the same time, for pretty similar reasons. It has been fun to watch where her career has taken her.

  3. Hepativore

    Let’s get a music discussion going…and I am in the mood for metal.

    I have not been paying attention much to what the current metal genre is offering, but I always liked stuff that is like stoner rock/psychedelic metal or old-school 80’s thrash.

    So I will start…

    Mastodon – Blood Mountain (album)


    Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance (Album)


    Kyuss – Blues For the Red Sun (Album)


    Kyuss – Welcome to Sky Valley (Album)


    Dream Theater – Hell’s Kitchen


    If anybody has any suggestions for current bands in a similar vein, I would be happy to have them.

          1. ambrit

            Reminds me of a tie-dye tee shirt I saw once. The message on it was: “The good dye Jung.”
            “Round and round we go! If it stops, nobody will know!”
            Stay safe. Prepare.

    1. Old Sarum

      Mastadon: I listened to the opening few seconds and laughed because, I mean well you gotta, as the ‘squares’ and god botherers would be horrified. Il faut épater le bourgeois! if you’ve ever seen spoofs of head-banging death metal bands you might take the same view. I suppose ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ is really the only one to bother with..

      Musically, with the hard-rock genre, I stopped hoping for anymore after ‘Deep Purple In Rock’ when I was fourteen years old in 1970.

      Pip Pip!

      1. Hepativore

        Kyuss has a very unique retro-70’s acid-induced hard rock sound to it and the guitars are very fuzzed-out like many strings were from that era.

        John Garcia does not scream per se, but he has a very distinct raspy tenor.

        If you like 1970’s metal like Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, then you will probably like Kyuss.

          1. Old Sarum

            I gave it a go and it reminded me a little of Wishbone Ash and their “Pheonix” from their eponymously named album. From that record, I recommend “Errors of My Way”. Two lead guitars were their thing.


            Pip pip!

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I’ll second your Mastodon recommendation. I’ve seen them live a couple times and definitely worth the ticket. Their drummer Brann Dailor plays the way every spastic 12 year old male drummer would like to play in a band – just constant high speed fills that normally annoy the crap out of everyone around them. I used to get the side eye when I tried it – not sure how he gets away with it.

      Here’s some newer psychedelic metal – Sergeant Thunderhoof, a little known band with a big sound. I really like these guys – my favorite discovery over the last few years –


      And some more metal drumming. Meshuggah is not for the faint of heart and I bought one album mostly to hear the drummer, who I heard about when he astounded comedian Bill Burr. I’m not really sure how he does it. He sometimes uses programmed sounds from what I understand but I don’t think he is here, and it still looks effortless. There are not many people on the planet who can do this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAJ1WTGNISk

      But my favorite is Danny Carey from Tool. That he’s wearing a Larry Bird jersey makes this even better. Sublime – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FssULNGSZIA

    3. John Beech

      One of my customers is one of the guitar players (plays rhythm) and lead drummer for a band called Armored Saint. They’re pretty good in my opinion even though I’m more of an Led Zeppelin, Queen, or Pink Floyd kind of guy versus metal. He recently offered us tickets when they’re in Orlando but as an asthmatic, no chance I go. Nevertheless, I thought Bush was pretty good in Reign of Fire. If the band is new to you, give them a listen.

    4. Robert Hahl

      Thee Oh Sees – The Dream

      Thee Oh Sees – Contraption/Soul Desert

      Mastodon – Steambreather

      Moonhearts – Let Go

      Ty Segall – Candy Sam

      The Orwells – They Put A Body In the Bayou
      “Good songs make you rich.” Maybe it’s not about the music after all.

    5. K.k

      Thierry de Brunhoff plays Chopin — Complete Nocturnes
      Hehe, i know not what you asked for, but still a banger as the kids say.

      You may enjoy these…
      Swans – Cloud of Forgetting

      Swans – Cloud of Unknowing

      Different sort of metal…
      Wiener Philharmoniker – Maurice Ravel – Bolero – Regente Gustavo Dudamel (HD)
      Still rocks!

    1. Wukchumni

      You almost get the idea that the Donkey Show has given up on the great political football of Roe vs Wade, and has taken up trans issues as their fly in the ointment versus the Pachyderm Party who loathes anything to do with it.

      Elizabeth Warren is typical of Democrat politicians in that regard, a few years ago she uttered that she’d move ahead with her choice for education secretary only if approved by a transgender youth she had met.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The Dems will lose for a very simple reason: They spend more time worried about Lia Thomas than the price of Thomas’ English Muffins. Minus 60 seats come November.

      2. jr

        Yeah I remember that as well, I don’t recall Chief Warren looking for the input of any other groups of children in the past. The trans issue is the perfect foil, it allows the Jacka$$es to appear all morally superior and stuff while continuing to hold the masses at arms length with divisive identity politics. Oh, and throw women overboard as well. I bet Chelsea wouldn’t have a problem getting an abortion though or the Obama women.

        Eternally fighting, intentionally losing…it’s great work if you can get it.

      3. petal

        I remember when she said that at the campaign rally she held here in Hanover. At least meeting her dog was nice.

      4. Hepativore

        Well, you see, the Democrats’ strategy is to throw any major political fight that happens in Congress or the presidency, and then during their years out of power, they can then use the indignation caused by Republicans getting their way to fundraise. I am sure that if and when Roe vs. Wade gets overturned or Social Security gets cut, the Democrats will form a do-nothing publicity group ala #TheResistance and talk a big game about restoring Social Security or reinstating Roe vs. Wade while never intending to do anything about it once in office.

        They could fundraise off of the vitriol caused by destroying policies like these for years.

        1. Mikel

          The Democrats and Republicans pass that ball back and forth to infinity….
          And they go on thinking they can go around the world defining what is a “democracy.”

  4. Jason Boxman

    Today the Times is sowing the ground for “live with it” by acknowledging that, yes, the virus mutations to evade the immune system, but so does the flu for example, so we can acclimate to this new world. No mention of long-COVID, of course.

    Opinion piece:

    Dr. Cobey studies the interaction of immunity, virus evolution and transmission at the University of Chicago. Dr. Bloom and Dr. Starr study virus evolution at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Mr. Lash is a graphics editor for Opinion.

    Taking all this together, we expect SARS-CoV-2 will continue to cause new epidemics, but they will increasingly be driven by the ability to skirt around the immune system. In this sense, the future may look something like the seasonal flu, where new variants cause waves of cases each year. If this happens, which we expect it will, vaccines may need to be updated regularly similar to the flu vaccines unless we develop broader variant-proof vaccines.

    And of course, how much all this matters for public health depends on how sick the virus makes us. That is the hardest prediction to make, because evolution selects for viruses that spread well, and whether that makes disease severity go up or down is mostly a matter of luck. But we do know that immunity reduces disease severity even when it doesn’t fully block infections and spread, and immunity gained from vaccination and prior infections has helped blunt the impact of the Omicron wave in many countries. Updated or improved vaccines and other measures that slow transmission remain our best strategies for handling an uncertain evolutionary future.

    Surely, an acknowledgement that perhaps 10-30% of those infected might suffer long term, perhaps lifelong, debilitating illness makes this very much nothing like the seasonal flu, and worthy of some kind of public health response?


    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “Surely, an acknowledgement that perhaps 10-30% of those infected might suffer long term, perhaps lifelong, debilitating illness makes this very much nothing like the seasonal flu, and worthy of some kind of public health response?”

      my whole beef with the whole idea of “jess live with it”, is that the only vax available in my part of the world are the 2 experimental MRNA things…which i still don’t trust with a hole in the head(and yes, 3 shots in my arm, so far).
      is there any alternative out there…a killed virus vax, or something?
      or are we stuck being unpaid Phase IV lab rats?

      1. Mikel

        The nasal spray vaccines appear to be going through more rigorous testing. If they become available here, I’m suspecting they will cost and arm and a leg. Fauci’s preferred mass human experiment drugs gobbled up all the subsidy dollars.
        Now they have a new, generate war to fund. They don’t give a rat’s about public health.

  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    So . . . CDC can not be decontaminated and then bio-remediated? It can only either be submitted to or delenda ested? If it is merely delenda ested, wouldn’t all the rats and roaches who set and carry out the “spread covid everywhere” policy merely sneak into other agencies and groups and places and bring their pro-coviditis plague-spreading mission with them? Wouldn’t they all have to be “exterminated” in place? If “CDC delenda est” is to have any impact on forcibly slowing the spread of covid?

  6. MargaretLopez

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the American people are being mined for one last resource extraction like
    S&L crisis,
    .com bubble,
    pandemic lockdowns
    Biden’s sanctions,
    plus that impossible to ever pay off $40 trillion future debt?

  7. Andrew Watts

    Just finished Edward H. Bonekemper’s biography on Grant subtitled a Victor, Not a Butcher The Military Genius of the Man Who Won the Civil War. I’m happy to report I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I don’t agree with his premise. In the introduction he repeats the criticism from primary sources that earned Grant his reputation as a butcher from all the proto-WWI battles (Cold Harbour, Wilderness, & Crater) he fought that exposed the horror of industrial warfare. He spends most of the rest of the book attempting to disprove it.

    I’ve trashed American historians who write books on the Civil War, but Bonekemper was a refreshing change of pace for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason being his honesty concerning the military incompetence of both the Union and Confederate armies. For instance in his re-telling of the Vicksburg campaign he doesn’t spare Sherman from the criticism of yeeting his troops at Chicashaw Bluffs. Nor does Grant get a pass for his canal building efforts. Even Wikipedia refers to as an “experiment” and spares the reader of any sordid details. Suffice to say digging a canal in the swamp/wetlands of Mississippi is a recipe for giving your Army all sorts of diseases and rendering them combat ineffective.

    Not many historians highlight the importance of improvisation in warfare as Bonekemper did in his re-telling of Vicksburg. The initial Union actions gravely underestimated the Confederate forces. While their direct assaults failed miserably against a numerically inferior force.

    1. Martin Oline

      Thank you so much for the suggestion. It is at my local library and I look forward to reading it.

    2. RockHard

      I’ll have to read this. It’s been frustrating to read the Southern rewriting of the war as Grant as Butcher, Lee as Gentleman.

      The US Civil war was a warning to the rest of the world about what was about to happen in WWI. I don’t see those same authors tearing apart the generalship in WWI.

  8. Screwball

    I just watched Biden’s budget presser. 31 billion more in defense spending than last year. I guess that should tell us what is in store.

    20% tax on income of the rich, but not much on how that will work. Probably doesn’t matter as that will go nowhere anyway.

    He’s also going to reduce the deficit more than any administration in history.

    1. djrichard

      Also, he confirmed that his comments from yesterday do not indicate a change in policy vis-a-vis regime changing Russia. Of course the media wasn’t smart enough to ask what US policy regarding regime changing Russia was before Biden’s comments yesterday.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the media are mostly Clintonites, then the media are probably colluding with Biden on whatever the Biden policy against Russia is. So of course the media will try to stop questions from even being considered in any venue where millions of people at a time might even hear the questions.

      2. Screwball

        When he got to the podium he put a piece of paper on one side. After his remarks he used that same paper as a list of people to call on.

        I’m guessing it’s all scripted, or as close as they can make it.

        Tin foil hat off

        1. Duke of Prunes

          I don’t think that this requires a tin foil hat. Seem to recall Biden has said this out loud, something like, references a paper on the podium, then “I’m supposed to call on you next”

    2. RockHard

      With inflation the way it is, does 31 billion keep up?

      I used to laugh at people who talked about millions in budget earmarks. Now it’s billions. Read a quote attribute to Feynman earlier along the lines of we used to think of 100 billion stars as an “astronomical” number. Maybe we need to start talking about economic numbers.

    3. griffen

      Late to add much, but the 20% income tax levied on the rich based on annual increases / decreases is really not going far, my two cents. They depicted the case of the Zuckerberg a few instances yesterday on CNBC TV. Based on the stock performance of FB / Meta, Mark owes a net $15 or so billion after accounting the stock market increase in 2020 and then followed by the stock market decrease during 2nd half of 2021. Spread into the future, 10 years I believe.

      I’m going long the stupid here. This plan will never be passed. It’s more a jobs program for tax planning lawyers and family office accountants.

      1. ambrit

        And no one mentions ‘Enhanced Estate Taxes.’ Break up the big fortunes.
        The government needs to establish a ‘Department of Anti-Trust Funds Enforcement.’

    1. John Steinbach

      This article focuses almost exclusively on population growth as the primary cause of climate change. Virtually nothing about the disproportionate effect of “The West”. The average resident of the U.S./Europe/Japan/Australia etc has a many times greater effect on the environment than someone living in Africa/Latin America/India/China etc.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        China and its overseas hasbarists can play the “per capita” emissions game all it likes. China is now the biggest emitter and is working on exterminating all industry outside of China so that it can be the sole industrial emitter in the great One Ball One Chain Co-Prosperity Borg future.

        ” You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile”.

        But is it? If it were really thought about and well planned and well executed?

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        Increased populations = increased consumption no matter where this population growth occurs. In addition, low consuming regions of the world desire to consume like The West. See China as an example. As soon as China became rich its consumption patterns rivaled anywhere in the West.

        1. Wukchumni

          The world I grew up in had 2/3rds of the population living austere lives-almost a template for how to co-exist with climate change & lessened expectations, and then the Communists had the temerity to give up, game over.

    1. noonespecial

      Hedge’s article at ConsortiumNews


      “The entire archive of “On Contact,” the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube…This censorship is about supporting what, as I.F Stone reminded us, governments always do – lie. Challenge the official lie, as I often did, and you will soon become a nonperson on digital media.”

    2. Wukchumni

      I feel certain the IUAC was behind this, the Internet Un-American Committee.

      ‘Have you now, or have you ever been a columnist?’

      1. Paradan

        You need to put that on a photo of one of those hearings, and send it off to redit or wherever memes are sent.

  9. Code Name D

    New York Post dropped something of a bombshell today.
    Hunter Biden helped secure funds for US biolab contractor in Ukraine: e-mails
    Not sure how the NYP got this past the sensors. I am being told this is getting screened out rather intensely on facebook. I have not had a chance to go through it in any detail so I still have my skeptical hat on. Any thoughts here?

  10. Wukchumni

    In the midst of a drenching quarter inch of precip, I ignited the last burn pile of the year with 15 foot flames attempting to extinguish raindrops above with a fair modicum of success on a very localized front.

    They have no lasting power and within 15 minutes was more like 15 inches tall, the flames.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Had flooding a month ago in NSW and Queensland with places like Lismore devastated. The rains are back again and so is the flooding and some of the rubbish floating in those floods is the stuff cleared out of flooded homes from a month ago.

      1. Wukchumni

        That’s the issue in our pushmi-pullmi world, way too much or way too little rain.

        I’ve never seen the drought map which includes nearly the entire USA in drought from around the 100th meridian west to the Pacific, but that was then and this is now.


    2. Amfortas the hippie

      send some precip over here.
      we’ve had a 1/2″ in the last month and a half.
      humidity hovering around 10% most afternoons…and the worst march wind in a long while.
      i’ve finally cleared the bee brush(https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=algr2) that the 2-2021 ice age killed nearish to the house…stuff burns like gasoline, even when alive.
      but i can’t burn it…so it sits in piles elsewhere.
      my county has been spared so far from the fires…but they’re all around us.
      VFD has their people all over the county doing fire lookout things from porches.
      and the handful of folks who burned in spite of the burn ban were fined heavily, per the scanner chatter.
      the usual traffic jams of flower people(old folks who come out here to look at the wildflowers we’re famous for)…apparently didn’t call ahead,lol…’cause there ain’t any.

  11. jr

    Menu entry of the Month:

    I just ordered some Indian food. One of the vegan entries was “Vegetable balls in a creamy nut sauce. Appetizing!” I demurred.

  12. dday

    From Axios a few days ago, there is a report that Co President Joe Manchin is talking a skinny BBB with about a trillion in higher corporate taxes, a half trillion for energy, and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Half of the revenue would be deficit reduction.


    This looks to me like a deal that the Dems should be willing to entertain. Any thoughts? I know Sinema doesn’t want any tax hikes, but can she be the only holdout on this deal?

    Also, a long story in today’s NYT about Manchin’s coal company, which sells “gob”, “garbage of bituminous”.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Sinema is going to run for re-election as an independent. She will not agree to any tax hikes. She has said so repeatedly. Manchin is just passing the baton to Krysten. Enjoy the game.

  13. rjs

    off topic, ‘Lambert Strether of Corrente’, but does Corrente even exist anymore?…i’ve been around since 2008, so i remember your old site, but i just googled it & found no reference…trying corrente.com got me an offer to buy or use that “premium domain name” so i was curious if the old site is still up…

  14. Tom Stone

    For those that think portable railguns are cool Arcflash has a Gauss rifle coming on the market soon.
    It’s more a toy or proof of concept than a usable tool,but it is the first and very cool.

    1. Wukchumni

      Sounds fun, but i’ve come to enjoy the 3D printed Paris Gun I created, along with the 3D printed rails so as to have full range of fire. Pixley is in definite peril.

      1. Tom Stone

        No,but it might be your great, great, great grandpa’s airgun.
        Lewis and Clark carried one powerful enough for deer and Napoleon armed some of his elite troops with precharged air guns.
        They were very expensive back in the day,made one at a time by artisans.

  15. Wukchumni

    Book Tip:

    A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization, by John Perlin.

    Written in 1989, it is a tour de forge & heating of how civilizations went away once they used up their forest resources.

    Should we run out of gas, trees will be about the only thing left to burn, aside from books.

  16. Wukchumni

    I think Putin’s gambit to be paid in Rubles for gas is particularly brilliant, it takes a currency that had no credibility to speak of, and turns it into the petro-Ruble, a force to be reckoned with.

    Why would any European banks/countries would be holding any?

    No good reason, really.

    Turnabout is flare pay…

      1. Wukchumni

        The gold standard largely went away after WW1 as the combatants (aside from the UK & USA) couldn’t afford to be on it anymore, assuring it’s death 15 years later-as anybody still on the standard could afford the risk of raids on all that glitters, a fiat accompli if you will.

        Now Russia has dared say to the English speaking countries, Europe and Japan/SK, ‘ok liars, the new worldwide financial playing field is going to look much different, no more conjuring money out of thin air and calling it good.’

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you conjure money out of thin air just fast enough to meet the economic exchange needs of the people within your national jurisdiction, and if you de-conjure the money back into thin air by taxation and extinguisment of the tax-taken money so as to prevent an inflationogenic buildup of the thin-air-based conjure-money; I suppose you still could do it and stay safe.

          If the dollar loses place and value, I suspect its international replacements will still be conjure-money, just not conjure-dollars any more.

          1. Robert Hahl

            “… extinguisment of the tax-taken money so as to prevent an inflationogenic buildup…”

            Or just permit NFT’s. Easier peasier.

        2. Mikel

          “no more conjuring money out of thin air and calling it good.’

          And assigning arbitrary value to an object – that has to be mined for and that the already wealthy have mostly already hoarded – is really a better idea?
          That’s the accelerator to a feudal-style economy.

  17. kareninca

    I’m not sure how much uptake Ukraine is having where I am in Silicon Valley. When I went to Safeway a couple of days ago, when I checked out the keypad asked me if I wanted to donate $1/$2/$5/$10 to Ukrainian refugees. I sometimes donate when such keypad requests pop up, but this time the elderly Asian cashier lady made the request disappear with an annoyed motion before I could consider. Usually the cashiers seem to take these donation requests seriously. Either she thought it was nonsense, or her customers have been saying it is. And I have seen no flags.

    I have noticed that expiration dates on cans of food are going in reverse. I’ve been doing some stocking up for several months. Not a lot, since I’m in a condo, but some. I check expiration dates, and they had been as I expected; each time I shopped they went out further. But now when I shop at Safeway and Walgreens, I am finding that the cans expire sooner than my last purchases. What does that mean about inventory management? What is going on? I have a relative in Hayward and she tells me that local stores fob off expired items all the time, but that doesn’t happen around here (yet). And these aren’t expired – just older. I feel like I’m seeing a signal.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we’re at the end of all the truck routes, and the bread we’ve been getting for 2 years has been a day away from hard and stale.
      so we stock up on our way through fredericksburg and freeze it.
      they have my preferred “cool bread”, too.
      but that’s also HEB, and i’ve long ago concluded that they, as much as a corporation can, have a moral sense.
      our local grocer, not so much(the manager of the local store, oth, proved himself a master of providing for our county when the lockdowns and shortages were at their worst…company reprimanded him for it in some way(technically illegal to source things the way he did), but the town/county rallied to his cause.)

    2. RockHard

      The whole “donate to Ukrainian women and children” has been noted on the edge of the Rockies too. A couple blue & yellow yard signs but the sentiment is muted. Putin may have overplayed his hand, but they’ve had a few drinks at the poker table and it may be that Biden overplayed his much worse.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      I’m in suburban Chicago and must now check the expiration dates on everything I buy. We’ve run into expired (or nearly expired) goods across all types of stores (National, regional and local). Not sure what is going on. It would seem the rolling shortages would translate into newer stock as everything is bought up. Maybe the distributors are sending nearly expired goods that they would have just dumped in the past?

      1. kareninca

        I have bags of canned food that expire in 2023. I bought most of those cans a couple of months ago. Then I started coming upon some that expire in 2024; I started new bags. But now I am not finding 2024 cans; just more 2023. And even some 2022. That suggests to me that they aren’t making additional 2024 cans, or not many. That the production spigot has been turned down or off. And as you say, they are sending off to Safeway what they might have sent to Grocery Outlet in the past. I hope that is not what is going on.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Just because cans are “expired” may not necessarily mean that they are not safe anymore. They may still be safe. They may even be good.

          I am eating some cans of legacy Brunswick brand sardines that are dated as ” best before 2015″ sometime and they are still perfectly good.

          If the can is not swollen or also if it does not emit a jet of gassy liquid upon opening ( as a non-swollen can of tuna once did for me), then it may still be good. I boiled the gassy but non-swollen can-load of tuna real hard for ten minutes to kill anything in it, but it still made me unpleasantly sick for several days. So if the can expels gassy juice upon opening, don’t bother trying to make it safe. I tried it so you don’t have to.

          1. kareninca

            Yes, that is true, I eat expired canned food without qualms. But I try to keep track in case I want to give it away, since you can’t give away expired food.

      1. ambrit

        We’ve been noticing the same here Down South. It is happening at all ‘levels’ of vendor, from Bigg Boxx on down to Corner Store. Also, ‘specialty’ items, such as brown rice pastas are disappearing. The place where I obtain said brown rice pastas is an “upscale” semi-boutique grocery, (which I call the ‘Whole Foods Clone,’) that caters to the University crowd. That place is “not afraid to charge” for items, so, my assumption is that the supply is the issue.
        By “not afraid to charge,” I give, as an example, artisinal eight ounce bags of granola, priced at from ten to twelve dollars per unit. That part of the cereal shelf has a dozen ‘choices’ from which to partake.
        My bellwether grocery item for the “cheap seats crowd” is packets of ramen. The price of that item has been steadily increasing over the past year.
        Stay safe!

      2. Wukchumni

        I always bring a magnifying glass with me when shopping @ the Grocery Outlet, as the use-by dates might be next week on an exceptional deal or next year, and either the wording has gotten tinier on the packages or my eyesight is going to hell, or both.

        Haven’t noticed any closer use-by dates on canned/bottled food @ Winco supermarket where I do cleanup shopping after hitting the Groutlet.

        It could also mean that supermarkets are ‘cleaning up’ on food that might otherwise be donated to food banks?

        FWIW: Our food bank here doesn’t care if the use-by dates are a few years past on donations… no dented, rusted or bloated cans though.

  18. Mikel

    I stumbled upon a book while browsing around looking at how economic sanctions have been used in the past. It’s called “Planning Armageddon: British Economic Warfare and the First World War” by Nicholas Lambert.
    Here’s part of the intro to this book:

    “….In contrast to the naval theorists, the real navy policy makers were well aware of the importance of the late nineteenth century changes to the global trading system. In late 1908, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir John Fisher, unveiled a grand strategy for war against Germany to Prime Minister H.H. Asquith and his senior ministers that sought to exploit these changes. His plan was predicated upon the twin expectations that the outbreak of hostilities would trigger a countdown toward economic and social Armageddon and that Britain could manage the descent into the abyss. Fisher argued that the British naval supremacy, combined with its near monopoly on the infrastructure of the global trading system (and global credit network), would permit the government of the day to slow the effects of chaos upon the British economy while at the same time accelerating Germany’s derangement. Rapid economic destruction would be assured or Germany but not mutually assured for Britain. This broadening of war planning beyond the strictly military sphere constituted a revolution in the very definition of strategy…”

    All too familiar…

    1. Will

      If you’re looking for books on sanctions, then The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War by Prof Mulder at Cornell may be of interest.

      Disclaimer, I have not yet had the chance to read the book, but became interested after listening to this hour long interview with Prof Mulder. Interview starts at 28:05


      Some interesting tidbits from the interview that still standout:

      1. Sanctions were explicitly spoken of as warfare, not as somehow a softer alternative to war. Also, economic actions included inducements, not merely sanctions. Of course, none of this still holds.

      2. German planning for mass civilian murder/genocide in WWII explicitly referenced the need to prepare for sanctions. The experience of the blockade during WWI had a lasting effect. If you’re going to have to ration food, then, well, why not also control the number of mouths to feed. Especially if those mouths are connected to inferior populations.

  19. Wukchumni

    Been hearing rumblings of something really absurd among the parkies here, but that comes with the territory in the USA. I couldn’t find anything on it on the internet though in my searching.

    National Park Service is apparently having a devil of a time finding employees across the country for a number of reasons, one of them being a test for prospective employees devised by Jared Kushner, I was told.

    1. Wukchumni

      Ah ha, all it took was adding Trump to the search. Seasonal employees are the worker bees of our National Parks, gonna be interesting to see how it plays out this summer.

      You’d almost wonder if the intention was to so throttle our National Parks by ridding 2/3rds of the high season workforce, and then you could have Ivanka privatize them in 2029.

      Trump-mandated assessments are making it hard to hire seasonal workers for national parks in Utah and across the U.S.

      Her current residence may technically be the back of a Ford F-150, but Utah’s rugged canyon country is where she has made her career and home.

      After spending nine years as a commercial raft guide and several seasons as a National Park Service ranger, her resume highlights those skills: a familiarity with remote wilderness travel, technical search and rescue experience, and the ability to row a raft through whitewater rapids, to name a few.

      But this year, when the ranger was applying for seasonal jobs with the Interior Department along with thousands of hopeful candidates across the United States, her application was ranked by a new metric: her ability to complete complex logic and reading comprehension problems on a timed, online multiple-choice test.

      For the first time in her career with the federal government, the river ranger, who asked not to be named so she could speak freely about the ongoing hiring process, didn’t even land an interview for jobs she previously was deemed qualified to perform. She believes the tests are to blame.

      “I am a good employee who has done well, and I’m not getting referred for the position that I did [last year],” she said. “This is insane.”


      Here’s a sample test for a seasonal employee, utterly ridiculous.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would the Biden Administration have the power to reverse this situation back to the status quo ante under which this person had her job? Or did the Trump Administration make this rule change in a clever way designed to require years of hard bureaucratic labor to just even simply reverse and cancel?

        Either way, I think this change was done as part of the TrumpAdmin’s ” Deconstructing the Administrative State” agenda. In this case by stripping out enough employees from the National Park Service that it degrades and implodes, opening all the park land to eventual privatization.

        If the BidenAdmin can reverse this and chooses not to, then the BidenAdmin will make itself look Trumpian on the issue of ” Deconstruction of the Administrative State” , further weakening the argument that some people still make that the RepubliParty and the DemParty are not exactly the same yet and that the difference may still matter a little bit on certain particular survival issues.

  20. Tom Stone

    I suspect things may get awkward for the Biden Administration by May 1st.
    BA2 will have taken off like a rocket, Diesel will still be at $7 or more a gallon, eggs at $8 per dozen and bread at $10 per loaf.
    And the situation in Ukraine will have settled down in ways that will be difficult to spin.

    1. Mikel

      And all those back to office workers that worked from home just fine before and that don’t have alot of investments in the stock market (which it looks like they are trying to use as lipstick on this pig economy), are going to be clamoring to not commute again.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Under Biden’s former science chief, Eric Lander, Schmidt’s foundation helped cover officials’ salaries, even as the office’s general counsel raised ethical flags.

      That’s awful.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a heart-warming little-birdie video, titled ” The pleasure that two q-tips can provide”.

    Here is the link.

    ( I think the bird is a species of white-eye)
    here is a bunch of images of white-eyes.

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