2:00PM Water Cooler 3/31/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, a quick update on 2022’s Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser: We have around 210 contributions, so we are a little less than two-thirds of the way to our goal of 350. (Note that the goal is a count of donors, not a dollar total, so small contributions are important too; cf. Luke 21:1-4). So please, if you can, help out. I will unblushingly quote myself. If you have enjoyed Water Cooler, or found it useful, over the past year:

If you can dig deep, please consider doing so. Not only is this quarter tax time for me, I have responsibilities in the real world. Further, you will be paying me for work I have already done — unlike the Naked Capitalism fundraiser proper, which sets the budget for the following year — and so having played the fiddle, I am now passing my cap, which I hope will shortly sag with your contributions. Please click the Donate button below and contribute what you can.

Also, for those who have not encountered my PayPal form before: It works. Don’t worry! (PayPal’s know-your-customer rules require that I disclose my secret identity — that is, not “Lambert Strether,” like “Yves Smith” a pen name — which, although pretty porous at this point, I still don’t put out on the Intertubes. (The hamster reference is an old joke about our server technology). Also, I only control values I pop into PayPal’s design, not the design itself. The form, for a decade or so, has included my email address. This year, for whatever reason, PayPal decided to change that. I have updated the image at the bottom of the page accordingly. I apologize for the kerfuffle, but the kerfuffle also makes me happy, because we have new readers who are appropriately careful and skeptical!

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Bird Song of the Day

Northern Bobwhite week at Naked Capitalism continues. Not long, but I like the night sounds.

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Capitol Seizure

“Revealed: Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log” [Guardian]. “Trump called Lee at 2.26pm on January 6 through the official 202-395-0000 White House number, according to call detail records reviewed by the Guardian and confirmation by the two sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. The call was notable as Trump mistakenly dialed Lee thinking it was the number for Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville. Lee passed the phone to Tuberville, who told Trump Mike Pence had just been removed from the Senate chamber as rioters stormed the Capitol. But Trump’s call to Lee was not recorded in either the presidential daily diary or the presidential call log – a problem because even though entries in the daily diary are discretionary, according to several current and former White House officials, the call log is not.. [T]he presidential call log, typically generated from data recorded when calls are placed by the White House operators, is supposed to be a comprehensive record of all incoming and outgoing calls involving the president through White House channels, the officials said…. It was not immediately clear how a Trump White House official might obfuscate or tamper with the presidential call log, or who might have the authority to make such manipulations. Trump’s calls on January 6 might not have been recorded in the presidential call log if he used his personal phone or the cellphones of aides, the officials said, and Trump sometimes called people with the cellphone of his then White House deputy chief of staff, Dan Scavino.”

Biden Adminstration

“The media avoided the ties between Joe Biden and Hunter’s laptop” [New York Post]. Thank heavens somebody owns this story. “[D]espite acknowledging that the material on the laptop showed that Hunter was ‘trading on his ­father’s name to make a lot of money,’ as CNN White House correspondent John Harwood put it, both the Washington Post and CNN were at pains to absolve Joe Biden of any involvement in the scheme. ‘There is zero evidence that Vice President Biden, or President Biden, has done anything wrong in connection with what Hunter Biden has done,’ Harwood said….. the Washington Post curiously left out crucial facts in two detailed stories about the laptop on Tuesday that totaled a hefty near 7,000 words. [First,] the $6 million [Chinese energy conglomerate] CEFC wired into the business bank account of trusted Biden family friend Rob Walker, a former Clinton administration official whose wife, Betsy Massey Walker, had been Jill Biden’s assistant when she was second lady. That money was payment for work done by Hunter and his business partners during the last two years of Joe Biden’s vice presidency in countries from Romania to Russia, using the Biden name to open doors and find acquisitions for CEFC. Nor does the Washington Post mention the company SinoHawk Holdings, which was set up on May 15, 2017, for a joint venture between CEFC and Hunter and his business partners. This was the deal for which Joe Biden was to get a 10% cut, as cited in an infamous 2017 email on the laptop, ’10 [percent] held by H [Hunter] for the big guy.’ Hunter’s former business partner, the CEO of SinoHawk, Tony Bobulinski, has publicly said that Joe Biden is the “big guy.” But the Washington Post curiously does not mention Bobulinski, even though his name is all over the emails and documents on the laptop relating to CEFC, and even though the naval veteran held a press conference spilling the beans on the Bidens in October 2020. It does not mention that Bobulinski met Joe Biden twice in 2017, to be vetted as CEO of SinoHawk.” • A cursory search on Betsy Massey Walker turns up nothing. I would have expected her to be an Ambassador or something. Oh well.

“Senate Turns Back David Weil as Labor’s Top Wage-Hour Enforcer” [Bloomberg]. “The Senate Wednesday turned back President Joe Biden’s nomination of David Weil as the U.S. Department of Labor’s top wage-hour regulator…. Weil came under criticism from business groups and Republicans over his scrutiny of gig-economy companies’ labor practices since that time. … Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who expressed concerns about Weil’s nomination last year, voted ‘no’ in the procedural vote. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) also voted ‘no.'” • That’s quite an act. What do you call it? “The Democrats!”

“Biden to invoke Defense Production Act for electric vehicle battery materials” [The Hill]. “President Biden is set to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) as early as this week to step up production of minerals used to manufacture electric vehicle batteries, a source familiar the plans confirmed to The Hill. Biden is set to issue a presidential determination to stoke domestic production of the minerals, which are used for both stationary batteries and vehicles. The person emphasized that the production will not bypass existing permitting or environmental review processes. The addition of certain minerals, including lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese, to the list of items covered under the law could give mining companies access to some $750 million under the DPA’s Title III fund, the person told The Hill.” • If this were The Matrix, I can think of another source of raw materials for those batteries…..

“Louis DeJoy, the Postmaster Democrats Love to Hate, Isn’t Going Anywhere” [Bloomberg]. “Once Joe Biden defeated Trump, a lot of people figured the incoming president would move swiftly to dump the postmaster general. But DeJoy is still very much on the job, and he’s achieved more than you might expect in the face of continued challenges. The Postal Service’s handing of mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election was hardly a debacle. With a record 43% of Americans voting by mail, the USPS transported the vast majority of ballots to state election officials within three days. When DeJoy unveiled the 10-year plan in March 2021, it was criticized by Democrats and some of his agency’s largest customers, because it included price increases and the slowing of some first-class mail. However, it was praised by Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, the Postal Service’s largest employee union, which has tangled with some of DeJoy’s predecessors. The union declined to comment for this story, but in a statement at the time of the plan’s introduction, Rolando lauded its aspirations to improve working conditions for postal workers and put the USPS back on a growth trajectory by encouraging smaller businesses to use the service more for packages. The Biden administration has periodically signaled its unease with DeJoy. “That has not changed,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in January. Yet the postmaster general collaborated recently with the White House to successfully deliver 320 million free Covid-19 test kits to American households in an average of less than two days.”

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.

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Good to see Cori Bush in the chair:

That said, why weren’t these hearings held in January 2021? Does the Democrat leadership want a cookie for a performative gesture before the midterms? (Also, I hear the word “innovation” was used a lot.)

“Amazon hired an influential Democratic pollster to fight Staten Island union drive” [CNBC]. “Amazon tapped an influential consulting and polling firm with close ties to Democratic political groups to help the company thwart a critical unionization effort at a Staten Island, New York, warehouse, CNBC has learned. Global Strategy Group, which served as a polling partner for a pro-Biden super PAC ahead of the 2020 election, has been working for Amazon since at least late last year to produce anti-union materials, according to documents viewed by CNBC.” • Indeed, Democrats are the party of the working class. Except when there are billable hours at stake.

“Where’d Hochul get the Buffalo Bills stadium money? NY forces $564M in casino payments” [Democrat & Chronicle]. 10,000 jobs lol. They always say that. “And [Seneca Nation President Matthew] Pagels didn’t stop there. He also took aim at Bill Hochul, the governor’s husband, who is senior vice president and general counsel for Delaware North, which runs concessions at the Bills’ current home, Highmark Stadium, in Orchard Park, New York. Delaware North could reap big dividends if the Buffalo business keeps feeding Bills fans in the new stadium. ‘I’m sure that was welcome news to the governor’s husband, whose company not only operates video lottery terminals within the Seneca Nation’s supposed gaming exclusivity zone with the state’s blessing, but the company will also make millions of dollars in concession business inside the state-owned stadium. And it’s being paid for on the backs of the Seneca Nation. Quite a sweetheart deal.'” • And then, the owners:

Don’t ever change, New York Democrats!

Republican Funhouse

“McCarthy: Cawthorn had ‘no evidence’ for orgy allegations, has ‘got to turn himself around’ [The Hill]. “Cawthorn frustrated GOP colleagues after he appeared on the “Warrior Poet Society” podcast last week and said that racy elements of the Netflix television drama ‘House of Cards’ are not far from reality. ‘All of the sudden you get invited to, ‘Well, hey, we’re going to have kind of a sexual get-together at one of our homes. You should come.’ … You realize they are asking you to come to an orgy,’ Cawthorn said. He added that he has seen people who advocate against addiction doing ‘key bumps of cocaine.’ McCarthy said Cawthorn gave him no evidence to back up that characterization. The explanation for the cocaine allegation was that ‘he thinks he saw maybe a staffer in the parking garage from 100 yards away.’ ‘This is unacceptable. There’s no evidence to this,’ McCarthy said. ‘That’s not becoming of a congressman. He did not tell the truth.'”


“The House Map’s Republican Bias Will Plummet In 2022 — Because Of Gerrymandering” [FiveThirtyEight]. “No matter which way you slice it, Democrats have gained blue seats from the mapmaking process, making the House playing field between the two parties more balanced than it has been in decades. But that doesn’t mean the 2022 congressional map should be considered ‘fair.’ As the maps stand on March 30 at 5 p.m. Eastern, 175 congressional districts have a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean1 of D+5 or bluer, 181 have a partisan lean of R+5 or redder and 33 are in the “highly competitive” category between D+5 and R+5…. Still, Democrats are likely to gain seats from redistricting in 2022 even after you consider that they already hold a lot of those newly blue-leaning seats. By my calculations, redistricting alone should net Democrats about two more seats in the House next year,2 while Republicans are in position to lose around three or four seats on net from the process.3 Of course, the national political environment (which is currently Republican-leaning) will have a much bigger impact on the 2022 midterms than redistricting, so this doesn’t mean Democrats are favored to hold onto the House — but it does mean that redistricting made that task slightly more possible.” • I noted that the Democrat NGOs were hysterical about redistricting and the injustice of it all, but that Democrat electeds were not. So I declined to get hysterial, rightly.

“Busch beer heiress enters Missouri US Senate race” [Associated Press]. “Anheuser-Busch beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine on Tuesday announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate, shaking up what has been a low-profile Democratic primary in a solidly red state. Busch Valentine’s announcement comes amid widespread calls from Republicans for Eric Greitens to drop out of the race after the Republican former governor’s ex-wife accused him of physically abusing her and one of their kids…. Busch Valentine, a 64-year-old registered nurse, described herself as still being a ‘nurse at heart’ in her campaign announcement.” • Now might a good time to review this: The Busch Family Brood.


“Poll: Trump leads Biden, Harris in 2024 match-ups” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump is leading President Biden in a hypothetical 2024 match-up, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill on Monday. If the 2024 presidential election were held right now, the poll finds Trump getting 47 percent support compared to 41 percent for Biden. Twelve percent of voters are undecided. Vice President Harris performs even worse in a hypothetical match-up with Trump. Forty-nine percent said they would choose Trump, while 38 percent said they would support Harris.”

“The Future of Trumpism” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. ” As DeSantis spoke, he looked like a man who had been mimicking Donald Trump’s speeches in front of the mirror. He performed a series of hand thrusts, in which he drew his thumbs together until they were almost touching, then jerked them apart in quick horizontal motions, as if he were playing an invisible accordion. After five such accordion pulls, he swung his right hand, thumb pointing up, in a semi-circular motion back inward to the center. DeSantis tweeted out the clip, and any MAGA fan watching, even without the sound on, would have grasped the gist just through the eerie physical impersonation. Republicans have collectively recognized that however much Trump may exasperate them, their president-in-exile will not be purged, nor will the changes he brought to their party be rolled back. He might, however, be co-opted. And if this is to happen, they have settled with remarkable unanimity on DeSantis as the person to do it.” • If either Chait or Republicans think that Trump’s connection to voters comes down to body language…. the country is in a very bad way.

“Jamaica PM to meet with VP Kamala Harris as White House works on Caribbean relationships” [Miami Herald]. • So Harris’s European trip went well, then?

“‘This City. These People. All Sheep, And I Am Their Shepherd,’ Says Eric Adams, Looking Out Over New York” [The Onion]. “Without me, without my power and my will, each of these 8 million souls would be condemned to a wretched life and death amidst a twisted, seething cesspool of humanity. As they cling to a crumbling precipice, they reach out, in their desperation, to the one man whose whims control their destiny: to me, to their protector, to New York’s greatest benefactor, to Eric Adams!” At press time, sources reported Adam had retired for the night to his apartment in New Jersey.” • New Jersey? Maybe. Do readers have more current information?


“Clinton campaign, Democratic Party to settle campaign finance inquiry for $113K” [The Hill]. “Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have settled a campaign finance inquiry, agreeing to pay a collective $113,000 in fines that stemmed from the controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, known as the Steele Dossier. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined the campaign $8,000 and the DNC $105,000 for failing to properly report money spent on research for the dossier. The financial penalties came to light in a letter the FEC sent to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a conservative group, after it filed a complaint. The FEC determined that Clinton’s campaign disclosed the $175,000 it spent on research for the dossier as ‘legal services,’ but the complainant alleged it was meant for ‘opposition research done by Fusion [GPS].’ The funds went to Perkins Coie, the law firm that recruited opposition research group Fusion GPS, which brought on retired British spy Christopher Steele. The regulatory agency noted that political committees must disclose the purpose of expenditures or disbursements that are larger than $200.” • What?! You mean everybody knew the Clinton campaign paid for the Steele Dossier all the time? Say it’s not so! (Money well spent, so far as I’m concerned, considering the leverage the permanent Clinton campaign got from it.)

Realignment and Legitimacy


If you missed it, here is yesterday’s post on my queasiiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

Case count by United States regions:

For grins, here is the case count for the last four weeks:

Slow rise in the Northeast consistent with MWRA data.

Fellow tapewatchers will note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” phase is done with, and the case count– such as it is — 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. 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.

“Concern for COVID-19, pandemic precautions falls further: poll” [The Hill]. “Concern surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and safety precautions has yet to level off, according to a new survey published by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research on Tuesday…. Fewer adults also said they were taking precautions when going outside their homes. When it came to specific precautions, 64 percent said they wore a mask outside of their homes often or sometimes, 62 percent said they avoided nonessential travel and 59 percent said they avoided others as much as possible. These percentages of people who said they took these precautions all dropped by about 17 or 18 percentage points from when the poll was conducted in January.” • Good job. Double down on the propaganda.

And then there’s BA.2:

BA.2 is here…

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.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

The MRWA is divided into two sections, North and South. North is distinctly up, South is rising slowly. 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. I remember using the metaphor of flying coals in a forest fire — many land, but sputter out; a few catch, and the first spreads. What I notice about this round of flareups is that the “coals” are the size of multiple counties, not, as previously, single ones. FWIW! (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: 1,006,445 1,004,244. 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):

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 14 thousand to 202 thousand in the week ended March 26th, above market expectations of 197 thousand. Still, it remained not far from the previous period’s revised level of 188 thousand, which was the lowest since 1969.”

Employment Situation: “United States Challenger Job Cuts” [Trading Economics]. “US-based companies announced plans to cut 21,387 jobs from their payrolls in March of 2022, the most in five months. Most cuts were due to store, unit, or plant closing (5,301) and vaccine refusal (3,278). By sector, for the fourth consecutive month, Health Care/Products announced the most job cuts (4,995). There appears to be a return of a healthier churn in the labor market. Some U.S. Employers report hiring is getting easier, particularly with the incentives many companies put in place to attract and retain talent.”

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Tech: Sounds innovative:

“Snot cannon”? That’s harsh.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 46 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 31 at 1:18pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

The Gallery

“Meet Magritte – the man behind the apple” [Apollo]. “‘He did not speak about things that touched him deeply,’ [said Magritte’s wife, Georgette said. ‘He painted them away.'” • I had no idea Magritte had worked as a commercial artist. Like Warhol–

“Life Lessons from Liza Minnelli” [Interview]. Minelli: “When [the skies are] clear, New York looks like the inside of a diamond.” • She’s right! Back in the day, when Interview was Andy Warhol’s Interview, it was filled with sumptuous black and white photography. What a time, when you could buy it, and New York Spy, at the same newsstand in Harvard Square….

Our Famously Free Press

Sounds legit:

Class Warfare

“Trouble in the Tulips: Organized Farmworkers Win Basic Demands in a Quick Strike” [Labor Notes]. “Yes, the fields of flowers are so beautiful they can take your breath away, but the conditions under which they’re cultivated and harvested can be just as bad as they are for any other crop. ‘Tulips have always been a hard job, but it’s a job during a time of the year when work is hard to find,’ says farmworker Tomas Ramon. ‘This year we just stopped enduring the problems. We decided things had to change.’ On Monday, March 21, their dissatisfaction reached a head. Three crews of pickers at Washington Bulb accused the company of shorting the bonuses paid on top of their hourly wage, Washington’s minimum of $14.69. Workers get that extra pay if they exceed a target quota set by the company for picking flowers. The parent company of RoozenGaarde Flowers and Bulbs is Washington Bulb, the nation’s largest tulip grower. When the company wouldn’t talk on that Monday, 70 workers voted to strike the following day. Another 20 joined them the next morning, when they again demanded to talk with the company. This time one of the owners told them he wouldn’t talk if the president of Familias Unidas, Ramon Torres, was present. ‘So we said, ‘If you won’t talk with our representative, we won’t talk without him,” Tomas Ramon remembers. ‘We have a union and you have to make an agreement with him.’ So the owner got angry and left.’ That Wednesday the flowers were just waving in the breeze, waiting for someone to pick them. The day after, the company lawyer was on the phone to union attorney Kathy Barnard. With a commitment to begin negotiations, workers agreed to go back into the rows after the weekend, and talks got started. ‘By the first day of the strike the workers had already met, elected a committee, and put their demands in writing,’ said FUJ’s political director Edgar Franks. ;After the four years of fighting for the contract at Sakuma Farms, they knew how to organize themselves quickly. They had community supporters on their picket lines after the first day. They had their list of demands, and finally forced the company to accept it.'” • Heartening!

News of the Wired

“The Father of Modern Neuroscience Discovered the Basic Unit of the Nervous System” [Scientific American]. “Since researchers first began to study the nervous system in ancient times, they have tended to compare its structure to contemporary technologies. The ancient Egyptians saw in the exterior casing of the brain, with its fissures and convolutions, the corrugated slag left over from smelting ore. The ancient Greeks thought the brain functioned like a catapult. René Descartes believed that animal spirits flowed from the brain through hollow nerves and inflated the muscles, just as hydraulic fluid traveled through machines in the royal gardens at Saint-Germain. In the 19th century, a new era of transportation, anatomist Otto Deiters, among many others, conceived of the nervous system as a railroad, with junctions at which traffic could be routed. In the mid-19th century the railway metaphor for the nervous system gave way to another transformative technological advance: the telegraph.” • Today, of course, the computer….

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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 Re Silc:

Re Silc writes: “Big flower!” I have no skill for growing houseplants whatever. So I find this impressive!

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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. jr

    “A continuous preestablished net—like the lattice of telegraphic wires in which no new stations or new lines can be created—somehow rigid, immutable, incapable of being modified,” he said, “goes against the concept that we all hold of the organ of thought: that within certain limits, it is malleable and capable of being perfected by means of well-directed mental gymnastics.

    The next time a materialist tells me that consciousness has no direct impact on physical reality, I will retort “Than how do you expect me to change my mind?”

    Also, as an aside, this is the essence of Magic. Changing consciousness in accordance with the will involves changing how the mind receives said consciousness. Consciousness alters our neural architecture, which in turn alters how we filter consciousness, if one holds with the notion that rather than our brains producing consciousness they our transceivers of it.

    1. begob

      I think that’s what Heidegger was getting at through Dasein – being in the world. The problem is that, as he himself showed, this feedback system discards reason on its way to forming a community and settles into ideology.

    1. Harold

      I have discovered by trial and error (and a bit of reading) that they like a lot of fertilizer during the growing season outside, along with plentiful water and summer heat, which they had in spades last summer when it was raining all the time.

    2. petal

      My bf and I have had a few bloom year after year. One of his is blooming right now, and another has shot up a stalk. Good fun, and it’s a nice self esteem booster for those who may have been discouraged by a brown thumb.

  2. Carla

    Re: Tulip Pickers Triumph — this is a fitting story for a lovely spring day — perhaps American labor organizing truly is rising from the dead.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Latest vote totals in election at Amazon warehouse in Staten Island (via @amazonlabor):

      Current Vote Totals:
      1518 Yes
      1154 No

      364 votes in ALU’s favor to wrap up today’s count. Counting will resume at 10am tomorrow

  3. Wukchumni

    ‘Gulp Fiction’ plot:

    Everything in the movie centers around a mysterious laptop, the contents of which are unknown, but thought to contain Joe Biden’s soul or it’s an ersatz Pandoras Box, or quite possibly NFT’s of the diamonds stolen in Reservoir Dogs.

    The only time you ever see people smoking is in movies, so Hunter is a natural-a latter day Marlboro Man putting the hurt on a dozen cancer sticks a day. His sidekick is of course the spirit of Beau, gone too soon-as we are constantly reminded by his father.

    1. anon y'mouse

      Joe supposedly let slip that Beau was being treated at VA for ankylosing spondylitis, an (can be, with meds up to $30k/yr and consistent phys. therapy a must) expensive autoimmune progressively degenerative arthritis.

      yet he seems offended that normal U.S. citizens would receive healthcare without risking their life and limb (for imperialist corporate profits) to “earn” it, like his son did and says he would likely veto any plan put before him.

      we’re so unworthy!

  4. jr

    re: Word Jumble of the Day

    A nice break down of the lunacies of Judith Butler:


    Here’s a choice bit:

    “The main conundrum faced by gender identity ideologues today (and, by proxy, women’s rights advocates), which they have refused to respond to in a cohesive way, is that, 1) If there is no concrete definition of “woman,” what is a “woman’s right”? And 2) If a woman is not a material thing, but just a vague idea, why the concerted, often violent effort to insist “transwomen are [literally] women”?”

    Refused to respond to in a cohesive way? Boy, this rings some bells. I’ve been off-gassing about this garbage for years here on NC with nary a contrary response. Maybe I just have it all wrong and I’m just being ignored due to my profound ignorance. I’d love to find out.

    A sad accounting of the violence and authoritarianism that feminist activists face today:


    I would sincerely love to have encountered a mob of these rainbow fascists when I lived in Philly. I knew a couple of hard West Philly guys who would have quickly disabused the men amongst them of their sense that they are entitled to publicly threaten women. By disabuse, I mean a bit of “street dentistry”. We’d see quickly how “fierce” the cowards really are.

    1. Nick

      They are all nuts. Mock them, laugh at them, spit on them. Refuse to use their manufactured language.
      Women have ovaries.
      Men have testicles.
      Yes, there are a few genetic and medical freaks that do not, but society should not have to turn itself inside out to normalize those that do this to themself.

      1. Zzzz Andrew

        Really disappointing to see comments like this on NC. We’ve all seen identity politics used to thwart desperately needed reform, if that’s where your anger is coming from; but turning that anger on real people (friends and colleagues of mine) who already live on the wrong end of the worst sort of discrimination and abuse is just f’d.

        Plus, comments like this make sharing NC with a wide range of people who might otherwise be reached by it impossible. For all our sakes, you should rethink your hate.

        1. CoryP

          Agree with Zzzz Andrew.

          And to jr‘s original question about being ignored…
          I have to admit that after I’ve associated certain usernames with certain axes to grind, I am more likely to skip their posts. But I don’t begrudge anyone to have their pet topics or areas of expertise, or interest.

          This might even be a logical fallacy on my part, since surely if something is someone’s favorite topic, they likely will be the one to bring up new information that I haven’t heard.

          Just my honest answer.

  5. Hepativore

    That is a nice amaryllis. Even though they are subtropical plants from South America, they are relatively hassle-free.

    Anyway, because of how dismal and rainy it has been this week, I am in the mood for some psychedelic rock. I have always been a fan of Robyn Hitchcock and his various projects, but the Soft Boys group of his is probably my favorite, and the whole album, Underwater Moonlight is a keeper. It came out in the early 1980’s but it has a very 1960’s psychedelic sound…a mixture of Syd Barrett, the Kinks, and the Beatles, but there is an undercurrent of unease throughout the entire album.

    Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight (Album)


    MGMT – Congratulations! (Album)


    Television Personalities – …And Don’t The Kids Just Love It (Album)


    Dukes of Stratosphere – Chips From the Chocolate Fireball (Album)


  6. Jason Boxman

    LOL. I got news for McCarthy. If you wanna see someone do a real bump, spend some time at The Liberty Hotel in Boston. I’ve seen bumps happen in the men’s restroom on a few occasions, to be sure.

    That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if this happens in DC as well. It’s hard to believe you can be in government there and not be high all the time on something, even if it is, as for liberal Democrats, their own supply of something or other.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’m sure McCarthy is just shocked, SHOCKED at these allegations. Long time libertine, reprobate and Republican fixer Roger Stone would certainly be able to corroborate Cawthorne’s allegations. I’d be extremely surprised if he weren’t still on retainer with any number if influential Republicans. Here’s a little interview with Stone from several years ago, conducted in part from inside a Miami swinger’s club!


      And do note to author, who himself had some of his own baser habits exposed a year or so ago.

      This clip seems apropos to finish up, with Nicholas Cage playing the role of the good and chaste Rep. Cawthorne.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I’d made the Roger Stone reference in jest, and yet oddly enough Stone has actually surfaced and chimed in on the situation. From today’s Breaking Points at about the 4:00 mark –


        Stone claims Cawthorne told him that he has not denied his earlier claims. Pass the popcorn.

    2. Larry

      I’ve seen people do bumps/lines/whatever at Celtics/Bruins games. Usually dudes in their 20s. In the mid 90s I had a friend tell me that casual cocaine use had swept the campus of UMass Boston.

    1. Carla

      LOVE Katie Porter!!! I very seldom squander any $$$ on politicians, and almost never to those who are out of my district or out of my state so that I cannot vote for them. But even though I live FAR from her district, I did make an exception to throw a small contribution Katie Porter’s way, and she has never made me regret it. There are precious few politicians anywhere, of any stripe, of whom I can say the same.

  7. antidlc

    And another one…


    CIA Director William Burns tests positive for Covid after meeting with Biden, but is not considered a close contact

    WASHINGTON – CIA Director William Burns tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, the intelligence agency said.

    Burns, who is fully vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19, last met with President Joe Biden on Wednesday morning during a “socially distanced meeting and was wearing an N-95 mask.”

    “Their interaction is not considered close contact as defined by CDC guidance, and Director Burns is sharing the news of his positive test out of an abundance of transparency,” the intelligence agency wrote in a statement.

    1. megrim

      I actually think that these people truly believe that they can create their own reality through the use of semantics. Yikes.

  8. Brunches with Cats

    > If this were The Matrix, I can think of another source of raw materials for those batteries…..
    That energy source is pretty much depleted due to over-mining and waste (long covid, Case-Deaton, tax on time, etc.)

    Speaking of which, resources are gone by the end of the month, so can’t contribute until tomorrow.

  9. Grant

    “Poll: Trump leads Biden, Harris in 2024 match-ups”

    A country that offers these rotten choices at this pivotal time is one teetering on collapse anyway. I hear many Republicans gloating about the coming electoral wave. Their problem will be the exact same problem that the neoliberal Democrats run into when given power; they will actually have to govern. Their (the far right and the neoliberals) policies are horrible, deeply unpopular and they offer no solution to any actual societal problem we are facing and need to address. Most of what they favor is actively making things worse, which is why so much focus goes into cultural issues. This is a deeply inequitable, corrupt, dysfunctional system and society. This entire setup isn’t sustainable, and neither is the political system. To me, the question is when the total collapse starts, cause there will be a point where things get much worse very rapidly, and I don’t think that is far off. Capitalism itself isn’t sustainable, so ditto there. Seems to me that the Democrats offer a slow, grinding decline and the Republicans speed the collapse up. That is ultimately our choice, the rate that things fall apart.

    1. Mandelman

      “Jamaica PM to meet with VP Kamala Harris”

      “Here’s your escrowed winnings from the sale of your great great grandfathers slave estate…” I’m sure Kamala is just shocked, SHOCKED at these allegations.

      Slave registers from London name the slaves Kamala Harris’ ancestor owned.

      Kamala Harris’ father Donald Harris wrote an essay entitled “Reflections of a Jamaican Father” for Jamaica Global Online, in which he made a startling admission.
      “My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town)
      Jamaican Family Search recorded: “Hamilton Brown owned several plantations over the years 1817 to about 1845. According to the 1818 Almanac which can be found on this site, (Jamaican Family Search) , he was the owner of Minard (128 slaves) which he must have acquired from its previous owner (John Bailie) in 1815 or later. The number of slaves on this estate approximates the number of slaves in one of the registers attributed to his ownership (124 slaves).

      See page 88 http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/slavereg.htm

      1. Tom Stone

        It’s called
        “Human Trafficking” these days,not slavery.
        Which is a much more respectable name for a $150 Billion a year business.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’m sure that is the slave trade became respectable in certain circles, that it would be re-dubbed something like “economic relocation.”

    2. SufferinSuccotash

      There’s always been an uneasy relationship between democracy and capitalism and the next few decades could witness a total divorce between the two. Either the current iteration of capitalism lurches and staggers along at the expense of democracy until climate change catch up with everyone. Or a rejuvenated democracy emerges at the expense of contemporary capitalism and maybe–just maybe–we avoid the worst concerning climate change.

  10. fresno dan

    Hitting Disney where it hurts: Florida GOP threatens to strip Walt Disney World of its right to build anything it wants inside its theme park as feud over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill escalates
    As I hate Disney and all the Mickey Mouse sh*t they pull, if this is what it takes to separate at least one American political party’s lips from the posterior of a giant corporation, so be it. (let’s be real – money always trumps ideology and the chance of a political party really doing something that their corporate masters oppose is about…0)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The GOP has been getting into spats with Disney over culture War stuff for decades. Falwell et al threw a fit over gay wedding type ceremonies, before civil unions. It’s never changed.

      I suppose the GOP is always under threat that the democrats try to do popular policies instead of being democrats. The GOP could always get stomped against an opponent described as “not entirely incompetent and malicious.”

  11. Noone from Nowheresville

    It took about a month to receive the first covid test kit. (manufactured in China)

    Just requested the 2nd covid test kit about a week ago. It has not arrived yet.

    Yet the postmaster general collaborated recently with the White House to successfully deliver 320 million free Covid-19 test kits to American households in an average of less than two days.”

  12. Tom Stone

    It’s been years since I have been to an orgy, however drug and alcohol use was discouraged and those who were obviously intoxicated were politely and very firmly invited to leave.

    1. griffen

      That is the article I’ve read before. Wow, wow and holy cow that is a fine way to lead a life (not so much). When the phrase more money than sense was coined, I’m pretty sure the Busch family heirs depicted were the poster children for it.

  13. jr

    I’ve been pondering why Woke-ism resonates with the authorities so much. I see how it works for it’s ideological adherents by triggering others and thereby creating a “cause”, a self-licking $hit sundae. It occurs to me that it is also the perfect trigger for the powers that be to utilize their authority. You present people with this gibberish which runs counter to both common sense and rigorous thinking. Said people react like “What the fork?!” and immediately take a position contra to it. Then the authorities have an excuse to be authoritarian. It’s all clear to me now.

    1. Geo

      Wokeism ain’t new. It’s the same old song and dance of one group forcing their morals on others. Only thing new about the current woke movement is it’s not white Protestant straight dudes making everyone do as they say. It’s all the “Others” that haven’t had authority before taking the soapbox and demanding everyone cater to their dumb beliefs now.

      Is it annoying and ridiculous? Yes. But, anyone who grew up as an “other” knows what it’s like being targeted by in-group identity politics. Had a gun pulled on me and a group of bigots come after me waving metal pipes. Got called a f*g and a qu**r daily because I wasn’t like them, had ideas they didn’t like, etc.

      So, I’m sorry other groups are telling you you’re different in a bad way. It’s not fun having groups treat you as a less-than person. Just don’t pretend it’s new. That’s what in-group humans do. They treat out-group humans like garbage.

      “To the primitive mind all evil comes from outside.” – J.G. Frazier, The Golden Bough

      1. jr

        I don’t think in-group/out-group dynamics are new. I’ve experienced them firsthand long before the Woke came about. I do find the ease with which the powers that be have seized upon these ideas to be deeply troubling, that’s not new either but it’s the first time I’ve seen it play out on a large scale. In fact, it reminds me of the movie Mephisto, in which a opera singer finds himself surrounded by the creeping power of Nazism in pre-war Germany:


        I’m sorry for your troubles.

    2. Henry Mosley

      I’ve been considering the reason why Woke-ism resounds with the specialists to such an extent. I perceive how it functions for its philosophical disciples by setting off others and in this manner making a “cause”, a self-licking dessert. It seems obvious to me that it is additionally the ideal trigger for the people pulling the strings to use their power. You present individuals with this hogwash which contradicts both good judgment and thorough reasoning. Said individuals respond like “how to talk to strangers?” and quickly take a position contra to it. Then the specialists have a reason to be a dictator. It’s all obvious to me now.

  14. Geo

    “NY taxpayers will pay $850 million for the new Buffalo Bills stadium owned by billionaires, Terry and Kim Pegula.”

    Reminds me of this Bill Moyers piece on the new Yankees stadium after the crash of 2008: https://vimeo.com/33223180

    “In 2008, as the damage from Wall Street’s collapsing house of cards spread through the brick-and-mortar economy, Bill Moyers took an Emmy Award-winning look at the new Yankee Stadium project, seeing in it a shining illustration of our new Gilded Age.”

    It’s one of Moyers’ best essays in my opinion. And he had many great ones.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Atrios had a post that went like this: making baseball and basketball/hockey arenas look good is easy but no matter how you do it football stadiums are losers.

    2. Randy

      If our absolutely stupid, corrupt, spineless politicians (pick your adjective) can’t stand up against billionaire team owners how are they going to stand up against Putin. LOL. The US is so family blogged.

    3. Nikkikat

      According to a popular book called Freakonomics from some years back. This tax money given to stadium owners is a feature. All stadiums have been built with predominantly public funds. Every single time it is touted as a job creation investment. Typically a couple hundred minimum wage jobs come out of it. While the billionaires that own the team. Have private elevators and sumptuous sky boxes for them and their buddies.

  15. Sardonia

    ‘There is zero evidence that Vice President Biden, or President Biden, has done anything wrong in connection with what Hunter Biden has done,’ Harwood said.

    As the story unfolds, in time Harwood will be saying, “There is zero evidence that President Biden has done anything wrong in connection with the ongoing organ harvesting operation found in the basement of his Ukrainian bio-lab.”

      1. super extra

        exciting news from my daily current events homework (watching the NBC Nightly News with family): for the first time in weeks Ukraine took up only about 8 minutes total – it has been nonstop Ukraine/Russia on all three segments between the breaks. HOWEVER this evening segment 1 was Ukraine, segment 2 was Hunter Biden’s Laptop (but not the biolabs), and segment 3 was on precautions to live with covid in a public high school.

  16. Acacia

    Talked with a friend in the EU last night, who mentioned that he’s repeatedly crossed paths with people who claim there are no neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, or least no significant numbers, and he’s become genuinely disoriented by all the various claims being made, regarding numbers, influence, etc. Over the years, I have read many articles that discussed this, but haven’t been bookmarking them.

    Here at NC, within the last week or two, somebody very helpfully posted about a dozen links to articles on the Ukrainian far right, but now I can’t locate it. :/ If anyone has any good suggestions, I’m all ears.

    1. Geo

      “The Nexus Between Far-Right Extremists in the United States and Ukraine” – The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (April, 2020)

      Excerpt: In recent years, some Americans and Europeans drawn to various brands of far-right nationalism have looked to Ukraine as their field of dreams: a country with a well-established, trained, and equipped far-right militia—the Azov Regiment—that has been actively engaged in the conflict against Russian-backed separatists in Donbas.

  17. Larry

    It’s not just white collar work from home professionals that think the pandemic is over. I would say from my observations of being out and about, most people think it’s over. Hardly any masks seen at Wal-Mart, which does not dovetail well the the well salaried class mentioned in the water cooler. And Casino revenues are shooting back up:


    I’m not a fan of casinos, but at least the ones in New England are some of the biggest class and racial melting pots around. Very wealthy people with money to burn, plenty of poor people playing the cheap slots. Lots of people watching with fast food or ultra high end food. If revenues at Foxwoods and Mohegan and going back up quickly, I’d argue that plenty of people think the pandemic is over.

    1. Randy

      The pandemic is over. My best friend who has almost every precondition known to medical science told me the other day, “You can’t live in a bubble”. His wife who is a retired RN and has heart arrhythmia and is obese and is antivax has changed his attitude from caution to “let ‘er rip”.

      If those two have thrown in the towel it truly is over and at least for their lives it is just a matter of time. Very exasperating and sad.

      1. Yves Smith

        All you can do is keep wearing your mask, keep a Corsi box around (even if everyone in your house is careful, you might need to have workmen visit) and if that’s your thing, keep taking dietary supplements.

        1. Larry

          Agreed. I have two kids ages 12 and 14 and the peer pressure to not mask is too high for them to adhere. That was the known effect of dropping mandates in schools and there’s really nothing I can do about it. The Scarlett letter approach works.

    2. LilD

      Home Depot in Salinas, 6pm, almost everyone masked.

      This area was hit hard in previous waves

      Not mostly PMC, primarily Hispanic essentials…

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    What might be a good reply to someone who says ” I am sooooooo done with covid.” . . ?

    I offer this possibility: ” You may be soooooo done with covid, but covid is soooooo not done with you.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Revealed: Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log”

    Nothing really new about all this. About twenty years ago during the Bush regime, a female Air Force officer whistleblower reported that representatives from the Israeli government were going in and out of the White House at the time of the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and that they were never recorded on the official entry logs. I suppose that if you asked for the security camera footage at the time to compare who appears on film against the official logs, that that footage will either be reported as missing or long ago deleted as being no longer of value.

    1. marym

      No doubt even in times of claimed transparency important stuff happens and the public isn’t informed. However, Obama did have a policy ostensibly to make visitor logs public, as does Biden, but Trump did not.

      As far as phone calls on the day of the riot, the linked post discusses two specific calls known to have occurred but not on the log, but there’s a > 7 hour gap in call records turned over to the National Archives and then to Congress. So the 2 known calls are, at least among “our democracy” Democrats, considered a possible indication that there were more calls during that timeframe.

      It may or may not be comparable in importance or legality to other gaps in other practice or records, but it’s arguably at least somewhat relevant to understanding the roles people played in the project to contest the election.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Remarkably, they all agree: the pandemic is over”

    I think that Lambert slipped this in because the people that were being asked this were ‘white, double-private-health-insured professionals working from the safety of their homes in the toniest zip codes in their state.’

    No skin in the game.

    1. LifelongLib

      The working from home might help if they’re careful. I doubt that the rest matters.

  21. rjs

    maybe this has been addressed already:

    Six years of Chris Hedges’ On Contact program erased by YouTube – On March 27, YouTube removed the entire archive of six years of Chris Hedges’ On Contact from its platform without any notice or explanation. Even though very few of Hedges’ shows referenced Russia or Vladimir Putin directly, his association with RT America as well as his opposition to NATO warmongering was all that was required for YouTube to delete hundreds of hours of interviews on a range of political subjects that were critical of both the Democrats and Republicans.As reported previously by the World Socialist Web Site, the Russian state-funded cable news network RT America was shut down in the US on March 3 and all 120 of its employees were laid off at offices located in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Miami.Although the management of the news channel said the network had experienced “unforeseen business-interruption events,” the abrupt shutdown of RT America was no doubt part of the anti-Russian offensive mounted by corporate media outlets and governments aligned with the US and NATO in the proxy war being fought in Ukraine against the regime in Moscow.Among the RT America programs terminated were several popular left-wing and anti-war TV shows including Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp andOn Contact with Chris Hedges. These programs were specifically targeted for censorship because they adopted an anti-war standpoint that was opposed to the narrative developed by the ruling political establishment in the US and Europe.This campaign to silence voices critical of the role of imperialism in provoking the war in Ukraine has been extended to the removal of video content from YouTube, podcasts from Spotify and other censorship measures by the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.

    elsewhere, Facebook is censoring German antiwar videos and changed their policy to allow anti-Russian hate speech, even as they still censor pro-Palestinian posts…they’re making it increasingly harder to continue to be a part of this…

  22. upstater

    For those of you needing a reminder that the US can’t seem to build High Speed Rail, take a look how China is building one in Indonesia, on top of an active freeway!. Consider how absolutely pathetic the California HSR project has been or the failure to build true HSR in the Acela corridor. Of course we can’t have even decent passenger rail.

    Indonesia’s Jakarta-Bandung HSR hits new milestone, completes complex section

    In case the above isn’t dispiriting enough, look at another Indonesia HSR progress in tunneling:

    Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway makes steady progress amid COVID-19 pandemic

    At least USA!USA! has the F-35, the Littoral Combat Ship, the KC-46 and the Ford Class of aircraft carriers (aka Sitting Ducks or DF-21 decoys).

    1. The Rev Kev

      This was the sort of stuff we use to do in the west all the time. Hoover dam in America, the Snowy Mountains Scheme here in Oz. Can we even do those projects anymore? Do we have the companies and the people anymore? I doubt it. We mostly abandoned those sorts of engineering and gave the Chinese a wide empty lane.

    2. Acacia

      Yep, and even if the California HSR somehow ever got built, guess where the rolling stock would have come from? That’s right: China, Japan, or France.

      This is following in the fine California tradition of buying all rolling stock from overseas, e.g., France (BART), Germany (SF MUNI, LA Metro), Japan (LA Metro, SF CALTrain), China (LA Metro), et cetera, et cetera.

      Californians, at least, will probably never get HSR and can suck fumes for hours every day.

  23. Tom Stone

    One result of the coming inflation in food costs on top of the already high cost of gas will be a lot of home “Owners” who will be faced with the choice of paying the mortgage or buying gas and food.

    1. Kfish

      If you ever face that choice, choose the mortgage. You can get food vouchers or visit a food bank or even grow your own greens, but there’s no such help for a mortgage.

  24. Pat

    Regarding Adams. Anybody having contacts in either the NYPD or the NYFD knew his actual home was not in NYC. That Brooklyn address might be his on paper, but it wasn’t where he spent any time which was an open secret. He had to scramble to move in when too many of the wrong people cottoned on and realized they could get him off the ballot.
    No actual current info, but as Lambert has pointed out he is nimble. Trying to keep NJ being his primary residence quiet would not last. He probably still has it, but he isn’t living there. Off hand references have him coming to events or incidents from Brooklyn. If he needs more living space he might try Gracie Mansion, but not NJ. I don’t know how, but he has already gotten under the skin of both the Post and the Daily News. Sure it isn’t the Di Blasio level of hate that the Post had for his last term, but for someone they were fawning over less than four months ago remarkably the tabs are not covering for him anymore. If he went back to the Jersey place, maybe not right away but at some point there will be logs and covers of photos for days backing up front page stories about NYC’s commuter mayor who chooses to live in NJ. He is too smart to give his opponents that kind of ammunition.

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