2:00PM Water Cooler 4/1/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, a quick update on 2022’s Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser: We are now at 283 contributions, so we are a little over 80% of the way to our goal of 350. I will be posting some of your very kind comments in a little while, but in the meantime, please do consider clicking the Donate button below, and contribute whatever you can. If you have been dilatory, now is the time! Thank you!

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Bird Song of the Day

Northern Bobwhite week at Naked Capitalism continues, with this recording from 1950 (!!). The introduction is really great.

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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

Biden Adminstration

“CIA director tests positive for Covid-19” [Politico]. “CIA Director William Burns has tested positive for Covid-19, the agency announced on Thursday…. Burns most recently saw President Joe Biden in a socially distanced meeting on Wednesday morning, during which Burns was wearing an N-95 mask, according to the CIA.” • Hmm. Was Biden?

“Senate closes in on $10B Covid aid deal despite Dem frustrations” [Politico]. “Key senators are nearing a deal on a roughly $10 billion package of coronavirus relief, setting Congress on a path to deliver funding Democrats had hoped to pass weeks ago…. The sum — the result of days of negotiations between senior senators of both parties — would leave out a major ask from the White House. It does not include $5 billion in global vaccine efforts, drawing sharp complaints from many Democrats about the nation’s preparedness to fight the pandemic abroad. Lawmakers are now talking about a figure closer to $1 billion in vaccine aid.” • $5 billion wasn’t a lot… Of course, all this will change once Biden gets IP restrictions on vaccines lifted.

“Ex-Google CEO promotes digital West Point” [Axios]. “Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt hit Capitol Hill this week to urge lawmakers to create a digital service academy that would train Americans in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in exchange for government service.” • Oh, great. More AI Bezzle, more goons.

“White House STANDS BY Biden’s 2020 claim there was nothing unethical about Hunter’s deals in China and Ukraine: Communications director Kate Bedingfield dodges questions on new reports and potential pardons for first family members” [Daily Mail]. The interesting part is at the end, under the headline: “AUTHENTICATING HUNTER’S LAPTOP.” More: “DailyMail.com commissioned cyber forensics experts at Maryman & Associates to examine the hard drive to determine its authenticity….. After an extensive analysis of the hard drive, Greenfield and Maryman produced a report for DailyMail.com detailing their findings…. In conclusion, ‘The operating system timestamps appear to be authentic, and no evidence was found to suggest that the timestamps or data were altered or manufactured,’ the report said. ‘No indications were found that would suggest the data was manufactured.'” • I’m confused. Maryman & Associates would have needed physical possession of the laptop to do this, surely? How was that arranged? And why did it take the Daily Mail, in 2022, to get this done?

“I can no longer live with myself….”:

April Fool! (Normally, I don’t like April Fools’ jokes because I think they’re sadistic, but this one is pretty good.)

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.

* * *

Class, like everything else, is contested. Gonsalves, a professor at Yale School of Public Health, is as PMC as they come:

The whole thread is worth reading. But here he is, and I suspect some of the medical professionals on this site are in the same headspace as Gonsalves (and good for him and them). What I lack is an analytical tool to characterize the evident contradiction between the dominant PMC worldview, and the class or subclass of people like Gonsalves. “Class traitor” individuas and psychologizes, and in any case I am sure that Gonsalves views himself as not coming to abolish but to fulfill the highest traditions of his profession. Perhaps I need to read further in Bourdieu.


“‘We’ve got to stop fooling ourselves’: Enthusiasm gap keeps getting worse for Dems” [Politico]. “At the end of October, Republicans held an 11-percentage-point advantage in voter enthusiasm. By January, that margin had ticked up to 14 points. Now, according to the most recent NBC News poll, it has swelled to 17 — a massive advantage that has foreshadowed devastating losses in Congress in prior years…. It’s beginning to look like nothing is going to bail the party out this year. The last time the enthusiasm gap was this wide, in 2010, Democrats lost more than 60 seats in the House. ‘Things could change,’ said David Axelrod, previously an adviser to former President Barack Obama, in an email. ‘But with only a quarter of the country believing things are headed in the right direction, the president sitting at a 40 or 42 [percent] approval and inflation at a 40-year high, the atmosphere clearly is not promising for Democrats to buck historical trends.'” • The only qualification I’d make here is that Democrats were hysterical about redistricting, too, which in fact turned out well for them.

“Democrats Worry That What Happens in Nevada Won’t Stay in Nevada” [New York Times]. “Democrats have long relied on working-class and Latino voters to win Nevada, but the loyalty of both groups is now in question. Young voters who fueled Senator Bernie Sanders’ biggest victory in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary remain skeptical about President Biden. And Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat and the country’s first Latina senator, is one of the party’s most endangered incumbents. She must overcome the president’s sagging approval ratings, dissatisfaction with the economy and her own relative anonymity. And she lacks the popularity and deep ties with Latino voters that Senator Harry M. Reid, who died in December, harnessed to help build the state’s powerful Democratic machine. The state has long been a symbol of the Democratic Party’s future by relying on a racially diverse coalition to win elections, but those past gains are now at risk.” • Hey, remember when a DSA slate took control of the party apparatus, and the Democrat loyalists, before they left, wrote themselves severance checks and quit? I wonder if that has anything to do with it>

“Youth turnout could save, or sink, Democrats in 2022” [CNN]. “Soaring turnout and big margins among young voters were central to the Democratic victories in the 2018 congressional and 2020 presidential elections. But with many young people expressing disenchantment with President Joe Biden’s performance, preserving those advantages looms as one of the biggest challenges facing Democrats in the 2022 midterms…. [I]n 2018 and 2020, Democrats… carried at least two-thirds of voters aged 18-29, according to sources such as the exit polls conducted by Edison Research, the Pew Research Center’s validated voters study and the analysis by Catalist, a leading Democratic targeting firm. In 2020, all three of those sources (as well as CIRCLE’s analysis) found that Biden carried around three-fifths of young adults…. [W]ithout exception, each activist and operative I spoke with said the most important thing Biden could do to energize more young voters would be to cancel more student debt.” • Without a doubt, that would be a good thing. But — the NGOs have spoken?

“Is The Timing Right To Take On The Hudson County Democratic Machine?” [Down with Tyranny]. “Conservative Democrat Albio Sires is retiring from Congress, basically to make room for a little nepotism, specifically for the son of corrupt New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. The mostly Hudson County district– which includes Hoboken, Elizabeth, Union City, West New York, Weekawken, Harrison, parts of Jersey City, Kearny and Bayonne and about half of Newark– is a majority Hispanic district that was D+46 before redistricting and is now D+47. The Democratic primary is the election. Most of the Democrats who wanted to run when Sires said he was retiring have given up, afraid to piss off Menendez Sr and the venal Hudson County Democratic machine. But there’s one brave soul running against them– and we invited him to introduce himself today.” David Ocampo: “I’m not saying that this will be an easy election, but it’s winnable. Autocracies are at their most vulnerable during the transition of power from one generation to the next. When voters in New Jersey’s 8th District step into the ballot box on June 7th, they’ll be faced with a clear question: is it okay for someone to inherit a Congressional seat?” • Worth noting.

Obama Legacy

Thanks, Obama:

Biden’s body count is bigger, though.

Our Famously Free Press

“NYT Painted Matt Gaetz as a Child Sex Trafficker. One Year Later, He Has Not Been Charged” [Glenn Greenwald]. “On March 30 of last year, The New York Times published an article that was treated as a bombshell by the political class. Citing exclusively anonymous sources — “three people briefed on the matter” — the Paper of Record announced that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) ‘is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.’ The headline chosen by Times editors was as inflammatory and provocative as possible: ‘Matt Gaetz Is Said to Face Justice Dept. Inquiry Over Sex With an Underage Girl.’… Only in the seventh paragraph — well below the headline casting him as a pedophile and sex trafficker — did the Times bother to note: ‘No charges have been brought against Mr. Gaetz, and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear.’ Exactly one year after publication of that reputation-destroying article, this remains true: while the DOJ may one day formally accuse him, Gaetz has not been charged with, let alone convicted of, a single crime which The New York Times stapled onto his forehead. From the start, the GOP Congressman vehemently denied these accusations. And he went further than mere denials: he claimed that these allegations arose as part of a blackmail and extortion scheme to extract $25 million from his family in exchange for not publicizing these accusations, which his father promptly reported to the FBI. While many scoffed at Gaetz’s story as fantastical and bizarre, that part of his story was vindicated last August….” • But the walls are closing in!

“Psaki leaving White House for MSNBC” [Yahoo News]. • This isn’t even a revolving door; it’s just another room in the same house (or perhaps home; shouldn’t there be a home for sufferers from West Wing Brain?)

Realignment and Legitimacy

Sure, elites that the working class, but they reallly hate masks, too:

Nothing less pleasant than a rhapsodizing Dean: “What has been most surprising is the sense of joy that has come from seeing each other’s in person again.” (Two other data points on elite hatred of masks: David Rubenstein and Rochelle Walensky; getting rid of masks is really a major concern for them.) It’s pretty hard to imagine essential workers at a Starbucks, or a meatpacking plant, or a daycare center feeling a “sense of joy” at the prospect of being infected in the workplace. I honestly don’t understand the psychology of it, which seems to be go beyond all reason.


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:

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.

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.

For grins, here is the national Biobot data for the last six weeks:

Uptick in the South?

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 as the map shifts from mostly red to mostly yellow (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.)

Note that you, dear readers, are not supposed to be looking at this chart, per CDC:

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,007,320 1,006,445. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. Fortunately, the numbers are headed downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:

Look at the qualifications in that drop-down. And the ginormous typo, helpfully highlighted, has been there for weeks. CDC, if you’re reading this, please send a signal by getting this fixed. And then throw some documents over the transom. In complete confidentiality! Obviously, nobody at CDC is checking the excess deaths chart, because otherwise the typo would be fixed. I certainly hope there are no “coding errors” in the algo.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent in March of 2022 from 3.8 percent in the previous month, the lowest since February 2020 and below market expectations of 3.7 percent. The number of unemployed people declined by 318 thousand to 5.952 million, while employment levels rose by 736 thousand to 158.458 million. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate edged up to 62.4 percent in March, the highest level since March 2020.”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI for the US fell to 57.1 in March of 2022 from 58.6 in February, well below market forecasts of 59 and pointing to the slowest growth in factory activity since September of 2020. “The U.S. manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment. Progress was made to solve the labor shortage problems at all tiers of the supply chain, which will result in improved factory throughput and supplier deliveries. Panelists reported lower rates of quits and early retirements, as well as improving internal and supplier labor positions. March brought back increasing rates of price expansion, due primarily to instability in global energy markets. Suppliers are not waiting to experience the full impacts of price increases before negotiating with their customers. Panel sentiment remained strongly optimistic regarding demand”, Timothy Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.”

* * *

Tech: “Metaverse builders grapple with sex harassment conundrum” [Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse)]. “‘I entered the shared space and almost immediately three or four male avatars came very close to me, so there was a sense of entrapment,’ Patel told AFP. “They touched and they groped my avatar without my consent. And while they were doing that, another avatar was taking selfie photos.’ Patel, whose company is developing child-friendly metaverse experiences, says it was ‘nothing short of sexual assault.’ Her story and others like it have prompted soul-searching over the nature of harassment in the virtual world, and a search for an answer to the question: can an avatar suffer sexual assault?” • Apparently, bodily autonomy isn’t programmed in? I’m all for realism, but perhaps that’s too realistic? An experience isn’t good just because it’s “immersive”….

Tech: “Surfing the Metaverse’s Real Estate Boom” [IEEE Spectrum]. “For speculators, that goal is obvious: profit. For everyone else, virtual real estate is a bet on the metaverse, an attempt to boost a brand, an opportunity to generate revenue on virtual goods, or possibly all that, and more. A high-traffic spot is a bit like a flagship property in downtown San Francisco or Hong Kong. British multinational bank HSBC, for example, owns land in The Sandbox and aspires to entertain users with educational games.” • So, we’ve enabled property speculation and sexual assault. Tech bros, good job.

Tech: “A $300,000 Dolce & Gabbana Tiara You Can Only Wear in the Metaverse” [Wall Street Journal], “Digital sharks wearing Burberry. A virtual Gucci purse that cost more than its real-life equivalent. A one-of-a-kind electronic Dolce & Gabbana tiara that fetched over $300,000 at auction.” Why go to the trouble? Why not just sell price tags? More: “The world’s biggest luxury brands have been dipping their toes into the world of digital fashion, and the early evidence suggests there are eager buyers willing to pay premium prices for virtual products. Upstarts are diving in, too. In February, Cult & Rain, a New York-based sneaker maker, sold 1,179 pairs of real shoes, each paired with a digital version in the form of a NFT, or nonfungible token, and priced at 0.5 ethereum, equivalent to about $1,635. The combination was a bet on two groups of consumers: sneaker enthusiasts and NFT speculators, according to George Yang, the company’s founder. He wasn’t sure either would show up to buy.” • So, property specualtion, sexual assault, and conspicuous consumption. What’s so “meta” about the metaverse, anyhow?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 46 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 1 at 1:21pm.

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.)

Photo Book

“Made in Pain” [The Beauty of Nature]. “Almost no post processing can do without masks. In this case I ended up with quite a couple of masks – more than just a hand full as can be seen. The right level of intersection masks was used to highlight the bush in the top left and give it a nice yellow feeling. The caves on the other side of the creek just needed some additional light as they just looked ways too dark otherwise. I paid quite some attention to the water. After removing the leaves and the reflections, it just deserved some additional care. I also lowered the clarity in areas that were packed full of tiny details so that the focus wouldn’t be lost too much.” • Photo editing has always been part of photography, I suppose. The diagrams of today’s version of dodging and burning are interesting. I try to maintain the philosophy that all I’m doing is presenting “what’s really there” or “what I saw,” but I know that’s an absurdly naive position to take.

The Gallery

Plus ça change….

Class Warfare

Great news (1):

Great news (2):

Great news (3):

“Amazon Spent $4.3 Million On Anti-Union Consultants Last Year” [HuffPo]. “Faced with a wave of worker activism in its warehouses last year, Amazon paid anti-union consultants roughly $4.3 million in an effort to beat back union organizing campaigns, according to new filings with the U.S. Department of Labor. The disclosures from Amazon offer a glimpse into how far the online retailer is willing to go to stay union-free. Many employers hire anti-union consultants to hold meetings with workers and dissuade them from unionizing, but none seem to match the scale or price tag of Amazon’s efforts over the course of just one year in its sprawling warehouses.”

* * *

“Warrior Met Coal strike reaches one year mark, possibly longest in Alabama history: ‘We didn’t want to do this’” [AL.com]. “In the tentative offer, the company proposed a $1.50 raise over five years, the union says.” • Wowsers.

“A ransomware attack on a Pfizer vendor triggered overpayments to hourly staffers — and now the pharma giant wants most of that money back” [Endpoints News]. • Paywalled, so I summarize: Workers: “We didn’t ask for it, and we already spent it.”

News of the Wired

I seem not to be wired today. Maybe on the weekend!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Via TH:

TH writes: “After hours of walking around the Huntington Library Gardens in San Marino, I spotted this lovely red grape vine gracing the walkway near the entrance.” Wow!

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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

    Biological male transsexual speaks in support of HB 1041 which, he says, seeks to protect women’s rights. He specifically calls out the ACLU and notes that women have had to turn to right wing organizations for help. Sound familiar?

    From two months back:


    “…my sex is male, and neither science nor medicine can change that.”

    Kudos, this guy is brave, I wonder how many threats he has had to deal with. It’s noteworthy that Kaitlyn Jenner has come out against biological males “competing” in women’s sports as well.

    1. Aumua

      Just curious, was this in response to in relation to any of the stories in today’s links, or just something you really think we should focus on?

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    I’m confused. Maryman & Associates would have needed physical possession of the laptop to do this, surely?
    Yes, or an Encased copy of the HDD.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I should add: Encase is a commercially available tool that makes legally admissible copies of HDDs for forensic investigations as well as other things.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > . Encase is a commercially available tool that makes legally admissible copies of HDDs for forensic investigations as well as other things.


    2. super extra

      forensics is not my wheelhouse however as a computer person I’ll add that the entire contents of an HDD can be output to a (basically) file format and moved around like any other (large) file. I haven’t gone looking but I assume there are images (that is the ‘file format’ of an entire formatted and partitioned drive, not a picture) of the Hunter Biden Laptop HDD floating around on not-even-that-dark corners of the internet. So a Daily Mail person could have torrented the file and passed that to Maryman and Associates to see what they could see with their forensics tools.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If Assange made Wikileaks a monument to his own personal self, it will die when he dies or becomes unfunctional as its thinking brain dog.

            If Assange created a cadre of self-propelled Wiki leakhandlers who can run the shop after he is gone, then he will have made a deep and lasting contribution to the field of secrets-busting.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Daily Mail person could have torrented the file

        Yeah, but then you really have no idea what you’re getting. That may very well be what they were examining. If so they do need to state that up front. I, personally, would have refused to make any sort of a statement about the authenticity of the files if it had been pulled from a torrent.

  3. Safety First

    Re: Daily Mail & the Biden laptop. I, of course, do not know exactly what this particular set of guys hired by the Daily Mail did, but as a rule in forensic InfoSec you do not work with hard drives and systems directly, since this may create evidence-tampering challenges in court. Instead, you copy or image whatever aspect of the system you are looking at – memory, hard drives, logs, cache – and ideally you do it TWICE, and hash both images. Basically one image captures the affected system in its “post-crime” state, and can be used to verify that there has been no tampering; the second image is the one you run your analyses on, and comparing its hash to the hash of the original image verifies that you haven’t tampered with your copy either.

    In other words, in this case they seem to have focussed on things like data integrity and time stamps and such – so the entity in possession of the laptop would basically just send them the “image copy” of the system, or of the drive, and they’d run it through some forensic utilities to make sure that nothing looked out of order. Now, how Daily Mail managed to arrange the whole thing, that isn’t something I’d be prepared to speak on, since I do not even know which entity has the bloody laptop in its legal custody.

  4. Ben Joseph

    Why was the CIA director wearing an N95 and socially distanced? Aren’t the childrens fine in school per the gubnment?

    Maybe it’s to protect him from cuban microwave toxicity.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I saw Ron Klain interviewed about this yesterday afternoon. In answering the question, in contrast to the CIA report, Klain studiously avoided using “mask” or “socially distanced” even when basically asked if the President of the United States might get Covid from the Director of the CIA. I don’t know what they think they learned from those focus groups, but “mask” is a four-letter word as far as the White House is concerned.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They simply aren’t intelligent. How many deaths ago did Biden say let them see your big American smile. They don’t play clips of what was a major announcement. They hate their perception of appearing weak. But it’s about keeping the Biden smile announcement from coming up.

      2. Bart Hansen

        Right before his statement Klain clicked his heels three times and said “goodbye to the covids”.

  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” The whole thread is worth reading. But here he is, and I suspect some of the medical professionals on this site are in the same headspace as Gonsalves (and good for him and them). What I lack is an analytical tool to characterize the evident contradiction between the dominant PMC worldview, and the class or subclass of people like Gonsalves. “Class traitor” individuas and psychologizes, and in any case I am sure that Gonsalves views himself as not coming to abolish but to fulfill the highest traditions of his profession. Perhaps I need to read further in Bourdieu.”

    . . . . there is an extent to which Class Analysis is a tool of only limited ability and application. Just because Thomas Frank says it does not make it so in every case. I remember reading among the millions of words that Joe Bageant wrote ( and which I would never be able to find among all those millions of words) about Joe Bageant’s reaction to Thomas Franks’s declaration in book-length that the Sixties Culture-Social Rebellion was strictly an artifact of commoditised rebelness by the Advertising Industrial Complex. Joe Bageant’s response was something like ” Thomas Franks knows nothing of the genuine hippies of which I was one and our rejection of the dominant society culture. I was there, Tom and you weren’t.”

    At what point does over-insistence on the existence of a “PMC” class as a class become merely an effort to save and re-invigorate the still-haunting-us corpse ( corpse, not specter) of Marxist Analysis?
    At what point does constant re-application of Marxist Analysis become so much beating the fading stain where a dead horse used to be?

    1. Harold

      I=”Sixties Culture-Social Rebellion was strictly an artifact of commoditised rebelness by the Advertising Industrial Complex” —

      Well, maybe not “strictly”. It began as a genuine grass roots, anti-conformity, anti-war movement, but it was rapidly co-opted by Madison Avenue, the Mafia, and the MIC, perhaps somewhat opportunistically at first, but perhaps not. It was a consumer and propagandistic gold mine for these people.

      I wish Peter Stampfel “I fought the fifties and I won” would write his memoirs.

      1. Frankie


        How to destroy an antiwar movement: Music

        Zappa never really made a secret of the fact that he had nothing but contempt for the “hippie” culture that he helped create and that he surrounded himself with. By numerous accounts, he was a rigidly authoritarian control-freak and a supporter of U.S. military actions in Southeast Asia. As a ringmaster who always wanted to be in control he never used drugs.”

        “Zappa’s father Francis also had little regard for the youth culture of the 1960s. He was a chemical warfare specialist assigned to – the Edgewood Arsenal. Edgewood is the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations. Curiously enough, Frank Zappa literally grew up at the Edgewood Arsenal, having lived the first seven years of his life in military housing on the grounds of the facility. The family later moved to Lancaster, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, where Francis Zappa..”


        1. Late Introvert

          “supporter of U.S. military action in Southeast Asia”

          Ya, you’re going to have to prove that, inviting Marines on stage who then stabbed a doll, in 1967, is your evidence? I submit I Don’t Want To Get Drafted, and Dumb All Over. I’m guessing you’re afraid, or not smart enough, to actually listen to this music you accuse of destroying an antiwar movement.

          1. Late Introvert

            And I’m going to just put this here. Some of the most challenging yet beautiful music ever written, and the BBC did an absolutely amazing job on their dollar. Frank would be grinning ear to ear.

            Speaking of torrents. You will need to create an account even to see the page, but if you want two hours of Zappa’s most serious orchestral works performed at high standard with beautiful filming, for free, here ya go.


            1. orlbucfan

              Ian Anderson, leader of Jethro Tull, disliked hippies. He also stated it in interviews. Unfortunately, I don’t have links but do a search. It was a big surprise to me.

              1. Late Introvert

                Robert Fripp of King Crimson is also on record being rude to hippies. They were unserious, like “Frankie” with his tar the son with the father’s crimes above. The people who actually worked to improve things: the enviromentalists, the anti-war people, the civil rights and feminist activists? None of those people were hippies. And neither was Zappa.

                Plastic People is another song to check out, and also Flower Punk (and all of We’re Only In It For The Money if you want a blast of anti-hippie).

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Curiously enough, Frank Zappa literally grew up at the Edgewood Arsenal, having lived the first seven years of his life in military housing on the grounds of the facility. The family later moved to Lancaster, California

          If the High Desert was as cray cray then as it is now, that would be…. really something.

          That said, I always saw Zappa as in the 60s, but not of it. You want “of” the 60s? Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane….

      1. LifelongLib

        OK, but say you’re a nice guy/gal who just wants to heal the sick or build bridges. If you become a doctor or an engineer you’ll be a member of a group that has certain relationships (good or bad) with the rest of society. It’s fair to analyze those relationships. But it’s unfair to blame every member of the group for them.

        1. Bazarov

          It’s not about blame–it’s about systemic understanding.

          The individual cancer cell, it wants to grow and thrive like every other cell in the body. It does so according to its individual prerogative. Just “living its life.”

          That doesn’t change the fact that this prerogative has an aggregate logic that gives rise the tumor, and that the tumor–the great success of the cancer cell, its grand civilization!–ultimately brings down the whole system of relations that its civilization depends on. The very logic of the cancer cell inscribes not only its doom but the doom of all the other cells it incorporates into the web of relations that sustain its unbounded growth.

          Thus, capitalism.

          1. LifelongLib

            But healing the sick and building bridges (or whatever) are essential things that any society will have to do, somehow. Why do we force people who want to do those things to be part of an unfair system? To use your analogy, why should a cell that just wants to live its life doing something worthwhile have to be part of a tumor? And why is that the cell’s fault?

            1. Bazarov

              It’s not the cell’s fault. That was my point when I said it’s not about blame. It’s about understanding. Imagine if the cancer cells, or the cells drawn into relations with the cancer cells, could realize that the unbounded growth will in time destroy the whole system. Perhaps there would be a revolution.

              When the “doctor or engineer” cell is part of the cancerous system, drawn into it by the cancer’s logic, it’s doomed. Unless it can overthrow that system somehow and replace it with another.

              1. LifelongLib

                Agreed. But meanwhile, to get anything done at all, it’ll have to participate in the system as it is. Where the tumor analogy falls down is in the implication that there are “healthy” cells someplace that can carry on while the tumor is excised. But there aren’t. Everything with that function is part of the tumor…

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It’s fair to analyze those relationships. But it’s unfair to blame every member of the group for them.

          You are 100% right. It’s a problem I continually grapple with, and for which that famous Chapter 52 of Capital provides no answer. That is why I wrote in the post — which I assume you read? — that “I lack is an analytical tool to characterize the evident contradiction between the dominant PMC worldview, and the class or subclass of people like Gonsalves.”

          That said, if you think class position isn’t important, just look the schooling behavior of our press.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            That suggests the wisdom of Michael Brooks’ aphorism: “Be kind to people and ruthless with institutions.”

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Wouldn’t Marxist analysis just love to get its hands on my beautiful brain. . . .

        But seriously though, if there are areas where it can usefully explain things and stuff, then it is still valuable in those areas. But if it is relied on to analyse things it really has no answers for, then the pracitioners of Marxist analysis where it can’t analyze will be left with analyses which don’t work and won’t correctly guide present or future action.

    2. Old Sarum

      Thank you for reminding me of Joe Bageant!
      I wonder what he’d made of the Ma-gagas?


    3. Michael Fiorillo

      I’m a fan of Joe Bageant’s but I was there, too (albeit as a prococious little brother), and Thomas Frank is mostly right, certainly when considering the prevailing outcomes – “hip” capitalism, lifestyle politics, New Age quackery with its class-saturated individualism, etc., all of them vehicles of neoliberal cultural conquest) that were logical results of the Counterculture.

      Look no further than the willing and happy transformation (if it was a transformation at all) of Stewart Brand from creator of the Whole Earth Catalog and Coevolution Quarterly to cheerleader/guru for our Silicon Valley Overlords.

      The Commies who built the CIO for the most part stayed true to their working class and radical roots, even after they were purged from the unions and shop floors. In the ’60’s and early’70’s, arrogant yout’s that we were, we mocked them for their cultural conservatism, even as we ignorently benefited from the struggles they waged.

      In retrospect, who did more to improve people’s lives?

      1. GramSci

        I dunno. The Whole Earth Catalog was quite the commercial success for a “hippie” start-up. Catalog!

        My “little sister” sibs relived the Vietnam war in the Disney version. They’re now McCarthyite jingoists. I don’t consider them “boomers”, but they like to call themselves “progressive” :-( .

        And plenty of old-school “commies” became union “leaders” who got their principle material benefits from the boss.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        This is a good counterpoint and a reminder of what mostly happened.

        Still . . . . Joe Bageant was not co-opted and Gaskin ( hippie guru and co-founder of the Farm in middle Tennessee) was not co-opted and some others were not co-opted. And the Farm and its current people continue to do good work to this very day, even if not famous for it.

        Here’s a semi-recent article by Albert Bates about what The Farm group of aging hippies and younger recruits and descendants have done and hope to keep doing.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Gaskin and The Farm very much went their own way, for example regarding abortion as anti-life and against their spiritual teaching. Women who were contemplating an abortion had a standing invitation to come to The Farm and give birth under the care of The Farm’s midwives instead. This in an era when conventional left-liberal wisdom came to see abortion as a basic human right.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, the Counterculture definitely had some legitimate intellectual/political roots, – Thoreau, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Gandhi – did much to open up social and cultural space, and still has some worthwhile vestiges which remain, but its separation from class analysis and struggle (and frequent contempt for the working class) doomed it to be an appendage of the system. Once the system turned Hard Neoliberal in the early ’70’s, it was swept along with everything else, often quite enthusiastically.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            There are those counterculturists who remained/ remain counterculturish and have scientific and technical skills which they apply to this and that have invented and are still inventing tools and approaches to daily-life problems and situations which can be adopted and weaponised and disseminated to millions of other people for multi-million mass adoption and further adaptation to those daily-life problems. People with a class-based agenda could perhaps figure out how to mobilize millions or tens of millions of people to use some of these counterculturist-invented tools and methods for having positive impact on “this” and negative impact on “that”.

            I am thinking of, for example, the technical experts at Approvecho Institute, who study energy-efficient approaches to cooking and some other household tasks. ” Soooo quotidian . . . soooo boring . . . soooo ho hum drum . . . ” Well, maybe. But what if 50 million people all adopted their own version of Approvecho Methods to the problem of cooking their food with a fraction of the energy they use today. And if not all of the methods, then some of the methods. I don’t see how you can “rocket-stove” a gas stovetop burner. But you can certainly build your own “haybox” concept heat trap to put the boiling pot of food into for finishing up its cooking on its own trapped heat.


            approvecho institute basic haybox design concepts for the home fabricator . . .

            Or Steve Baer of Zomeworks . . . http://www.zomeworks.com/about-us/

            Imagine 50 million Blue People picky-choosing from these suites of conservation-living technologies to adopt the ones they understand best and can use the most effectively. Imagine those 50 million Blue People guided by a shared concept of Class Combat and Cultural-Economic war to-the-death against their shared common enemies. Picture 50 million personal Hate Based Initiatives coming from those 50 million Points of Hate.

            Picture 50 million pairs of strong blue hands wrapped around the neck of Big Koch, squeezing it flat and cutting off its revenue-stream air supply.

            It is not the legacy-counterculture’s fault if nobody else weaponises and disseminates those counterculture-informed technologies and technosystems against the enemies of life on earth. They did the work, it is up to us to weaponise the work and disseminate the weaponised work.

    4. Soredemos

      Frank is fundamentally correct. There are exceptions here and there, but mostly the 60s was a bunch of middle-class kids larping at rebellion. Most would go on to settle down and essentially become their parents, and are now the boomers (in the most negative, stereotypical sense) of today.

    5. dk

      “What I lack is an analytical tool to characterize the evident contradiction between the dominant PMC worldview, and the class or subclass of people like Gonsalves.”

      Loyalty vs Skill.

      The two great strategies, not of humans but of life itself.

      Skills are developed by repeated practice with effort to improve performance (reliable optimization). Skill development require accuracy/precision, the endeavor cultivates patience.

      Group participation (basic loyalty) leverages efforts, skilled or unskilled, together for increased RoE. Applied together in synergy, the best of both.

      Loyalty can be gamed by subgroups seeking advantage/dominance, promoting members to greater responsibility by favor exchange instead of by skill at task.

      Skilled assessments can diverge from the preferences of group leaders, and/or group goals/preferences. In these cases, responsible leaders and groups give weight to skilled assessments. Irresponsible leaders suppress/manipulate information and impede skilled operators in their own ranks.

      Interestingly, loyalty is itself a (social) skill. Disproportional reliance on the loyalty mechanisms to exclusion of skilled contributions degrades performance of duties/discharges of responsibilities to civil function.

      Obviously I don’t have the vocabulary to explain this in more academic terms. But I’ve been using this paradigm for decades, a depressingly good predictor.

    6. Skippy

      Hippies … more conformist fashion critical latter beatniks – ????? – without the intellectual jazz like perspectives that were anti social orthodoxy – ?????

  6. amechania

    The metaverse problem was known internally I think. Note nothing below the waist on avatars.

    Check out VR chats’ perversions and maybe file with the bezzle? Lol. Has zuckerburg met people?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      We need to give the metaverse a bad smelling nickname, something like the ” internet of sh*t” for all the blue-toothed appliances talking to eachother and phoning home to Mother Spyship in the Cloud.

      I offer the following nickname suggestion . . . Metaverse of sh*t. It can piggyback onto the already somewhat known phrase ” internet of sh*t”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That “sexually assaulted in the metaverse” article is so sad. ” My avatar was sexually assaulted”. Really? In the metaverse? She is confusing her real analog meatspace self with her artificial hallucination-engineered avatar in the metaverse? She feels more “real” in the metaverse? She is only real to herself in the “metaverse” and not in the physical analog realityspace where her real analog meatspace physical body really lives, breathes, eats and excretes?

        That is so sad, sick and crazy . . . . . that the only “life” she can have is in the “metaverse”, to the point where ” sexual assault of my avatar” can be mistaken for a real thing.

        1. fresno dan

          I think the only solution is she needs to carry a metaversal weapn – to start, a battleax and a couple of armoured dinosaurs as bodyguards. An armed metaverse is a polite metaverse. I mean, that works so well in the meatverse… Of course, being a metaverse, I expect escalation. I wouldn’t go into the metaverse with anything less than 100 megatons. Also, 600 trillion dollars, as I understand that inflation is starting to pick up

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > She is confusing her real analog meatspace self with her artificial hallucination-engineered avatar in the metaverse?

          I’d like to hear the views of some of our gameplayers on this.

          Say I were reading a novel, where everything is in my imagination, and suddenly I was part of the novel and was assaulted. I think I would find that pretty disturbing, absence of meatspace or no.

          1. Skippy

            YOU ASKED …..

            So back in the 80s in Redondo Bch Calif I had some mates that grew up there and would hold a monthly D&D game with a few 20s something guys with one gal, on an occurrence I think fits the perspective. Anywho there was a moment when in game place where all were in a cave and she had to leave the room physically because her player was knocked out. Some guys rolled to take advantage of her game players status and one won, she was then as turn dictate re entered the room and then was questioning about the looks on the male players faces/smirk.

      2. Hepativore

        Wait until they start making “smart” toilets with Bluetooth and internet connections. They can send records of your bowel movements to tech companies so they can recommend brands of toilet paper, laxatives, or digestive aids when you use the toilet or the internet.

        They can also keep your HMO informed so that they can adjust your premiums based on your toilet habits by using them as an indication of various colorectal diseases.

    2. anon y'mouse

      the metaverse problems listed were all known about over 20 years ago when virtual worlds first became a thing.

      it’s why codes of conduct were developed, which were still often flaunted and skirted, in MMOrpgs.

      we should rename the “metaverse” the IDverse. for the id is what is on display there, and also because it’s trying to ID all of us,for its own purposes and get us to ID ourselves for it (fit into the demographic boxes).

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Has zuckerburg met people?

      Tyrell Corporation has not installed a Meeting People™ module in The Zuckerberg™. In any case, he has people for that.

      1. fresno dan

        so…the people who meet people for The Zuck, are these people the same people who tell (i.e.,) meet The Zuck in-person, or do they just send an electronic or written report (to The Zuck)? Or are there intermediate people who meet these people (the people meeting people) and do they just take electronic or paper reports and not actually meet the people (not the people, but the people meeting people)? And these intermediate people, do they actually meet The Zuck, or do they send a electronic or paper report, or in fact just forward the intial report, to The Zuck? And is it people not meeting The Zuck all the way down?
        I guess it all depends on what the definition of met people is … is – are we talking a meat space meeting or a metaverse meeting?

    4. aleric

      This is VRChat and not meta – but it’s a pretty funny slice of chaos in VR. The TrueAnon crew encountering a pack of bizarre and obnoxious children while trying to figure out what’s happening. It made me remember why Second Life always sucked. Video

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that enthusiasm gap between the two brand name parties . . . could that be leveraged to defeat every single non-hard non-leftist Democrat from elective office? Could the Democratic Party be purged and burned back to a purified stub of 5 or 6 Red Gingriches? A purified stub which could be built back out from with more and more Red Gingriches and not one single non-Red non-Gingrich ever elected ever again?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If a ” left wing George Wallace” could strip the entire youth vote away from the Democratic Party, under the fighting words ” Send them a message”, it could begin the process of exterminating the Democratic Party from existence and wiping the Democratic Party off the face of the earth.

      1. Fraibert

        I have a pet theory that careful placement and spread of an argument along the following lines actually could Democratic Party to self-destruct, given its current social “progressive” positions:

        1. The Democratic Party supported slavery for 150+ years and was the party of segregation afterwards through the 1960s.

        2. Despite the above facts, the Democrats, as an organization, have made no reparations.

        3. The passage of laws that result in spending on remedial social programs is not reparations. Public spending is the deployment of “taxpayer” money (in common understanding) and, regardless, costs the Democratic Party nothing. Rather, the Democrats have an incentive to increase social spending as a means of increasing their political popularity.

        4. The Democratic Party itself has no significant resources in reserve to allocate to payment of reparations. If it were to pay reparations of any meaningful sort, it would first fund raise for them, meaning, in this case, that it would just be another fundraising middleman. For example, the Party could donate 10% of its fund raising to charitable causes benefiting the descendants of freedmen.

        5. Accordingly, the only suitable reparation for the Democrats’ sordid history is to disband permanently. Just like all the other individuals and organizations that are sufficiently “tainted” under the current ideological trends, it should be cancelled.

        I don’t really expect this argument to take off given political realities, but it does seem consistent with the current ideological zeitgeist…

        1. Darius

          The suction of the Democrats doesn’t let the Republicans off the hook. The Republicans are malevolent. The Democrats don’t lack malevolence. They just have adopted the role of stooges and fall guys.

        2. tegnost

          3. The passage of laws that result in spending on remedial social programs is not reparations. Public spending is the deployment of “taxpayer” money (in common understanding) and, regardless, costs the Democratic Party nothing. Rather, the Democrats have an incentive to increase social spending as a means of increasing their political popularity.

          Instead we have biden bragging about reducing the deficit

      2. none

        That almost happened (Sanders) and the party went to crazy lengths to stop it in its tracks. They even teamed up to stop the feeble antecedent Howard Dean a decade earlier.

      3. none

        That almost happened (Sanders) and the party went to crazy lengths to stop it in its tracks. They even teamed up to stop the feeble antecedent Howard Dean a decade earlier.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That was young ( in part) voters trying to win their candidate within the DemParty. I was suggesting a truly charismatic youth-attractor running a separate party effort, drawing enough young-voter votes to defeat the Dem Candidate in every electoral market event. ( Did I just say ” electoral market event”? )

        1. Hepativore

          The problem is, even if you destroy the Democratic Party, would that not just mean that the US will just become a monoparty (officially, in this case) state under Republican rule? I doubt the Republican party would let any new parties rising up to challenge their one-party hegemony after that.

          They would probably gerrymander districts to foil potential challengers or change the rules mid-election as they will then be in charge of the committees that make and enforce such rules in the first place.

        2. herman_sampson

          Don’t vote for a Democrat until Biden pay us the $600 he owes each of us. Otherwise, vote 3rd party or NOTA.

        3. Pat

          Unfortunately the usual means of sending a message is to either vote for the other party OR not vote. And the current political class is just fine with that. The bipartisan fact is that they all know that despite their supposed differences the two parties are fine with the system as it is now, and will work together to make sure that there is only one choice and it is between them. The spoils are nicely divided now so there is no reason to change.

          Even if it screws up everything, people should vote for someone not attached to either party whenever possible. IOW, no Joe Lieberman or Lisa Murkowski not on the ticket as R or D votes but really still party members, but voting third party or writing in people that don’t conform to that. The only way to truly panic the political class is not only to reject them but force change on them. Deny them majorities without compromise. Try to elect people who might really say to the Manchins and the Pelosis and the McConnells, etc that ‘we don’t care about settling for the least you will give us if you deny or screw us we will take nothing and burn the whole thing down as we will screw you as well. You need to understand that if we lose YOU lose’. Sure voters could just be voting in additional members for the corrupt pool. Yet if we don’t try pushing in the outsiders they can just continue the smoke and mirrors and kabuki we have seen over the last four decades that I know about.

      4. marym

        We know what Republicans do when they’re in power. They show us every day, at every level of government, in legislation, executive action, and judicial decisions; and in their activism and propaganda. That will continue, whether Democrats are destroyed soon, or hang around for a few more election cycles.

        “Exterminating the Democrats” isn’t a strategy for change. What are the strategies? Union organizing, mutual aid and alternative institutions, building a new political party? How will these strategies be pursued in an increasingly Republicanized* power structure? Who will control access to run for office or vote? Which states will pass or strengthen anti-union laws? Who will have time to participate, or funds to contribute to building alternatives as economic, healthcare, and housing, crises continue to have an impact on more people?

        (*Placeholder word for exclusionary, authoritarian, theocratic, etc. policies explicitly promoted by Republicans, but not intended to discount comparable evils of the Democrats)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          At the very least, exterminating the DemParty is a strategy for blasting the DemParty logjam out of the river and seeing how the ice floes begin to grind around.

        2. tegnost

          To be fair…exclusionary-deplorable trumpster dumpster, authoritarian-censorship of “wrong thinking” speakers, theocratic-technocratic are two sides of the same coin

          1. marym

            Yes, “Not exterminating the Democrats” is also not a strategy for change. People need to be doing stuff, and supporting other people doing stuff, to build resilience and alternatives.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Ian Welsh has two features which he offers once a week. Each of them might be a place to discuss various aspects of that concept and practice.

              Tony Wikrent’s weekly wrap up of economic-related news items and articles is reprinted on Ian Welsh’s blog every Sunday Here is an example:

              The other is his Preparing For Bad Times thread which he re-hoists to the top of the page once every Saturday on most Saturdays. It is an evergrowing thread of peoples’ personal advice and offerings on surviving various sorts of hard times.

              The unique thing about the Internet till it goes dark for good is that it allows all kinds of people to put up all kinds of intormation/links/sources/etc. where potentially millions or billions of people ” could ” in theory find it and read it.
              Maybe some of those people would take that information back offline into the part of meatspace reality where they actually live, and do their organizing and applying there in their own personal social meatspaces.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > We know what Republicans do when they’re in power.

          But we know what Democrats do in power too; see the Gonsalves thread. Biden not only slaughtered more people than Trump, he didn’t rehabilitate public health, and knocked out systems (like NPIs) that we’ll need for the next pandemic. This is arguably a worse record than Trump. Certainly “the party of big government” did nothing, nothing of the scope or ambition of Operation Warp Speed. Biden is also threatening a nuclear power with regime change over a country that even Obama realized was not of strategic value to the country.

          Arguably, a premature uprising by the Sparticists put the German SDP in power, hence the Nazis and, worse, the collapse of internationalism (which Lenin, sadly, got wrong; he viewed the 1917 revolution as the first of many, which it was not). So like you I am very skeptical of undisciplined, “adventurist” fantasies. Worse, when the shooting starts, it’s more likely to come from conservatives than the left.

          That said, I am also greatly in sympathy with those who refuse to play a rigged game — a game that will not unrig itself, despite fair-minded and enormous efforts in 2016 and 2020 — and instead want to kick over the table.

          What does one do to arrest a death spiral? Perhaps a sudden large shock. Of any kind.

          NOTE The Amazon victory gives me a lot of hope. Good for them, and they did it with no help from the effing NGOs or the liberal Democrats at all. Amazon’s response should be clarifying.

  8. IM Doc

    About the Gregg Gonsalves tweet highlighted above in the links.

    I am not certain I could have said it better than he. You should really read the entire tweet sequence. I have been a life long liberal Dem. NOT a Leftist – a Liberal. The same is true of my wife, and all of my siblings ( we were raised by young hippy liberals ). And yet every single one of us – every one – feels completely betrayed by the current Democratic Party. To the point that every one of us will now crawl over glass shards in November to pull the lever for whoever is not a Democrat. The entire party is in desperate need of a massive enema and months/years in the political wilderness assuming they survive. And I am not kidding, the way my blue Dem patients are talking, I think this country may be setting itself up in November for a political dislocation the likes of which has never been seen before in our lifetimes.

    I remember a small sense of relief in January 2021 that new leadership was here – and maybe things on the COVID front will be better handled. I think I have never been more incorrect in my lifetime. I now firmly believe that things were actually much better with Trump in charge, as mind-blowing as that would have sounded to me 2 years ago.

    I am hearing things now from people I know in high places that are very discouraging to me. Not just about COVID. There are many shoes looking for places to drop. I pray every day these things will not happen. But given the behavior that has been demonstrated, I can easily see these things becoming ever higher tidal waves flooding us this next several months. Adding to that are all the things that are happening to my town and my cohort of patients. This is consuming every bit of emotion I have to give. The economic issues are detonating in a nuclear fashion especially on our young working families – and the toll is growing daily. The cognitive dissonance from our media is becoming ludicrous. They tell us constantly that the economy is growing at a spectacular rate and everything is coming up roses. And yet, I look around me, and know that is certainly not the case.

    I have never been this concerned about my country in my life. Maybe having kids does that to you. I have to look at their faces every day and wonder what is going to happen to them. And for sure, they are the only thing that will be motivating me at the ballot box from now on.

    Writers are often very prescient. One of the best in our history was Nathaniel Hawthorne. One of his very best allegories is Young Goodman Brown. If you have never read it – it is so timely for us today. The hero, Mr. Brown, realizes at the end of the story that his wife, Faith, has gone to the dark side. And he utters this sentence toward the end – “My Faith is gone!” cried he, after one stupefied moment. “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil; for to thee is this world given.”.

    That is how so many of us in the medical profession feel right now. You would never know it from our media, but trust me – it is true. Just like Mr. Gonsalves above.

    1. Jen

      I seem to recall that some time ago Lambert wrote a post about South Korea. If I remember correctly, he wrote that an abusive government remained in power so long as the government confined their abuse to the lower classes. When they started shooting university students, it became clear to people who believed themselves to be part of a protected class that they too were, in the eyes of the government, disposable. And that triggered the ouster of the government.

      Our ruling class has been entirely too transparent in demonstrating their belief that anyone who is not one of them is disposable.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        People used to say the Republicans were “temporary embarrassed millionaires” but I’m starting to think that applies to the entire PMC. Until their class starts to feel the pain, and they start to realize they’re closer to the bottom than the top, nothing will fundamentally change.

        1. Soredemos

          If we want real fundamental change, that would require a wholesale purging of entire classes, including the PMC.

      2. JrLegrand

        “I won’t collaborate with all this. I will not consent for the sake of comfort.”

        The party in power is now doing to the middle class and the rump of the upper class, what they have done to the poor and the colonized; strip mine them for value–with their cheery acquiescence! “I’ll gladly pay $7 a gallon, eat rice instead of meat and forgo everything to help that little Ukrainian girl in the poster!”

        How to convince the middle class to lower their expectations and impoverish themselves; tell them it’s for the common good and democracy. Already we see people riding bikes in the rain so as not to burn gas in their car sitting at home, “Do it for the environment”.

        Do the elites leave their P.J.s at home and take public transit? (private jets).

    2. Screwball

      Well said and I agree 100%. Things are not good out here, even though #BidenBoom is trending on Twitter (because of the job numbers today I assume). The only thing I can see this administration is good at is spewing bullshit – and it is relentless and never ending.

      The moves he has taken to fix gas prices will not work, and in the long term destructive for everyone, and it isn’t green either (the war power act thing for mining); because more mining = more energy.

      I’m like you, come November I will hunt down every non-democrat on the ballot and punch the button – screw them AND their worshipers who think we are stupid red neck hicks from the sticks (I am, and proud of it) because we voted for Trump (I didn’t).

      Related; just went to the store as I was almost out of milk. I am a milk snob and will not buy the cheap watered down stuff at the big box stores, so I am willing to pay $2.99 a gallon for “good” milk. A month ago, it went to $3.29. Today, $3.59. Great!

      But hey, the good news, gas was only $3.87. This country cannot sustain these prices, and food and gas are not the only things going up. At some point, something is going to light the match and all hell is going to break loose.

      Stay safe everyone.

      1. Eureka Springs

        The system is fubar and neither D’s nor R’s will take switching voters seriously… because you are voting for this corrupt system, legitimizing them all either way. How many decades running have we heard D losers time and time again say – we must move further right then… and do so?

        Stop voting for entirely corrupt, anti representative governance. Do it loudly. Or just lie back and pray for better messaging.

        These parties, their entire structure, must go the way of the dodo.

      2. Manfred

        Remember this kids:
        “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are—give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it, give me a break.”
        –Joseph Biden“

        The Democrats are represented by Biden, who is old and feeble, there’s the facelift veteran Pelosi, the human scarecrow Feinstein, and Mitch McConnel. Don’t think that the younger Brooklyn bartendress is any better.

        Hawley is young, Gabbard is young, Tucker Carlson is young.

        “Youth turnout could save, or sink, Democrats in 2022” [CNN].

      3. ambrit

        Lucky you! A gallon of Regular Milk is now $4.99 here Down South.
        Food prices have taken a stagger up the last week. The prices of formerly “cheap” Geegaws from China are now plainly rising.
        What was the COLA we Social Security ‘clients’ got last year? 5.9% From an already lower than rational baseline.
        “They” really are trying to kill us.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      I joke a lot about Biden’s “nothing will fundamentally change” line and really, that’s what I expected. By that I mean they would continue to do the minimum to keep the peasants from revolting and things would continue to get worse at the rate they have been. When it came to Covid, I expected more of the same, which was less than what we needed but wasn’t total neglect. Hell, I thought maybe there was even a glimmer of hope they might accidentally do the right thing, just to spite Trump and his fans.

      I admit, I was wrong. Very wrong.

      Somethings I saw coming. I figured as soon as libs had moved on from kids in cages and BLM things would quietly stay as they were. But “let ‘er rip” I didn’t see coming, even as cynical as I am. And I figured they’d at least give an appearance of giving a damn about the material conditions of the majority in the country, even if nothing ended up being done. But I really didn’t expect “you’ll get nothing and you’ll like it” to be their MO.

      I suppose the signs were there. Biden had a tendency to sound like a cruel jerk on the campaign trail, exhibiting a shocking lack of even feigned empathy for a lifelong politician. But that campaign was so odd that it was hard to read much into anything. Yet it turned out to be a complete sign of things to come.

      There is one area where I correctly anticipated we would have been better off with Trump. That’s regarding the media. Until the Afghanistan withdrawal, it seemed nothing of the administration came under any kind of scrutiny, let alone the kind every misspelled tweet and dumb statement had from Trump. Not that they really focused on much of substance, but I don’t think there’s any way Trump could have been as negligent as Biden has been regarding Covid without getting called to task.

      And Trump, for all his flaws, seems to be more willing to accidentally do something good, even if it’s just for egotistical reasons. Biden doesn’t even seem to have the ambition of wanting to be judged as a success to drive him.

      Sorry for the lengthy reply. Obviously you got me thinking. I never bought the idea that Biden would be some FDR type, but I really didn’t think his administration was going to be so feckless and tone deaf either. Rather than slowing our advance to the cliff like many of us thought, it’s like they opened the throttle wide and ripped out the breaks.

      1. tegnost

        I had a little saying during the run up to 2020
        Vote Biden- He’ii crash it faster…

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      F Yeah. Excellent Comment.

      I had my moment of clarity when Obama pulled the bait and switch with Universal Healthcare.

      And now all our Cities are being ravaged by the Neolib Democrats. My city, New Orleans, is a raging inferno of anger.

    5. Raymond Sim

      I can of course only speak for myself but, on those occasions in my life when scales have fallen from my eyes, I’ve usually resisted seeing the whole truth, even once it was in plain sight.

      Speaking from that perspective, and as someone from Joe Biden’s neck of the woods, I think it’s important to be clear on the fact that Joe Biden has always been worse than Donald Trump, always. And the political power structure he’s served his whole adult life – the ‘American System’ – is far, far worse than any one man could ever be. Indeed, it’s an evil whose scope is hard to wrap one’s mind around.

    6. lance ringquist

      i have said the worst thing that could ever happen was the democrats retaking the house in 2018, and they did a big fat “NOTHING”, except impeach trump twice.

      then retaking the white house. trump was bad, all over the place, but he did throw a few crumbs our way, and managed to keep us out of another war.

      benjamin studebaker wrote a good one before the election, he basically said don’t vote democrat, trump is the lesser of two evils.


  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Gregg Gonsalves thread on Twitter. What Gonsalves is going through is what any of us in any of the out-groups, whether ethnic (and Gonsalves is a Portuguese name with a letter changed for the sake of the Anglos, who’d consider it “unpronounceable”) or sexual (note his personal details), goes through. At a certain point, after all of the promises of “just do this and you will be accepted and assimilated,” one realizes that one has been sold a bill of goods.

    Gonsalves worked to the level of being a well-known researcher. But it isn’t enough. What still matters are class, being the right kind of person (one’s, errrr, pedigree, which also guarantees adherence to the one-drop rule), and not challenging the great chain of being.

    You know: Say the magic words “Hunter Biden.”

    Yet: Yes, I recommend that people read the whole thread. It isn’t about Trump. It’s about the culture of failing up, the culture of gratuitous cruelty, the culture of endless lectures on why power cannot be shared. In short, the culture of the mono-party now sponsoring the cruelty in Ukraine and calling it freedom.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i tend to think of this more as “seeing behind the curtain”.

      he saw that behind the curtain, the Rs say “sexual assault” and the Ds say “sexual assault with lubrication”.

      he just realized what the great OZ is, isall. those of us without the “privilege” are disabused sooner. we can’t afford to live in the illusion at all, or not for very long.

    2. Robert Hahl

      No that isn’t it. I think Gonsalves is saying that even succeeding in this system is not satisfying.

      Ten years ago one of my best friends from college contacted me out of the blue to say he had taken an administrative job at our old school, which meant that he had given up research jobs. I could not congratulate him properly, and basically said that he wouldn’t be happy because he is a good person. He didn’t stay in touch (not surprising perhaps), so I don’t know how it worked. out.

    3. enoughisenough

      Agree. The PMC thought bubble definitely creates out-groups within the PMC.

      Or you might have a PMC job, but not be anywhere near PMC economic security, being in student loan debt, etc.

      The PMC in Fear of Falling, I understood to be those who had become economically safe, but feared backsliding. There are a lot of people with PMC jobs that are not economically safe at all, nor will be, considering how the doors to not living in the red are closing rapidly.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        And part of the response of the lumpen/ur PMC to that precarity is hyper-Wokeness, which functions as a political and generational sorting out – i.e. backstabbing, language policing, herd behavior – process.

    4. Bart Hansen

      Yes, the word Latinx is unprouncible because, as in Norway, in Spanish X is pronounced as an S.

      For example in Norway the town Ski is pronounced as She. Don’t know what their word is for ski.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I think he’s referring to the surname Gonsalves (orthographically changed from Gonçalves, maybe?)

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” Nothing less pleasant than a rhapsodizing Dean: “What has been most surprising is the sense of joy that has come from seeing each other’s in person again.” (Two other data points on elite hatred of masks: David Rubenstein and Rochelle Walensky; getting rid of masks is really a major concern for them.) It’s pretty hard to imagine essential workers at a Starbucks, or a meatpacking plant, or a daycare center feeling a “sense of joy” at the prospect of being infected in the workplace. I honestly don’t understand the psychology of it, which seems to be go beyond all reason.”

    Wait! Wait! Didn’t Naked Capitalism recently run a very recent photograph of Walensky in a meeting or something very clearly wearing a mask? She doesn’t ” hate masks”. She hates the masses of common people like US wearing masks. She clearly LOVES her OWN mask.

    So why does she hate the masses of common people like US wearing masks? Because her mission is very clearly to infect us all with covid over and over again( while saving herself) so that we will all die just in time to avoid collecting social security. THAT is what explains it, to my linear literal mind.

    She is one of the many hundreds of thousands of people who would be sentenced to death and put to death if we had a genuine set of Nuremberg Covid trials in this country.

    1. albrt

      I can’t speak to Walensky personally, but more generally I think it is pretty clear that the dominant monkeys in the troop hate not being able to see the fake smiles and other physical expressions of submission from the lesser monkeys.

      There may be other factors in individual cases, but for the elites generally I think monkey-dominance is about all the explanation that is required. Well, that and this analysis of political power relations from Zvi Mowshowitz. Excerpt:

      If you want to succeed, you modify yourself to be someone who instinctively plays the political game of success, seeks power and forms an implicit coalition with others who seek power. You implicitly reward power seekers and those with power, and punish those without power and who do not seek power, without thinking about it. If you didn’t, the others in the game would notice you thinking about it, or worse notice you failing to act on it, and punish you accordingly.

      You instinctively know that you must continuously demonstrate your commitment to power seeking, and to rewarding your allies and being with the program, or else you won’t be a reliable person who can be trusted to do what is required.

      1. Ben Joseph

        RE: Gonsalves etc
        As an academic physician, I can vouch that the ethos of potentially climbing high enough to idly stand by to the injustice inherent is OVER. The MBAs seized control far enough up on the hospital side that the academic side (flawed though it might be, a meritocracy in its benign, upwardly mobile sense) is meaningless, gelded, and without clear benefits. My sons go to state U, so no tuition benefits, and as medical school faculty, I can’t afford to pay our tuition of 40k per annum for my own offspring.
        What justification is there to support this system for any of us? They can all go to hades. I can’t wait to see a way to opt out. I guess it’ll be public Medicaid clinics, because one of the few benefits of academic practice is the social justice of all comers. No wallet biopsy is sacrosanct to my ethos.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        “…it is pretty clear that the dominant monkeys in the troop hate not being able to see the fake smiles and other physical expressions of submission from the lesser monkeys. ”

        makes the eye rolling of the erstwhile submissives more noticeable, too.
        PMC hates that.

  11. Screwball

    I might be the Lone Ranger on this, but I think the Hunter laptop story will end up in the same place the Epstein story did – nowhere. And while I’m at it, where is Durham and his investigation?

    So many questions, so few answers.

      1. Screwball

        Oh, no, not that at all. I think the entire story will just go away – just like all the people involved with Epstein and Maxwell that we never heard of. Think about the Maxwell trial; weeks long trial that convicts her of trafficking young girls and the perps are never named. That illusion would make David Copperfield proud.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I agree and I think the Maxwell/Epstein analogy is apt. I’m starting to realize the rich and powerful in this country can be as reckless as they want because they’re all in it together and if one goes down, they all go down. The righties will beat Biden around with this. (If my Fox News watching mom is any indicator, they’ve never stopped.) But ultimately nothing will come of it.

        2. tegnost

          I agree…hunter is not going to be a part of the narrative, and bringing him up in polite company will get one shunned. You’re either with them or against them…

        3. Bart Hansen

          The Maxwell woman (can’t spell or pronounce her name) will end up wherever the Skripals have been hidden.

          Odd pronouncements of British names were developed to missfoot the poors. See, for example, Cholmondley and Beauchamps.

    1. Boomheist

      What I see here is that different groups – tribes, parties, whatever you want to call them – have chosen That Which They Believe and from this come the stories they think are important. Hence the fever on the right about Durham’s imminent bombshell, Hunter’s laptop, the horrible injustice of Russiagate and TDS; the fever on the left about Ginnie Thomas, January 6, Putin’s bestiality; Zelenskey as the new Churchill….Yet, more broadly, total bipartisan support for more military dollars, more security state rules, a seeming broad agreement to pretend the Azov Nazis don’t exist, and most important of all, total PMC consensus (both parties) that taxing the rich the way they were in Eisenhower’s time cannot even be thought of…..

      Imagine if some 45 year old firebrand started a new party based on national health care, taking care of our own back yard first through domestic investment using half the military budget, two year universal national service either military or community work, returning to the tax rates of the 1950s for the wealthy, reintroducing civics and critical thinking and budgeting to school kids, term limits for all members of Congress, prohibition of any stock trading by Congress members or their families, election day as a holiday, voter registration at birth and ONLY paper ballots and counting….

      1. howseth

        “Imagine if some 45 year old firebrand started a new party based on national health care, taking care of our own back yard first through domestic investment using half the military budget, two year universal national service either military or community work, returning to the tax rates of the 1950s for the wealthy, reintroducing civics and critical thinking and budgeting to school kids, term limits for all members of Congress, prohibition of any stock trading by Congress members or their families, election day as a holiday, voter registration at birth and ONLY paper ballots and counting….”

        I’m in on all of that. So would millions of others I presume?

      2. HotFlash

        I’m down for everything except the term limits. Merely being in office for a while doesn’t necessarily corrupt, although it does correlate; I would prefer to keep a good congresscritter as long as possible, if I had one*. OTOH, a freshman congresscritter is eminently corruptible (oh, the dazzle!), or even planted from the get-go. Who is that Mike Rogers guy in MI8? Former Fibbie? C’mon. And the former CIAgents and even Goldman alums — eg, Scottie from Marketing in Oz. I have to wonder if these are not people on secondment from their old firms?

        * eg Bernie Sanders.

  12. Raymond Sim

    The SCAN Bay Area wastewater data is mostly updated through Wednsday now:


    So many readings are pegged at the max level lately that I’m not sure how much one can really discern about the trends. This happened during the first Omicron wave as well, so I’m vexed that they aren’t dealing with it better this time around.

    Also, I suppose there could be something about BA.2 that causes wastewater levels to plummet just as the rate of increase is starting to look alarming. Be damned if I know what it might be though. Perhaps the same mysterious force that makes the relative prevalence and overall prevalence seem so vaguely related to one another.

    The SCAN data is the last easily available Covid data left for my immediate region which I’ve regarded with much credulity, and I’ve dreaded the day I would no longer regard it as trustworthy. I fear that day is at hand.

  13. Wukchumni

    “Ex-Google CEO promotes digital West Point” [Axios]. “Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt hit Capitol Hill this week to urge lawmakers to create a digital service academy that would train Americans in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in exchange for government service.”

    Cadet cadence @ Wrest Point

    ‘This is my modem, this is my invisible gun
    This is for fighting off unwanted hackers looking for funds’

    1. ambrit

      “This is my modem,”
      “That is my pen.”
      “This is now,”
      “That was then.”

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Wuk has it right. Back when I wrote secret software, the biggest secret was always the money.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > more….human

        “Exterminate!” isn’t that different from the 2nd rule of neoliberalism.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Every so often I think of doing away with this chart’ (areas of concern). I would be hesitant to do so. In case a more lethal version of this virus turned up, it would be this chart which would give you an early warning sign of how quickly it is spreading. I mean, it’s not like the CDC will give you a heads up on it or the White House either.

    Re ‘In a 180 from her previous stance, @SpeakerPelosi said today “I’m calling for an urgent floor vote for #MedicareForAll. I can no longer live with myself knowing I’m responsible for the deaths of 68,000 Americans annually due to our for-profit system.”’

    What is more likely to happen is that on her death bed she will mutter ‘I died with the most toys – I won!’

  15. upstater

    Like last night’s comment, here is another USA!USA! doesn’t do passenger trains. Not even 60 MPH trains. From TRAINS Magazine:

    Siemens equipment delays aggravate Amtrak capacity issues: Special report

    First of two parts

    CHICAGO — Delayed deliveries of new Siemens-built Venture rolling stock for Midwest and California routes have added to a cascading lack of equipment at a time of surging travel demand — a problem felt beyond the areas where the new equipment will operate, and extending into the long-distance fleet.

  16. The Rev Kev

    William Hogarth’s ‘The Choir’

    There is, I think, a story behind this sketch. This one was done about 1732 and choirs like this could be seen in every village church and were part of the lifeblood of each and every community. If course this was a lot of work for those priest trying to teach a choir to sing (well, maybe not Wales) and you can see the inherent chaos in that sketch of what happens when you get a group of people together in an activity. You would have practice problems, squabbles, rivalries and all the rest of it. So what happened? Mechanization. Ever notice how so many churches have pipe organs. In the 19th century they were a godsend to those priest. They got their communities to fund them and when they were installed, did away with the choir which made their lives easier in dealing with their flock. Now they only had to deal with the person playing that organ. But the life of the village lost that little bit more of the centuries old way of life.

  17. Tom Stone

    Joe Biden has been prone to irrational outbursts of anger for years, and those outbursts have become more frequent and more intense as his physical and mental condition has declined.
    If you watch a video of Joe delivering Strom Thurmond’s eulogy and compare it to more recent recordings the decline is glaringly obvious.
    And if you are paying attention to how the current sanctions against Russia were decided upon
    senile dementia seems the most reasonable explanation.
    Which is concerning,to put it mildly.
    I did not expect much from a Biden administration,however I did expect his handlers to keep him from destroying the Country.
    I was wrong.
    As to the Democratic Party, I may vote for a Dem candidate at the City or County level but I will never again vote for a Dem at the State or National level.

  18. Mikel

    “Youth turnout could save, or sink, Democrats in 2022”
    Every election cycle since 18 year olds got the vote, they give this same lip service.
    Bernie S. produced a big youth turnout. It meant nothing to them.

  19. Acacia

    shouldn’t there be a home for sufferers from West Wing Brain?

    How about straight to the glue factory?

  20. marym

    Another union win in NYC today

    SBWorkersUnited @SBWorkersUnited
    First Roastery and tenth union Starbucks in the U.S. We are #unionstrong

    More Perfect Union @MorePerfectUS
    BREAKING: Starbucks workers at the Roastery in New York City have just won their union election. They become the first unionized Starbucks in NYC after the worker that tried to organize six stores there was fired in 2006. This is the 10th election won by @SBWorkersUnited

  21. Pat

    Every once in a while I have one of those days when my response is largely “well, duh!”. As we discuss the utter failure of our Democrat led government response to X, Y , Z one of the things that keeps shocking me is how deluded they appear to be. I get the public’s delusions – most of this isn’t their job and the jobs they do have at work and at home take up too much time and energy for most to be on top of the lies. But the people in charge, their work is all about those details. And when you add in the ludicrous state and local governments that most people are dealing with…well there is a whole lot of failure and bad faith to go around.

    I know it is several days old, but this appeared on my feed today. Bloomberg realizes that people without money will decide not to buy things beyond necessities when the prices rise. And then try to blame them for the economy trending to recession.
    What part of ‘little or no discretionary income’, and not having $400 in savings for emergencies do the brain trust at Bloomberg, who are supposedly good with numbers, do not get? To me it is emblematic about the delusional state across so many levels of our society. It is clearly dominant in our political and media class. Not just that they don’t automatically get it, but also that what happens to them or their ‘donors’ matters anybody else’s problems do not and are not worrying about…until it does matter to someone important.

    Our overlords are looking more like spoiled toddlers every day.

    1. Judith

      Just like the poor countries in the global south, poor people in the U.S. are supposed to take on more and more debt, just to eat. By design.

  22. Tom Stone

    My parents were living in beautiful Long Gulch California, a few miles from the thriving metropolis of Yreka.

      1. Martin Oline

        Good luck.This site seems to be using some sort of ‘soundex’ search and every time I put in a surname it changes the spelling.

        1. caucus99percenter

          My search for my parents was stymied by that too. It displayed scores of hits on all sorts of variants, except for the original, correct spelling I had entered!

      2. Robert Gray

        > https://1950census.archives.gov/

        Thanks v.m. for this link, RK.

        > I have a few very distant relatives that I will be looking for.

        Good luck! Various minorities have been complaining for decades that they are miscounted by the census. Now I see why: this 1950 ‘searchable’ database is rubbish. I can’t find anybody I know in places where I am 100% certain they were.

        1. The Rev Kev

          @ Robert Gray. Pretty soon Ancestry.com will come out with a searchable database on their site which will make it easy to search through like it is for all the other census records.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Sean Penn wants billionaires to end the war by spending their money buying fighters for the Ukrainians.

      Who needs a functioning State when you’ve got squillionaires?

  23. caucus99percenter

    Listening at the moment to a Russian radio station’s hour-long Beatles retrospective, I wonder if, going forward, a policy of Russian media demonstratively no longer bothering about music royalties and licensing of Western pop-culture properties is already in place as a counter-sanction? (No, aside from a few words and phrases, I don’t understand the language.)


  24. Amfortas the hippie

    putting this here b/c i’m out this early messing with sprinklers)

    a remarkable april fools bit from cnn, almost a less than limited hangout:

    note that “propaganda” is only used in relation to Russia…not the West’s efforts to spread opposite day nonsense.

    and here’s VOX:https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/23003689/putin-ukraine-russia-donbas-energy-feint

    …pretty much asserting the opposite of what i…and numerous people i listen to….reckon the situation is.
    “Year Zero was 2014…nothing happened before that in Ukraine…oh, and Putin is an evil madman with small dick obsession.”

    similar fare at FP and Foreign Affairs.
    I see elsewhere that US farmers(ie: vassals of Big Ag …there are no crops besides soy and corn, per us ag policy.) are switching to soybeans because it takes less fertiliser.
    expect another round of “look how real this soy burger is!!!” this fall, when there’s too much soy laying around.

    out here, mom put Eldest in charge of sheep and pasture…and he immediately implemented my plans that have been dismissed out of hand for 2 years…planting grass where we have the ability to water it, and excluding the sheep from those areas until it can grow.
    he’s also convinced her that we must discuss buying water for front pasture from neighbors giant faucet that’s right there(running the pipe and sprinklers for such a thing would be relatively cheap…again, i’ve had this worked out for decades,lol)

    meanwhile, i trimmed the blackberries, chopped up the culled canes into 3-6″ bits, soaked them in trashcans in water and rooting hormone for a week…then took the 500 or so rooted cuttings from one and planted some in around 50 1-gallon pots, and the rest along 2 specific fencelines where i have black pipe drip irrigation in place.
    got one more trashcan to go…but first must install the black pipe i’ve secretly laid out along the north fence of the back pasture…then plant blackberries all along there at 4am, so mom won’t know.
    (trying mightily to not go on antimom rant , which takes up a lot of my efforts these days,lol…her narcissism has become more overt since stepdad died…with more frequent bouts of psychosis/narcissistic rage. I’m the proverbial scapegoat, so others don’t have to be)

    also starting to plant a bunch of the things in flats in the greenhouse…mesquites are budding, which traditionally means winter’s over.
    going long gardens…with all the saved seed, it only costs my labor to have a hedge for the food shortages i expect forthwith.

  25. orlbucfan

    Lambert, donation went out via “snail mail” this am. :-) Regarding Matt Gaetz, can’t stand him. That said, he will win re-election as his district is located in one of the dumbest, white-trash, redneck, Christian Fundie Bible Belt areas of not just the country, but the world. Sad truth.

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