2:00PM Water Cooler 4/13/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Hawaiian Bird Week at Naked Capitalism continues.

* * *


“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

Biden Adminstration

“Essential Politics: Why is the White House unfazed by high-profile COVID-19 cases?” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘I don’t think this is a moment where we have to be excessively concerned,’ [Jha told NBC’s ‘Today’ show].” I think “excessively is doing a lot of work, there. “Jha’s attitude echoes the actions of administration officials, including Harris. The vice president, for example, continues to attend indoor events without a mask, despite being a close contact of at least two infected people.” Excellent. Since cases don’t matter, let ‘er rip! More: ‘”Certain restrictions — like mask mandates and social distancing — should only return to ‘blunt the peak of hospitalizations,’ said Dr. David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, adding that it was not clear that such admissions are rising.’ Dowdy needs to be checking NC’s charts. Hospital admissions are rising, at least in the Northeast and some other states, a lagging indicator to cases. Not to make a call, but we do have form, and removing protections too soon, and adding them too late, is our past pattern and practice.

“The Gridiron Club Dinner Was a Predictable Superspreader Event” [MedScape]. “The gathering of Washington politicians and journalists last week at the Gridiron Club annual dinner, a prestigious event, has turned into a superspreader event, illustrating one downside of the “urgency of normal” club. One difference is that the elite status of attendees protects them, in many ways, from the reality of getting COVID.” Yep. More: “Some things could be done to get us back closer to normalcy. Require proof of vaccinations and testing before attendance at an indoor event (at a minimum) like the Gridiron dinner. Space people out. Perhaps don’t have a meal with the entertainment. Six hundred–plus people eating and singing sounds like a recipe for disaster. Improve ventilation. We have learned from Drs Prather, Richard Corsi, José-Luis Jimenez, Don Milton, and others how to do this. Having ‘Corsi-Rosenthal’ boxes is effective and relatively inexpensive. Use CO2 monitors as a measure of a room’s ventilation and have the readings prominently displayed. I’m sure there are other ways to mitigate risk. Listen to the aerobiologists I mentioned above.” • Sounds like I’m not the only one losing patience.

“Washington Post scraps White House correspondents’ dinner party amid COVID surge” [WaPo]. “The Washington Post has canceled plans to host a party before the White House correspondents’ dinner scheduled for later this month. In a memo sent on Tuesday, publisher Fred Ryan and executive editor Sally Buzbee said plans for the annual gathering had been scrapped due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the Washington, D.C., region. ‘We had hoped to be emailing you an invitation to The Washington Post reception preceding the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30,’ the pair wrote. ‘As much as we would have loved to see everyone, in light of what appears to be an increase in Covid-19 transmission, we did not want to put our friends and colleagues at further risk.'”• Is there reason to think that a reception would be less dangerous than the main event?

* * *

“Biden needs to keep his mouth shut” [The Week]. “In remarks delivered in Des Moines yesterday, Biden accused Russia of committing “genocide” in Ukraine. Because it’s a deeply serious charge that could theoretically trigger an international tribunal, administration officials had previously avoided using the term. Later that day, therefore, Biden was forced to conduct some rhetorical cleanup. Speaking to reporters on the airport tarmac, he clarified that he would “let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.” This isn’t the first time Biden’s loose lips have created a problem for his foreign policy. In Poland last month, the president offered the apparently spontaneous conclusion that “for God’s sake, this man [Russian President Vladimir Putin] cannot remain in power.” Panicked by this rhetorical flourish, U.S. officials insisted regime change is not the United States’ goal. Biden, they implausibly claimed, was only referring to Putin’s influence over neighboring states, not his position within Russia itself. These gaffes are more than unfortunate misstatements by a elderly politician with a long history of talking off-script. They threaten to undermine Biden’s own largely successful approach to the Ukraine war. Despite calls for a no-fly zone, Biden has rejected direct interventions that could lead to nuclear war. He has also maintained relative unity among NATO members, despite their varying tolerances for military and economic burdens. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone, yet, on balance, U.S. policy so far has opposed Russian aggression without risking the unthinkable. But off-the-cuff remarks that evoke hazy memories of the second World War threaten to unsettle that balance. Despite evidence of war crimes, Putin’s Russia is very far from Nazi Germany. And while the future of the conflict is unclear — primarily because the Ukrainians have fought harder and better than almost anyone expected — it is very unlikely to end with the surrender of Russian forces or a transformation of the Russian government.” • I think there has been an increasing tendency toward moralizing among liberal Democrats for some time, combined with a complete inability to introspect. Calling Putin a war criminal is moralizing (and moralizing that puts the speaker’s moral certitudes before the security of the nation, too, How do we negotiate after that? “C’mon, Vlad, this is Joe talking. You know I didn’t mean it.”). It’s a bell that can’t be unrung. Words that can’t be unsaid. (It’s a lot like Obama supporters smearing all their opponents as racists in 2008. More moralizing and another bell that can’t be unrung, unless your relationship to your own words is purely tactical.)

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.

* * *

The party of Conor Lamb:

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Gridiron Club debacle has gotten me trying to imagine how our elites really think, what they talk about among themselves, what they do all day. Surely they’re not sending their best? But they must be! They’re elites! They went to Yale!

Elites (1):

(SV = Silicon Valley.) I think this gentleman’s view of Silicon Valley may be a bit gauzy.

Elites (2): More and more Bob and Ray seems to be showing up on YouTube, which is great. This is an especially excellent “Garish Summit.” They provide two answers to the question, “What do elites do all day?” One is in the standing intro of every episode: “There in stately splendor, far removed from the squalid village below, they fight their endless battles over power and money.” The second… Well, you have to listen to the episode:

Elites (3): I listen to them, and what I hear is nonsense. But what do they hear when they talk to each other?


“As U.S. cases tick up, the new White House Covid czar says it’s not a moment to be ‘excessively concerned.’” [New York Times]. “‘Right now that is showing an uptick, but not showing substantial changes in what we should be doing,’ Dr. Jha said on CNN, referring to the C.D.C. framework. ‘And I think the C.D.C. policy is right on this.’ And while he praised the role of at-home tests, Dr. Jha acknowledged many of those results may go unreported, underpinning, he said, the importance of hospitalizations as a metric.” In other words, Zha just doubled down on community levels (see NOTE under #COVID19 case counts, here). Not that The World’s Greatest Newspaper™ would think to link to “the framework” or “CDC policy” or “hospitalizations as a metric.” I mean, everybody knows what “Let ‘er rip” means.

At the risk of further coarsening our discourse MR SUBLIMINAL But what the heck I had too much fun inventing this new feature (suitable for framing):

Today’s decision was tough for the judges, and Leana Wen was a close contender all the way, but in the end we had to award the laurel of victory to Zha, for the statements above were from his first day on the job. Congratulations, Ashish Doctor!

* * *

If you missed it, here last week’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:

Uh oh. Remember, it’s 100% certain the cases numbers are significantly understated. They’ve always been gamed, but it’s worse than before. Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

Commentary on the Northeast:

As we know, making hospitalization the metric doens’t account either for Long Covid or for neurological and vascular damage that can occur even among the asymptomatic. It’s natural that the perspective of hospitals, which are enormous profit centers — that’s why their data is good! — should dominate. But we really are in “drunks looking under the streetlight” mode here. Spencer is also wrong on hospitalization numbers, in addition to being wrong on the merits:

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:

As I said on 4/8: “Too soon for a Fauci line? I’d give it a week.” I was too conservative. As usual, the crisis of the past is the normal of the present.

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.

MWRA has two systems, north and south. Here is what they look like:

For grins, here’s the wastewater of another college town, Ann Arbor, Michigan (hat tip kcp):

The Ann Arbor curve is your good ol’ exponential growth. That’s what I’m waiting to see at the MWRA (and elsewhere). The exponential growth in wastewater will be lagged by cases, and in turn lagged by hospitalization, so under the CDC’s “community levels” metric, people will be choking the wards before non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking are introduced, good job.

For more grins, here is the CDC’s wastewater tracker:

I actually got this tracker to display, but then I changed the settings and refreshed, and I didn’t have ten minutes more to wait, so here we are. Odd. I mean, you think they’d put their best guy on the best pre-hospitalization data we’ve got.

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

The Northeast isn’t looking too good, now confirmed by hospital data. I wonder how many Gridiron Club attendees took the Acela home the following morning? (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. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

Continuing slow improvement as the map shifts from mostly red to mostly yellow (assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered). However, look at the Northeast, which remains stubbornly red.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Suddenly, the Northeast isn’t looking good. Of course, absolute levels are still low, so CDC can argue that nothing should be done. Again, I don’t like these sudden effloresences of yellow and orange. I don’t care that the baseline is low. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,013,044 1,012,461. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. The numbers have been level for the past few days, and they’re still democidally high.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

“United States Producer Price Inflation MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Producer prices for final demand in the US increased 1.4% month-over-month in March of 2022, the biggest increase since at least December 2009 and above market forecasts of 1.1%. Main upward contribution came from diesel fuel prices (20.4%) and cost also went up for gasoline (4.9%), fresh and dry vegetables (42.4%), jet fuel (23%), iron and steel scrap (27.6%), and electric power (1.9%). In contrast, prices for beef and veal fell 7.3% and cost for residential natural gas (-0.4%) also declined.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Lucrative SPAC Trades Spur Insider-Trading Probe” [Bloomberg]. “A pattern of prescient and potentially very lucrative trading has taken shape on a once-obscure corner of Wall Street—and U.S. investigators are suspicious. The setting is the world of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, the shell corporations that have flooded onto markets in recent years to raise money from investors and then hunt for companies to buy. The instrument is a stock warrant, which gives holders the right to buy shares at a specified price in the future. SPACs happen to issue a lot of warrants. The curious trading pattern starts when someone buys piles of a SPAC’s warrants, sending the daily volume of trading 10, 20, or even 60 times above normal levels. Within a few weeks, word emerges that the SPAC has found a business to buy, often sending the warrant prices soaring. Bloomberg calculated the normal trading in a SPAC’s warrants by averaging volume for trading sessions 30 to 90 days before a merger announcement. Any warrant that had fewer than 10 trading days in that period was excluded from the analysis because of insufficient data. The resulting list included 287 blank-check firms that had announced mergers through early March 2022. If there were multiple trading spikes in a SPAC’s warrants within 30 days of its merger announcement, the first one is presented. Such spikes in warrant trading appear before about one out of every four SPAC deals, a Bloomberg review of almost 300 mergers announced since late 2018 shows. The potential profits can be dramatic: In more than a dozen cases, warrant buyers would have at least doubled their money if they held on to the instruments for mere days or a few weeks. In one case, the warrants soared 888%. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is now examining warrant trades that took place before deals to discern whether they were illegally based on inside information, according to people with knowledge of the matter.” • Looks like Trump did this with his SPAC.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Neutral (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 13 at 1:24pm. Frankly, I don’t understand Mr. Market’s neutrality at all.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that

The Gallery

These figures look like anime:

Class Warfare

“America’s Highest Earners And Their Taxes Revealed” [Pro Publica]. This would not have been the story I chose for a mobile-friendly presentation. It’s simply too hard to read, though it’s worth reading. From a table near the end:

Who are these “name withheld” bozos? There’s a bunch of ’em in private equity and hedge funds, but there’s no legend in the table to explain.

Meanwhile, there are people who do actual, important work:

And again:

Much elan among the youth, a pleasure to see. You have to click on the image because of Twitter’s stupid cropping algo for vertical photos:

“A Brief History of the Ku Klux Klan in Orange County: Notes on the Banality of Evil” [Fullerton Observer]. From 2019, still germane. “Following the rise of the Klan to overt political power in Anaheim (and other neighboring cities), a group of civic leaders and Orange County District Attorney Alex Nelson, planned to take them down. Some of these leaders formed the U.S.A. club, in an attempt to counter the Klan’s claim of being ‘100 percent American.’ The anti-Klan coalition consisted of L.A. Lewis, Thomas McFadden, Reverend James Geissinger, Lotus Louden (editor of The Bulletin, Anaheim’s other newspaper), and members of the local Knights of Columbus such as Ernest Ganahl and Samuel Kraemer, as well as Father Patrick Browne of St. Boniface’s Catholic Church. The anti-Klan forces reasoned that if the Klan’s secrecy had been a powerful factor in its successes, then unmasking it might take it down. They needed a list of members. Different stories exist about how the list was obtained. Lewis’ claims he bought it directly from the ‘King Kleagle’ of the Klan of the State of California for $700. Armed with the list, the anti-Klan forces made effective use of it to expose and take down ‘The Invisible Empire,’ the KKK. Nelson revealed that some of the Anaheim councilmen who had been elected were Klan Members. The anti-Klan forces ‘based their attack on small town America’s tradition of free, open government as opposed to what they claimed was the Klan’s secret, corrupt, dictatorial government.’ Anaheim Methodist pastor Geissinger criticized the Klan as “revolting and totally un-American” and stated that bigotry and religious hatred had no place in Anaheim. The local Lions, Rotary, and Elks clubs and the Masonic Lodge denounced the Klan as a menace to prosperity and an agent of bigotry. The American Legion post in Anaheim was the only civic or social group that the Klan dominated.”

News of the Wired

A beautiful book:

I’m glad we cleared this up:

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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. From the Nation via Resilc:

Re Silc writes: “My woods.” Y-e-e-e-a-h. So much lovely rot going on here, enriching the soil.

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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. petal

    I love the new “Sociopath of the Day” competition! That is going to be a lot of fun. I’m sure Leanna Wen will make a strong comeback on another day to take the title. I know she has it in her!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think I can do a “Sociopath of the Day” every day; too much work. And perhaps the format can be improved. Reader suggestions welcome!

      Basically, after I read Fauci’s explanation of how he calculated personal risk at the Gridiron Club, I just gave up on these people. We treat them like they’re redeemable. They’re too far gone.

      1. Carolinian

        Media Whore of the Week? (for those of us who are nostalgic for long gone Media Whores Online).

        It could be time to cease being polite about our elites.

        1. Greg

          Insulting to the oldest profession, among which there is more class than can be found in the media.

      2. Bugs

        But what a fantastic day to show up to the Water Cooler. I’ve been so busy tamping down the desires of war profiteering scum (I’ll tell ya later) that I haven’t been around as much as I’d like. And a Bob & Ray skit to boot! G-d bless Bob Elliot and his son too.

        Sociopath of the Day couldn’t be a better choice. A rather new sociopath it is too. Looking forward to so many more.

        Frankly, this is the only place I know of where things get better every day. Everywhere else, well guys, things are um, it’s worse.

      3. johnherbiehancock

        Can we work on replacing the term “Elites” with “sociopaths?” Or at least some other term that captures the mental illness or depravity that motivates them, rather than credits their relative position in society as due to some deserved talent or unusual skill?

        I’m at the point now where I’ve seen very little to justify the use of teh term “Elite” to describe the shallow, self-absorbed, greed-heads that desperately need wealth and power to fill the void inside them… certainly there’s nothing “elite” about any of that?

        1. christofay

          I prefer “insiders.” I too don’t want to give them credit for having abilities greater than many others walking the streets of our cities and towns. The usage would be, “insider Nancy Pelosi traded stocks today based on her knowledge of future winners and losers in our governance exchange.”

      4. petal

        Ah sorry about that, Lambert. Got overexcited as there have been so many quality candidates of late.

      5. Sub-Boreal

        Based on personal observations, and monitoring the general milieu, I was puzzled by apparent overlap in who gets designated as “sociopath” vs. “psychopath”. So I asked a psych prof whether there was a significant difference between these two categories, and was told that, no, for practical purposes there wasn’t.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I think the difference is that a sociopath would love to rake you over the coals figuratively, whereas a psychopath might on occasion also like to do it literally.

        2. ChiGal

          maybe the most concise way to put it is that while a sociopath tends toward emotional instability and violence, a psychopath lacks emotion and mostly doesn’t lose control. both of course violate social norms, disregard the feelings of others, and lack remorse.

      6. Pat

        I don’t suppose you could find a way to make it Sociopath of the Day…and every day until they are dethroned. You could attach a running count of days above or below. Think of it as something like your standing remarks but with a counter and subject to change.

        For instance I believe if you had that in place you could have had Fauci in position for for a month or two. Just like those employee of the week boards where the same employee always seem to have the “honor”.

        1. Ed Miller

          Re: Sociopath of the Day

          The until dethroned part might be problematic as I could see, by careful observation, that this could become Sociopath of the Moment. Changes expected N times daily. N>>1

          After all, the insiders all work to outdo each other in bad ways.

          Sarcasm is one of my emotional outlets. ;p

      7. upstater

        Set up a crawler to scrape CEOs and compensation CY and Historical sum. Start with government contractors, then run down the list based on compensation. Don’t limit it to the US, make it for the entire “free world”.

      8. Art_DogCT

        My suggestion: Make the template available to the commentariat. Those inspired to continue this important work can forward their submissions to you. You can use them if and as you find any suitable. You could end up with an on-demand library of content, like the big newspapers and wire services used to do with obituaries of prominent people. When an on-file socio/psychopath stands out in their reprehensibility, suitable content will be just a few clicks away.

      9. The Rev Kev

        ‘I don’t think I can do a “Sociopath of the Day” every day; too much work.’

        More likely, far too many choices. Straight off – Larry Simmers and Kenneth Rogoff. Hmmm, on second thought, perhaps that should be “Useful Tool of the Day” which also covers Carolinian’s ‘Media Whore of the Week’ as well.

      10. Mikel

        “I don’t think I can do a “Sociopath of the Day” every day; too much work.”

        This is ‘Merica…throw a rock and you’ll hit one.

  2. Samuel Conner

    I wonder if reasonably accurate (IMO +/- 10% or 20% accuracy would be adequate for “dare I inhale” purposes) CO2 measurement could be miniaturized to the scale of components that would fit inside a watch or a phone.

    I’ve been thinking about purchasing a hand-held meter from a “marketplace seller” at the monopsony that must not be named, but every model seems to have a significant fraction of users (5-10%) who report bad performance, inconsistent or unstable measurement, etc.

    1. Lex

      Indoor Air Quality professional here. It’s hard to miniaturize CO2 measurement devices because of needing to pass a necessary volume of air through a chamber, whether it’s photoionization detector style or the IR style of the Aranet Lambert mentioned. The Aranet is probably about as small as they can be made.

      Not something worth trying to save money on. My biggest concern with consumer grade air monitoring devices is calibration. Many don’t accommodate it at all. Aranet seems to have a middle ground using exterior air with the assumption of 420ppm, but that can vary. I’d prefer the consumer grade models provide a “zero cal” attachment but that’s not going to be cheap for CO2.

      Aside, my industry uses a simple calculation for adequate ventilation indoors. Interior CO2 concentrations should be no higher than 700ppm above the exterior. When I do an assessment, I collect a control measurement outside for the comparison, but 400ppm is a conservative exterior concentration assumption. I don’t know how sensitive the Aranet is, but consider that concentrations will be significantly higher in the general vicinity of your own (or anyone else’s) breathing zone. I once had a new person come back to the office alarmed about the CO2 levels in a house. It turns out that he had sat at the kitchen table with the homeowner and the meter was between them, so his measurements in the kitchen were significantly elevated (and elevated in comparison to the rest of the house too).

      1. sidd

        Re: zero calibration CO2 sensors

        Get 3 ft. 1/8″ copper tube, dry ice, ethanol, cooler that will not dissolve in ethanol. Coil tube into cooler with ends poking out. Attach one end to CO2 sampler. Fill cooler with dry ice. Pour ethanol into cooler. Watch the CO2 reading, will diminish to a constant, hopefully near zero. That is your zero offset.

        Recover ethanol, filter thru charcoal put to good use.

        You can get ambitious with acetone or methanol instead of ethanol but in that case there are several bits in the procedure that read “stop breathing” and “remain upwind” and “read CO2 with binoculars” and “do not drink.”


  3. Samuel Conner

    > so under the CDC’s “community levels” metric, people will be choking the wards before non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking are introduced, good job.

    Cheer up, Lambert. CDC seems unlikely to, anytime soon (that would look too much like an admission of mistake), improve its metrics but sites like NC and others can create early warning functions that will act a bit like “parallel institutions”. People will resort to them out of concern for themselves and their neighbors, and the CDC can go its merry superspreading way on its own. It will still make a useful contribution to aggregate demand through the salaries of its public facing actors.

    1. Rick

      I’ve done this for Oregon with a variety of different visualizations. The state has been making the data harder to come by but so far it can still be ferreted out. The older CDC color coding is used. Updated weekly.

      Coronavirus prevalence in Oregon

      Maybe others have done it for other states? The ‘old’ CDC map referenced above also has the data.

      One curious trend that developed with Omicron and seems to be continuing with the current uptick is that large counties increase sooner than small, then the small counties overshoot with more cases.

    2. Guild Navigator

      Brilliant take, ouch, funny, with the unfortunate virtue of being true. I shall be contributing to NC because the health of my family depends on it as a parallel institution and beacon of light in a darkened world!

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for this. Twitter needs to go the way of the dodo. Buy if that can;t happen, the courts need to adjudicate this. It’s pretty clear they are in fact doing censorship for the government, but if the court won’t rule that way then it seems like the alternative would be they’ll have to admit they are private but also a partisan platform similar to dailykos. That ought to take their market cap down a few pegs.

      1. Boomheist

        A fundamental and basic problem here is that these social media platforms or systems like Microsoft, Google and Twitter answer to several motivations, and freedom of speech is not one. First, the advertisers, which is where the money comes from. Second, the fact that these companies ALSO do contract work with the US Security State, and government, billions’ worth. It is obvious to me that if the government says to Google, get rid of anyone countering our narrative, Google must do so. It is extremely noticeable these past months how people on You Tube and Twitter platforms are having to muzzle themselves, more and more.

    2. hunkerdown

      We’ve replaced Scott Ritter with dark, sparkling Folger’s Crystals. Let’s see if any of his sources notice. (yikes)

      Just now I read a couple of sections of the racketeering statutes out of interest. Racketeering laws are pertinent to Twitter for a couple of separate reasons right now. 18 USC 1964(‌c) appears to create a civil right of action against loss of business due to racketeering activity, which Ritter and others might use to lawfare Twitter and the Atlantic Council’s DFERL right back. Today we can see the structure of the social organism with the best clarity we will ever have for hundreds of years, and we’d better use it or lose it.

      I also just happened to read 18 USC 1962(a) to see an exception for certain securities activity as long as one’s stake is too small to appoint a director. Wouldn’t it be fun if Eloi Muck were limiting his stake in Twitter for that very reason!

  4. flora

    More: “Some things could be done to get us back closer to normalcy. Require proof of vaccinations and testing before attendance at an indoor event (at a minimum) like the Gridiron dinner. Space people out. Perhaps don’t have a meal with the entertainment. Six hundred–plus people eating and singing sounds like a recipe for disaster. Improve ventilation. We have learned from Drs Prather, Richard Corsi, José-Luis Jimenez, Don Milton, and others how to do this. Having ‘Corsi-Rosenthal’ boxes is effective and relatively inexpensive. Use CO2 monitors as a measure of a room’s ventilation and have the readings prominently displayed. I’m sure there are other ways to mitigate risk. Listen to the aerobiologists I mentioned above.” • Sounds like I’m not the only one losing patience.

    um… so… “proof of bax”… so… um… a “cax pass” you’re onboard with? Just asking.

    1. ChiGal

      I’ll raise my hand, not ashamed to say I don’t want to share indoor air with people who aren’t vaxed. I go to very few indoor events (theater, live music) and the venue has to require the vax card. I realize vax is no guarantee so I wear an N95 as well.

      1. flora

        OK. I understand. The next question becomes: if you are vaxed, then why do you fear the unvaxed? Serious question. Has to do with the effacacy of mandates, etc.

      2. flora

        If you realize the vacks is no guarantee, then, um, … you already know the question I’m going to ask.

      3. Yves Smith

        IM Doc reports that all of his Covid patients in the last month were vaxxed, the majority triple or four times vaxxed.

        The ones who are not getting Covid are masked service workers. The ones who are getting Covid are people who are going to restaurants, parties, conventions, weddings, and not wearing masks.

        People who get Covid are now overwhelmingly the vaxxed who have abandoned Covid precautions.

        So your position is illogical. You should be avoiding venues where people go unmasked, period, unless your exposure is brief. I consider grocery stores at off hours (store pretty empty and I am wearing a N95 mask) to be OK.

        1. playon

          I have a case of COVID-19, I first felt the symptoms on Saturday. I am triple vaccinated and have been wearing a mask whenever I go out for almost two years. There were a few times when I did put myself in risky environments as part of my work, but none of those times were recent enough to account for this current infection. I often remove my glasses when shopping as they tend to fog up, so that may have been how I became infected. It feels like a bad flu (I am 70 but in fairly good health).

          I tested myself with a rapid home test kit which was negative, but the symptoms are classic COVID, particularly the loss of smell, along with sore throat, dry cough, fatigue etc. So I went to the local hospital where they had set up a COVID testing clinic, only to find a sign on the door that read “the COVID clinic is permanently closed” — darn — I forgot that the pandemic is officially over…

        2. playon

          I am down with COVID now — I first noticed the symptoms on Saturday. I am triple-vaccinated and have been wearing a mask whenever I go out for almost two years. The rapid home test said negative but symptoms are classic – no sense of smell, sore throat, dry cough, fatigue etc. No fever… it is some variety of Omicron no doubt. I have occasionally engaged in risky behavior in my line of work duing the past year, but nothing recent enough that would account for my getting sick now. I may have contracted it via my eyes as I often take off my glasses when shopping when they fog up.

          So on Monday I went to my local small town hospital for the more reliable PCR test, as they set up a clinic for that purpose, only to find a paper sign on the door that read “COVID clinic is permanently closed” – dang, I had completely forgotten that the pandemic is officially over now.

        3. ChiGal

          so then I guess I am like those masked service workers rather than the unmasked vaxed.

          theaters require masking as well as vax.

          where I don’t go is restaurants because I’d have to take off my mask.

    2. Mikel

      I’m more about indoor places that have a significant amount of outdoor air coming in, masking, and limits on time spent inside any area if I have to go.

      The shots have diminishing returns. I believe the reports from Israel were that each booster of the non-sterilizing, non-preventative shots produces fewer antibodies.

      But we are still waiting the long term effects of the mRNA in the body…ticktock.

    1. Robert Gray

      Strictly speaking, that’s only at / from the exact spot of the South Pole … but, yeah: we get your point. :-)

  5. flora

    When are we going to move from from the “because Markets” disagregated idea to the more direct and straight forward related “because Billionaires’ desire” idea?

    1. Stephen V.

      Great idea! Surely someone can create an Index for $Bbnaire Blessings/ Indulgences which we could bet er, invest in?

  6. JBird4049

    …the Banality of Evil

    I am going to reread my copy of Eichmann in Jerusalem. What makes the book (and our current Covidness) so blasted depressing is not the pain, general suffering and mass death, if nothing else disease is always present, but that people become mass murderers because they are so shallow, or would that be so hollow? An emptiness surrounded by a shell or facade of normal, propelled and governed by expectations, with thoughts composed of cliches

    Someone like Jen Psaki has health, looks, connections, family, money, education, but spends her days lying for a living, pandering for a murderous regime’s actions. Yet, I suspect, if I were to confront her on this, she might honestly, sincerely be unable to see that what she is doing is wrong, forget evil. IIRC, this is like Eichmann in his punching those bureaucratic holes, making those check marks, doing a “good” job, while trying to have a successful career rising in the ranks. Programmed to be monstrously normal.

    It makes me wonder just how easy it could be for me to be like them; I am certain I could be just like them as self deception, taking the low energy path of an unexamined life, and doing what is normal, what is expected is extremely easy to do.

  7. Gregorio

    Re: A Brief History of the Ku Klux Klan in Orange County. I remember back as recently as the 70’s, people used to refer to Anaheim as Klanaheim

  8. Bugs

    What a fantastic day to show up to the Water Cooler! A Bob & Ray skit and a new feature to boot … well, bravo!

    Sociopath of the Day couldn’t be a better choice. A rather new sociopath it is too. Looking forward to so many more.

    Frankly, this is the only place I know of where things get better every day. Everywhere else, things are well, it’s worse.

  9. jsn

    What elites talk about:

    Summers, “If we dis-employ all the crap job workers we’re overpaying, they won’t get COVID while they starve and will come back to work desperate and work for less!”

    Jha, “No, no, no, we need more of them to get COVID at work and die before they vote Republican in the midterms!”

    Summers, “But the only way to bring grain prices back down is to starve people, and if we let them keep working they’ll keep eating which causes Stagflation.”

  10. griffen

    Mid day reporting on CNBC, a FED speaker is postulating that we are seeing the inflation peak and the inflation trends will begin to moderate in the coming months. The pricing pressure at the gas pump and also in other areas will moderate when people generally hit peak driving times during the year. Got it.

    As Dr Evil might put it, “Right.”

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Gas has gone down for me about $0.45 since the peak. It will happen with fuel, albeit slowly.

      The inflation in fruits and vegetables though.. yikes.

      1. Yves Smith

        Tell me why, exactly. The decline is due to the psychological and maybe actual effect of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve releases, which will last only until Oct.

    1. lambert_strether.corrente@yahoo.com

      Leanna Wen is already on it. I think she deserves some kind of award

  11. Brian (another one they call)

    Time to recall the incident in the Black Sea in 2014 with the USS Donald Cook trying to get close to Russian territory. An un armed SU-24 approached the ship and simulated several air to ship missile attacks after shutting down the electronics on the ship. This was 8 years ago. You have to wonder if this is why no one will approach Russian territory with war toys of their own. Embarrassment is everything to the MIC if it is public.

    Are we prepared for another “Philadelphia Experiment”, this time the “Odessa Experiment”? Remember, Russia has more land space than anyone, thus the most likely spot for vehicles from outside our neighborhood to visit, land or crash. How many Roswell’s do they have in their UFO history?

  12. t

    “So far, 72 attendees (of 630) have developed COVID, ”
    Should that read “are known to have developed COVID?”

  13. Pat

    Two thing scream at me from that taxes paid chart, the wealthiest among have multiple tools to avoid paying taxes. And that doesn’t even consider tax havens and sneaky movement of funds. Quit obviously there are too many deductions available and more importantly we need to limit the amount of income that can be classified as investment income.

    I do believe that there should be some incentive to save, but perhaps we should limit it to savings accounts, sale of stock or bonds that go to tuition or medical debt, and a waiver for primary home sales that are reinvested into a primary residence within six months. Although perhaps retirement should also have an allowanceI would also have a lower rate limited to half the amount of median annual wage. But since we won’t discuss anything this really is spitballing literally.

    1. LifelongLib

      I’ve read (welcome correction) that the wealthiest have their assets in elaborate family trusts to avoid inheritance taxes, and borrow money for their living expenses so they technically don’t have any taxable income. They can afford better lawyers than the government can…

  14. lyman alpha blob

    I’m at a loss to understand how SPACs are even legal or why anyone in their right mind who isn’t an insider in on the grift would ever invest in one of these things. People pay money now in the hopes that the investors might buy a company later that might turn out to be profitable?!?!?

    They sure do appear designed to streamline fraud.

    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t know what I was distracted by at the time (presumably Covid) but I failed to heap the derision on SPACs they deserve.

      They are not new. They have been used for decades by penny stock scammers. You take a public shell (which they have already created, they have them sitting around), find some entrepreneur with something that can be plausibly be depicted as a business, merge it into the shell, and pump and dump the stock.

  15. Art_DogCT

    “So much lovely rot going on here, enriching the soil.”

    This is very much what I’d like to have done with my body – left in some remote woods to become the buffet that every creature becomes, in its time. A bounty for other creatures of all the domains and kingdoms, as is right and proper. Not a legal option anywhere I know of but an academic ‘body farm’. I suppose a body farm provides its own benefits as far as feeding human curiosity goes, but isn’t the kind of return of value I’d prefer. When the time comes I hope I’ll have retained the capacity and resources to see to my own arrangements. For the purposes of discussion I will stipulate I accept that death might well take me without time to organize my preferred course of action, or take me utterly by surprise. I also accept that the longer I live, the odds rise of both too little time or none. Pema Chödrön’s teachings about peace amid uncertainty has been personally helpful.

    There are a great many pressing things that require thought and action – like stockpiling food ahead of the coming shortages and hunger, ideally cooperatively. Other things don’t necessarily require action in the immediate moment or near future. Outcomes will always be better if action follows the most honest self-reflection of which one is capable (individual and group) and applying critical thinking* to the question at hand, including whatever physical preparations and resources are required/possible. When the question is what will be done with one’s body, then ample time for self-reflection and critical thinking is never amiss.

    * Again, to the degree of which one is capable – we are all haunted by narratives.

      1. Art_DogCT

        An appropriate association! Treebeard is one of the LOTR characters that strongly resonate in me, the more so as I’ve attained my well-earned dotage. I even got the ceremonial cane you use to shake at irresponsible youth. One finds one’s little moments of light where one can, you understand.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree a thousand percent – unfortunately, Big Funeral has instituted all sorts of laws and regulations that make cheaper, as well as more ecologically sound, recycling of bodies impossible.

  16. Mikel

    “Washington Post scraps White House correspondents’ dinner party amid COVID surge” [WaPo]
    Is there reason to think that a reception would be less dangerous than the main event?
    A question the paper deftly avoided. Otherwise, that could bring up discussion of aerosals and differences in ventilation in buildings. They can’t have that. They want you to continue to “calculate individual risk” based on over two years of lies and propaganda.

  17. fresno dan

    “Biden needs to keep his mouth shut” [The Week].
    • I think there has been an increasing tendency toward moralizing among liberal Democrats for some time, combined with a complete inability to introspect. Calling Putin a war criminal is moralizing (and moralizing that puts the speaker’s moral certitudes before the security of the nation, too, How do we negotiate after that?
    It seems to me that the MSM, as well as most politics, has become nothing but an exercise in moralizing, with inconvenient facts ignored and contradictions not acknowledged. I get the impression that some of these people believe more in nuclear Armageddon than compromise with the devil (i.e., Putin) – because we have left secular reason behind and are now in the realm of a dogma akin to a religious sensibiity. Which follows, because if one truly believes that one’s opinions are totally moral, and your opponent is totally immoral, what other course of action could a righteous person take???

      1. Michael Ismoe

        And he was immediately called a “Putin puppet” by the next 12 posters.

        We are in Guns of August territory

        1. hunkerdown

          Only 12 posters? That’s not a very large staff, especially during the late morning. It is conceivable that all of Twitter is being cowed by a double-digit echo chamber that subscribes to known enemies of power and one another, and pilots several accounts at once.

          This would be a great time to study the structure of inauthentic activity on social media. I wish I had the time and money for a sabbatical.

          1. caucus99percenter

            See my comment linking to year-old Newsweek article below, about the U.S. military’s “undercover army”…

  18. Amfortas the hippie

    i got drunk and yelled at ted cruz(reptile)…at every senat number given me.
    yelled at him to stop being idiots…i dont want war with russia…because i hate nukes, and all…
    and he’s a reptile.
    and, as a rule, does not represent Me.
    i ….again..withdraw my Consent!

  19. The Rev Kev

    Scott Ritter says that the Ukrainian army in the east is about to get crunched. Patrick Lang, using an article that he found at the Daily Kos, says that the Russians aren’t up to it and will lose badly. Let’s see how it plays out in the next coupla weeks-


    1. MichaelSF

      I not that Lang says “This commentary and analysis is from Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos”. So suddenly Markos has become a military analyst, instead of just someone who toes the Democrat line and slanders “Bernie bros (and similar mild left-leaning people) or anyone who offers some criticism of Hillary/the Dem establishment?

      I guess someone who can handle the logistics of sending a couple thousand roses to Nancy Pelosi should have no problem analyzing a major military operation.

      Roses for Pelosi

    2. OIFVet

      It’s TTG, not Lang. We shall live and we shall see, say the Russians. But TTG, just like Lang, has allowed his russophobia to replace analytical thinking with confirmation bias. “Gee weez, even the progressive Moulitsas sees what I see, and we all know those far lefties are Russia lovers.” I must admit, I had a good laugh at the idea of the Daily Kos and the Langites bonding over shared hatreds.

    3. Yves Smith

      Yesterday saw the biggest surrender of the entire war, going back to 2014, of >1000 Ukrainians at the Illych factory in Mariupol. Russia has taken the port so all that is left there is the disposition of all those guys and presumed NATO types holed up in the Azovstal factory. Frees up more troops to deal with the cauldron.

      As Ritter says, I can read a map. He challenges anyone with bona fide military experience to articulate how Ukraine can win.

    4. Soredemos

      Lang and TTG have completely lost their minds of late.

      There are two great narratives at war right now in Ukraine. I’ve never seen anything like it; even in WW2 the ‘the glorious victories sure seem to keep happening closer and closer to Berlin…’ type propaganda could at least generally get things like army sizes vaguely correct.

      Now in Ukraine we’re going to have a showdown between ‘Russia has committed most of its forces and taken catestrophic losses and can’t possibly continue’ and ‘Russia only committed a relatively small number of troops and has plenty of reserves ready to go for phase 2’. Only one of these narratives can be true. We’ll know soon enough which it was.

      1. Polar Socialist

        There are indicators that the successful propaganda war is creating major problems for Zelensky, now that Ukrainians are loosing Mariupol and surrendering en masse. Ukrainian civilians who believe they are winning the war are demanding him to save the defenders of Mariupol but there’s nothing he or the Ukrainian army can do.

        On the contrary, the military leadership is obviously trying to hint to the population that in a few days the real battle in the east will begin, and that the odds may not be favoring Ukraine.

      2. OIFVet

        Only one of these narratives can be true. We’ll know soon enough which it was.

        Why should we consider only these two narratives? Personally, I prefer not to have to choose from only the two extremes. In this case, the truth is surely somewhere in between. From what I am seeing and reading, including between the lines, Russia is winning. It isn’t coming easy and cheap though, and it will take a lot of time to clear out the East. The increasingly shrill Ukrainian insistence for more weapons doesn’t quite jive with their claims about glorious daily victories. The majority of their combat proficient forces are committed and surrounded East of Dnieper, with no easy way to resupply and rotate. They will be ground down methodically by Russian firepower. Russia is paying a price though, for sure. The cruiser Moskva is a particularly big propaganda loss for them, and probably does pose some consequences on its efforts around Nikolaev and Odessa.

        Long term, I am trying to figure out Russia’s endgame. To truly achieve its security aims, it needs to take Kharkov, no easy and cheap task. It also needs to rake Nikolaev and Odessa, which are also tough nuts to crack. Without denying Ukraine access to the Black Sea and confining Ukies to the West of the river, the US and NATO will continue to use Ukraine as a tool. So what will Russia do? It really doesn’t have many good options, thus conflict will go on for some time.

        The US is only too happy ti make sure of that. This war was what it wanted all along. It will keep sending weapons to the Ukies to try to bleed Russia and hope that the price will eventually result in Putin being overthrown. TTG and Lang are cheerleaders for that, they want to see Russia bleed. Fair enough, they come from the exact military background that has been trained to use proxies to do just that.

        The big unknown is how long the European populations will bear the burden of paying for EU’s colonial status. This last winter was quite costly for Europe, next winter will probably be even more expensive to keep the heat on. That results in discontent and instability. The far right feeds on those particularly well given the lack of real and cohesive European Left. So in bleeding Russia, the US and EU elites can set off quite unintended and dangerous events in Europe. But there will be an increasing disconnect between Euro elites and Euro populations, particularly if hunger due to disruption of Ukie and Russian exports of grains and fertilizers result in yet another wave of NA and ME refugees in Europe.

        It’s scary to contemplate the next year from my perch in the Balkans. Cheerleaders like TTG and Lang are shortsighted and dumb, for all of their supposed erudition and experience they don’t seem to realize that destabilizing Europe through the war in Ukraine is a truly breathtakingly bad idea. In that, they are no different than the very important credentialed people in DC, much as they despise that supposed “left” establishment.

        1. Yves Smith

          The war appears to be taking a long time due to the media saying so, even though Desert Storm took 43 days and that was seen as very fast. And Ukraine is 1/3 bigger in area, not depleted by a recent conflict (Iraq’s war with Iran), and has been trained and armed by the West.

          And as we have said repeatedly, Russia is pulling its punches in a very big way. It has not taken out the electrical grid or cell phone service, as the US would have done Day 1. It has not pulverized all government buildings in major and secondary cities on Day 1. It has left the railroads intact. It was Ukraine that took out bridges, not Russia.

          Ukraine is out of gas. Our links showed that even civilian petrol stations are badly depleted. Ukraine is now often using passenger vehicles. It’s out of shells. Russia is blowing up most of the new stuff the West tries to send even before it gets very far.

          1. Skippy

            Apples and Oranges … I would never conflate the two because their is just to much difference in the A.O. and potential of arms available to Russia vs the ad hoc kit the Ukrainians are kitted out with and then the biggie of logistics.

            BTW the west does not train people, it gives them party poppers and a coke and a smile.

            It takes years to train good professional soldiers and that is a factor of having the cadre to facilitate that goal. The fail rate of such a endeavor is like 10% – of the group for the elite and that does nothing to square the potential of the population that it draws from …

          2. OIFVet

            I understand all of that, Yves. Unlike we did in Iraq, Russia did not go in and start blowing up the power, water, and communications. But the costs are and will be born most acutely by Europe, and now that I live here I like that even less than when I lived in the US. Yes, Russia couldn’t care less anymore for the spineless Euros, the slow approach works for it quite well on most levels. But I don’t think that Russians are quite so clueless that they can’t see how that can make Europe even more dependent on the US. Such Europe is not in Russia’s interests. So what is the end game, here? I don’t see one that leads to stability, and that concerns me. What I see is Europe on a path to breakdowns and impoverishment, and that never leads to anything good there.

            1. Skippy

              You really need to take a breath and ponder the long term outside you own personal effects.

              1. OIFVet

                OK, detached from personal effect, how do you see the long term? I am genuinely curious, not trying to be you know what.

                1. skippy

                  A. this is limited from the conflict aspect to you but regardless of where you live there will be blow back, ffs YS is storing, not something she would even consider years ago.

                  B. We’re all in another great transformation and it will all play out with unwashed in the wings.

                  C. love you and yours because life has always been dramatic.

                  D. all fear is a lie and a death to thought.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Respectfully disagree on D. Fear is useful up to certain amounts in order to stimulate thought about survival. Beyond that amount it can incapacitate, below that it can make us as dumb as US elites. And yes, life in the Balkans can turn dramatic in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I hope that the drama is directed at the responsible parties, but I never underestimate the stupidity of a crowd. Particularly with the recent importation of Ukie crazies bearing Azov flags, the collective IQ of the crowd in front of the RU embassy during a recent “antiwar” rally was in negative territory.

                    1. skippy

                      I understand where your coming from albeit I would remind that from the Bernays perspective Fear is used to control the masses.

    5. Skippy

      I have noted that some are completely befuddled by the way Russia has approached this military issue because they are so indoctrinated in previous Western conflicts post WWII, systems designed for a totally different approach to warfare, completely different attitude toward battlefield tactics which are not a factor of some MSM parade for the unwashed at home, you can play too on line, or any other market based approach.

      Like I have said before the Russians are bloody minded, but, not beholden too flash policies which gin up the fans in the seats for voter day or make investors panties get moist. They are systematically picking apart the Ukrainian forces by strategic planing and not laying waste to the country and then salt it, because that would forever scar any hope of a post conflict future for all concerned.

      The PR propaganda out of the West is at levels that would make the Carthaginians sacrifice babies and children look tame in comparison. Best bit is the bill will be handed to the most vulnerable in the West.

    6. VietnamVet

      The bifurcation in views of what is happening in Ukraine comes down to World War level of propaganda from all sides. One side is saying the exact opposite of the other. It is impossible to tell what is real; let alone, what happens next. The war profiteers have purposefully stirred the bloody Balkan cauldron of ethnic hatreds, vengeance, and nationalism.

      I admit to my bias. After Vietnam I was stationed at Fort Lewis. We were to be flown to Germany when the Soviets came charging through Fulda Gap and man prepositioned Armor and certain death. Never happened, until 51 years later, after NATO failed to deter Russia due to incompetence and corruption. “War for profit”.

      So far, the Ukraine Russia war is like just like the invasion of Finland in 1939 in WWII. It is simply impossible for me to describe this war as going according to plan. The Russian retreat and reconstitution to the East is a battlefield defeat. This is not the Red Army. It is a corrupt, undermanned, poorly led Russian Federation Army. Due to neoliberal rot, a full national mobilization in the USA or Russia is simply impossible. Both are #1 and #4 on the total Covid-19 deaths because of this. Oligarchies stifle the truth. They terminated democracy and placed “Profits over human lives.”

      The war could well drag on until one side or the other will be forced to use tactical nuclear weapons. Then, inevitably, it will be over instantly for everyone living within blast radius of a US military base.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t think this is quite the Winter War, although there are some comparisons. A key point thats often forgotten about the Winter War is that despite very heavy casualties and battlefield humiliations, the Soviet Army never broke (unlike in 1918), and kept attacking right to the bitter end. This was overlooked by pretty much every contemporary military analyst, from Washington to Berlin. And of course modern Russia includes bits of what used to be Finland.

        The Russians clearly expected/hoped for Ukraine to collapse politically under pressure – this didn’t happen. I think they were also very surprised by the extent and quality of western support, especially in the form of direct real time linkage of satellite information and Ukrainian artillery, resulting in a lot of losses when moving on the ground within range. There can be little question but that the Russians have taken very heavy losses, even if they are probably sustainable now that the Ukrainians are running out of ammo. The war is rapidly turning into the type of one the Russians always relish – a war of manoeuvre on nice flat open plains. There will only be one winner in those plains between the Dneiper and the current front.

        The withdrawal around Kiev to me indicates that the field generals are still calling the shots, not politicians. Politicians would not have accepted the humiliation of being seen to retreat, while the generals saw it as a pragmatic withdrawal. But there is no question but that this was a serious set back for the Russians, not least because it opens up more potential lines of supply for the Ukrainians, even if those lines will be very vulnerable to Russian airpower (if and when the Russian Airforce does get off its collective butt and start making a real effort).

        The most obvious strategic target now for the Russians is to secure all non-urban areas east of the Dneiper, and secure the Black Sea while breaking the back of the Ukrainian field army. If they control the crossing points of the Dneiper they have a fully defensible zone, along with a stranglehold on any untaken cities. This will give them their strategic depth, while maintaining a finger on the jugular of Ukraines economy. If they can achieve this, time is on their side. If Ukraine wants any significant chunk of its land back, they will eventually have to do a deal. Russian will feel it can afford to wait until the Ukrainians come to their senses.

        In the bigger picture, I suspect the Russians are calculating that the Europeans will start panicking in the third quarter of the year if it looks like they don’t have enough natural gas for the winter and inflation is hitting food and other vital commodities. They will know the US will lose its ability to do much to them in the Ukraine if the Europeans become less keen on helping out. I suspect they will also start quietly hinting to the Poles, Hungarians and Romanians that maybe they could aid their own strategic depth by ‘protecting’ those bits of the Ukraine that were historically part of their own countries and still have ethnic Polish/Hungarian/Romanian minorities.

        The wild card for the Russians is Azerbaijan/Armenia. If a major conflict breaks out there, then they will have a very serious manpower and equipment issue. They are simply not equipped to fight two major wars simultaneously.

  20. Mikel

    “The Gridiron Club Dinner Was a Predictable Superspreader Event”
    This line: “Listen to the aerobiologists I mentioned above.”

    Wait, there are people with this actual job title during an airborne pandemic and Fauci is still getting most of the press?

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