2:00PM Water Cooler 4/21/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Patient readers, the Macaulay Library server’s embed functionality was gone where the woodbine twineth for a good part of yesterday; nothing to do with us, or you. Embedding is now back up, although with a slightly different layout, from which I infer that Macaulay were swapping in something new on the back end. Because many of you may have missed yesterday’s tour de force — honestly, who needs a synthesizer? — I’m rerunning it.

This is Lyre Bird week at Naked Capitalism. Prepare yourselves for eighteen minutes of sonic splendor. (One of the calls sounds like a pinball machine!)

* * *


“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

“Central Florida members of Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy along with group’s leader” [Orlando Sentinel]. This is from January; sorry I missed it. “Central Florida members of the Oath Keepers have been indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy in connection with the 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, along with the far-right group’s Texas-based founder, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday. The new indictment also marks is the first time the Justice Department has charged participants in the Capitol attack with seditious conspiracy. Kenneth Harrelson, a 41-year-old resident of Titusville, and 52-year-old Kelly Meggs of Dunnellon, both of whom had already been arrested on charges related to the riot, were among 11 Oath Keepers members charged in the newly unsealed sedition indictment. Federal authorities allege that Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers members facing the conspiracy charge coordinated to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. The Oath Keepers members communicated their plans using encrypted messaging apps and several of the conspirators, who traveled from across the country, made plans to bring weapons along with them ‘to support the operation,’ a Department of Justice statement said. Meggs and Harrelson were among a group of Oath Keepers clad in paramilitary attire who authorities allege marched in a ‘stack’ formation up the east steps and into the Capitol after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump smashed its way inside the building.”

Biden Adminstration

“Second Global COVID-19 Summit to Be Held May 12” [VOA News]. “The White House has announced the United States will co-host the second global COVID-19 summit virtually on May 12 to discuss increasing efforts to end the pandemic internationally and prepare for future variants of the coronavirus. ‘The emergence and spread of new variants, like omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling COVID-19 worldwide,’ the White House said in a joint news release. The U.S. will host the summit with Belize, chair of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, Germany, the current president of the Group of Seven leading economies, or G-7; Indonesia, which currently holds the presidency of the Group of 20 largest economies, or G-20; and Senegal as African Union chair. The news comes amid concerns regarding a resurgence of the pandemic after recent COVID-19 restrictions in China, and the rise of a new BA.2 variant of the coronavirus in the U.S., where Philadelphia has reinforced an indoor mask mandate, making it the first big American city to do so.” • Yes, Gritty masks up!

I can’t link into the Faceborg page, but yes, this is official Flyers marketing collateral. Gritty coming through big-time on this.

“Biden should scrap talk of the ‘liberal international order’” [Edward Luce, Financial Times]. “Biden overlooks a reality that the rest of the world cannot unsee. Abstract rules are devised by the powerful but only selectively enforced. America alone has the means to uphold the LIO. Sometimes, as with Serbia, Iraq, Libya and the global war on terror, the US has broken the rules it largely authored. At other times, as with Ukraine, the US believes they are worth enforcing. The tension comes to a head with the increasing hints, including from Biden, of putting Putin on trial for war crimes and genocide under international law. Precedents exist. Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian ruler, died before a verdict could be pronounced in The Hague. Charles Taylor, the Liberian warlord, was found guilty. Putin’s far larger case crystallises two specifically American problems. The first is that America is not a member of the International Criminal Court. The US Senate refused to ratify America’s participation for fear the court would be used to punish alleged [feh] war crimes by US soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Even the most pro-western countries can see the glaring problem with ‘rules for thee but not for me’. The same applies to the UN law of the sea, by which America wants China to abide in the South China Sea and beyond but which the US has refused to join. The second is America’s ability to bring a future, deposed Putin to trial. That would mean imposing regime change on Russia, which is both impractical and would be illegal under UN law (unless Russia voted to cancel itself). Many in the Middle East dream of putting George W Bush on trial for alleged war crimes in Iraq. The fact that this is a fantasy illustrates non-western frustration with the system of global rules.”

“Biden administration eases student loan forgiveness through income-based repayment plans” [Politico]. “The Biden administration on Tuesday announced changes to federal student loan repayment plans that will make it easier for millions of borrowers to have their debts forgiven after being required to pay for 20 or 25 years…. The Education Department said it would make a one-time adjustment to borrower accounts to provide credit toward loan forgiveness under income-driven repayment for any month in which a borrower made a payment….. But the way in which the department will address months in which borrowers were not making payments is more complicated…. The Education Department said the changes lead to ‘immediate debt cancellation’ for at least 40,000 borrowers under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and ‘several thousand’ borrowers under income-based repayment programs.” • So, complex eligibility requirements and pathetically inadequate results. Liberal Democrats will love it!

“US Capitol evacuation over false alarm provokes fear, fury” [Al Mayadeen]. “The US Capitol was briefly evacuated on Wednesday when authorities issued a threat alert over a trivial parachute act, causing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to chastise aviation officials for an ‘inexcusable’ failure. Police responsible for securing the complex at the heart of the US government in Washington released an initial statement just after 6:30 pm (2230 GMT), stating that they had ordered an evacuation due to ‘tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat.’ They did not provide any other information. The mini-crisis, however, was caused by a pre-planned flyover at adjacent Nationals Stadium.” • Oops.

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.

* * *


* * *

GA: “Herschel Walker is a unicorn” [Axios]. “Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump haven’t talked since December 2020. But Herschel Walker — the former football star with a troubled past who’s the Republican front-runner in Georgia’s Senate race — talks weekly with both…. ‘I don’t dance and sing for nobody,’ Walker told Axios during an interview Monday on the campaign trail in LaGrange, Georgia. He also said: ‘I’m here to get elected, to worry about the people and not about President Trump, not about Mitch McConnell.’…. Independent polls show Walker with between 57% and 81% of the primary vote. His reputation within Georgia as a football superstar and his close relationship with Trump catapulted him to the front of the pack. That has come even as his campaign has largely shielded him from open press events, interviews with some outlets and the first televised primary debate.”

KY: “Charles Booker, Senate Candidate, Wants to Build a Progressive Future for Kentucky” [Teen Vogue]. “3. If you could snap your fingers and change two things about politics in the United States — such as policies you want to see enacted or structural issues — what would they be? We should ensure that everyone has high-quality health care with Medicare for All. Our government must also address our country’s deepest ills of structural racism and poverty by finally ensuring reparations for descendants of enslaved Americans, and a Universal Basic Income.”

MN: “Where’s the lie in Ilhan Omar’s tweet about the airborne Christian singers?” [Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald]. “In the video Omar shared — about its origin, little is known — a man with a guitar stands in the aisle of a crowded plane singing a Christian worship song. While some passengers sing along, others seem annoyed or studiously ignore the commotion. A little boy plugs his ears. It all moved Omar, a Muslim born in Somalia, to write: ‘I think my family and I should have a prayer session next time I am on a plane. How do you think it will end?’ The answer, as any honest and intelligent person well knows, is that in a post-9/11 world, it would end with them tackled to the floor and duct taped to their chairs as the pilot radioed ahead to the nearest airfield requesting permission for an emergency landing. The obvious irrefutability of that point notwithstanding, conservative critics had a field day framing Omar’s words as some anti-Christian jeremiad. Imagine, in other words, any scenario in which a group of people is held captive to a disruptive performance they did not choose and cannot escape. Do that, and one word suggests itself with crystalline clarity. Rude. That’s what every principal in those imagined scenarios would be. And it’s what the singers on that plane were, too. It bespeaks a certain level of social privilege that this seems not to have occurred to them, that they never questioned whether they had the right to commandeer the public square and take hostages, never stopped to think there might be atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans, Jews or, for that matter, even other Christians on that flight who had no interest in hearing them sing. It’s unlikely the experience brought any of those people to Christ. If anything, it probably drove some the other way.”

PA: “A Democrat in gym shorts tries to rally blue votes in Trump country” [WaPo]. “He’s quick to make sure everyone knows he doesn’t mean turning Trump counties blue. If he thought that was possible, he likes to say, ‘You’d think I was smoking too much of what we think should be legal.’ The goal is cutting into the margins of Republican victories. ‘We as a party cannot afford both from a moral perspective but also a tactical perspective to let any of these counties go 80-20, 82-18, where we just let them run away with it,’ Fetterman tells a breakfast crowd at Horn O Plenty, a restaurant in Bedford County, where Trump won 83 percent in 2020.”

PA: “Is Conor Lamb Collapsing Against John Fetterman in Pennsylvania?” [The New Republic]. “Increasingly, it looks like Fetterman will face whomever emerges from the Republican primary. Fetterman previously ran a longshot Senate campaign in 2016 to no success. The second time looks like it will be the trick for him…. “I haven’t endorsed anybody but if I was a betting man today, I would assume that, based on everything I see, that Fetterman would win the primary,” Pennsylvania Democratic National Committeeman Jon Saidel told me. Fetterman has been on the political scene for years and has firmly ensconced himself as a national Democratic curiosity and minor standard bearer for the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. He’s built up a national profile, albeit while skipping out on some of the usual relationship building at home that candidates aspiring for higher office usually do, like schmoozing with local elected officials. He’s also proven to be a formidable fundraiser. Lamb is in a bit of a nightmarish situation. His war chest is low and, although the pro-Lamb super PAC is providing air cover for him, he’s still not matching his primary archenemy with a few weeks to go. His only realistic play outside of some external Hail Mary in his favor is to amp up the acrimony in the race and attack Fetterman on anything he can. The danger there is that could leave lasting scars for Pennsylvania Democrats and depress some of the voters the eventual nominee needs in the general election. The two candidates will have their first debate on Thursday night.” • That’s tonight! I don’t know how good Fetterman is as a debater. I guess we’ll find out. If any readers watch, please summarize for us in comments.

PA: “John Fetterman, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Conor Lamb debate tonight. Here’s how to watch and what we’re looking for.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “Both Lamb and Kenyatta have hammered Fetterman over a 2013 incident that has loomed over his campaign, in which Fetterman pulled a shotgun on a Black jogger whom he had wrongly suspected of a shooting. Fetterman has defended his actions in recent forums, but on Thursday night he’s likely to explain his side of the story in front of his biggest audience yet, live on TV.” • Poisoning the well for Fetterman in Philly, good job Dems.

PA: “John Fetterman doesn’t just have supporters — he has fans. His celebrity could make him a senator.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “A Twitter account for Levi, the family’s rescue dog, has 25,000 followers — more than eight times the following of Republican Senate candidate and actual human David McCormick.” • I don’t see any reason this wouldn’t scale. The whole article is good (and amusing, I think, not frightening, as fandom often is).

PA: Oops:

VA: “‘That was a terrible idea’: Spanberger wants a policing reboot for House Dems” [Politico]. “Abigail Spanberger railed against members of her own party for playing into the GOP’s hands on “defund the police” after the 2020 election. This year, she’s not waiting for permission to do it her way. She and other Democrats are bracing for the GOP onslaught, unwilling to let Republican attacks go unanswered this year. Instead, they’re preemptively correcting the record. Spanberger, who spent years in law enforcement herself, offered a model on how to do that in a recent half-day tour that demonstrated her support for the Culpeper Police Department — speaking to over a dozen officers as they showed off drones and their K-9 unit, followed by a ride-along.” • Every good liberal Democrat loves a cop, and that goes double for CIA Democrats like Spanberger. Oh, and Politico’s fact-checking department has apparently been fired, if indeed it ever existed: Spanberger did not spend “years in law enforcement.” She spent years as a spook. Obviously, working for law enforcement and working for the “intelligence community” are not the same thing, even if the intelligence community wishes it were.

* * *

“The House Map’s Republican Bias Will Plummet In 2022 — Because Of Gerrymandering” [FiveThirtyEight]. “No matter which way you slice it, Democrats have gained blue seats from the mapmaking process, making the House playing field between the two parties more balanced than it has been in decades.” • I know this isn’t especially logical — unless you regard liberal Democrat NGOs as serial wolf-screamers — but this is why I’m also think predictions of impending doom for Demcorats in the midterm may be a little overwrought; the different between a bad loss, and a realignment-producing catastrophe. Of course, I’d like to see the liberal Democrats suffer excruciating (electoral) pain, as a way of getting their attention and possibly purging some of the gerontocrats, but that doesn’t mean voters feel that way.

“All hope isn’t lost for Democrats in November” [The Hill]. “There are three key areas on which Democrats must reverse course to have a chance at keeping majorities in the House and Senate: inflation/cost of living, crime and policing, and school reopenings.” And: “Only 3 percent of Americans now mention COVID-19 as the biggest problem facing the country, down from 13 percent in February and 20 percent in January.” No accountability for all the deaths, of course. And: “I believe that voters want to support Democrats, especially since Republicans haven’t bothered to put together an agenda, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged recently. That said, unless Democrats show they understand the impact of these issues — and offer good solutions — it’s going to be a very bad November.” • One of many in the classic genre where Republicans tell Democrats how to win — not gameplaying at all! — but this writer, although from FOX, seems pretty jaundiced about Republicans, too.


“Sanders’ team says he has ‘not ruled out’ a 2024 bid if Biden doesn’t run” [NBC News]. “”In the event of an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Sanders has not ruled out another run for president, so we advise that you answer any questions about 2024 with that in mind,” Faiz Shakir wrote, according to a copy of the memo obtained by NBC News…. ‘Sen. Sanders is putting forward an extremely popular vision for the Democratic Party that will win back critical support that we have lost,’ he wrote. ‘In fact, Bernie wants to build power for the working class and take on the corporate socialism that our political system currently favors.'” • Don’t do it, Bernie. Don’t. Commentary:

Marcetic is right about 2020. My view at the time — a lonely one, I think — was that Sanders failed, when the primary was over, to pivot to active support of the working class strike wave then building. Instead, he pivoted to the inside game, where, predictably, the liberal Democrats slowly and deliberately gutted him and his platform, and relished doing so. An enormous strategic failure with awful consequences, and I don’t want to reward it in any way; cf. Deut 32:52.

“Trump releases audio that appears to refute claim he walked out of interview over 2020 questions” [NBC]. “An audio recording obtained by NBC News appears to show that former President Donald Trump’s highly publicized interview with Piers Morgan did not end with Trump storming off the set, as edited promotional video clips suggest. Instead, according to the recording, which was provided by Trump’s spokesman, the two men thanked each other and laughed at the conclusion of the interview for Talk TV, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Talk TV, which is set to debut Monday, teased the interview — billed as ‘the most explosive interview of the year’ — in a video summary that is dramatized with cinematic music and portrays Trump as being angry about the content of questions Morgan asked. The video and the alleged walkout were reported in an article by the New York Post, which is also owned by News Corp. ‘Turn the camera off,’ Trump says at the close of the video clip as he appears to rise from his chair. ‘Very dishonest.’ But the audio of the end of the interview appears to tell a different story. The two men laughed and thanked each other, the recording shows. There are no signs of Trump’s storming off set. ‘That was a great interview,’ Morgan says in the audio at the end. Trump agrees with a ‘yeah.’ ‘Thank you very much. I really appreciate it,’ Morgan says. That’s when Trump says, ‘Turn the camera off.'” • ZOMG!!!! A Trump media controversy?!?!?!?!?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Florida’s “Authoritarian Socialist” Governor” [Bulwark+]. “Need any more evidence that our politics is upside down? Check out the exchange between Colorado’s Democratic governor, Jared Polis, and Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis on the whole free market, private sector, small government thing. ‘Florida’s authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector are driving businesses away,’ tweeted Colorado’s Polis. ‘In CO, we don’t meddle in affairs of companies like [Disney] or [Twitter].’ And he extended an invitation to the besieged businesses: ‘Hey {Disney], we’re ready for Mountain Disneyland and [Twitter] we’re ready for Twitter HQ2, whoever your owners are.'” •


Masking polls once more:

“The Democrats!”

* * *

If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness 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:

Fiddling and diddling. Remember, it’s 100% certain the cases numbers are significantly understated. They’ve always been gamed, but it’s worse than before. One source said they though cases might be undercounted by a factor of six. Gottlieb thinks we only pick up one in seven or eight. Yikes. But how do we know? Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

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.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to the goons at CDC.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

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.

From Biobot Analytics:

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

Now California is aflame and Massachusetts looks worse again. (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:

The Northeast remains stubbornly and solidly red.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

if anybody tells you hospitalization is down, tell them “No, it very isn’t,” as today’s chart shows even more emphatically than yesterday’s. (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.) Oh, and

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,017,093 1,016,159. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. Numbers still going down, still democidally high.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Spain has returned to the chart.

Stats Watch

Employment Situtation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits edged down by 2 thousand to 184 thousand in the week ended April 16th, from a revised 186 thousand in the previous period and compared with market expectations of 180 thousand. Claims remain close to a 1968-low of 166 thousand hit in the week to March 19th amid a tight job market and robust labor demand.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US fell to 17.6 in April of 2022 from 27.4 in March, below market expectations of 21, and pointing to a slowdown in manufacturing activity.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 39 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 42 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 21 at 1:26pm

The Gallery

I had no idea James Kunstler was also a painter:

This is “The H & V Factory Center Falls, February.” Certainly captures the feeling of mud season!

Zeitgeist Watch

I can’t even:

Filed here instead of under “Black Injustice Tipping Point.” Obviously.

Class Warfare

“Revenge of the Chickenized Reverse-Centaurs” [Cory Doctorow, OneZero]. “Uber drivers are paid on a variable reinforcement drip-feed that gives them just enough to keep up the lease and gas and insurance payments on their vehicles, but not enough to give them breathing space to think about changing careers. Likewise for Amazon drivers. Amazon styles the drivers as subcontractors working for a ‘Delivery Service Partner’ (DSP), and the DSP is fully chickenized: They have to buy Amazon vans and subject them to Amazon maintenance, but Amazon reserves the right to fire a DSP without notice, stranding them with vehicle and lot leases and payroll liabilities. The DSP owners are chickenized, but the drivers themselves? They’re more like the chickens. Or rather, they’re centaurs: From the instant you get behind the wheel of an Amazon van, you are being surveilled by an array of cameras hooked up to high-handed, judgemental AIs that monitor your facial expressions, your eye movements, and your ability to meet an impossible quota. But even though an Amazon driver represents the tight coupling of a human and a machine to do more than either could do on their own, that’s not the kind of centaur that we talk about when it’s a chess master paired with a chess program. That chess master is being augmented by the machine, and the machine is the junior partner in the relationship. The human is the head, and the AI is the body. By contrast, an Amazon driver is a reverse-centaur. The AI is in charge, and the human is the junior partner. The AI is the head, telling the body what to do. The driver is the body — the slow-witted, ambulatory meat that is puppeteered by the AI master. The next generation of labor exploitation merges chickenization with reverse-centaurs. DoorDash and other gig companies use apps to script the movements and conduct of ‘independent contractors’ to the finest degree, while hiding their true wages from them until they’ve finished their jobs.” • Learn to code, and these are the systems you can help build!

News of the Wired

“How to Stop Superspreader Events Without Masks” [New York Times]. “At every stage of the pandemic, a disproportionate number of infections have been traced to a relatively small number of gatherings, also known as superspreader events. The recent Gridiron dinner, after which over 70 people tested positive including members of the Biden administration, is just the latest example. Some public health experts argue that tolerating these events is what living with Covid looks like. As far as we know, no one who tested positive after the Gridiron dinner became severely ill, but we don’t know if these cases also spread to workers and beyond. There’s little reason to accept this as a new normal. There’s a better way to hold indoor events without masks, and it doesn’t rely on vaccines and rapid tests. Vaccinations can prevent the worst possible outcomes of Covid-19, but cannot always prevent infections. Pre-event testing is imperfect and to be most effective, people need to test right before entering an event. Putting this much of the onus of infection control on individuals is both unlikely to work well to prevent superspreading and also lets hosts of large events off the hook for keeping their attendees, workers and others safe. Instead, there are ways that building owners can make indoor environments safer by disinfecting indoor air. One of the best technologies to do so — germicidal ultraviolet light — has been studied for decades and can now be used safely.” • I don’t know what is so hard to understand about “layered protection.” Yes, indoor ventilation should be fixed. But what about venues where UV isn’t installed? What about venues where the UV is down? Then, you need your mask.

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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 JU:

JU writes: “Poppy mountain.”

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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. Ranger Rick

    I think that the part that really sticks out to me about the Amazon driver situation is not the hellish working conditions (ask any trucker) it’s the monitoring. Middle managers should be quaking in their boots: if Amazon can automate micromanagement…

  2. jr

    Anecdote: I’ve been sick for two days now. Started with a sore throat, cough, and runny nose but the sore throat has gone away. Still coughing and sniffling. No loss of taste or smell. No aches or pains. I took two CV19 home tests about 18 hours apart and passed both of them. I’ll take another tomorrow. I’m following FLCCC protocols regardless. Plus the paste for good measure.

    1. three skies

      jr. always good to read of another person of the paste and FLCCC protocols faith. Strong wishes for a strong recovery. Last evening drbeen showed data (thanks to his colleague Paul Bork) and a list of the omicron symptoms. Let us in on the test findings tomorrow, good?

  3. The Hang Nail

    What if it were airborne Ebola?
    The media isn’t asking this question. For the past two years the debate goes in circles about masks and vaccines and what-not. For many people it could go either way. Yes, Covid is risky, but doesn’t seem like much more of a risk then riding in a car or taking a bath. So we give credence to the arguments that we should have the freedom to wear masks or not, for example.

    But this is terribly short-sighted. What if Covid were striking down kids at a high rate? What if it had Ebola-like mortality and was airborne? The conversation would be very much different. So when a judge decides that the CDC can’t impose mandates do they even consider a situation where the disease is worse? Why can’t we admit to each other that Covid s hitting the sweet-sport of divisiveness and is no one’s fault. It is deadly but not so deadly that we need to all walk around in fear. It strikes down many people who are near their end-days anyway and so on and so on. If it were a little worse we might all agree on mandates. If it were any milder we might all agree on the optionality of everything. This really is a Goldilocks virus for disunity. Instead of stoking the disunity why can’t journalists acknowledge how difficult this is to navigate? And please don’t start with the “if just one person suffers…we gotta do all we can” trope. We don’t do that in most areas of public policy and that’s fine.

    1. Skunk

      We seem to respond to acute risks more naturally than to boiling frog risks. Lots of people have died of the acute symptoms of COVID-19, but as these have receded somewhat people (except here at NC) haven’t considered that long-term chronic symptoms may eventually outweigh the acute symptoms as a personal and social disease burden.

      The level of acute risk is interesting, because if there were greater acute risk, there would be less debate about what to do. If there were less acute risk, there would also be less debate about what to do. So yes, we’d probably all agree more easily if it weren’t for the Goldilocks level of acute risk. But again, I suspect the level of chronic risk may be higher than most people (except here) think.

  4. johnherbiehancock

    Spotify drops Obamas’ podcast after they fail to generate enough episodes/original content. link: https://nypost.com/2022/04/21/why-spotify-dropped-its-deal-with-barack-and-michelle-obama/

    Saw some dunking on them on twitter, for being too lazy/busy(?) to even mail it in here. It would be surprising to think either of them would deign to grind out some original content, or even just mine the rolodex to set up empty pablum interviews with people like Jay Z, Nate Silver, Etc etc once a week

    1. Patrick

      $25 million from Spotify in 2019 to their production company and for their new deal, likely worth tens of millions, they are “willing to commit to no more than an eight-episode program” allegedly because they want to provide a platform to new/young/disadvantaged/etc voices.

      Lame. When is enough enough?

    2. Glen

      Too bad we could not have dropped his Presidency as easily. Re-branding Republican efforts to force everyone to get crummy insurance as Obamacare was a real sign that the guy was a conservative retread in a Bill Clinton suit. Following up with making the Bush tax cuts permenant, and bailing out the Wall St crooks was just rubbing salt into open wounds.

      So much debate about why the Democrats are going to be lose big in the midterms. The answer is simple – Biden pulled an Obama.

    3. RockHard

      Yeah, and after all the hand-wringing over Rogan and “why is he so popular?”, the Spotify employee revolt, etc., the other marquee name Spotify had is getting dropped

      Like him or not, you can’t deny that Rogan works hard. He releases a 2-3 hour episode about every other day. I’m sure that’s part of his appeal, there’s always something new.

    4. Gc54

      Like the Clinton Foundation, the only reason to bid for the O’$ is pay for play if the Mrs runs

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      The headline I saw this morning spun this as the Obamas were breaking up with Spotify, not the other way around.

      Now do Harry and Megan, Spotify. Have they even delivered a single show yet?

  5. super extra

    re: Fetterman

    I heard the comment once that “politics is Hollywood for ugly people” so I think the idea of ‘political fans’ is probably accurate as a mental model and does scale for other politicians. There is probably a concept of ‘political characterization’ and all the associated marketing around it to describe what is happening on an abstract level so it can attempt to be replicated with other , uh, market segements of the audience by political consultants citizen groups. Fetterman’s brand as a normal guy just in politics is great because for those in his market he is authentic. Can you imagine him wearing a suit? He’s aware of this of course and it works like image polishing would for a candidate that is being sold. It will be really interesting to see the post-Fetterman ‘authentic’ candidates in their various respective niches. The PA shorts always dad thing wouldn’t work as well in some other places but they have their own character types.

    1. hunkerdown

      Any movement must necessarily stand apart from that in relation to which it perceives itself to be maneuvering, including not only other movements but also ground truth. Sci-fi/fantasy literature offers a lot of language and structure for “world-building” exercises, not least, the plot, the sub-plot, the crisis, the escalation of tension, the dénouement. We could say politics is D&D for overly serious people. Which edition, I will leave to the reader to decide as a matter of personal conscience.

      1. anon y'mouse

        funny you say that, because i was listening to some explanatory youtube videos on World of Darkness-Vampire the Masquerade (a tabletop and sometimes computer RPG) and the social and political system described began to sound a little bit too much like the “real” world for comfort, resulting in some grim laughter.

        i will include the links for the bored and whimsically-natured:
        Camarilla, part 1

        Camarilla, part 2

        enjoy, maybe!

  6. Screwball

    From the Twittersphere today; CNN+ will be shut down at the end of April. Wow, we hardly got to know you. :-) x 100. Guess people don’t want to pay for propaganda. Imagine that!

    Funny of the day is some dude on a plane decides to screw around with Mike “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth” Tyson. Not a fan on Tyson, and not sure what really happened by the videos, but it did look like the guy was screwing with Tyson. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    1. poopinator

      With the new lane opening up, Lambert can start working on NakedCapitalism+. I’m pretty sure we could raise a quarter billion dollars for that effort.

  7. fresno dan

    In the face of these growing threats, U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S.
    technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks, particularly as the
    West continues to rely on the scale and reach of these firms
    to push back on the Kremlin. But recently proposed congressional legislation would unintentionally curtail the ability of these platforms to target disinformation efforts and safeguard the security of their users in the U.S. and globally. Legislation from both the House and Senate requiring non-discriminatory access for all “business users” (broadly defined to include foreign rivals) on U.S. digital platforms would provide an open door for foreign adversaries to gain access to the software and hardware of American technology companies. Unfettered access to software and hardware could result in major cyber threats, misinformation, access to data of U.S. persons, and intellectual property theft. Other provisions in this legislation would damage the capability of U.S. technology companies to roll out integrated security tools to adequately screen for nefarious apps and malicious actors, weakening security measures currently embedded in device and platform operating systems. Our national security greatly benefits from the capacity of these platforms to detect and act against these types of risks and, therefore, must not be unintentionally impeded.
    signed by the usual suspects…you know, the guys (and gals) who thought the Russians were interferring in our 2016 election as well as disinfo-ing Hunter’s laptop. AND that is with the tech giants…imagine what they would know if they didn’t have the tech giants behind them…

  8. Jason Boxman

    Many in the Middle East dream of putting George W Bush on trial for alleged war crimes in Iraq.

    I didn’t realize that the United States having invaded Iraq was somehow a fact in dispute. That certainly precipitated a war of aggression, which is itself a crime. So it seems reasonable to conclude Bush is a war criminal simply on that basis alone.

    1. enoughisenough

      Legally every crime is “alleged” until there is a conviction, that’s my understanding. News sites used to use it carefully for each case. Now I don’t think you can depend on that technical knowledge, and it’s used colloquially and imprecisely.

      Each day GWB is not on trial is another day without justice.

    2. SocalJimObjects

      Even if it’s not in dispute, there will be many who will argue that it’s justified as in “we are liberating the people” (concern trolling) and there will be others who’ll say “so what, try to catch us if you can”.

  9. Hepativore

    I would support a Sanders 2024 run…but first he would have to acknowledge how much he was betrayed by his “friend” Joe Biden, and how even though he tried to play by the DNC’s “rules” they still cheated him. An argument can be made that if he did this, he would be seen as a “poor sport”, but since the Democratic Party is going to despise him and act in bad faith no matter what he does or does not do, what would matter at this point?

    Sanders is also quite elderly, and while he is not that much older than Biden, media outlets would pounce on Sanders’ age as well as his recent heart attack as evidence that he is “past it”. I am sure that they would also try and project the concerns about Biden’s mental fitness on Sanders, and then we would hear narratives about “Senile Sanders”.

    Finally, even if Sanders was really sure about running, what would stop the DNC just canceling primaries altogether? There would be nothing stopping the DNC from saying that they already have their candidate such as Buttigieg or something, so holding primaries is not necessary and they are not obligated to do so.

    1. curlydan

      I was a big Sanders supporter in ’16 and ’20, but I’m leaning more towards a “what else we got?” attitude for ’24. I’m guessing the answer is “not much”. I really dislike making decisions heavily based on a single variable, but I really think 80+ probably is too old. I guess one other factor is the near certainty that he cannot win a single former Confederate state with the possible exception of Texas.

      Maybe if Bernie could give a good and simple answer to the ridiculous charge that “Medicare for All will raise your taxes”, then I would support him. So far, he hems and haws at that charge when the rest of us know the answer is that your paycheck and disposable income actually increase under Medicare for All because the money your company takes out for “for profit” health care goes away along with the crazy deductibles.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Can’t see that much enthusiasm for a third Sanders run. Good guy or not, twice now he has folded in a Presidential run and then turned around and fully backed the person that did the dirty on him, first with Hillary and then with his old friend Joe. If he ran, how many people would look at him and wonder at what point he will fold again and tell his supporters to vote the lessor evil? Yeah, I know that a lot of people still like him buy you want someone in your corner that will fight to the end for you, not turn around halfway and say that it is too hard and he is going to support the other guy. And the fact that he staffed his last campaign with people at the top that worked against him makes one wonder about his judgement.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Well said, Rev Kev. The Dems aren’t going to let him win and he’s not going to fight them for it. nor will he even give the time of day to a third party. All a third campaign would do is burn up what good will he has left with voters and make the sheepdog charge harder to deny.

        1. John

          Bernie Sanders will be six weeks past his 83rd birthday when the 2024 election rolls around. Seems a bit long in the tooth to me and I am 85.

    3. Judith

      I’d vote for Sara Nelson and Katie Porter. They seem willing to fight for what they believe in. Which, given how impressively things are falling apart, seems essential.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      The moment has passed. Sanders showed he did not have the nastiness needed to win ugly, or at least try. He showed it by, among other things, not asking the kind of detail-dense question of Biden in that debate which would have caused Biden’s mind to divide along its fracture planes on live TV. His failure to torture the Democrats into including Gabbard in all their debates showed a lack of strategic and tactical sense for taking advantage of golden weaponisable opportunities. If you want to make an omelet, you have to shove a few sharpened bamboo splinters under a few fingernails. And Sanders just doesn’t have the desire to do that with pleasure to opponents who deserve it.

      If Sanders ” runs again”, he will turn himself into a Harold Stassen joke. That would be a sad end to a political career which has planted many promising seeds for others to tend and grow over the decades to come.

      1. tongorad

        He showed it by, among other things, not asking the kind of detail-dense question of Biden in that debate which would have caused Biden’s mind to divide along its fracture planes on live TV.

        That debate performance still hurts. That’s when I knew Bernie is not the class-wartime consigliere we desperately need.

  10. anon y'mouse

    i don’t know that i would say there’s a hard line between spookdom and cops, for at least some departments.

    LAPD has long been a testing ground for new tactics even before it had one of those “homeland fusion centers”, and wasn’t it revealed a few years ago that they had international spies around the world, even in Moscow?

    same goes for NYC. weren’t they spying on both Islamic and labor groups?

      1. ambrit

        The Postal Inspectors are most definitely coppers. They do a lot of “snail mail” drug interdiction work, and a few have been killed in the line of duty. A lot of their work is along the lines of covert observation, so, a jump to the “Intelligence Services” is logical.

  11. digi_owl

    Cory’s description of Amazon delivery drivers made me think of the recording industry.

    In particular how a label will forward a sum to a newly signed artist, and then garnish income from records etc to pay that “loan” down. This in addition to various fees levied for handling promotion, distribution, etc.

    And Hollywood have mastered the system such that their variant is known as Hollywood accounting. There they set up a company specifically to handle a singular movie. And then the big name studio levies fees on them in much the same way. And it is the production company, not the studios, that are responsible for paying the actors etc. And if said actors do not read their contracts carefully, they may only get paid once the production company runs a profit. Good luck with that.

    Sadly the Amazon method is spreading in Europe as well, in part thanks to EU pushing for various public services to be turned into competitive markets. I have seen delivery services that outright state that in order to drive for them one need to set up a proprietorship that is then contracted with the company.

  12. LadyXoc

    Love the painting: so very February in the great rust belt of the northeast, in these late-stage deindustrialized (originally water-powered) factory towns. Also reminds me of Charles Burchfield’s work: an American impressionist who incredibly captures the feel of western New York/Ohio so well that you begin to think that you’ve been there before.

  13. Mark Gisleson

    “A Democrat in gym shorts tries to rally blue votes in Trump country” [WaPo].

    I didn’t read this (just the excerpt) but this is politics 101. While advising a WI congressional campaign in 2016 I had to explain to young staff/volunteers that blue votes in red counties counted just as much as blue votes in solidly blue counties. Hillary’s forces blew everything up so it didn’t matter, but in 2018 the Democrats radically changed their approach in that CD. They still lost but elected a governor statewide whose margin of victory was smaller than the increase in votes in that one CD.

    The neoliberal strategy of assuming your base while focusing on the burbs has always been based on corporate thinking (your people will do what you tell them to do). You have to run everywhere and your issues have to work for all your supporters, not just the ones the candidate would like to have a beer with.

    1. Patrick

      Good points.

      I am curious though, assuming your base is either voting for you or not voting at all, isn’t swinging a vote worth twice as much?

      Of course that isn’t all that important or reasonable of an assumption for a primary, but does that factor in at all?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        A swung vote is worth more than one base vote. However, what is the relative input costs?

        In 2006 and 2008, people like Joe Scarborough, Charlie Christ, and Mike Bloomberg all people the Democrats have kind of won over voted Republican. The number of potential swing voters has always paled compared to the potential base electorate.

        Hillary blew 2 billion dollars to win suburban voters and msdnc viewers feel good about themselves. The Third Way has promised both policy and political success for decades, and the best election effort in all this time was in 2008 when HRC lost and the candidate was nominally anti-war, calling for higher taxes, and pushing a public option in healthcare. It was apparent the Democratic base is bigger than any swing vote bloc.

        Results matter.

  14. Milton

    Poppy Mountain:
    I would almost swear that could be any hill taken along hwy 101 along the CA Central Coast during the winter or spring months. Very pretty.

  15. diptherio

    RE: BLM Foundation

    I mentioned the other day that I’d taken a look at their 2019 990 (the only one available) and that it was just zeros all the way down. Lambert asked if I was sure it was for the correct group, as there are a lot of look-a-like NGOs. I can confirm that it is the correct one. Cullors is listed as the ED (at 0 hours/week, with 0 compensation). The 990 can be found here: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/82-4862489

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I heard an interview where Cullors said that the 990s had been “deeply weaponized against us”.

      1. Pat

        When you hand your critics a nuclear warhead thinking it is a pillow…

        I don’t know what is worse, thinking that might work as a defensive response or anyone giving it even a moments consideration.

  16. playon

    There are three key areas on which Democrats must reverse course to have a chance at keeping majorities in the House and Senate: inflation/cost of living, crime and policing, and school reopenings.

    I’m quite surprised at this, I didn’t realize crime and policing was an issue this cycle — is it really? It sounds tired and phony to me. Certainly cost of living is a huge deal, but crime? According to this, crime rates have been going down since the 1990s.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please use search engines rather than force me to deal with matters like this.

      The issue is not reality but perceptions. Crime is most assuredly up a lot on a relative basis since Covid started, even if it is markedly below 1990s levels.

      And as a result of falling crime rates, since the late 1980s, parents have moved back from suburbs into cities and/or not left their kids became of school age. This is hardly true across the board, but it is a trend in blue cities among the upper middle class, who have a lot of clout. This was a very pronounced development in Manhattan, highly visible if you lived there and were only mildly observant. So many of the better-off have put themselves in the position of feeling more at risk by being in cities rather than tame-seeming suburbs.

      See these 2022 stories:

      Why crime is at the center of California elections this year Los Angeles Times

      They Wanted to Roll Back Tough-on-Crime Policies. Then Violent Crimes Surged New York Times

      This from six days ago: New poll lists crime as top voting issue for Californians CBS 8

      If this is the sort of thing you are seeing in Democratic-controlled areas, imagine the sentiment in districts where Fox has a bigger following.

  17. What? No!

    “Trump releases audio that appears to refute claim he walked out of interview over 2020 questions”

    Like the word comprise and the use of semi-colons, I always appreciate seeing the correct use of ZOMG in a sentence.

  18. jr

    I was listening to Dore earlier today about that idiot Coons from Delaware calling for “boots on the ground” in Ukraine. Michael Tracey was his guest. Tracey was in England describing a lefty pro-war rally:


    It got me to wondering to what extent are the calls for war just the product of momentum? One voice cries for war, then another, then three, building exponentially because everyone wants to be on the band wagon. Soon it’s rolling under it’s own power. Kind of like that cartoon posted here a while back where that guy says “Bye!” on a phone and someone hears “Buy!” and Wall Street goes on a frenzy, then someone says “Excel!” and everyone sells:


    I’m not saying there aren’t interests who explicitly want a war, I just wonder what part of it is “Monkey see, monkey do.” Monkey being spot on. Stuff to muse over whilst laying in one’s sick bed.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was working out @ a gym about a week before Shock & Awe™ on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance that was a very glassy place-lots of views looking outdoors, when I spied walking in the rain, a few pro-war marchers on the sidewalk pacing back and forth, the lettering on their moldy cardboard signs held aloft dripping a little bit. It was pretty surreal.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      reminds me of a moral panic…like the satanic cult scare that swept through the town i grew up in.
      grown men…leaders of the community…(superintendent, principals, mayor, etc)…talking about the Forces of Darkness at a sort of town hall at the high school…as seriously as if speaking about that guy over there, walking down the road.
      similarly, same bunch, talking about the commies in the same manner.
      of course, much later…they fell right back into it about “Jihadhists” and whatnot.
      these are, of course, examples of the Righty version of the phenomenon.
      the “left”(snort!) has it’s own…developed as a counterreaction to the reaction to obama.
      given nazi meth in countereaction to trump, and set loose….much like the tea party before them, and on the other side.
      and all this gels with that Mary Harrington bit…Team Blue as a Swarm Organism.

      i like her, as far as right wingers go(she’d be we;come at the wilderness bar to argue with me)
      but i’ve been reading Yarvin(Mencius Moldbug) for many years, now…some of his taxonomy(Cathedral, etc—he’s obviously read some Marx, it just didn’t take) is useful…but where his argument leads him is frelling terrible.
      neomonarchism to go along with our nascent neofeudalism…work for amazon? yer a ‘citizen’ of amazon…a disembodied “country”…abstracted out of the world, much like the erstwhile Public Space and formerly liberal traditions like universalism, etc.

    3. MichaelSF

      jr said “One voice cries for war, then another, then three, building exponentially because everyone wants to be on the band wagon. Soon it’s rolling under it’s own power. ”

      Perhaps it can work for peace too, as Arlo once sang:

      . . . if you’re in a
      Situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
      The shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
      Anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.”. And walk out. You know, if
      One person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
      They won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
      They may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
      And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
      Singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
      Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
      Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
      Walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

    4. jr

      Thanks for the comments guys. I have to wonder if there isn’t some pack instinct that kicks in at times of real or perceived danger. I’ve always been of the opinion that humans are more ape than we like to think.

      The lefty march Tracey describes was billed as an anti-war march. But everyone was calling for Russian blood. Who thinks, in this crazy fu(king world, that things are so black and white? I guess people want clear lines and they will make them if those lines aren’t there.

  19. ChrisRUEcon


    Wow … another Kamala staffer gone. What’s this, now? Third? Fourth? (via Bloomberg – paywalled)

    No one in her office, it seems, is pinning hopes for their futures to her fortunes. Don’t want to be around when #BidenHarris lose to #TrumpGabbard in 2024.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      I love Bernie (and I can prove it! – via #Twitter) … but … I don’t think he’s going to add anything new if he runs as a Democrat in 2024. People gave him a second chance in 2020 – and I think he made a couple strategic errors, most seriously being too much of a mensch with Biden. I mean, look – Kamala went after Biden on bussing and she laughed it off after she became Veep. I still think the pandemic played a part. Surprised to see he still has Faiz on board! Some other Bernie people implicated Faiz as another voice on the “you should quit” side. If he runs as a Democrat, he’d still be the most honest voice, but there is no reason to believe that the outcome would be any different.

      If Bernie runs as an independent, however, and takes his message straight to the general, that might be enough to woo back a certain constituency … and I might get on board. But there are other issues I have, namely around #MMT, and Bernie not absolutely hammering the farce of sound economics home more. I mean, for family-blog sake, get Kelton out on the road with you Bernie! Have her with you on a town hall! If Bernie tries to mensch it out again, though … not worth it IMO.

      1. Pat

        I love Bernie. I think that much of what he accomplished is downright miraculous. But he always needed a closer, and has never been or had one.

        If he had been in his late 50’s to 60 in 2016 and had more than Nina Turner, much as I love her, visible on his team I might say go again. But he was pushing age expectations in 2020 and his team then had as many saboteurs as supporters. I do not see how another run will move things further in the right direction.

        I have no clue if there is anyone on the horizon that can push back more from the fascist/ oligarchic neoliberal hell we have marched towards for most of my adult life. I hope there is. The growing union movement and yes slow gains by DSA and independent groups in various local fronts are good signs that the seeds of change weren’t entirely killed. And who knows where they will lead us and to whom. Hope springs eternal.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Given that Gabbard sees what happens to every single person who gets involved in any formal way with Trump, I hope she has better sense than to get involved with him in any political project whatever. I would rather see her stay uncontaminated and clean for future efforts.

  20. Wukchumni

    New report says Fresno region has dirtiest air in US. Experts call for critical change (Fresno Bee)

    A funny thing happened in the pandemic, rental prices went down in SF, but went up in Fresno-as maybe the 5th largest city in Cali isn’t as bleak as I make it out to be?

    Naaaaah, it’s the Benjamins!

  21. Michael Ismoe

    The US Capitol was briefly evacuated on Wednesday when authorities issued a threat alert over a trivial parachute act, causing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to chastise aviation officials…”

    They apparently know the fate that awaits our “youngish” octogenarian when January rolls around.

    If Joe Biden owes me $600 then Bernie owes me $27 (times way too many) for his 2020 “run”.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Biden’s $600 was a promise, and promises are considered to be owed. The $27 to Bernie , however many times, was a gamble, and if the bet is lost, that is just the way it goes.

  22. Michael Ismoe

    Charles Booker, Senate Candidate, Wants to Build a Progressive Future for Kentucky” [Teen Vogue]. “3. If you could snap your fingers and change two things about politics in the United States — such as policies you want to see enacted or structural issues — what would they be? We should ensure that everyone has high-quality health care with Medicare for All. Our government must also address our country’s deepest ills of structural racism and poverty by finally ensuring reparations for descendants of enslaved Americans, and a Universal Basic Income.”

    He couldn’t win statewide in Mississippi (the state with the highest proportions of Black citizens) with this platform. There is zero way this him elected in Kentucky.

    This is political malpractice, no, suicide – unless he’s looking for an NGO payday. Staci Abrams went from being behind on her student loans to being a millionaire in four years. A pathway has been cleared. Why cut a new one?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Biden should scrap talk of the ‘liberal international order’”

    Saying the quiet bit out loud. Trying to enforce a “rules based order” in the world is no longer working as everybody know that it is actually a “DC based order”. And people cannot fail to see how with this sort of hegemony, the EU is right now destroying their own economies in “loyalty” to this order. And the economic blowback is starting to bite deeply into the American economy without Russia even launching their own counter-sanctions. So now some bright sparks have realized that if a candidate came along who promised not to get America into a thermonuclear war, that that might have a lot of appeal to American voters and which would threaten Washington think. Hence this article saying that perhaps it is the economy, stupid that they should pay attention to.

    1. John

      How liberal is an “international order” that is suppressing voices that do not follow its rules?

      1. caucus99percenter

        As “liberal” as a German mainstream that jails 93-year-old women and tars dissent as Nazi, while itself enthusiastically embracing Gleichschaltung of the media, academia, and civil society, and rushing headlong into re-armament and war with Russia?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      We’d be losing a lot of simplicity if the rules-based order is ditched:

      Rule #1: The USA gives the orders.

  24. marym

    Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazon
    BREAKING NEWS‼️‼️‼️ @BernieSanders is Coming to NYC to visit @amazonlabor
    and the workers of Amazon This Sunday ✊?
    Apr 20, 2022 https://twitter.com/Shut_downAmazon/status/1516769744711471109

    Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders
    The movement of workers demanding dignity on the job wins again! Congratulations to Starbucks workers in Richmond on your vote to unionize! I will see you Sunday!
    Apr 19, 2022 https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1516504231771004931

  25. Ben Joseph

    Took all day to make it through this morning sports page link on Penn State rapist. Absolutely horrifying and riveting. Stranger than fiction timeline post first conviction. Can’t believe he isn’t as infamous as Bundy and Gacy.

  26. Wukchumni

    Interesting interview with the water majordomo for the state of Arizona…

    I’m thinking the Colorado is the canary in the coal mine, which will cause the first climate change diaspora as the southwest heads east.

    “I never thought this day would come this quickly,” Buschatzke said. “But I think we always knew that this day was potentially out there.”

    “We’re going to have to learn to live with less water,” he said.

    The goal is to keep water levels at Lake Powell high enough to support power generation at the lake’s Glen Canyon Dam and future water supplies to Lake Mead.

    The two reservoirs on the Colorado River provide 40 percent of Arizona’s water supply. But the lake levels have declined precipitously over the last 20 years, owing to a historic megadrought and the effects of human-caused climate change.


  27. lance ringquist

    i have always felt that bubbles can go on a long time, what pops them is when people can no longer pay their bills.

    i always felt that 2008 was not a result of the housing bubble popping, but that 2008 was a result of millions of workers who could no longer pay their bills because nafta billy clintons disastrous trade polices had striped them of their ability to service their debt, consume, save a little and have some leisure time.

    so when they could no longer string out their middle class lives, bubbles popped, and down went the economy. which really has never come back, and is still on a downwards trajectory.


    “None of these writers acknowledges in these recent articles that deglobalization, which is a retreat from Western-designed globalization, did not begin during the pandemic or during the Russian war on Ukraine. This process has its origins in the Great Recession of 2007-2009.”
    if china does not become the major consumer of their own products, then any future globalization will falter, because as we see today, the third world is tired of being a supplier of raw materials, they want in on the manufacturing action.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    I’ll support reparations for slavery when Booker supports reparations for strip mining. Otherwise not.

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