2:00PM Water Cooler 4/22/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is Lyre Bird week at Naked Capitalism. Only nine minutes of lyrebird drama today. Amazingly, Vicki Powys, who recorded this lyrebird, is known the commentariat. Here is her site, which includes information on recording equipment, in case any of you wish to get over-ambitions and send in sound recordings to Macaulay (or even to us).

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

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

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

Biden Adminstration

“How Biden Can Help the Climate on Earth Day—Without Congress” [The New Republic]. “There’s plenty to be done internationally, too. As Olufemi Taiwo and Patrick Bigger point out, the United States could easily write off the bilateral debt of countries around the world to which it serves as a creditor. It’s the least the administration could do to open up fiscal space for countries to respond, adapt to and mitigate the climate crisis as promised Fed interest rate hikes threaten to throw much of the Global South into a catastrophic debt crisis. The U.S. could use its outsized power in the Bretton Woods Institutions to push the International Monetary Fund to issue $650 million Special Drawing Rights, a currency governed by the Fund. It could push hard at the World Trade Organization to tear up archaic intellectual property protections that could allow companies to charge extortionary rents to countries that attempt to deploy life-saving clean energy technologies.” • Of all the executive actions the article recommends, this one seems least easy for a Republican administration to roll back.

“Biden rips GOP for targeting Disney” [The Hill]. “The Florida House of Representatives voted Thursday to eliminate a special district that allows Disney to operate as an independent government around its Florida theme parks.” • Seems like a good outcome, no matter how unhappy the cause.

“‘I Have 100 Percent, and I Intend to Keep It That Way’: Kamala Harris Breaks Down Her Daily Wordle Habit” [The Ringer]. “Does the staff get competitive with whoever you’ve gotten over into the Wordle camp? [HARRIS:] I think they do. You know, what I love about my team is that they don’t tell on each other. But they’re all very competitive because they’re all super smart. And they love games, when you can play and have fun with each other.” • Hmm.

“Psaki to Chris Wallace: ‘Normal’ to ‘engage’ next career stop while still in government” [The Hill]. “White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN host Chris Wallace this week it is perfectly normal for her to pursue future employment opportunities while serving in government. ‘What I will tell you, Chris, and you know this from covering White Houses in the past, there are certain requirements of anybody who’s serving. If you are talking to or engaging, thinking about any future employment, which is normal. That’s a — what nearly everybody does who at some point will leave the White House,’ Psaki said.” • What did your Mom tell you? Just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t make it right!


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MI: “Sen. Mallory McMorrow gave fiery speech that lit up Twitter: What to know about her” [Detroit Free Press]. “The Michigan lawmaker took to the Senate floor to defend herself against a completely unfounded allegation from another legislator that she wants to “groom and sexualize kindergartners.” McMorrow decried the political attack by Sen. Lana Theis, a Brighton Republican who made the accusation in a recent campaign fundraising email without evidence.” • “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” • McMorrow’s speech:

MI: ” young Democrat’s viral takedown demands a ‘wokeness’ rethink” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. Of McMorrow: “‘Enormously effective piece of communication,’ [James] Carville told me. ‘There’s really no comeback to it.’ Carville’s endorsement of this approach suggests how this McMorrow moment might push the stale ‘wokeness’ debate in a more salutary direction. It might prod Democrats to rethink their responses to GOP attacks along these lines. The 35-year-old McMorrow’s ire was triggered by a Republican colleague’s fundraising pitch describing McMorrow as a “groomer.” …. You’ll note that McMorrow didn’t sound defensive or offer mealy-mouthed, hairsplitting fact-checks. She didn’t capitulate to the Republican framing of these matters for a second. Instead, McMorrow laid bare her deepest convictions and explained how they lead her to her positions on gay and trans rights, and why basic human decency demands them. Importantly, she made this about what Republicans are doing. Many Democrats do profess outrage about the GOP’s use of the ‘groomer’ slander. But you rarely hear Democrats go beyond casting themselves as mere victims of a vile smear, and instead hammering those pushing it for their rhetorical degeneracy, phony piety about protecting children, profound lack of rectitude, and all around sleazy and debased public conduct. McMorrow’s description of herself as a White, Christian, suburban mom — one who wants her children to respect and empathize with non-Christian, non-White, gay and trans kids and families — gets at this. It turns the ‘identity politics’ debate on its head.”

NV: “Nevada Democrats lean on Harry Reid’s political machine as warning lights flash” [NBC]. “For the first time in more than three decades, however, Nevada Democrats have to take on such political battles without Reid, the tactician who offered a steady hand and helped bridge alliances. The organizational machine he left behind is still churning — and dominating Nevada Democratic politics. That’s even after the Democratic Party here ruptured last year after a slate backed by the Democratic Socialists of America took over the party structure, vaulting Judith Whitmer, a Bernie Sanders supporter, to the state party chairmanship. That rattled national Democrats, fearing volatility and a divided party in a pivotal battleground state. But expectations that the newcomers would shake up the establishment never materialized. Instead, the shadow party the Reid machine launched — Nevada Democratic Victory, or NDV — has grown into the de facto party handling the top-of-the-ticket races. NDV set up shop in the swing county of Washoe, home of Reno, and money, a powerful bloc of politicians, aides and strategists followed. ‘So many of the people who work in politics worked with or for him on his staff or as organizers,’ said Nicole Cannizzaro, the state Senate majority leader. ‘There are a lot of us that are very committed to making sure that that legacy lives on.’ Yet a split remains. Interviews with more than a dozen party members, elected officials, activists and longtime operatives reveal a still-divided Democratic Party that has spawned a new era of functional dysfunction, one in which two entities are still figuring out how to co-exist after having overcome initial clashes over money and voter data. That’s an ominous sign for 2024, when Democrats can’t afford to have divisions. While the Reid machine has helped turn statewide seats blue, it was Sanders, the candidate backed by the Democratic Socialists of America, who decidedly won the caucuses in 2020.” • So, if I have this straight, when the Sanders slate won, the regular Democrats emptied the cupboards and sent all the money to Washington, and then set up a parallel party, all the while getting soppy about “legacy.” And people wonder why liberals aren’t trusted.

PA: “5 takeaways from Thursday’s Pennsylvania Democratic Senate debate” [Inquirer]. “Fetterman, joining Lamb and Kenyatta on a debate stage for the first time just weeks before the May 17 primary, appeared less polished than his rivals and uncomfortable with their frequent criticism. But he didn’t make any missteps likely to change the dynamics of a contest he’s been winning from the start.” And then there’s the 2013 gun incident:

One question Fetterman knew was coming his way was about a 2013 incident that has loomed over his campaign, in which Fetterman, then the mayor of Braddock, pulled a shotgun on a Black jogger whom he had wrongly suspected of a shooting.

Fetterman defended his actions that day the same exact way he has time and again. When asked by the moderator if he’d do anything differently, he said, “It’s certainly not a situation anyone would want to be in.”

While the incident has been rehashed numerous times during the campaign, this was likely the first time many voters had heard about it — and the first time Fetterman addressed it while taking criticism from his rivals face-to-face. And while Fetterman has maintained he did nothing wrong that day, his refusal to apologize was highlighted center stage when Kenyatta, the only Black candidate in the Democratic field, turned to him and asked him directly if he would:

“For somebody who has cut an image of an incredibly tough guy, you’re so afraid of two little words, ‘I’m sorry.’ ”

Fetterman looked straight ahead and said, “There was no profiling or anything involved.” As he has many times, he held up his reelection in Braddock, a majority-Black city, as a kind of exoneration. “I never pointed the weapon at the individual, and everyone in Braddock knows,” he said.

John, we get it. You have a Black friend,” Kenyatta said. “The question is… are you gonna say I’m sorry today?”

That from Kenyatta sticks in my craw. Fetterman doesn’t have “a Black friend.” He has Black constituents, who elected him repeatedly, and who Kenyatta just insulted. Kenyatta is an obvious regular Democrat straw whose role is to make sure Fetterman loses the general by depressing the vote in Philly, after which he will no doubt be rewarded with a lucrative sinecure at a “progressive NGO.”

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“The billionaires cutting huge checks for the 2022 midterms” [Yahoo Finance]. “The richest Americans are quickly coming off of the sidelines as the 2022 midterm elections heat up, according to newly released filings from the Federal Election Commission. An analysis by Yahoo Finance of the data running through March 31 finds that super PACs (Political Action Committees) have received over 30 checks so far this year of at least $1 million each. And Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison each gave eight-figure donations to Republican causes. Across the political landscape, Senate campaigns are building up their back accounts. At the same time, so-called dark money groups have added money into the system anonymously while Donald Trump has built an enormous war chest of his own. But it’s super PACs — which can receive unlimited donations — that get the eye-popping checks. Here are some of the biggest donations revealed in the latest filings.”

“Andrew Cuomo, a man searching for a plan” [Politico]. “A Siena College poll last month showed 67 percent of registered voters did not want him to run for governor, and 56 percent believed that he sexually harassed women. A Siena poll in February found 80 percent of voters said he made the right decision to resign. Not numbers that instill hope of a successful comeback after he quit rather than face a likely impeachment by the state Legislature…. Cuomo’s last hope this year to enter the race for governor? A quixotic run as an independent — a move that even technically would be hard to pull off with the number of petition signatures required by the end of May. And even if he does run, he would likely just split the vote among Democrats and could hand the election to Republicans — who haven’t won a statewide race in New York since 2002.”

“California Pandemic Early Detection and Prevention Institute Initiative (2022)” [BallotPedia]. May appear on the ballot November 8, 2022. “Increases tax on personal income over $5 million by 0.75% for 10 years, and allocates new tax revenues as follows: 50% to the California Institute for Pandemic Prevention (established by this measure), to award grants for research and development of technologies to detect and prevent future pandemics; 25% for public health programs for pandemic preparedness; and 25% for improvements to school facilities to limit disease transmission. Creates Independent Scientific Governing Board to administer the Institute; requires board members have specified medical, technological, or public-health expertise.” • Not unconstructive. How odd we don’t have anything like this at the Federal level.

“Inbox Warriors” [The Baffler]. “Last November, I received an email advertising a “Pro-Science, Pro-Health, Pro-Vaccine” cardholder—Keep your vaccine card safe with this free cardholder! Another email describes it as ‘a unique way to spread the message’ and ‘share your values.’ I’ve received other messages reminding me that ‘Republican politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene have compared mask wearing to the Holocaust’ and dangling an ever so tempting offer: Can we send you a pouch for your masks? Out of everything sitting in my inbox from MoveOn.org, it’s these emails that most illuminate the pitfalls of liberal righteousness and fill me with the greatest dread. Hesitancy around vaccines and masks isn’t solely the fault of charlatans spreading misinformation, and it’s not just a matter of having the right ‘values’ you can flex with ugly tchotchkes. Our low vaccination rate is also a product of our dysfunctional, privatized health care system, which the Democratic Party can’t fix because they are enmeshed with the corporate sector. Instead of using this moment as an opportunity to reflect on societal failure, these tit-for-tats exacerbate the problem by relishing the fact that ‘science,’ ‘health,’ and the ‘vaccine’ have become partisan signifiers. As we remain unprepared for the next pandemic and impending environmental crises, one of the biggest progressive organizations is hawking plastic cardholders in exchange for your data. And if you’re looking for any actual solutions, shut up and Move On. Didn’t you get that alert about the coup?”


“Trump Easter messages skewer Democrats” [The Hill]. “‘Happy Easter to failed gubernatorial candidate and racist Attorney General Letitia James,’ Trump said in a message sent via his Save America PAC. ‘May she remain healthy despite the fact that she will continue to drive business out of New York while at the same time keeping crime, death, and destruction in New York!’… In another message on Sunday directed at Democrats, the former president said ‘Radical Left Maniacs’ are ‘doing everything possible to destroy our Country.’ ‘May they not succeed, but let them, nevertheless, be happy, healthy, wealthy, and well!’ he added.” • The man’s style is inimitable….

“Youngkin prepares to wade into national politics” [Politico]. “Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is preparing to take a step into national politics by launching a pair of new political groups ahead of the midterm election. Youngkin’s new operation will allow him to wade into gubernatorial races across the country on behalf of GOP candidates. Youngkin can also use the apparatus to target a pair of Democratic House members in Virginia whom Republicans are looking to unseat. Those close to Youngkin — who is limited to a single term as governor by Virginia’s constitution — say he has been solely focused on pushing forward his policy agenda since taking office, turning away Republicans who have been eager for him to engage in other states following his nationally watched victory. After his November win, the governor received invitations to appear at out-of-state political dinners and other functions, including in New Hampshire — a key early state on the presidential nominating calendar. The 55-year-old Youngkin, who was formerly an executive at the Carlyle Group, a prominent private equity firm, has neither teased a prospective 2024 campaign nor explicitly closed the door on one.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

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Republican Funhouse

“‘Quietly moving on’: Trump’s mojo may be waning out West” [Seattle Times]. “Campaign finance reports released last week show that Trump’s patented ‘Complete and Total Endorsement!’ is actually doing surprisingly little to drive money and enthusiasm to some of his favored candidates. Example: Congressional candidate Loren Culp, who was the Washington state GOP’s previous nominee for governor. ….. They appear to be turning their backs on Culp — his intake rate of campaign money actually slowed a bit post-endorsement, with only about $19,000 after Feb. 9, according to federal records of itemized contributions. This despite flying down to Mar-a-Lago Club in late February to kiss the ring at a “MAGApalooza” candidate forum. The Culp campaign also spent more money than it brought in….. Trump’s pick down in southwest Washington’s 3rd District, Joe Kent, is doing far better. But even there, Trump’s influence seems a little tenuous. A conservative GOP rival to Kent, Heidi St. John, had originally made a kind of tribal loyalty oath that she would drop out if she didn’t win Trump’s favor. She then refused to bend the knee and stayed in the race anyway. The news is that it hasn’t seemed to hurt her that much…. The catch here is that all these GOP candidates competing for Trump’s fickle gaze are simultaneously renting out Trump consultants and Trump properties. For example, Kent’s campaign paid Mar-a-Lago Club $16,370 for event-hosting and fundraising fees, as well as nearly $300,000 to a former Trump campaign worker’s company for consulting services. Nationwide, dozens of GOP candidates, like “crabs in a bucket to be lifted out by him,” have paid nearly $1.3 million to Trump to hold events at Mar-a-Lago, the Times reported. Whether they rise or fall, he’s already made out like a bandit. I continue to be amazed that grown politicians can’t see they are being played for marks by an obvious charlatan.” • This is terrible about Mar-a-Lago. Why on earth don’t any of our Democratic strategists buy a hotel? They’re leaving money on the table!

“Inside The New Right, Where Peter Thiel Is Placing His Biggest Bets” [Vanity Fair]. “[M]ost of the media attention that the conference attracts focuses on a cohort of rosy young blazer-wearing activists and writers—a crop of people representing the American right’s “radical young intellectuals,” as a headline in The New Republic would soon put it, or conservatism’s “terrifying future,” as David Brooks called them in The Atlantic. But the people these pieces describe, who made up most of the partygoers around me, were only the most buttoned-up seam of a much larger and stranger political ferment, burbling up mainly within America’s young and well-educated elite, part of an intra-media class info-war. The podcasters, bro-ish anonymous Twitter posters, online philosophers, artists, and amorphous scenesters in this world are variously known as “dissidents,” “neo-reactionaries,” “post-leftists,” or the “heterodox” fringe—though they’re all often grouped for convenience under the heading of America’s New Right. They have a wildly diverse set of political backgrounds, with influences ranging from 17th-century Jacobite royalists to Marxist cultural critics to so-called reactionary feminists to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, whom they sometimes refer to with semi-ironic affection as Uncle Ted. Which is to say that this New Right is not a part of the conservative movement as most people in America would understand it. It’s better described as a tangled set of frameworks for critiquing the systems of power and propaganda that most people reading this probably think of as “the way the world is.” And one point shapes all of it: It is a project to overthrow the thrust of progress, at least such as liberals understand the word.” • Interesting article. Every so often the press decides to try to make a bunch of young conservatives cool. It never succeeds, because they never are. Lots of noodling about Curtis Yarvin. And Peter Thiel, who is pumping money into the milieu (and, hopefully, not extracting blood).

“Idaho extremists target judges, prosecutors, health workers in doxxing campaigns” [Idaho Capitol Sun]. “Ammon Bundy did not complete 40 hours of community service — his sentence for a conviction of trespassing and resisting arrest, stemming from Bundy’s refusal to leave a closed area at the Idaho Statehouse in 2020. Instead of performing community service, though, Bundy reported 40 hours of time spent on his political campaign for Idaho governor. McDevitt on April 7 ordered Bundy to spend 10 days in jail and pay a $3,000 fine for disobeying the court. ‘You didn’t just blow it off. Rather, you took the time and effort to blatantly disrespect the court’s order, making a mockery of the sentence you received,’ McDevitt told Bundy, according to the Idaho Statesman. ‘You were given an opportunity to go complete public service — you could have done it.’ The flier left in the Boise neighborhood [doxxing a judge and prosecutor assigned to one of Ammon Bundy’s criminal cases] did not acknowledge the legal basis for Bundy’s new jail sentence. This is an edited version of a photo of the flier distributed to Boise residents. ‘He is now being held, a political prisoner, in solitary confinement, at the Ada County Jail, causing a hardship on his family,’ the flier said. ‘TELL THESE JUDICIAL EXTREMISTS TO STOP TORMENTING THE GOOD PEOPLE OF IDAHO!'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“One in Three Churches Will Be Victims of Embezzlement, Experts Say” [The Roys Report]. “Trust is important to religious organizations. But misplaced trust can lead to financial fraud, and churches need to take steps to protect themselves from people who will take advantage of their good will, said the co-director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. Embezzlement will cost churches $170 billion in the year 2050 if current trends continue, Todd Johnson told Christianity Today. He said that although financial fraud would ideally be less prevalent within the religious community, giving is part of the church model — and where there’s money, there are thieves.”

“Black Lives Matter Secretly Bought a $6 Million House” [New York Magazine]. We posted the champagne class-clinking video yesterday. “On March 30, I asked the organization questions about the house, which is known internally as “Campus.” Afterward, leaders circulated an internal strategy memo with possible responses, ranging from ‘Can we kill the story?’ to ‘Our angle — needs to be to deflate ownership of the property.’ The memo includes bullet points explaining that ‘Campus is part of cultural arm of the org — potentially as an ‘influencer house,’ where abolition+ based content is produced by artists & creatives.’ Another bullet is headed Accounting/990 modifications’ and reads in part: ‘need to first make sure it’s legally okay to use as we plan to use it.’ The memo also describes the property as a ‘safehouse’ for leaders whose safety has been threatened. The two notions — that the house is simultaneously a confidential refuge and a place for broadcasting to the widest possible audience — are somewhat in tension. The memo notes: ‘Holes in security story: Use in public YT videos.'” • “influencer house.” Absolutely shameless!


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.

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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:

A little encouraging! (I do have priors, and worries, but even I wouldn’t wish a pandemic on a population to prove a point.)

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:

Encouraging! (Both service areas turned down; I don’t think this is because the college semester has ended, either; readers please correct me.)

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:

Also encouraging!

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

Now California is aflame, as well as Chicago. The Northeast is improving, as confirmed by wastewater. (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. Now California is red as well.

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: 1,017,609 1,017,093. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. Numbers still going down, still democidally high.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Bumpy ride….

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

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Tech: “The Tech Bubble That Never Burst” [New York Times]. “The venture capitalists are sounding the alarm. At posh conferences, they buzz about falling valuations for start-ups. On CNBC, they bemoan the sudden lack of initial public offerings. On Twitter, they warn of a coming downturn. It is a familiar refrain. For the past decade, such warnings have cropped up repeatedly in start-up land. The industry is in another bubble, investors and commentators caution, conjuring the 1999 dot-com era and the dramatic collapse and recession that followed. Jobs disappeared, fortunes vaporized, and reputations were tarnished. The message since has carried those scars: The boom times are ending. Buckle in for a rough ride. Yet every time, more money has flooded into start-ups. Instead of a collapse, things got bubblier.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 43 Fear (previous close: 46 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 45 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 22 at 1:33 PM EDT. ZOMG they changed the artwork!

The Gallery

Never seen this one:

Class Warfare

At a moment where there doesn’t seem to be a lot to be encouraged about, I’m very encouraged by the Amazon and Starbucks unionizing efforts. –lambert.

Christian Smalls (1):

Christian Smalls (2):

“‘It’s bigger than us’: How partners at a Denton Starbucks are leading the fight for unionization in North Texas” [Denton Record-Chronicle]. “Less than a month after the termination of seven union organizers at a Memphis Starbucks made headlines in February, Denton baristas Moo Amassyali and Carson Lane drafted an email to Workers United announcing their intention to unionize. The union, which staff at more than 230 Starbucks stores throughout the U.S. have announced intentions to join, told Amassyali and Lane, along with other members of the organizing committee during a meeting, that they would need 30% of employees at the Rayzor Ranch store to sign cards showing their support to move forward with an election. In an at-will state — and without any other Starbucks in North Texas publicly unionizing — the organizers began seeking out sympathetic co-workers, careful to only mention it around those they believed would be discreet. They announced their intention to unionize in an open letter to CEO Howard Schultz on March 29. ‘There was definitely a lot of tension during that time before we went public because we didn’t have that protection,’ Lane told the Denton Record-Chronicle. ‘It was a concern between us and the people we were talking to who were scared to be associated with it because they thought they could be fired at any time.’ Some partners revoked their union cards after signing them out of fear for their jobs, organizers said. But stronger than the fear, they said, was the desire for change…. But in Denton, organizers remain hopeful. They’ve gotten encouragement from customers and fellow baristas, and they are confident their store will achieve majority support during the election, which hasn’t been scheduled yet. Though they could be a year — or a lifetime — away from tangible change, for employees on the precipice of an industry-defining movement, victory already feels close. ‘There’s this giant labor movement going on right now, and I think companies are just scared we’re going to win,’ barista and organizing committee member Vince Martinez said. ‘It’s bigger than Starbucks,’ Amassyali added.”

“Staff at Starbucks flagship store vote to unionize in major victory for nationwide campaign” [Independent]. “Starbucks workers at the company’s flagship Seattle Roastery in the coffee giant’s hometown have voted to unionise, marking the union effort’s biggest victory yet as workers at corporate-run stores across the US launch a nationwide organised labour campaign. The cafe is the 26th corporate-run store and second of three roasteries in the US to win a union election within the last few months. More than 200 stores have filed petitions for union elections, according to Starbucks Workers United, which is organising the campaign. A ballot count and vote tally from the National Labor Relations Board on 21 April confirmed 38 votes in favour of unionising to 27 votes against. Starbucks has opposed the campaign and repeatedly denied engaging in union-busting efforts, while workers and union organisers have alleged that the company has staged meetings, sent anti-union messages and relied on interference from management to discourage workers from joining a union. The union campaign has filed nearly 80 complaints with the government labour board.”

“Bernie Sanders to visit unionizing workers at Amazon and Starbucks” [Axios]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will make two stops to meet unionizing workers on Sunday, visiting Amazon workers fighting to unionize in New York City and Starbucks employees in Richmond, Virginia.”

“The Shame Deficit” [Richard Reeves, The Atlantic]. “It’s odd. The United Kingdom has a hereditary monarchy and a hereditary aristocracy, but strong norms against nepotism in education and the workplace. The U.S. is a republic, a nation founded on anti-hereditary principles, where nepotism is not only permitted but codified—most obviously in the practice of legacy preferences in college admissions…. What’s needed here is a change in social norms. Many upper-middle-class parents feel little compunction about pulling every string possible to get their offspring a place at a prestigious college, even if that means elbowing out a more qualified but less fortunate applicant. The prevailing norm in the U.S. is that parents should do everything possible to help their children get ahead of others. This doesn’t have to be ethical. It just has to be legal. The only mistake made by the parents caught in Operation Varsity Blues was to cross that line, a line that Andrew Lelling, the Massachusetts U.S. district attorney prosecuting the case, helpfully drew for us. ‘We’re not talking about donating a building so the school is more likely to take your son or daughter,’ he said. ‘We’re talking about deception and fraud, fake test scores, fake athletic credentials, fake photographs, and bribed college officials.'”

“Does toxic masculinity explain why men kill women? Perhaps not as much as we thought” [The Conversation]. “We looked at this question using data from the Australian Homicide Project. This is a unique dataset that contains in-depth interviews with over 300 convicted homicide offenders in Australia….. A considerable proportion in each group had not completed high school, and were under financial stress and/or unemployed in the year before the homicide.”

News of the Wired

“How to delete all the junk using up storage in your iPhone’s Photos app” [Input]. Deck: “Your iPhone’s Photos app is bloated with old videos, screenshots, Live Photos, deleted stuff still in “recently deleted” — here’s how to clear it all out!”

Feed me:

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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 Maggie:

Maggie writes: “Consider this as a ‘bonus’ bird with plants” for the Water Cooler…. Once again I send along a bird picture… In this case a January 2018 Polar Vortex caught a number of American Woodcock in flight ..sending them to coastal SE North Carolina. Had the pleasure of observing the ‘dance’ while Mr. or Ms. Bird searched for bugs close to our tidal creek.” “Bird with Plants sounds like a nice title for a Monet painting…

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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. chrimbus

    re: Boston area biobot:
    Only thing I can think of is that it’s been marathon week with Patriots Day on Monday, which I believe is spring break for K-12, possible vacation time for those so inclined.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      It is spring break for a lot of the Northeast right now because of the timing of Easter. So yeah we shall see the numbers next week.

  2. Maggie

    Hopped on to see the picture… description is there but no picture … Thanks for “hosting” another of my pictures… always fun. Will check in later to read today’s offerings and hopefully see the picture…

  3. Steve D

    Re “California Pandemic Early Detection and Prevention Institute Initiative (2022)“… I suppose we could call it ‘not unconstructive’, however it seems to me that most of the people with “specific expertise” got it wrong, and very wrong this time. And while I’d like nothing more than to see a robust, competent government capability here, recent experience indicates that is unlikely.

  4. Ranger Rick

    Oh no, not another attempt to repackage identity politics. It’s not the message, Democrats.

    1. Delma

      RT.Com has highly polished videos and propaganda, but it’s worth looking at to balance the USAgitprop. My husband really likes the battlefield footage.
      Also, marvelous documentaries in English, Spanish and other languages.
      The one on Cobalt minOrs in Africa is masterful and heartbreaking.
      Makes me really appreciate my Android phone.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well that article was lifted from the Daily Beast so what can you expect from them? And weren’t they the same publication that Gonzalas Lira accused of trying to get him killed?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Orwell would be proud

      From David Rothkopf, Blob Denizen:

      But if there is a man of the moment, a transcendent figure produced by this crisis and one who deserves the acclaim he has won, it is the former comedian and media executive turned president of Ukraine. (Grade: A+)

      They see themselves in him; a media figure become war hero. Then of course from back in 2021:

      The files show that Zelenskiy and his business partners used companies based in the BVI, Belize and Cyprus.

      The assets held via these offshore companies are wide-ranging. They include real estate in London. Shefir owns two top-end properties – a three-bedroom apartment in an Edwardian mansion block in Regent’s Park bought in 2016 for £1.575m, and another three-bedroom flat in nearby Baker Street, opposite the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and purchased for £2.2m, according to Land Registry records.

      Meanwhile, Yakovlev’s BVI company Candlewood Investments owns a luxury flat in a Victorian mansion block in Artillery Row, Westminster. The properties were acquired around the time Zelenskiy’s show was turned into a feature film and recommissioned for a second series. It is unclear if the three flats are let out or used on an occasional basis. A Russian company that bills itself as an “individual service for high status clients” manages them.

      Zelenskiy’s apparent business connections to Russia via Maltex are likely to prove controversial.

  5. Kurtismayfield

    “The Shame Deficit”

    After reading the D.A.’s comment and the article, I think there is a huge shame Deficit in the upper class. Andrew Leiling basically was ok with billionaires buying their progeny into elite universities. Like, it’s ok to blatantly bribe the university if it’s out in the open. But how dare the millionaires bribe and lie their way in!

    Oligarchic republic fully supported in the open by a district DA. Who is shameless?

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Not that I agree that one should be able to buy their way into college, but at least a new building can improve college for commoners. Bribing the crew coach, not so much.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The only thing is that long term, those institutes end up churning out more and more ill-qualified graduates as they take those students from the pool of wealthy people rather than the pool of actual talented people. And those from the former pool would tend to act entitled as the space was made for them in places like Yale or Harvard, even if they were a ‘C’ student – like George Bush. And I think that what we see in the leadership in government and business is a result of this long term trend. Those higher institutes may have the buildings and the prestige (brand fumes?) but the best people are not being graduated. And so those students that go there are not going for so much an education as to get their ticket punched and contacts made with future colleagues. See Boris Johnson and who he was at Oxford with.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          The problem is not that the best people are not getting into the top schools. Those schools are loaded with incredibly smart kids, and a handful of not so smart ones. The problem is that way too many of those smart kids come out thinking that the only kind of work that is good enough for them is Wall Street or corporate law. The problem isn’t in admissions; it’s in the 4 years they spend on campus.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Andrew Leiling basically was ok with billionaires buying their progeny into elite universities. Like, it’s ok to blatantly bribe the university if it’s out in the open. But how dare the millionaires bribe and lie their way in!

      Yes, it’s aspirational millionaires who are the problem.

  6. Randy

    Good cartoon on smoothiex12’s blog. Supposed to include a link but maybe it isn’t showing up.

  7. jr

    Despite the sagacious proclamation of James Carville, Emily Jashinsky on “The Hill” provides a cogent comeback to McMorrow’s regurgitation of Woke liberal talking points, including a definition of grooming that fits like a glove:


    Another victim of the Synthetic Left are teachers, who are lumped en masse with the handful of blue haired groomers using classrooms for their ideological ends. Between those degenerates and the Koch funded organizations, teachers are being pummeled. Everything is going according to plan!

  8. britzklieg

    Make no mistake, Ron DeSantis is a malignancy and the country should be afraid of what he might do as POTUS – a very real possibility.

    But he got the Disneyworld thing right even if for the wrong reasons.

    Would it were that Lawton Chiles had been able to do the same. Alas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBtn2NQ5k58

    1. Nikkikat

      I agree with britzklieg regarding Disney. I lived near Disneyland in Ca. For many years. They owned the place. The city of Anaheim was always getting special deals on local taxes. If they needed more access the taxpayers footed the bill. Meanwhile they had minimum wage workers starving, living in their cars. Every time they put in a new ride the price jumped. They also had special deals with vendors. A bottle of Dasani water was 5.00 but Disney got them from Coca Cola for free.

      1. Procopius

        A bottle of Dasani water was 5.00 but Disney got them from Coca Cola for free.

        That doesn’t sound right. Coca Cola must be making a profit somehow on that deal. Is it waste water used in the manufacturing process, which would be costly to treat?

  9. Edward Souse

    Not sure how Democrats are going to re-organize their message to defend “Sexy Summer Camps” for kids, teaching toddlers how to masturbate, and the push by the Woke Goons to normalize pedophiles. I’m as left as you can get on economic issues, foreign policy, and pretty left when it comes to racial and gender injustice but there’s a line and Democrats and the Woke Goons consistenly cross it to the dismay of the few remaining sane leftists and to the disgust of everyone else.

  10. Sardonia

    “‘I Have 100 Percent, and I Intend to Keep It That Way’: Kamala Harris Breaks Down Her Daily Wordle Habit”

    Wordle is really lame. It’s a guessing game. It’s impossible NOT to have a 100% rating – unless you’re brain damaged. Speaks volumes that THIS is the game her staff finds challenging.

    Anyone who might have enjoyed it for a day or 2 should go to Quordle, or better, Octordle. Those are challenging – I’ve been in an ongoing score-consolidating competition with 6 friends on those 2 games for months.

    This is like Kamala and her staff skipping the NYTimes crossword puzzle and getting all excited over The Daily Jumble.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Wordle was bought by the NYTimes. The way Harris has been plugging it, you’d think she’s getting paid…

      But maybe it’s her way of buying some fawning coverage by the NYTimes.

    2. CanCyn

      While I agree that Wordle is mostly a guessing game, I would suggest that smarter people with big vocabularies score more 3s and 4s than 5s or 6s . For those of you who don’t play, you get 6 chances to guess a 5 letter word. Which brings me to Kamala – sigh. ‘Notes’ – her opening word is proof positive she’s not particularly smart. Wordle uses 5 letter words, not plurals of 4 letter words. She’ll certainly never get it 1 starting with ‘notes’ every day. And as for not having time every day? Please! It probably doesn’t take most people more than 5 minutes. I have a friend who sometimes uses the expression ‘dumber than a bag of hair’ – I find myself thinking of it whenever I read about Kamala.
      And RC, it is not Angry Birds, because you can only play once a day.
      Sardonia, I enjoy Quordle too, will look for Octordle. And I also like the geography version Worldle.

    3. Lexx

      Wordle is not a guessing game per se. It’s more a logic puzzle. It is possible to not have a 100% rating; mine is 97. I suspect our VP is lying, but really, who can bring evidence to call her on it? Or anyone else’s boasts for that matter?

      To take the ‘guess’ out of Wordle and Hello Wordl, I play it testing confirmation statements after fixing the position of the vowels. Each new word narrows the possible consonant combinations. I can usually figure the pattern out within 4, but I’ve also crapped out.

      Every player has their blindspots. ‘Nancy’ and ‘bloke’ are not commonly used in the U.S. Grrrrr. Sometimes there are too many possibilities by the time I’ve fixed the vowels. Strike six and back to the batter’s box, dragging my keyboard behind me.

      It’s not Mensa level but I didn’t stick my nose up at it. I imagine it’s more of challenge for those for whom English is not their first language… most of the planet.

  11. Dr. John Carpenter

    The one bright spot in the current climate that I’m seeing isn’t just successful union drives at Amazon and Starbucks, but seeing how absolutely freaked the highest of high ups are. There was a story I saw this morning (if I saw it here, apologies for the lack of attribution) with the Starbucks CEO telling managers their #1 job was union busting and just on and on. I think things have a long way to go before changing, something Chris Smalls himself would agree with, but it seems like it’s dawning on these folks that the serfs aren’t just going to go along to get along any more. I’ve no idea how it ends and how many will get crushed along the way. But the powerful are starting to realize they can’t just ignore things and dictate how it’s gonna be.

    1. Skippy

      Its so absurd that Starbucks serves bitter/burnt coffee so people end up voluntarily up selling with flavor additives. So it entire business model is serving rubbish coffee with flavor additives and cramming down labour. No wonder the C-suite is up in arms over Unionization because that would leave only the up selling of flavored liquid sugar to buff the balance sheets.

      Then again I’ve heard it time and time over when Australians travel to the U.S. that its next to impossible to find a good cup of coffee – anywhere. In one such case a couple having traveled east to west found a nice little Italian restaurant in S.F. that served a great coffee and that was it. Many actually rejoice when coming back to have a proper coffee.

      Yet its so simple and relatively inexpensive to set up making great coffee at home either with a moka pot, french press, basic drip, and then the only thing left is sourcing all the varieties of coffee available for sale on the inet. Single origin from old family farms or co-ops and select blends, many do deals on 3 or more 250g bags so you can sample. The only other thing I would mention is owning a good quality reusable travel cup and most important a classic heavy/thick old school coffee mug for at home. With the latter I would suggest filling it with hot water before pouring what ever style of coffee you like into it. Keeps the coffee from cooling off to fast before you finish it.

      Some people would just be blown away with the subtle flavor hints available due to the growing location [decades to establish] and the processes used before shipment – open air dried and raked and then covered overnight until its just right. Ugh at mass produced corporate coffees ….

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        To throw my coffee snobbery hat in the ring, what really bums me out is the way Starbucks has influenced coffee in general. It’s always depressing to go into a mom and pop joint only to find them serving their versions of what Starbucks sells. Hell, I worked at such a place in college and the ridiculous beverages I would be expected to make always depressed me. (Truthfully though our coffee wasn’t great no matter how you served it. That was strictly a job of convenience.)

        To get back to the business side of things though, I knew roughly what it cost us to make a Starbucks-esque drink and I knew what we charged. I’ll assume actually Starbuck’s margins are even better. There’s zero excuse for them not giving their store employees more.

        1. Skippy

          Too me its not snobbery anymore that when I apply my manual arts skills at work e.g. do it right.

          This is the crapification of everything Lambert has been banging on about for years, maximizing profit at the cost of everything else. Now as noted of late we have people going full Homo economicus and charging for attending private parties and gatherings and will just end up as more Hyper Normalization of everything is a market place framework.

          Meanwhile the C-suite Übermenschn are driving the social agenda for whats best for them and who can argue with success …

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > . I’ll assume actually Starbuck’s margins are even better.

          And I’m sure the employees know it, too. “Hmm, here’s what Starbucks charges. Here’s what I make. Where does the difference go?” Because of how production is organized at Starbucks, this is especially easy to see.

      2. anon y'mouse

        even beans here have long been no good. there used to be a high end commercial label selling to hotels and some very select coffee bars on the west coast, but i think even they have gone out of business. those were the only worthwhile beans i ever found for my Americano fixation.

        nothing on the shelves is worth a damn.

        1. Skippy

          The difference between buying small batch artisan coffee from small local shops that send buyers to them is night and day, super[tm] markets sell lower grade coffee with a big mark up to cover marketing costs and inflated salary’s of executives. Not to mention like so much stuff these days is all owned by some Brand consortium which hoovers up small Mfg like some PE firms are want.

          There are two specialty shops in Melbourne I buy from and one here in Brisbane, these shops also sell some local mfg or internationally sourced sauces/spices and other goodies. ST. Ali is one and a good reference point for what is on offer out there.

          1. Yves Smith

            Have things changed since I was in Oz (2002-2004)? Starbucks had opened a few shops in Sydney. One I would wind up walking by every week or so was its outpost on the shopping area in Balmain. Even the Financial Review (Australia’s Wall Street Journal) was reporting on how Starbucks was bombing. Coffee drinking Australians grew up drinking Italian coffee, so Starbucks registered as a weak and bitter brew and so correctly saw Starbucks coffee as an inferior brand, something Seattle could not wrap its head around.

            Things were so desperate that more than once I encountered a Starbucks employee…on the street….offering samples. But not of coffee drinks, not even the cold ones that were halfway to milkshakes. It was the fruity cold drinks with lots of whipped cream.

            In other words…are there actual Starbucks stores when anyone other than Americans and Aussies who are too desperate for a caffeine fix to be fussy buy the stuff?

            1. Skippy

              Hay you …

              Naw … Starbucks has not had the same market penetration its had in say the States, mainly due to the factors you mention e.g. the education of Italian or other nationalities about coffee. Albeit there are a few national franchises, but they are more an eatery/coffee shop type of business that wares more than one hat and looks to serve foot traffic out and about near retail shops/malls.

              Then again I think you would remember the whole local aspect to a lot of social meets services type of dynamic you liked or enjoyed from a communal aspect – meet and greet with locals at the shop and let the goss flow. We have one that only does coffee near me and only open till about 12 am, everyone knows each other within the suburb and in a cool way reinforces the bonds in the community regardless of day job.

              Its because of this that there is such a rich and broad spectrum of services which supply, not only coffee, but how to brew it here in Oz, how manic you want to be or show off is discretionary. I just really enjoy waking up as a coffee drinker in the morning and know I can brew a high quality coffee without much fuss … sets the stage for the day.

              I’m really lucky to have spent the time I did in Costa Rica back in the late 80s and early 90s and got to know the coffee growers in my travels. So old school towards growing and preserving the nature that afforded them the product they sold. I guess that’s my Sydney of your past in my experience, before things changed a bit.

              I would add that the S.A. expats clients I had recently that have been in Oz for a few decades, and I gifted them a few 100g of one of my favorite Costa Rica beans and were blown away. This coming from people that were well traveled, can afford nice stuff, but are misery on many things, were gobsmacked at how it tasted. They demanded I inform them of where to get the stuff and then ordered 2kg of it. I then presented the idea that I thought I was their drug dealer, lady of the house then suggested I was driving a VW Kombi and sporting a beard lol.

              Its such a social thing coffee, at home or out and about, serving it says a great deal about ones concepts of ones hospitality and their guest or customers well being. To that end I would like to excel.

        2. HotFlash

          We buy a fair trade organic coffee from a local roaster here in TO, going on what, 10 years now? It is good (ie, we like it), reliable, and reasonably priced. We buy it at a local convenience store, so we are not only getting coffee we like, we are supporting two local businesses and the coffee growers to boot. Pretty OK in my book.

      3. Socal Rhino

        Long time coffee drinker and I disagree. It seems to be a matter of personal taste. Some people say Starbucks tastes burnt. I know a few who feel this way who like Pete’s. I like Starbucks and find Pete’s nearly undrinkable. I’ve had Kona coffee and coffee from Kauai at their source and like the Kauai better. Jamaica Blue Mountain was nothing special to me. Coffee in Kenya was good to my taste. I liked expresso in Paris better than coffee I had in Turkey. I grew up drinking diner coffee in NJ and at one time thought Dunkin Donuts was a revelation.

        I fully support the union drive but think anti Starbucks coffee snobbery is silly.

        1. Skippy

          The issue is not about personal likes or dislikes, its the business model used by Starbucks to push the flavor additives as some Veblen good. When a good coffee, whatever its origin, can stand on its own, without the need to cut it with some flavored syrup. This means Starbucks can use a lower quality blend and then price it as high quality e.g. at the end of the day people paying for it are getting done over for the benefit of executives and some investors.

          Oh and how many small operators have they walmart’ed over the years by monopolistic tendencies with the excuse of shareholder value memes.

          Hence your argument launched from the individual consumer framework runs afoul of a lot of trip wires IMO. Were right back to napkins with a supply and demand curve informing us how some lady in china likes her donuts myths and how that effects regulatory forbearance of markets e.g. zero social good.

          Criticizing this is not a form of snobbery because it does not separate me from others by dint of some purchase of a good or a service – too elevate myself above others. Making a good coffee regardless of the beans used or the method to extract the flavor from them is a learned art e.g. where you live has lots to do with it and per se in a moka pot you never totally clean it, should have a thin coating of residue inside the top, much like curing a BBQ grill vs new. Yet in 5 mins I can have a coffee superior to just about anything I can get from some coffee shop and as you argue – just the way I like it – without the whole “I’ve” been served experience e.g. my indoctrinated consumerist buying experience dopamine hit has been ticked for the moment and investors make bank.

          Personally I would not put it past Starbucks to start closing down shops in regions where Unionization is successful and it would probably be rewarded by the market just like all the past examples of cramming down labour et al, purely on the distribution of power issue.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’ve always found the economics of coffee houses interesting. Every small cafe owner I’ve met has said that they only make a profit from take out coffee. Tables cost them money because inevitably someone sits on one with his Mac to work for 3 hours nursing one small americano. Yet for the chains, seating seems important.

            If there is one thing worse than Starbucks its the UK brand Costa. Its Starbucks without the charm. They infest everywhere in Britain and have tried (with limited success) to make it here in Ireland -its main niche is in service stations providing a quick caffeine and sugar surge to people doing lots of driving. Starbucks is a relative newcomer in Ireland and so far as I can see, are only full of tourists and foreign students.

            In my local area there is a big Costa and within 2 minutes walk, one very high quality independent (the sort of place coffee obsessives will cross the city for), one very high quality hipster cafe, and two other local cafes of the sort that were probably cutting edge in the 90’s, but haven’t really changed. It amazes me that plenty of people will still go to Costa and drink their sludge, but it seems to succeed even though its rarely full. I can understand though that if you want to sit in an armchair and chat, its better than the rough and ready independent shops.

            I will say something for Starbucks – their frappuccino’s are nice. 12 years ago after an accident I was on a liquid diet for 3 months. After a short period of disgusting protein drinks and my sisters very alcoholic eggnogs, I found a walk to a shopping mall and a Frappuccino was a nice treat. The lovely staff even anticipated what I wanted (as I had to point, thanks to a jaw wired shut).

            I do understand the attraction of Starbucks or Costa if you are a tourist or just doing a lot of travel/driving for work. Its familiar and you don’t have to work out where to go. In much of Asia, its guaranteed to be air conned, so it can be a blessed relief after walking around in the heat trying to find somewhere interesting for a snack. I wonder though if its created a sort of binary culture around coffee. In Japan/korea/Taiwan/Thailand I’ve noticed that there is almost no ‘just ok’ coffee. Its either horrible chain sludge, fake hipster brews, or its amazingly high quality local coffee, nothing in the middle. Mind you, I was once cycling through the Bolavan Plateau in Laos where some of the best coffee in the world is grown, and locals insisted on serving instant Nescafe to everyone, literally within the upland plantations. I bought a kilo of the local beans to bring home – my dusty bike panniers never smelt so good. On the topic of cycling, in 2019 I met a Japanese guy cycling the length of Korea with an entire coffee kit on his bike and we rode together for a while. He had some very fine Japanese brews – he would set up by the roadside and offer people free coffee and a chat using google translate. I shared a hotel room with him and he taught the owner how to make great coffee, and in return she made us an amazing free breakfast.

            Just a note on Aussies and coffee. Maybe its just the ones I know, but on three successive occasions, Aussie friends of friends visiting me here asked for recommendations. I always gave them a list of the best coffee places in Dublin. All three completely ignored my recommendations, and later posted on social media photos of brews they’d bought in pubs or chains in Dublin (never, ever order a coffee in an Irish pub), complaining about how coffee in Ireland is terrible.

            1. Skippy

              lmmao you have been thorough the proverbial wringer mate and your economic chops probably acerbate the observations. Firstly good coffee like good tea in Asia can never be delivered by a business, contrary to the art of brewing and more importantly, the aspect of the host and guest paradigm which the market can never replicate, but it does try, and by that effort completely diminishes the social event such sharing occurs regardless of class.

              One wonders if a business chain could be established to over take the commons that chew and spit the effort of masticating beans or other plants that has been done for eons and export it globally like red bull – wink.

              Again as someone with travel, experience, knows the growers vs the market and the corporatism that wants control for market share, and the numbers it gins for the right sorts I have no illusions. Yet at the end of the day I know what quality is and how long it takes to achieve it just at the growing part, and then the well worn art of processing it without heavy handed industrial agenda for a big payday which the consumer is plugged with – its just so tobacco industry antics.

              I would love to brew you a coffee and watch you respond because it would make me happy to have made such an impression. The joy of making you go wtf is not something money can give me. Its only through the art of providing social graces as a host that can give me that sanctification, something I learned without expectations of reward save others unsuspecting gratification.

              On that note I recently marinated and cooked some rib stakes and sent one over to the next door. Now I’m in trouble because his misses demands all her steaks taste like that lol, dang I thought I was being neighborly. BTW I’m doing a smoked slow cooked pork but tomorrow and your invited.

              Love your work on this blog mate … your always welcome at my table …

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            Well said, Skippy. In another comment, I should have been clearer that I was complaining about the coffee drinks that hew closer to milkshakes than coffee. But to your point, I am a purist for coffee. I drink it black because I want to taste the beans. It’s not that hard to make a good cup of coffee. If I can learn, anyone can.

            Starbucks has basically made it a fast food item while charging premium prices for it. It’s as if McDonalds priced their pink slurry burgers high and insisted they were gourmet. Their plain black coffee just isn’t good but I doubt it matters much as most of what they sell seems designed to remove any coffee flavor anyway. I just hate their influence on the industry as a whole and that they’ve run others out who are actual coffee shops.

            As for closing stores that vote union, that’s what I’ve assumed to, but I think the answer could be more complex. For example, one of the stores holding a vote is their flagship store in Seattle. I can’t see them just shutting that one down. But I was hearing this discussed on a podcast and they were pointing out the difficulty of closing shops because of location and how much engineering has gone into putting them where they are. The short version of the argument was it would hurt the company more financially losing that business than dealing with the union. Amazon is in a similar situation I believe but perhaps worse as they seem to want delivery times to be less than 2 days. They can’t just shutdown a warehouse without causing massive issues to their infrastructure.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The issue is not about personal likes or dislikes, its the business model used by Starbucks to push the flavor additives as some Veblen good.

            Well urged.

      4. SocalJimObjects

        The last time I was in San Francisco say about 2 or 3 years ago, Australian coffee was making its inroad in the city. Lookup Bluestone Coffee to see what I mean. It’s an Australian coffee chain. I myself like drinking coffee but I am not a coffee connoisseur by any means. I have to admit to liking Starbucks coffee more than Bluestone’s. Since I am not very particular about my coffee, I am fine drinking the local coffee here in South East Asia even when Starbucks is ubiquitous.

        1. Skippy

          Ugh those are not the bar by which Oz coffee in judged, its a corporate push to take market share with some idpol green washing.

          These sorts would cram down suppliers in developing countries for a few buck and a laugh ..

          1. Wukchumni

            Couldn’t tell you much about coffee in Aussie, other than it was commonplace to be able to get a really good cuppa from one of the first generation Italian-Aussies in Melbourne in the early 1980’s, I think I might have had my very first cappuccino in a styrofoam cup there.

            NZ in contrast was a java wasteland, everybody drank Gregg’s instant coffee, that was as good as it got.

            But then a revolution happened after the turn of the century and in just about every restaurant you’d be offered essentially the same varieties you’d get in a Starbucks and more, we’re talking: short black, long black, short macchiato, americano, long macchiato, flat white, latte, cappuccino, mochaccino, piccolo, affogato, and vienna.

  12. thump

    I live in the SF Bay area, in one of the counties that is a bright red rapid riser, and have been following local case counts closely. In the neighboring counties where I live and work, cases have started coming down in the last week or so. Data from the last week is still preliminary, but it does suggest a slight lag in the rapid riser data, which started turning red only a few weeks after local public health dept web sites showed increasing cases.

  13. Michael Hudson

    Re the suggestion that Biden ask the IMF to give hundreds of billions to Third World countries “too that they can have enough to fight global warming” is crap. TheSDRs are to enable them to pay their foreign dollarized debt to US banks and investors, and to domestic Third World oligarchies who hold much of this dollarized debt “offshore.”
    Never take their ostensible excuse for the real reason.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I might be exaggerating a bit, but there is always the right reason and the real reason.

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Shame Deficit

    My theory is that the lack of an aristocracy is why there is so much nepotism in this country. The absence of a formal class system that confers arbitrary distinctions means that just about anything can be justified in the course of social advancement. They’re just trying to give their kids a leg up into the good life after all.

    It’s kinda ironic that a society without such a class distinctions has created an environment where people are plagued by social insecurities surrounding their status and are obsessed with celebrities. Which doesn’t mean I think we should have an aristocracy. It’s not like being of noble birth and holding titles means any thing these days. Other than the fact your ancestors murdered their way to a higher social status.

    Titles aren’t an honorific that confer respect to the people who hold them. It’s the people who bring distinction and lend eminence to their titles. Which seems to be in line with the prevailing attitude of the British people towards their modern system of nobility.

    1. JBird4049

      I truly believe that it is the increasing costs of failure that is the prime cause of corruption in this country especially among the middle class. The poor and working classes expect to be kept in their place and the increasing poverty is just a more extreme kind of normal. The upper classes with their genteel, respectful corruption have the money and the social connections to get even the idiot child a lifelong sinecure somewhere. The people in the middle who are trapped between the growing pit beneath them (and especially their children) and the increasingly difficult to reach and stay on the “safe” island of the upper middle class are the ones who are forced into unrespected corruption.

      Failure used to be just a less comfortable life with a perhaps less prestigious career and a diminish ability to help the people in their lives. The increasing concentration of wealth, connections, power, of all the things that make a successful career, a functional community, and a well cared for family mean increasingly brutal competition. Want a successful legal career especially at the federal level? It’s only Harvard, Yale, or maybe Stanford for you. Want to just have a good factory job? They are out there, but you going to need some serious luck. Education, arts, science, even politics have all been crapified for various reasons in various ways, but it is usually for sucking up the wealth and the results are the same. Join the shrinking Mandarinate or die.

  15. Gulag

    On the Vanity Fair article:

    “Interesting article. Every so often the press decides to try and make a bunch of young conservatives look cool. It never succeeds because they never are.”

    We may now be entering into what I would call a post-cool period.

    It may be the end of the road for all hopes that a liberation of the self from any and all types cultural controls/bonds/checks and balances could lead to something positive.

    Freedom from the self may become the new “in” thing and that type of tendency seems to require a type of genuine humility completely foreign to all the power games/theories described in that article.

    A new question to reflect upon may be whether good intentions are also a representation of some kind of will-to-power?

  16. lance ringquist

    a little heavy on philosophy, we have plenty of history and empirical evidence which the author touches on, but he like so many, is afraid to use the words free trade.

    it seems people are fearful of telling the truth. globalization has been around for centuries, many tried it all through out history, but it was the europeon navies that cinched globalism and made it stick.

    so what we face today is not globalization, we have had that for centuries, and the period after wwII was globalism, but we did not free trade.

    the author sorta laments globalism(free trade), and wonders what comes next.

    we already know what comes next, destitution of the many, obscene richs for the few, then strife, civil wars, then world wars. its happened twice in the past.

    he sorta seems befuddled.

    but over all, the article is good because it does point out what free trade had done to the world.


    “In an increasingly economically, culturally, and ecologically interconnected world, it is increasingly rare that the legitimate decision made by states harmonize with the interests of the persons and areas potentially affected by these decisions in the state’s social and territorial surroundings” (p. 70). I remain doubtful that an aggressive military bloc like NATO, and multi-national organizations like NAFTA or ASEAN compensate for “lost capacities” of the nation-state.”

    1. Acacia

      Thanks for this link, LR. Welton gives an indeed thoughtful commentary on Habermas’ “The Post-National Constellation and the Future of Democracy” (2001), bringing it together with a number of other meditations on the nation state. One good nugget from Habermas:

      For if state sovereignty is no longer conceived as indivisible but shared with international agencies; if states no longer have control over their national territories; and if territorial and political boundaries are increasingly permeable, the core principles of democratic liberty—that is self-governance, the demos, consent, representation, and popular sovereignty—are made distinctly problematic.

      Several decades ago, when I was in grad school, Habermas had become sort of unfashionable, with the ‘smart kids’ saying that Foucault had prevailed in the great debate of contemporary European thinkers. In retrospect, there’s a fair bit in both of them that’s relevant to our moment (certainly the epidemic has renewed the significance of many of Foucault’s concerns about biopower, disciplinary societies, etc.) and, somewhat ironically, perhaps a little more in Habermas.

  17. Michael Ismoe

    I just got back from the store. A “pound” of pasta is now 12 ounces. Slava Ukraina!

    1. Wukchumni

      Inflation went up 10% on a number of food items versus a fortnight ago, and I got my favorite checker @ Winco supermarket-he’s a real wiseacre about my age, and I mentioned how everything was going up in price, and he related that a number of customers acted as if it was his doing. About 20% of shoppers were masked up… pandemic’s over, dude.

      In related news:

      SACRAMENTO — More than a dozen people stood in the rain last week before the gates at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services distribution center had even opened. Parked cars wrapped around the block.

      “Our walkup line is growing. We’re hearing from people that they don’t want to waste their gas sitting in the drive-through line while waiting for their boxes,” said spokesperson Kevin Buffalino. “People are on that razor’s edge right now, and the cost of gas is eating into their food budgets.”

      Food banks across the state are seeing an influx of new faces as spikes in the cost of groceries and gas have some Californians seeking help for the first time. The numbers of those receiving services dipped at the start of the year as the spread of the COVID-19 virus waned, but are now rising in the face of the highest inflation in 41 years.

      The issue is two-fold, as food bank administrators are grappling with their own higher costs for food and the gas it takes to transport it to local pantries. In December, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services paid a wholesale price of 93 cents per dozen for eggs. Last week, they paid $2.20 per dozen.


      1. JBird4049

        I hate doing this, but I am going to have to budget my food costs like crazy because even though I am doing fine for now who knows what prices will be in a few months. Should be doing it anyway. I see a lot more lentils, beans, and really cheap hamburger in the near future.

        At least, it is just me. What about those people with children? It’s different for an adult than it is for children and teenagers. The former can, uncomfortably true, skip a meal or three, but I don’t want see what might happen to children who can get very hungry awfully fast with consequences that adults would not have. “Kids, here’s half a cup of ramen for the day.”

        And wtf am I writing such garbage about my country?

        1. ambrit

          Why? Because you recognize that “your country” is not the ruling elites of that ‘country.’
          So, you are pointing the way. To save “our country,” we have to liquidate the elites.
          “They” really are trying to kill us. Time to return the favour.
          The “Social Contract” is now null and void.

          1. caucus99percenter

            Um, I apologize if I’m the one out of step here, but this is sounding a little too Pol Pot-ish / Mein Kampf-ish for me:

            > we have to liquidate the elites.
            > “They” really are trying to kill us. Time to return the favour.

            In Germany, people on the Right are routinely charged with the crime of “Volksverhetzung” (incitement to hatred) for this kind of online speech.

            1. JBird4049

              No worries about any complaints about any concerns from me as it really might be too genocidal. It’s just that I am having an increasingly hard time to care about it.

              After seeing the increasing poverty over decades even before the end of the First Cold War with the sight of people living in their cars, sleeping and pooping on the streets, and the numbers going up every year. For a real treat, there is always Los Angeles’ skid row with it blocks and blocks of tents. Hell, there is a fair chance that I am a widower because of our “healthcare” system.

              I. Am. So. Goddamn. Tired. Of seeing it get worse every year with one group of politicians finding endless reasons for why they cannot and the other group of politicians finding reasons for why they should not. It ends at the same place with the same results and strangely all the politicians, the lobbyists, and the wealthy still get wealthier.

              So, it is not that mentally I disagree with you. I have read plenty of depressing examples of the dehumanizing and then genociding of all sorts of people. It is wrong ethically and morally for us to even start the process of demonizing, let alone the dehumanizing that often leads to genocide or more often another Reign of Terror. It is a path of evil. Trite, but still true.

              I still have to ask just who started the current process of demonizing, which is now edging into dehumanizing the putative enemies of different groups of Americans? And why do the leaders of both parties sound awfully alike while getting equally rewarded? What about their evil?

            2. ambrit

              I can agree with your ‘take’ on my comment most of the time. I sometimes get “worn down” by all the seemingly unstopable evil doing in our society.
              Often, the example of Ghandi’s non-violent campaign against the Raj in India is thrown up as an example of “how things ought to be.” The other ‘side’ of that coin is the fact that outright violence is almost ubiquitous and successful as a political tool. Ghandi won his campaign in the newspapers of England and Europe. Now, suppose that, as Harry Turtledove put it in one of his Alternate History stories, Ghandi had run up against the actual NAZIs in his campaign for self determination for India. A bullet in the back of his head would have been the most likely result for the man.
              After a point, political solutions begin to look fruitless and unworkable if substantive changes to the “way things are” are the desired outcome.
              Don’t forget that “incitement to hate” does not have to be strictly the province of one or another political ideological “side.”
              You don’t have to apologize for speaking your mind and making a reasoned critique of my comment. That’s the nature of ‘debate.’ We can be polite while disagreeing “robustly.”
              Stay safe.

              1. caucus99percenter

                Thanks for your very considerate and thoughtful reply. As for your original comment, what politics buff hasn’t at least momentarily entertained similar diffuse but definitely sanguinary conclusions and sentiments oneself? In Germany what happens though is, “Aha, ‘ruling elites’? Obviously just anti-___ code for ___!” and away we Go…dwin.

                1. ambrit

                  I have often wondered where the dividing line, if there is one, between ‘prudence’ and ‘self censorship’ is drawn.
                  To your original point; I have occasionally looked in the mirror in the morning and wondered: “Who is that person?”
                  Take care of you and your’s in these perilous times.

              2. LifelongLib

                In his essay “Reflections on Gandhi” Orwell brought up the same issue. In India Gandhi was always able to get publicity. How would he have fared in a place where enemies of the regime just disappear in the night? If there was a Gandhi in the Soviet Union, would we even have heard of him?

                1. ambrit

                  Ah. I should have known. Orwell was there years ahead of us.
                  I’m going to have to look that essay up.
                  I need a “Complete works of Orwell” for my personal library. (And hope that Montag and his crew of “Firemen” don’t show up, courtsey of Homeland Security.)
                  Appropriately enough, Bradbury wrote the ‘original’ of the story back in the early 1950s, during the McCarthy Witch Hunt period.
                  History is rhyming yet again.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    It exists. There are four volumes of the ” Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell”. Here is a link to volume 3 of those 4 volumes.
                    Todays’ search obstruction engines make it very difficult to find anything out about this, of course. But all 4 volumes may still be available one way or another.

          2. judy2shoes

            “They” really are trying to kill us.

            Sadly, I believe this too, Ambrit, which kind of shocks me.

            1. ambrit

              It shocks me too. I also find the depth of my emotional response to the degeneration of American Society shocking. A mixture of both anger and fear.
              I see the logic behind the actions of the legacy political parties to co-opt and suppress any “out of the box” thinking by the “progressives.” Said “progressives” are a threat to the power and position of the self identified ‘Elites’ of the society. As such, the “progressives” must be crushed. Thus, the well coordinated ‘dismantling’ of the Occupy movement by the servants of the Elites. The ‘dismantling’ of the Occupy movement was a display of the use of coercive violence by the Organs of State Security. From this example comes the belief in the “they are trying to kill us” meme. Reading “between the lines,” it becomes clear that the murderous policies employed overseas during the various ‘invasions’ and ‘occupations’ of certain foreign places were practiced and formalized there and are now being ‘repatriated’ to the Homeland for domestic ‘consumption.’
              Many of the American “Founding Fathers” had a deep distrust of standing armies. We are now re-learning that lesson the hard way. I date the pivot from ‘Citizen Army’ to ‘Organ of State Security’ to the decision after the Vietnam debacle to eliminate the draft and build up a permanent professional standing army. For one thing, such a force needs practice and ‘motivation’ for it’s ‘health’ and ‘welfare.’ Thus we embark upon the ‘Neverending War’ phase of the American Exceptionalism Experience. From that beginning, America has turned to employing that standing army, now augmented by ‘Domestic Security Services’ at home.
              To my mind, sending the National Guard to the southern border is a declaration of war. It may be a Kabuki War, but it will be percieved as a war nonetheless. The Immigration Service and Border Patrol, both ostensibly ‘civilian’ organizations, should be up to their assigned tasks. That they are not so perceived, hence the deployment of the National Guard to the border, speaks volumes to the status of the Army in America.
              Anyway, I’m running out of steam this owl haunted night. (A Parliament of Owls is hooting and calling nearby, in a wonderful cacaphony.)
              Stay safe. Be vigilent.

  18. lance ringquist

    can you imagine justifying burning all that fossil fuel?

    quote of the day,

    “But he cannot shake the suspicion that he has become a rube in a global economy run for the benefit of others.”


    How America’s Farmers Got Cut Out of the Supply ChainPeter S. GoodmanFri, April 22, 2022, 1:30 PM

    “But in recent months, the carriers have put growing numbers of empty containers back on ships immediately. The companies can make more money sending the valuable containers directly back to Asia, where they are refilled with goods destined for American consumers.”


    1. Divadab

      “ Farmers are the bottom of the food chain”
      -Every corporate food processor, nickel and diming their farmer suppliers

  19. scarnoc

    In my totally uninformed opinion about PA politics, Kenyatta’s attack isn’t one that is going to depress turnout amongst working class blacks. It’s aimed squarely at middle class whites and their anxieties about white people doing things that are or appear to be racist. Working class people with more exposure to crime will understand Fetterman’s explanation.

    Likewise, the MI lady’s distillation of LGBT (emphasis on the T here) woke liberalism into Carville’s idea of a perfected soundbite will do nothing to convince anyone who isn’t already somewhere on the woke liberal spectrum that teaching schoolchildren about woke gender ideology and sexuality is defensible. A large segment of bourgeois and petit bourgeois and white collar working class aristos have accepted that this ideology about gender and sexuality is a progressive development for the possibility of personal expression and liberation and that therefore it is a new ‘human right’ and absolutely normative. For everyone else, talking to young kids about this stuff is still either taboo or in some moral grey area that makes them uncomfortable. This is why the ‘groomer’ label is highly effective: much more effective than these liberals realize. Americans are broadly tolerant of individual expression, and that tolerance has expanded to its widest point in history, but when they feel like their children are under threat that tolerance evaporates like dew on a cactus in the desert sun. There is a tsunami building against this ideology that will greatly surprise liberals when it manifests. It hasn’t crested just yet.

    1. KD

      Its going to really wreck the liberal/LGBT+ brand–giving hormone blockers and elective surgery to minors–are giving rise to more and more people de-transitioning with horror stories about how they have been influenced to self-sterilize and have lost sexual organs that make it impossible to experience pleasurable intimacy. What has been published about bone density is that children given hormone blockers are not laying down bone mass like they should in adolescence and it is not improbable that will have osteoporosis or other serious conditions in mid-life. In other words, there is going to be a parade of horrors brought to you by trial lawyers, and its going to go down like some Dr. Mengele experiment. This is baked into things at this point with the number of children receiving “gender-affirming treatment”. Not to mention the obvious problems of former men competing in women’s sports, or the way issues like reproductive rights or male sexual violence are becoming “non-topics” for feminism.

      Further, in my dealings with the demos, this groomer trope is highly effective outside of the blue zones, and there are lots of dissidents who have voted Dem always, hate the GOP and read the NYTs and are very put off but have no place to go. Pretty bromides will not save anyone, this is going to be a culture war rout, and best to strategize after the fall of the trans movement in its current form. IMHO, of course.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > What has been published about bone density is that children given hormone blockers are not laying down bone mass like they should in adolescence and it is not improbable that will have osteoporosis or other serious conditions in mid-life.

        Needs a link.

        1. KD

          Here goes:





          To be realistic, while pronouns and the rest of the “liberation” is pretty annoying if you haven’t slurped the kool aid, what will freak everyone out is that you are performing irreversible medical procedures on children, with no evidence that they will not create long-term harm, and little definitive evidence that “transitioning” actually has any positive benefits on outcomes for things like suicide.

          Given the way the medical profession and the drug companies and the therapists are making money off this stuff, you can’t expect any serious pushback until there is a class action suit. I know of an adolescent “transitioning” who is dropping like 2K a month on this stuff out-of-pocket. BTW, this is the stuff that drove Alan Turing to his death.

          I’m not a doctor, but I do know a little about what medical ethics is supposed to entail. To me, it screams evil scam on vulnerable kids falling for a stupid scam being pushed on them by corporate America and the universities. LGBT+, where T stands for Thalidomide meets Tuskegee, is going to be a loser politically.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s aimed squarely at middle class whites and their anxieties about white people doing things that are or appear to be racist. Working class people with more exposure to crime will understand Fetterman’s explanation.

      I hope so. And after all, the majority Black town kept voting him in.

      > For everyone else, talking to young kids about this stuff is still either taboo or in some moral grey area that makes them uncomfortable.

      I would like to see a collection of curricula that didn’t come over my twitter feed in onesies and twosies that I was sure was representative and not motivated (because conservatives do motivated very, very well). That said, if examples I’ve seen are representative, and I did have kids, I’d pull them from school. This, while our Brains Trust reports that students arrive at collect unable to cope with reading or writing long sentences!

  20. Heraclitus

    On the Greg Sargent WaPo article regarding McMorrow’s rebuttal of the ‘groomer’ label. I am not convinced her rebuttal was very effective, or will be effective for the Democrats gong forward. Parents are not stupid. They are aware that there exists a minority of adult homosexual males that are primarily interested in youths. This has been true at least since Plato wrote his ‘Dialogues.’ It seems to be on the growing list of truths that can no longer be spoken.

    The adoption of a broad affirmation of a variety of sexual practices has been seen in secondary schools for about fifteen or twenty years, dating from the ‘Heather has Two Mommies’ controversy. My friends who had students in the public school system pointed it out to me ten years ago. There is no way that this affirmation from the institutions is not a kind of grooming. However, there are unintended consequences. ‘Gay’ has become a bad word in kidspeak. They say, ‘that’s so gay’ about anything they don’t like, so the whole attempt may be backfiring from a generational perspective.

    One of America’s weaknesses is that we want the public schools to educate for so many different purposes, including political purposes. My experience and observation has been that there is not enough time to accomplish more than a basic understanding of academic subjects. Using school as a venue to inculcate views about sexuality is not only a waste of valuable time, but also contributes to anxiety, which is off the charts since social media developed post-2010.

    It is surprising to me that such a brilliant political mind as James Carville doesn’t see that the McMorrows of the world are going to get crushed if that is their message. Most will soon be known as former politicians.

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