2:00PM Water Cooler 4/27/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

From Texas. “There is a second Prothonotary singing twice in the background. Territorial sin….”

From alert reader MS, here is an open source bird song identifier! Sadly, it’s built for the Raspberry PI, but that’s a neat, Jackpot-compliant machine (to the extent any electronic circuitry is Jackpot-compliant).

* * *

Politics

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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“Text messages reveal Trump’s chief of staff orchestrated January 6 coup attempt” [WSWS]. “On Monday, CNN published excerpts from 2,319 text messages sent and received by Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows which confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that the executive branch and a substantial portion of the Republican Party were scheming for months with fascists to block the certification of the election on January 6, 2021 and establish a dictatorship. The texts expose the already threadbare lie that what took place during the attack on the Capitol was unplanned, spontaneous and unserious.” • Unserious? Does this look serious to you:

Readers, I hope I haven’t been remiss in not tracking the 1/6 story closely. I confess I have priors, since these are basically “The walls are closing in!” crowd, and they have form (which is, of course, the genetic fallacy). Then too, the liberal Democrats staged a coup against the Trump administration in all but name, so it’s hard for me to get worked up about “our democracy” coming from these guys. That said, at some point — one assumes before the summer and in time for the midterms — a solid, coherent, non-screechy narrative, with a timeline and evidence, will emerge and we’ll have to evaluate it. Here’s an example that caught my eye:

Pence, who emerges as a heroic albeit stolid figure, says “I’m not getting in the car.” Yikes! My problems with the Tweet are two-fold. Trivially, I can’t come up with a hit on “the Vice President refused to be driven to safety,” so I don’t know the sourcing. Less trivially, it’s well-known that conspiracies expand in scale, as new actors are added to make the narrative work. In this one, Trump seems to have suborned the Secret Service. Really? All that said, we await the 1/6 Commitee’s report with interest. Perhaps it will be as interesting as the Durham report.

Biden Adminstration

“A crystal-clear issue: The White House is in desperate need of new glassware” [CNN] • Why? Has Kamala been throwing it?

2022

* * *

“‘It’s Time to Head for the Lifeboats’: Democratic Fatalism Intensifies” [New York Times]. “One sign of the alarm rippling through the party: Some Democratic politicians have begun creating distance between themselves and the president. Senate candidates are stampeding to break with the administration’s immigration policies, for instance. Other moves are more subtle, such as those of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who quietly removed the president’s name from news releases about federally funded infrastructure projects. ‘What you’re seeing is people feeling like it’s time to head for the lifeboats rather than trying to steer the ship, ‘said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary who worked under Barack Obama. A sense of fatalism is setting in among many, with discussions centering increasingly on how to limit the party’s expected losses rather than how to gain new seats.” • Ronald Klain comments:

Most of me gleefully awaits Democrats getting a good, old-fashioned beatdown come November; they have certainly earned it! On the other hand, liberal Democrats were hysterical about redistricting for a long time, and it worked out well for them. So all the hysteria is making me feel counter-suggestible. If Biden could actually deliver on something — student loans for the alienated youth vote? Become a serious wartime leader? — things might be less bad for Democrats than we imagine today. There is also consideration to be given to 1/6, if Democrats could somehow manage to create a coherent narrative about “our democracy,” and possibly save some House seats because of it. (Sadly, if in fact the Democrats get creamed, the leadership will retain its grip on power.)

“Democrats ring alarm bells over young voters and the 2022 election as Biden’s ratings slip” [NBC]. “Mary Collins voted for President Joe Biden in 2020. A year and a half later, Collins, 25, of Raleigh, North Carolina, gives the White House and the Democratic-led Congress a 4 out of 10 on performance. ‘It just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of progress,” she said. “You hear some good things the Biden administration has done, but otherwise it is very underwhelming.’…. Scores of Americans like Collins — young, liberal-leaning, economically anxious and disappointed that Democratic-controlled Washington hasn’t done more to improve their lives — hold substantial power in the 2022 elections. Democrats need Gen Z and millennial voters to turn out to have any hope of keeping the House or the Senate. And they don’t habitually vote in midterms. Collins said she does plan to vote this fall —’unfortunately’ for Democrats. A registered independent, she’s open to alternatives but turned off by the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights, dismissal of climate change and denigrating of migrants and non-Christians. After youth turnout soared to record levels in 2020, fueled by Biden’s progressive agenda and a desire to send President Donald Trump home to Florida, Democratic strategists are sounding the alarm about the lack of enthusiasm among young voters. They fear it could cause dissatisfied younger Americans to sit out the 2022 elections and deliver a walloping for the party. Preventing that, they say, will require more investment and outreach, as well as policy wins or evidence that Democrats are fighting for issues they care about.” • No, not “fighting for.” Delivering. This is not hard!

“Republicans are more than capable of blowing the 2022 midterms” [The Hill]. “At least three factors could reverse the predicted fortune for the GOP. The first would be voter apathy by traditional Republicans, conservatives and people of faith. The second would be — drum roll, please — potential fallout from anything Donald Trump says, does or hints. And the third would be a full-court press by Democrats, aided by some in the mainstream media, to come across as suddenly moderate while metaphorically throwing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as far overboard as possible. All three factors will happen to some extent. The question is, will some combination of them be enough to hold the Democratic majority in Congress after November? Apparently Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) main strategy for winning is to avoid mentioning anything that Republicans would do if they regained majority control. The quote sometimes attributed to Napoleon — ‘Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself’ — makes sense if one believes the Democrats are failing across the board, but many Republican voters who have been burned before by the GOP leadership still want to hear a plan.” • Heave Biden and Harris over the side why? Because they’re too far left?

“The Squad could grow stronger even if Dems lose big” [Axios]. “The Squad is poised for big gains in November despite the Democrats’ likely loss of the House. The progressive politics that mainstream Democrats blame for their decline stand to take center stage if both trendlines hold. And the Squad-Plus would be positioned to push the diluted ranks of its rivals into backing some of its agenda — impacting the 2024 presidential race. As many as six staunchly progressive candidates have viable chances to win House seats this cycle.” Greg Casar (TX), Jessica Cisneros (TX), Summer Lee (PA), Erica Smith (NC), Becca Balint (VT), and Amy Vilela (NV). More: “Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley easily defeated primary challengers in 2020 and seem on glide paths for reelection this cycle.”

OR: “Mystery candidate shakes up Oregon House contest” [The Hill]. When Oregon formally won a new U.S. House seat in the decennial redistricting process last year, it set off a scramble among ambitious politicians who saw a rare chance to advance their careers. Three state representatives, a former county commissioner and the chairwoman of the Oregon Medical Board quickly jumped in the race. But the conversation in the new district has been dominated by a 35-year-old newcomer making his first run for office who has raised more money than any other contender and who has been bolstered by an unprecedented onslaught of millions of dollars in television advertising paid for by several political action committees. Now, in a state ordinarily controlled by the Democratic establishment, party insiders are asking one question: Who is Carrick Flynn? Protect Our Future PAC, a group backed by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, has already spent $6.2 million on television, digital and radio ads and another $500,000 introducing Flynn by mail. It is an incredible amount of money in a primary contest, especially on behalf of a candidate who has never sought office before. And it has angered Flynn’s rivals who point out that the top Democratic super PAC has opted to weigh in on behalf of a straight white male in a contest that features three women of color…. Many of Flynn’s donors are involved in an online forum called Effective Altruism, a group that analyzes how best to spend money on philanthropic efforts. Their conclusion, according to some of the posts backing Flynn, has been that spending a few million on a congressional race could result in billions in spending on pandemic preparedness by the federal government. Flynn is ‘the first person to ever run for US congress on a platform of preventing future pandemics,’ wrote one user, Andrew Snyder-Beattie, who called his donation to Flynn “the best $5,800 I’ve ever donated (to pandemic prevention).” • This seems to be the Effective Altruism forum; the funding is not clear to me.

PA: “Senate front-runner in Pennsylvania embraces Biden and progressive agenda amid Democrats’ midterm dilemma” [CNN]. “Lt. Gov. John Fetterman swung by the heart of Republican country in Southwestern Pennsylvania, in the reddest of red districts, where then-President Donald Trump trounced Joe Biden by more than 55 points and MAGA signs are still apparent on seemingly every other street corner. But rather than moderate, Fetterman leaned into his progressive views.

As he worked a few dozen voters at the Flyin’ Lion watering hole, while wearing a hooded sweatshirt, basketball shorts and gym shoes on a snowy spring day, Fetterman renewed his push for marijuana to be legalized nationwide, touted the role of immigrants in the US, called for the transgender community to be treated equally, decried efforts to pare back abortion access and backed calls for stricter gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles. In an interview with CNN, Fetterman didn’t hide his palpable frustration with Democratic senators, saying, ‘I am disappointed in our caucus’ for not increasing the $7.25 federal minimum wage, and he blamed West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin for blocking the Biden agenda, leaving his party ‘floundering.’ When asked about calls for more bipartisanship, Fetterman didn’t flinch, asserting there’s little common ground in working with Republicans who undermined the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 victory and tried to outlaw abortion. ‘I also want a full head of hair,’ said the bald, 6-foot-8 Democrat. ‘But realistically that’s not going to happen right now.'”

UT: “Utah Democrats back independent as US Senate candidate” [ABC]. “Utah Democrats pulling hard to defeat Republican Sen. Mike Lee took the unusual step Saturday of spurning a party hopeful to instead get behind an independent, former presidential candidate Evan McMullin. Democrats were swayed by calls from prominent members who said McMullin, a conservative who captured a significant share of the vote in Utah in 2016, was the best chance to beat Lee in the deeply conservative state that hasn’t elected a Democratic U.S. senator for more than 50 years. ‘I want to represent you. I’m committed to that. I will maintain my independence,’ McMullin told Democratic delegates.”

2024

“Kamala Harris’ chief of staff heading for the exit” [CNN]. “Flournoy is the latest in a long string of departures from the vice president’s office, which has been shaken up multiple times in recent months. Flournoy’s deputy Michael Fuchs earlier this month announced that he would be leaving the administration. The White House confirmed recently that national security adviser Nancy McEldowney would step down, to be replaced by her deputy Phil Gordon. And Harris’ communication’s team received a nearly full makeover in recent months, after her communications directory Ashley Etienne, chief spokesperson and senior adviser Symone Sanders and deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh all left the office within months of one another other. Flournoy, who joined the team at the start of the operation, led the office through a rocky summer for the vice president, during which Harris drew criticism after several messaging missteps and staffing issues. Republicans have seized on any apparent missteps, targeting the vice president relentlessly. One of the toughest moments for Flournoy came after myriad reports of dysfunction overtook the office’s message, many centered on the chief of staff’s leadership — and by extension Harris’ leadership. Voles was hired in the middle of those summertime reports. In a statement Thursday, Harris commended her exiting staffer.” • This episode of The West Wing Thing includes an incident in Poland. where Harris responded with inappropriate laughter to a reasonably question on refugees from Ukraine. “A friend in need is a friend in need [laughter].” The laughter, apparently, went on for some time.

Yes, your work is done:

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.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s company to rumble with Twitter from Sarasota County” [USA Today]. “Rumble is a video platform company, and its controversial move to Sarasota County recently caused just that: a rumble. Now for something far more seismic, that should really rattle the dishes in the cupboards of conservatives and critics alike: Donald Trump’s media company is only 11 miles away from Rumble. The details of how Trump’s company wound up on North Cattlemen Road, in an industrial part of Sarasota, are unknown, but indeed it’s here, according to state business records, and suddenly we have become a ring girl in the fight between Trump, Big Tech, Twitter and Elon Musk. On April 18, state records show that Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. registered as a business in Florida and used an office building on North Cattlemen Road in Sarasota as its address. The eight officers in the company – including Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and former California Congressman Devin Nunes – also list the Sarasota address, though there is no indication any of the officers have any connection locally, well, aside from the fact Trump was farcically honored as “Statesman of the Year” by Joe Gruters and the Sarasota County GOP, ahem, twice. So why is this such a big deal? Because Trump Media & Technology Group owns a social media app called Truth Social, which is Trump’s antagonistic answer to Twitter…. On April 22, a press release stated that Rumble had ‘successfully migrated Truth Social’s website and mobile applications to Rumble’s Cloud infrastructure,’ and that ‘Truth Social’s move marks the first significant customer to come on board with Rumble.”

“The Slime Machine Targeting Dozens of Biden Nominees” [The New Yorker]. “But the fierce campaign against [Ketanji Brown Jackson] was concerning, in part because it was spearheaded by a new conservative dark-money group that was created in 2020: the American Accountability Foundation. An explicit purpose of the A.A.F.—a politically active, tax-exempt nonprofit charity that doesn’t disclose its backers—is to prevent the approval of all Biden Administration nominees.” • I’m in aghastitude. As usual, Republicans are more serious about their politics than liberal Democrats. Why haven’t Democrats already done this?

“Exclusive: Madison Cawthorn photos reveal him wearing women’s lingerie in public setting” [Politico]. • This is why conservatives have better sex. The thrill of transgression! I hate this kind of story. Who cares? I mean, after Teddy Kennedy? The Big Dog? Cuomo?

Realignment and Legitimacy

Maybe so:

If so, liberal Democrats failed on this the same way they failed on abortion: They didn’t embody “judge-made law” in legislation when they had the power to do so.

#COVID19

Lambert here: If some trusting, non-realist soul tells you that “Covid is over,” you can tell them that cases are up, transmission is up, test positivity is up, hospitalization is up, rapid riser counties are up, and wastewater is up, too. And this is all from data designed to support the narrative, and gamed within an inch of its life. So, if signals like that are flashing red, consider what the real signal must be like. (Note also this is all with BA.2 only, and with what the establishment considers an “immune wall” made from vaccination and prior infection. Since semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, and we’ve let ‘er rip at the airports…. Well, I just hope we get lucky. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” –Otto von Bismarck.

Meanwhile, Fauci seems confused:

Commentary on scientific communication from the Biden Administration and our public health establishment:

* * *

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.

“We’re Fighting Covid With Faulty Data” [Bloomberg]. No sh*t, Sherlock. ” [There is a] pattern at the agency, which has sometimes backed away from data collection that would have provided a clearer view. A few months into the vaccination effort, in 2021, the CDC decided to stop counting mild vaccine breakthrough infections, describing them as expected and a distraction. It was a decision that left the agency unable to see clearly when vaccine efficacy began to fade. (The CDC is taking steps to do better: It’s pushed for more authority to collect local data, and on April 19 the agency launched its new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, promising that it would help modernize efforts to better understand and predict infectious diseases.)” • As I show here, the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics won’t make its data public, and it’s operations are run by a spook, oh well.

* * *

Case count by United States regions:

First decisive upward turn, so we’ll see how it goes. 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. In addition to the Fauci line, I have added a Democrat-blue dotted line for what the case count would be if it were 57,000 * 6 = 342,000. Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

Looks like the Northeast has passed the torch to the West.

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.

NOT UPDATED MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

We’ll need to wait to week for the universitities and Easter weekend to unkink the data. (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, in that the Northeast is flattening. Not encouraging, in that the West is not. (See also case counts and rapid riser counties.)

Cases lag wastewater data.

“The National Fight Against COVID-19 Isn’t Ready To Go To The Sewers” [FiveThirtyEight]. “The Documenting COVID-19 project surveyed 19 state and local health agencies, as well as scientists who work on wastewater sampling, to learn about the challenges they’re facing. We found that many states are months away, if not longer, from being able to use wastewater data to guide public health decisions, even as the rise of an omicron subvariant, BA.2, looms. Meanwhile, the CDC’s highly shared wastewater surveillance dashboard is a work in progress, and is difficult to interpret for users who might hope to follow the trends in their areas.”

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

California is no better, ChicagoLand is worse, the Northeast looks no better. (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. In fact, every day I go to the same URL. Yesterday, at the usual URL, I found this disgrace to humanity:

Fortunately, CDC only moved the transmissibility data to a new URL. So here again is the map CDC doesn’t want you to look at:

The Northeast remains stubbornly and solidly red. Now California is red as well. (It looks like portions of Maine went from High (red) to Substantial (orange), but that part of Maine is the Unorganized Territories, where virtually nobody lives.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

The baseline is still low. But hospitalization is most definitely up. (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.)

A new way for hospitals to game the data:

IM Doc writes: “I would guess with Omicron about 60% of the patients were on Dexamethasone – so no – not an adequate proxy” for hospitalization.

Just a reminder:

As with everything else, because the United States is not a serious country, our hospitalization data is bad. Here the baseilne is off:

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,019,008 1,018,582. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. Numbers still going down, still democidally high.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Still a bumpy ride…. (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. The UK is awful, France and Germany are better.)

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Manufacturing: Hmm:

I can’t bust Nikkei’s paywall, but the key point is in the Tweet.

Labor Market: “Delta Air Lines to start paying flight attendants during boarding” [Al Jazeera]. “Delta Air Lines, which has narrowly fought off several attempts to unionise its flight attendants, will begin paying cabin crews during boarding, a change that is expected to increase their wages by several thousand dollars a year. It is a notable change for United States airlines, where pay for flight attendants starts when all the passengers are seated and the plane’s doors close.” • That’s ridiculous! I thought flight attendants had a union!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 27 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 27 at 10:00 AM EDT. ZOMG they changed the artwork!

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

The Gallery

Sunset:

Heck, more orange:

Class Warfare

Excellent. A very hopeful sign:

I remember this anecdote. Good to see it re-surface:

Identity politics is death to solidarity. That’s why it pays so well.

News of the Wired

I seem not to be wired today. Dang!

* * *

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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.

118 comments

  1. Angie Neer

    I know there’s no lack of shocking labor abuses in this country, but I’m still shocked that Delta flight attendants don’t get paid for all the obvious work they do before the doors close. If that’s not wage theft, I don’t know what is.

    1. Big River Bandido

      This is *not* in any way unusual for working people.

      •Truck drivers at US ports have to wait for their cargoes, sometimes hours — all unpaid.
      •Adjunct professors work 3-4 hours unpaid for every hour they are compensated.
      •I worked at a dance studio for 5 year-old girls from the wealthiest families in the entire world (CEOs and pro basketball players) — but I only got paid for the times that we were actually in a class, which meant that I was spending 7 hours a day there and only getting paid for 3.

      Those are just off the top of my head. It’s the same everywhere you go.

      Lawyers and “finance professionals”? They’re ALWAYS on the clock, even when they aren’t working.

      1. TMoney

        Adjunct professors – I’m waiting for the lawsuit when the poor Prof doesn’t hand in the final grades because they haven’t been paid minimum wage – and has the records to back it up in court.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder how well paid was that adjunct professor woman who decided to tell the room that she was “tired of hearing white men talk”. As an adjunct professor, probably not all that much.

          So who made the big money out of identy politics? Possibly the smooth operators who taught that woman that she had a gender-femnist identy obligation to be tired of hearing white men talk.

          It is too bad that no one there was prepared-at-the-time to be able to leap up and counter-say:
          ” I’m tired of hearing Goldman-Sachs feminists complain”.

  2. hamstak

    Regarding the glassware in the WH, perhaps it was smashed in a fit of celebration when Russia invaded Ukraine. But rather than shouting “Mazeltov!” they instead shouted “Molotov!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a true story of how some big-wig in the old USSR had a party or – it may have been a wedding celebration – so he “borrowed” historical china from the Heritage Museum. During proceedings, somebody accidentally dropped one of them smashing it and when the other guests heard that sound, assumed it to be the old celebratory custom and each rapidly threw their cups into the fireplace smashing them.

    1. curlydan

      Interesting. In a comparison of 2021 deaths vs 2019 deaths: “look at the percentage increase in deaths for the prime age population. A 50% increase in deaths for the 35 to 44 age group. And almost 39% increase in deaths for the 25 to 34 age group.” That increase in the 35 to 44 age group was largest by age group by far.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Was watching some analysis of this emerging and very disturbing trend. These numbers tend to be reasonably constant and a 10 per cent increase would be a 3 Sigma event (3 standard deviations, I believe). So a 40 per cent increase is extremely unlikely and probably a 7 to 10 Sigma event.

        What happened in 2021? I am sure there were deaths of despair, but isn’t the fact that we all rolled our sleeves up and exposed our bodies to the spike protein the most likely cause of these excess deaths.

        People of working age do not suddenly start dying of heart attacks, strokes and so on. I hope the companies and, particularly, the executives, are held to account for killing people in pursuit of profit. Check out pfizer’s latest SEC filing. It says that investors cannot rely on its covid revenues going forward as governments are unlikely to give its vaccines full regulatory approval. And, a big percentage of the population is finally waking up that we have been lied to. It’s been happening my entire working life.

        1. BlakeFelix

          Well, there was also the COVID itself, which has spike proteins as well as many others…

        2. TBellT

          What happened in 2021? I am sure there were deaths of despair, but isn’t the fact that we all rolled our sleeves up and exposed our bodies to the spike protein the most likely cause of these excess deaths.

          If you look at the 2020 columns in the tables linked, it’s also elevated from 2019, and the jump from 2019 to 2020 is much larger than from 2020 to 2021, for ever age bracket. It’s Covid.

        3. Yves Smith

          Strokes are a known consequence of Covid, and you provide zero evidence that the other bad effects are not primarily the result of Covid.

          And the increased morbidity and fall in lifespan is most pronounced in the US, which has the worst Covid death rate among advanced economies and a low vax rate.

          Making Shit Up is a violation of house rules.

  3. Mikel

    https://www.axios.com/archegos-bill-hwang-indicted-fraud-f09f8d8d-67d5-4f5d-9f5a-3e3bbdae0155.html/

    A follow up to another story that was covered on NC back when his fund blew up.

    “Bill Hwang, the founder of the family office whose messy collapse cost banks billions last year, was arrested and hit with federal criminal charges on Wednesday.

    Why it matters: It could be one of the most high-profile white-collar prosecutions in recent memory…”

    Wall Street: Hold my beer…

    1. Mikel

      A more juicy breakdown of some of what Archegos accomplished:

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/its-a-sign-of-me-buying-bill-hwang-the-man-who-manipulated-stocks-11651083750?mod=home-page/

      “..The way federal prosecutors describe it, Hwang’s behavior changed dramatically in March 2020, just as markets started to rebound following the initial COVID-19 lockdowns. He dramatically pushed the leverage of his portfolio and his use of derivatives instruments, and used his increased market power, largely hidden from public view, to support and defend the prices of specific stocks through manipulative trading strategies, federal prosecutors say. Hwang increased the demand for certain shares and decreased their supply. The basis for the criminal case made by federal prosecutors is that Hwang had Archegos mislead the world’s most sophisticated banks to obtain more leverage and further push these strategies.

      By 2021, Hwang owned as much as 50% of the outstanding shares of companies like ViacomCBS PARA, -1.50% and GSX GOTU, +3.45% without market participants knowing, prosecutors say. He would trade large quantities of those shares on a daily basis, creating unusually large upward price swings, making sure to defend stocks like GSX against short sellers who were betting on the stock’s decline. At one point, Archegos accounted for 35% of the daily trading volume of Discovery Communications stock WBD, -5.04%, the federal indictment says. Securities regulators say that Hwang would bid up prices with incrementally higher limit orders throughout the trading day, especially in the last 30 minutes of the trading day. Shares of Discovery Communications and ViacomCBS rose by 250% between October 2020 and March 2021, far outpacing most tech stocks.

      But even Hwang could not “defend” the share price of ViacomCBS in March 2021, when the company decided to issue $2.6 billion of shares. The stock offering sparked a violent sell off of ViacomCBS’s stock that Hwang could not stop despite what federal prosecutors describe as Hwang’s “extraordinary amount of trading,” using $900 million that ate up a large amount of Archegos’s available cash.

      “Are we going to be able to pay for these trades today? I don’t see how we can,” Halligan, Archegos’s CFO, is described in the indictment as saying. The banks started making margin calls and Archegos collapsed when it could not meet them. As the banks unwound the trades, the underlying stocks fell.”

      1. Mikel

        If anyone thinks Hwang reinvented the wheel and thought of something new, I’ve got a bridge in Alaska to sell you.

  4. Judith

    Margaret Kimberley analyzes Obama precisely (as usual):

    https://blackagendareport.com/obama-wants-censorship

    Barack Obama and his ruling class bosses are losing legitimacy with more and more people. They have decided that censoring information will resolve their problems.

    On April 21, 2022 former president Barack Obama gave a speech at Stanford University on the subject of social media. In typical Obamaesque fashion, he didn’t state his point plainly. He used a lot of time, more than an hour, to advocate for social media censorship. He only used that word once, in order to deny that it was in fact what he meant, but the weasel words and obfuscation couldn’t hide what Obama was talking about.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The most damning parts of that video could be excerpted and welded together and then worked up into a portable sound-and-video film sequence which could be taken around to all of Obama’s public appearances and projected at whatever heroic wall Obama is standing near, while sound plays from powerful hidden speakers which can’t be immediately found and disabled.

      Also, all the most humiliating and revealing stills and videos from Obama’s career should be spliced together into a form which could be projected on the blank wall of the Great Pyramid of Soetero in that stolen park land in Chicago. Night after night after night. After night after night. After night. And so on.

  5. marym

    Re: Sourcing for not getting in the car so far – fwiw:
    It seems to be the same as that for the screen shot in the tweet which presents it as being from a Newsweek report: A WaPo excerpt (second link) from a new book by 2 reporters which says this was quoted from the head of Pence’s secret service detail, whom they name. The secret service denied involvement of a WH security official referenced in the next part of the screen shot (third link from WaPo reporter). So maybe not denying the part about getting in the car means it’s…well, not denied at least for now.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/mike-pence-refused-to-leave-capitol-during-riot-book-2021-7
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/15/jan-6-i-alone-can-fix-it-book-excerpt/
    https://twitter.com/AaronBlake/status/1519108138095587329

  6. pjay

    Thanks for the Ehrenreich anecdote. The Dissent article from which it comes is very interesting – a reflective historical discussion of the ‘PMC’ concept from the woman who helped coin the term. Also very nostalgic for me. The original 1977 essay was central to my own political comprehension as a young graduate student and member of the fledgling DSA in the 1980s. Nostalgic and sad, for many reasons.

    Here’s the article:

    https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/on-the-origins-of-the-professional-managerial-class-an-interview-with-barbara-ehrenreich

  7. Lunker Walleye

    Thanks for the lovely art today. Doré could portray such depth and precision in his imaginative engravings, working backwards with a metal burr. Whistler is free with his strokes and then there is Monet, ahh Monet. Inspiring! Also, the Grinnell College story gives one a bit of optimism!

  8. jr

    re: Ehrenreich’s Identity Crisis

    This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of some sort of academic situation in which, out of the blue, some genius off-gasses about some nebulous identity issue that has zero to do with the conversation underway. Identity politics are ahistorical, a-philosophical, a-scientific, immoral, unethical and intentionally divisive. The claims made are intersectionally dumb. I wonder how many of these incidents are just an attempt to get into the conversation by people with little to say in general. Imagine discussing particle physics and someone pipes up “This is all racist!” My first thought would be that the speaker had no clue what was under discussion.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>My first thought would be that the speaker had no clue what was under discussion.

      Hmmm, maybe the speaker did have a clue, which was why she blurted it out in front of (I assume an unemployed and poor, formerly working) white man.

      I don’t know for a fact that is why she did so. The elites’ society wide mind screwing goes deep and wide. It infects all of us much like how anticommunist or racist propaganda does. It would still be an excellent way for some provocateur to shut down the conversation, much like how police agents often burn down buildings and break windows during demonstrations. But it could either be from being paid or it could be from the programming we are all suffering from.

      1. jr

        That’s a great point. I have no doubt this is the case in some instances. I would have had her escorted out if I were running the talk. There is no room for racism. These people need to be called out for it.

    2. Acacia

      > This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of some sort of academic situation in which, out of the blue, some genius off-gasses about some nebulous identity issue that has zero to do with the conversation underway.

      I’ve heard this sort of thing many times following academic talks. The presenter gives a talk on X, which carefully frames the issue and research question, and then during the discussion, somebody in the audience asks why the presenter didn’t speak to some particular identity issue. The answer should be: “because that’s not what my talk was about”, but of course academic politesse more-or-less reequires that the presenter quasi-apologize for not being adequately inclusive.

      It’s basically another version of the “why didn’t you talk about this unrelated thought inside my head?” question.

      1. jr

        I think the politeness needs to stop. This stuff needs to be confronted. Whether it’s intentional or not, lines need to be drawn. People need to prepare themselves for this none sense if it’s happening that often. Personally, I wouldn’t engage an identitarian other than to point out that they are being divisive and then move on. If they continue, have them removed.

        1. Acacia

          I agree with you. The question is: how to confront it in an effective way? This is where I get stuck.

          It should be possible to say something like: “Well, I’m not sure how that is really relevant to the matter at hand — next question?” but that could easily rankle and lead to a nasty exchange.

          As you know, we’re dealing with people who are very self-righteous, often vindictive, and have no compunction about smearing those who don’t agree with them. For example, I was once involved in an academic event, after which one of the presenters took to social media to attack others in an unexpectedly nasty way. She could have aired her disagreement at the event proper, but that would have required some actual courage.

          The incident that Ehrenreich described was in 2009. Imagine it happening in the present day, and if she had actually confronted that bitter adjunct and it came to one of the event organizers pointing to the door and saying “the way is clear” (i.e., inviting the identitarian to leave). If it came to that, I would fully expect the adjunct to vent on social media, or seek to stir up a Twitter mob against the event organizers.

          There must be a way to handle this, but I’m at a loss for how and I’ve never seen it done well.

          1. jr

            Social media is the rub, for sure. In person, I would dismiss and ignore them if I were conducting the talk. If they continued, I’d call security. I don’t use social media myself but I can see how it would have an impact on others.

            But it’s going to take more people stepping up. A lot of people think identity politics are a legitimate intellectual sphere even if they don’t fully agree with the ideas. That notion needs to be attacked head-on. Their appropriation of Leftist trappings must be strangled. Identitarians need to be spot-lit, stamped as the cultists they are, and socially isolated. No one would tolerate a Christian fundamentalist interrupting an academic confab with their idiocies, why let the Woke do it?

            Perhaps some interesting alliances could be formed in this effort. Conservatives and Leftists and Libertarians storming their meetings and asking pointed questions. Barrages of Tweets and Facebook postings and whatever specifically targeting the Woke. I laid out a scheme of mine here a while back. As a bipolar person, I would seek assistance from Conservative legal societies to sue the school and individuals for the use of terms such as homophobic and transphobic. These aren’t mental illnesses. They aren’t in the DSM. They don’t exist. They minimize the realities of mental illness and smear the target, making mental illness into an evil. This would seem to violate a school’s “safe space” policy. Seems like a strong case to me but I’m no lawyer.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Perhaps the time has come to handle it as badly as necessary, but just handle it.
            Perhaps the time has come that the answer to ” why didn’t you address my leftard wokenazi identy issue” . . is basically . . . . ” Because, f-ck your feelings and cry little snowflake. And if you don’t like it, then get the f-ck out.”.

            And then start chanting ” Get the f-ck out. Get the f-ck out.” over and over again, very rythmically. Perhaps enough of the audience will have had enough of that sort of person themselves over time that they will start joining in the chant. If a majority could be brought to join in the chant, then the leftard wokenazi identy agitator might indeed be humiliated into getting the f-ck out.

        2. Greg

          Enforced politeness is part of the power structure. I’m pretty sure Lambert has a pithy saying about this, but it escapes me.

  9. shinola

    Comment after Ron Klain’s tweeted comment:

    “…If Biden could actually deliver on something — student loans for the alienated youth vote? Become a serious wartime leader? — things might be less bad for Democrats than we imagine today”

    Student loan relief, well yeah, but “Become a serious wartime leader”… WTF!?!

    Perhaps I didn’t catch the underlying meaning; but wouldn’t that require a serious war? Maybe I’m an outlier but I’d really rather not find out if that’s the case.

    1. John

      We are all still alive and the planet is not glowing in a nuclear holocaust, so I guess he is kinda like a good wartime president to have avoided that so far.
      Some at State and War Dept may disagree.

      1. albrt

        I keep reminding myself that even though Uncle Joe has hired a bunch of Obama’s worst war criminals to run the country’s foreign policy, and even though Uncle Joe appears to be in a moderately advanced stage of dementia, Uncle Joe is the only person in Washington DC who does not want the United States to be actively bombing other countries all the time.

        Actually, when I put it all together like that it does not necessarily make me feel better about the state of the world.

  10. Mikel

    “Most of me gleefully awaits Democrats getting a good, old-fashioned beatdown come November; they have certainly earned it…”

    They gleefully await it too. They only wake up in presidential election years. This is the same old, same old.
    They hand over the reigns in Congress to the other knownothings and run on how bad and scared you should be of them. In the meantime, nothing gets fixed or resolved, if anything a “study” is produced going over some knowledge that was already revealed YEARS or decades ago. Rinse, repeat.

    1. Hepativore

      Of course even if the Democrats get wiped out in the midterms and the presidential race, remember that…

      A. Democrats will invariably take their losses as a sign that they were too “leftist” and move even further to the right.

      B. The Democrats do not necessarily care if they lose elections, as that is simply the cost of doing business if they can fundraise off of Republican misdeeds in their “off-season” as well as take advantage of the opportunity for personal enrichment. After all, they have shown that they would rather go down with the ship of Neoliberalism than risk somebody like Sanders getting in office even if the candidates that the DNC establishment picks have all the appeal of a used enema bag?

      1. jr

        Totally. Lambert notes above their half-assing of abortion and LGBT rights as well as their failure to play hardball against GOP nominees. They love to lose. They get paid to lose. Just like identity politics distract people from real issues, they are in place to divert real progress. For Chri$tsakes, Joy Behar referred to herself as a Leftist the other day.

        1. Pat

          I am unable to describe my position on the political spectrum. When liberal was polluted, I used left. Now that left has no meaning. I say something like I am old school hippy FDR Democrat, and then make it clear that FDR rolled over in his grave when Biden was compared to him especially when Nelson Rockefeller started laughing because Biden made him look like communist.

          I suppose it shouldn’t be so surprising that our country is so unclear on fascism and modern day nazis when our political axis has been drug so far off kilter.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            What would happen if you called yourself a ” New Deal Reactionary”? Would people ask you . . . ” what is a New Deal Reactionary”? If they did ask, that would be an opportunity to tell them.

            I have begun asking random young people here in College Townville if they have heard the words . . . . ” The New Deal”. Not what they know about it. Just whether they have ever even heard the actual words. Some of them have, some of them haven’t. When some say they haven’t, I suggest that is because there is a conspiracy to erase history from the record and carefully prevent it from being taught in school or college. I suggest they google the words ” The New Deal” and see what they find.

            ( By now “google” is a generic term like xerox or kleenex or aspirin. You don’t sound a bit silly by saying that yahoo works better for googling something than google does.)

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                If you decide to do so, let us know how it works either way.

                Also, I do not pursue this with missionary zeal. I only attempt it if/when the conversation seems to have drifted that way on its own. Perhaps with a little help from me, perhaps not.

  11. Michael Ismoe

    “The Squad could grow stronger even if Dems lose big”

    So that’s why Musk bought Twitter. It’s the only place “The Squad” uses their power.

    1. Mikel

      That was going to a problem for The Squad the minute they thought they were going to use a corporate platform to speak truth to corporate power.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Squad would use their time and energy better by figuring out how to speak truth to non-corporate weakness. Corporate Power already knows all about the truth. They exploit their knowledge of truth to stay in power.

    2. Mikel

      But what you say is important because the Squad will be free to say whatever they want about a politician.
      That’s the circus clown sideshow distraction. They’ll be able to tweet about whatever wedge issue or identity flavor of the month.
      When they start talking about the corporations power in Washington and speak out against war, that is what will be stopped.

    1. albrt

      As a former union organizer, the votes are good news but they aren’t unionized until they get a contract.

      1. marym

        Thanks for the comment. That’s the terminology used in some of the tweets reporting the votes. It sounds so hopeful, but I understand that there’s a long road ahead in trying to get a contract.

  12. jsn

    That leveling off in the North East looks suspiciously flat to me.

    It’s like it hit some sort of political ceiling.

    No?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Nah.. it was a holiday and spring break last week. Give it two weeks after Monday (5/9) and see what happens.

      1. Judith

        Tufts Spring Fling is this weekend. Three days of concerts carnivals and drinking. In other words, mayhem. That should have an effect.

  13. Bart Hansen

    Sarasota news on the Cooler!

    My family moved from Chicago to Sarasota shortly after the earth cooled, where I attended high school then attended the U of Florida.

    Back then, the area east of town was populated mostly by cattle ranches. In fact, there was an area called Cowpen Slough, and someone made up the character of Sexy Sue from Cowpen Slough. I wonder if Trump’s North Cattleman Road is near the slough.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I did a stint in Sarasota; Ever make it out to Gator Club? I miss that pizza place that was mobbed at 3 am on weekends downtown; amazingly good pizza.

  14. Dr. John Carpenter

    I am trying to find a link but over on Instagram More Perfect Union posted the Apple store in Atlanta who was voting to unionize passed the vote. Anyone seeing this out there anywhere?

    1. marym

      I didn’t find recent news on More Perfect, CWA, or AppleLaborers twitter. The news stories about a week ago said they were the first apple store in the US to file for an election.The second link says “The union has proposed an on-site election May 5-7.”
      https://www.yahoo.com/now/apple-store-atlanta-first-file-203918369.html
      https://fsworkersunited.org
      https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/apple-store-workers-in-atlanta-file-for-first-union-election

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Thanks marym. I thought the vote was scheduled to occur in a few weeks, so maybe they jumped the gun on Instagram?

  15. Revenant

    Lambert, why do you say the UK data quality is bad. Our policy response has been terrible but our data have been good.

    A lot of global trackers / aggregators post weird data for the UK that don’t tally with the open source, automatable daily collection from Public Health England.

    https://daisy.coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

    There are some data held elsewhere, e.g. test positivity and seropositivity, but the infection, case, hospitalisation and death ascertainment here is pretty darn good. Especially the “by date of specimen” series, which has a slight lag but no reporting artefacts compared to “date reported” series.

  16. lance ringquist

    the nafta democrats are at it again, they just sold out trumps american solar power manufacturers.

    the nafta democrats are about to do the exact opposite of what we need, folks, they are going to expand free trade

    Elon Musk, China, and the Biden Collapse

    The Chinese government increasingly controls U.S. discourse and policy.

    The problems with the CCP are getting worse, not better.

    as long as americas elites never have to pay for their “CRIMES”, we will get one nafta billy clinton after another.

    https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/elon-musk-china-and-the-biden-collapse?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo3NTU3ODUsInBvc3RfaWQiOjUyODk0ODYxLCJfIjoiQ1BwdWIiLCJpYXQiOjE2NTEwODUzNzYsImV4cCI6MTY1MTA4ODk3NiwiaXNzIjoicHViLTExNTI0Iiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.YpfC3f7A9foGigwvT7EfGdq4NVHonpGWLTarRDv8YKI&s=r

    Elon Musk, China, and the Biden Collapse
    The Chinese government increasingly controls U.S. discourse and policy. The problems with the CCP are getting worse, not better.
    Matt Stoller
    7 hr ago
    34
    31

    1. SocalJimObjects

      “as long as americas elites never have to pay for their “CRIMES”, we will get one nafta billy clinton after another.”

      Pretty much this. The rest is just circus.

    2. Skippy

      Republicans are just as responsible for NAFTA, making it out to be a Clinton thingy is polemic. Furthermore both parties were 100% pro neoliberalism economics.

      China is not responsible for the agency behind the corporatist agenda that forwarded neoliberalism.

        1. Skippy

          In your vernacular … sorry but no the Chicago school was not exclusive of any political party and anyone on this blog should know better.

          1. Pat

            It was a joint effort, but Clinton being the turncoat who got it signed means he gets to be the face of it. Think of it as one of Lambert’s clarifying moments.

            I realize that even though the Clintons are the linchpins to the Democratic adoption of so many hideous traditional Republican positions one might want to ignore how vital they have been to that transition to a party of war mongering war criminal corporate boot licking PMCs with ill hidden snobbish scorn who rejoice in kicking the lower classes who they trick into voting for them. However they are such greedy and needy leeches that they just won’t go away so it needs to be shouted loudly and often, just as no one should forget how hideous the Bushes and the Obamas are.

            1. Skippy

              My view is leaving the others out by focusing on Bill leaves a huge hole in the entire story line. Everyone was part of it, basically, difference is the GOP wants to rule authoritatively.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Erasing Bill and the DLC Democrats from the organized push to get NAFTA and etc. passed and signed is what leaves a huge hole in the actual historical record. ” Everyone was part of it” is an objectively false statement based on the historical record of how many elected Democrats tried holding the line against Clinton and his New Yuppie Scumocrats.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            In my vernacular, sorry no again, Clinton was key for forcing the Chicago school and Free Trade policies into law. Those on this blog who understand that are the people who actually know better, or at least know more.

    1. anon y'mouse

      those people didn’t risk their lives serving their country like his saintly son (yeah, not Hunter) so they don’t deserve any free housing.

      sorry, i’m stretching the argument but essentially putting 3 and 2 together to make 5 by absorbing the various comments he’s made about M4All.

    1. flora

      Meanwhile in flyover, the Dem national estab couldn’t care less about obvious GOP gerrymandering in so-called ‘red’ states. Those of us Dems in flyover are on our own to push back through the courts on GOP gerrymandering. And push we do. And we are winning in many cases. Thank goodness the courts are attentive to law more than to local politics in my flyover state. (The US founders, in writing the Constitution, knew what they were doing with the separation of powers thingy.)

      1. albrt

        Our constitutional arrangement has done pretty well at avoiding dictators (so far). But I am not at all confident that our system can produce even minimally competent governance when moneyed interests have reached an advanced stage of gaming the system and both political parties are paid to make sure nothing ever gets better.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘An interesting observation, just FYI.

    President Macron appears to have secured a double-digit victory over LePen, at a time when his approval rating is 36%. Hmmm….’

    And that is how the Democrats can win still. Just let the Republicans think that because they will certainly win, that they can stand up candidates that would be toxic to most people and who are from the hard, fruity right wing. The Republicans would figure that voters would have ‘nowhere to go’ so why not stand up those that they really want to see have power. People who would make Ted Cruz seem like a mature statesmen. If it was 2024, they would be standing up Mike Pompeo as a Presidential candidate with the same reasoning. But France show how that could blow up in their faces.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Have you ever met Republican voters? They are like Mother supporters but less rationale.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I have the luxury of being about 12,000 kilometers from the nearest Republican base but alas, still suffer the effects of the decisions of their leaders.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘INSIDE A CHINESE SMARTPHONE | AMERICAN HONOR
    U.S. parts account for 40% of the product’s manufacturing cost, a sharp rise versus the previous model.’

    Uhhhhh, so thanks Trump?

  19. Wukchumni

    Trump says he feared being pelted with ‘very dangerous’ fruit at rallies
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    White Manchineel’s burden?

    1. Skippy

      I highly recommend viewing it for a compressed summery of all the events that lead up to the currant state of things, with the added factor of being something that can be passed on to the younger generations or those with pseudo intellectual trip wires thingy. Its not pro one side or another, but highlights the people past and present, supported by videos, which were agents of agendas during that time.

  20. super extra

    Sadly, it’s built for the Raspberry PI, but that’s a neat, Jackpot-compliant machine (to the extent any electronic circuitry is Jackpot-compliant).

    Yay, Lambert is also on Team RPI! Unfortunately their supply chains have been disrupted too; I’ve been keeping an eye out for one of the regular 4b boards but they’re impossible to find in stock. So I’ve been building a little computer around the compute module and carrier board. I will be interested to see how they do over the next few years given Brexit + Covid impacts.

      1. LawnDart

        Biden may have blurted-out the truth– 500k kids may very well be in a better place, at least compared to what comes next.

  21. LawnDart

    Close contact praised for staying in car for 10 hours to spare community from quarantine

    Knowing that he was a close contact, staying in the car allowed his community to check the epidemic situation immediately and after nucleic acid tests were conducted overnight, the community lifted restrictions in just 14 hours, and residents’ life quickly returned to normal.

    https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1260549.shtml

    In USA he’d be arrested for vagrancy or car-camping.

  22. LawnDart

    Class Warfare (?):

    14 Percent Of College Students Are Learning Economics Through Homelessness

    An annual survey conducted on student needs showed that in 2020, roughly half of students experienced housing insecurity, which generally means missing bills, not being able to pay bills in full, and 14% of students at both 2 and 4 year universities had experienced homelessness.

    https://www.cracked.com/article_33661_14-percent-of-college-students-are-learning-economics-through-homelessness.html

    OnlyFans to the rescue!

  23. Pat

    Yes the EU and Biden got to breathe again in relief because Macron won. OTOH his percentage of the vote dropped by over 8 points (almost 2 million votes), Le Pen gained more votes than Macron lost and more French voters abstained than ever before.

    About the only “good” news in that was that Macron managed to keep a majority, but 2 million here, 2 million there and at some point we are talking about losing.The real victory was splitting the first round vote. There was no guarantee Macron could have been successful against someone less divisive than LePen. They may talk double digits however the reality was Macron kept the presidency by the skin of his teeth.

  24. caucus99percenter

    From doves to über-hawks: Ukraine war recasts Germany’s Greens” (Politico) — as I’ve been saying.

    Somehow, Germany’s Greens seem to have convinced themselves that Ukraine was the very model of democratic principles and that provoking WW3 will help remediate climate catastrophe and be better for the biosphere than multipolar co-operation with Russia and China.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-war-recasts-germany-green-party-russia/

  25. The Rev Kev

    So I was stumbling around YouTube when I came across one for the F-35 and how it was coming into European service and it’s basic message was ‘For NATO pilots trained to fly MiGs, learning to fly the F-35 ‘is far too much to grasp,’ former F-35 test pilot says’ and from there, it got really insulting-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8mwDqJAwQQ (8:13 mins)

    Some of the vaunted claims that they made were ludicrous and had holes big enough that you could fly an F-35 through. And some of the comments below that video were even less kinder.

    1. Skippy

      Back in the day here in Oz there was a international fly boy exercise and it was noted the yanks were the most ra ra of the lot. That said some of their best fly boys, in the best air frames, at that time, tasked with the air cover over a target were completely unable to stop a couple of F-111s from getting to the target and delivering payloads, but could not even vector them for pay back – too much speed on egress.

      BTW meaning to ask … is that you Bernardo?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nah, just another jag-off commenter. Some time ago, a bunch bean-counters in Canberra were questioning the need for F-111s and asking what are they good for. So an F-111 squadron as an answer sent them a photo. It showed the side of an office building with a targeting grid over one particular window. It did not take the bean-counters long to work out that that was their building in that photo and that the window targeted was their window.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The irony is of course that the F-111 was the F-35 of its day. A supposed swiss army knife of an aircraft that went monstrously over budget and became a notorious hanger queen. Arguably, it led to the thinking behind the F-35 – something smaller and modular that could be mass produced to get the costs down.

          But it also proves the advantage of a big airframe. Small, cheap multipurpose aircraft sounds fine in theory and keep lots of fighter pilots happy, but its big airframes that stand the test of time, mostly because with all that space you can keep upgrading them until they find their niche. This is why the F-15 will still be flying when the F-35 is just a painful memory. The Russians seem to have realized this too, they’ve pretty much abandoned single engine small aircraft (except for export), their entire effort is based around big two engined Sukhoi’s and missiles for their aging Mig interceptors.

          1. Skippy

            Disagree .. the F16 is still a potent weapon, even today, and cost effective, your thinking is about how much costly and complicated digital hardware can be stuffed into it, thinking it a long term military superiority issue. Not that half they system can be attacked or compromised when you need it the most and the enemy shows its capacity.

            Look and Musk and his cars lmmao … reality is an extension of equity price your say …

            1. PlutoniumKun

              The F-16 is now outdated – its not a contender in any of the major competitions (such as the recent Finnish or Indian ones), even against its near contemporary the F/A18 or F-15. Its fine for what it was – a nimble fighter capable of carrying lots of bombs – but it doesn’t have the same capacity to upgrade as the F-15 (which is older, but is still in high demand), or the European or Russian equivalents. Attempts to update it in competition to the F-35 or F-15 have all failed, mostly due to the limitations of its airframe.

              It wouldn’t survive a day in a modern high intensity combat against high quality defences unless it had an enormous amount of support.

              1. Skippy

                I mean in the way if can be built and maintained vs this new stuff. Stuff that makes F1 cars look reliable after just one race PK.

                I would also point out the massive difference in the Russian approach and how that questions the Western gamble on advanced air frames. So much built for a MIC payday with a side of utopian technological demand pull/path dependency. Lets not forget where all that GDP goes whilst all the social goods get whacked or worse administrated by some PE/Hedge fund. So there that too.

          2. Polar Socialist

            I believe the Russians did stay longer with the special-purpose aircraft model, rather than go for multirole-hype.

            Mig-29 was designed to be first and foremost an interceptor. It can get really high and really fast in minutes, vector (directed by ground control) towards bombers, launch it’s missiles and return like no other plane before or since.
            Mig-31 (and Mig-25) was designed to guard the vastness of the northern Russia, so it was ridiculously fast, capable of independent action and could find anything bigger than a fly. It could also network with others of it’s kind to allow flights cover huge areas while sharing situational info.
            Su-25 and Su-34 are designed as ground pounders, albeit following different philosophies; Su-25 was designed to get down and dirty with the target, while Su-34 is designed to be a loitering high-precision weapons delivery platform.
            Su-27/35 was to be the heavier (vs. Mig-29) interceptor/air dominance fighter capable of independent action over the battlefield and in enemy airspace.

            Of course, many of them later gained (secondary) multirole capabilities, but all started their career in a specific role.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I think that sticking with what they had was a pragmatic way of making use of their existing equipment. Plus, the Russians have struggled with targeting pods for some reason – whether its technological, cost, or internal politics, I don’t know. There is also a tradition in Russia for specialist training for pilots.

              The manner in which the Mig-29 lost out to the Sukhoi series I think was indicative of their thinking – the Mig airframe just couldn’t do what the Sukhoi could do over multiple iterations. The big interceptor Migs (and it seems the Russians still think there is a role for specialist interceptors) are now really just very big missile launchers, and they do a pretty good job of that for decades old aircraft.

              1. Polar Socialist

                I don’t think Mig-29 lost to Sukhoi series. It came out earlier and for every single Sukhoi two and a half Mig-29s were build. The development of long range air-defense missiles has made it obsolete in it’s primary role, and due to it’s small-ish air frame it just can’t be updated the way Su-27/35 can. It’s cheaper to operate, but probably not enough to warrant the difference in performance.

                As for targeting pods, I believe the main issue is that Soviet/Russian tactical air activity is mostly subordinate to ground forces and they do not go seek “targets of opportunity”. The SOP seems to be that if the target is precise and/or immobile, the grunts call for rocket or missile artillery to deal with it, if it’s imprecise/mobile they call for aviation to deal with it. In both cases the approximate location of the target is known, so targeting pod is not necessary.

                On the other hand, on a Telegram channel fighter_bomber a person allegedly being a Russian fighter-bomber pilot stated that a stabilized, magnifying camera would be nice for proper identification of targets.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  I should have been more clear – I meant that the Mig-29 lost out in the sense that after the fall of the Soviet Union the Russians moved away from the ‘high-low’ strategy to just focusing on the ‘high’ bit, i.e. the Sukhoi. This has caused issues in export markets as they now don’t have a cheap and cheerful equivalent of the Mig-21 to sell, hence what remains of the Mikoyan-G company is trying to develop its own low cost single seat stealth aircraft. Significantly, I think, the Russian airforce has not shown any interest in it. So far of course.

                  As with targeting pods, I vaguely remember reading that the Russians tried to buy French pods, but it was blocked over the Crimea. I could be corrected on this, but I think its largely a tech issue, they just haven’t been able to develop a good one yet. They are so useful at extending the usability of aircraft its very hard to see that they would have just not bothered with them. Even on Su-25’s, targeting pods would allow them to bomb at will out of stinger range.

                  1. Polar Socialist

                    After the creation of UAC, aim not really sure if there’s real difference between Sukhoi and Mikoyan bureaus anymore. They did test the Mig-35 in Syria, but I doubt Russia has any real need for it.

                    SU-25 has the I-251 Shkval system that can be used to identify, track and aim at targets 10 km away, which keeps them outside of Stinger’s range.

                    I think they do manufacture licensed Thales Damocles pods for SU-34, but not sure of the situation at the moment.

                    They seem to be very exited about the SPV-24 “Hephaestus” system that combines navigation and targeting which they finessed in Syria. Basically the pilot marks the target (in the air or at the base) location in the system, which then provides the pilots with optimum attack vector and releases the selected weapons at the precise launch point.

                    Claimed accuracy for cheap, dumb bombs is as almost as good as with guided ammunition. And it can be used with same accuracy even when the pilot can’t see the target due to weather, smoke or any other reason as long as he has the pin-point coordinates.

                    1. Skippy

                      Why are you all talking about air frames that cost squillions and can be become a flaming air ball at a fraction of the price.

                      Good grief its all number wang for MIC and not much more.

                      Just for starters most bases can be hit from far away and there goes your garage, not to mention ground crews and parts.

                      Not to mention push come shove anyone can air burst a EMP and its a Godzilla movie with everything falling from the air …

                      So much for GDP distribution for capitalistic up lift thingy …

  26. Lambert Strether Post author

    I just want to hammer this home:

    If some trusting, non-realist soul tells you that “Covid is over,” you can tell them that cases are up, transmission is up, test positivity is up, hospitalization is up, rapid riser counties are up, and wastewater is up, too. And this is all from data designed to support the narrative, and gamed within an inch of its life.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just had a young guy delivering our hay this morning say the same exact thing. Told him wasn’t worried much about the chances of death, which I figured he would agree with being young, but a one-in-three chance of getting damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, nervous system, etc. was like playing Russian roulette with two loaded chambers. I hope he thinks about that.

        1. The Rev Kev

          C’mon, skip. They were two large round bales. His flat-bed truck took them easy whereas we would need two trips to take them in our own.

          1. Skippy

            C’mon RK you projected your attitude on a younger less experienced and uninformed kid delivery boy making low wages to support your idealism.

            No need to flick it back on anyone one else.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Too many assumptions, skip. He is actually a young farmer so is self-employed and is a good guy. You should know yourself how many people are being told that the pandemic is over and you should know better. Was trying to give the guy a heads-up that it is not necessarily so. Tell me that my facts are wrong.

              1. Skippy

                Not really necessary and counter productive to approach the young guy like that, just offer to send him a link, say a NC post and that way he can browse at his leisure. Not to mention eye ball some of the other posts/topics, which builds NC readership. Furthermore it bypasses all the psychological frictions and tripwires that complicate passing information on has.

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