By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Bird Song of the Day
This has been California Quail week at Naked Capitalism. I move along to Hawaiian birds, but if any readers want to hear birds returning to their own back yards or balconies, please suggest in comments.
“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
“Ex-cop testifies he and former colleague hoped to ‘overturn’ election on Jan. 6” [NBC]. “A former Virginia police officer testified against a fellow ex-officer during a Jan. 6 trial this week, telling a jury in Washington, D.C., that they stormed the U.S. Capitol and hoped to ‘overturn’ the results of the 2020 presidential election. Jacob Fracker, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge last month, also said he thought the officers at the Capitol ‘should have been on our side,’ working with the mob on the day of the riot, instead of protecting the building and those inside.”
“In historic first, Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed to Supreme Court” [SCOTUSblog]. “By a vote of 53-47, the Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson will become the first Black woman to serve on the court, fulfilling a campaign promise by then-candidate Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. By the time the Senate met on Thursday, there was little suspense about the outcome of the historic vote. Three Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah – had already announced that they would support Jackson, giving Jackson’s confirmation the bipartisan imprimatur that the Biden administration had badly wanted. As expected, all 50 Senate Democrats voted for the confirmation….. Breyer is expected to remain on the court until the justices take their summer recess in late June or early July. When Jackson does take his place, she is not expected to change the ideological balance on the court, where conservatives currently hold a 6-3 majority. But as the first Black woman to sit on the court, she will nonetheless be stepping into history.” • Also the first public defender.
“Covid cases close in around the White House” [Politico]. “In the space of a week, dozens of White House aides and federal officials have contracted coronavirus in an outbreak that appears to have touched all corners of the administration, POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn reports. Two Cabinet members have it, along with a growing list of lawmakers. Standing before a packed White House crowd on Tuesday, President Joe Biden cheerfully ticked off a series of his administration’s health care accomplishments. Among them, he said: Finally getting the coronavirus “under control.” In D.C. this week, it seems anything but. What’s happening: Vice President Kamala Harris — who stood next to Biden on Tuesday — has had her communications staff hit by Covid. And on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also tested positive, just a day after appearing alongside the president. Besides the cabinet members and other Democrats, Sen. Susan Collins also tested positive Thursday after attending hearings mask-less, like many lawmakers. The outbreak has jolted Washington elites eager to leave Covid behind and offered an up-close reminder of the pandemic threat that still hangs over the nation and Biden’s presidency, Adam writes. It’s also raised fresh questions about how best to protect the 79-year-old commander in chief, who vowed this year to “get out” of the White House more often — yet faces an ever-present elevated risk of severe illness. ‘Everybody’s in danger,’ said Irwin Redlener, director of the Pandemic Resources and Response Initiative at Columbia University. ‘It’s almost impossible to isolate the president of the United States in a way that would keep him from getting sick.’ Biden’s ability to remain Covid-free to date has been the result of stringent White House protocols, careful travel and — as some officials will acknowledge — a bit of luck. Despite sharing the stage with Pelosi hours earlier, the White House on Thursday said that Biden had so far tested negative.” • They have what they wanted; this is their normalcy; they are not protecting themselves or each other, and so they are creating superspreading events. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Commentary:
Everywhere, you see A-listers, bigshots and politicians rawdogging Covid with the glee of college kids at a 90s rave, but if you look in the backgound, the servers and drivers and assistants are all masked.
Solidarity with my working class brothers and sisters. ✊
— laurie allee (@laurieallee) April 7, 2022
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!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“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.
* * *
“I Tried to Put Russia on Another Path” [Bill Clinton, The Atlantic]. “I did everything I could to help Russia make the right choice and become a great 21st-century democracy.”
“California cities spent huge share of federal Covid relief funds on police” [Guardian]. “As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (Arpa), the Biden administration’s signature stimulus package, the US government sent funds to cities to help them fight coronavirus and support local recovery efforts. The money, officials said, could be used to fund a range of services, including public health and housing initiatives, healthcare workers’ salaries, infrastructure investments and aid for small businesses. But most large California cities spent millions of Arpa dollars on law enforcement. Some also gave police money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act, adopted in 2020 under Donald Trump.” San Francisco, 49% to police, LA 50%, and so on. Liberal Democrats love cops. Remember how they managed to transform the George Floyd protests into increased police budgets?
“Jayapal looks to boost progressives with key midterm endorsements” [The Hill]. “Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has endorsed a series of progressive candidates entering Democratic primary elections as the November midterms near, The Hill has confirmed. Jayapal, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is backing five diverse House aspirants spanning the battleground map, aiming to add more left-wing fire to her caucus on Capitol Hill. She is supporting Robert Garcia in California’s 42nd Congressional District, Delia Ramirez in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District, Donna Edwards in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Nida Allam in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District and Summer Lee in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, each with a $5,000 contribution totaling $25,000…. The endorsements come as progressives are looking to add significantly more manpower ahead of what’s expected to be a challenging House cycle for Democrats. They believe a popular platform of universal health care and increased wages will help persuade voters to turn out for a newer slate of liberals helping to challenge the party in power and Republicans at the ballot box.” • Dubious on turnout. It’s a little late to pivot like that.
“January 6th, Roe v. Wade as the Known Unknowns for 2022” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “But, most of the energy and focus of every election is on the “known unknowns”; things or events that we know are going to happen, but we don’t quite understand the outcome or impact of those events. Two of the most widely discussed (and most high-profile) are the upcoming Jan. 6th Commission hearings in Congress and the decision later this summer by SCOTUS on the future of Roe v. Wade. The question isn’t just whether the nation’s highest court will overturn the 50-year old abortion rights law, or whether the commission will reveal new and explosive information about the events leading up to and culminating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but whether these events will have a notable impact on the 2022 midterms. More precisely, will those two events have the effect of engaging a Democratic base that is clearly less energized about this election than the GOP. ” • The Biden administration’s Covid debacle isn’t even an issue….
“‘If we do this right …’: The new Dem organizing strategy catching fire ahead of the midterms” [Politico]. “A group of Democratic strategists is trying to spread a novel organizing tactic in this year’s election. Technically, it’s called “paid relational organizing,” but it boils down to this: paying people to talk to their friends about politics. Democrats think it helped them win the Senate in 2020 — and are hoping the get-out-the-vote strategy will help limit the pain of a brutal 2022 election environment. Conversations with friends, family members or neighbors are more likely to earn a voter’s support than chats with a stranger at their front door, which is the traditional way campaigns have run paid canvassing programs in the past. And an important test case for deploying the strategy at scale came out of the Georgia Senate runoffs in 2021 when now-Sen. Jon Ossoff’s (D-Ga.) campaign, flush with nearly unlimited cash but only two months to spend it, used a paid and volunteer relational program to get people talking to acquaintances instead of strangers about the election. In particular, .” So, like Amway? More: “A post-election analysis found their efforts boosted turnout by an estimated 3.8 percent among the 160,000 voters targeted through their relational program. Ossoff and now-Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) won by 1.2 points and 2.1 points respectively, flipping the state and the Senate to Democrats. Now, the two women behind that effort — Davis Leonard and Zoe Stein, who are partnering with Greta Carnes, the former national organizing director for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign [I’ll bet] — are working together to export relational organizing, both paid and volunteer versions, to a host of Democratic campaigns and groups ahead of the 2022 midterms.” • Impressively depraved.
“Arizona AG report finds no evidence of mass fraud in Maricopa County 2020 election results” [NBC]. “A report issued Wednesday by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or irregularities associated with the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County while raising concerns about some voting procedures. The interim report, six months into an investigation, was detailed in a 12-page letter to Senate President Karen Fann. Brnovich, a Republican, said his office ‘has left no stone unturned in the aftermath of the 2020 election.'”
Realignment and Legitimacy
In Canada, but nevertheless:
Would have been surprising not so long ago, but a new elite consensus coalesced in the last few years. All that DEI training was intended to condition people to accept this. https://t.co/pW5apLOs8Q
— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) April 7, 2022
“Tim Keller: Megachurches are “Poor Places for Formation” & Have “Addictive Dependence” on Founders” [Roys Report]. “Megachurches ‘are poor places for formation and pastoral care’ and tend toward ‘addictive dependence’ on their founders. So said author and pastor Timothy Keller in a Facebook post today, explaining why the church he founded—Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City—decided to split into three congregations when Keller retired four years ago. ‘Megachurches have some design deficits,’ said Keller. ‘In general, they are poor places for formation and pastoral care due to their size. In our current cultural moment that is a deadly problem because Christians are being more formed by social media than local Christian community. We need thick communities and the size of our churches factor into that.’ Keller also noted that megachurches ‘tend to grow fast under a founder’ and ‘depend too much on the gifts and personality; of the founder. ‘(T)he sooner that addictive dependence is broken, the better,’ he said.” • Also, ka-ching.
Leanna Wen doubles down:
The Gridiron Club dinner was probably a #covid19 superspreader.
But events like this should still go on.
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) April 7, 2022
I nearly stroked out when I read “one that’s based on individuals being thoughtful about their own risks and the risks they pose to others.” The elites who created a superspreader event at the Gridiron Club — remember the aghastitude when Trump has a similar superspreader event in the White House garden? There were maps and everything — were in no sense “thoughtful,” or they would have masked up and the superspreading event wouldb’t have happened. If you want to see thoughtful, look to the servers, were were masked. But then they weren’t engaged in the great PMC project of sucking up and kicking down, which for some nutty reason requires the removal of “face coverings.” More subtly, what kind of fantasy world is Wen living in? If the Wen and her ilk really wanted us dull normals to be able to assess risk, they would settle on and explain a theory of transmission (i.e., aerosols). Which they have refused to do. I don’t see how it’s possible to assess risk in a pandemic without a theory of transmission, because otherwise — if you believe in fomites — you end up with with people in hazmat suits spraying disinfectant, or — if you believe in droplets — you end up with Plexiglass shields, both of which are Covid theatre. It’s as if Wen expects us to cross a busy intersection with no theory of how vehicles and their drivers operate. And yet, she’s raking in the bucks on CNN. The last thing these people are, is “thoughtful.” The very last thing.
At this point, I’m perfectly happy that there be more Gridiron Clubs, as Wen suggests. Two, three, many superspreader events! After all, with each bout of Covid., you accrue neurological and vascular damage, even without symptoms, and so our political class will become even stupider and physically weaker as it continues to follow Wen’s advice. Of course, we are preparing for war with two nuclear powers, so there’s that, but the prospect of the political class culling itself is really too delicious. They earned it, all of it.
If you missed it, here last week’s post on my queasiiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.
Case count by United States regions:
In the aggregate, cases are down. However, cases in the Northeast are up (reinforced by wastewater rapid riser, and now hospitalization data (albeit from a low baseline). Here are the cases for the last four weeks:
NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.
NOT UPDATED MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:
Still going up, both in the aggregate and in the North and South Systems. Too soon for a Fauci line? I’d give it a week.
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 CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
Every so often I think of doing away with this chart, and then there’s another flare-up. Hello, Santa Barbara County in California! I remember using the metaphor of flying coals in a forest fire — many land, but sputter out; a few catch, and the first spreads. What I notice about this round of flare-up is that the “coals” are the size of multiple counties, not, as previously, single ones. FWIW! (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)
The previous release:
Continuing slow improvement as the map shifts from mostly red to mostly yellow (assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered). However, look at the Northeast, which remains stubbornly red.
Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
Again, I don’t like these sudden effloresences of yellow and orange. I don’t care that the baseline is low. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)
A new way for hospitals to game the data:
Covid hospitalizations are only counted in Massachusetts if the patient is given Dexamethasone, which is only recommended for those on oxygen. I feel the death & hospitalization criteria will extend across other states soon 😣 pic.twitter.com/J6ykG56Zrz
— MayasMommy2 #NotMeUs (@SheriD17536431) April 1, 2022
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:
Hospital trick: patients admitted with covid in 10-12 days become post-covid & no longer counted as hospitalized covid patients. ICU is full of post-covid patients that are here for 30, 40, 50 & more days. Not counted in the official stats.
— Dr. Natalia 💉😷 (@SolNataMD) January 24, 2022
Death rate (Our World in Data):
1,010,537. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. Even if the numbers are going down, they’re still democidally high.
The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:
Look at the qualifications in that drop-down. And the ginormous typo, helpfully highlighted, has been there for weeks.
CDC, if you’re reading this, please send a signal by getting this fixed. And then throw some documents over the transom. In complete confidentiality! Obviously, nobody at CDC is checking the excess deaths chart, because otherwise the typo would be fixed. I certainly hope there are no “coding errors” in the algo.
Inventories: “United States Wholesale Inventories” [Trading Economics]. “Wholesale inventories in the US advanced 2.5 percent month-over-month to $818.2 billion in February of 2022, following an upwardly revised 1.2 percent increase in the prior month and above a preliminary estimate of 2.1 percent. It was the 19th straight month of gains…. On a yearly basis, wholesale inventories advanced 19.9 percent in February, above a preliminary reading of 19.4 percent.”
Big Pharma: “Medicare finalizes decision to limit coverage of controversial Alzheimer’s drug to those in clinical trial” [The Hill]. “The Biden administration on Thursday finalized a decision to significantly limit Medicare coverage of a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug amid a fierce debate over its effectiveness. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that it would limit coverage of the drug, known as Aduhelm, to people who are participating in a clinical trial, which can help scientists further study the drug. … In November, Medicare announced a significant increase in premiums, in part citing the costs from the pricey new Alzheimer’s drug. …. The FDA’s approval of the drug in the first place, which prompted three members of an agency advisory panel to resign in protest, has also drawn scrutiny, including an investigation from the House Energy and Commerce and House Oversight Committees.”
The Bezzle: “Inside the Bitcoin Bust That Took Down the Web’s Biggest Child Abuse Site” [Wired]. “Janczewski had followed the links of Bitcoin’s blockchain, pulling on that chain until it connected this ordinary home to an extraordinarily cruel place on the internet—and then connected that place to hundreds more men around the world. All complicit in the same massive network of unspeakable abuse. All now on Janczewski’s long list of targets. Over the previous few years, Janczewski, his partner Tigran Gambaryan, and a small group of investigators at a growing roster of three-letter American agencies had used this newfound technique, tracing a cryptocurrency that once seemed untraceable, to crack one criminal case after another on an unprecedented, epic scale…. When Bitcoin first appeared in 2008, one fundamental promise of the cryptocurrency was that it revealed only which coins reside at which Bitcoin addresses—long, unique strings of letters and numbers—without any identifying information about those coins’ owners. This layer of obfuscation created the impression among many early adherents that Bitcoin might be the fully anonymous internet cash long awaited by libertarian cypherpunks and crypto-anarchists: a new financial netherworld where digital briefcases full of unmarked bills could change hands across the globe in an instant…. Within a few years of Bitcoin’s arrival, academic security researchers—and then companies like Chainalysis—began to tear gaping holes in the masks separating Bitcoin users’ addresses and their real-world identities. They could follow bitcoins on the blockchain as they moved from address to address until they reached one that could be tied to a known identity. In some cases, an investigator could learn someone’s Bitcoin addresses by transacting with them, the way an undercover narcotics agent might conduct a buy-and-bust. In other cases, they could trace a target’s coins to an account at a cryptocurrency exchange where financial regulations required users to prove their identity. A quick subpoena to the exchange from one of Chainalysis’ customers in law enforcement was then enough to strip away any illusion of Bitcoin’s anonymity.”
Labor: “The antitrust case against gig companies” [Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic]. “A key vertical restraint tact is “resale price maintenance,” which is a fancy term for setting the price that an independent contractor charges its customers. You know how Uber sets the price for a ride, and the driver has to like it or lump it? That’s resale price maintenance….. Vertical restraint theory is very down on “Most-Favored Nation” (MFN) clauses, where a contractor has to promise not to offer their services to a rival at a lower price….. Resale price maintenance is an existential issue for Uber and Lyft, since these companies are utterly dependent on “price discrimination.” That’s when a company uses an algorithm to analyze your misappropriated personal data to estimate how much you’d be willing to pay for a ride and charges accordingly. Famously, Uber jacks up the price if its app senses that you are about to run out of battery…. If drivers and passengers can negotiate to use a different app to complete their transaction – that is, if Uber was forced not to engage in illegal resale price maintenance – price discrimination would be effectively impossible.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 48 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 8 at 1:20pm.
“Tiger Woods’ impressive 2022 Masters return was a unique Augusta spectacle” [New York Post]. “When his day was done, at 4:25 in the afternoon after a five-hour, 21-minute round, Woods stood at 1-under par after shooting 71. He’s tied for 10th, four shots behind leader Sungjae Im, who shot a 5-under 67. All things considered — with Woods still with his right leg that was so mangled doctors thought they may need to amputate and having not played in a tournament in 17 months (the November 2020 Masters) — it was hardly a poor day at all for him. If you told Woods over breakfast Thursday morning that he would shoot a 71, he surely would have signed up for it. ‘I had a terrible warm-up session,’’ Woods said. “I hit it awful. I went back to what my dad always said: ‘Did you accomplish your task in the warm-up? It’s a warm-up. Did you warm up?’ Yes, I did. ‘Now go play.’ That’s exactly what I did, I went and played. I was able to finish up in the red. I’m right where I need to be.'”
Our Famously Free Press
“The New York Times would really like its reporters to stop scrolling and get off Twitter (at least once in a while)” (interview) [Dean Baquet, Neiman Labs]. “I do think we should start to ask ourselves next whether — it’s a trickier line, you know, criticizing peer news organizations. I do not like it when somebody at The New York Times criticizes somebody at The Washington Post. I don’t do that in any setting — it makes me uncomfortable when people do that.” • Solidarity!
WE DID IT: with a landslide margin of 1785–912, we are officially the MITGSU-UE!!!
What started 4 years ago with a dozen students in an MIT classroom discussing the needs of graduate workers has culminated in this historic victory for student-workers at MIT. Now, we celebrate! pic.twitter.com/CT5V9m0m61
— MIT Graduate Student Union (@MITGradUnion) April 6, 2022
“Amazon Workers in Staten Island Clinch a Historic Victory” [Labor Notes]. From last week, still germane: “The [Amazon Labor Union] clinched a decisive victory today, winning by a wide margin to create the first unionized workplace in Amazon’s extensive network of fulfillment, delivery, and sortation centers across the U.S. The company’s facilities are concentrated in metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, opening a path for more organizing.
The vote at the Staten Island warehouse was 2,654 in favor of forming a union to 2,131 against. There were 67 challenged ballots, and 17 voided; 8,325 workers were eligible to vote…. ;We want to thank Jeff Bezos for going to space, because while he was up there we were organizing a union,’ said ALU President Chris Smalls after official results were announced. Another warehouse at the same complex on Staten Island, LDJ5, will begin a vote to unionize with the ALU on April 25.” This is an interesting sidebar:
How We Did It
by Justine Medina
My quick-and-dirty analysis of the Amazon Labor Union’s successes so far is pretty simple. We just did the thing you’re supposed to do: we had a worker-led movement.
We studied the history of how the first major unions were built. We learned from the Industrial Workers of the World, and even more from the building of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. We read William Z. Foster’s Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry (a must-read, seriously).
But here’s the basic thing: you have an actual worker-led project—a Black- and Brown-led, multi-racial, multi-national, multi-gender, multi-ability organizing team. You get some salts with some organizing experience, but make sure they’re prepared to put in the work and to follow the lead of workers who have been around the shop longer. You get the Communists involved, you get some socialists and anarcho-syndicalists, you bring together a broad progressive coalition. You bring in sympathetic comrades from other unions, in a supporting role.
Really, you just follow the classic playbook. Do not be afraid to fight, to get as dirty as the bosses will, to match or beat the energy they’re bringing. Do not be afraid to agitate and to antagonize the bosses, as a union should. Use every tool in your toolbox; file those unfair labor practice charges, every chance you get. Protest and do collective action. Keep building.
It’s the hard work, every day: workers talking to workers. Not just media games, but solidarity, daily analysis, and adjusting as needed. It’s working as a collective, learning together, and teaching each other. Get back to fighting form. That’s how we won.
What I’m describing wasn’t my plan, but the efforts of Amazon workers who got fed up with their mistreatment. I was lucky to be recruited into this effort as a salt by the organizing committee because of my organizing experience with the Young Communist League. I was welcomed with open arms, and it has changed the path of my life completely, but I’ve always understood my role to be following the lead of the workers who were there before me.
This was a truly collective effort, led by some brilliant Amazon workers thrust into organizing by the pandemic and the conditions of their lives; Chris Smalls and Derrick Palmer in particular have been tremendous leaders. I think this union shows the true possibility of what is before us, as a labor movement—if we just remember how to do it.
Justine Medina is a member of the ALU organizing committee and a packer at the JFK8 Amazon warehouse.
News of the Wired
Once again, I seem not to be wired. Apologies!
Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Via TH:
TH writes: “This was another photo from my 3/14/22 visit to the South Coast Botanic Garden (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) It an early overcast morning—good for dew bejeweled blossoms, not as good for light.”
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