2:00PM Water Cooler 5/03/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Warbler Week Two at Naked Capitalism. From Dupage, IL. I am having fun with the warblers, so I thought I would continue. But readers, if you have other suggestions, please leave them 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

Capitol Seizure

Biden Adminstration

Looks like I was way too gentle on Biden’s “Test to Treat” debacle (hat tip, alert reader Allan):

There’s a whole genre of “getting Covid treated” horror stories, just as there’s a whole genre of medical billing horror stories. Why is that, one wonders.

“Kinzinger introduces AUMF to defend Ukraine if Russia uses chemical, biological, nuclear weapons” [The Hill]. • I don’t know why The Hill didn’t put the full name of the act in the headline: “The Ukonazi False Flag Act of 2022.”

“Biden heads to Alabama facility where Lockheed is making key Javelin weapon for Ukraine” [CNBC]. “In the 50 or so buildings that make up Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations in Troy, Alabama, the crown jewels of U.S. missile defense systems are built and bred for battle.” Block that metaphor! More: “President Joe Biden is slated to tour the facility responsible for assembling the Javelin, a portable anti-armor weapon, on Tuesday afternoon. … While in Troy, Biden will deliver remarks on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine thus far and will reiterate his request to Congress for more funding. Biden is seeking $33 billion in additional assistance.”

“House Lawmakers Demand More Labor Board Funds As Workplace Organizing Spreads” [HuffPo]. “More than 140 members of Congress are calling on House leaders to end eight years of flat funding for the National Labor Relations Board, saying the agency isn’t equipped to handle a surge in workplace organizing at companies like Starbucks and Amazon. In a letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, the 149 lawmakers warned that a “dramatic increase in labor activity” could swamp the underfunded board, which has lost roughly 30% of its staff since 2010 due to attrition and a lack of money. All but four of the members who signed are Democrats. They called for a labor board budget of $368 million next fiscal year, a vast increase from the current level of $274 million, which hasn’t budged since 2014. The stagnant funding in recent years means the agency’s budget has gone down in real dollars. A similar letter with the same $368 million proposal has been circulating in the Senate, led by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).” A little late. More: “The NLRB oversees private-sector union elections and referees disputes between labor groups and employers. The agency’s general counsel says election petitions have increased 57% so far in fiscal year 2022 compared to the previous year. It has also seen a 17% jump in “unfair labor practice” charges, or allegations of lawbreaking. A sizable chunk of the swell in election petitions comes straight from Starbucks, where workers are waging one of the most notable organizing campaigns in decades. So far, 30 of the coffee chain’s stores have voted to unionize, and more than 200 overall have filed petitions to hold elections.” And: “A push for more board funding could set up a fight with GOP members in both chambers, who seem to have drawn a red line on giving the agency any more money. The labor board has a statutory mission to promote collective bargaining, and many Republican members seem happy to let it wither.” • As were Democrats, until workers took action.

* * *

“Biden says ‘radical’ draft abortion opinion throws ‘whole range of rights’ into question” [Los Angeles Times]. “In the short term, Biden and Democrats intend to seize on the apparent overturning of Roe to galvanize voters ahead of the November midterm elections. They are desperate to motivate a base that’s been disappointed by the president’s inability to get much of his agenda through a narrowly divided Congress, and to appeal to swing voters given that a solid majority of Americans support maintaining abortion rights…. But Biden’s ability to rally his party on the issue ahead of the midterms is no sure thing. His restrained response to the possible overturning of Roe did not match the emotion of many women and reproductive rights activists. And his history on the issue of abortion is complicated. Though a devout Catholic, Biden has long supported abortion rights. But his reticence to weigh in over the last year as several states have restricted abortion rights — to say nothing of his reluctance to use the word “abortion” — has frustrated activists. Democrats, who have been far more eager than Republicans to weigh in on the draft opinion so far, are certain to emphasize the importance of retaining their Senate majority to have the ability to confirm future Biden Supreme Court nominees should a second vacancy arise before the end of his term. They’ll also underscore the importance of governorships, given that protecting abortion would fall to the states.” • Frustrated activists. Since the NGOs have — based on outcomes — been completely ineffective on this issue for many years, with the sole exception of funding themselves off it, who cares what they think?

“Susan Collins isn’t saying much in person about the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe. But her statement directly calls out Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.” [Politico]. “The Maine Republican voted for Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in 2017 and 2018, confirmations that cemented the conservative majority on the high court. In a Tuesday statement following POLITICO’s report on the draft opinion, she recalled interviews with the two now-justices in which she said she pressed them on their view of Roe. ‘If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,’ Collins said. ‘Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.'”

“Manchin backs filibuster amid calls to codify abortion rights” [The Hill]. • Always check with President Manchin! Do we never learn?

And meanwhile:

Because naturally:

Deploy the blame cannons!

Simple question: Why was Roe never codified as legislation? The Democrats had over 40 years to get it done.

“This Was Always The Plan” [Lyz Lenz, Men Yell at Me]. “My whole life, I knew the plan. Vote for politicians who’d nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Abortion was murder. I heard this preached in churches; at Sunday dinners over brisket. I heard the plan at rallies for homeschoolers in D.C., where we’d lobby our senators for more rights for families — or so I was told. I heard about the plan when, as a teen, I read fundraising fliers for Christian schools that would turn out a whole new generation of lawyers, lawyers with a Godly worldview, who’d overturn Roe v. Wade. I heard about it again in 2016, when a nice lady from church smiled at me at school drop-off the day after Trump was elected. ‘I didn’t want to vote for him,’ she whispered to me. I was hung over, and sick. ‘But he will put good judges in place to overturn Roe v. Wade.’ Later, when I wrote a book about Christianity and the Midwest, and then another about mythology and motherhood, people at book events, journalists in interviews and editors looking for a hot take would all ask me why people would vote for a candidate like Trump. ‘To overturn Roe,’ I’d say. And they’d scoff. No, no. That can’t be it. But it is. It’s always been the plan. And it’s never been a secret. The plan has been shouted at rallies. Held up on signs. It’s been plotted and spoken of and written about over and over.” • Republicans were serious about their politics on abortion. Democrats were not.


* * *

“7 ways Tuesday’s primaries could shake the 2022 election” [Politico]. “Rep. Shontel Brown’s victory over Nina Turner in a 2021 special election for Congress was widely seen as a victory for the Biden wing of the Democratic Party over the progressive left. But nine months later, the rematch in Ohio’s 11th District is taking place in a different political world. On Brown’s side of the ledger: She’s been an incumbent for about six months since winning the special election last November. She’s outraised Turner by about $150,000 since the first of the year, and she has the support of numerous outside groups, including a cryptocurrency-linked super PAC roiling Democratic politics lately. Turner, on the other hand, hasn’t seen the kind of outside support that rallied to aid the former Sanders campaign co-chair had last summer, when she lost to Brown by 6 percentage points. But Brown’s enthusiastic embrace of Biden might not be the overwhelming asset it was in early August, when the last primary was held — and before Biden’s tumble in the polls later that month…. [A] Turner upset on Tuesday would suggest that Democratic dissatisfaction with Biden — and his inability (or unwillingness) to deliver on some of the left’s biggest priorities — is deeper than previously thought.


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.

* * *

So we live in a world where @pmarca quotes Barbara Ehrenreich on the PMC. Extensively!



Hence diversity training, and so forth.

The danger here, and I do struggle with it (as I do not see Andreesen doing) is thinking of the PMC as an entity with a fixed essence, as opposed to being contradictory and dynamic like everything else. Different forms of social capital, I assume, accumulate at different rates. Some PMC — nurses, teachers, airline pilots, university adjunct professors — are being proletarianized, despite their credentials and training. Some PMC (many doctors, some of them known to us) retain the professional ethics that justify their class position. Other PMC, for example in the FIRE sector, engage in the grossest possible forms of fraud (as do the professional programmers and data coders who enable the frauds). Some of them, by virtue of wealth accumulated, move out of their class entirely. Synedoche — I was today years old when I learned this word was pronounced si-nek-duh-kee — or “part for whole” — is a prevalent and bad mental habit when dealing with classes. That psycho Leanna Wen, for example, is PMC through and through. And she is a member of the dominant faction in her field, and so we (indeed I) then to take her as representing that field. She doesn’t (unless we choose to allow her to); that’s synecdoche. The aerosol scientists who have been fighting the good fight on airborne transmission are also PMC through and through (although they do not dominate their field). PMC is, I think, a valid way to analyze a class of people according to their relation to the means of production. But I do think we (indeed I) need to make our moralizing a little bit more nuanced. Not every member of the PMC is eligible for a “Sociopath of the Day” award, after all. At a hazard, the closer the PMC gets to “real” (not social) capital, the more sociopathy comes into play, even out of the best motives (“Of all the works of Sauron, the only fair”).

Discouraging that the Democrat left is nowhere on Ukraine. From Sanders’ foreign policy advisor:

So who’s making the running on Ukraine, er, resistance? Tucker Carlson, ffs.

Clinton Legacy


Realignment and Legitimacy

“Depoliticizing Social Murder in the COVID-19 Pandemic” [Bill of Health]. “The present pandemic nightmare is the most recent and an especially acute manifestation of capitalist society’s tendency to kill many, regularly, a tendency that Friedrich Engels called “social murder.” Capitalism kills because destructive behaviors are, to an important extent, compulsory in this kind of society. Enough businesses must make enough money or serious social consequences follow — for them, their employees, and for government. In order for that to happen, the rest of us must continue the economic activities that are obligatory to maintain such a society…. Depoliticization is an attempt by government ‘to place at one remove the politically contested character of governing,’ in the words of the political scientist Peter Burnham. This might be called rule in denial: making decisions without seeming to make decisions, treating consequences as inevitable, and trying to displace authority elsewhere so as to avoid accountability for what occurs. Burnham’s analysis is helpful for understanding the Biden administration’s pandemic response, in several ways. First, he places depoliticization in a larger theoretical and social context by stressing that governments must manage the potential political consequences of problems that are fairly predictably generated by capitalism. Depoliticization helps withstand demands for government action by presenting some events as inevitable (as when President Biden said two days after taking office that ‘there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months’) and others as impossible (as when Press Secretary Jen Psaki scoffed in a December press briefing, ‘should we just send one [covid test] to every American?’). Other depoliticization strategies deployed by the Biden administration trade on the abdication of decision-making power, such as delegating decisions to state and local authorities; and rhetorically scapegoating others (the list includes the Supreme Court, the unvaccinated, Republicans, coronavirus variants, and the supposed recalcitrance of the population in the face of largely non-existent mitigation measures). According to Burnham’s analysis, these tactical choices should be understood in a context of social conflict. Social conflicts are sites of the potential eruption of politics from below. Governments depoliticize in part to retain control over who sets the terms for what is and is not political, and, above all, to prevent the politicization of what are ostensibly routine aspects of life in capitalist society. That kind of politicization always challenges the state, and depoliticization as a tactic is an attempt to defuse that challenge.” • Interesting.

“The Ties that Blind: Misperceptions of the Opponent Fringe and the Miscalibration of Political Contempt” (PDF) (accepted manuscript) [PsyRxiv]. The Abstract: “Americans’ hostility toward political opponents has intensified to a degree not fully explained by actual ideological polarization. We propose that political animosity may be based particularly on partisans’ overestimation of the prevalence of extreme, egregious views held by only a minority of opponents but imagined to be widespread. Across five studies (N= 4993; three preregistered), we examine issue extremity as an antecedent of false polarization. Both liberals and conservatives report high agreement with their party’s moderate issues but low agreement with the extreme issues associated with their side. As expected, false polarization did not occur for all issues. Partisans were fairly accurate in estimating opponents’ moderate issues (even underestimating agreement somewhat). In contrast, partisans consistently overestimated the prevalence of their opponents’ extreme, egregious political attitudes. (Over)estimation of political opponents’ agreement with extreme issues predicted cross-partisan dislike, which in turn predicted unwillingness to engage with opponents, foreclosing opportunities to correct misperceptions (Studies 2-4b). Participants explicitly attributed their dislike of political opponents to opponents’ views on extreme issues more than moderate issues (Study 3). Partisans also reported greater unwillingness to publicly voice their views on their side’s extreme (relative to moderate) issues, a self-silencing which may perpetuate misconceptions (Studies 1, 2, 4a&b). Time spent watching partisan media (controlling political orientation) predicted greater overestimations of the prevalence of extreme views (Studies 2, 4a&b). Salience of opponents’ malevolence mattered: first reflecting on opponents’ (presumed nefarious) election tactics made partisans on both sides subsequently more accepting of unfair tactics from their own side (Studies 4a&b).” • Synecdoche once more.


And generalizable.

Why should members of Congress be allowed to trade at all?

“Mexico Shifts Trade Railway from Texas to New Mexico over Abbott’s Enhanced Border Checks” [National Review]. • Mexico likes New Mexico’s foreign policy better, I guess.


WHO boards the failboat for another cruise round the continent of Fail:

I grant that handwashing is a good thing, for hepatitis and general. But no similar program for airborne transmission? Why is that, WHO?

* * *

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 with BA.4 and BA.5. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” –Otto von Bismarck.

* * *

If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

* * *

Case count by United States regions:

First decisive upward turn. 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. The “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. The “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 55,000 * 6 = 330,000, i.e. not gamed. (I changed the Biden Line from dotted to solid because the dotted line was too hard to draw properly in my crude tool.)

Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

These numbers don’t seem like a runaway train, but it’s worth noting that cases have nearly doubled in four weeks.

NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

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

NOT UPDATED MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Both North and South services have turned up. Let’s see if it persists.

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:

Northeast unflattened, and — hat tip to readers for pointing to this — it looks like past aggregation in the Northeast was adjusted up, too.

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

California slightly 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.)

Well spotted by alert reader Lou Anton:

Rapid Riser Counties:

As the “COVID weather pattern” moves NE to Midwest (and maybe West to SW in the future?), I can see the big metropolitan areas and college towns are getting hit:

Illinois: NE Cluster is Chicagoland, central Illinois is college towns (University of Illinois, Illinois State, Illinois Wesleyan), SW is the Metro East of St. Louis.

Wisco: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay

Indiana: Gary, South Bend, West Lafayette, Indianapolis

Michigan: Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek

Ohio: Youngstown and Akron, Cincinnati meeting soon, meet you in the middle Columbus.

Let. ‘er. rip.

Confirming: The one red county in Kansas is Sedgwick, home of Wichita State. But don’t worry. All those kids will soon by traveling home for the summer! Oh, wait…

The previous release:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.

The Northeast remains stubbornly and solidly red. Now California is red as well. The Upper Midwest is moving that way, too. (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):

Hospitalization is most definitely up in many places. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,021,089 1,020,854. 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. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings in the US rose by 205,000 from a month earlier to a series high of 11.549 million in March of 2022, above market expectations of 11 million, as work shortages persisted. Job openings increased in retail trade (+155,000) and in durable goods manufacturing (+50,000). Job openings decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-69,000); state and local government education (-43,000); and federal government (-20,000). Job openings increased in the South region. Meanwhile, a record level of 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs with the so-called quits rate rising to 3%.”

Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “Factory orders in the US jumped 2.2% mom to $557.3 billion in March of 2022, the biggest rise since May last year and twice the market forecast of a 1.1% rise, signalling strong demand for goods despite soaring prices and supply constraints. Biggest increases were seen in orders for ships and boats (18.1%), metalworking machinery (13.4%) and defense search and navigation equipment (10.8%).”

Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US fell to 69.7 in April of 2022, the lowest since January of 2021, from a record high of 76.2 in March as main metrics shifted. Transportation Capacity increased for the first time in nearly two years (+11.2 to 56.9) while Transportation Prices declined (-15.8 to 73.9). Despite the slowdown in transportation, respondents still indicate growth in the sector. ”

* * *

Commodities: “BP plunges deep into red on pullout from Russia” [Channel News Asia]. “British energy giant BP said Tuesday (May 3) that its decision to pull out of Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine pushed it deep into the red in the first three months of this year. BP said in a statement it booked net loss of US$20.4 billion (€19.4 billion) in the period from January to March compared with a bottom-line profit of $4.7 billion a year earlier. The huge loss was attributable to the group’s decision in February to pull its 19.75 per cent stake in energy group Rosneft, ending more than three decades of investment in Russia, BP said.”

Commodities: “Enough nickel, lithium for 14 mln EVs in 2023 – European climate group” [Reuters]. “In a study based on BloombergNEF data on global maximum volumes of EV battery-grade nickel and lithium, [Transport and Environment] said that in 2025 there would be enough to make 21 million EVs globally. Excluding Russian nickel, T&E said there should be sufficient raw materials for 19 million EVs in 2025. Global EV sales more than doubled to 4.2 million vehicles in 2021 from just over 2 million in 2020.”

Commodities: “This Russian Metals Giant Might Be Too Big to Sanction” [Wall Street Journal]. “From its base at a former Arctic gulag, Russia’s MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC digs up a large portion of two metals that are essential to greener transport and computer chips. So far the U.S. and its allies haven’t sanctioned the company, or its oligarch chief executive, underscoring the dilemma some analysts say governments face in seeking to punish Russia without hurting their own access to key commodities. The mining company is responsible for about 5% of the world’s annual production of nickel, a key component of electric-vehicle batteries, and some 40% of its palladium, which goes into catalytic converters and semiconductors. Nornickel, as the company is known, also supplies energy transition metals such as cobalt and copper.”

Commodities: “We Don’t Need Nickel From Russia” [CleanTechnica]. “There’s another potential source of nickel, not as well known yet plentiful, lying at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. See my previous interviews with The Metals Company CEO, Gerard Barron, if you missed our pieces on this option. Formerly known as DeepGreen, the company is focused on literally scooping up nodules from the seafloor — in a manner that is far less environmentally impactful than other nickel mining methods. The company isn’t Russian. It’s Canadian, eh, and it has the largest undeveloped nickel project on the planet. The company offers a true alternative to both Russian and Chinese-controlled nickel supplies.” • The ocean is already salted, heh heh.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25 Fear (previous close: 27 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 2 at 1:58 PM EDT.

The Gallery

Oh come on:

I prefer this:

Class Warfare

This must be putting some Stanford profs noses out of joint:

News of the Wired

“Massive study of pet dogs shows breed does not predict behaviour” [Nature]. “Dog enthusiasts have long assumed that a dog’s breed shapes its temperament. But a sweeping study comparing the behaviour and ancestry of more than 18,000 dogs finds that although ancestry does affect behaviour, breed has much less to do with a dog’s personality than is generally supposed. ‘When you adopt a dog based on its breed, you’re getting a dog that looks a certain way,’ says co-author Elinor Karlsson, a computational biologist at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester. ‘But as far as behaviour goes, it’s kind of luck of the draw.’ That’s partly because breeds are something of a modern invention. Humans have been shaping how dogs look and behave since domestic dogs first evolved from wolves more than 10,000 years ago. But for most of that time, these efforts were focused on dogs’ working ability — how well they herded livestock, guarded against danger or pulled sledges, for example. Breeds as we think of them today — distinctive canines such as beagles, pugs and Labradors — are a by-product of more recent evolutionary meddling. Starting around 200 years ago, dog enthusiasts in Victorian England began inventing breeds by actively selecting for canine traits that they found aesthetically pleasing.” • The Victorians have a lot to answer for.

“How to Walk (12 miles a day)” [Chris Arnade, Walking the World]. “Walking twelve miles takes about three and a half hours. Most people don’t have that time, not people with kids, commutes, and full time jobs. A more realistic goal is around seven miles, which takes about two hours….. My three mantras on clothing are: Comfort comfort comfort. Consistency consistency consistency. Simple simple simple…. For long walks in new places, especially cities, I try not to be too flashy. So no watches, rings, necklaces, flags, horns, sparkles, or clothes with fancy logos. Nothing distinctive…. Now that I am close to sixty, this is a really big deal, and partly why I walk. It is the least injury-prone exercise. Certainly less than running. I haven’t been injured from all this walking yet, which is pretty amazing. My rule of thumb is to try and aim for consistency, and never try to change my total miles walked in a week more than roughly 30% a week. Not up, or down. ” • Many interesting tips. Well worth a read. But two hours a day? Hmm.

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From Marku52:

Marku52 writes: “The adequately named Redbud, pursued by Sasquatch.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Michael Ismoe

      There’s an even bigger benefit. After November, there will be a ton of unemployed Democrats. The NGOs will have a pick of the litter getting these “name brands” on-board for fund-raising and Twitter subscriptions. Never let a crisis go without funding.

      Oh, and whatever idiot controls the PAC funds for Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood ought to be banned from politics for gross incompetence.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Oh, and whatever idiot controls the PAC funds for Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood ought to be banned from politics for gross incompetence.

        Complete defeat for bourgeois feminism in the worlds of Democrat NGOs and electeds. Of course, since we’re talking about Democrats, they’ll never admit defeat or self-reflect, and will double down.

        Anybody want to make book on how long it takes to blame Putin for Alito’s draft?

    2. flora

      Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would boost Democratic turnout for midterm elections, analysts say

      sure, sure, sure. Because the one Dem senator really trying block Kanvanaugh’s confirmation – Al Franken – was ousted from the senate by … wait for it… Democratic senators.

    3. icantsay

      i have a slightly different take: divide and conquer.
      Vax vs nonvax
      prolife vs choice
      take your pick.
      the more the merrier.

      watch for pickpockets while you are distracted.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > would boost Democratic turnout for midterm elections, analysts say

      I’m not sure I buy this. The Democrats are, naturally, performing aghastitude, but who do they hope to reach that they have not only reached? And anybody with half a brain can see the years of Democrat betrayal that helped produce this outcome.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’m not an expert on the granular data for US voting, but it seems to me that there is a very obvious danger for the Democrats in making this a defining issue. Lots of non-white minorities (especially hispanics) are socially conservative. The Republicans have already been making inroads with hispanics and Asian Americans. Several branches of my formerly die hard Democrat Irish American relatives shifted to Republicans over abortion and social issues back in the 1980’s. I can see exactly this happen with a range of minorities and blue collar whites.

        There seems to be a consistent refusal among the liberal/centre left to recognise that all left wing voters are not by definition liberal on social issues. I recall a couple of years ago when Ireland voted to legalised gay marriage and abortion the confusion among a few leftists I know about how inner urban areas that regularly vote left actually voted more conservatively than many rural areas. They wanted to come up with any explanation other than the obvious one – many people who vote left on economic grounds are also socially conservative (even if their lifestyles would shock a lot of traditional churchgoers). Push these people too hard and they will just go to the populist right.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Blob is not really Biden’s. Remember that story on Syria from Aaron Maté: Trump wanted our troops out of Syria. The people who wanted troops to remain (and arranged for Trump’s orders to be disobeyed) are now running Ukraine.

  1. Carolinian

    Re born and bred missiles–do they moo?

    But sure sounds cozy–sort of like Brian and the beauty of the cruise missiles taking flight. Who says poetry is dead?…

  2. Robert Hahl

    Dog breed behaviors: Plott hounds not only don’t come when they are called, they never even look back. Beagles at least think about it, but then don’t come back either; also very hard to housebreak.

    1. jr

      I’ll take this opportunity to brag about my baby genius pup. She only listens to us when she wants to, unless we are really upset and she realizes she is in trouble or there is real trouble. She loves to play “Whack-a-mole” style games where I hide a toy of hers under a pillow then poke it out from different directions. She will lunge at it, burrow for it, try to flip the pillow over, etc. Inevitably she calms down and takes a more measured approach of attack, not immediately lunging for it but watching and waiting. Two things I’ve noticed her doing: One is that she will lunge in one direction and not even really try so that she can lunge in another direction, trying to get ahead of me. Secondly, she will not turn her face towards the toy but her eyes will slide around to look for it, so as to not give me a clue as to where she is heading next. Third she will compose and perform brief piano pieces describing her experiences in music.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’ll take this opportunity to brag about my baby genius pup.

        From from Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart (cat, not dog, sorry):

        For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
        For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
        For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
        For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
        For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
        For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
        For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
        For this he performs in ten degrees.
        For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
        For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
        For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
        For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
        For fifthly he washes himself.
        For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
        For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
        For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
        For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
        For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
        For having consider’d God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
        For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
        For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
        For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
        For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
        For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
        For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
        For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
        For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
        For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
        For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
        For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
        For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
        For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
        For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
        For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
        For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
        For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
        For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
        For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
        For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
        For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
        For he is tenacious of his point.
        For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
        For he knows that God is his Saviour.
        For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
        For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
        For he is of the Lord’s poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually—Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
        For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
        For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
        For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
        For he is docile and can learn certain things.
        For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
        For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
        For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
        For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
        For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
        For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
        For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
        For the former is afraid of detection.
        For the latter refuses the charge.
        For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
        For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
        For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
        For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
        For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
        For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
        For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
        For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
        For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
        For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
        For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
        For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
        For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
        For he can swim for life.
        For he can creep.

    2. truly

      Robert, I am a hound owner as well. Treeing Walker. I use them in the field to pursue and tree raccoons. My current lead dog (Sunny)is my 7th generation of breeding. I have owned (or at least known well) almost every dog on her maternal side. And lots of knowledge about her paternal side as well. I have seen a tremendous amount of repeat behavior that is handed on generation to generation. But then totally unpredictable traits will pop up. Sunny has some odd traits that I have never seen before. And at least two of her littermates have these same odd traits. So it is somehow genetically encoded, but not entirely predictable.
      Plotts are a wonderful breed. Handsome and sturdy. But like so many other hounds, they have no reverse and no park. I would never turn any of mine loose without being outfitted with a Garmin collar.
      Interestingly the hunting traits seem more predictable than the household behavior traits. And in our breed the tone and volume of the bark is genetically programmed. Though not particularly consistent.

      1. petal

        A now-passed relative kept Treeing Walker hounds for hunting. He had GPS collars for them and sometimes he’d end up driving across town to collect a strayed pup.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      Robert Hahl: There is something wrong with this assertion in the article: Breeds as we think of them today — distinctive canines such as beagles, pugs and Labradors — are a by-product of more recent evolutionary meddling. Starting around 200 years ago, dog enthusiasts in Victorian England began inventing breeds by actively selecting for canine traits that they found aesthetically pleasing.”

      Has the writer ever looked at a medieval manuscript? At mosaics from the ancient Mediterranean world? There have been breeds for a long time. Greyhounds and similar dogs have been around a long time. Dogs involved in herding are often from ancient breeds.

      Maremma sheepdogs:

      Depicted as far back as ancient Rome.

      Molossians and other mastiffs go way back in the Mediterranean world.

      Obviously, though, if it didn’t happen in England (“the Victorians”), it didn’t happen.

  3. Mildred Montana

    >”…the crown jewels of U.S. missile defense systems are built and bred for battle.” Block that metaphor!

    I’ll say. Who writes this crap and how does it get past the editor’s desk? Crown jewels and missiles breeding? The mind is repelled.

  4. petal

    Gas watch: at two different gas stations this morning Lebanon-Hanover, NH area: saw diesel at $6.299/gal and $6.099/gal. Anyone else notice a big jump the last few days?

  5. lyman alpha blob

    Senator Susie C has regrets! – https://www.yahoo.com/news/susan-collins-supreme-court-leak-roe-abortion-kavanaugh-gorsuch-172603085.html

    Why those dastardly justices her “moderate” self voted to appoint seem to have misled her with their intentions! Too bad it’s a life appointment, Suse.

    Too lazy to look it up, but I’m pretty sure I’m on the record here at NC saying she was getting rolled when she “comprised” and agreed to appoint them. Not that it was all that hard to predict, given her proven track record of being played like a fiddle on every Republican sponsored issue she oh so “reluctantly” agrees to.

    And yet we Mainiacs will probably elect her again if she runs.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Senator Susie C has regrets!

      “They lie to you,” Hunter said. “They f*cking lie right to your face.” –Elmore Leonard, City Primeval.

      Obviously, if you say Roe is “settled law,” then you can’t turn around and and overturn it.

      Grounds for impeachment? Let’s check with President Manchin….

  6. EGrise

    Via Mrs. EGrise, the blame cannons are currently trained on Susan Sarandon.

    Next up, anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary.

    1. jr

      Yeah, I’m made it abundantly clear last election that I was voting for a few hits of Indica and a night of video gaming. I’m girding my loins in preparation for the friends and family coming at me hard because those dastardly conservatives did what they have been saying they were going to do for the the 40 years. In response, I will be going for the throat: why didn’t the Democrats codify Roe versus Wade into law for four fu(king decades? Why does Pelosi talk “Big Tent!” talk when asked if pro-lifers are welcome in the Democratic party? Finally, are you (my target) familiar with the “Ratchet Effect” theory of US politics?


    2. Librarian Guy

      But Countess Christine Pelosi sure got owned in that Twitter thread about her wonderful royal mommy’s support for anti-abortion Dems, apparently she’s literally hustling for the misogynist fossil Henry Cuellar in Texas today; also Hillary’s pick of “anti-abortion Tim Kaine” gets highlighted (but of course Sarandon is ALL to blame for lack of the proles’ enthusiasm), & Christine & Mommy Dearest both tweeting to RBG not to retire, only sexist trolls demand that, etc., etc. Thanks to Lambert & NC for including the thread!! . . . And moar fund-raising for the Washington Generals (Dimmie party) on “women’s rights” to come, so they can throw the game like they always do and the ReThug Daddies continue to control the ladies’ gross anatomy as God intended.

    3. LifelongLib

      I was told years ago that my voting Green in 2016 helped Trump get elected, even though HRC got my state’s electoral votes. Voted Green again in 2020 and Biden got the electoral votes. Go figure.

  7. Tim

    On walking…I take one breath for every 30 steps, and do it for about 5 minutes, I’m feeling as healthy as I did when I used to run for 30 minutes. Hypoxia provides the majority of benefit to exercise, so why not focus in on it and save time? You may look like a fool being in a huff over walking, but you can’t beat the efficiency.

    On BP-their 20 billion loss is somebody else’s gain. I thought we were supposed to be punishing Russia?

    1. Yves Smith

      This is ENORMOUSLY helpful. I’ve been nursing a chronic ankle sprain and can’t get to the gym regularly to do interval sprints on a rowing machine (which also starts to bug my elbow if I do them regularly on top of my weight training).

      BTW I am finding that whole body vibration plates are da bomb. My resting pulse has dropped since I started using them at a level that is supposed to be equivalent to jogging.

      1. David

        I do the same. About a year ago, I started taking a deep breath and then holding it while doing a certain number of steps- while walking to the shops, for example. I started at 40, then moved up by gradual increments to 60, which is where I am now. I thoroughly recommend it.

        1. Questa Nota

          Side benefit of such breathing, fewer side stitches.
          Alternate technique, breathe in uneven step count, alternating between in on left, strides, out, in on right.

        2. britzklieg

          When I was in my early teens I spent most free afternoons and weekends at the new college where my father taught (founding faculty in Romance languages and lit). The olympic size pool was the best perq for this fac brat and without even knowing what I was doing, started trying to swim the length underwater in one breath. It didn’t take long and got to be easy so I started going for up and back in one breath and whereas that was never easy it was always invigorating. Years later I realized how it must have built the lungs that served so well as an opera singer, those long phrases in one breath which were winners at auditions and competitions. And walking… living in Manhattan (30 years) I could walk for hours. One of my favorite walks was from my apt on the UWS over the Brooklyn Bridge and back. Took about 4 hours if I didn’t tarry on the way. I couldn’t do that now, of course, but walking is the bomb and at 65 I need to do more of it. Thanks, all, for the reminder of the benefits to hypoxia as I’ve lost a step or two for sure.

    2. lakecabs

      The most important thing about working out is that you will keep working out.

      Over doing it is detrimental to this idea.

      I run up a 80 yard hill three times a day walking my dogs. I am 65 and it takes 20 sec.

      Then I do light weights 4 or 5 times a week.

      This is an easy to do and I can stay with it.

    3. Angie Neer

      Tim and others–could someone explain or post a link? This is the first I’ve heard of this idea.

      1. John

        Thanks so much for bringing this up. I’ve had the great fortune to spend s lot of time in high altitude Nepal and one of the benefits is the hypoxic training just by living at high altitude. Going back to sea level was always a glorious natural high.
        I never thought about duplicating the experience somewhat in this way. Thanks!
        BTW, Nepal is going through a difficult eco nomic time now from the lack of tourists.
        If anyone is so inclined you won’t regret it.

    4. Revenant

      I heard BP’s results on the radio (ancient Polo with a tape player and no tapes so we listen to FM on the school run). The announcement was an underlying $5.5bn profit. The headline loss is the fair value movement from its perverse donation to Russian charity of its stake in Rosneft (?) to show it believes in Tinkerbell / Ukraine. So the profitable sucking of the underlying blood funnel is largely unimpaired.

    5. eg

      I walk about two hours (10k) on alternate days. I find it too hard on the legs and especially the joints to go every day.

  8. tommy strange

    Wastewater COVID in SF/Bay Area way up, as in early Delta surge. At least in SF, we still have testing available, (20th Alabama, 24th and Capp etc.) including people walking around Mission District with carts full of them….In my part of city, most people still masking….but sad to think about outer areas and rural AG areas too…..here we go….

  9. Wukchumni

    The only way you could go slower than walking would be crawling on all fours and how unseemly that would appear, that is unless there was a marketing possibility such as hand sneakers.

  10. Geo

    Just wanted to say thank you for all the kind and supportive comments yesterday regarding my cat’s recovery. She’s home now, eating a bit, and currently mad at me for forcing her new meds down her throat. :)

    It was a wonderful feeling watching her go about her morning and napping in the sunlight today after nearly losing her yesterday.

    So, again, thanks for all the kind words and support from my fellow cat lovers here.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s not good that. Those units will get chewed up on the front line, even if they manage to get there before being attacked. And still no sign of any negotiating going on.

    2. LawnDart

      Louis, I went from active duty to active reserves, from full-pay to less than half pay– but with the same training and operational requirements needed to maintain qualification. And for guard it was similar. Most of us guards and reservists are former active duty, but we also got other gigs or side-hustles going on.

      To the reserves, I brought two wars, two coup-de-tats and a number of other assignments with me. And in the reserves I added a few more.

      We weren’t half-arsed inexperienced cannon-fodder, though we were often still treated like kuntz.

      So, when you were a National Guardsman in Vietnam, I’m sure you gained some insight on this subject matter– will you share?

      1. LawnDart

        My comment was out of line. It’s a touchy subject for me, but I shouldn’t have taken that tone: I’m sorry.

  11. Bazarov

    “If your internal organs are open to legislation you are, manifestly, not free.”

    Preparing the way for legalized organ-selling.

    Peter Thiel is chomping at the bit!

  12. Matthew G. Saroff

    Geeze. CleanTechnica is going on about Manganese nodules?

    That has been the future since the late 1950s.

    Color me dubious.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have been hearing the same since the 60s and how they are just sitting on the ocean floor waiting to be picked up. And that was over half a century ago. Will that mean that countries that have the technology to eventually do so will claim exclusive right to such areas – with a ‘security’ buffer of a coupla thousand of square kilometers around it? The recent Artemis Accords to do with the Moon may be a guide here.

      1. Greg

        I’ve seen a bit about the potential mineral wealth on the seabed southeast of New Zealand. The plan is to essentially bottom trawl for the nodules, utterly destroying anything alive on the sea floor and coral and leaving a wasteland behind that eventually wipes out fish ecosystems for hundreds of kilometres. Good times.

        I’m assuming the “less destructive than other mining” line is based on the old “less destructive where you can see it” construction.

  13. amechania

    On PMC : That definition is excellent, but you are including technicians. Nurses and coders are workers for sure.

    In the middle ages on name for ‘pmc’ is the position of reeve.

    Real people, of course call them managers. Just managers.. The mystification of the acronymn is useful only in facilitating abstraction. Otherwise, its just obfuscating.

    They arent new. I think junior executive covers it. Underlings. Admin.

    The real question is what is wrong with the cognocenti.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      I’m a fan but not a fan boi. Maybe, hopefully, it’s horse trading for concrete material benefits, otherwise it doesn’t seem worth it(from my position,of limited actual knowledge on the candidates and issues of that race).

  14. none

    Wasn’t Tim Kaine anti-abortion? I wonder if Kaine was why Clinton lost to Trump.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Clinton lost to Trump in several Midwestern States by very small margins. These states were deeply impoverished by NAFTA and WTO and MFN for China which were all Bill Clinton achievements. So there was some revenge voting and bad memory voting against Clinton by the victims of Clintonian Free Trade agreements. ( I was one of those revenge-and-hatred voters against Clinton in Michigan. I don’t regret it. The evil Clinton had to be stopped by any means necessary. The Democrats caused the reversal of Roe v. Wade by engineering the nomination of Clinton. The Demorats caused it and the Democrats diddit. Their fault. No one else’s).

      Also, Clinton was suspected of supporting yet more Free Trade Agreements. She pretended to have marginal doubts about certain aspects of TPP which Obama aggressively supported, but she was widely understood to be lying about that. A vote for Clinton was understood to be a vote for TPP. Whereas a vote for Trump was considered to be a vote against TPP. And that made a difference in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and maybe Pennsylvania . . . which Michael Moore referred to as ” America’s Brexit states”. Moore predicted Trump’s victory, based on what he observed of voter sentiment in Michigan and elsewhere in the Midwest.

  15. The Rev Kev

    Looks like the Democrats strategy about abortion being banned is to, wait for it, blame voters for not going for Hillary back in 2016. No, seriously. Check out these two tweets-

    ‘David Corn
    Just checking in with all those folks who thought it wasn’t that important to vote for Hillary Clinton. How are you doing tonight?’


    ‘yvette nicole brown
    If you are upset that #RoeVWade is about to be overturned by the Supreme Court but you didn’t vote in 2016 or you voted for Trump because you didn’t like the smart lady, YOU did this w/your apathy or your decision to choose an imp for President. YOU gave him THREE SCOTUS seats.’


    And check out this tweet-


    1. Daryl

      Is there a specific name for this fallacy? The one where a particular historical event (usually one that involves a very binary choice) is deemed The One That Matters even though there were say plenty of opportunities to run a likable candidate instead, or do well enough at controlling legislatures that this doesn’t matter, or any of the other number of ways in which this particular situation could have been prevented?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Is there a specific name for this fallacy? The one where a particular historical event (usually one that involves a very binary choice) is deemed The One That Matters

        Sounds like Causal Reductionism:

        Description: Assuming a single cause or reason when there were actually multiple causes or reasons.

        Logical Form:

        X occurred after Y.

        Therefore, Y caused X (although X was also a result of A,B,C… etc.)

        Example #1:

        Hank: I ran my car off the side of the road because that damn squirrel ran in front of my car.

        Officer Sam: You don’t think it had anything to do with the fact that you were trying to text your girlfriend, and driving drunk?

        Explanation: While if it were not for the squirrel, perhaps Hank wouldn’t have totaled his car. However, if it weren’t for him texting while driving drunk, he could have almost certainly prevented taking his unauthorized shortcut through the woods and into a tree.

        Exception: Causes and reasons can be debatable, so if you can adequately defend the fact that you believe there was only a single reason, it won’t be fallacious.

        All the better when the Single Cause is the actions of a demonized figure, like Susan Sarandon, say.

            1. Ben Joseph

              This sounds plausible. A classic ‘social’ wedge issue that keeps people in blue or red and distracted from the plunder.

              Hat tip I can’t say way up top

            2. Greg

              I like Lira for Ukraine insight, but doesnt his sketchy history with redpill culture leave him a somewhat compromised commentator on womens rights?

            3. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Gonzalo Lira thinks it’s a deliberate distraction away from Ukr for US media because Ukr isn’t going so well

              I think that assumes the political class is more tightly coupled (and competent) than it actually is.

  16. lance ringquist

    i have been saying this since nafta billy clinton said the era of big government is over.

    “Depoliticizing Social Murder in the COVID-19 Pandemic” [Bill of Health].

    when nafta hillary said to trump, you make things in china with a sneer on her face, trump responded, you let us. trump understood government, and what it is for.

    nafta hillary looked enraged, trump exposed her for what she is. the clintonite democrats refuse to govern, they fiddle whilst rome burns. they make a lot of money doing nothing.

    1. hunkerdown

      Perfect. Multiple examples abound in that thread of the narrative of “moral development” deployed to provide moral alibis for the structural violence that reproduces the capitalist order.

    2. Pat

      So nice that people don’t get that we have Clarence Thomas today because the jerk in the White House didn’t evolve in time.

      And Yvette Nicol Brown can take her righteous indignation and either direct it at pro-life Democrats, Democrats who think reproductive rights can be jettisoned so they have a big tent, and the “smart lady” who didn’t understand the two hundred year old vote system and thought her massive majority in one state mattered more than winning in enough states to win the electoral college.

      Someday someone is going to have to make a list of the core Democratic values that every Democratic candidate has to hold dear regardless of the size of the tent. I know it doesn’t have any of my priorities for a candidate. No absolutes on reproductive rights, workers rights and union support, no single payer, no ban on privatization, no expansion of Social Security, no veterans benefits protection, no on gay marriage, no on voting rights…no…no…no…
      At some point you would think people would get that if they are fighting among themselves about x issue, they can’t really fight for it.

  17. poopinator

    Looks like AOC’s last second endorsement wasn’t enough. For the life of me I can’t figure out how people are still holding on to the idea that the Squad will somehow save us.

    Nina Turner Loses

    1. Geo

      My two cents for whatever it’s worth:

      1. Don’t expect (and never have expected) they would save us from anything but do feel having elected reps with some interest in progressive governance is better than none. I’m more forgiving than most regarding their failure to accomplish much of anything because it’s clear they have absolutely no real power other than rhetorical.

      2. I would love to see them fight with a “burn it all down” approach like the Tea Party in ‘09 but unlike “the squad” the Tea Party had the backing of Fox News, The Koch Bros (and other billionaire/millionaire funders) and most of the rightwing radio & online ecosystem. They also had massive people movements behind them (remember Glenn Beck’s march on DC?). The squad has none of that. They have wishywashy youtubers more interested in “holding them accountable” instead of rallying support for them and going after the other 530 members of congress that actively crush anything the squad tries to do.

      3. Are they saviors of the republic? Of course not. They are five relatively young women under the thumb of an entrenched draconian DNC that has clung to power for so long it’s only members with power are in their 80’s. Clyburn and Pelosi are out campaigning for an anti-abortion candidate currently under FBI investigation all to crush his progressive primary opponent. They hate progressives more than anything.

      4. Running third party is a political death wish. Don’t see Cynthia McKinney, Jill Stein, or Ralph Nader crafting legislation or moving progressive policies into reality because they got banished from any halls of power forever. Only billionaires it seems can run for third parties (for any race bigger than mayor or city council) and even then they barely make a blip on the radar.

      So, what are they to do? They have no power and little support. The Left calls them frauds, the right calls them communists so they have no allies. Their best option is to play ball with their overlords and fight for crumbs in the hopes of improving some lives a little bit, and then tweet out trivial platitudes like any of us do in our impotent desperation, because nothing they do means anything to much of anyone.

      That’s my take on it. For the TL;DR crowd: my animosity is reserved for those who are actively against progress, not those who impotently try to fix a hostile and corrupt system.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > So, what are they to do? They have no power and little support.

        This is a good summing up. They do have power in their districts which is a good sign (assuming Ilhan stops that Democrat loyalist creature opposing her*).

        NOTE * Always OK to primary the left. Never OK to primary the liberals.

        1. poopinator

          They could also vote in a bloc, which in my opinion is the most significant way they could assert power, though they seem to have dispossessed themselves of that option.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Looks like AOC’s last second endorsement wasn’t enough.

      It never would have been. Parachuting celebrities into an election doesn’t work, although Democrats seem to get all excited when it happens. “All politics is local” — perhaps not so much in highly propagandized suburban districts, but Turner’s district was not that.

  18. Falls City Beer

    I think counting nurses, K-12 teachers, and adjuncts as PMC is a category error. They’re skilled workers, not managers or free agents. Being degreed doesn’t confer PMC status, not in and of itself.

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