2:00PM Water Cooler 5/12/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is Hermit Thrush Week at Naked Capitalism (hat tip Noone from Nowheresville). From the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

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

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

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

Biden Adminstration

“4 things to watch at the White House Covid summit” [Politico]. “As the U.S. aims to continue to be seen as a leader of the global response, here are four things we’re watching at today’s summit: 1. Money. No significant amounts of money are expected from the U.S for the global fight against the virus….. 2. Drugs. Too few drugs to treat Covid are reaching poorer countries…. 3. Pandemic preparedness. The summit is pivotal in establishing a pandemic preparedness fund at the World Bank. … 4. TRIPS. Those advocating for nearly two years for the easing of intellectual property protections for Covid vaccines, treatments and tests would like the Biden administration to use the summit to break the World Trade Organization stalemate on the issue.”


* * *

“Are We Overestimating Roe’s Impact on Politics?” [Cook Political Report]. “Everyone has their own take on what impact a reversal of Roe v. Wade will have on November’s midterm elections. Here’s mine: To the extent that overturning the 49-year old decision benefits Democrats at all, it won’t be nearly enough to make up for the substantial headwinds they were already facing. In short, it will help out less than they hope and far less than they need. Why would it not have quite the impact that Democrats pray it will have—and many in the media seem convinced it will have? First, public opinion is considerably more nuanced than many seem to think…. Second, consider what a reversal would and would not do. Overturning Roe would not prohibit or even make more restrictive the accessibility of abortion in all states, but instead would kick it back to each of the states to set their own laws. …. Another consideration is timing. The Nov. 8 election is 183 days from now, a very long time in American politics. Finally, this election will not be held in a vacuum. Other issues—the direction of the economy, the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and climate change—will compete for voters’ attentions and concerns, to say nothing of any October surprises that may roll down the pike. Bottom line: The political system will have plenty of time to process the developments surrounding Roe, leaving its impact falling short of expectations.”

“The Kinds of Seats that Flip in Midterms” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “While increasingly salient issues like abortion could change the political environment, Republicans still appear on track for a strong showing in the U.S. House. Recent midterms have hollowed out the presidential party’s holdings of districts where the president either did the same or worse than he did nationally — or only a little better. Republicans likely will have trouble winning districts where Joe Biden won more than 55% of the vote, but that still leaves them dozens of Democratic-held targets below that mark as redistricting is finalized.”

CA: Not many are saying this:

PA: “GOP panics over ‘ultra-MAGA’ Pennsylvania Senate wild card” [Axios]. “Influential Republicans in Washington and among the nationwide party elite are having a belated ‘oh s–t’ moment over the previously unimaginable prospect that Kathy Barnette could win their party’s nomination for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania…. As Oz and McCormick blitzed each other — and as former President Trump endorsed Oz and blasted McCormick — Barnette has glided through the carnage. On Wednesday, one Republican operative aligned with a rival campaign reached out to Axios to flag Barnette’s comments regarding systemic racism in the U.S. and the country’s complicated history of racial discrimination and slavery. Nonetheless, it’s awfully late in the game for Republicans to destroy Barnette.” Meanwhile: “One group with a massive bank account and the potential to affect GOP races — the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund — has no plans to engage in the Pennsylvania primary, a source with direct knowledge of the group’s plans told Axios on Wednesday.”

PA: “John Fetterman will likely be Pa.’s Democratic Senate nominee. So why do so few elected Democrats back him?” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “[N]ot one Senate member, including the 20 Democrats from his own party, publicly supports his campaign for U.S. Senate. None of the 90 Democrats serving in the state House do either. And across the state, almost no elected officials have endorsed him…. Fetterman and his campaign shrug off endorsements as antiquated, sometimes mired in political quid pro quos, and far less important than what voters think. And polls throughout the campaign have showed Fetterman enjoying healthy and sometimes huge advantages: One poll released this week had him leading Lamb by almost 40 points. And his lack of establishment allies — despite being the state’s No. 2 elected official — neatly fits his political pitch as an outsider, one who can attract both progressives and disaffected rural Democrats who feel let down or left behind by the party.”


“CNN senior political analyst says Biden shouldn’t run for reelection” [The Hill]. “Former White House adviser David Gergen said on Wednesday that he does not believe President Biden should run for president again, noting his age. ‘We have an election coming up in 2024, in which is very possible that we will have Donald Trump facing off against Joe Biden. If one of those people wins the presidency, he will be governing while he’s in his 80 year … age,’ Gergen, a senior political analyst for CNN, said on CNN’s ‘New Day.’ ‘We’ve never seen anything like that before. And frankly, I think it’s a real risk. You know, I just turned 80, and I can just tell you John, you lose a step. Your judgment is not quite as clear as it was. There’s a variety of other things you can’t do much about and to put somebody in that office with those kinds of vulnerabilities and giving them four years, we don’t know where things will go.’ Gergen said he believed it would be a “mistake” for either Democrats or Republicans to nominate a presidential candidate it to essentially govern in their 80s. Biden is 79 years old; Trump, who is flirting with a bid for the GOP nomination, is 75.” • I think I’d prefer Biden v. Trump to (say) Gavin Newsom v. Ron DeSantis.

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

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

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

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“Senate Democrats’ imaginary majority” [Politico]. “Every day, it seems, brings another reminder of the severe limitations of Democrats’ illusory majority in a 50-50 Senate. First Democratic leaders tossed Covid relief from a Ukraine aid bill at the behest of Republicans who were threatening a filibuster. Then the party entertained giving the GOP a politically volatile vote on reversing the Biden administration’s border policy. And Wednesday showed there isn’t even a majority in the Senate for Democrats’ preferred abortion rights bill. Not to mention that the party’s signature climate and tax reform bill hasn’t moved an inch in months after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) tanked the last iteration — still-rising inflation isn’t helping its revival. And though there’s a flurry of bipartisan discussions on issues from immigration to energy to electoral vote certification, none are showing signs of imminent breakthroughs. ‘It’s a majority that comes and goes. Sort of like the tide,’ said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). ‘I don’t know exactly what I expected, but I certainly expected a little bit more clarity.'” • This is the party Schumer and Pelosi built (along with the DCCC, DSCC, and DNC.


Congratulations to Dr. Bob Wachter MR SUBLIMINAL Not now Leana!:

On Monday in Links, we featured a thread on the personal risk calcuations of Dr. Bob Wachter and his wife, Katie Hafner, when she caught Covid at a writer’s conference she attended.

Well, it turns out that the writer’s conference was yet another PMC superspreader event!

Not only that, but (a) avuncular advice-giver and opinion-haver Wachter encouraged Hafner to go, knowing (b) that testing was not a requirement for attendance. If you want to follow along at home, here is their joint interview on the teebee, from ABC7:

Note the extreme deference the interview exhibits toward Wachter/Hafner. Media royalty!

Really committed to the bit:

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Lambert here: I am but a humble tape-watcher, but 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 that “Covid is over,” 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.

• ”What the current spike in Covid-19 cases could say about the coronavirus’ future” [STAT]. “s the Omicron wave subsided in the United States earlier this year, many experts anticipated a sort of reprieve. We certainly weren’t done with Covid, but perhaps we would get a well-deserved rest. That break seems to be over.” As NC readers have known for some time. More: “‘Why is this happening?’ said Jacob Lemieux, an infectious diseases physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, who’s been tracking variants. Is it that the novel variants are that different, or is it that immunity is that transient? ‘We don’t know, but it’s raising a lot of really important scientific questions,’ Lemieux said.” • Well, that’s reassuring!

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

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Case count by United States regions:

The train is really rolling, now. Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out. Also 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 black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. The blue “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 79,000 * 6 = 474,000, i.e. not gamed.

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

Worth noting that cases have 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.

MWRA wastewater data:

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 was adjusted up. But that drop in the West looks like an adjustment, too. Do we have any readers who track non-biobot wastewater in the West?

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

Northeast much better.

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. (The Unorganized Territories in Maine are back to red, good job.)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

This map is very dynamic! Now the orangization back to the Northeast. (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: 1,025,764 1,025,104. Looks like the CDC did discover a bunch of death certificates stuffed in a drawer. Look at the drop. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

• “Statement from President Joe Biden Marking One Million American Lives Lost to COVID-⁠19” [Whitehouse.gov]. “As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before. It’s critical that Congress sustain these resources in the coming months.” • Not a word about non-pharmaceutical interventions. I’m afraid the nominations for Sociopath of the Day are stacking up.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Broadly down. (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Producer Price Inflation MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Producer prices in the US increased 0.5% mom in April of 2022, less than an upwardly revised 1.6% rise in March and mostly in line with market expectations. The wholesale cost of goods surged 1.3% last month, reflecting increases in autos, chicken, eggs, electricity, and natural gas.”

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Shipping: “U.S. importers turn to prayer and the President as West Coast port labor talks begin” [Hellenic Shipping News]. “The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) employer group met for the first time on Tuesday. Talks are scheduled to continue daily in San Francisco until an agreement is reached. Any deadlock could delay or halt shipments at the No. 1 U.S. seaport in Los Angeles/Long Beach and other Pacific coast gateways that handle 58.1% of goods from the Far East. That would ‘hurt the already fragile U.S. economy even more,’ said Larian, who is among the importers calling on the White House to intercede – as it has in the past. The talks come at a critical time for suppliers and retailers because seasonal Christmas merchandise will start hitting U.S. ports in June.”

The Bezzle:

I just hope the insiders got out in time.

The Bezzle:

Tech: “Content moderator in Kenya sues Meta over working conditions” [Channel News Asia]. “The Kenyan lawsuit was filed on behalf of Daniel Motaung, recruited in 2019 from South Africa to work for Sama in Nairobi. Motaung says he was not given details about the nature of the work reviewing Facebook posts before his arrival. The first video Motaung remembers moderating was a beheading. The disturbing content piled up, but Motaung says his pay and mental health support were inadequate. ‘I have been diagnosed with severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),’ Motaung told Reuters. ‘I am living …a horror movie.’ Motaung’s lawyers said that Meta and Sama created a dangerous and degrading environment where workers were not given the same protections as employees in other countries. ‘If in Dublin, people can’t look at harmful content for two hours, that should be the rule everywhere,’ Motaung’s lawyer Mercy Mutemi said. ‘If they need to have a psychologist on call that should apply everywhere.’ Shortly after joining Sama, Motaung tried to form a union to advocate for the company’s roughly 200 workers in Nairobi.”

Tech: “Appeals court rules Texas social media law can proceed” [Protocol]. “Despite no prior history of courts and lawmakers treating social media as “common carriers” the way phone companies are, and the clear Supreme Court precedent arguing against government interference with internet content, some conservatives have increasingly argued for treating platforms that host user-generated content similarly.”

Tech: “Google adopts an Apple-like approach for its Pixel products” [Associated Press]. “Google on Wednesday took a big step toward pushing its Pixel product line-up down a road already paved by Apple and its array of trendsetting devices. The latest additions to its six-year-old Pixel brand will include Google’s first smartwatch that draws upon the features and expertise it has gained from last year’s $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness gadget maker Fitbit. The new watch, targeted for an autumn release, marks Google’s first major attempt to make its mark in wearable technology, a market that has been growing steadily since Apple introduced its smartwatch in 2014. Until now, Google’s presence in the smartwatch market had been limited to making a version of its mobile Android operating system for watches made by other companies. Google also used its annual I/O developers conference to tease a Pixel tablet that it is scheduled for release next year to compete against Apple’s market-leading iPad.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 8 Extreme Fear (previous close: 17 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 12 at 1:26 PM EDT. Mr. Bitcoin has a sad.

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Indignity of Automobile Dependence” [The AP (Alex Pareene) Newsletter]. “Right before Easter this year, I rented a car and drove up from New York to see friends in Boston. We hit traffic before we were even off the Manhattan grid, and we stayed mired in traffic for most of the next five hours. As I was creeping across Connecticut on Route 15 in the pouring rain, in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the gathering dark, I finally fully articulated the obvious revelation I’ve been moving toward for all these years: This is horrible. Driving a car is a horrible thing to have to do. Being caught in a traffic jam isn’t a frustrating and unfortunate exception to the real driving experience, it is the driving experience. Life with the automobile means you are guaranteeing yourself—sooner or later but probably sooner—complete and total misery, again and again, if you’re lucky enough to avoid outright carnage. Hell is other people’s cars, and your car does not exist without other people’s cars, and there we all are.” • Eastern European perspective:

Class Warfare

“Starbucks Is Playing With Fire” [Slate]. “Last Friday, the National Labor Relations Board issued an unusually wide-ranging complaint against Starbucks, accusing it of more than 200 violations of the nation’s labor laws as part of its anti-union efforts in Buffalo, including firing six pro-union workers, disciplining and surveilling others, and closing stores. Stating that Starbucks’ “egregious” anti-union conduct could cripple the organizing drives in various cities, the labor board has also taken the unusual step of going to federal court, where it has accused the company of illegally firing pro-union baristas in Memphis and Phoenix and asked that they be immediately reinstated…. With more than 60 Starbucks unionized, and workers at dozens more likely to vote to unionize soon, a big question now is whether Starbucks will negotiate in good faith or stonewall for months and years to drag out reaching a first contract. When it comes to the union, Schultz evidently thinks his company is an immovable object. But the Starbucks union drive increasingly seems like an unstoppable force. If Starbucks does stonewall the contract talks, I’ve also started to wonder if it could end up facing a widespread customer boycott—something on the scale of the United Farm Workers’ famous grape boycott of the 1960s…. But Starbucks, with its activist workforce and many progressive customers, might be different—especially since there are plenty of other places to get coffee.” • Interesting question on boycotts!

“Starbucks Baristas Are Unionizing, and Even Howard Schultz Can’t Make Them Stop” [Bloomberg]. “As with Smalls at Amazon, the Starbucks organizers have succeeded mainly by mentoring one another. ‘It’s the ultimate group project,’ says Michelle Eisen, a Starbucks barista in Buffalo who’s coached baristas at other stores from Kentucky to Hawaii. ‘Everybody has to pull their weight.'”

News of the Wired

“A New Dimension to a Meaningful Life” [Scientific American]. “When we think about lives filled with meaning, we often focus on people whose grand contributions benefited humanity. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela surely felt they had a worthwhile life. But how about us ordinary people, toiling away in a typical existence? Many scholars agree that a subjectively meaningful existence often boils down to three factors: the feeling that one’s life is coherent and ‘makes sense,’ the possession of clear and satisfying long-term goals and the belief that one’s life matters in the grand scheme of things. Psychologists call these three things coherence, purpose and existential mattering. But we believe there is another element to consider. Think about the first butterfly you stop to admire after a long winter or imagine the scenery atop a hill after a fresh hike. Sometimes existence delivers us small moments of beauty. When people are open to appreciating such experiences, these moments may enhance how they view their life. We call this element experiential appreciation. The phenomenon reflects the feeling of a deep connection to events as they transpire and the ability to extract value from that link. It represents the detection of and admiration for life’s inherent beauty.” • Today, I will not forget to post the plant!

You will pry the cliché from my cold dead hands. AC writes:

Believe it or not, I’ve eaten at a place called Mom’s, and it was all right. Regular cafe food, white bread, pies, salad bar. In Salida Utah, far from almost everywhere. Picture attached! All best! PS Mom’s is so old-fashioned they even has a website – https://momscafe.org/


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

TH writes: “I believe this is ‘Babiana angustifolia Sweet’ (or so says Plantnet.org) as seen on January 30th, 2022 at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.”

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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. NotTimothyGeithner

    Why exactly are we keeping Manchin around? Because he isn’t with us on abortion…..

    1. super extra

      he’s one of the only two left willing to play the rotating villain. everyone else is just there for the stock tips and donor servicing

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And keeping Manchin and Sinema around lets Schumer get to be majority leader for a while.

        1. jo6pac

          It also lets chuckie s. and demodogs can’t be held accountable because they & repugs stop everything that might make their puppet masters unhappy.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The DemParty thought the RepParty treated this as the same jolly festival of frivolity that the DemParty treats this as. So many DemParty analysts and commentators have spent years saying that the Reps would never want to rescind Roe v Wade because keeping Roe v Wade alive forever creates a forever opportunity to raise money forever and run campaigns forever. The Dems could wave the bloody coat hanger and the Reps could wave the bloody fetus and both could campaign and fundraise on this eternal issue forever.

            But only the DemParty feels this way. Turns out the Rep Party wants Roe abolished for real. And the abortion abolished after that, and then contraception abolished after that and so forth and so on.

            So the Legal Abortion Community, if there is one, will have to find a sincerity-based way forward, if it can find one, towards a victory over the anti abortion forces, if they really want such a victory.

            The war for legal abortion will be fought on several battlefields at once. One of those battlefields might be the brain war battlefield. Or battlespace or whatever. Perhaps the legal abortion seekers might have to think in terms of “carrying the battle to the heart of the enemy”. Perhaps they might have to coin and use no-mercy no-prisoners thoughts and phrases like . . . . forced-birth slavery/womanslavery, the Legal Abortion Free States versus the Illegal Abortion Forced-Birth Womanslave States, Catholic sharia law as in . . . ” Abortion is against Catholic sharia law” , Christian Fascism, etc. etc. The pro-legal-abortion forces may have to try putting the anti-abortion enemy on the defensive instead of being defensive their own selves. ” You’re either part of the roller, or you’re part of the road”. etc. etc. Part of victory might be a substantial destruction of the power of the church, synagog, mosque, ashram, etc. within political society.

            A Legal Abortion Party might be a good first step for people who believe in it and would use it as a political combat vehicle and toolbox of political weapons for waging political war with. ” Legal Abortion Party” could be a franchise or a brand or something.
            It could be used different ways in different areas. In places where abortion is still legal, a Legal Abortion Party could pursue a whole bundle of agenda items designed to make abortion even more and more legal in the Probortion States, and make antibortion people more and more unwelcome in the Probortion States, so that antibortion people all move to the Antibortion States.

            Whereas a Legal Abortion Party trying to gain traction and power within an Antibortion State in hopes of conquering that state and making it Probortion might want their Legal Abortion Party to be a rigidly One-Issue Party. Every member of that Party could have any view on any other subject. You could be Probortion and Pro Gun Rights at the same time if you are trying to get elected to something in an Antibortion state.

            People will have to work it out as they go.

            1. Wukchumni

              I’m glad Roe vs Wade will finally go away so the Donkey Show can concentrate on trans issues.

                  1. John

                    Is the continuing debasement of language a downward spiral or a soul sucking vortex?

    2. Kurtismayfield

      He is the ratchet, making sure it is impossible for the Democrats to go back to the center. The country moves right or nothing.

    3. Carolinian

      So if the Dems drop the filibuster and pass the national law can a future Repub Congress and president then repeal it? As per above 50/50 is not a very strong endorsement for this or packing the court or whatever other actions taken in the name of democracy. Perhaps to achieve the changes they propose Dems need to regain the majorities they once had–majorities thrown away by embracing money politics and neoliberlism.

      With a better majority Manchin would be King Manchin no more.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Thank you Carolinian!
        Maybe, just maybe, the goddamn Dems can try to govern by helping the rest of us left behind plebs. Instead of getting high on getting rich and stoking some virtue signaling.

    4. Sardonia

      *Why exactly are we keeping Manchin around? Because he isn’t with us on abortion…..*

      Do you live in West Virginia? If not, who is this “we” and “us” of whom you speak?

      I trust you know who elects Senators. How do you West Virginians feel about abortion? Is Manchin’s position in line with those who elect him?

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Joe Manchin has voted for every Democratic judicial nominee presented by the Biden Administration (as has K Sinema). Mitch McConnell says that there will be NO VOTES on any judicial nominees once they get 51 senators. Probably goes for cabinet nominees too.

        I think Manchin switches parties after the midterms. When he does, make sure you remember what you asked for.

        1. clarky90

          More fun with words!

          “voters support access to abortions….” BUT….In what trimester of pregnancy? 1st, 2nd, 3rd? Post birth?

          We could call ALL of the deaths in The Ukraine, “Post-Birth Abortions”…. Just tweek the accepted definitions a bit. (the change of all words’ meanings, is well on it’s way)

          It is easy when you own the printing press….. and employ the scribes.

    5. clarky90

      Re; “with us on abortion…..”

      NTG, I am very not “with you on abortion”. Many readers here have nuanced beliefs (not simply, pro pro abortion) as a result of their own life experiences.

      My mother (RIP) was coerced into having her tiny baby aborted (my brother/sister) in 1952, “because” of possible exposure to german measles. She grieved the loss of this child for her entire life. The decision to proactively abort was not made by my Mom, but by medical experts.

      “….coherence, purpose and existential mattering. But we believe there is another element to consider……”

      1. marym

        That sounds extremely sad and cruel.

        Support for the right to abortion in the US means support for the right of a woman – not a doctor, the state, or anyone else – to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. There are those who would support some legal constraints on the woman’s right (late in pregnancy particularly), but pro-choice supporters aren’t arguing for a situation as you describe where someone other than the woman makes the choice.

        1. FreeMarketApologist

          This: “Support for the right to abortion in the US means support for the right of a woman – not a doctor, the state, or anyone else – to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. ”

          This is exactly why the debate is so fraught: It puts personal agency above the interests of ‘science’ (the doctors), society (the state), and everybody else (moral disciplinarians), subrogating their claims of superiority to the claims of the individual.

          1. marym

            I disagree with this framing of the terms of the debate: that the forced-birth position serves the interest of society, rather than serves as a method of social control; serves the interest of science rather than a particular version of religion; and is something other than the use of state power to impose its proponents’ own professed form of moral discipline on other individuals.

  2. petal

    Unleaded has jumped another 10 cents here in Hanover, NH today to $4.349 a gallon. Premium is also up from $4.809 to $4.989. Diesel unchanged, sitting at $6.299.

      1. Jen

        Scored regular at a “mere” $4.29 at the gas station by the hospital this morning. Diesel is going for the comparative bargain rate of $6.09 in my little burb.

    1. jo6pac

      Safeway in Tracy, Calif. I got gas for little truck last week and gas was $5.14 and that will last me almost 2 months.

      Price per gallon
      Price per gallon

      super extra May 12. You nailed it

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Damn, 6pac, you’re getting off cheap.
        40 miles away, on the other side of the Altamont, regular is going for $5.89 to $6.09 depending on station.

        My little ’06 Ranger finally broke $100 to fill from near empty.

    2. griffen

      Two weeks before the unofficial summer driving season and Memorial Day weekend, we have breached the $4 price point in the upstate region of South Carolina. Buckle up baby it’s a bumpy ride, sang Bon Jovi on one of their hits (off the New Jersey album, I think).

      $4.09 at the local grocery. Wal Mart or Costco might be a little less.

      1. TimH

        You’re probably going to look back at today’s prices with nostalgia. Time to stock up on a few 20 litre jerrycans for emergency refills.

      2. Josef K

        Here in WA state, gas jumped in early March from between $4.20 (my preferred price) and $4.30 or so, to $4:80 +/-. Some places lagged (I check an updated webpage for local prices) around $4.40-4.50, but caught up quickly. But since then, no real changes. Which makes it abundantly clear the initial rise was profit-taking.

        Meanwhile, my preferred non-dairy milk has gone from $2.79 (with regular discounts to $2.50) to $3.29 in one jump. Many other similar increased on foodstuffs. I follow a very strict “on sale” dietary regimen, and not only are prices going up, but markdowns are definitely decreasing in number. We’ve enjoyed cheap food in the USA for a very long time. Yet I have never seen this kind of sudden and large price increases across the board before.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          They are predicting that oil prices will double to $200 a barrel by the end of teh year. Can you say “Depression” boys and girls?

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Saudis have said that if Biden goes ahead with his stupid NOPEC Act, that oil prices will triple! And guess which country will have Oil Embargo 2.0.

  3. antidlc

    The Covid Roulette: The Hard Truth About The WHCA Dinner

    On August 6, 2020, world-renowned scientist Dr. Kimberly Prather, elected into the National Academy of Engineering (2019) and the National Academy of Sciences (2020), was the first to break the news to Dr. Anthony Fauci that particles containing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are airborne.

    “Oh, my God,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said to her.” You mean it goes further than six feet? Wow, why did we get it wrong for so long?”Dr. Fauci was “shocked”, Dr. Kimberly Prather warmly recalled their conversation.”For one hundred years, the belief in the scientific community has been that a droplet falls within six feet. I convinced him that aerosols up to 100 microns can go further than six feet. That whole belief system that things don’t go further than six feet was completely wrong. I showed Fauci how far things go. It’s much further.”

    Dr. Prather is also the one who has been pushing the N95 masks in the White House. “I’ve also been pushing for filtration in the White House,” she said.

    1. c_heale

      I find it extremely hard to believe that scientists didn’t know viruses could be airborne for more than six feet.
      Either Fauci is lying or he’s a complete dumbass. Probably both.

  4. jr

    A few thoughts on the SA article on meaning in life:

    1. The idea of experiential appreciation jives with Jung’s notion of synchronicity. Jung, and others, held that our experiences include events that aren’t causally linked with other events yet have important, meaningful impacts on our lives. Sometimes these events are striking, as when I imagined finding books of Magic on the doorstep of a home where someone was placing books out daily and one day indeed found a bag with a two set encyclopedia of Freemasonry from the early 20th. century stuffed with Magical terms and symbolism. But it needn’t be so marked, a beautiful sunset is a gift of the Cosmos as well and the mere ability to appreciate it is a kind of meaning. So is cruelty and horror, for that matter.

    Which leads me to my second point. Under an idealistic paradigm, as opposed to the vulgarity of materialism, our lives not only have meaning but in fact are meaning. We are the stories that Cosmos tells Itself in It’s quest to know what It is. We are a mirror of the Unity, our suffering and joys and all experiences are of fundamental value as they are the entire purpose of extension from the Unity into the Multiplicity.

    1. Mimi

      “We are the stories that Cosmos tells Itself in It’s quest to know what It is.”

      THIS. Well Said.

      1. Joe Renter

        Or we might be jewels in the heart charka of the Solar Logos. From Cosmic Fire by Alice Bailey.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I’ve always liked the idea that we humans, plants, animals, and minerals, as part of the universe, are here so the universe can observe itself. But jr’s take above is much more poetic.

      3. witters

        This is the bit I don’t get. “We are the stories that Cosmos tells Itself in It’s quest to know what It is.”

        Does the being and/or essence of the Cosmos lie in an original ignorance that is somehow (for how deep is the ignorance) searching for self-knowledge?

        If so, what is there to (come to) know except the truth of original ignorance?

        Is that what it is all about?

        1. Fritzi

          Original Ignorance sounds like it could be another name for a Blind Idiot God.

          That may or may not stay an idiot.

        2. HotFlash

          Does the being and/or essence of the Cosmos lie in an original ignorance that is somehow (for how deep is the ignorance) searching for self-knowledge?

          Well, ya know, the Cosmos is a big place.

    2. Sardonia

      Walking to my car at 6 AM from a club in the sketchy SOMA of San Francisco’s 1980’s, I passed a wonderful scrawl of graffiti on a ramshackle brick wall – “Help God feel”

  5. Jason Boxman

    As that birthday tweet shows, we’re exactly where the Establishment wanted us to be, even if the path has been winding, with liberal Democrats claiming to care about maintaining a functional healthcare system, and Republicans fighting, with much success, to ensure no public health measures of any kind were implemented or sustained, and later liberal Democrats tripling down on vaccination-only as a strategy long past the point where anyone could claim credibly it might reduce spread or otherwise work as a standalone intervention.

    The other tweet is quite correct: This is a mass casualty event of the gravest proportions, that likely will leave millions more somewhat or completely disabled for some unknown length of time.

    And the elite themselves are high on whatever they’re selling, so rather than a premeditated evil, this seems to be sheer lunacy and believing one’s own myth making. This ain’t a class of people to lead, that’s for certain. This is lack of introspection taken to the extreme, with deadly consequences, hilariously even for the elite themselves.

    The Chinese leadership must have quite a laugh, daily, about the happenings in the west and the US in particular.

    When I’ve openly wondered if I’ll live out this year, it seems I’m truly not wrong in doing so. And this was even before we began to try to get into a direct war with a nuclear power…

    So, I guess we’re actually back to having ‘COVID parties’, which liberal Democrats and the public health establishment frowned upon, I guess because vaccines, and now they’re enthusiastic about them. It’s hard to keep the messaging straight, anymore, honestly. Written today, 1984 would be about this.

    1. TBellT

      As that birthday tweet shows, we’re exactly where the Establishment wanted us to be, even if the path has been winding,

      It really is amazing the level which people went back to acquiescing to the government advice when it matched their priors. Grocery store y’day, no one confronted me over my mask but definitely looks thrown my way.

      Two years of this we could be learning so many lessons just by observing the world around us but we’re putting our trust in a failed establishment.

      1. Keith Newman

        Interesting. Here in Quebec we still have to wear masks in public indoor spaces: all stores, shopping malls. Don’t know about sporting arenas.

  6. harrybothered

    > I think I’d prefer Biden v. Trump to (say) Gavin Newsom v. Ron DeSantis

    Oh gods, what’s the difference?

    I cast the stupidest ballot of my adult life yesterday here in the CA primary. I’ve decided my vote is pretty much pointless (thank you, Democrats!), so I chose my candidate solely on party. Greens 1st, no party affiliation 2nd, Republican 3rd. Absolutely no Democrats. Easiest ballot I’ve ever filled out.

    1. jefemt

      Doing the algebraic gyration:
      Rational person doesn’t vote, votes third party, or writes in.
      These = no vote.
      So, whichever of the two parties that occupy both sides of our one no-value coin has better turnout will win any given seat.
      The Majority will be dissatisfied with non-representative governance, once again.

      As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool to his folly Proverbs 26:11

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      I found this choice interesting as well … ;-)

      Trump’s going to slaughter Biden … LOL

      So from a politics-as-sport perspective, like watching a mediocre, past-their-prime fighter getting pummeled on the ropes by a well-traveled, but far more energized and effective pugilist.

      Newsom v DeSantis might actually be more competitive – each landing good blows and playing to their strengths.

      But yes, effectively no difference in terms of things being better if one wins over the other.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > Trump’s going to slaughter Biden

        Let’s not be hasty.

        He might narrowly defeat HRC, … again.

        That would be entertaining to observe. And perhaps a rational policy toward the crisis in Eastern Europe would be adopted.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > That would be entertaining to observe.

          … but the thought of another decade of #RussiaGate makes me grimace at even the slightest chance that she loses again.

  7. flora

    re: GOP panics over ‘ultra-MAGA’ Pennsylvania Senate wild card

    The GOP estab was as happy as the Dem estab to see T lose in 2020, imo. (One uniparty party, two hats. heh.)

  8. Early

    GOP panics over ‘ultra-MAGA’ Pennsylvania Senate wild card

    Proud to say that I am a MAGAnificent Deplorable who will vote for Tulsi Gabbard and any common sense Republican, or Democrat, who is for the American people, avoiding foreign entanglements and avoiding WWIII.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      There really is a delicious irony here if Barnette pulls this off.

      Fetterman was supposed to go down to defeat to a Republican because they were going to label him race insensitive, a Democrat who couldn’t pull any Black votes (Pete Buttigieg’s Bizzaro World double, Pete is neat, Fetterman dresses like he’s going to paint the barn – but, alas, neither could gets Black “folks” to vote for them.)

      If Barnette wins, she’s hardly an alternative to Fetterman. She’s crazy as a loon.(Remember: the” I am not a witch” commercial? That crazy)

      Fetterman better stay out of small airplanes however, or else Mrs. Fetterman may find herself dating John Kerry.

  9. IM Doc

    Regarding Dr. Wachter –

    He is considered the founder of the type of physician today we know as “hospitalists.” These are internists that work only on admitted patients in the hospital.

    This movement replaced the “Marcus Welby” approach to medicine that had been present since William Osler where your own personal physician took care of you in the hospital. There are vanishingly few left that practice the old time medicine.

    This was all done in the name of “efficiency” and “cost-savings”. It has taken about a generation for this to come to fruition but it is now almost universal. I could never tell there was any kind of cost savings or efficiency. A brand new doctor sees a patient in the hospital with all kinds of medical issues and before you know it tens of thousands of dollars of tests are ordered – and there are 5 or 6 subspecialists on the case instantly. A lot of reinventing the wheel to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

    I cannot tell you the level of peace of mind that occurs when I go and see people in the hospital. They see a friend, someone they trust and know – and someone they know will keep an eye on them. The hospitalists are often excellent doctors, but are on shift work, change every day, and who knows what happens with the hand offs.

    So when you are in the hospital with your elderly family member – and you are seeing a different attending physician every day, and no one seems to know exactly what is going on and chaos reigns – you can think people like Dr. Wachter. I have had the privilege of being the adult caregiver for 3 elderly family members in big cities the past 2 years – and even I, a long-time internist, was whomperjawed by the chaos.

    The current trend being championed by Dr. Wachter is to even increase efficiency more by having these groups of hospitalists bought up by hedge funds and big corporations. If I am not mistaken, he has a huge share in one of the larger ones ( or at least did – I may be wrong about that).

    Additionally – Dr. Wachter was one of the big pushers of the electronic health record as it is today. So again, be very grateful for him, when you are in your doctor’s office and they never bother to look at you and instead are typing into a computer the whole visit.

    As such a veritable genius, Dr. Wachter is therefore entitled to all the amenities that come with being a member of the medical version of the PMC. Similar to all the members of the various boards of medicine. They have the Boards buy multimillion dollar condos for people like him to stay in, they all fly first class, and generally get to pontificate from afar on how to care for patients while never deigning to touch a patient ever.

    All of this can be researched at a blog called drwes.blogspot.com. Dr. Wes is an example of someone who truly has courage. He has documented each and every one of these abuses for longer than a decade.

    Just my 2 cents about your current honoree.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Three years ago, I was in the hospital with an elderly family member. All I wanted from those doctors was straight talk. It was very obvious that my mother was dying, but no one would go there.

      Well, actually one of the doctors did and that was the one who finally got her signed into hospice. She was in hospice for all of five days, but I can’t help thinking that if she’d gotten there sooner, her final month would have been less painful.

    2. flora

      Thank you. Oh, how I miss the Marcus Welby days when my family doctor would admit, visit in hospital once a day or every other day depending, keep an eye on treatments, etc. I trusted my family doc to know my medical history and prescribe correctly. Hospitalists are, what, box checkers for the hospital’s electronic med records system? (Sorry, had a bad experience with a hospitalist. Bad. Bad diag and prescription. I’m sure most are well trained and careful.)

      1. ambrit

        (“I’m sure most are well trained and careful.”)
        Sorry to burst the bubble, but the “hospitalist” movement is strictly about upbilling. A multitude of sins, like misdiagnosis, sloppy test work, and general indifference, are forgiven if the financial metrics are met each quarter by said “in house” medicos.
        Our experiences in the early days of Phyl’s cancer taught us just how degraded the medical profession has become. It took an encounter with an old time surgeon, who was nearing early retirement, for Phyl to “bite the bullet” and have the offending member cast out.
        All of the old style doctors we know or knew are leaving the profession as soon as they can.

    3. Mel

      One of the things the rationalist mind-set — I'[l say, the industrial-rationalist mind-set — hates is subjectivity. A rational process is constantly under threat of having its premises distorted by faulty information from outside. Personal physicians from outside could be super-spreaders of subjectivity. So dropping personal knowledge, collecting maximally objective data from tests, many heads considered better than one, a reliance on some kind of system beyond anything else.
      Same deal in the drive behind constant and pervasive testing in schools, to counter anything the teachers might personally have seen.
      Same anti-subjectivist drive when the State Department fired Arabic speakers after 9/11, and fired Russian speakers after the end of the USSR. Just to mention a few things that popped up in reading today.

      1. flora

        Ah well, this is interesting. “Industrial” indeed. Artificial Intelligence works by measuring data at points-in-time and computing outcomes. But what is measured is pre-determined by what is considered worth measuring by the coders. Discrete points-in-time measurements work well for assembly line constructions. Time and motion men and all that. For human beings and their health? You see the problem.

        (If physicians are reduced to nothing more than AI front-end processors to a computer system then we are in trouble. imo.)

        1. flora

          adding: computer-ism has become our culture’s reigning mythos, imo.
          When you see the mythos that created this or this , and wonder what happened to those ancient empires, I’d suggest they fell victim to a socially and culturally destructive mythos. My 2 cents.

        2. Mel

          Yeah, industrial. I guess I threw that in because industrial processes are best when they’re scalable without inconvenient limits. Anything that depends on some particular person or circumstance will curb scaling-up. So an industrial designer will want to cut that out.
          I guess.

        3. herman_sampson

          Not everything that can be measured is important and not everything that is important can be measured (at least at present).

          1. rowlf

            Having worked with a cranky old very talented German machinist: Wer misst, misst Mist!

            He who measures measures crap.

      2. Revenant

        Process, not judgment.

        I think it might be Lambert’s zeroth law of neo liberalism.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      didn’t know thats where ‘hospitalists’ come from,lol.
      this last hospital we were in, the hospitalist was pretty cool…smart as a whip…and in another life, my kind of woman.
      she also didn’t have the priesthood complex one sees so often in these newfangled positions…took me seriously when i went on and on about wife’s anomalous physiology(no, that’s a tumor, not pneumonia…no, that kidney was initially rotated and malformed by the giant basketball tumor, now long removed..etc.)
      this has been my primary reason for insisting on being there in person for everything…i’m her walking medical history….and will not be shooed away from looking over their shoulder, seeing all the imagery and reading all the post-op reports.
      we’ve been able to avoid the testing frenzy you mentioned…as well as overmedication…this way….

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      One wonders if whatever legislation was passed to make electronic medical records mandatory could be repealed to make them un-mandatory.

      1. hunkerdown

        The takings clause doesn’t seem on the public’s side there. I think a bit too much of the grift in that category has consolidated and made its way back into the PACs in the usual profit sharing arrangement.

    6. Samuel Conner

      Thank you, IM Doc.

      The thought occurs that as people become more and more persuaded that their bodies are, for all practical purposes, resources that are managed for the purposes of corporate profit, there might be some kind of push-back.

      Perhaps a DIY movement to stay healthier and out of the clutches of these people (remembering that “corporations are people too”).

      Maybe a resurgence of “Victory gardening” in response to the food shortages will be the beginning of this.

  10. PKMKII

    Small time by Bezzle standards, but Bezzle news none the less: Lawsuit being filed against WATA games for fraud, RICO, and unfair business practices. The linked blog has several articles on the issue, or you can watch Karl Jobst’s excellent YouTube videos on it, but the TL;DR is that there’s an inappropriate relationship between WATA, who grades and estimates prices for vintage video games, and the auction houses that did the selling. There’s also allegations of WATA executives getting preferential gradings for their own games.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      The awesome part about this is if you dig just a little bit, you’ll find people at the root of this who got wrist slapped for similar manipulations in the collectable coin market in the 1980s. Insert shock and surprise.

    2. ChuckECheese

      Resident numismatists might be familiar with the man behind Heritage Auctions, who was collaborating with WATA on the scheme. He was involved in the same thing with the rare coin market, back in the day.

      1. Wukchumni

        Collectors Universe was bought for $700 million by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of D-1 Capital Partners in November of 2020, so there’s your culprit.

        Previously, CU revolutionized the coin business by introducing 3rd party grading of coins (PCGS) in the mid 1980’s. Heretofore everybody self-graded their coins, it was a major breakthrough that was welcomed by the industry.

        Apparently CU is grading video games now, ye gads!

    3. lance ringquist

      i probably should not discuss this because it could be construed as advertising, but its not. i have sold 1000’s perhaps tens of thousands of new in the box games that have ended up on e-bay, in pawn shops, and grading houses.

      i have watched youtubes of games i sold, being talked about at gaming stores, pawnshops, and people who cover rare games.

      if the average buyer only knew who i was, they would save a lot. but that’s not how the game is played.

      so a lawsuit might not end whats going on.

  11. MP

    > COVID has been the largest mass casualty event in the history of the United States.

    If we exclude all the others, like fentanyl.

    1. Samuel Conner

      My thought was that this observation about “mass casualty” ,,, process (not really an ‘event’) intersects with today’s Links item on US military preparedness for long-term attritional combat.

      Perhaps conditioning the population to acquiesce in unnecessary significant elevated civilian casualties is a way of desensitizing everyone to future prolonged high combat casualty scenarios. Of course, the military is having recruitment problems, and long COVID will probably make those worse; this would be a real problem in a high attrition conflict. But on the other hand, as everything else in civilian life is, for most of the population, increasingly crapified, the free healthcare offered to military personnel might persuade more people to sign up.

    2. thoughtfulperson

      Think not. At 50,000 per year it will take fentanyl 20 years to catch covid19’s 2 year toll

  12. shinola

    Re. the bezzle tweet from the Gravel Institute:

    **Nothing created, nothing built, just money redistributed upwards and people scammed. This is what passes for “innovation.”**

    Well, crypto is/was a pretty innovative con….

  13. Expat2Uruguay

    Wow, this is really interesting. As many are aware, there has been a lot of recriminations lately because the United States is hosting the Summit of the Americas and wants to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
    Mexico, along with many other countries in Central and South America have protested. With that background consider this news story: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/crime-pmn/u-s-anti-drugs-agency-pulls-plane-from-mexico-in-fresh-cooperation-blow

    “The plane was invaluable to our missions,” said Leonardo Silva, a former DEA agent who served in Mexico. “It’s very important to the DEA’s ability to function and be effective in Mexico.”
    With two DEA pilots on standby at all times, the plane has also been critical to rescuing U.S. agents facing death threats, including in 2011 when the Zetas cartel in central Mexico killed a U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agent and hunted his wounded colleague, Victor Avila, who had to be flown out.”

    So can we imagine that the USDEA and US Homeland Security may further reduce police forces in Mexico in the future because they can’t secure them? Please observe what has been left out of the headline, quite deliberately:

    “The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has stopped stationing a plane in Mexico for anti-narcotics operations for the first time in decades after Mexican officials rescinded its parking spot, three sources said.’

  14. Expat2Uruguay

    Another incredible story out of South America:
    The title is: Paraguay organized crime prosecutor slain on Colombian beach

    The article informs the reader this happened while he was on honeymoon with his new bride who had just posted a baby announcement… Fortunately the new widow was unhurt. Also, in a surprising twist, apparently these drug gangs are marijuana based?

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > … apparently these drug gangs are marijuana based?

      Yet another reason to #LegalizeIt

      1. Late Introvert

        Don’t criticize it.

        I wrote a song too, I’m going to quote the bridge:

        It’s a riot
        and all the experts lie about it
        it’s a riot
        the way the experts lie about it

  15. drumlin woodchuckles

    Hermit thrush song . . . . imagine this being heard from semi-far-away in a deep forest behind many trees.
    A combination of muffle and echo.

    The wood thrush sounds a little like this, in its own different way.

  16. ChrisRUEcon


    You know who’s also 75 (this year)?! Gergen dare not speak her name though … LOL

    1. Samuel Conner

      To be fair, females tend to outlive males by several years, so Her Majesty probably deserves to get credit for that in comparisons with the male options. And it would be a highly entertaining contest.

  17. Wukchumni

    Shipping: “U.S. importers turn to prayer and the President as West Coast port labor talks begin” [Hellenic Shipping News].

    Our shipper, which art in Tiān,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy ship from the middle kingdom come.
    Thy will move heaven & earth,
    As it is in Shanghai.
    Give us this day our daily imports.
    And forgive us our desperation,
    As we forgive them that are killing our business.
    And lead us not into temptation of actually making stuff here,
    But deliver us from evil of losses
    For thine is the middle kingdom,
    The power, and the glory,
    For ever and ever.

  18. Joe Renter

    Mom’s is located in Salina Ut. Not Salida. It looked familiar. I drove through town a few years back.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Yeah the food is all right. I also think about it when the “never eat at…” axiom is brought up.

    2. Michael

      The family and I were busting thru sunrise on our way to Colorado some 15-20 years ago and we see the sign: Mom’s Best scones in the west! (i think)
      Well, if you thought scones were deep fried like french fries they might be, but being from N Cal, we had a different view.

      Gag! Eat your eggs and let’s get moving. Coffee to go pls.

      Thanks for the memories :<}

    3. Darius

      I just got back from New Orleans, where we were staying across Poydras Street from a place called Mother’s. Pretty spectacular dive.

  19. Mikel

    I have to do some research on who this fellow is but:


    From transcript of podcast link in article:
    “…Dr. Chris Martenson [00:05:25] Why? Listen, if I’m giving misinformation, fine. I just put out a piece a couple of weeks ago and I talked about the Danish study, which just reviewed this same data, just reviewed as given the data from the pharma companies themselves to conclude that all cause mortality was not affected by the mRNA vaccines. Whereas for the adenovirus vector vaccines, which includes the JnJ and the AstraZeneca, which they looked at, they didn’t have a chance to look at China’s adenovirus or Russia’s adenovirus vector vaccines. So we don’t have that data, but at least those two actually reduced all cause mortality, which is, of course, what you would want in a pandemic vaccine. You would want it to reduce death. Very simple…”

    All cause mortality was a subject of discussion the other day…

    1. SocalJimObjects

      From that same link, after looking at the documents, Chris M observed the following: The grand total number of people tested in the 18-55- and 65–85-year-old age brackets was just 12 in each.

      Why not just test 1 person from each group? It’s faster. Heck, why not let natural selection play the role of FDA?

      Perhaps there’s something I am not understanding here, but how can he be certain that the vaccines reduced all cause mortality given the small number of people involved in the initial testing. Also from that same link, it seems like Pfizer knew that protection would wear off just after one month after the second dose.

    1. tegnost

      …a real winner, must be very successful·
      Replying to
      This has to stop.

      Ballem presided over the politicization of Vancouver City Hall under Vision Vancouver, destroying functioning horizontal planning structures & morphing them into siloed, top-down structures micro-managed by her, destroying morale so thoroughly it made the news

  20. Jason Boxman

    The NY Times really just phones it in anymore. Right on the front page, a doubled headline:

    Meatpackers misled the public and influenced the Trump administration during the pandemic, a congressional report said.Meatpackers misled the public and influenced the Trump administration during Covid, a report said.

    Copyeditors must number zero now. But propagandists are off the charts!

    A congressional report claimed that meatpacking companies issued “baseless” warnings about food shortages and influenced government decisions to keep plants open early in the pandemic.

    Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina and the chairman of the committee, said the findings underlined the companies’ interest in prioritizing production over the health of their workers.

    “The shameful conduct of corporate executives pursuing profit at any cost during a crisis and government officials eager to do their bidding regardless of resulting harm to the public must never be repeated,” he said in a statement.

    No sense of irony, as what are liberal Democrats doing right now?! Profits over people. It’s being repeated as we speak! Shameless. May the COVID be with you, Congressman!

    1. Late Introvert

      This report got headlines in the 2 major Eastern Iowa papers today.

      The Press-Citizen already deep-sixed their story, no surprise, it was devastating. This one is still up:


      I stopped looking at the Des Moines Register years ago, and I grew up on that paper. Another rotting corpse that won’t die. But they are hosting the article that was removed from the Press-Citizen, read it while you can:


  21. LawnDart

    If Trump had won, would we be dealing with this Ukraine BS? Nuland and most of the neocons wouldn’t be in the picture, for one…

    If Trump were President, wouldn’t the dems be battering him every day over Covid, rather than just hoping people forget about it?

    After the dems get swept in November, how will that change the political climate on the road to ’24?

    [Nuland is indeed f-ing the EU– I’d be willing to bet Eurasain integration gets a jolt soon after the Christmas riots begin in cold, hungry Europe (esp. UK) later this year as governments start to fail and fall]

    1. CitizenSissy

      If Trump had won, I submit Russia would be making moves to bring the Warsaw Pact band back together. We’d be dealing with “BS” in the form of an aggressive, empire-building Russian regime.

      And we can’t forget about the COVID that’s still very much with us.

      1. The Rev Kev

        But would Zelensky have been empowered to say-

        We are going to launch a huge military invasion to destroy the Donbass Republics with our NATO-trained and Nazi-led army.

        Now that we have killed the Minsk agreements, we will next attack Crimea aka Russian Federation territory aka that nuke power next door.

        We are now going to start assembling our own nuke capability, especially since we have the missiles to deliver them.

        Because Zelensky said all three and all in the weeks just before the war.

      2. Darius

        Are you saying Russia is a bigger threat than NATO, which really means US? Are you saying Biden is any better in COVID than Trump? Like Biden, Trump was all about the vax too, to the exclusion of almost everything else.

        1. tegnost

          Trump did operation warp speed, biden did let ‘er rip…
          Nuff said.
          “Follow the Science!”

      3. LawnDart

        True, they didn’t forget: the flags are at half-staff for the victims.

        “We honor your service, expendible workers.”

        Most of the Warsaw Pact is useless, at least since the 90’s. The real action is Eurasia and what was known as the 3rd world, and you know that.

    2. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that it would be a subtle but highly humanitarian move for the Rs to start posting instructions, in the various European languages, on ‘how to grow potatoes’. I’ve read that individual initiative to grow potatoes in gardens helped to mitigate some of the food precarity that arose in the economic collapse after the breakup of the USSR.

  22. Big River Bandido

    Nice to see via the Philadelphia Inquirer that its official — all politicians dislike John Fetterman.

    Here’s hoping he makes their lives miserable.

    1. CitizenSissy

      I buy the Sunday Inky a week late at the Dollar Tree, solely for the coupons. Fetterman should wear their scorn as the badge of honor it is.

      I’ve met Fetterman at a union meet-and-greet, and he’s even more terrifying looking in person; that’s a good thing. Conor Lamb, the D establishment choice, has run the most inept campaign possible. I live in suburban Philly, and he’s made no effort whatsoever to connect to voters.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > … he’s made no effort whatsoever to connect to voters.

        And that, good Citizen, is how you know he’s the establishment choice.

  23. Hepativore

    Here is Biden kindly warning us that the Supreme Court is
    going to ban gay marriages soon.


    How nice of him to warn us, and it is not like he is the president or anything…that would be Joe Manchin. Biden and the rest of the Democrats have not lifted a finger to stop any of this happening and they practically opened the door for Amy Barrett despite Pelosi and her ilk swearing up and down that they were going to deny her confirmation. There were plenty of things Biden could have done and can do including court-packing and removing the filibuster to codify these things into law. Yet when asked about it he says he will not do it.

    Instead of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns, we have Biden as emperor Commodus doing nothing while the country spirals out of control.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was under the impression that ‘ssshrubery was Commodus, as he’s a better fit, emblematic of when the Roman Empire really went into decline, and his daddy was an emperor too.

  24. VietnamVet

    Today is when the catastrophic effects of profiteering have come to fruition. On the North Carolina’s East Coast high waves wash beach houses out to sea. On the California’s West Coast huge McMansions burn down. Super spreader events keep occurring. In a repeat of the Iran-Iraq war, energy malaise returns to the West. The Ukraine Russia War slogs on. There are no long-term “best laid plans” to end war, pestilence, and famine.

    CNN let a bit of truth escape into the wild; “Reflecting on the Cuban missile crisis, President John Kennedy once warned that nuclear powers “must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.”

    With the restoration of breast feeding or relearning to prepare homemade formula, plus the end of reproductive rights; “End Days” TV is here.

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