2:00PM Water Cooler 5/16/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

I think I’ll try some Evening Grosbeaks.

* * *


“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

“Biden urges unity to stem racial hate after Buffalo shooting” [Star Tribune]. • I’ve always, er, hated the liberal Democrat “hate” trope. Here’s why:

“Obscures the labor involved” is the key point for me. It’s not clear to me how the liberal Democrats draping blue and yellow flags over their “In this house” signs reconcile their passionate opposition to white supremacy with supporting the Azov Battalion, but the double-thinking brain worms are powerful.

If you look at this photo from the Buffalo shooting as a stage set:

In the background, a building destroyed by deindustrialization. In the middle ground, an imperial facade, possibly made from styrofoam. In the foreground, cops. White cops, in fact. (Yes, I know that the TOPS store was induced to move into a black neighborhood, once a food desert, through community action. That’s the “friendly markets” part.)


* * *

“Kurt Schrader Blasted Nancy Pelosi as “Truly a Terrible Person” While Killing Biden’s Build Back Better” [The Intercept]. “[Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore] was a leader of an effort by centrist Democrats to disrupt Pelosi and President Joe Biden’s plan to pair a bipartisan infrastructure package with a reconciliation bill that included Biden’s social policy agenda as well as an ambitious attempt to tackle the climate crisis. In June, Schrader had joined with Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and seven other Democrats demanding that the bipartisan bill be split apart from the broader agenda.” Fast forward to today: “On May 12, House Majority PAC, Pelosi’s super PAC, gave the maximum $5,000 to Schrader’s campaign. A Pelosi spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to respond to Schrader’s claim that the House speaker is truly a terrible person.” • A big, beautiful tent!

“Republican Money Is Gushing Into Democratic Primaries To Nominate Conservative Dems” [Down with Tyranny]. “Massive amounts of Republican money is being laundered into Democratic primaries via AIPAC’s sleazy United Democracy Project and Mark Mellman’s even sleazier Democratic Majority for Israel. The two crooked right-wing organizations are attacking– usually with out-right lies– Erica Smith and Nida Allam in North Carolina, Summer Lee in Pennsylvania, Jamie McLeod-Skinner in Oregon, Jessica Cisneros in Texas.” • What Pelosi seems not to understand is that we have an effective Republican Party. It’s just that some of them are Democrats.

PA: “Fetterman suffers stroke days ahead of Pennsylvania Senate primary” [The Hill]. “Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman on Sunday said he had suffered a stroke late last week but was on the way to ‘a full recovery.’ ‘On Friday, I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the hospital to get checked out,’ Fetterman said in a statement released from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. ‘I hadn’t been feeling well, but was so focused on the campaign that I ignored the signs and just kept going. On Friday it finally caught up with me. I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long,’ he explained. ‘The good news is I’m feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage. I’m well on my way to a full recovery,’ Fetterman added.”

PA: “EXPLAINER: What do we know about John Fetterman’s diagnosis?” [Associated Press]. “[I]t’s not clear when he will get out of the hospital in Lancaster or whether he will attend the primary night event that his campaign had scheduled in Pittsburgh on Tuesday…. Fetterman did not say by what method the doctors removed the clot. His campaign said his exact treatment regimen is still being worked out, but will include rest in the short term and a healthier diet…. People who develop A-fib are almost always put on a blood-thinning medication for the rest of their life to help prevent the stroke-causing blood clots that untreated A-fib can create, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said.” • NOTE It does not seem, at first sight, that Fetterman’s stroke has anything to do with Covid. At the same time, Senator Chris Van Hollen has had a stroke, but due to a “venous tear.” So I’m not sure the dots connect on this one.

WI: “Opinion | Tom Nelson says he knows how to fight for workers” [The Cap Times]. “When he heard that members of United Auto Workers Local 180 were on strike against CNH, the multinational corporation that makes Case agricultural equipment in Racine County, Tom Nelson raced to join their picket line…. Nelson had heard this story before. He’s something of an expert on labor relations, having written a book, “One Day Stronger: How One Union Local Saved a Mill and Changed an Industry — and What It Means for American Manufacturing,” on the fight to prevent the shuttering of the Appleton Coated plant in the Fox River Valley.” • I’m not sure how Nelson is polling…..

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.

* * *

“Democrats’ Major Campaign Tech Firm Shifts Under New Private Equity Owner” [The Intercept]. “In August 2021, when the parent company of NGP VAN, a privately owned database that hosts Democrats’ most sensitive data, was sold to Apax Partners, a British private equity firm, a major vulnerability in the party infrastructure was exposed. NGP VAN, which is part of the fundraising management software company EveryAction, is one of two major organizations that run the coveted organizing, voter file, and compliance tools that the Democratic Party relies on to build power…. Progressive operatives have long been critical of NGP VAN’s effective duopoly over software for Democratic campaigns. Action Network, built to protect voter data from being used outside an organizing purpose, is its major nonprofit competitor. ActBlue, a major Democratic fundraising firm, integrated its services with NGP in 2018.” More: “The next week, the firm introduced its new corporate name: Bonterra. An umbrella that covers what were once four companies — EveryAction; another fundraising software for nonprofits called Network for Good; and two nonprofit and philanthropic tech companies that Apax combined with EveryAction in the August merger, Social Solutions and CyberGrants — Bonterra’s stated goal is to connect nonprofits to donors. While the four companies adopted the Bonterra name, NGP VAN, though functionally in the same position, remained a stand-alone brand.” “Bonterra.” Get it? More: “Apax partner Jason Wright, who is a director on Bonterra’s board, gave near-maximum contributions to Republican Senate candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in November 2020, several weeks after they both lost their elections. That month, he also gave $5,600 to WinRed, the GOP fundraising platform. Wright previously contributed to committees for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney. In a statement after the 2021 merger, Wright and Apax principal Adam Garson, another Bonterra director, said that the “resulting scale and connectivity between donors and non-profits will help reshape philanthropic giving.” A spokesperson for Apax, who declined to comment on the record, said Wright’s role at Bonterra was in oversight and that he had no operating control.” • What could go wrong?

Republican Funhouse

“Trump criticizes spending for Ukraine” [The Hill]. Trump: “The Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children.” • And he’s not wrong, is he?

“The Plotters Against America” [John Ganz, Unpopular Front]. “[W]hen you begin to tally up the California think tank’s tanks accomplishments, things start to appear a little eerie: just about every illiberal, anti-democratic, and demagogic project attempted by the Right in the past few years is connected to Claremont in some way…. With all this activity, you might expect Claremont Institute’s ideological underpinnings to derive from neo-Confederatism or European fascism, but the intellectual sources of its revolt against American democracy are somewhat surprising. The Claremont Institute was founded by students of Harry V. Jaffa (1918-2015), himself a student of Leo Strauss and the American Right’s premier interpreter and defender of Abraham Lincoln.” • Leo Strauss? Hmm….


“Trial by fire: Durham takes former Clinton lawyer to court” [Washington Examiner]. “The trial of former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, charged with lying to the FBI about not having a client when he passed along since-debunked claims of collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia in 2016, is set to begin Monday. The clash in federal court in Washington, D.C., represents the biggest and most public test yet for John Durham and his special counsel investigation.” More: “Christopher Cooper, the U.S. district court judge presiding over the Sussmann case, has said he was “professional acquaintances” at the Justice Department with Sussmann in the 1990s. The judge’s wife has represented former FBI lawyer Lisa Page since at least 2018.” • Oh.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Episode 175 – Musk Rat Race (w/ Matt Stoller)” (podcast) [Briahna Joy Gray, Bad Faith]. “What started off as a conversation about free speech, Section 230, Elon Musk’s Twitter buy, and the antitrust solutions to social media censorship became an energetic debate about the nature of American exceptionalism, identity politics, & patriotism vs afro pessimism. Matt Stoller, anti-monopoly expert behind the substack BIG & author of Goliath: The Hundred Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy returns to the pod for a fun and unexpectedly rigorous debate.” • This is really, really good; passionate, informed, no game playing. Both Gray and Stoller are clearly having the time of their lives!


I’ve been treating the charts as topic areas and putting relevant snippets of content under them. But I’m afraid readers miss the snippets. So I decided to put bullets in front of the snippets in the #COVID19 section, as here:

• Hi, Rochelle!

Check the title and the author list. From the Abstract:

We demonstrated the practical measurement of carbon dioxide levels to which individuals are exposed in a sequence of non-steady state indoor environments. A novel metric of rebreathed air volume reflects social and environmental factors associated with airborne infection and can identify locations with high transmission potential.

So naturally Walensky is recommending CO2 measurement in indoor spaces. Oh, wait…. (I seem not to have awarded Walensky “Sociopath of the Day,” and I should have, for this. Oh well, I’m sure there will be further opportunities!

• If Mead’s test for civilization is correct, we’re failing:

Rule #2 is not a cultural universal, who knew.

• ”The Covid Capitulation” [Eric Topol, Ground Truths]. “The United States is now in the midst of a new wave related to Omicron variants BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 with over 90,000 confirmed new cases a day and a 20% increase in hospitalizations in the past 2 weeks. That belies the real toll of the current wave, since most people with symptoms are testing at home or not testing at all; there is essentially no testing for asymptomatic cases. The real number of cases is likely at least 500,000 per day, far greater than any of the US prior waves except Omicron. The bunk that cases are not important is preposterous. They are infections that beget more cases, they beget Long Covid, they beget sickness, hospitalizations and deaths. They are also the underpinning of new variants.” Topol [lambert preens] catches up with what Water Cooler has been saying for months, good job. More: “Congress should immediately allocate for an Operation Warp Speed (OWS)-like initiative to bring nasal vaccines over the goal line. Three of these are in late stage clinical trials and success of any would markedly ameliorate our problems of transmission, no less the alluring aspect of achieving mucosal immunity and being variant-proof.” [lambert preens once more.] The whole piece is well worth a read, and not just because of my preening.

• Maskstravaganza:

* * *

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.

* * *

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:

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 86,000 * 6 = 516,000, 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.

• “The CDC says to think again before getting a second COVID booster. Is it rationing vaccines?” [Fortune]. “The government wants you to wait on getting that fourth vaccine shot, and it won’t say exactly why. Americans eligible for a second COVID booster shot—including those 50 and older and the immunocompromised—may want to consider waiting before getting a fourth jab, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, as it launched an online tool to help individuals determine if they qualify. Per the agency’s booster guidance website, updated Friday, those who are eligible for a second booster should consider how likely they are to get “very sick” from the virus based on preexisting health issues and potential community exposure. ‘If you are eligible, can you wait?‘ asks the guidance, urging those who have had COVID-19 in the past three months or who feel ‘that getting a second booster now would make you not want to get another booster in the future’ to consider holding off.” • This is really innovative; CDC has introduced complex eligibility requirements and gotten citizens to impose the requirements on themselves!

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:

This is starting to look like acceleration.

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:

Looks like the West was readjusted too, upwards. What’s going on with these guys?

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

New England and New York improved. Pennsylvania from green to red. West improved. Midwest staatus quo.

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.)

• Personal risk assessment:

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,026,109 1,025,764. Still down and way too high. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

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.

Zeitgeist Watch

Our Famously Free Press

Crocodile tears:

Normalizing war with China:

The Gallery

I wonder what this looks like on the wall. Post-impressionism:

When I was living in DC, I visited the Phillips Collection a few time; it has quite a number of Bonnards. Scholars apparently classify Bonnard as a member of the Nabis School, which they call “decorative.” What I remember is how the colors seemed to thrillingly float in the air above the surface of the canvas, as Rothkos (IIRC) are said to do, but I’ve never gotten them.


“Pioneer Rediscovered: The Woman Who Brought Female Representation to Games” [Game History]. “Last year, ran an article about our search for an Atari VCS game developer by the name of ‘Ban Tran.’ As we understood it, Tran was a Vietnamese woman who worked for a short-lived, Texas-based game company called Apollo, where she wrote Wabbit — the first console game to star a human girl — before the company declared bankruptcy towards the end of 1982….” Turns out “Van,” not “Ban.” More: “Mai was born in Vietnam. As a teenager, she entered the US as a refugee at the end of the Vietnam War, settling in with her family in Dallas. After dropping out of high school due to the language barrier (she later got a GED), she said a friend of hers suggested they take night classes to learn how to operate and program computers. She didn’t know much about computers going into those classes, but found she liked working with them, even if the school’s IBM 370 meant her first forays into programming were done using punch cards. Upon getting her certification, Mai was hired as a programmer at the Dallas Independent School District. The district had a team developing lesson plans as part of a computer-based curriculum, and Mai’s job was to program these lessons in BASIC for the district’s TRS-80 computers. The work was simple, but introduced her to working on computer graphics and animation, which she enjoyed. Eventually the district cut the computer lessons program, and Mai was back to looking for a new job. She just happened to spot a Help Wanted ad Apollo had printed in the newspaper looking for programmers to work on video games. Since her family lived near the Apollo offices at the time, she figured it was worth checking out.” • This is great, great story, and I’m not certain it could happen today.

Groves of Academe

Covid minimizers play rough (1):

Covid minimizers play rough (2):

Guillotine Watch

“Forget Burning Man — Psychedelic Shamans Now Heading to Davos” [Bloomberg]. “But this [World Economic Forum] will host a ‘House of Psychedelics’ program with almost 40 sessions and speakers, including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors — and some who consider themselves shamans….“It’s a really big shift for world leaders to inquire about how they might be able to use psychedelics,” said Marik Hazan, chief executive officer of Energia Holdings Inc., the New York-based business hosting the event. Energia is a holding company for Tabula Rasa Ventures, an incubator for psychedelic companies, and Hazan is a managing partner at Tabula Rasa. The program aims to spark conversations about rolling out psychedelics responsibly for medical use and encourage countries and companies to include such treatments in health coverage.” • Just what we need. The 1%, who are already doing whacko things like using twenty-somethings as blood bags, who are full of cray cray ideas like (say) loanable funds theory, who because of their extreme wealth have lost the capacity for compassion, and who are probably losing brain cells by the boatload as they continually infect themselves at superspreader events, are going to start dropping acid. I shudder to think what it would take for their trips to be good; and I wonder what will happen if their trips are bad.

Class Warfare

“A planned economy is the only way to save the planet. Here’s how” [OpenDemocracy]. “[Neurath] blamed the Left’s defeat less on adverse circumstances than on a failure of the imagination in the years that preceded the revolution. Neurath argued that the Left was unprepared for power because of the longstanding Marxist aversion to utopian thought, which he saw less as daydreaming than the practical work of building a new society. “This misery has befallen us not at least because we lacked clear aims,” he lamented in the aftermath of defeat. “Marxists killed playful utopianism… paralysing the resolve to think up new forms…. In his work as a planner and in his later writings, Neurath deftly outlined the principles of socialist governance. He argued that any system based on a single metric would be “pseudorational” because it would lead to the optimisation of one criterion, while life was actually a messy mix of ethical, environmental, social, and political goals. This is why the capitalist pursuit of profit alone led to illogical outcomes.” • Confusing the pointing finger (the metric) with the moon (the objective), with the Harvard Business Review calls “surrogation.”

“Teens help lead union drive at Starbucks” [San Francisco Examiner]. “Before she from graduates high school, Mill Valley teenager Ella Clark will already have checked off her to-do list calling out a major corporation that doesn’t believe in the value of organizing. Then, she thinks she plans on studying constitutional law. Clark is the reason the nascent movement to unionize Starbucks is making its entrance in the Bay Area. Because she reached out to Starbucks Workers United, a collective of Starbucks employees across the United States bargaining for better working conditions, a local National Labor Relations Board election will take place soon.” • Great stuff. Too bad about the career choice….

Remember “essential workers”? Good times:

Everything’s going according to plan!

Amazon is managed by Harkonnens:

Some sadist did this because they could.

News of the Wired

Not feeling wired today!

* * *

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 Angie Neer:

Angie Neer: “I believe this is an Alder, in the process of releasing its seeds, aided by Pacific northwest rain. Sorry about the shallow depth of focus, Lambert ;-)” This is lovely, including the bokeh :-)

* * *

NOTE ON PAYPAL: As some readers may know, PayPal whacked Consortium News’s account, for no justification that I can see. It’s to be hoped that Consortium News has its account completely restored, and that NC doesn’t come under the same ban hammer. In the meantime, until I/we can come up with an alternative, I must continue to rely on PayPal (and rely I do). I will be cleaning out the account daily, and PayPal does give a heads-up, so your risk is minimal. Please carry on as before, or, if you feel you must, write me and I will send you directions for sending a check. Please put “PayPal” in the subject line. Thank you for your support! It is much appreciated, and helps me with responsibilities. –lambert

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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. Questa Nota

    Sussmann trial people demonstrate once again the incestuousness in DC. With all that power coupling in the DOJ, Exec Branch and elsewhere, is it any wonder that there are some mutations?

    Toss in the media/policy marriages and then ask why there aren’t more disclosures. Oh, yeah, good faith. :/

  2. antidlc


    How often can you be infected with COVID-19?
    By Apoorva Mandavilli
    New York Times

    May 16, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    A virus that shows no signs of disappearing, variants that are adept at dodging the body’s defenses and waves of infections two, maybe three times a year — this may be the future of COVID-19, some scientists now fear.
    Those people may go on to have third or fourth infections, even within this year, researchers said in interviews. And some small fraction may have symptoms that persist for months or years, a condition known as long COVID.

    “It seems likely to me that that’s going to sort of be a long-term pattern,” said Juliet Pulliam, an epidemiologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

    Some scientists NOW fear? I guess they don’t read NC.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, the whole neighborhood heard me screaming when I read that. We’re so far beyond benign neglect. Social murder is right.

  3. Carolinian

    That alternate explanation of hate crimes sounds more foilly than good psychology. Perhaps mass shooters are disturbed individuals who do it for the attention and merely use hate as the excuse. At any rate legislating a mental state puts the law into a subjective zone that is very convenient for those who feel their actions–whatever they may be–are always justified by their good moral character (i.e. the elites) For example they feel no shame about lying as long as it’s for our own good (according to them).

    IMO so called hate crime laws should be viewed with deep suspicion.

    1. jr

      I believe I saw a recent video from a Canadian feminist who cautioned her viewers that using the correct pronouns for “trans identified” types is illegal. Here is an article that supports that claim:


      God help us all when Jordon Peterson gets something right.

      Hate crime laws aren’t about reducing hate, they are about policing language according to a particular ideological goal. Now pronouns, which are used to identify one’s biological sex, are of a sudden a matter of personal choice regarding one’s gender fantasies. It’s always about the word games with identitarian twits. Cause discourse is reality and all. Imbeciles.

      More charades and parlor games with the teeth of the law behind them, more pandering to the narcissistic whims of a tiny minority being used as a wedge formation in a much bigger war. A war to shape perceptions of reality for the benefit of the few over the many. How long can a civilization that lives in a daydream stand?

      1. CzechAgain

        This case has been pumped up by the usual suspects – right-wing fanatics and their online tabloids, to the point where actually tracking down information that’s NOT generated by these rabid publications is difficult.
        But the answer is simple: it’s simply not true. The father was not jailed for ‘using wrong pronouns’, nor even under a hate crime statute. That’s just fabricated.
        The man was jailed for contempt of court and to stop him from harming a child – in this case, by publicizing information that would identify the child. And again – specifically for doing this after being warned by the court not to do this.

        The underlying dispute was about treatment of the child. Apparently there was part of the Judge’s orders that the father should not ‘mispronoun’ the child – seemingly, reading between the lines, not to inflame the situation further. I do not know if that part of the order only meant in court, but there’s no evidence that he was jailed for not using the correct pronoun. He was jailed for violating a direct court order.

        I’ve no opinion on the case overall but most of the reporting on it is just wrong.

      2. Aumua

        This is the second time now today that I’ve seen someone try and divert a discussion thread about the Buffalo mass shooting onto the scourge of transgender activism and how uppity those trans people are getting. What gives, man?

        1. Yves Smith

          I am letting this comment through since you are effectively making our point. Transgender is now officially off topic and we are ripping out all comments in the future on this subject, unless there is some narrow exception, like a transgender person is running for office in a contest that is expected to be close. We don’t post articles on transgender issues. This is a finance and economics site that gets into politics as it relates to that (which is a lot BTW: macroeconomic policy, Covid, health regulation, MIC spending, class warfare as reflected in tax and spending) and bringing it up is thread-jacking, a written Policies violation.

    2. fresno dan


      UFFALO, N.Y., May 15 (Reuters) – A white teenager who killed 10 people in a racist attack at a western New York grocery store in a Black neighborhood had been taken into custody last year and given a mental health evaluation after making a threat at his high school, authorities said.
      New York Governor Kathy Hochul told ABC News on Sunday that an investigation would focus on what could have been done to stop the teenager, who appeared to have advertised a slew of violent, racist views online.
      “I want to know what people knew and when they knew it,” she said.
      what could have been done to stop the teenager
      hmmmm….permanent incarceration in a mental institution till we “fix” him? OR maybe make sure he didn’t have guns…
      Nah. we have to accept that there is an irreducible danger in frequenting grocery stores.

      1. Mike Mc

        I have a draconian suggestion to reduce gun violence, but it’s harsh at best.

        1) Identify the neighborhoods with the highest gun violence/murder rate (most metro police departments already know this).

        2) Cordon that neighborhood off and go door-to-door; all registered/legally purchased (need a receipt) firearms remain, everything else goes to the police department first – to run ballistics tests – then the smelter. (The US failure to do this in Afghanistan surprised me.)

        3) Repeat as needed. Like I said, draconian and doesn’t even cover white supremacists buying AR15s legally so there’s that too.

        Old white guy here who learned to shoot in grade school – Korean War combat vet dad and NRA gun safety instructors in Cub Scouts (BB guns) and Boy Scouts (.22 rifles). Shot trap, skeet and sporting clays until the local range cray cray drove me out. Funny how neither Clinton, Obama nor Biden managed to take anybody’s guns yet, eh?

        1. JBird4049

          Hmmm, I would hope that the unconstitutional search and seizure probably without a warrant would give some pause.

          This sounds like civil asset forfeitures, which should be illegal, but the courts deemed constitutional because reasons, allow the police to take cash, cars, houses, businesses and anything else that they can claim is from drug profits. Frequently, no charges are filed as there is no evidence to use in a criminal court except for the police’s testimony. Does anyone carry a receipt for their cash? It is not the guilty or the dangerous people most harmed, but those people with the least power. The poor or minorities.

          I understand that gun violence is a serious problem, but as with so many others, there is a tendency to flatten our rights (and responsibilities) giving more power over us to others so that we might be “safe.”

          Anyways, the most violent neighborhoods are usually overpoliced and underserved, often by special drugs, guns, and gang task forces, which are usually the most corrupt in a police force. The police often act and are an occupying army. Also most mass murderers do not come from those areas although serial rapists and serial murderers prefer areas like that. The least fortunate of us often live those areas and they are the preferred prey of our predators.

        2. Aumua

          Wait, what? AFAIK, this kid (like Kyle Rittenhouse) drove to the hood in Buffalo from a nice reasonably affluent town to do this.

            1. Aumua

              Well I think it’s fairly established that the kid in Buffalo got many his ideas from Brendan Tarrant, who did visit the Ukraine, and a bunch of other places too before shooting up the mosque in NZ. As I said elsewhere the kid’s manifesto reads like a shameless and amateurish ripoff of Tarrant’s. Where does all of this stuff originate? White supremacist groups online and offline of course, including in the Ukraine.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Aside from being draconian, it is also a diversion away from the fascist-movement-shooter problem shown in this particular case.

    3. anon y'mouse

      carelessness and lack of consideration is generally more dangerous than “hate”.

      powerful and indifferent people cause more damage.

      these things are much more widespread than those who “hate” others organizing half of their entire lives and actions around their hatred and the object of that hatred.

      on a personal level, if someone hates you then at least you exist to them even if they view that existence negatively.

      it’s why i prefer Republicans. their hatred is pretty obvious. its the Dems with their “we really care, but we are knifing you in the back the entire time because it’s more profitable and tasteful to us” that i can’t stand. people can rarely see through the latter.

      of course, the Reps are now openly pandering to “populism” so they will be vying for that giant Dem hypocrisy crown again soon.

      1. Carolinian

        Can anyone deny that many or most Dems hate Trump? His voters? Putin?

        So then it becomes not hate itself but whether you hate the right people–i.e. those who deserve it.

        But law and justice is supposed to be a rational and deliberate thing carried out by a jury of your peers with a presumption of innocence. We’ve instead evolved into a Dershowitz style of law which is all about advocacy with the main thing being that you win your case.

        Tonight yet another episode of the excellent and antic Better Call Saul which is in its final season. The show is a satire but also has a lot on its mind about the law and lawyers. My argument may be a bit high minded but on the other hand our “influencers” who are really advocates don’t seem nearly high minded enough.

        1. Sardonia

          I love the early-on scene where Saul talks the psychotic Tuco out of killing his client (who stages fake injuries, but picked the wrong mark in Tuco’s grannie), and instead agrees to let Tuco just bust his leg.

          As his client is screaming in pain with his shattered leg, Saul says “What are you complaining about? I got you off Death Row and onto just 6 months probation.”

  4. Wukchumni

    “Forget Burning Man — Psychedelic Shamans Now Heading to Davos” [Bloomberg]. “But this [World Economic Forum] will host a ‘House of Psychedelics’ program with almost 40 sessions and speakers, including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors — and some who consider themselves shamans….

    er, shouldn’t the confab be held in Basel on a bicycle?

    Davos is all about money, and Burning Man isn’t really, when you’re in Black Rock City the only thing you can buy is bags of ice and coffee & tea, that’s it.

    The main form of transportation @ the burn is bicycles, by the way.

    1. anon y'mouse

      which burning man are you talking about? the one that was happening in the 90s, or even early before it moved to the desert?

      because each one for the last 15 years or more features exclusive party pavilions of the rich and famous, mostly tech bros displaying their “cool” factor, and art installations hoping to make the former their patrons.

      at least, that’s what comes across online.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’ll be my first Burning Man in 13 years after going from 2003 to 2009, so I can’t tell you what’s what, being a 2/3rds Rip Van Winkle…

      1. Wukchumni

        The first year I went, I thought I knew what it was all about, by the 6th year I was purposely vague, as what was the answer to the riddle of so many people gathering together in a completely sterile lifeless atmosphere of a seasonal enormous dry lake bed where the only occasional fly or bug you would see in a week, hitched a ride in with a Burner and is in insect hell.

        About the moolah…

        Tix used to be $200 and no problemo getting them if you bought early, and then a funny thing happened where as mentioned above, money doesn’t buy you much.

        My longtime backpacking partner has been going to Burning Man since 1996 and is somewhat of a poobah in the organization, and was allotted 4 early tix @ $475 per, 2 of which another friend who always wanted to go and I purchased, along with a $140 parking pass, so a bit of inflation there-but then i’ve been away from the game.

        Over the last decade, the demand for tix has been such that they sell for 2x ticket price or more in the aftermarket.

        When I was in attendance, it wasn’t money showing off, but being creative with an emphasis on art often involving flames @ night (no campfires of any kind are allowed aside from very well wrought out metal burn barrels, by the way) and damned interesting stuff by day, often employing the absurd in abundance.

        The biggest change for yours truly will be that wi-fi is now omnipresent on the playa, whereas back in the day everybody was completely cut off from the world pretty much, unless you took the bus to Gerlach 10 miles away to make a call. It reminded me of backpack trips where you know nothing aside from what is in front of you.

  5. JAC

    ”The Covid Capitulation”

    I knew that COVID was no joke but my recent experience the last few days after catching made me think of the spate of recent shootings as well as the negligence of just about every institution in the U.S.

    So, I am sharing my recent story so you can watch fro signs in people you know:

    I had a psychotic episode last Friday and Saturday and just had a positive COVID test, not that that was surprising. 99.6 temp (my normal temp is 96.8), aches, coughs. I started feeling achy last Wednesday but I have arthritis so I thought I was just having a flare up. Then I had a headache on Thursday which I never have a nd terrible insomnia, so I knew something was going on. Then on Friday and Saturday I started texting a friend , sending them pictures of people who I thought were following me, felt that everyone was looking at me, and that “they” were controlling people around me with money to bribe them to be against me. I started yelling at anyone or thing that triggered me. Today I am still achy, still a temp, chest hurst a bit, better mentally but still working on ignoring the thoughts. I am taking high dose Vitamin C and Zinc and I found the Vitamin C 1000mg made me feel sleepy, which was interesting, My diet has been horrible the last month, now I see I need to get out of my food funk an d bad to eating what I know works.

    I have a history of psychotic breaks and been in hospital a few times so I have the skills from therapy to see when this is happening. So now I read there are a lot of viruses that can cause psychotic breaks. Which leads me to ask, why are they not treating mood disorders as immune system disorders? There seems to be a link between Interleukin and both COVID and mood psychosis.

    So to the three shootings, what if COVID was the trigger? Look at the stories on YouTube of the people who suffered with this, so sad.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m so sorry to hear all of this.

      I doubt that Covid is the, er, trigger. I do sense a general, average increase in mass delusion. So one never knows.

    2. Mikel

      “So now I read there are a lot of viruses that can cause psychotic breaks…”


      But the neoliberal world order works overtime to keep people from making the connections with things.

      Feel better soon…

    3. Laura in So Cal

      My husband’s covid in early 2020 was characterized by a massive headache, insomnia and huge anxiety that approached a panic attack. He said “I knew that if I went to sleep, I would die”. My husband is a “go with the flow, it’ll be fine” kind of guy so this was just so weird. It just lasted the one day, but he says he had never felt like that before in his life.

      1. JAC

        Wow! Interesting! Mine was short lived as well, 3 days, and now I am pretty much out of it. But I had all the same symptoms. I am thinking this is Anti-NMDAr encephalitis, headaches are a big part of that. Benzodiazepines seem to help.

    4. Juneau

      There is research on inflammation causing depression in some people. In my own reading and following of psych blogs, psychiatrists are seeing these Covid related mental illnesses and are discussing it and writing it up. Still, infection as a cause of mental illness is better studied outside of the US, not so much here (since advanced syphilis became less of a problem). I wonder if the reliance on pharma based research is a factor in our focus (when you have funding for a hammer everything looks like a nail?). Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  6. Left in Wisconsin

    1. Tom Nelson, despite/because being by far the best candidate in the race, is polling a poor fourth and faces a huge uphill climb. Mandela Barnes, who seems like a nice person, is Lt Gov, from Milwaukee, and Black, but not wealthy. He has the best name recognition and a slight lead at this point. Second and third are Marc Lasry, from Milwaukee kind of (his dad co-owns the Bucks but they are not from WI) and Sarah Godlewski, who is State Treasurer (a meaningless job in our state with a basement office and 1 employee but she did win on a statewide ballot so has some name recognition) who grew up in Eau Claire as the child of teachers but married a finance guy and is a creature of DC. They are both more or less self-funded and have had commercials on the air for awhile. Interestingly, Lasry’s early commercials were about how the new Bucks arena pays a $15 min wage and used lots of local labor and he has the endorsement of many unions and community leaders in Milwaukee. Nelson’s awesome new commercial points out they could afford to do this because of huge state and local subsidies, which has gotten a little traction. You would never know it given Foxconn etc but corporate subsidies have never been popular with WI voters: the subsidies for the Brewers’ new stadium in the 90s led to several recalls and basically forced the legislature to minimize the subsidies offered to the Packers when they renovated Lambeau (despite the public having considerably more love for the Packers than the Brewers).

    Anyway, in addition to everything else, Nelson not well known out of his area and is not from Madison or Milwaukee, where the vast majority of Dem voters are, so I would say his chances are nil. But who knows.

    2. One small complaint: a building destroyed by deindustrialization

    Granted the building could use some attention but I would guess it is built solid as a rock and is far from destroyed. If we had a rational society, we would invest the relatively little it would take to bring such a building into new use and cut back on the greenfield stuff.

    1. Bugs

      Check into Godlewski. She looks like a spook to me, from my perch 5000km away. A stint at Booze Hamilton is never a good sign and where the heck did all the money come from.

  7. Screwball

    Biden Approves Plan to Redeploy Several Hundred Ground Forces Into Somalia

    Moar war $$$$ while Americans struggle. Nice.

    I also read Dr. Fauci said if Trump was elected in 2024 he would quit. Between the Biden train wreck and this from Fauci – a Trump vote looks like a win win. /s

    Seriously, can’t we get any adults in positions of power? This country is in a bad place and getting worse fast, and nobody seems to give one good shit. These people suck.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      If Nuland will make the same pledge, I’ll put up a Trump sign on the East Side of Cleveland.

      1. Nikkikat

        Lol Henry, Nuland and Fauci are birds of a feather.
        However, I’m guessing Fauci knows his days are numbered. Republicans are going to fry him. That last story we heard about the money flow to him and his friends at the NIH. Looked pretty bad. Not that they care about the corruption, but Fauci has a huge target on his back.

    2. Greg

      The quiet forever war in Somalia – apart from the Trump years, have American special forces been there since Bush the senior went in back in 1992? I guess we’d have to pull apart obscure DoD reports year by year to find out, but it certainly seems like there’s always *something* happening in Somalia for the US military.

  8. digi_owl

    He argued that any system based on a single metric would be “pseudorational” because it would lead to the optimisation of one criterion

    Sounds eerily similar to Cambell’s law.

    And is the core issue of New Public Management, that is oh so popular in public services these days.

    As for Amazon sadism, i suspect whoever came up with the idea claims it is helping the environment. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

    1. Wukchumni

      As for Amazon sadism, i suspect whoever came up with the idea claims it is helping the environment. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

      My buddy from Tucson has a newish F-150 with many bells and whistles, and one of the things it does it turn off the engine while you are in idle say at a stop light, really freaked me out at first.

      1. fresno dan

        I got a used Buick Regal that does that. I knew it did it when I bought it – I’ve gotten used to it. Hard to believe that it really has any affect on gas mileagle or total emissions uh … emitted. For every stoplight stop that last a minute or more, there are a few that only last a few seconds.

      2. rowlf

        The vehicles we could afford to drive in high school and college in the late ’70s/ early ’80s shut down at stoplights too. Other than the new vehicles starting up easier where’s the new feature? /s

        (Someone actually sold kits to do this in the late 1970s. Our clunkers just did it on their own due to the high tech engine control and emission systems that didn’t age well.)

        What’s next? Vehicles that can tell if you parked on an incline and bump-start themselves?

      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        So that’s what that is. I’ve been noticing new cars apparently dying at idle. Sounds dumb.

    2. griffen

      Is that line of phrase redundancy…Amazon sadism. Some serious thinker at corporate HQ, and a MS Excel sheets and tables wizard, might have conjured savings for the bottom line with that brilliant idea. It is pretty stupid and mind numbing even for Amazon.

      Life doesn’t mimic “Office Space” but it damn sure is trying.

  9. fresno dan

    “Trump criticizes spending for Ukraine” [The Hill]. Trump: “The Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children.” • And he’s not wrong, is he?

    McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a rare joint request for a quick vote on the $40 billion aid legislation on Thursday, but Paul said no, pushing the legislation into this week. McConnell addressed his disagreement with Paul, whose blockade prevented McConnell from traveling to Ukraine with a fresh congressional victory in hand.
    So who is the RINO (republican in name only)….Trump or…..wait for it….Schumer
    (McConnell is too easy. But for extra credit, who is further apart McConnell: Schumer or Trump???).

  10. Jason Boxman

    What I’ve noticed that is particularly interesting about gaming, is it seems if you pick about any title, there’s a thriving, active modding community for it. I rarely have time for games, but I’ve been looking at Fallout New Vegas again, and for this 10 year old title, there’s a highly active group of modders today. They’ve improved the game performance, fixed numerous bugs, added a new scripting system, byte level patched the game so it can use 4GB of RAM, and so on. This is a high level of sophistication for a product that isn’t exactly Open Source.

    So it’s kind of amazing to see what a dedicated community of people can do, and they build off of each others’ work as well.

    There’s plenty of energy in America that can be harvested for the public good, if anyone actually believed in that sort of thing in a position of power. The Corsi-Rosenthal boxes being a good example. Even 3M! has a page on it.

    Oh well. Stay safe out there in our latest wave! I think I’m going to buy a half-face respirator. Two years into the pandemic, with it considered ‘over’, this kind of stuff seems widely available and easy to get now. Why not? You can feel like the star in your own biohazard story, kind of like, well, real life.

    1. anon y'mouse

      you aren’t the only one who is amazed by the effort and time and collaborative work that these people engage in.

      my personal favorite game was virtually unplayable before a fellow player patched it, and he’s been continually patching it for over 15 years. then there are all of the modders who reached into the code and changed things around, some even hiring their own voice actors for new lines and characters.

      last night i was watching a film from the early 1970s, taking place mostly in New York. i went to look up some of the building used for locations. quite a few search entries seemed to have the same list with almost zero information. then one website was full of shot by shot locations, their real life addresses, photos of the location in recent times, history of the building, etcetc. i don’t know if this person is an architectural historian by day or if this is just a hobby, but pages of info for this film and reaching out to others who may have had old photos of exteriors and so forth so that they could track down each place definitely (correcting many of the lists given on the other websites) is an amazing amount of work to put out there for free.

      granted, as an old acquaintance who was a musician would point out—these are labors of love. if they had to do these things for money, that would turn it into a grind. which is why, accomplished as he was (picking up almost any instrument and playing it, reading sheet music and singing it etc) he never tried to make a living with music. he didn’t want that need to commercialize to ruin his enthusiasm for his hobby.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’ve been getting back into PC games that I used to play growing up. It’s amazing to see the support some of them have been given by fan communities. Not just additional content, but many modded to bring them much closer to modern graphic quality. The game industry itself doesn’t seem interested outside of a handful of mega-franchises, but it’s great to see what the fans are doing on their own.

    3. Greg

      There’s a little bit of survivorship bias in the apparently frequency of thriving modding communities. It usually takes a bit of dev work and intentional design to make a game highly moddable and encourage a community to develop. The payoff is that the games with thriving communities stick around in the market making sales for many, many more years than the more constrained games with limited content.
      I’m a huge fan of highly moddable games, because usually the dedicated fanbase with more time to think and be creative can come up with much more fun content than the rushed and crunched dev team before launch.

    4. jr

      Fallout New Vegas, properly modded, is off the hook fun. I had it hot rodded with maximum monster spawns, filling the desert with all manner of new foes including giants, huge gangs of monsters and humans fighting each other and me. Then one day I installed the motorcycle mod with attached flamethrowers and took it to the next level of mayhem. The spot under the UFO mothership seemed to attract swarms of enemies, total carnage!

      For fans of the Baldur’s Gate series like me, here is a treat:


      “ With its source code lost to time, ICEWIND DALE II was thought to be dead, with no hope of an Enhanced Edition. That time has come to an end. The Red Chimera Group, a team of modders, coders, artists, and other contributors drawn from the Infinity Engine community, is re-building Icewind Dale II with nothing more than WeiDU code and hex editing to streamline IWD2’s gameplay, rebalance the class system, and introduce new content.

      Icewind Dale II: Enhanced Edition changes over 300 spells and over 1,000 items, introduces more than 30 completely new spells and 120 new items, and adds several unique recruitable NPCs, from Veira the ghost maiden to Vrek Vileclaw the river troll to Xhaan the white abishai to Zack Boosenburry and his spider mount, Aocha. This mod also fixes the major issues many players had with the original Icewind Dale 2: you no longer have to solve tedious, cryptic puzzles to complete certain areas, enemies in Heart of Fury Mode are empowered in interesting ways rather than just having lots of HP, and you can revise the experience system so you won’t get zero experience for killing enemies late in the game. IWD2:EE is fully customizable and the player can tweak their install to taste.”

      It’s still in Beta as far as I know. I love the BG series and in fact I’m currently running through them all with the goal of slaying all the evil dragons in it. I’ve bagged a green, red, and shadow dragon. I’ve got a white, black, blue, and brown left as far as I know.

      1. Greg

        I’m enjoying Solasta for the BG-like game with busy community. It’s a french indie team so they only have the core ruleset from 5e to work with, so you get a lot of homebrew subclasses instead of the official ones from splats. The dungeonmaker toolset that it comes with is a throwback to neverwinter nights 1 as far as flexibility goes, and has allowed a large number of great campaigns to start populating nexusmods and the steam community workshop.

  11. Samuel Conner

    > “Sociopath of the Day,”

    The particular vocal emissions that motivate these nominations are reflective of the people’s agendas (and, presumably, their character).

    Perhaps rather than “Sociopath of the Day“, the category should be given a label that connotes something more enduring, such as the

    “Honorary Society of Consequential Sociopaths”.

    The adjective seems important; not every destroyer is highly destructive.

  12. Jason Boxman

    So, the Eric Topol post concisely recounts much of what is already known from NC. But seeing it all at once is deeply disturbing, to say the least. Just to pick a part:

    During the Delta wave in the United States, vaccinated individuals accounted for 23 per cent of the deaths, whereas this nearly doubled to 42 per cent during the Omicron wave. This is attributable to waning of protection, lack of boosters, and the diminished protection against Omicron (BA.1).

    Increasingly, even if you’re vaccinated (fully), you’re still possibly screwed.

    GM said here months ago that, given how this is progressing, the Chinese approach will ultimately be the only viable one. That it’s likely SARS-COV-2 ultimately mutates in much worse ways. And that seems to be happening apace. Not to mention frequent reinfections causing progressive damage.

    1. antidlc

      Notice how the press has been pretty much silent on the number of infections from the WHCA dinner and parties?

      I’d really like to know how many of the attendees tested positive and how many are suffering long COVID.

      Stay safe, Jason.

    2. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Speaking of GM – he’s disappeared from Twitter over the weekend, it seems – his account “no longer exists”. His decision? Theirs? No explanation is given.

        1. red plaid

          Can you share his twitter handle? And any other twitter handles or blogs of some of the frequent commenters? Thanks!

          1. Basil Pesto

            I’m sorry, I’m reluctant to because, unlike on NC, his twitter handle isn’t anonymised, so I don’t feel it’s my place to so.

    3. Lee

      Evidence that things Covid much and for quite some time discussed here at NC are setting off alarms in the mainstream media:

      “Why the fight against COVID appears to have stalled in the U.S.” PBS Newshour

      Features an interview with Eric Topol.

      1. antidlc

        Great interview. Topol said the CDC’s green map is deceptive and does not reflect what is really going on.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the Chinese approach will ultimately be the only viable one.

      Assuming you aren’t trying to cull the herd, yes. It looks to me like “the system” is experimenting with slaughtering larger and larger tranches of people. The essential point of the pandemic, from the elite perspective, is that they can kill a million people and it’s not even a political issue.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        A movement of millions of loud-and-proud public mask-wearers could perhaps try and make it a slowly-upwelling issue.

        ” Take off that mask!”

        ” No! Not as long as the government is plotting to give me covid!”

        Maybe one out of ten times, someone will ask you why you think the government is “plotting to give you covid”. That’s your chance to lay it all out.

  13. McWatt

    Covid is roaring through our Chicago area suburban community. Hundreds of kids are sick. Teachers are sick.

    In one school there are so few teachers that the kids are being moved into the auditorium to be baby sat.

    Kids are then bringing it home to infect entire families. I have never heard or known about so many people being sick with Covid until now. Unreal.

    1. John

      The school in which I teach eased up on masking and the numbers shot up. We are masking again and the numbers are down. The connection will convince no one who chooses not to be convinced, but it seems clear to me. I have my fingers crossed that I will not be infected again. (Mild case, but fatigued in the aftermath) I think we can expect a major wave this summer as so many will eschew any and all precautions.

    2. Lou Anton

      Evanston just went back to mandatory masking (suburb directly North of Chicago, home to Northwestern University, and broadly-speaking, “affluent” – sharing for those outside of the area).

      Been counting down the days until the school year ends. Guessing my kids’ school district will just grind out the last few weeks of masks optional instead of making a decision to reinstate the mask mandate. Those annoying protests at school board meetings worked. The “miss your smile” crowd won, and the school board(s) in the Chicago suburbs (sans Evanston) don’t want another fight.

  14. Raymond Sim

    Looks like the West was readjusted too, upwards. What’s going on with these guys?

    They’re lying. I see no other plausible explanation for what I’m seeing on the SCAN Bay Area wastewater data pages.

    An example:Here’s the SCAN page I usually talk about:


    The Oceanside facility serves San Francisco. San Francisco County has had worst-in-state positivity recently.

    If you select “Last 52 weeks” and “Oceanside” and uncheck the “show trimmed average line” and “show error bars” boxes you’ll get a picture of what’s going on there.

    Hover the cursor over any data point and you’ll be shown “middle” “top” and “bottom” numbers for that date. I take this to mean the max. min, and median readings for some unspecified number of repetitions.

    Look at the sequence of dates 2022-05-06 to 2022-05-13.

    I would love an explanation that doesn’t involve malfeasance. Anyone?

    An aside: The 2022-05-11 middle level is the highest they’ve ever registered!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If you select “Last 52 weeks” and “Oceanside” and uncheck the “show trimmed average line” and “show error bars” boxes you’ll get a picture of what’s going on there.

      I guess linear is on the left, log is on the right. Other than that, what am I seeing?

      1. Raymond Sim

        I guess linear is on the left, log is on the right. Other than that, what am I seeing?

        Sorry, I somehow missed your reply yesterday. Linear on left, log on right is correct, but you’re going to want to choose “last 26 weeks” or “last 52 weeks” rather than “last 6 weeks”, at which point the graphs get too big for side-by-side display, so it becomes all the linears first, then all the logs. The 26-week timeframe brings the previous Omicron wave into view, 52-week gives you Delta as well.

        What you’re seeing are dots plotting, as best I can tell, the median value of that date’s measurements (normalized relative to mass of poop) of, depending on the graph, markers for the spike and N-capsid RNA (‘S’ and ‘N’ respectively) as well as signals for Delta, S-gene dropout, BA.2 etc.

        However, levels above a certain maximum are plotted on a horizontal dotted line representing that maximum. I had thought that these represented the test maxing out, but now, by interrogating the individual data points, I find measurments above the maximum listed. Did I misunderstand the phenomenon? Or have the charts been updated? In any case what exactly is the explanation for not plotting data points where they belong? Having had a stroke that affects my visual perception, misreading is always a live possibility with me, so I’m looking at their informational material again – that’s gonna take me a while.

        I’m a bit off track though, since none of that is relevant to my inclination to think the Oceanside samples are probably being diluted. That stems from the way, since early March, rapid growth always seems to trigger rapid degrowth within a few days. I’m very skeptical that it really works that way, unless the Oceanside facility is very much smaller than I imagine it to be.

        One more aside: Going through the various locales, viewing them on the 52-week timescale, you can see the relative scales of Delta, Omicron, and our current wave. It’s genuinely awe-inspiring.

  15. Ghost in the Machine

    I have been masking in situations for awhile now where almost everyone else is unmasked, but I have yet to receive any comment about it much less anyone asking me to take it off. I wonder how common that really is.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My gut is it’s largely directed towards women, especially young women. It’s that smile garbage.

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        Seems like a reasonable explanation. Actually, if I took it off they might ask me to put it back on!

    2. curlydan

      I have been in numerous situations where I am literally one of maybe 1,000 with a mask on (sporting events mainly). I still have yet to receive a negative or snarky comment on my mask (fingers crossed I don’t jinx it). I live in the Midwest, so maybe people are being polite.

  16. chris wardell

    Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine Protection Against Omicron Fades Just Weeks After Second And Third Doses, Study Finds Immunity against the omicron coronavirus variant fades rapidly after a second and third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, according to peer reviewed research published in JAMA Network Open on Friday, a finding that could support rolling out additional booster shots to vulnerable people as the variant drives an uptick in new cases across the country.

    1. Objective Ace

      How does that finding support rolling out additional booster shots?.. unless the plan is to get boosted at least every month

      1. Acacia

        That’s my question too.

        How do boosters make a meaningful difference with the current crop of “vaccines”?

      1. Mikel

        Not if they read NC.
        I’ll say it again for the newbies around here, NC was covering Israel’s experiments with mulitiple boosters. They go up to around 4 and the antibody returns kept diminishing.
        This was in 2021!!

  17. pjay

    “The Plotters Against America” [John Ganz, Unpopular Front]

    Claremont has long been involved in the intellectual rationalization of right-wing causes. Nothing new there. But the author goes on through a variety of twists and turns to link this to *Trump*, and “Trumpism,” as if the latter were some kind of elaborate philosophical movement that has infiltrated the pinnacles of power in the US. This is pure Trump-as-boogeyman bulls**t. Trump has no fundamental beliefs or principles behind his politics. That a few Claremont-affiliated right-wingers supported him, and fed his “stop the steal” fantasies, is not surprising. But the rest of this intellectual pseudo-history is just fancy TDS.

    I wouldn’t even bother to comment on this, except that the *real* progeny of Leo Strauss and a lot of the ideas discussed in this article are the Neo-conservatives. Unlike Trump, who has *no* supporters among anyone with real institutional power in the US, the neocons are completely entrenched in both political parties and the permanent government/deep state/MICIMATT (choose your term) and have had incredible influence on policy given their small numbers. Much of the devious conspiratorial accomplishment described by the author actually applies quite well to this group of despicable ideologues. Some of them served in Trump’s administration and were behind most of his worst decisions. But Trump is not one of them – at all. Trump’s “power” is purely his popularity among a broad variety of powerless deplorables. Linking him to some kind of Straussian high-cabal is the epitome of mis-direction.

  18. Alyosha

    “Funny” story. The Rise Above Movement’s Charlottesville rally was indirectly funded by the NED and USAID because they were funding Olena Semenyaka. Olena is known as the first lady of Azov, she leads the ideological/political side and is currently employed as a spokesperson for the president of Ukraine. She enjoys the intermarium concept, ethno-nationalism and the philosophy of Dontsov. She’s a big deal in the far right. RAM didn’t have enough money to pay for the event, but as Olena does a lot of international outreach and had worked with RAM previously, she was able to supply the necessary funding.

    It might also be worth noting that the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto is a very big deal in Ukraine. I’m not sure if it was Olena or someone else, but the manifesto was translated into Ukrainian and Russian in Ukraine and is considered essential reading in the OUN/Right Sector/Azov scene, right up there with Mein Kampf. The buffalo shooter name check’s the Christchurch shooter and manifesto. It’s not just the black son and wolfhook. It’s deeply ideological.

    I don’t think I’ll be able to hold my tongue when PMC liberals start complaining about white nationalism in the US and creeping fascism, the same thing they’re so supportive of when it’s in Ukraine.

    1. Greg

      Thanks for the detail on the Christchurch shooters manifesto, that will come in handy when talking to my (NZ) family about why they shouldn’t take the media’s love of Azov etc at face value, and how it’s not just “Putin’s war”.

    2. Aumua

      Yes and it’s more than just a name check by the Buffalo shooter. He is clearly imitating Tarrant’s writing and actions in almost every way. His manifesto reads like an amateurish ripoff, with the same format, writing style, sections and phraseology. Yes, I have read through both of them.

    3. VietnamVet

      The Western Empire has perfected using ethnic forces to fight its proxy wars. The 5 billion dollars Victoria Nuland invested turned Ukrainians against Russians and triggered a civil war starting in 2014 that Russia has intervened to stop. The New Zealand and Buffalo NY shooters are direct blowbacks from this ethnic war operation. Since global Identity Politics uses divide and conquer practices to rule their North America regional colonies, there will be far worse blowbacks ahead if the Ukraine Russia war continues.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Christchurch shooter’s manifesto is a very big deal in Ukraine. I’m not sure if it was Olena or someone else, but the manifesto was translated into Ukrainian and Russian in Ukraine and is considered essential reading in the OUN/Right Sector/Azov scene,

      Needs a link

  19. Wukchumni

    Iznop a Ponzi?

    Ethereum co-founder says every ‘average smallholder’ impacted by Terra’s stablecoin crash should be made whole, cites FDIC’s $250,000 as ‘precedent’

    1. Objective Ace

      The FDIC charges member banks for that insurance — so I have no idea how that’s a “precedent”.

      1. Wukchumni

        It reeks of a gambler negotiating with the casino to get his losses back, as it would look good for them in showing how humanitarian they are.

  20. fresno dan


    Since Durham’s appointment, however, a clear dynamic has dominated his investigation — namely, a palpable desire among right-wing operatives, commentators and media outlets to use Durham’s work, no matter how thin or nebulous the underlying evidence may be, to try to vindicate the theory that Trump was grievously victimized by the Democratic Party in an effort to defeat him and later hobble his presidency. When it comes to perpetuating that narrative, whether or not the jury ultimately rules in his favor, Durham has effectively already won. If the investigation has revealed anything of note, it is just how secondary the law has come to be in politically-charged prosecutions like this one.
    Irony, thy name be Ankush Khardori. Let me edit: If the investigation has revealed anything of note, it is just how secondary the law has come to be in politically-charged prosecutions like this one like the one against Trump in 2016.
    As usual, the caveat that I detest Trump is applied. And I don’t know which is worse – that such an all pervasive conspiracy at the very highest levels of the FBI, DoJ, and the democratic party can’t be objectivily investigated and prosecuted to the full extent that it should be, or that so many people in the US government can delude themselves to believe that Clinton and probably Obama were not actively trying to frame Trump for colluding with Russia and the incredibly serious ramifications this has to this country.
    The fact that there is so much that could have been said against Trump, but the Russian conspiracy was the chosen attack says more about the Clintons and the democratic party then it says about Trump…

  21. Wukchumni

    Sri Lanka’s newly appointed prime minister has said that the cash-strapped island nation has run out of petrol stock, as he said the country desperately needed to secure $75m in foreign exchange in the next few days to pay for essential imports, including medicine.

    “We have run out of petrol … At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday in an address to the nation, as the country suffers from fuel and medicine shortages.

    He said the government was also unable to raise dollars to pay for three shipments of oil, with the ships awaiting outside the Colombo harbour for payments before discharging their cargoes.


  22. jr

    An interesting discussion of The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir from the Declaration of Women International/ Radical Feminist Perspectives:


    One bon mot: Judith Butler totally misinterprets de Beauvoir’s famous statement “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” It is not a claim of some (impossible) sexual fluidity but rather an acknowledgement that the concept of womanhood is a construct imposed on female humans by a patriarchal society. Leave it to Butler to fumble that.

    @flora I’ll take you up on that beverage someday!

  23. Darius

    I had a fib 16 years ago. Been taking a baby aspirin every day ever since and seeing a cardiologist every other year. It’s important to get it treated ASAP to avoid a stroke.

    Your heart stops pumping blood adequately. Your blood starts pooling below the knees and generating clots.

    1. IM Doc

      I think I need to make sure we all understand the mechanics of what is going on.

      I see all the commentary online about COVID vaccines or COVID itself causing the stroke of Mr. Fetterman of Pennsylvania. My take on this is that YES – 25-35 year old jocks dropping dead or going down all over the world playing soccer at the rate we are seeing it is very very concerning. These people just really do not do that at near the level we have seen the past 12 months. Something is happening there.

      However, I have seen plenty of 52 year old stressed out, overweight, hypertensive smokers who have gone down with AFIB. Press reports are not talking about his current smoking habits – but he is well known to be a very long standing aficionado of marijuana. I repeatedly tell my patients – in general – one marijuana cigarette does the same damage as 10 tobacco cigarettes to the lining of your arteries and heart – so long-time marijuana smokers are just as at risk of these types of things as tobacco smokers – maybe more so. Add some significant mental stress and a little screaming or throwing phones – and here we go.

      Your atria are the two chambers on the top of your heart. Fibrillation is the term we use when the electrical activity in those chambers becomes chaotic. The atria are NOT the actual pumping chambers – that is the ventricles – but they do prime the pump. When they are fibrilliating they look like jello – instead of squeezing. So, blood does not get pumped through correctly, and can indeed sit there so long it can clot. When that clot gets released, because of the hemodynamics of the arterial system (too long to delve into here) – it is almost always going to end up going to the brain. The middle cerebral arteries to be exact. This is a disaster. These are some of the worst strokes you can have and often cause left or right sided paralysis. If the left side is involved, it will take out the speech centers – and the person is not going to ever be able to talk like they have in the past. It will get better – but it is severe and noticeable for the rest of their lives. Again, these are horrific strokes.

      The pushback into the rest of the body you are describing is congestive heart failure. This can happen in AFIB but not commonly in the acute phase. Blood clots in the legs are rare with this – and would never get to the brain to cause a stroke outside of some very rare altered heart anatomy.

      We should not rush to blame every stroke on COVID or vaccines. I have seen plenty of 52 year old guys in my life with this exact same issue. More often than not “stressed-out screamers”. More often than not profoundly and permanently life-altering.

      As has often been the case with medicine (Chaucer, Dickens, Bronte, Milton and Shakespeare are examples), a non-medical person is the first known writer to have ever described a middle cerebral artery stroke. That honor belongs to King David of Judea. From Psalms 137 – describing perfectly the right sided paralysis and the speech defect that happens in a LEFT middle cerebral arterial stroke.

      If I forget you, Jerusalem,
      may my right hand forget its skill.
      May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
      if I do not remember you,
      if I do not consider Jerusalem
      my highest joy.

      1. jr

        Thanks Doc, I’m happy to say I’ve been quit the pot for months now, with a brief slip, and it’s largely due to your counsel.

    2. Maggie

      A-fib .. depends on the Cardiologist… most often is Eliquis or Xarelto.. not so often baby aspirin … Better half has a-fib… some experience with this….

  24. wol

    Bonnard, FWIW. He used a lot of yellow which is known for hovering, e.g. a subject in a yellow room may have difficulty locating where the wall in front of (they) is. It’s generally used in entries because this effect can cause anxiety if the subject stays in the room any length of time. Contrast with red. The eye often assumes a red object is red all the way through.

    I’m not a political artist but assuming my canary in the coal mine role I did a series of black/white/gray abstract collages referencing nuclear annihilation. Despite being tough little numbers on their own I don’t even try to show them in venues run by PMCs that rule the art world.

  25. wol

    Bonnard, FWIW. He used a lot of yellow which is known for hovering, e.g. a subject in a yellow room may have difficulty locating where the wall in front of them is. It’s generally used in entries because this effect can cause anxiety if the subject stays in the room any length of time. Contrast with red. The eye often assumes a red object is red all the way through.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      I found that Bonnard painting surprising because it is fairly unsettling. Am I wrong in thinking that most of his paintings were calm interiors? You can buy a framed copy of the Merchant of Four Seasons at Walmart for a hundred bucks.

      1. wol

        IIRC many of his paintings were of his wife soaking in a tub because she suffered from a skin condition.

        To me that painting is more like an Emil Nolde than what most would consider Bonnard.

        Regrets per the double post.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Oh, liberal Democrats! How degenerate is this?

    The Little Red Boxes Making a Mockery of Campaign Finance Laws

    Democratic candidates are all-but scripting ads for super PACs and dark-money groups to do their bidding — in plain sight.

    On April 29, Mr. Schrader issued a not-quite-private directive inside a red-bordered box on an obscure corner of his website, sketching out a three-pronged takedown of what he called his “toxic” challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner — helpfully including a link to a two-page, opposition-research document about her tenure as a city manager.

    The message was received.

    Citizens United unraveled whatever might have been left of democracy in this country. It’s just open corruption anymore.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Different article than the one you commented on, but not far off:

      Democrats’ Major Campaign Tech Firm Shifts Under New Private Equity Owner

      NGP VAN, which is part of the fundraising management software company EveryAction, is one of two major organizations that run the coveted organizing, voter file, and compliance tools that the Democratic Party relies on to build power pay for their daughters’ ballet lessons….

      The Intercept surely made an error in the last clause, so I fixed it for you.

  27. Wukchumni

    The bark beetles are back on tour with their greatest hits thanks to the drought not allowing pine trees to produce sap, enabling them to do their thing in concert with upright standing members of our cabin community.

    A 3 foot wide-150 foot tall White Fir with a pronounced lean on my property kicked the bucket this winter, and there are many more scattered about that are dying or are about to.

    During the worst of the 2012-2016 drought, you’d sometimes see trees that looked perfectly normal and alive around our cabins, and 3 days later the needles were all tan, the baum toes up. These would have been some of the 130 million pine trees in the Sierra Nevda that died in that time.

    I’m afraid we’ll be repeating that scenario…

  28. antidlc


    All the British Airways flights cancelled today from UK airports

    Airlines blame continuing travel disruption on Covid-related staff shortages

    British Airways has cancelled more than 120 short- and medium-haul flights to and from its main base, London Heathrow airport on Monday.

    The Independent calculates 28 domestic flights have been grounded, including four out of 12 round-trips from Heathrow to Edinburgh, its leading UK link.

    One hundred international flights are cancelled, including three of the nine round-trips to and from Paris CDG and longer flights to Athens and Istanbul.

    When are the CEOs going to figure out “let ‘er rip” may not be good for business???

    1. Tom Doak

      They are still hoping for “back to normal” [profits] and in denial that they will never get back to the status quo ante

  29. jr

    Here is a magisterial article from The Federalist detailing the big, big money behind the “trans movement”:


    “ It behooves us all to look at what the real investment is in prioritizing a lifetime of anti-body medical treatments for a miniscule part of the population. Melding this manufactured medical issue with civil rights frame entails the continuance and growth of the problem. Transgenderism is framed as both a medical problem, for the gender dysphoria of children who need puberty blockers and are being groomed for a lifetime of medicalization, and as a brave and original lifestyle choice for adults. Martine Rothblatt suggests we are all transhuman, that changing our bodies by removing healthy tissue and organs and ingesting cross-sex hormones over the course of a lifetime can be likened to wearing make-up, dying our hair, or getting a tattoo. If we are all transhuman, expressing that could be a never-ending saga of body-related consumerism.”

    (my emphasis)

    The Pritzker’s are at the head of this effort to literally redefine humanity in a way so as to insure a near limitless source of revenue. The “trans movement” is a facade behind which corporate and private power seeks to utterly dominate humanity. The fact that it is profoundly divisive and a distraction from real issues is a happy bonus. It’s about enslavement.

  30. Louis Fyne

    re. that van anecdote…

    please don’t do anything like that to your car, unless it is a fleet managed vehicle.

    constantly turning on-off the engine dumps un-combusted gasoline into your engine, diluting the engine and causing premature wear unless countered by much more frequent oil changes, constantly stressing the alternator and constantly stressing the battery by not letting it recharge to full.

    someone needs to show the life cycle analysis of (a) constantly letting the car idle and CO2 of course versus (b) more oil changes, more frequent alternator, and more frequent battery replacements.

    if amazon was serious about CO2, talk to Toyota and/or Chrysler custom-order 100,000’s of commercial versions of their hybrid minivans.

    and the occasional tow required when a vehicle unexpectedly dies on a route.

  31. The Rev Kev

    ‘Go inside our exclusive war game with @CNASdc
    The year is 2027. The briefing: China is poised to attack Taiwan’

    Normalizing the unthinkable? They are already setting up a US/China conflict before the one with Russia is even finished. You would think that it would be a war game with NATO against Russia but no, they want people thinking about China first. Will try to watch the full video myself when I find it but I wondered if they will wargame the option where China says ‘No exports for you, America’ – and America quickly runs out of spare parts for a start.

    1. Procopius

      The U.S. has been playing war games about China “invading” Taiwan for decades — certainly since Nixon’s trip. Because it would take weeks for the U.S. to send ground troops the games ALWAYS are mostly USAF/PLAAF, and they invariably turn into nuclear holocausts. Private companies/NGOs are running war games now which predict either American victory or a prolonged war. They are unlikely to be accurate.

  32. The Rev Kev

    “The CDC says to think again before getting a second COVID booster. Is it rationing vaccines?”

    The simple fact that you have an article title like that shows that there is now a general mistrust in the CDC and it’s history of hiding why they make the decisions that they do such as with masks in 2020.

  33. Geo

    “I shudder to think what it would take for their trips to be good; and I wonder what will happen if their trips are bad.”

    Heard through the grapevine a tech bro I used to work for whose startup collapsed had been going down a spiral of daily psilocybin and adderol cocktails which have driven him to a frightening state of paranoia (literally thinks everyone he talks to is not who they say they are).

    When I worked with him he was a microdosing proponent but over time became a tweaker which was a big part of the failure of the startup. Hard to close a deal when clients realize the guy in charge is grinding his teeth out and rambling about “this is gonna be bigger than Google”.

    It’s a shame too. He actually was a smart, creative, and thoughtful person when I first met him. Got too wrapped up in his worship of tech deities and wanting to be like them.

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