2:00PM Water Cooler 5/19/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is Evening Grosbeak Week at Naked Capitalism. Apparently, there are four types of Evening Grosbreak; this type 4. Colorado, United States.

“A South Texan’s Wild, Life-affirming Quest to Break a National Birding Record” [Texas Monthly]. This article is well worth a read. I’m going to quote something about birds, as opposed to birdwatchers: “Most songbirds migrate at night. During the day, they bide their time in some thick clutch of brush or on the limb of a great oak tree, puff out their feathers, and chirp quietly against the wind. It’s only when the stars emerge that migratory birds set out, following a primordial imperative to trace sweeping arcs for thousands of miles, back and forth across and between continents.These birds do not make a permanent home. Researchers are still unraveling the mystery of how exactly birds navigate on their long-distance flyways, but they believe that the creatures follow the positions of the stars. Migratory birds also tap into the earth’s magnetic field to track their location and destination. Eventually, they return to where they started. In a calm spot at night, during Texas’s peak migration season of April and May, if you listen closely, you’ll hear songbirds far above you, singing in the darkness. Sadly, that sound has become harder to detect. Even as more and more Americans are taking up birdwatching, there are fewer and fewer birds. A 2016 census survey estimated that more than 45 million Americans take part in birdwatching. However, according to a 2019 study, North America has almost three billion fewer birds today than in 1970. The loss of habitat to urban sprawl and farming, along with increased use of pesticides and herbicides—which can kill or poison insects and plants that birds eat—has led to a 29 percent decline in North American bird populations over the past fifty years. Kenneth Rosenberg, a retired conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a lead author of the 2019 study, says, ‘That’s a net result across all North American birds, which is pretty dire.'”

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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


“US to fly in baby formula on military contracted planes” [Channel News Asia]. “The US government will fly in baby formula on commercial planes contracted by the military in an airlift aimed at easing the major shortage plaguing the country, the White House said on Wednesday (May 18). The lack of formula – the result of a perfect storm of supply chain issues and a massive recall – is leaving parents increasingly desperate, and has become a political headache for President Joe Biden as midterm elections loom.” • Commentary:

“Former L.A. public defender picked to lead federal Access to Justice office” [Los Angeles Times]. • “Access to Justice.” An Obama-era program, wouldn’t you know it.


* * *

“Democratic Voters Deliver Stinging Rebuke to Party’s Manchin-Sinema Wing” [The Intercept]. “The stunning wins come as the party debates who is to blame for Biden’s sinking approval rating and increasingly dire forecasts of upcoming midterm losses. Party establishment figures have pointed the finger at the left for making unreasonable demands couched in slogans like ‘defund the police’ that turn off voters. The progressive wing has countered that Biden’s popularity has sunk as centrist Democrats have slowly murdered his agenda, while the left has fought to enact it. Tuesday’s results suggest that Democratic voters — at least those in Pennsylvania and Oregon — would prefer that Democrats do more rather than less, delivering a stinging rebuke to the Kyrsten Sinema-Manchin wing of the party. Next week, voters in Texas will cast ballots in a number of runoffs that pit progressives against super PAC-backed centrist Democrats.” • Commentary:

“If You Can’t Love Biden, He’ll Settle for You Hating Trump” [The New Republic]. “Trump controls the Republican congressional minority. The come-from-behind primary victories of J.D. Vance for Senate in Ohio and Alex Mooney for the House in West Virginia demonstrated the iron grip of Trump’s endorsements. Trump controls statehouse Republicans too. Trump-endorsed candidates for the Senate, House, and governor have won 39 out of 40 primaries, Nathaniel Rakich reported Wednesday in FiveThirtyEight…. For a former president to maintain this level of control over his party is unusual. For a former president voted out after one term, it’s extraordinary. For a former president who never broke 50 percent during his single term, it’s baffling….. [Nothing] has gotten the country to rate Biden the superior president he so obviously is. So now, in addition to citing all these accomplishments in his speeches, Biden’s taken to pointing out that the MAGA-captive GOP is dangerous and deranged. In effect, Biden’s saying: You don’t care about me? Fine. Start caring about those maniacs. It never was what Biden wanted to say. He entered office with a long career behind him of Senate dealmaking, speaking of “unity,” and hoping the country could move forward. But the Republicans’ infantile partisanship was too great.”

“Primaries fuel questions about potency of Trump endorsements” [The Hill]. “While Trump’s favored Senate candidate in North Carolina, Rep. Ted Budd (R), won his primary decisively, others who had received his endorsement, including Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Idaho Lt. Gov Janice McGeachin, were defeated. Even more disappointing for Trump, his endorsed candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, Mehmet Oz, remains locked in a tight battle with hedge fund manager Dave McCormick. While last night’s primaries are far from a defeat for the former president, they could stoke further questions about the extent to which he can clear primary fields and play kingmaker for the GOP. ‘It’s a good ticket, but it’s not a golden ticket,’ Republican strategist Doug Heye told The Hill of Trump’s endorsement. ‘As it would be a Barack Obama nomination or a George W. Bush endorsement in the past. It’s the same as that.’ ‘The party is more broadly turning Trumpier whether it’s with or without Trump,’ Heye said. ‘That to me is the broader and more important story moving forward.'”

“1 big thing: Ultra-MAGA scheming” [Axios]. “The rise of far-right Republican candidates has some Republicans considering voting Democratic this fall — and some Democrats trying to engineer the rise of ultra-MAGA candidates they feel will be easier to defeat in a general election, writes Axios’ Alexi McCammond…. Embracing unorthodox voting strategies illustrates the concern both parties have about ultra-conservative candidates competing in high-stakes campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate.” • Hmm.

KY: “Rand Paul, Charles Booker will face off in Kentucky US Senate’s race” [USA Today]. “[Paul’s] campaign had raked in over $18 million as of April 27, with about $8.7 million left in cash on hand. Comparatively, Booker’s campaign had raised nearly $3.4 million overall as of April 27, with around $474,000 left in cash on hand….. Paul is running on a staunchly conservative platform and has a long history of talking about the need for America to protect personal liberties and to steer clear of socialism. (He literally wrote a book called “The Case Against Socialism.”) He also has been a steadfast skeptic of the need for and purported benefits of U.S. military intervention in foreign conflicts.” • I’d hate to see Booker go all in for warmongering….

KY: “It’s officially Charles Booker vs. Rand Paul in the fall for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat” [McClatchy DC]. “The 37-year-old former single-term state legislator from Louisville easily dispensed with a slate of marginal challengers after narrowly falling to Amy McGrath [lol] in the 2020 Senate primary…. Booker confronts a treacherous political environment and historic headwinds in his race against Paul, the libertarian Republican seeking a third term. Paul easily won his primary on Tuesday as well…. The only public poll of the race, taken in January by Mason-Dixon, found Paul ahead by 16%. And Democrats haven’t won a U.S. Senate contest in Kentucky in 30 years. But Booker’s nomination will be a test of a progressive proposition: That a more liberal candidate will fare better statewide than a cautious, centrist contender like McGrath or Jim Gray, the former Lexington mayor who fell to Paul by 15 points in 2016.” • I heard Booker on the Trillbillies, and found him quite personable.

NC: “Midterms 2022: Winners and Losers from Tuesday’s Primary Races” [Teen Vogue]. “[P]rogressives also saw hard losses in the state after both Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and former State Sen. Erica Smith lost their primaries. Allam lost to State Sen. Jackie Foushee, and Smith to Don Davis. Both were backed by groups including the Sunrise Movement.”

OR: “Kurt Schrader’s Future Hangs on 90,000 Clackamas County Ballots with Defective Bar Codes” [Willamette Week]. “Results from Oregon’s 5th Congressional District so far show McLeod-Skinner beating Schrader by 61% to 39% with about half the votes counted. Clackamas County offers a faint hope for Schrader. He leads there by 57% to 42%, but a comically low number of votes have been counted. Schrader has 744 to McLeod-Skinner’s 553…. County officials estimate there are at least 90,000 ballots that must be duplicated and then machine counted. At a press conference today, County Chair Tootie Smith said she was sending 200 employees to help with the count and that they would work in two shifts, starting tomorrow…. The county couldn’t say when the results would be known.”

TX: “Jayapal endorses Cisneros in Cuellar primary challenge” [The Hill]. “House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) endorsed progressive candidate Jessica Cisneros in her primary challenge against incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) on Thursday. Jayapal’s backing comes less than a week before the runoff between Cisneros and Cuellar in the state’s 28th Congressional District…. Jayapal previously endorsed Cisneros during her 2020 primary challenge against Cuellar but has avoided getting involved in the primary this year until Thursday. In March’s primary, Cuellar led Cisneros by less than 2 points, sending the race into a runoff.”

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.

* * *

“Is the Democratic Party Giving Up Already? Defeatism and passivity settle over Washington.” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “Democrats still have some room to improve their situation. They retain their congressional majority until January, and Joe Manchin has expressed his willingness to negotiate a bill to raise taxes on the rich and fund at least some new programs, including support for green energy. And yet their main response to a looming political and policy catastrophe appears to be fatalistic acceptance. The Manchin situation is exceptionally strange. Manchin has outlined in public the contours of a deal he would accept, while privately conveying to fellow Democrats that he expects them to write a bill that meets his terms. This is an extremely counterproductive and maddening way to operate. At the same time, Democrats need to accept the world as it is and try to make the deal. Instead, they seem to be shrugging their shoulders. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to negotiate with Manchin, which is good, but everybody else seems indifferent or resigned to failure.”

“The Democrats Are Frozen With Fear of the Midterm Voter” [The New Republic]. “Early in the Biden administration, the party put down some clear markers: The daily nonsense of Trump’s tenure would recede into calm; there would be a strong focus on vaccine distribution and ‘reopening’ the country; a country reeling from Covid-19’s ravages would get economic support. Since the summer, however—and particularly after the disastrous, though ultimately justified, withdrawal from Afghanistan—Democrats have been stuck in a muddle. The Build Back Better Act, the cornerstone of the administration’s agenda, has been stymied by Manchin and Sinema. While it may technically remain alive, it has been stalled for six months and is not likely ever to become law. Voting rights have similarly been stalled. The right has succeeded, once again, in turning immigration into a campaign issue, but Democrats have struggled to articulate the extremism of the GOP’s position. What people remember about these failed initiatives is that they foundered amid Democratic infighting. Democrats sabotaged their own legislation either through internecine conflict or hapless negotiations; at times, the party’s support for the Senate filibuster sent the message that the measures trapped behind the arcane rule weren’t real priorities for the party. It’s hard to say what your values are if you’re not getting anything done—it’s especially hard when Democrats are more invested in kicking in the teeth of their own left flank than they are in taking the Republicans to task. Meanwhile, all of this internal dysfunction lets the GOP off the hook—that it opposes some popular ideas is a mere footnote in the larger ‘Dems in disarray’ discourse. Taken as a whole, the Democratic Party’s own vision for the country—what it would agree to do if given more power—is getting obfuscated, and voters are on the verge of rejecting it.” • “Getting obfuscated”?

“Fearing ‘Extinction-Level Event,’ N.Y. Democrats Turn Against Each Other” [New York Times]. “Two weeks ago, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney warned fellow Democrats in a private meeting that a ruling by New York’s highest court to invalidate a Democratic-leaning congressional map could prompt “an extinction-level event” for the party, according to people familiar with the remarks. Democratic incumbents, he feared, could either be shoehorned into more difficult districts or forced into primaries against one another. So on Monday, when the courts finally unveiled a proposed new slate of districts unwinding Democrats’ gerrymander, Mr. Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, knew precisely what to do. Just 25 minutes after the maps’ release, Mr. Maloney announced on Twitter that he would leave behind the bulk of his traditional Hudson Valley seat and run instead for a newly drawn 17th Congressional District rooted in Westchester County. Mr. Maloney lives within the new lines, which happen to offer a safer path for a Democrat than the district he currently represents.” • Big beautiful tent!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Like, Share, Recruit: How a White-Supremacist Militia Uses Facebook to Radicalize and Train New Members” [Time]. “[T]he Azov movement [is a] Ukrainian militant group that has trained and inspired white supremacists from around the world…. Its fighters resemble the other para-military units—and there are dozens of them—that have helped defend Ukraine against the Russian military over the past six years. But Azov is much more than a militia. It has its own political party; two publishing houses; summer camps for children; and a vigilante force known as the National Militia, which patrols the streets of Ukrainian cities alongside the police. Unlike its ideological peers in the U.S. and Europe, it also has a military wing with at least two training bases and a vast arsenal of weapons, from drones and armored vehicles to artillery pieces. Outside Ukraine, Azov occupies a central role in a network of extremist groups stretching from California across Europe to New Zealand, according to law enforcement officials on three continents…. The main recruitment center for Azov, known as the Cossack House, stands in the center of Kyiv, a four-story brick building on loan from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. In the courtyard is a cinema and a boxing club. The top floor hosts a lecture hall and a library, full of books by authors who supported German fascism, like Ezra Pound and Martin Heidegger, or whose works were co-opted by Nazi propaganda, like Friedrich Nietzsche and Ernst Jünger. On the ground floor is a shop called Militant Zone, which sells clothes and key chains with stylized swastikas and other neo-Nazi merchandise. ‘It could be described as a small state within a state,’ says Olena Semenyaka, the head of international outreach for the Azov movement. On a tour of the Cossack House in 2019, she told TIME that Azov’s mission was to form a coalition of far-right groups across the Western world, with the ultimate aim of taking power throughout Europe.” • So on the one hand, liberal Democrats are losing their minds about “replacement theory,” a white nationalist ideology said to be espoused by the Buffalo shooter. On the other, liberal Democrats are weeping and wringing their hands about the sad fates of the fascist organization spreading that same ideology over the world. The doublethink is extraordinary. It must take a lot of psychic energy.

Shay Stewart Bouley does a close reading of BLM’s Form 990:

We had a short quote from Bouley yesterday, but that was just an hors d’oeuvre; this is the main. It’s a brutal takedown.


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:

• Maskstravaganza:

Anecdotal, but there are rather a lot of anecdotes.

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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.

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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. Biden has handily beaten Trump’s first two peaks, even accepting the data, which of course nobody does. I have helpfully projected with spurious precision when Biden will beat his own first peak: 46 days, or July 4 (and I swear I didn’t game that). Just in time for a national eruption of superspreader events! (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 101,000 * 6 = 606000, i.e. not gamed. Today is the first time Biden broke 600,000, good job.

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

Worth noting that cases have doubled tripled in four weeks.

• “An Invisible Wave (05/19/22)” (podcast) [Death Panel]. “We discuss the one thing everyone can seemingly agree on: the US is in a new wave, and no one knows quite how big it really is. Then we revisit the CDC’s “community level” metrics, and discuss new reports that the White House is preparing to have to ration vaccines.” • Excellent. Starts out with a discussion of the CDC’s bogus and evil “green map” (see the following NOTE).

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. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal.

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:

Look vertical to me…..

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

Cases lag wastewater data.

From Biobot Analytics:

What’s with the enormous upward revision for the Northeast? The other thing I’m not liking is that big time lag with the variants. April 27? I want to know about BA.4 and BA.5 (dubbed “variants of concern” by The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) last week, but not WHO).

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

Status quo. Maybe data is coming in so slowly there are no updates, so CDC will have killed off another useful too.

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.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile). Here is yesterday’s map, for comparison:

Today, the table of contents for the CDC Community Profile still lists “Trends in hospital admissions per 100 beds during the last 8 weeks (state, regional, and national hospital admission curves)” on page 22, as has been true for months. Today, however, on the actual page 22, there is a different chart with a different title:

(“Trends in Hospital Inpatient Covid Utilization During the Last 8 Weeks” — the “per 100 beds” part has been removed.) What could account for the change? Green. The new map is green. And the only upward-pointing arrow is in the Virgin Islands. Hopefully, this is a mistake, and not a typical CDC example of sloppy copy-editing (the table of contents) combined with gaming the data.

A new way for hospitals to game the data:

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

Just a reminder:

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

• ”What COVID Hospitalization Numbers Are Missing” [Ed Yong, The Atlantic]. “For weeks now, as COVID-19 cases have ticked upward in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, pundits and political leaders have offered a supposedly reassuring refrain: Cases might be climbing, but hospitalizations aren’t yet following suit.” And they were lying, as the hospitalization chart that CDC ran until today conclusively showed. More: “The Biden administration shares those hopes: Having apparently given up on curtailing the coronavirus, it is counting on vaccines and treatments decoupling infection from severe illness enough to prevent the health-care system from becoming inundated again…. Biden’s strategy overlooks a crucial truth: The health-care system is still in crisis mode. The ordeals of the past two years have tipped the system—and its people—into a chronic, cumulative state of overload that does not fully abate in the moments of respite between COVID waves…. America’s current pandemic strategy is predicated on the assumption that people can move on from COVID, trusting that the health-care system will be ready to hold the line. But that assumption is a fiction. Much of the system is still intolerably stressed, even in moments of apparent reprieve. And the CDC’s community guidelines are set such that by the time preventive actions are triggered, high levels of sickness and death will be locked in for the near future.” • Well worth a read.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,028,014 1,027,285. Still down and way too high. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Broadly down, but what on earth just happened in the UIK? Data issues, hopefully? (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:

What kind of organization puts “in recent weeks” in an explanatory dropdown, and then obviously never comes back to check? Look at the qualifications in that drop-down. And the ginormous typo, helpfully highlighted, has been there for weeks. CDC, if you’re reading this, please send a signal by getting this fixed. And then throw some documents over the transom. In complete confidentiality! Obviously, nobody at CDC is checking the excess deaths chart, because otherwise the typo would be fixed. I certainly hope there are no “coding errors” in the algo.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 21 thousand to 218 thousand in the week ended May 14th, from a revised 197 thousand in the previous period and above the market estimate of 200 thousand. It is the highest reading since the week ended January 22nd.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US dropped sharply to 2.6 in May of 2022, the lowest in 2 years, and well below forecasts of 16. A slowdown was seen in inventories (3.2 vs 11.9), employment (25.5 vs 41.4) and the average workweek (16.1 vs 20.8) while new orders (22.1 vs 17.8) and shipments (35.3 vs 19.1) rose faster.”

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Shipping: “Container xChange survey: Peak season container shipping ‘chaos’ on the way” [Hellenic Shipping News]. “The latest Container xChange survey titled ‘xChange Industry Pulse Survey’ found that 51% of respondents expect the 2022 iteration of the peak season to be ‘worse’ than last year. 26% predicted this year’s peak season would be less chaotic than in 2021, while 22% expect the level of ‘chaos’ to be the same. The peak container shipping season traditionally occurs in the third quarter of each year as retailers build up inventories ahead of the fourth quarter holiday and shopping season. Last year, cargo surges resulted in record container shipping freight rates, delivery delays, port congestion, and reliability of container shipping services.”

The Bezzle: “Could Tether be the catalyst of a crypto apocalypse?” [PC Gamer]. “Tether has faced criticism due to its lack of transparency on exactly what it’s reserves are, and how much they’re actually worth. The recent Tether redemptions have served as something of a stress test. Despite some fluctuations during peak trading last week, the 1:1 dollar peg remains intact…. Despite Tether maintaining its value for now, questions about its level of transparency remain. Last year the company paid an $18.5 million fine to the New York attorney general’s office to settle a long running probe. NY attorney general Letitia James’ office at one time said ‘Bitfinex and Tether recklessly and unlawfully covered-up massive financial losses to keep their scheme going and protect their bottom lines,’ before adding ‘Tether’s claims that its virtual currency was fully backed by U.S. dollars at all times was a lie.’ That’s not the sort of thing you want to read if you’re trading with USDT. For now, Tether appears to be able to weather these fluctuations and maintain its $1 peg, but if Tether were to collapse, crypto would be facing an apocalypse the likes of which it has never seen. As always, trade carefully and be aware of the risks!”

The Bezzle: “There Are Just Three Explanations for Elon Musk’s Unhinged Behavior Right Now” [Slate]. “Theory 1: Musk Wants to Buy Twitter at a Lower Price…. Theory 2: Musk Is a Troll and He Is Mostly Trolling…. Theory 3: Musk Doesn’t Want the Deal at All and He’s Trying to Nuke It.” • Theory 4: Hubris and Drugs?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 9 Extreme Fear (previous close: 9 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 6 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 19 at 1:54 PM EDT. Mr. Bitcoin still sad?

The Gallery

Pooh and Piglet?

The 420

“Are ‘California sober’ nuptials the latest wedding trend?” [Los Angeles Times]. “Flitcraft, a video editor, and Gavin, an auto glass repairman — both of whom live in the Sonoma County community of Cotati — said they knew that cannabis would be a part of their wedding next spring in one form or another no matter what. They were considering edible party offerings and hiring a budtender too. That conviction — couples wanting cannabis at their weddings, even if their guests didn’t quite understand — resounded all throughout the expo room [of a waterfront wedding expo in Richmond], and appears to have grown stronger during the pandemic.” • Meanwhile, the practitioners who made the market are still rotting in jail….

Class Warfare

“Redefining the Working Class” [The Baffler]. “The United States, however, is much closer now than it was in the era of the Reagan Democrats to a transformation, a point at which the working class will no longer be predominantly white. According to Census Bureau projections, we are still about twenty years away from the tipping point when the population as a whole is more than 50 percent non-white. But we are about ten years away from the point where people of color will represent a majority of the working class, according to a 2016 report by Valerie Rawlston Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy. Defined in this context as workers with less than a bachelor’s degree, in 2013, about two-thirds of the entire workforce was “working class.” But the white share of that bloc is falling and is likely to dip below 50 percent by 2032.”

News of the Wired

“Can dogs be pets, N.Y. judge asks lawyer trying to free Happy the elephant” [Reuters]. “Would granting a female elephant some of the same rights as humans mean people could no longer keep dogs as pets? That was among the questions that judges on New York state’s top court during arguments in Albany on Wednesday asked a lawyer for an animal rights group that is pushing to free Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo…. New York’s habeas corpus law does not define “person,” and the group said Happy should be recognized as one….. [Some] judges appeared concerned that expanding certain legal rights to elephants could be a slippery slope. ‘Does that mean I couldn’t keep a dog?’ Associate Judge Jenny Rivera asked. Monica Miller, a lawyer for the group, replied that there is not as much evidence about dogs’ cognitive abilities as there is for elephants.” • I don’t know about “cognitive abilities,” here (even if I’m not a dog person). It seems like a fragile line to draw — like 15 weeks in Roe v. Wade.

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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 JU:

JU writes: “Some sort of mushroom in Sequoia NP. Never seen this one before!” Looks like an alien infestation….

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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. Jacob Hatch

      What amazes me is these idiot-savants can come up with such complex plans, but no one can think to reach out to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and check his price before extending a rush invitation to join NATO to Finland and Sweden. The absolute incompetency is almost beyond belief.

  1. digi_owl

    That elephant case reminds me of an old story i read about a pig that was brought up on a murder charge in “Germany” (i think it predates the formation of the modern German nation).

    As for the liberals backing Azov, i think it is yet another simple case of “enemy of my enemy”. And something that USA have indulged in since at least WW2. Why i claim it to be a nation built on hypocrisy.

    1. BlakeFelix

      Animals used to be tried and either executed or exonerated on a somewhat regular basis in many cultures that did trials, IIRC. It makes sense to me, animal control was tough, and you don’t want baby eating pigs or mean bulls or killer leopards running around. Make sure you get the right one!

      1. Fritzi

        True, trying animals in a court of justice was very common in medieval and earliest early modern Europe (I’m sure similar things happened elsewhere, but the european “phenomenon” is the one I read quite a bit about).

        Of course, hand in hand with the rise of caputalism there also rose the so called rationalism and the idea that animals were just automata, things.

  2. antidlc


    Biden Health Officials Warn of Substantial Increase in Virus Cases

    The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged local leaders and individuals to at least consider returning to wearing masks in indoor public settings.

    Mr. Biden says the shift in his tone is the result of the country’s success. Many people are vaccinated, a fair number are boosted, and those doses, plus new antiviral treatments, have been warding off severe disease, officials say. But the new approach is also a recognition of the political reality. Many Americans have decided to accept the risk of infection to resume their normal routines.

    Andy Slavitt, a former senior adviser to the Biden White House on the pandemic, said the nation’s attention had shifted. The president “is managing a war overseas, the economy, inflation, infant formula and as these things go, the pandemic is now seen by the public as one more thing,” he said. “Of all the things going on, most people don’t perceive this to be the problem that it probably is.”

    I continually have a sore neck from shaking my head in disbelief.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      The Biden administration considers what they are doing as “managing”? That’s hilarious!!!

    2. Nikkikat

      People think they can resume their lives because that’s what they’ve been told by the Government. They’ve been told to take off their mask. The mask have come off on planes and indoor buildings. The messaging has been horrible. People I talk to don’t seem to even know anything about long covid. It is never reported on to any extent. Now that the CDC is obscuring the numbers even more they have nothing to even warn them. Of course this all leads to magical thinking.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        A social service that covid caution realists can render to random strangers is to keep wearing the mask wherever they think caution is indicated. They can wear the Hannibal Lecter Hockey Mask over it if they wish. If they are asked about “why”, they can be prepared to point the asker to sources like this blog. And give a very bullet point reply about long covid, this, that, the other. Use “establishment” language as much as possible. Seem inoffensive. etc.

  3. barefoot charley

    To no one’s surprise, Secretary Blinken is a dimwit on the guitar too.

    1. jr

      It always shocks me when I see psychos like Blinken doing human things like laughing or playing musical instruments. Somewhere I read once that Hillary herself was raised a pious Christian, a similar jolt. It’s just hard for me to parse someone jamming on a guitar after ordering the deaths of who knows how many innocents. I know it happens, and a lot, it just always surprises me. I guess I expect them to return to their dungeon lairs at the end of a hard day of killing to pull the wings off of flies or something…

  4. brook trout

    The mushrooms certainly look like dark morels, which are known to have large blooms the spring after a fire. The charred remains at the periphery suggest strongly this was a burnt over area.

    1. playon

      Those are definitely morel mushrooms, they are meaty and tasty. We look for them in the Cascades in the spring after a fire the preceding summer. As soon as it gets a little warmer we are planning to head up to the Mt. Rainier area where there was a huge fire last year, it should be easy to find them. Several years back there was a fire nearby and we were able to collect grocery bags full them.

  5. antidlc

    I either missed this one or I had forgotten about it.
    From February:

    Dropping Indoor Mask Mandate, New York Joins Blue States Easing Covid Rules

    The easing of New York’s pandemic restrictions on businesses comes as Democratic-led states from New Jersey to California have announced similar moves this week, in a loosely coordinated effort that is the result of months of public-health planning, back-channel discussions and political focus groups that began in the weeks after the November election.

    It was Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey who began the effort last fall, weeks after he was stunned by the energy of right-wing voters in his blue state, who nearly ousted him from office in what was widely expected to be an easy re-election campaign. Arranging a series of focus groups across the state to see what they had missed, Mr. Murphy’s advisers were struck by the findings: Across the board, voters shared frustrations over public health measures, a sense of pessimism about the future and a deep desire to return to some sense of normalcy.

    And here we are. Adams has no intention to restore indoor mask mandate.

    Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday he has no intention to restore an indoor mask mandate, even as the COVID-19 case load has pushed the city into the “high” alert phase.

    1. Pat

      He twists himself in a knot to provide justification and cover. NYC is on fire. But no reason to mandate those old methods that don’t work, but you should probably mask indoors in a crowded situation.

  6. Hepativore

    So who here is willing to bet that the Department of Homeland Security “Disinformation Board” still continues under a different name, despite being officially “shut down”?

    Meanwhile, Dubya openly admits to war crimes during his Liberty award ceremony, and nobody bats an eye while we are busy trying to villify the Russians.


    1. Nikkikat

      I will bet on it hepativore. They’re not pausing, or stopping or doing anything other than speeding it up. Especially since their Ukraine BS is not working as planned. They will get someone in there with a much lower profile than Mary Poppins.

    2. clarky90

      Re; “…..On the other (hand), liberal Democrats are weeping and wringing their hands about the sad fates of the fascist organization spreading that same ideology over the world. The doublethink is extraordinary…”

      Maybe not doublethink or schizophrenia, at all, but merely a clear reveal of Truth?

      What if “Liberal Democrats” is, in fact, A New Name for “Fascists”?

      We see this constantly. Psychopaths, who call themselves “financial regulators”. Or “child protection” NGOs, which are fronts for “human trafficing”, and so on ……

      I mean, if it quacks like a fascist, goosesteps like a fascist, sends $40,000,000,000 (minus 10%) to avowed fascists…..

      ….then perhaps the “liberal Democrats” are actually, “The National Socialist Workers Party of the USA”?? (fascists)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Except that the “liberal Democrats” are anti-worker. Just a quibble, perhaps.

    3. griffen

      DHS can sweep that into the closet with the infamous Tom Ridge color coded threat alerts. Ridge was the secretary under George “Dubya” Bush of course, installed to the position after the 9/11 attacks.

      Alerts to the terrorism doom and gloom gets refreshed and updated for a new era.

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Sinemanchin Wing doesn’t care if it is rebuked. The Sinemanchins are laughing all the way to the bank, along with the Schumer-Pelosis who put them in office.

    If the Sinemanchin Wing could be exterminated from existence and wiped off the face of the earth, then the Schumer Pelosis would start to cry. Especially if they were exterrminated next.

    ( By the way, Reublicanazi MAGAtard Fascistrumpanons are worthy of hatred in their own terms, and will be voted against by many non-nazis quite independently of what the Sinemanchin Bidenites have to say about anything. Such anti-Nazinon voters would be considering it a vote of emergency short-term self-preservation. They would still be looking for a way to exterminate the DemParty over the longer term. But they won’t vote for Fascistrumpanon MAGAtard scum as a way to do it.)

  8. MIKEL

    “Redefining the Working Class” [The Baffler].

    “…But we are about ten years away from the point where people of color will represent a majority of the working class, according to a 2016 report by Valerie Rawlston Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy. Defined in this context as workers with less than a bachelor’s degree, in 2013, about two-thirds of the entire workforce was “working class.” But the white share of that bloc is falling and is likely to dip below 50 percent by 2032.”

    The Dems are still out of touch. They are laser focused on academics as a marker of the end all be all and now the world is hearing:



    1. Dandelion

      Two Starbucks workers, side by side, one with a degree, one without. One working class, one not?

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    Ultra-MAGA scheming? That sounds like the pied piper strategy. If the Sinemanchin Bidenites work to get many Ultra-MAGAs elected in primaries, they will get more Ultra-MAGA Senators and Congressfolk than otherrwise. Perhaps they want exactly that outcome so they can keep running Sinemanchin Bidenite candidates and raising money by waving the bloody MAGA hat.

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    I hope Booker runs on ” all the non-interventionism, none of the MAGA”. I don’t know if he would win with that, but I hope he tries.

    I wonder how far Gore would have gotten with ” all of the peace and prosperity, none of the cigar”. . . .

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Charles Booker already stated that his main concern is getting reparations for decedents of slavery. If he gets 30% of the vote in Kentucky, it will a miracle. But I guarantee he gets a job at an NGO by the end of the year. Fighting poverty is altruistic, but fighting personal poverty is an imperative. Stacey Abrams was behind on her student loans when she ran for governor four years ago, now she’s a millionaire.

      He’s only asking for a $27 donation. I don’t know if referencing Bernie Sanders is Holy Grail of fundraising anymore. Good luck with high hopes.

      From Water Cooler 4/21/22:
      KY: “Charles Booker, Senate Candidate, Wants to Build a Progressive Future for Kentucky” [Teen Vogue]. “3. If you could snap your fingers and change two things about politics in the United States — such as policies you want to see enacted or structural issues — what would they be? We should ensure that everyone has high-quality health care with Medicare for All. Our government must also address our country’s deepest ills of structural racism and poverty by finally ensuring reparations for descendants of enslaved Americans, and a Universal Basic Income.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, here is the East Kentuckians’ big opportunity to demand reparations for the victims of strip mining , and their descendants.

        They can say: ” we will support reparations for descendants of slavery if and when you support reparations for descendants of strip mining.” That would force Booker to reveal whether he supports justice or whether he supports specific forms of ethno-color-racial special pleading and social extortion rackets.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Damn, drumlin woodchuckles, that’s a very nice service return!

          Start pairing “reparation” talk with other injustices and see who really wants justice and who just wants their own piece…I like it!

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Thank you. If one is going to go this route, one should be very sure of the facts regarding the injustice one is service-returning. And it should be a very real injustice.

            Strip mining is a very real injustice and very underpublicised. I guess the classist-racist thought is that those White Privilege hillbillies had it coming because of their White Privilege, and because of their mountainous ignorance and poverty and backwardness and etc. And because of their White Privilege. We must never forget about that.

            Another very big injustice would be all the land-theft and culture-genocide against the Indian Nations. Black racial hucksters will have some very good service-return returns for that one. If anyone is going to bring ” the Indians” up, they had better have some very good service-return-return returns thought up in response. Such returns exist, but they are discovered through slow and careful thought about all the principles and interests and history involved.

            1. ambrit

              The Indian Nations reparations ‘return’ is iffy because some Indian Nations held and exploited black slaves. I’m not too certain about white, or Indian slaves, but definitely Africans. The Eastern Cherokee fought for the Confederacy during the War Between the States. The American Indian tribes were not a monolithic constituency back then. They fought amongst themselves a lot.
              Terran human nature.

        2. marym

          Whatever he thinks about reparations for slavery, it’s an odd issue to pick for someone running for statewide office in a state that’s about 87% white. I like the idea of pairing benefits. Cancel student debt/tuition free public college/trade school. Cancel medical debt/M4A, etc. So even if some people benefit “less” than other people, lots of people (or their kids) will benefits in some substantial way.

    1. ambrit

      Oh yes. There was the scandal about the young women in Puerto Rico that matured physically way ahead of the norm. It was traced back to hormones fed to commercial chickens that made said chickens grow faster. The hormones collected in the meat and were taken up by the children who ate the chicken, causing early sexual development.
      See: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3928858/
      Also: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1984/09/16/abnormal-sexual-changes-afflict-young-in-puerto-rico/9d108601-bd48-4cb0-a5b4-bbc73a6053bc/
      That is just one example of unplanned experiments conducted upon the unsuspecting public. The municipal water supplies of many regions of America are now contaminated by chemicals leaching into the water table from industrial sites. This is a masive experiment in progress.

      1. HotFlash

        Why would PR chickens be any different from anywhere else? The version I heard a long time ago, so may be a different event, was of men in Puerto Rico developing breasts, men who were workers in pharm mfg plants that made birth control pills (progesterin/progesterone sometime w estrogen). Hormones and proto-hormones can cause *huge* developmental effects. There’s the famous thalidomide, of course, but also diethylstilbestrol affecting the second generation of girls, and on the gender of children and environmental pollution. Something, pollution?, believed to be the effects of living basically in an oil refinery, is causing more girl babies to be born than boys in at least one First Nations reserve here in Ontario. We meddle in things we do not understand.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I remember reading years ago that growth-hormone pellets were implanted into the necks of young chickens, to spread growth-hormone throughout the chicken’s body. Chicken necks were unusually cheap so cost-cutting frugal Puerto Ricans focused on eating the affordable necks ( with the undisclosed growth-hormone-pellet remains inside the neck).

          If that is true, that could explain some of it.

    2. chris

      I can share some anecdata on this. My youngest daughter and most of her friends started menstruation at 11 years of age. They’re not even the youngest at their school to have that experience. One poor child was 9 and did not understand what was happening to her. We’re trying to get period emergency kits installed in all the bathrooms at our local elementary and middle schools.

      There also seems to be some pandemic related effects from all this. My daughter had unusual periods after her vaccination with Pfizer. My oldest daughter (18) has also stopped menstruating for the last six months. She fortunately started up again before we were finally able to get a GYN appointment for her. But it was hard to get help for a condition we still don’t know about and couldn’t access medical help to understand. Not because we didn’t have money or insurance or a doctor. There weren’t any open slots for pediatric gynecologists to help us this year until very recently.

  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    One wonders if Russia could target and bomb Cossack House at a time of maximum occupancy. If Russia “could” and chooses ” not to”, one wonders whether the RussiaGov never cared about Azovazism in fact, but only affected to care about “nazis” as a cover for its own RussiaFascist desired to reconquer and recolonize the entire Ukraine while waving the bloody Azov.

    Here are some images of Russia’s own ” Russian Unity” fascist movement, backed by Putin and others, and sporting its own Nassi Swassikas, among other things.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      So my general guiding principle is true here as usual:

      They’re all rat bastards and I want no part of either side.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . there are a lot of non-rat non-bastards on either side too. Ukranormals outnumber ukranazis. But the West has seeded its ukranazis everywhere throughout Ukraine so as to keep its Nazism-movement alive in whatever parts of Ukraine remain uncolonized by a National Fascist Revanchist Russia. And the fact that the RussiaGov leaves Azov’s international headquarters building carefully unbombed either means they are not good at aiming and targetting or . . . . having the Azov world headquarters building in Kyev-iv-ev-iv-ev is just fine with the PutinGov, thanks.

        And I suspect that Russianormals far outnumber Russianational Fascists. But they have no power there.

    2. Rodeo Clownfish

      I didn’t see any swastikas in the pictures of that link. There was a recurring symbol akin to a Celtic knot, but no swastikas. Not sure what that knot symbol means, but I doubt it is equivalent to any sentiments of “lebensraum” , “death to the untermenschen”, or “victory for the master race”.

      Irredentism is common to all post-imperial societies. Russia is no different from China in this regard. Other Asian and even European countries are known to consider land in the neighboring nation as their own. Poland claims Lvov/Lviv/Lwow in western Ukraine. Romania claims Moldova. Armenia and Azerbaijan fight over Nagorno-Karabakh.

      I think the hatred of Nazis among Russians is real and visceral. A review of the land war fought between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941-45 will easily convince you of this.

      I recommend Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” podcast series “Ghosts of the Ostfront” for a review and perspective on this subject.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I didn’t say strictly-speaking literal swastikas. I used a different word that I have made up. A group that is very naziform but denies it is nazi could be called nassi. And they use symbols as close to being a swastika as they can get away with, without quite being an actual swastika. I decided to call such a symbol a “swassika”. So . . . nassi swassikas.

        Given how real the hatred of Russians for the Nazis of old is . . . . the Russiagov could leverage and exploit that hatred by spray-painting “nazi” on any Ukranormal the Russiagov wants its soldiers to kill with eager pleasure. ” United Russia” can wrap itself in an “anti-Nazi” flag all it wants. As long as it uses endlessly repeated swassikas and huge loyalty parades and other brain-harmonization tools from the brain-harmonization toolkit, it is a National Fascist movement. Not every National Fascist movement is literally nazi. Some are just naziform. Some are more unique than that.

        Here is a bunch of images of the nassi swassika used by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, for example.

  12. Michael Ismoe

    I know that some of you are not in physical shape to enlist and join the war effort of those “freedom fighting Nazis” in Ukraine but now you can still do your part to defeat Putin. $50 billion isn’t enough, please give us more to steal.


    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs’

      Sounds like a retirement fund to buy villas in the south of France for Zelensky and his henchmen.

  13. super extra

    creepy Blinken getting the faux celebrity treatment is so offensive. give me a bureaucrat who disdains the media and finds this sort of near-aristocracy disgusting. I guess the tiny silver lining here is they cannot hide their greed and thirst for being seen so if there is ever a real sea change and war crimes trials at home, there will be a lot of evidence.

    1. hunkerdown

      There are plenty of backstage State Department ghouls like Elliott Abrams and Alexander Vindman who would very much rather not take point. It’s just a potlatch, nothing to get excited over because we aren’t getting any blankets anyway.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Who will be the same exact people that will label Biden as the man that “lost” the Ukraine.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Its no more and no worse than creepy Clinton got on the Arsenio Hall show, blowing the hip groovy with-it saxophone.

      1. Questa Nota

        When you put your hand up close to the television you could almost feel the sincerity.

  14. Samuel Conner

    > The lack of formula – the result of a perfect storm of supply chain issues and a massive recall – is leaving parents increasingly desperate, and has become a political headache for President Joe Biden as midterm elections loom.”

    Jeez, it’s not like a million people have died of CV. Why is this a political problem?

    1. Verifyfirst

      Indeed. My new Covid line–under which I no longer have to care about whatever issue you raise, in the US–is 1,000 dead per day and….10,000 disabled per day? (and that’s being generous, using the official numbers).

      Babies get Covid too you know, so who cares?

      1. Samuel Conner

        A silver lining to the crisis in Eastern Europe — it has resulted in a deterioration of the optics of ignoring popular immiseration at home.

        Does that mean Putin is on the side of the American people? Maybe DJT put him up to it.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What if the Putin Media were to do some very accurate reality-based studies of just how much poverty there is in America and how many poor people and etc.? And then do a very fact-based reality-based study of how much of that poverty that $40 billion dollars would at least alleviate the worst symptoms of?

          And if the Putin Media were to make such very carefully fact-founded and reality-based studies and then make some very high-production-values media reports about all that and release it in so many places at the same time that it couldn’t all be erased? Would the Dept. of Disinfo call it a bunch of disinformation? And would they be embarrassed by being proved otherwise?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Then forty of America’s top-serving and past-serving spooks would come out of the woodwork to label it as Russian propaganda – just like they did with Hunter Biden’s laptop.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well of course they would. But would it work? The credibility of America’s top and former-top spooks is beginning to wear thin here and there.

              We are getting to the point where the only people who can be relied on to believe America’s tippy-toppest spooks are the Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites and the PMC Democrat Liberals . . . . in their respective millions, to be sure.

    2. PHLDenizen

      Biden could be circumventing the Roe v Wade decision via the import of formula from China. 2008 all over again with an inflation incentive to dope formula with melamine, boosting nitrogen content to pass protein assays.

      Why deal with messy political considerations when you can just kill infants outside the womb instead of a first trimester abortion? Also a gift to the healthcare industry, as organ failure in babies is lucrative, as are C sections.

    3. HotFlash

      re infant formula: Doesn’t the US have an FDA to ensure safe food and an FTC to ensure that monopolies can’t restrict supply? The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in (checks notes) 1890, FFS.

      re supply chain issues: Doesn’t the US have a Secretary of Transportation who is supposed to see that the supply chain is functioning? BRW, anybody seen that guy recently?

    4. LawnDart

      Why is this a political problem?

      Because the Russians are laughing and rubbing our faces in it:

      Biden administration turns the US into a “third world” country

      The shortage was caused by a complete shutdown of the largest American manufacturer. Critics compare what is happening to the situation in Third world countries: the shelves in stores are empty, many parents are desperate, and the United States has begun to accept help from European companies.

      As noted by SRF, the shortage of food for infants in one of the richest countries in the world is a very emotional topic. In the United States, many are already making comparisons with conditions in the world’s poorest countries.

      If you want a link, go to news[dash] front[dot]info

      Attempts to post links from that Russian news site will cause your post to instantly vanish into the ether for some reason.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Oracle of Delphi: ‘If you proceed, a great power will be destroyed.’

        Biden: ‘All right then. We’re good to go. Somebody let Zelensky know.’

      2. Basil Pesto

        Russia is a complete SARS2 shitshow, so their abnegation of public health puts them in “third world” territory like most of the rest of the world. Glass houses etc

  15. Divadab

    “50 percent during his single term, it’s baffling….. [Nothing] has gotten the country to rate Biden the superior president he so obviously is.”

    Superior to what? Ripe roadkill? A poke in the eye with a sharp stick? Dang these sophists are reaching deep, to the point of imbecility. Or requiring imbecility to agree with their utter dross….

    1. flora

      Bouley is right a strong board that does oversight and has a good funding governance infrastructure is essential to avoid the avoidable inside bad stuff.

    2. HotFlash

      Wish I could have read it through, what I read looked interesting and insightful. Despite repeated reloading, Twitter freezes after 4 or 5 screens unless I sign up. Which I won’t.

      1. kfish

        Nitter is a great substitute – it strips out the Javascript that imposes that signup screen.

        nitter.net/yourtwitteraccount should get you where you want to go.

  16. voislav

    On Musk, I’ve seen somewhere one of his long time business partners, who is involved in the Twitter deal as well to a tune of $100 million, say that this is classic Elon. Get in with an unrealistic offer and try to beat down the company to a lower price. His expectation is that the Twitter deal would go through at a 50% discount.

    1. Questa Nota

      How many screenplays are underway promising an inside look at Tesla man wheeling and dealing?

      It does make good entertainment, in a way, to see the Twitter people sputter about how many bot accounts there are might be. If that ray of sunshine helps disinfect the platform, then maybe it will spread to other infected areas. Who knew, Elon is a vector.

      1. griffen

        Noted biographer Walter Isaccson has a book project in the works currently about Elon Musk. So in about 5 or so years there should be a slate of series or movies on “the Man Who Wants Mars” or some pithy title…

        I had my doubts from the initial stories and announcement for his intent to acquire the Tweeter factory. Tesla shares have been sad ever since…LOLZ.

  17. Alyosha

    That they decided to call the response “Operation Fly Formula” says all I need to hear about the Biden administration. One, it doesn’t need a name, just address the issue. Two, if we must give everything a military operation name, can we at least be creative? How about “Operation Stork” “Operation Milk Wings”, anything would be better than “Operation Fly Formula”.

    Surprising to see a mainstream published piece that identifies Olena Semenyaka. There were a few back in the day but she’s the primary intellectual mover behind the international Azov-type movement. She was the one who came up with the funding for the Rise Against Movement’s Charlottesville rally. She used some extra NED/USAID cash. I’m fairly sure she’s been working as a spokesperson for the president of Ukraine’s office and I assume that she was placed close to Zelensky to help shape his ideology.

    1. upstater

      I don’t get it… we fly C5s and C17s all day to Europe, I assume they return empty. Why not fill them with EU baby formula as compensation for our defense?

      Or are we getting it from China?

      1. LawnDart

        C-5s and C-17s don’t often come back empty, though usually not as full– stuff moves back-and-forth all the time. Most air bases have what’s called ATOC (think UPS hub, same principle) which overseas the “aerial port” and coordinates the movement of material and personnel.

        On the FREDs (aka C-5… …ok, F@#kin Ridiculous Economic Disaster) one load might be Alpo and Hawaiian Punch and the next, helicopters and Humvees or whatever. Worst load I had was military dogs– seemed like hundreds, with kennels stacked on kennels stacked on pallets, and every one of them barking, howling, puking and shitting for the duration. I’m pretty sure that most of the crew was doing the same, though that’s what is considered normal, baseline, everyday behavior for an AMC crew.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Instead of giving $28 million to the FDA, why not give it to the Justice Department, Anti-Trust Division? The problem here seems to be obvious:

      Abbott—which, along with three other manufacturers, controlled nearly 90 percent of the baby formula market as of 2018—is currently the sole provider of infant formula for families on the state-administered WIC program in 34 states and Washington D.C., plus several territories and tribal organizations, Truthout reported last month.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      I had a similar reaction, Alyosha!

      I read that “Operation Fly Formula” as something gross…either formula to turn you into a Fly a la Jeff Goldblum or a protein concoction of mushed flies.

      Operation Stork? Milk Wings? Great.
      But I can just see the naming meeting: Gotta keep it simple and self-explanitory.
      Well, we’re flying formula so…

      So they went with “Fly Formula”…because they are idiots and there’s nobody actually trying to govern. They think of the rest of us as simpletons to be condescended to or lied to and it doesn’t matter if it fixes anything or if it works for people as long as they can duck blame for failures.

      Adults in charge. Yeah…

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      At least they didn’t call it . . . ” Operation Fly In The Formula”.

  18. Mo.B

    Defined in this context as workers with less than a bachelor’s degree, in 2013, about two-thirds of the entire workforce was “working class.”

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to define working class as those who work for a living? Seems simple, and avoids the problem that the definition above would exclude a huge number of Starbucks baristas etc.

    1. LifelongLib

      Yes, it seems to me that if you live off paychecks and don’t have some special status/credential that prevents you from being easily layed off (or makes it of little concern) then you’re a “worker”. But I guess “class” includes a psychological component (e.g. how you regard yourself in the scheme of things) that may be different from your actual economic status.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Till a few decades ago, it had a very strong psychological and cultural-signifier component. Before Free Trade, millions of union thingmakers who had houses and cars and yards and boats and grills and children going to college if they wanted to . . . . considered themselves to be middle class and might have been deeply offended to be called “working class” which was a synonym for “working poor” as in “domestic servants/maids” and so forth.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      I’ve had many, many discussions regarding the definition of both “middle class” and “working class”. I’ve been very surprised at the variety of answers. I’ve always understood the idea of “middle class” as being about how much you make and how much you own and “working class” as being defined by how you make your income. I’ve had people with multiple houses (one to live in and one to rent out) tell me they’re middle class even as the value of those 2 properties easily exceeds 2.5 million dollars.
      And as far as “working class”, I wouldn’t consider baristas, or waiters, or hotel staff as working class if only because, generally speaking, it doesn’t require physical work. I’ve done all of those jobs. Plumber? Working class. Regardless of how much he earns. Barista? Not working class. Again regardless of how much they earn. It’s the physicality plus the specialized tradecraft that defines “working class”, IMNSHO.

      1. dermotmoconnor

        QUOTE: “regardless of how much they earn. It’s the physicality plus the specialized tradecraft that defines “working class”, IMNSHO.”


        No, it is not. That has to be one of the most confused lines of thinking I’ve seen in some time.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Good point. Baristas and Baristos with a bachelors degree are working class. So are a million or so waiters. And task-rabitters. And etc.

      I have a bachelors degree. And my sole and only living for these past few decades has been a bi-weekly wage job. Would the mavens of marxism call me a “declassed PMC”?

  19. John Beech

    Why this interest in defining class and skin color? Who benefits by setting one American against another based on race or color? I totally fail to understand how the color of my skin matters. If the best job I can get pays $15/hour and I need $20 to live, then a) I have to find a job that pays 20 bucks, or b) cut my expenses, or c) up my skill set. Simple. Doesn’t matter if I am purple or green! So if I don’t have the skills to get a $20/hour job, then color isn’t the issue, being unskilled is the hold up!

    Color has nothing to do with employment because it’s about skills for the employer. If I need a CNC machinist I couldn’t care less what color he or she is. Not one bit! However, if the prospective employee’s skill set is at a, ‘You want fries with that?’ level, then I can’t possibly hire you to run a $250k 4-axis mill or $175k two-axis lathe because you don’t know how!

    Alternatively, maybe someone needs an employee to draw blood, but the applicant never graduated high school! What does it matter what color they are if they’re not qualified? Similarly, if the job calls for a trim carpenter and you’re a framing carpenter, then you can’t do the job because you’re not qualified . . . nothing to do with being green or purple!

    Look, my property taxes pay for school that’s like an all you can eat buffet – but – if you just want to select white rice and skate by, then how is it my problem you can’t obtain a $40/hr job? Math is hard so you sit in back and shoot spitballs at the smart kids, or buckle down, do homework, and pay attention in class. How is it my problem (as a taxpayer) that your kids are more interested in TikTok and you’re too busy smoking crack to care what happens to them? Who bought them a $400 phone to begin with? What did they do to earn it? Maybe instead of crying about racism and skin color we should be doing something about teaching personal responsibility for crying out loud.

    So school systems have the means to guide students toward plumbing, autoshop, metal shop, HVAC, or college. Or to a general degree and a tour at community college to pick up enough of a skill to find an entry level job for an HVAC company, or home builder, or whatever if college isn’t your thing. But it’s ultimately on the student.

    Sadly, the f-ing teachers universally want to pretend everybody is made for college but the fact 25% drop out of high schools says otherwise. The fact 50% don’t complete university speaks volumes as well. As does the fact so many who do graduate, do it with a debt load they can’t ever pay off. Doesn’t this scream it’s the system, which has issues. So maybe begin with that instead of blaming skin color!

    Everything is NOT about race.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It’s more for political shorthand than anything else. It was maddeningly common for the past 20, even 30 years that when talking about the working class we’d only ever hear political commentators refer to the “white working class” because it was the majority demographic used as a proxy for the class as a whole (and usually not in a good way, this was representative of class relations at the time — it was one step above calling them rednecks or welfare queens). It was stupid and dumb then and kinda quaint now that naked contempt is the modus operandi for any class-based commentary these days.

    2. Rodeo Clownfish

      But many things are about class. And race, in the USA, is often a proxy for class. If you are born poor, you are less likely to go to good schools, have pro-education role models in your family and community, or encounter career-building opportunities (scholarships, internships, etc). And if you are born to some races (African-American, Hispanic, Native American) in USA, you are more likely to be poor. Also, since you don’t look like most of the people in the more fortunate socio-economic strata, you will have an even greater challenge rising up into those strata, because all other things being equal, people tend to hire those whom they most easily relate to.

      Hard work (both mental and physical) is virtuous and helpful, but often it is not enough. Plenty of hard-working people have no chance at a well-paying career, and plenty of highly-paid white collar professionals are dumb and lazy. And class and race do affect the outcomes.

      1. Ben Joseph

        To John’s original query, I’m assuming it has to do with identitarian distraction. History demonstrates centuries of slavery independent of color prior to 1619,. Africans owned Africans, Asians owned Asians, Europeans owned Europeans.
        If you can identify an other to blame (see fascism) you can make it about us vs. them. When you cannibalize your own? Still need an other to scapegoat. Distracts the exploited from the plunder. African Americans have been inordinately exploited, but race is neither necessary nor sufficient to account for exploitation.

        We’re still in an occupy wall street world with a climate on the brink, but keep getting distracted by the feints.
        Race, roe v Wade, Covid. So many things to argue about while our Neros fiddle for the militarial industrial overlords.

  20. anon in so cal

    >Bird Migration

    During the beginning of the pandemic, in 2020, some intrepid birders witnessed amazing migratory flights in the early am, on Angeles Crest Highway, above the LA basin.

    An exciting migration event unfolded on Wednesday morning in Southern California, as many thousands of birds continued their nocturnal movements well into the first hours of daylight.


    >Habitat Loss

    California typically has a lot of migratory birds, both passing through and stopping for the spring/summer.
    Anecdotally, I’m seeing fewer species, which used to be abundant, such as Wilson’s Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Black-Headed Grosbeaks, etc. Very sad that additional loss is likely one of the consequences of California’s SB-9 and SB-10. These bills do not address the affordable housing issue but they do entail subdividing lots to accommodate four housing units per lot. Compounding this is a cultural shift toward replacing existing housing stock with much larger homes that fill up the lot.

    Besides pesticides, roaming cats, habitat loss and window collisions, there’s the threat of avian predators. Since WFH, I’ve had time to observe Pacific Slope Flycatchers nesting in our yard. Last year, they did so successfully. This year, they chose a terrible spot and their nest was raided by two Scrub Jays. Very sad.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wonder how much attrition the neotropical migrants are also suffering on their winter ranges?

      Here is a bunch of images mostly relevant to “neotropical migrants”. “Mostly” is the best we can hope for from a search engine. And Yahoo Image does “mostly” better than Google Image does.

      I also remember the Spring Migration being more individual-rich spectacular some decades ago than it is now.

      1. anon in so cal

        “I wonder how much attrition the neotropical migrants are also suffering on their winter ranges?”

        I also wonder that. It’s very worrisome.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Some of them have fairly big winter ranges over large parts of South America. Some of them have small or tiny winter ranges in one or another small part of Central America or a few Caribbean Islands or so forth.

          These governments and people will do what they will do about things and stuff. Maybe intergovernmental negotiations can achieve something. Certainly every individual coffee-buyer who buys shade-grown artisan coffee instead of industrial monoculture coffee is subsidising an artisan producer to keep his land in the kind of semi-forest in which some birds can still winter. Its not everything, but it may be something.

  21. upstater

    Add this to the stats section…

    U.S. rail traffic decline continues in weekly statistics

    Weekly U.S. rail traffic figures remain below 2021 levels, although the degree of decline continues to vary significantly from week to week.

    Statistics from the Association of American Railroads, for the week ending May 14, show overall traffic down 5.4% compared to the corresponding week a year earlier. This follows a 3.5% decline for the week ending May 7, a 6.3% drop for the week ending April 30, and a 7.4% slide for the week ending April 23.

    Leading recession indicator? Problems getting people to work miserable jobs? Driving off customers that won’t submit to robber-baron freight rates? Businesses quitting? I vote for “All of the above”.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      China is shut down. There’s nothing to move, except baby formula but we don’t have any of that. We are Haiti if Haiti were a teenager with a first-time credit card

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Election Day may be a bigger problem for a certain political party:

          Bloomberg Economics’ recession-probability model has estimated a 44% chance of recession happening before January 2024. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his colleagues have said their goal is to achieve a soft landing — cooling the U.S. economy to bring inflation back down toward their 2% goal while preserving a robust labor market.

          Maybe Zelensky could send back anything the Ukies don’t need so we can build up those Unemployment Benefit Trust Funds again.

          1. Hepativore

            The Jacka$$ Party is probably drooling over the fundraising potential that they can get from the malcontents after the midterms with the loss of Roe vs. Wade and another recession…and they do not have to deliver on anything as the money rolls in regardless.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Unless a Legal Abortion Party forms and rises to dry the drool on the Jacka$$ Party’s lips.

              ” Us support Legal Abortion. Dem support Legal Abortion. What’s the difference between Us and Dem? Us mean it. Dem don’t.”

        2. Samuel Conner

          > Christmas in the homeland is going to be real interesting this year

          Provided we don’t run out of petroleum-based feedstocks (and we do still make those, I think) for polymers, there should be plenty of 3M Aura N95s available. I believe those are made in USA, too. It’s not autarky, but it’s not nuthin’ either.

          So, … give N95s this Christmas.

            1. Michael Ismoe

              Tarky — the new soy turkey substitute now that avian flu has killed off all the domestic birds. Serve one this Thanksgiving

              Tarky – a wholly owned subsidiary of Dupont

  22. super extra

    Zeitgeist report: I’ve mentioned before that I do ‘regular current events homework’ in the form of watching NBC Nightly News program with elderly relatives and discussing their interpretation of events based on the information they are receiving. Yesterday NBC ran the segment associated with this piece on the Hunter Biden Laptop. I watched it with the relatives and when it was over, without prompting, they stated that they hoped Biden wasn’t going to run again because he was going to lose. These are blue-no-matter-who partisans in one of the reddest states we have so I realize their opinion doesn’t matter to DNC consultants but it really speaks to the degree of disgust the corruption/tax evasion antics evoke in normal people.

  23. Tom Stone

    Vast sums are made by theft and corruption during any War.
    During the height of the Vietnam War it was estimated that half of the goods shipped there were stolen off the docks. How much was stolen between the docks and the intended destination is anyone’s guess.
    Ukraine has been notorious for corruption and especially for being a nexus for the illicit arms trade for quite a few years.
    As the delightful Ms Semenyaka explained the AZOV movement has been very successful in reaching out to other groups across the World who share their ideology, they have had plenty of funding to do so since 2014.
    I do wonder how many “Stingers” they have been able to share with their friends around the World…and it’s not just AZOV, it’s the Uke Mafia and God knows who else.The nasty little buggers are going to show up everywhere over the next few years.

  24. Michael Ismoe

    “Jayapal endorses Cisneros in Cuellar primary challenge”

    What’s the point? The run-off primary is three days away and she isn’t registered to vote in that district. An endorsement a couple months ago might have helped fundraising (do people still think the Progressive Congressional Caucus is still progressive?) but four days before election day is kinda like saying “See? I crossed Mother Superior, ain’t I radical?” Nancy will pour in another couple million from Raytheon into Cuellar’s campaign to counter Jaypal’s “help”.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I was suspicious about her since reading a bio piece on her a few years ago. Seems it wasn’t misplaced.

    2. voislav

      It’s the same as AOC endorsing Nina Turner one day before the election. Checking off “Endorsed Progressive Candidate” box.

  25. Tom Stone

    As to Elon, he has been looking increasingly unhealthy the last few years.
    Puffy and very pale.
    Increasingly risky behaviour can be a result of illness, or sometimes a reaction to drugs taken for a medical condition as well as the abuse of substances legal or illegal.
    Did he grow up in a home with a cat that used a litterbox?
    At least 90% of Tesla’s “Value” is ELON!!!, ELON!!!, ELON!!!.
    When Elon the Magnificent passes into the great beyond many will mourn his passing, some almost as much as they mourn their financial losses.

  26. Questa Nota

    Budtender for a wedding?

    Is that the modern version of the guy in a clean shirt with a new album jacket and a stack of rolling papers, plus an assortment of smoke-inhalation devices? Bonus points for organic apples.

  27. FreeMarketApologist

    Error in the pictures of the rapid riser counties? Both say a/o 5/17/22.

    I notice that my county (Delaware-NY) has suddenly gone orange, despite remaining gray throughout the last 2 weeks while the rest of the NY southern tier has substantially risen and fallen. Friend who is connected to those up there who should be in the know thinks it’s a lack of reporting.

  28. Pelham

    Re Dems’ possibly obfuscated messaging: The message at the level of public statement seems clear to me:

    To get a Green New Deal, I also have to vote for open borders through which pass enough fentanyl to kill every American twice over;

    To get single-payer or at least some marginally better version of healthcare, I also have to favor admitting biological men into women’s sports;

    To get a better deal for workers, I also have to favor abortion up to the moment of birth.

    And to avoid the slur that I’m racist replacement-theory nut, I have to pretend not to have heard all those Dems over the decades eagerly anticipating waves of immigration casting the deplorable white majority into minority status.

    Even if I were willing to bite the bullet and go along with these tradeoffs individually, it’s the packaging itself that’s damning.

  29. antidlc

    RE: Colbert

    Colbert was out with COVID — had it and then relapsed and was out again.

    Since Jon Bastiste is out (he had COVID and now I think he is working on “Color Purple”), a guy named Chris is leading the band that plays.

    The other night Colbert asked Chris if Chris had gotten COVID, and then Colbert asked, “Did I already ask you that? I forgot. I seem to be having memory issues.” (paraphrasing — not exact quote).

    Looks like Colbert may be suffering COVID after effects.

    1. Sardonia

      Whatever he might be suffering from, it can’t possibly be worse than suffering from being Colbert.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Was he perhaps mocking claims that CV can cause neurological damage?

      I don’t like the idea that JC might try to make having COVID something regarded to be ‘funny’.

      1. antidlc

        No, I don’t think he was mocking.

        He wasn’t trying to get a laugh. He seemed sincere when he asked Chris if he (Colbert) had already asked the question. Colbert wanted to know if Chris had any after effects and Chris said he had insomnia after catching COVID.

  30. The Rev Kev

    ‘My son’s middle school is begging everyone to put the masks back on. There was an end of year party on a boat & now tons of kids are out with Covid. Piedmont, CA.’

    And people were surprised? Below that tweet is another-

    ‘My son’s 5th grade class was scheduled to go on a weekend wilderness trip starting tomorrow. This would have been the first class to go since 2019. We got an email this morning that the staff at the facility have an outbreak, so no trip. The kids are devastated.’

    They would have been more devastated if they had gone IMO. Those upticks in Lambert’s charts are ominous and the two countries that stand out the most are the US and the UK – the two countries that are the breeding ground for neoliberalism. Thanks Ronnie. Thanks Maggie. Your legacy lives on.

  31. Swamp Yankee

    Lambert, in my experience, it doesn’t take any psychic energy at all from mainstream PMC Dems to engage in doublethink because they aren’t actually in the habit of thinking, not in any sense that most here would understand it.

    My read of both the MSNBC-CNN tribe and the FOX-Newsmax tribe is that they are not so much in a thinking modus operandi right now as a reacting one.

    It’s like Red Sox and Yankees fans now.

    There was a point in the late 90s, before they were really good again, when Red Sox fans would start unprompted chants of “Yankees Suck!” at essentially anyone. I remember it once when the Toronto Blue Jays were playing at Fenway. The Boston Globe even noted it in a story.

    It was dumb and atavistic, though sort of understandable at a certain sports-fan level. But now that zeitgeist and mode-of-being has captured politics and it just makes things that much worse and more terrible.

  32. Mikel

    Here it is – in black and white:


    “…The analysts also expect the crypto downturn to have a limited effect on labor supply.

    In general, the decline in household wealth may incentivize some workers who left the labor market during the pandemic to return, they noted.

    However, crypto investors are predominantly young males, a demographic group whose labor-force participation has been less affected by wealth fluctuations, the analysts wrote. Meanwhile, the labor-force participation rate of young males has already returned to pre-pandemic level, Goldman said.

    The analysis indicates that the wealth generated from cryptocurrency has likely played an insignificant role in discouraging labor supply, thus the recent fall in its price will provide a limited boost to labor supply…”

    The only inflation the Fed is worried about is people’s wages. Once they get that down and slow up retirements, fantasy finance stock prices divorced from fundamentals will return.

      1. flora

        And even better, all this scary news coming out just a few days before WHO member countries are scheduled to vote on the new pandemic treaty (aka the global power grab by the WHO). What a coincidence.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Also Bill buys up huge tracks of farmland in America – and now there is looming a world-wide food shortage.

    1. Basil Pesto

      the article explains clearly that countries like the US have smallpox vaccine stockpiles in reserve, and Bavarian Nordic has supplied them contractually for longer than the past 7 days. Are we to believe that this monkeypox outbreak is being engineered to the benefit of one medium-sized northern european pharmaceutical company that was getting paid either way?

      1. flora

        I believe the timing of several small outbreaks in several countries all at once (which said sudden and widely dispersed outbreaks is described as extremely rare ) right before a major WHO vote is one hell of a coincidence.

    1. amechania

      Checked the charts a bit more and alot more of the map was filled in back in january on the day I pulled. The mexico numbers might be the product of a similar policy of not testing the countryside anymore.

      The precipitatious drop off again takes up 7 dots, meaning the average dropped from a wider-reporting base to the number at the end of the cliff.

      Admin seems to have agreed to just pick the previous measured baseline and adjust the numbers by a factor to get back to where they were before with the assumed reduced reporting. (it would explain the numbers some)

  33. Mikel

    Hearing more and more of people returning to work from home.
    Gas prices still going up?

  34. LawnDart

    What the hell, Canada?

    Leave the poor guy alone: he was just getting shit done!

    Legislator Regrets Appearing for Session via Zoom From Toilet Stall

    MAY 13, 2022

    “I take this matter extremely seriously,” Liberal party MP Shafqat Ali said last week, “and I promise never to repeat this error again.” The full quote probably makes clear that he meant the “error” of choosing to participate in a session of Canada’s parliament from a toilet stall, but it’s also possible he meant the “error” of forgetting to select a different video background for the Zoom call.


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