2:00PM Water Cooler 5/13/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is Hermit Thrush Week at Naked Capitalism. Acadia National Park, Maine, US.

Hat tip Noone from Nowheresville. Readers, do you have another bird to propose?

Or perhaps I can simply use this keen migration dashboard from BirdCast (hat tip, alert reader Ignacio).

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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

Capitol Seizure

“Jan. 6 committee opens a Pandora’s box of retaliation” [Axios]. “The Jan. 6 committee’s decision to issue five major subpoenas Thursday — two targeting potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan — is likely to open a Pandora’s box of retaliation. The GOP was already plotting revenge, and now the minority feels more emboldened than ever, Republican lawmakers tell Axios. Prepare for committee removals, retaliatory subpoenas and even impeachments should the midterms go as polls — and history — predict…. There’s no clear path to ensuring the subpoenaed lawmakers comply.”

Biden Adminstration

Lying? Or brain fog?

Obviously there was vaccine available when Biden took office; they had been developed by the former guy under Operation Warp Speed (the extraordinary gift handed to Democrats and then squandered with Biden’s Vax-only “Let ‘er rip” policy). And the White House press office, for some reason, seems forgetful:

I’m not unserious about the brain fog thing. Multiple infections among Beltway PMC are increasingly likely, because they keep holding superspreading events. And we know that “even mild Covid is linked to brain damage.” But how are we going to distinguish untruths and lapses due to brain damage from the normal machinations of the political class? What happens when the entire West Wing turns into Diane Feinstein?

“White House prepares to ration vaccines as Covid funding impasse looms” [Politico]. “A painful and foreboding reality is setting in for the White House as it enters a potentially dangerous stretch of the Covid fight: It may soon need to run its sprawling pandemic response on a shoestring budget. Just two months after the administration unveiled a nearly 100-page roadmap out of the crisis, doubts are growing about Congress’ willingness to fund the nation’s fight. It has forced Biden officials to debate deep cuts to their Covid operation and game out ways to keep the federal effort afloat on a month-by-month basis. Among the sacrifices being weighed are limiting access to its next generation of vaccines to only the highest-risk Americans — a rationing that would have been unthinkable just a year ago, when the White House touted the development and widespread availability of vaccines as the clearest way out of the pandemic. But as the government’s cash reserves dwindle, officials are increasingly concluding that these types of difficult choices will soon have to be made. And they are quietly preparing to shift responsibility for other key parts of the pandemic response to the private sector as early as 2023. ‘There’s a great deal of concern that we’re going to be caught shorthanded,’ said one person familiar with the discussions. ‘On the face of it, it’s absurd.'” • Oh, privatization, what a shame. Who could want that?


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OR: “The Esoteric Social Movement Behind This Cycle’s Most Expensive House Race” [Politico]. “But this focus on [major donor] Bankman-Fried’s background in crypto has obscured another — and even stranger — element of the billionaire’s support. Both [candidate Carrick Flynn] and Bankman-Fried are adherents of a niche philosophy known as ‘effective altruism,’ which advocates using quantitative analyses and evidence-based reasoning to maximize social good and mitigate long-term threats to humanity. According to members of the effective altruism community, Flynn’s campaign is only the most visible part of a broader effort to grow effective altruism’s political footprint in Washington. In recent years, a collection of individual effective altruist and effective-altruism-aligned organizations have been spending big to build out a network of advocacy groups and think tanks focused on translating effective altruism’s philosophical principles into policy — principally in the areas of biosecurity, pandemic prevention and emerging technology policy. This effort marks the movement’s first major effort to expand effective altruism’s reach beyond philanthropy — where it has championed some counterintuitive ideas about charitable giving — into the messy and pragmatic arena of politics. For some effective altruists like Flynn and Bankman-Fried, the next step in this push is to put an effective altruist into Congress. But what happens when their hyper-rational and efficiency-obsessed approach to doing good collides with America’s most irrational and inefficient governing institution? And if Flynn succeeds in becoming the first effective altruist in Congress, can he actually make it any more effective?” • “Effective Altruism” has funders and networks, so……

PA: “John Fetterman is redefining how swing-state Democrats campaign” [Vox]. “[Fetterman’s] dominance may seem surprising. But behind it is his success in addressing two pressing problems Democrats have struggled with nationally. That their primary voters tend to favor progressive policies more than general election voters, and their party seems unable to clearly define what it believes and who it’s for: It wants to advance progressive ideas without being branded as leftist, and to strike a balance between elite priorities and blue-collar concerns. The quirks of his candidacy mean that Fetterman is able to find a balance between extremes. A longtime politician, he’s promoted progressive causes in the state while also bending to practical, populist concerns. And he’s done much of that while wearing Carhartt hoodies and basketball shorts. That’s not to say Fetterman has a lock on the general election. But if Fetterman wins, he and Democratic voters will be making a bet: An unconventional, but authentic candidate who is progressive enough to win a Democratic primary won’t doom the party in a general election…. But he has shown a messaging discipline that suggests to voters that he hears their concerns and has a plan to follow in Congress if Democrats hold their majority. He’s talked often about creating more jobs, raising the minimum wage, and abolishing the filibuster to do that if needed. Voters also seem to trust Fetterman on other issues that polling suggests are of interest to Democrats, like the Russia-Ukraine war, health care costs, and voting rights.” • Messaging discipline. It’s not all the basketball shorts (in the winter, which I concede is legendary image-making).


“The Memo: Trump, Biden allies crave 2024 rematch” [The Hill]. “The prospect of a White House rematch between President Biden and former President Trump is coming into focus. And there’s nothing that backers of either man would like more. ‘If the election were held today, Trump would win by 6 points,’ enthused Corey Lewandowski, the Trump ally who served as the former president’s campaign manager in the early stages of the 2016 election cycle. Asked about other plausible Democratic nominees should Biden decide not to seek a second term, Lewandowski insisted ‘Joe Biden would be my first choice’ as an opponent. On the other side of the equation, Democrat Dick Harpootlian, who served on Biden’s 2020 campaign finance committee, said, ‘I am praying for Donald Trump to be the nominee … Trump represents the worst aspects of the Republican Party and I am convinced that absence will not make the heart grow fonder.’ Harpootlian, a longtime fixture of South Carolina politics known for his colorful turns of phrase, gleefully branded the former president ‘crazy as a shithouse rat.’ Biden and Trump journeyed to key states Friday, giving a split-screen preview of what a 2024 campaign would look like.” • The liberal Democrats have two big projects going (Covid having been abandoned to “personal risk assessment”): Ukraine, and 1/6. What’s remarkable is that neither are on the radar as political issues. Now, if Biden somehow manages to appear to have “beaten” Putin, there will be an absolutely ginormous liberalgasm, and the afterglow should help with turnout (and of course anti-war Republicans — holy Lord, what a concept — can be branded as traitors). Similarly, if the 1/6 Committee somehow manages to appear to have “nailed” Trump, there will be another ginormous liberalgasm, and the afterglow should again help with turnout (and the Constitution is a sacred text in America, so there’s leverage in that somewhere). Now, both outcomes seem unlikely, odd given the enormous resources, military and political, being poured into each. Putin seems likely to delay any, er, resolution of Ukraine until after the point where it would make a difference to Biden. And, to my mind, the 1/6 Committee deliverable needs to be strongly evidenced, have a timeline, and appear to be “above politics,” if it is appeal to anybody beyond themselves. Sadly, the Democrats have form, and any 1/6 deliverable seems more than likely to be, er, spoiled.

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.

* * *

Owned by MTG, JFC:

And rightly. AOC earned every bit of this.

“The Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party Left” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “The thread that runs through all these failures is the Democratic Left’s adamant refusal to base its political approach on the actually-existing opinions and values of actually-existing American voters. Instead they entertain fantasies about kindling a prairie fire of progressive turnout with their approach, despite falling short again and again in the real world. It hasn’t worked and it won’t work. Instead, what they need is a plan on how to win outside of deep blue areas and states (the average Congressional Progressive Caucus leader is from a Democratic +19 district). That entails compromises that, so far, the Democratic Left has not been willing to make. Cultural moderation, effective governance and smart campaigning are what is needed to win in competitive areas of the country. If democracy is in as much danger as the Democratic Left appears to believe, would not such compromises be worth making? And wouldn’t winning make a nice change of pace at this point?” • This is rich coming from Teixeira, whose identity politics-based “coalition of the ascendant” collapsed into rubble when Trump began winning over Hispanic and Black voters. “Actually-existing opinions and values” my Sweet Aunt Fanny.

Forty years of “pro-choice,” and now the liberal Democrats change the messaging:

Personally, I never liked “pro-choice,” because that sounded like a consumer good (“This is why the market is great. So many choices!”). But what were the pro-abotion forces thinking, all those years?

Republican Funhouse

“Pence to headline Georgia rally for Kemp, furthering former VP’s break with Trump” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “Former Vice President Mike Pence will headline a get-out-the-vote rally with Gov. Brian Kemp on the eve of Georgia’s May 24 primary, deepening a split with Donald Trump as each maneuvers for a possible 2024 White House run. Pence called Kemp ‘one of the most successful conservative governors in America’ in a statement announcing the rally to help the incumbent stave off a Trump-backed challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue. The event announced Friday illustrates a growing proxy fight in Georgia between establishment forces backing Kemp and the Trump loyalists who want to remake the state Republican Party in the former president’s mold. Trump has put Kemp at the top of his revenge list, falsely blaming him for his 2020 election defeat in Georgia. His vendetta has spread beyond the governor, too, as he’s built a slate of candidates who are challenging Kemp allies down the ballot. But many of Trump’s fiercest Republican critics have rallied to Kemp’s side. That includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who plans to soon stump for Kemp in Georgia, and former President George W. Bush, who recently donated to his campaign. It’s also a fresh example of Pence’s attempt to distance himself from Trump after four years as his political sidekick. Pence called his former boss ‘wrong’ for falsely claiming he could overturn the results of the 2020 election and urged Republicans to focus on 2022 rather than fixate on the past. • I can take Bush and Christie or leave them alone, but I have to give credit to Pence for courage, both on 1/6 itself (“I’m not getting in the car“) and in the aftermath.

Trump Legacy

“Trump Organization closes sale of Washington hotel” [Reuters]. “The Trump Organization said on Wednesday that it completed the $375 million sale of the lease on the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. to an investment firm that plans to rebrand the property as the Waldorf Astoria. The business owned by the family of former President Donald Trump bought the rights in 2013 to the hotel, housed inside in the historic Old Post Office Building blocks away from the White House, and renovated it. The building itself is still owned by the federal government. In March, the U.S. General Services Administration, which acts as the federal government’s landlord, approved the sale of the rights by the Trump Organization to Miami-based CGI Merchant Group. Trump is projected to gain $100 million from the transaction.”

“Scoop: New Trump venture” [Axios]. “Donald Trump has found a new way to milk his ex-presidency — and test another — hitting the lucrative motivational speaking circuit with more fervor than any other active U.S. politician in history. It’s a way to build support for a possible 2024 presidential bid while potentially pocketing large speaking fees as many of his iconic properties are struggling. At events hosted by an outfit called the American Freedom Tour, Trump is whipping up arena-sized crowds resembling his campaign rallies.” • Now Trump can get back to his A/B testing. Look out!

Our Famously Free Press

“Carol Burris: What Jonathan Chait Forgot to Mention in His Latest Defense of the Charter Industry” [Diane Ravitch]. “Jonathan Chait writes for New York magazine, where his latest article appeared, opposing the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP). CSP currently spends $440 million annually to underwrite new charter schools. Chait titled his article ‘Biden Abandons the Obama Legacy on Charter Schools,’ but it might as well have been titled ‘Biden Abandons the Betsy DeVos Legacy on Charter Schools.’ Chait also attacked the Network for Public Education, which had issued two reports (see here and here) documenting the waste, fraud, and abuse in the CSP, based on the Education Department’s own data. NPE found that almost 40% of CSP funding went to charters that either never opened or closed within a few years of opening. In the life of the program, almost $1 billion had been wasted….. Carol Burris, the executive director of the Network for Public Education [writes]: ‘Now let’s talk about what Jonathan Chait failed to disclose as he opposed the CSP regulation reforms, using the same misinformation that has appeared in other op-eds. His wife worked for Center City Charter Schools as a grant writer when that charter chain received two grants from the Charter School Program (CSP), the program whose loose rules he is now defending. Download the 2019 database that you can find here and match the years of dispersion to the resume of Robin Chait. But the undisclosed conflict continues to this day. Since 2018, Robin Chait has worked for West Ed which evaluated the CSP during the Betsy De Vos era. And her employer, West Ed, once got its own $1.74 million grant from CSP.” • In general, power couples are underanalyzed, except when they’re Clarence + Ginni Thomas.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Covid lowest on the list, Ukraine nowhere:



School spirit!

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Lambert here: I am but a humble tape-watcher, but if some trusting, non-realist soul tells you that “Covid is over,” you can tell them that cases are up, transmission is up, test positivity is up, hospitalization is up, rapid riser counties are up, and wastewater is up, too. And this is all from data designed to support the narrative that “Covid is over,” and gamed within an inch of its life. So, if signals like that are flashing red, consider what the real signal must be like. (Note also this is all with BA.2 only, and with what the establishment considers an “immune wall” made from vaccination and prior infection. Since semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, and we’ve let ‘er rip at the airports…. Well, I just hope we get lucky with BA.4 and BA.5. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” –Otto von Bismarck.

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

* * *

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

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Case count by United States regions:

The train is really rolling, now. Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out. Also remember, it’s 100% certain the cases numbers are significantly understated. They’ve always been gamed, but it’s worse than before. One source said they though cases might be undercounted by a factor of six. Gottlieb thinks we only pick up one in seven or eight. The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. The blue “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 79,000 * 6 = 474,000, i.e. not gamed.

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

Worth noting that cases have doubled in four weeks.

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

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

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

MWRA wastewater data:

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

From Biobot Analytics:

Northeast unflattened, and — hat tip to readers for pointing to this — it looks like past aggregation was adjusted up. But that drop in the West looks like an adjustment, too. Do we have any readers who track non-biobot wastewater in the West?

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

Northeast still improving. All else status quo.

The previous release:

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

The Northeast remains stubbornly and solidly red. Now California is red as well. The Upper Midwest is moving that way, too. (The Unorganized Territories in Maine are back to red, good job.)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

This map is very dynamic! Now the orangization back to the Northeast. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,026,109 1,025,764. Looks like the CDC did discover a bunch of death certificates stuffed in a drawer. Look at the drop. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

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

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

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

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:

NEW: 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

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Bezzle: AI (Artificial Intelligence) slash ML (Machine Learning) is a scam:

Nobody understands what AIs do well enough to maintain them. Turning them off and then “retraining” them is the equivalent of rebooting your computer when it’s acting funny, except riskier and more stupid. The AI box is not empty, exactly, but what exactly it’s full of we can’t be sure.

The Bezzle:

The Bezzle: “SoftBank’s Funds Post $27 Billion Loss on Plunging Tech Investments” [New York Times]. “The Japanese conglomerate said on Thursday that it had lost about $27 billion in its two Vision Funds for the year that ended in March, as many of the major tech companies it invests in have struggled under rising inflation and concerns about Covid lockdowns in China. The company lost $13.2 billion as a whole for the fiscal year, the latest sign of its severe change in fortunes just a year after it announced that it had earned more money in one quarter than any Japanese company in history. SoftBank’s eccentric founder, Masayoshi Son, has for years grabbed headlines for eye-popping purchases as he transformed his firm into a holding company for tech firms that seemed set to boom. But those big bets have collapsed, as the grab bag of big-name start-ups the company staked its future on performed poorly in recent months.” • Well, there’s still the Saudis!

Tech: “Musk says $44 bln Twitter deal on hold over fake account data” [Reuters]. “Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that his $44-billion cash deal for Twitter Inc. was ‘temporarily on hold’ while he waits for the social media company to provide data on the proportion of its fake accounts…. Musk, the world’s richest person, decided to waive due diligence when he agreed to buy Twitter on April 25, in an effort to get the San Francisco-based company to accept his “best and final offer.” This could make it harder for him to argue that Twitter somehow misled him….. ‘Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,’ Musk told his more than 92 million Twitter followers. Twitter is planning no immediate action as a result of Musk’s comment, people familiar with the matter said. The company considered the comment disparaging and a violation of the terms of their deal contract, but was encouraged by Musk subsequently tweeting he was committing to the acquisition, the sources added.”

Concentration: “Big Bottle: The Baby Formula Nightmare” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. “The problem is not, however, that there isn’t enough formula, so much as the consolidated distribution system creates a lot of shortages in specific states…. I’m going to try and lay out the situation, and explain the market structure. There are two basic mechanisms that have created a concentrated and brittle market. The first is that regulators are tough on newcomers, but soft on incumbents. And the second is that the Federal government buys more than half of the baby formula in the market, and under the guise of competitive bidding, it in fact hands out monopoly licenses for individual states. That makes it impossible to get newcomers of any scale into the market, along with the more resiliency that such competition brings. It also makes it hard to address shortages in one state with extra formula from elsewhere.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 12 Extreme Fear (previous close: 6 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 16 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 13 at 1:39 PM EDT. Mr. Bitcoin has a sad.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Butt Lifts Are Booming. Healing Is No Joke.” [New York Times]. “When Randi Wright got a Brazilian butt lift in 2020 — a complex surgery in which fat is liposuctioned from the abdomen or lower back or other fleshy parts and used to enlarge and shape the buttocks — she knew she couldn’t afford the most expensive post-op care. She underwent the same procedure a year before, traveling from Atlanta, where she lived, to Miami, where the prices were lower and the options were abundant. For Wright, getting the surgeries alleviated the insecurity she felt about her body after having two children. ‘She changed my life,’ Wright said about her surgeon, bringing a finger to the inner corner of her eye to catch a tear. ‘I could not present myself anywhere in the body that I was in.‘.” • Hmm.

Class Warfare

“The evil ghost of Hunter Harrison lives on”:

News of the Wired

“NSA Says ‘No Backdoor’ for Spies in New US Encryption Scheme” [Bloomberg]. • Well, that’s sorted.

“Ancient DNA maps ‘dawn of farming’” [Nature]. “Sometime before 12,000 years ago, nomadic hunter-gatherers in the Middle East made one of the most important transitions in human history: they began staying put and took to farming. A pair of ancient-DNA studies — including one of the largest assemblages of ancient human genomes yet published — has homed in on the identity of the hunter-gatherers who settled down. Archaeological and genetic evidence suggests that humans first took to farming in the Middle East. This transition — which also later occurred independently in other parts of the world — is known as the Neolithic revolution, and is linked to the first domestic plants and animals…. Europe’s first farming populations descend mostly from farmers in the Anatolian peninsula, in what is now Turkey. “What happened before they started to migrate and propagate farming into Anatolia and Europe?” asks Laurent Excoffier, a population geneticist at the University of Bern…. Excoffier’s team found that ancient Anatolian farmers descended from repeated mixing between distinct hunter-gather groups from Europe and the Middle East. These groups first split around the height of the last Ice Age, some 25,000 years ago. Modelling suggests that the western hunter-gatherer groups nearly died out, before rebounding as the climate warmed. Once established in Anatolia, Excoffier’s team found, early farming populations moved west into Europe in a stepping-stone-like fashion, beginning around 8,000 years ago. They mixed occasionally — but not extensively — with local hunter-gatherers. ‘It’s really the spread of people, of farming communities, that brought farming further west,’ says Excoffier.”

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

TH writes: “This is a type of magnolia tree at the Huntington Library Gardens. I DO love purple!”

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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. Steve D

    Regarding White House prepares to ration vaccines as Covid funding impasse looms
    ‘…sprawling pandemic response…’
    Wow. Mr. Subliminal hard at work there.

    1. ambrit

      First, I want to see a ‘real’ Covid vaccine, if one can even be formulated, before I buy into the “vaccine shortage” meme.
      Secondly, why not use some of that Ukraine “assistance” money to repurpose some of those “clandestine” bio-warfare labs for “vaccine” production? A win-win proposition. The ‘Official’ sources can declare; “See, we were trying our best, under the trying strictures imposed upon us by those pesky American government regulators, to prepare for exactly this situation! The friendly Ukies gave us a place to work when American xyzs would not. So quit yer bitchin!”
      As is always manifestly the case, (The Neo-liberal Manifest Destiny,) there is plenty of money for foreign adventures and nothing for domestic crises.
      Stay safe, keep masking, and take no prisoners.

      1. eg

        It’s preposterous on its face — we have money to blow stuff up in Ukraine but can’t afford to vaccinate our own people.


        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > we have money to blow stuff up in Ukraine but can’t afford to vaccinate our own people.

          Or feed our babies, apparently. You don’t have to buy into everything Tucker Carlson says to see this is a ginormous fuckup that Biden needs to fix immediately. Especially since images of TEH BABIES!!!!! has been a stable of liberal Democrat propaganda and emotional blackmail for as long as I can remember.

    2. Carla

      Wow. All because of those meany Republicans, too. /s

      Sleepy Joe, who never deserved to have more than half the country solidly behind him, nevertheless did, for the first few months of his term at least. He and his team deserve an award for fastest squandering of good will in recent American memory. Everything they do is another nail in their collective coffin.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Finally, means testing!

      Anyone remember vaccine mandates, and all the political capital spent on that? I’ve been pinching myself to remember that it really happened, but now the whole thing has evaporated.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the whole thing has evaporated

        Say, it turns out that delivering health care free at the point of use works pretty well. Better memory hole that one, pronto.

  2. Wukchumni

    Tech: “Musk says $44 bln Twitter deal on hold over fake account data” [Reuters]. “Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that his $44-billion cash deal for Twitter Inc. was ‘temporarily on hold’ while he waits for the social media company to provide data on the proportion of its fake accounts….
    In Chinese numerology, $44 billion translates to ‘death-death’, quite unlucky.

    1. Mikel

      Musk has been around the Silly Con Valley crew for a long while. Is this REALLY the first he’s heard of fake accounts? Is this something new to him that has popped up on his radar?

      Bots and all other sorts of fakery are the price of doing business with corporate social media.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        This was my immediate thought too. Knowing Musk, something else is up and this is the cover. My guess is he’s either concerned about some of the noises regarding the financial impact of his own Tweets or he doesn’t actually have the money.

        1. Milton

          I think the fact the stock has dropped 25% in the last 2 weeks might be giving him some buyer’s remorse.

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          As are most billionaires, Musk is a narcissist, though he is not stupid. His talk of purchasing Twitter outright is all talk just to garner even more attention. As if all the burning and careening out of control Teslas don’t provide enough. Musk isn’t going to borrow billions of dollars to overpay for Twitter and wind up being the bag holder. Or is he?

    2. JeffC

      “Musk says $44 bln Twitter deal on hold over fake account data”

      That missing hyphen means it could mean something completely different and rather more alarming.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Mercury entered retrograde the other day, and will remain so through Memorial Day weekend. This *could* affect the deal, although everything was agreed upon well before this transit began. OTOH, one or both parties might be inclined to just stall until the first week in June when Mercury goes direct again, and then close on the deal.

      1. Wukchumni

        Uranus is in transit with the Moon, and this could explain why Luna went under.

        1. Greg

          Possibly closer to the truth – what if Musk’s billions for twitter were sitting in crypto and now are worth not enough? He’s always been a fan…

    4. Terry Flynn

      I’m glad someone else is aware of this phenomenon. In my former career I always discounted rating scale data for various reasons but one of the most important was the often observed “dip” in counts for number 4 amongst Chinese respondents.

      “star” ratings etc are useless. Things get even worse if you have Cantonese respondents but the reasons can’t be explained in a family blog. Never ever use rating scale data.

  3. antidlc

    RE: “White House prepares to ration vaccines as Covid funding impasse looms”

    Yet with little ability left to force Senate Republicans’ hand, there’s growing fear that perhaps the only way to keep the Covid response alive will be for Covid itself to swamp the nation in infections once again.

    We are sooo screwed.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Nah, “vaccines” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

      We’ve been screwed from the get go.

    2. lambert strether

      > the only way to keep the Covid response alive will be for Covid itself to swamp the nation in infections once again

      Since that is the stupidest and most lethal outcome, I’d go long on it.

  4. griffen

    Initial thought on the brain fog…”I find your lack of truthiness disturbing…” Operation warp speed by former guy but no we will not even allow the credit.

    Quoting or paraphrasing Vader here seems appropriate – and it is not even May 4th!!

  5. Samuel Conner

    > But how are we going to distinguish untruths and lapses due to brain damage from the normal machinations of the political class?

    Perhaps the lapses are not so much ‘departures from known truths’ as ‘unintentional dropping of the mask’.

    IOW, the brain damage makes it harder to pass as a non-sociopath.

    Perhaps the brain damage is just making it harder for them to conceal who they really are.

    1. ambrit

      Do we know if the physiology of the Zeta Reticulan reptilian body mirrors that of the Terran human domestic mammalian breeds?
      If ‘The Reptilian Overlords’ “drop the mask,” we are in for a world of overt ‘population management.’

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      …”the brain damage makes it harder to pass as a non-sociopath….”

      you might be on to something there…but i think it applies to more than merely the elite.
      it’s like the whole country suddenly time/space shifted to late 70’s/early 80’s rural east texas.
      the skin is thin…as is the patina of civilisation…palpable, even in hospitals—-
      :remember my sociological jane goodallism of the first month of wife’s cancer journey…i almost orgasmed with humanistic glee at such unexpected fellowfeeling from disparate strangers.
      the Vibe has definitely changed, since then…and i don’t think it’s just me projecting(i try to control for such things, best i can)

  6. allan

    Merged Black Hole on the Run

    When two black holes spiral into each other, we might imagine that all the energy gets swallowed up by the merger. Surprisingly, mergers can sometimes kick the final black hole away at a high enough speed to eject it from its host galaxy. Astronomers have seen hints of fast-moving black holes, but it wasn’t obvious that mergers were the cause. A new analysis of gravitational waves from a merger provides the first direct evidence of a strong kick [1]. …

    Vijay Varma from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany and his colleagues analyzed merger GW200129, which is the first event to exhibit a strong, unambiguous signature of precession in its gravitational-wave data. The team compared the observed signal to predictions based on numerical relativity simulations and found that the final 60-solar-mass black hole received a kick of around 1500 km/s, which would likely shoot it out of its galaxy (the Milky Way’s escape velocity is 550 km/s). …

    Well, one of those would certainly put us out of our current misery.

    Old bumper sticker: Giant Meteor 2016

    New bumper sticker: Giant Black Hole 2024.

  7. Objective Ace

    The blue “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 79,000 * 6 = 474,000, i.e. not gamed.

    I dont like this line–If anything it should be a dot. A line implies we’ve never undercounted covid cases in the past. While its likely we werent undercounting them by a factor of 7, I’m sure we’ve always been undercounting them. If someone wants to put together a historical estimate of how much we’ve been underestimating counts over time and then multiply that by reported cases–that would be amazing, but otherwise that blue line isnt even as good as a wild guess.

    I genuinely do not know if cases now are better or worse then during the Delta wave, but the blue line is implying cases are twice as high now as during Delta… is that what we think is going on?

    1. Jen

      Parish nurse in a neighboring town reported 30 active cases on the town listserv. Official state count is between 1-4. During the original Omicron, which hit much harder up here than Delta, I think the highest that town ever got was 20, if that. YMMV but yes, where I am, definitely worse than Delta, and the previous wave.

      My humble institution released their Friday report of active cases over the past 7 days. Student counts down (38 undergrads, 34 grad/professional students); faculty and staff counts are up – 117. Tests are essentially voluntary – you don’t need to test unless you have symptoms, and how exactly does one police that? The divergence between what is happening with student cases and faculty/staff cases is weird.

      1. Objective Ace

        I was also thinking its certainly possible current cases are twice as high as delta wave, but that implies undercounting by even more then 7 fold and the blue line should be even higher

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I dont like this line–If anything it should be a dot… I genuinely do not know if cases now are better or worse then during the Delta wave, but the blue line is implying cases are twice as high now as during Delta… is that what we think is going on?

      I understand your argument, but I don’t see a better way to say: “If we are undercounting today by a factor of six, then we are higher than the accepted figures for all peaks except Biden’s ginormous Omicron debacle.” I think a dot (or asterisk) is not sufficiently emphatic.

      I don’t think we were always undercounting by a factor of six, since (a) home tests weren’t always available and (b) CDC wasn’t actively sabotaging counting efforts.

      It seems to me that what you’re really asking for is adjusted, corrected curves for the entire pandemic.* I don’t have the horsepower to do it. If somebody else does, I’ll gladly run it.

      I experience your frustration; being a tape watcher, I would like to be able to draw the current curve including the factor of six (instead of the Biden Line). But I don’t know how to do this.

      NOTE * Right or wrong, these are the figures people were reacting to. So it’s important to preserve them.

  8. Mark Gisleson

    “John Fetterman is redefining how swing-state Democrats campaign”

    I sent a note about this to the NC hotline some time back as an FYI backgrounder, but it seems worth sharing in the context of how I expect the DNC to respond to the Fettermans.

    The cycle after my congressional candidate lost (no names, I think this story is best when told generically), it was pretty obvious that the mysterious folks who occasionally showed up at our HQ to ask questions understood that the problem in our CD wasn’t the local party, it was that the person heading up the national party was anathema in the district.

    It wasn’t until recently that I finally figured out their response.

    A third party frequently associated with the Democrats recruited an outsider to run for that seat as a Democrat. Without party endorsements he won the primary and then lost the fall election by a much smaller margin than the previous cycle and as a direct result the Democrats elected a governor (the margin of victory was less than the extra votes cast in the previously neglected CD).

    I have since learned that a national consulting firm essentially took over that third party and orchestrated the outsider run, enabling better GOTV but at the same time shackling the outsider with national party approved issues that simply did not sell in the CD. Enough help to get more votes and just enough interference to make sure he didn’t win.

    In the past the party insiders have been pretty clumsy with their CIA embed candidates, but I think they’ve learned from this experience to up their game. And if it doesn’t work, at least they’ll have muddied the waters and given voters reason to suspect that progressive candidates probably really aren’t or if they are come pre-shackled to the party line.

    This is the ugliest political climate of my lifetime and my real time election awareness dates back to the 1958 off-year elections. Rest assured that if Fetterman wins, the DNC will develop an elaborate anti-Fetterman strategy (well, OK, they have one in Conor Lamb but they’ll need a better one going forward).

  9. anon y'mouse

    vital comment under deFazio statement video:

    Ac3sw1ld 15 hours ago

    Sir I work for one of these class 1 railroads and for the past 10 years all they have told us is how they want to cut the trains down to 1 man crews they want to eliminate the conductor job entirely and they are using this as a way to get what they want the reason they cannot hire or keep employees is because who is going to want a job that the company continually says they want to eliminate. . .if you want to fix the supply chain issue that these companies have caused and get employees back into a job historically NO BODY walked away from force these railroads to run with 2 man crews make it law that they cannot operate trains with a single employee do something to limit the length of these trains we are currently running trains 2-3 times longer than we have ever seen with no additional pay stop letting these companies manipulate our federally mandated rest by keeping us held hostage in hotels a state away from our families until we have been there for over 24 hours only to work 12 hours home and only get 10 hours at home before we are called again. . .help us fight for our contracts we currently make the same amount as employees did back in the 90s with no tax claims and paying almost half of our checks in insurance because these billion dollar corporations say they cant afford to pay for our insurance or give us a raise this job used to be done by generation after generation of grandfathers fathers sons etc now they want to make things so bad that we all quit so they can rehire slaves at minimum wage to move 4 miles worth of hazardous materials by themselves do the right thing talk to the workers not the CEOs or company reps do right by those of us suffering and begging for a way out of this hell they have made the railroad into between PSR no sick time and new attendance policies that keep us on call 24/7 with no scheduled days off to will see even more employees quit and the crisis these shippers face become even worse when the companies have to scrap the bottom of the barrel to hire anyone

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > this job used to be done by generation after generation of grandfathers fathers sons etc now they want to make things so bad that we all quit so they can rehire slaves at minimum wage to move 4 miles worth of hazardous materials by themselves

      This is indeed an important comment. Thank you!

      I am still watching the Santa Fe Function (Kansas City) live cam. One thing I notice is that the BNSF diesels have absolutely filthy gratings at the back, covered (I assume) with carbon that comes from incomplete combustion. (I don’t say “exhaust grating” because I can’t find a diagram). Either way, this speaks very badly of BNSF’s maintenance. It doesn’t speak well of their emissions control either,

  10. IM Doc

    Regarding the list of things Americans are concerned about in this election cycle. COVID being on the bottom of the list, and Ukraine being nowhere.

    #1 – Inflation


    Excuse me, Americans, for being so insolent, but OBAMACARE was engineered to make Health Care both more affordable and more accessible. It was even called the “AFFORDABLE” Care Act.

    Why would you have the nerve to have that be your #2 concern on the list after all that Obama did for you? How dare you?

    I will say it again – Obamacare has done nothing to make health care more affordable in any way. Indeed it is the exact opposite. I have never in my life had so many “insured” going without needed care. And who would have thought we would have needed so many “GoFundMe” pages for patient’s health issues after Obamacare.

    It is just another example that if you wait long enough – the truth will eventually come forth.

    Obamacare has been the single biggest debacle/disaster in politics in my lifetime. I see multiple patients daily suffering under the load. It is one of THE big reasons why this life long Dem will no longer vote for any Dem again until there is a major clean up.

    1. Eudora Welty

      I am doing some temporary work in a high-tech cancer center in support for patients.
      Some anecdotes:
      — A patient said, “I was hoping I could finish chemo before my money ran out, and that didn’t happen, my money ran out, but at least I still have my job and my dog (and my life).”
      –A patient had to do the Medicaid spend-down, and (due to needing a Bone Marrow Transplant) NOW has to raise $50,000 via Gofundme for post-transplant 24-hour personal care? Maybe someone can enlighten me, but I wonder if she could have placed the funds she needed to spend-down into a post- transplant personal-care fund, rather than have to become broke on purpose and then have to ask for money. Also, Medicaid will pay for cancer-center-sponsored housing after the transplant but will not pay for 24-hr personal care.
      –A man who worked in construction had to retire and go on Medicaid in order to be able to finance the bone-marrow transplant. I’m surmising that his company’s insurance doesn’t cover such transplants.
      –Finally, the capper to me: Patient #2 above asked her doc, what if I don’t do the transplant? Apparently, a bone-marrow transplant is standard of care for Multiple Myeloma. The doc said, “You will be in a lot of pain, and you will die.” I guess there are no options besides a transplant?

      Our health-care safety-net is abysmal.

        1. Samuel Conner

          There’s a liquid asset test for eligibility for Medicaid, and if you have too many liquid assets, you have to get rid of them before you can enroll. One’s home equity is not included in the spend-down requirement, but I believe that Medicaid gets a lien on it.

          It would seem to me to make more sense to permit immediate enrollment with the placement of the surplus assets into some kind of trust or escrow to be used to reimburse Medicaid. Then one could start treatment immediately.

          Looking from the outside, it has a bit of the feel of a Kafka nightmare. I imagine that it’s much worse in lived experience.

          It’s hard to not believe that They really do want us to die.

          1. B flat

            Also the spend down can be subject to a 5-year look back so there’s no cheatin’/s

          2. Ed Miller

            Not just liquid assets. A farmer’s widow needs to divest everything, including any portion of the farm, and get on Medicaid. My spouse’s mother had this problem in MN. Her care would have nearly bankrupted her children and their families if she still had a financial interest in the farm.

            1. Objective Ace

              Also worth noting that this is gamed by the already well off. Placing the home in a life trust so your heirs can inherit it without the government seizing it.

              *Not a lawyer, but this is what my wife’s parents told us after consulting with a lawyer

        2. IM Doc

          It has varied in different states where I have been.

          In general, in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits – you have to have reached a certain threshold of liquid assets. So, if you have a let’s say 50K savings account, every bit of that has to be gone before you qualify for Medicaid.

          This becomes a real problem with elderly demented patients who have some assets, but who could never afford nursing home care without Medicaid – but sorry – you have 8K in the bank or whatever. Absolute nightmares I have seen over my life.

          But for younger people, you literally have to be broke to qualify – and I have seen so many gut-wrenching things happen when there is a young dad, for example, who has terminal cancer – and mom and kids have to literally bankrupt themselves (ie the meager amounts they had saved for kids’ education, etc) before Medicaid will pay for dad’s care. There are literally days I want to just crawl up and die. And yes – this exact thing can absolutely happen to those with Obamacare – who can no longer afford premiums or deductibles for whatever reason, and then they get the “benefit” of the “Medicaid expansion.”

          It is tragic on every level. The fact that we had a President and legislators who thought this was a great idea – speaks absolute volumes. I almost have a PTSD reaction when a young working-class father or mother is diagnosed in my practice with bad cancer. I know their future and what their kids will be going through.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yeah, in texas, where we just hates them po folks(like me), the limit to assets is $2k.(so that 5 acres of salt marsh/spoil island my dad bequeathed to me pretty much prevents me from ever being eligible for medicaid again)
            i had to put the ancient trailerhouse on the market for 9 months to prove that it wasn’t worth anything….for ssi to deem me(provisionally) worthy of a hip.
            of course, the mere attempt to access such “entitlements”(social insurance, the premiums for which have come out of every paycheck) leads one inevitably and immediately to being de facto accused of fraud,lol.
            it’s the default assumption with everything from foodstamps to disability.

            1. ambrit

              Yes to the social demonization of “the poor” that is Medicaid.
              You cannot own anything of value other than a primary dwelling and one vehicle here in Mississippi. They want the previous year’s bank records.
              I once opined that the State ‘Social Services’ qualified as a modern form of the Ancient Roman ‘Client’ system. You become somewhat of a ‘possession’ of those giving you the aid, and piss poor aid much of the time.
              The neo-liberal qualifier of needing “skin in the game” is a backdoor method of denying people help. The methodology of the provision of the aid is also a very effective way of enforcing conformity on the population.
              Stay safe and love and kisses to the wife from us both.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                when i finally got on ssi, after 6.5 years of wrangling disability system…4 times, all told…finally got the hip…turns out all they cared about was the check they sent every month.
                i told them from the getgo that we could do without it(was handy sometimes, of course)…but wife would get an xmas bonus, and their ancient mainframes would assume it was a raise, and therefore permanent, and send threatening letters about how greedy and fraudy we were…and withhold the checks for 3-6 months…until the mainframes would catch up and realise their mistake, and send me a large check for “back pay”…by that time, of course, it was time for wife to get an end of school bonus…and rinse and repeat,lol.
                weirdly, as we were getting wife into medicaid,late 2018, they simultaneously kicked me off, because wife made too much money(due to a legislated patraise in texas)…nothing else had changed, besides her cancer and her rather stingy raise.
                now, i’m told that i will get her pension…looks pretty generous from here(i’m much more low budget than she ever was,lol)
                …and “access” to the blue cross mess the skool contracts with.

                as for that salt marsh/spoil island…’spoil’ is the mud they pile up when dredging the intracoastal canal, in this case….most of my 1/4 of the 20 acres is underwater for roughly half the day.
                dad and his brother bought it because it was dirt cheap(my share of prop taxes, $66 per year)…and somebody might want to build a marina or spaceport.

                well and good.
                but skool’s blue cross, and me being a “landowner” effectively negate my having access to reasonable healthcare for another 10 years, at least…assuming medicare hasn’t been tranched and fubarred by then.

                1. JBird4049

                  And to think that Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid) is good, which it is when it is compared to the other states. I still have to not have over $2000 in the bank.

                  It is funny how the resource like that two thousand dollars don’t usually increase to match things like inflation. So it is the same as it was decades ago.

                  1. howseth

                    I was in Medi-Cal in California when I turned 60. I was allowed assets above $2000 quit a bit more – and they enrolled me anyway due to low income – but importantly because I had turned 60 (At the time I did not even know that was the reason)

                    I’m over 65 now and on regular Medicare – you can not have more than minimal assets to get help pay the premiums.

                    1. JBird4049

                      Like I said in an earlier rant, it is all Gotchas! all over the place; even when someone wants to be completely open and honest, something is going to trip them up and get them nailed.

            2. hk

              Blue states are not exempt from that. My octogenarian dad here in CA has both mental and physical issues (both apparently related to the same cause). There’s nothing there where he can get some help unless he’s absolutely broke and probably so for, I think for 3 years–other than, ironically, COVID, that allowed me to care for him while working from home.

          2. Anthony G Stegman

            This is more evidence that Donald Trump was looking in all the wrong places when he was describing “sh*th*le countries. The US of A is #1 in that department.

        3. Carla

          I think it means that if you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid you have to quit your job, and spend down all your assets (poor people aren’t allowed to own anything) before getting health insurance coverage under Medicaid. Maybe you’re allowed to get and keep a very low wage job. The coverage varies from state to state. In some places it’s quite good — significantly better than Medicare.

          If I’m wrong, someone please correct me.

        4. roxan

          I believe the acceptable amount is $2000 in your bank account. And there is a 5 year look back period that includes gifts to relatives or just about anything you can imagine. One lawyer told me they even ‘assess the furniture’. I don’t know if that’s true. In the 1970s, one had to sign over everything, even cars. Social workers actually would go through your closets, hoping to find a new TV or something they could use as an excuse to throw you off. If the patient was a vet, they would try to force him into a VA hospital and off Medicaid. Then, that changed, it was considerably liberalized during the 1980s until Clinton wrecked welfare, and it was back to liens and almost impossible to qualify. Hospitals were bankrupted by armies of patients who had nothing and did not qualify for Medicaid, either. Now, if you are old enough for Medicare, you’ll be given ‘extra help’ (medicaid) which will pay monthly part B and part D, and if you’re poor enough, more of the bills. If you get more than around $14,000 annually, or manage to have over $7000 in the bank, you’ll lose extra help. They do put a lien on property except for vehicles. The big problem with Obamacare is you get dumped into Medicaid whether you want it or not depending on income. And if you are never sick or go in a nursing home, your home is still lost to your kids. All this may vary a bit from state to state.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      ” It is one of THE big reasons why this life long Dem will no longer vote for any Dem again until there is a major clean up.”
      amen to that!
      i’ve been yelling at demparty apparatchicks since obama’s first year that they’ll hafta actually earn my vote, henceforward.
      that just was before ‘blue nomatter who’ was really a thing…coincidentally and totally not related at all,lol.
      of course, nowadays, nobody answers the fone…everything is through faceborg and the app du jour.
      so i wait for the questionnaires and other assorted “we care what you think” pablum, and write my own multiple choice answers.

      obamacare didnt do shit for me…but it may have helped wife a bit…something about the word “Cancer” having a talismanic property when accessing things like medicaid.

      and my biggest peeve with palaver regarding ACA, is none of our betters ever say a word about the deductables and co-pays…let alone subsidies to help with them. but they tout the subsidy for the premiums like it’s manna.(even i can afford the premiums, generally, and in theory)

    3. Carolinian

      Grifters (Obama, Biden) gonna grift. At least Biden is going to tackle the obesity problem by cutting back on our food.

      And to Lambert, Caitlin hits the same theme today on the Squad and the war happy progressives.


      the left-wing Democrat is a myth, like the good billionaire or the happy open marriage. It’s not a real thing; it’s just a pleasant fairy tale people tell themselves so they don’t have to go through the psychological turmoil of acknowledging that their entire worldview is built on lies.

      But at least Dems have Harpootlian to provide the Carville-isms. That guy’s been around forever.

    4. Alyosha

      I believe my new insurance costs me >$12,000/year before it covers anything at all. But I can put pretax dollars in a health savings account to help with the $6,000 deductible! I’m not sure what the point is except a grave diagnosis because I’ll act like I’m uninsured to the extent feasible. My wife’s insurance has gotten progressively worse since ACA both in her previous job and now her new job. But she’s got an autoimmune disease so we manage to hit the out of pocket max for her usually by March. $150K/year in old chemotherapy drug infusions will do that. (Rituxin)

    5. jefemt

      Serious question. But first, a BIG Thank-you for all of your Covid information over the past years.

      And yes, Obamacare is a disaster. Brought to the USA by our former Senator Max Baucus, who had cops escort out protesting Montana nurses who were trying to make a pitch for single payor.
      Why Obama allowed his named to be hitched to the goat poop wrangle is beyond me- hubris and pride – which used to goeth before the fall. .. but I digress!

      Question: I wonder how you will vote?
      Write in? Green? Republican? Candidate by candidate based on available information/ study?
      Not vote?

      I can think for myself and make my own decisions, but this subject is of huge interest to me.
      What are thoughtful, thinking caring folks going to do at the polls, if anything?

      Why a rational person with two ears, two eyes, and a brain votes in America in 2022 is beyond me, frankly.

      You should see the new ‘western’ district Congressional seat Montana just got… the primary for the Dims reminds me of a catty high school Prom Royalty or Student Council popularity contest.


      I wonder how few voting age Montanans were born and raised in Montana. My bet is it’s the minority, by a lot. And yet the number of generations that your family has been here seems to be the topic that will be the basis of being elected.

      Maybe the 2022 election/ vote question could be thrown out there for the commentariat?
      Maybe I am the only one pondering it.
      My son, a second generation Poli-sci major from Montana State University (good money after bad!?!) –home of the fighting Bobcats! gets pretty irate and owly talking up the candidates and His Future… Reasonably, I might add. I have no answers, but would love to hear from more people on this

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        from the first election after my 18th birthday(Ron Paul for preznit), till the election before this last one, i’ve been the first one to vote…wherever i’ve been.
        in every election that i was eligible to vote in.
        this last Primary?
        i went to get beer and cigs that morning, went down the street to where i’m s’poised to vote….and drove on by.
        nothing to vote “For”

      2. Objective Ace

        The leading 3rd party canidate. It doesnt even matter their positions. I figure at a certain point– 5, 10 percent?.. some people will stop thinking about it as “throwing their vote away” to vote 3rd party and it could snowball to the point more an more and eventually enough people are willing to vote

    6. Pat

      It isn’t just that they passed it. My hatred is also fueled by the fact that they want us to celebrate it and honor Obama for it.

      Many people don’t understand that part of the reason I don’t hit Republicans with the white hot invective I passionately excoriate Democrats with on the subject of healthcare is that they don’t lie to my face about it. Nor do they expect me to kiss their ring for their abject failure to do what they say they will regarding public services particularly healthcare.

      And if I ever have Pelosi in my power she will be eating her bible ( and she will be glad she isn’t Obama, I have other ideas for him to swallow his hypocrisy.)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ‘our betters'(tm) must be fed ice cream…fancy, of course…lest you screw up the marbling.

    7. fjallstrom

      It is striking to me just how much people in the US pays for not getting healthcare.

      Checking my taxes I pay in Sweden, I pay after deductions about 9% of my income as county tax, and healthcare is a county responsibility. The county has some other tasks (like public transport) but 80-90% of the county budget is healthcare (depending on how you view the overhead costs). So say 8% of my income goes to healthcare.

      On top of this comes users fees, mainly structured to nudge to correct behaviour. So a planned visit to the doctor has a lower users fee than an emergency visit and so on. A stay at the hospital has a rather low users fee, because you can’t much control it. And there is a cap of about 120 USD per 12 months, because if you use more than that you are obviously very sick. And the cap is in the payment system, so you don’t have to keep track.

      Pharmaceutical costs are structured to promote generica. You pay full cost up to about 100 USD per year and the pharmacists are ususally very helpful in suggesting cheaper alternatives. After 100 USD you get a increasing rebate, first 25%, then 50%, then 75% and then after about 200 USD 100%. The rebate is also built into the system, you don’t have to keep track. The main reason for promoting generica is to spare the state coffers from US Big Pharma.

      So in total:
      8% tax on income
      120 USD max/year in users fees
      200 USD max/year in pharmaceuticals

      And that covers everything. I have had surgery, I have an implant, I have had expensive pharmaceuticas. I have worried a lot about getting healthy (or at least healthier), but I haven’t worried about health care costs.

      Normal dental (by dentists, not jaw surgeons) is for historical reasons its own system. I have had the fortune of having good teeth so I am not at all as well aquinted with fees in that departement, but the bulk of the cost is included in those 8%.

  11. SadSoutherner

    Regarding COVID transmission … I don’t think people (this site’s regular readers excepted) realize the extent to which university graduations will fuel the spread of COVID. The university where I teach graduate students held commencement last weekend. No advice on indoor masking was provided one way or another, but a bias toward unmasking was on display. I wound up being of the few people to wear an N95 mask continuously during the indoor events. Jump ahead a few days, and sizable numbers of graduates are COVID+ or have roommates/ significant others/ family members who attended the festivities who are COVID+ (most likely on non-reportable rapid tests). Many of these folks traveled to/from campus from all over the country, with many of the graduates leaving later in the weekend for vacations or to move to their next cities. Now multiply that by all the departments/schools that held events during the weekend. Not a word from the department/ college/ university/ local health authorities. I guess they feel it is someone else’s or some other community’s problem now. Very much a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil approach, (And FWIW, our county is “green” on the CDC community level map, but very “red” on the transmission map.)

    1. CGKen

      My university’s graduation events are three weeks away. Case numbers are rising here and in the surrounding county. I’ve brought up reinstating a mask mandate so that students are healthy enough to take final exams and sit for graduation ceremonies. About half of my colleagues look at me like I’m crazy.

      I tried to also make the argument that it will be immoral to invite parents and other guests to end-of-year parties if we know that superspreader events are likely. More blank stares.

  12. Mikel

    “I’m not unserious about the brain fog thing. Multiple infections among Beltway PMC are increasingly likely, because they keep holding superspreading events. And we know that “even mild Covid is linked to brain damage.” But how are we going to distinguish untruths and lapses due to brain damage from the normal machinations of the political class? What happens when the entire West Wing turns into Diane Feinstein?”

    Bigger problem: There has to be a brain to infect.

  13. Michael Fiorillo

    Jonathan (“I’m a Peeliever”) Chait…

    Yes, that was an actual headline for an article of his during the High Russiagate period, so we therefore know this is a Serious Person who is also a moron. What I didn’t know was that he was also corrupt.

    1. Samuel Conner

      It’s a shame that the pee wasn’t saved in a bottle. Then it could have been tested for authenticity, and afterwards mixed with wood ashes and applied to the tomatoes.

      1. Wukchumni

        We don’t get many big trucks coming through tiny town, and thank goodness, as that’s where ‘trucker bombs’ come from, a source of dread twice a year when i’m doing roadside trash pick up.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Every winter Caltrans workers collect bottles of urine along the roads leading to the Lake Tahoe ski resorts. The traffic jams are so bad that peeing in a bottle is the only way to get relief while traveling. That Police song keeps playing in my brain for some reason.

          1. Wukchumni

            We finally got a spiffy new public bathroom built in tiny town just in time for Covid to delay the er, grand opening.

            …now doing business next to the museum

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        If I could save pee in a bottle
        The first thing that I’d like to do
        Is to save drop to make the Orange Man flop
        And then Hillary can rightfully rule

  14. Wukchumni

    There will be no D-9ing Scotty from Marketing another term…

    Scott Morrison made a significant admission on Friday, revealing he knows he needs to “change” if he is re-elected as Prime Minister.

    Speaking in Melbourne on Friday, Morrison conceded that he “can be a bit of a bulldozer” when it comes to some issues and noted that an adjustment would be needed in the future.

    “Over the last three years and particularly the last two, one of the things Australians have needed from me, going through this pandemic has been strength and resilience. Now, I admit that hasn’t enabled Australians to see a lot of other gears in the way I work,” he said at a press conference.


    1. The Rev Kev

      The sub-message was that he will still do all the neocon and neoliberal crap that he has been doing the past coupla years but will smile more when he does it. Doesn’t help that his smiles always resemble smugness.

  15. Dr. John Carpenter

    I don’t know how many of you have a Half Price Books in your area, but I just learned today there’s organizing going on there too. The place is a regular haunt of mine, and I’m an ex-employee, and this makes me really glad. Being that this is a smaller, regional chain, I’m not surprised it’s not been in the news. I just happened to notice the union pin someone at a store in my area was wearing. He told me there’s four stores actively organizing now, and as I was searching to find out more info, it looks like at least four won union recognition last year.

    If you don’t know the store, they’re a good sized used book, music, movie and other media chain. When I worked there, I loved the job and the people, but it was simply too hard making ends meet on their pay. There were a lot of long timers there, employee retention was high because everyone liked it there. But everyone was struggling too and anyone who left, left for more money.

    1. Angie Neer

      A young relative of mine worked there for a while, in the Austin area. Like you, he found it a likable workplace, as retail jobs go, but not much pay. He had to move on too.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      they’re my favorite non-mom and pop bookstore(ergo, my favorite bookstore, since i know of no mom and pops anymore).
      random selection, go in and see what leaps from the shelves at you.
      like a moderately clean version of what austin’s Book People(and Bookwoman) once was, long ago…before they found their current form(used to be in a ramshackle wooden house with stairs going weird places and literally crammed full of books)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          even the big, fancy Bookpeople, there on lamar and sixth, is still pretty cool…just avoid the xtian yellers out front…and the yogamoms and such indoors.
          it’s been years since i’ve been(traffic!).

  16. Judith

    I bird in conservation areas in the Boston suburbs and generally bird every weekend. I regularly check ebird to find out the birds others are seeing.

    The migration dashboard is interesting – right now it is showing heavy migration over the New England area. However, I have had some conversations with other birders over the past few days and people are seeing fewer numbers of birds and a lack of diversity in the migrants (fewer warblers, especially the ones that are unusual. One Swainson’s warbler stood out as special.)

    I have gone birding on and off for decades and I can remember spring migrations from years ago when so many birds were flying from tree to tree that it was hard to decide where to look next. Not so anymore.

    Here are some comments (from people in the top 50 ebirders in the area) from the last few days of ebird:

    These were the only passage migrants I found. Migration last night seems to have only been birds leaving. (He saw 2 black and white warblers and he is talking about last night’s migration dashboard)

    Mist, light fog, and low numbers of migrants for mid May.

    Full loop; no appreciable arrival except YTVI (yellow-throated vireo)

    Very foggy and very slow today.

    60, overcast (fog all but cleared). Brutally quiet.

    Are any birders in other areas experiencing a disappointing spring migration?

    1. nippersdad

      While I cannot speak to lower numbers of birds migrating through my area (W. Georgia), I have noticed that we have far fewer pollinators. Using pollinators as a metric for bugs in general, that may explain the reduced numbers of birds migrating further north. The birds on our property, the insectivores like Bluebirds, appear to be successfully raising broods, but I have yet to see much evidence for what they are raising them on.

      It is very strange; the more host plants we have the fewer moths and butterflies we seem to produce. By this time of year we should be beating them off with a stick, but no such luck so far.

    2. ambrit

      The hummingbirds are not visibly here now. They usually are here by now. Inmigration to here usually happens in March. Then a few stay for the summer. Our front porch feeder has been unused so far.
      Is this a “Silent Spring” effect or perhaps shifting migration patters as the climate shifts?

    3. wol

      Central piedmont NC- occasional warblers gradually became non-existent on our two wooded acres. ONE hummingbird has returned so far, very distressing. Wood Thrush numbers seem to be up slightly; a House Finch in the neighborhood has lifted our spirits. Summer Tanager couple is back. Insects of all kinds are way down though I pulled off my first tick of the year yesterday.

    4. Lunker Walleye

      I missed the migration of the red breasted grosbeaks this year. It was in the 90’s this week — probably way too warm for them. My spouse was lucky enough to see one at our feeder. Typically they’re only here for a few days.
      BTW: The recording of the hermit thrush was wonderful to listen to.

  17. Wukchumni

    Readers, do you have another bird to propose?

    My favorite NZ bird is the Tui, but I wouldn’t propose to it.

  18. iwasthere

    “What happens when the entire West Wing turns into Diane Feinstein?”
    I have news for you. That happened a LONG time ago.

  19. Wukchumni

    In a break from bad news:

    The long awaited sequel to Spinal Tap is in the works with the original cast…

  20. jr

    Just got my tax bill. Because I won’t use direct deposit, they are charging me 43$. Normally, it’s 250$(!!!) but because I’m broke it’s only 43$. Gotta pay the Ukrainian mafia.

  21. MT_Wild

    Long-billed curlews are currently displaying and calling over grasslands in Central Montana.

    I find their call very relatable “whoo who knew who”

  22. kareninca

    My (fully vaxxed and double boosted) 76 y.o. aunt in MI has viral pneumonia and is having real trouble breathing. A little over year ago, before vaxxes were available, she had what looked just like covid (with ground glass lungs) but countless covid tests came back negative. Now she has ground glass lungs again, and covid tests are coming back negative again. From what I read, there are some people who will simply test negative, even if they have covid; I think she may be one. The only treatment they are giving her is a steroid inhaler; that is it. Her blood oxygen level was 88 when she went to the ER but they sent her home and told her to wait it out. This doesn’t seem like a good situation.

    1. ambrit

      Check into the FLCCC Protocol right now.
      See: https://covid19criticalcare.com/covid-19-protocols/
      Everything I have read suggests that being “vaxxed” and “boosted” is only marginal protection against the dreaded pathogen.
      I know little about pneumonia, even though I have had it.
      I am surprised that the medicos haven’t given her a strong course of antibiotics. That is what I got. Could her age be a factor?
      On a more sinister note, could this be a manifestation of a “formal” implementation of a Jackpot regimen? How ‘crowded’ is the hospital? Are there beds with patients in them sitting in the hallways yet?
      If worst comes to worst, demand that the medicos put on the certificate for cause of decease, “Triage.”
      I hope it doesn’t come to that. Nowadays, 76 is not really considered “old.”

  23. flora

    The Bezzle: AI (Artificial Intelligence) slash ML (Machine Learning) is a scam:

    ya think? / ;)

  24. Wukchumni

    “Jan. 6 committee opens a Pandora’s box of retaliation” [Axios]. “The Jan. 6 committee’s decision to issue five major subpoenas Thursday — two targeting potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan — is likely to open a Pandora’s box of retaliation.
    As if My Kevin (since ’07) would know that Pandora is something other than a music app, Kev’s not the sharpest blade in Humordor.

  25. Alyosha

    Nothing says thriving democracy like a Biden/Trump rematch or maybe a Clinton/Trump rematch. Whoever wins we’ll be able to straddle the world and wag a geriatric finger about the meaning of “democracy”.

    1. Pelham

      The geriatric aspect of this means nothing to me. Bernie Sanders is light years better than pols half his age or less. And many of the younger pols on the national, state and local scene (I’m judging from my perch near the Kansas-Missouri border) are pretty horrid specimens.

    2. HotFlash

      But dynasties or so aristocratic, don’t you know? We got Justin T(father’s name, mother’s brains). Maybe Dems could try a Chelsea/Hunter ticket? There are younger Trumps, too, enough for both slots.

  26. Otis B Driftwood

    The Pro “Choice” Caucus declares it can no longer use the word “choice”.

    Never forget, the USA as a meritocracy is best exemplified by the people we “elect” to high office.

    1. Geo

      Curious why they don’t feel they can use the term freedom? Wouldn’t the “Pro-freedom” caucus make more sense in our national dialogue?

      Or, have they embraced W. Bush so much now they’ve adopted his “The Decider” moniker?

    2. Daryl

      > The Pro “Choice” Caucus declares it can no longer use the word “choice”.

      Got all the chairs in just exactly the right place on the deck of this here Titanic.

  27. Amfortas the hippie

    dna study/first farmers.

    germane, as well, to the discussion regarding half priced books….which is where “After The Ice” literally fell off the shelf as i walked by.
    like a grand circuit travelogue of exactly this topic.
    really puts you there.
    more recently…and i don’t have it in front of me for the name…a compendium of papers…mostly from the 60’s-80’s about various core areas of the inventions of farming(china, turkey, mexico, peru)…very detailed and even readable in it’s narratives.
    that fell off the shelf, too.
    both have been influential in my own attempts at integrated practice of farming/horticulture/hunting/gathering

  28. flora

    Re : Matt Stoller’s substack ‘Big Bottle: The Baby Formula Nightmare.’

    Thanks for the link.


    Krystal and Saagar TORCH Biden On Baby Formula Shortage


    Because Markets! The Market knows best! (Trying to imagine a 1960’s TV warmhearted family comedy with that title: ‘Market Knows Best.’)

    1. ambrit

      “What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Market knows!”

      Oh good heavens! I just flashed on an image of a sitcom about a blended family: “The Clinton Bunch!”
      Oh, the plot arcs! The nubile starlettes! The adorable rogue demanding everyone’s attention, all of the time, a ‘hands on’ Daddy if there ever was one!

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      first page of googly returns show nothing about it’s replacement, stp-h9…some dod thing.
      i’m sure everything’s fine, though.

  29. Amfortas the hippie

    Effective Altruism.
    here’s the Org’s intro page:

    sounds good, but i am become far too cynical to just jump on the wagon without a bit o’ study.
    as for my own self, and my “legacy”( a word that appears a lot on that site)…
    i’m the Museum Fremen…and an ad hoc, low budget backup drive for western civ….and maybe even a model farm, one of these days.
    i’m also , apparently, leading a nascent movement, locally, of being a Good Husband,lol.
    all these shamefaced guys saying they couldn’t do what i’m doing….which explains the ongoing surprise from the females in my life that i didn’t just run off with a waitress when wife got cancer.(and to further the shame, i ain’t even a xtian!,lol)
    for the working model farm/autarky part, i’ve considered hitting up bezos’ ex…prettiest billionaire i’ve seen so far, and seems to buck a lot of norms and think for herself.
    why the hell not?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        a linked ‘source’ within:

        i’m definitely not ‘trained’ in philosophy…but i’ve been ‘reading philosophy'(eg: lincoln read the law to become a lawyer) since i was 8.
        this smells of stoned post-doc reliving his freshman year, to me.
        goes out of his way to not piss off the inquisition, etc.
        i started with Neitszche…and therefore have always been more of a Moral Philosopher than any other kind.(and , aside from Yves, don’t care who i piss off)
        the analytical turn in uk.usa at the turn of the last century did a lot of damage to philosophy.
        it will take time to rediscover metaphysics.
        and the various neoliberal blobs all sprawled out all over everything will likely delay that rediscovery, indefinitely.

        1. John

          Haven’t we been doing effective altruism for over 50 years. That Vietnam era policy ‘we must destroy the village to save it.’ seems a perfect example. Effective and altruistic at the same time. That would be an altruism that even the Ayn Randians could get behind.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Where they’re coming from:

          Consider the most terrible manmade disasters of history, such as institutionalized slavery or the Holocaust. Certainly they were catastrophic for their victims, who lost their freedom or their lives, or had to make horrifying compromises in order to survive. However, the disasters were also catastrophic, in a different way, for their perpetrators. While the victims lost their freedom, their lives, or even their innocence, the perpetrators lost something arguably even more precious: I am tempted to say their souls, but let us settle for their moral admirability. They stained their hands with the blood of millions, left a legacy of grief and remorse, and are viewed by their descendants as a source of great shame


  30. Wukchumni


    A friend down in SoCal is trying to sell his house and it has been on the market for a few months now, and he tells me it’s as if everybody got the signal not to care about used homes anymore.

    What’s it like in your neighborhood?

    1. Milton

      Not at all here in SD. In my neighborhood, houses don’t stay on the market for longer than 2 weeks. 3/2 crap shacks going for 1.4 million.

  31. HotFlash

    Here in Toronto I got a ‘neighbourhood real estate report’ courtesy of a local realtor. Seems that my house is ‘worth’ a tad over $2 million, based on recent sales. The world is upside down.

    1. LifelongLib

      The house I grew up in (U.S. PNW) was built for IIRC $16k in 1960, sold to a developer for $740k in 2020, remodeled and sold for $1.5m in 2021.

      1. Wukchumni

        The first house in LA I grew up in cost $12k in 1960 and now Zillows for $840k, so will it be worth a smidge under $60 million in 2084 if past is prologue?

        1. wilroncanada

          My wife and I decided after our wedding 50 years ago (another 2 months) to save her salary as a teacher and live on mine to build a down payment to buy a house. The house behind her family’s sold that summer for $35,000. The following summer we had enough for a down payment, but that same house sold again for $70,000.

  32. Amfortas the hippie

    “The problem, of course, is that the FDA is harsh to newcomers, but deferential to incumbents. According to Healthy Babies Bright Futures, baby formula made by the big guys in the U.S. is full of dangerous brain-altering heavy metals. HBBF tested thirteen different baby formulas, and every single one had “detectable levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and/or mercury,” which are all considered to be neurotoxic, interfering with brain development and “causing permanent IQ reductions in children.” ”

    wife couldn’t make enough milk back then, for either boy(10 1/2# and 10# respectively)
    so we did the formula.
    and moved them to real food, however modified, as soon as was possible.
    and that was 20 and 16 years ago, respectively.
    whom does the fda work for, again?

    similarly, i can’t legally sell a tomato, let alone an egg or a dressed goose, save for on-farm.
    doesn’t matter the quality of the product.
    i ain’t in the club, and havent paid the baksheesh(or expanded operations 10,000 fold)

  33. Pat

    Tonight’s ABC news is filled with promos and a long report on Putin’s most recent failure in Ukraine. They have a huge loss of equipment and manpower in Ukraine’s most recent victory. *

    I figure this is getting a big play because they had to lead with both the rise of Covid and the formula shortage where administration assurances aren’t playing so well.

    *There could be a setback, but the last source I am going to trust on this is a major American television network. I will wait for other less Pravda JR sources to weigh in.

    1. hamstak

      Funny isn’t it that the Russians are losing so badly, and therefore $40 billion of aid is required for Ukraine.

      It’s kind of like with Cuba, the notion that their socialist system is doomed to failure. That is why the US need to sanction them, to make system fail even faster — we’re only 60 years into it so far!

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        A few days ago there was a news article that said that Ukraine forces destroyed an entire Russian battalion by blowing up a bridge as the Russian forces were crossing it. If this is true, Russia has serious issues with it’s fighting capabilities. There also was video broadcast from the Mariupol steelworks showing Ukraine fighters putting up fierce resistance and driving away Russian forces trying to enter the tunnels. The video showed live fire. Not sure what to believe. Perhaps it’s all a video game. Ukraine seems to have unlimited manpower. They can’t be killed and can’t be stopped. They just keep coming. Now wonder Russian forces are demoralized.

        1. Yves Smith

          I suggest you get a grip or get up to speed. The comment on Mariupol is a complete fabrication.

          And the Ukraine forces in the east are visibly on track to collapse. Many many many vids in the last few weeks of Ukie surrenders, very dispirited men, and bodies blow up in artillery attacks. Nothing even remotely approaching it published by Ukie side.

          Bridge crossings are just about the riskiest thing you do in battle, for starters, and Ukraine has taken a lot of casualties in attempted crossings but they weren’t reported.

          The pontoon bridge setback is noteworthy because it’s the first real black eye Russia has gotten in weeks, the last I recall being the extremely daring but not all that consequential Ukraine helicopter attack on a refinery in Belgorod, which took out IIRC 2 of 17 storage units. But a very bad look to have a successful attack on Russian soil.

          A British general said on BBC it looked like 180 men were killed. He said that it also looked like most of the tank kills were done by the Russian in retreat, to prevent Ukraine from getting materiel. That means the retreat was not a rout.

          A Russian battalion is about 1000 men. This was no where near a battalion level loss.

          By contrast, Ukraine is losing by death, severe casualty, and surrender over 300 men a day in the east. That dramatic pontoon bridge attack took out fewer than the low end of Ukraine daily troop reductions.

        2. Garden Breads

          The neutral (really!) “Defense Policy Asia” youtube channel refuted most of this in” Luhansk Front ] Ukrainian Forces destroy pontoon bridge near Bilohorivka – explained”. They zoomed in all available videos and satellite and other pictures from all sources. The pontoon bridge was destroyed plus definitely several Russian vehicles. But even in the Ukrainian source images most of the “destroyed” Russian vehicles were still moving and later re-positioned and many more Russian vehicles were deployed in defensive positions in the surrounding woods. DPA pointed out that Russia did not send reinforcements, the remaining vehicles did not withdraw though they could not cross the river, and Russia was making steady progress in the surrounding areas. Even if one battalion had been destroyed it would have been meaningless strategically.

  34. The Rev Kev

    Saw this yesterday. The Democrats are now saying that the only way to keep Roe Wade is to vote for them in November and if they win, they will pass a new law in January. Not now – January. Unless the Parliamentarian puts in their veto of course. Or just enough Democrats can be found to cross the aisle to kill the vote. Or the proxy war against China pushes it off the front burner. Or a second Hunter Biden laptop is found. Or old Joe falls off his perch. But you get the idea-

    ‘President Biden: “To protect the right to choose, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November, and return a pro-choice majority to the House. If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January, and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law.” ‘


    1. Pat

      But being pro abortion rights is NOT a requirement to be a Democrat, Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn have told me so. Clyburn did so after it became clear Roe V. Wade was possibly dead…while campaigning for an anti abortion Democratic candidate.

      So once again Biden lies to us. I swear he could prevaricate more than the Orange man.

      1. ambrit

        Neither can hold a candle to their predecessor, the smooth talking Company Baby, Barry O.
        He was so good at it, many of us believed his lies. I voted for him the first time. Then the Wall Street bailout happened.

  35. Wukchumni

    Was watching the Israeli police billy club mourners and its not the first time i’ve seen people beaten up by coppers, but the first time @ a funeral procession.

    Shocking, really.

    1. wilroncanada

      So, I’m at the moment paying $2.11 per litre. But not for Ukraine, especially not for Freedland. Is that a fair to Midler price? Bette she’ll never be satisfied with OUR sacrifices though.

  36. Darthbobber

    Has anybody heard a peep from erstwhile Orange Revolution heroine Yulia Timoshenko since the balloon went up in Ukraine?

    This came to mind today when 3 ex-presidents of Ukraine chimed in on the need to manage some 3rd alternative for the Azov lads in Mariupol. But no Timoshenko. Is she done with Ukie politics and just digging the life of a wealthy expatriate?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      she’d be almost hot, if not for the whole crown-braid fetish.
      for fascist/pseudofascist hotness, marine le pen’s daughter takes the prize, tho.

      before a few months ago, i didn’t give one good goddamm about the goings on in ukraine(formerly ” THE ukraine”)
      i was aware of the ongoing poking of the bear, and all…but couldn’t care less about any ‘influencers’ over there.
      for one, i suck at slavic languages(1/4 Czech, here)…and all their names sound like variations on a cough, to me.
      for two, it’s the frelling ukraine…and i’ve read a lot of history…and that damned mafiosi place doesn’t fall under the arrogant monroe doctrine, no matter how you define “sphere of influence”.
      and for 3…it does, however, lie squarely within russia’s historical sphere of influence…being like literally on the border and/or part of russia/ussr/russian empire/etc.

      the individuals who were part of the sudden ukie invasion of the penultimate hospital wife stayed in were nice enough…and competent enough…but i dont care what happens to their country.
      the spectacle of Nancy quoting Matthew(badly) to support bipartisan billions for that place…when noone can ever find enough jack for american healthjcare…is, in a nut, the reason i’m angry all the time, and must limit my newsgathering, even on good days.

      eat the rich.
      start with congress.
      me minding my bidness, in our car under a tree at this last hospital, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, yammering into the fone and generally trying to process impending widowerhood…and sundry busybody nagggers wander by and have an opinion about tobacco(‘smoke free campus’).
      i look them in the eye…”i will always smoke, because that’s the only thing preventing me from becoming a mass murderer(var.-“walk the earth”, etc) at this point…”
      i’m subsequently left to my own devices.
      remember, smoke nazis in austin texas were the vanguard of what we call ‘Woke’/’cancel culture’, today.
      i had no patience for them way back then, and i have even less, today.
      (i am, after all, conscientious in my smokelove)

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      It seems that Russia really can’t do much to prevent Ukrainian counterstrikes. Apparently, Snake Island was retaken with all of Russia’s military assets there destroyed. If this war drags on Ukraine forces will strike Moscow doing serious damage to Red Square. Not much Russia can do to stop it. Perhaps one day Russia will get its act together, but by then it’s military forces will be seriously degraded to the point that Russia will be largely defenseless against NATO unless they resort to using nuclear weapons. Things are getting close to checkmate. It’s increasingly likely that the Azov fighters in Mariupol will escape the cauldron. Kharkiv will never be controlled by Russian forces. And the separatists regions will come under renewed attacks by Ukraine forces. The United States and NATO will achieve their primary objective which is a greatly weakened and destabilized Russia. If Russia thinks they can subdue Ukraine via siege warfare they are greatly mistaken. The West can supply unlimited weaponry, along with vast numbers of mercenaries to replace combat casualties. The longer the war drags on the worse it will be for Russia. Putin and his generals are no match for the cunning of Zelensky and NATO.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          The reports in the western media can’t all be wrong. Some may be Ukrainian propaganda, but the big claims are easy to refute if they are false. To date, the steel works in Mariupol are not under full Russian control. The fighters there are still holding out. How are they doing so if Russia has a stranglehold and is intent on “de-Nazifying”? By now the Azov Nazis should be completely wiped out. If Russia’s strategy is to grind down the Ukrainian forces it’s not working. Zelensky continues to strut around displaying great prowess and control of the situation. Lots of middle class Ukrainians can be seen in video living normal lives displaying their designer clothing, manicures, well coiffed hairdos, and the like. None look bedraggled. The only ones looking that way are the babushkas. Russia is seemingly unable or unwilling to strike at the heart of Ukrainian power. This is mystifying to me if they are intent on achieving their military objectives. The Ukrainians are playing hardball. It’s time Russia does as well, don’t you think?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Would it help you if the Azov battalion in Mariupol was renamed the Alamo Battalion? The end result would still be the same but it would make a lot of people feel good. The Russians could go in guns blazing but would lose hundreds of their guys in boob-traps and the fortified underground positions. Or – they could wait till the Azov guys have their food, water and ammo run out forcing them to come above ground. If you were a Russian soldier, which solution would appeal to you?

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              The steel works is really a sideshow. So far, Russia has not achieved a single one of its purported objectives of the “special operation”. They don’t control Mariupol, they don’t control Kharkiv, they don’t control Odessa. To add insult to injury all kinds of VIPs saunter in and out of Kyiv having audiences with Zelensky. They do so with no fear. Zelensky controls the war narrative. He makes what some would think are outrageous demands, but to him they are not at all outrageous because he feels that he is dealing from a position of strength versus Russia. He has all the time in the world, and no worries that are evident. It feels very surreal to me.

                1. Anthony G Stegman

                  I’m not a military strategist, but I have common sense. What are the objectives of Russia’s special operation. From what I understand the objectives are to “de-militarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine. Sounds good. All fine and dandy except for a few things. Ukraine is geographically the largest country in Europe. It is larger than Germany. De-militarizing Ukraine requires far more than 200K troops. A minimum of 500K is required, along with the full spectrum of Russia’s military assets. Half measures will never de-militarize Ukraine. Russia was defeated before they even embarked on their military adventure. Europe is loaded with Nazis. Heck, the US has a fair share of them too. De-Nazifying Ukraine will never happen. Russia should have limited its objectives to defending the Russian speaking regions of Ukraine from further attacks by Ukraine nationalists. That would have been achievable. Now Russia is stuck in a war it cannot win. I don’t know what the end game looks like, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be favorable to Russia.

                  1. ambrit

                    Well, so far, Russia has stopped short of the American Way of War: Bomb the place back to the stone age.
                    What would be your position on Russia destroying all the civil infrastructure of the entirety of the Ukraine? Kiev without water, electricity, sanitation, or hospitals? That’s a big city. Doing a Pol Pot there would in all probability produce similar results to Cambodia back in the 1970s. Millions dead.
                    As it is, next years wheat shortages will produce millions dead worldwide.

                  2. The Rev Kev

                    Probably find that when the war is over, all Russian speaking areas will be under Russian control. And that means the source of the Ukraine’s coal, the best wheat-lands as well as access to their former coastline. What will be left of the Ukraine will be worth nothing to the west so it will be abandoned to it’s fate as a wasteland. Both Poland and Hungary may consider grabbing back area of the Ukraine that have their people living there but that is a tale waiting to be told. And all that weaponry will be circulating in criminal and terrorist hands for decades to come not only throughout Europe but the wider world. Meanwhile a lot of arms manufacturers will be even more wealthy so there is that. And not one politician, pundit or media figure will ever suffer the consequences for being so totally wrong.

                  3. Skippy

                    “but I have common sense” may I suggest you at least look up the term common sense as its far more complicated than most imagine and who wants to go back to Descartes and then post date to the here and now e.g. some ideological charged so call rationalist ideologues [waves at AET sorts] use this hand waving term to grant viewpoints some sorta gravitas without having to show their work.

                    Anywho … you admit ignorance of military matters, but, deploy he common sense bomb [also known as environmental biases] in rationalizing what is going on in the Ukraine. Don’t even know what to make of your methods in how you arrive at troop numbers from a point of ignorance – at on set. Seconded by proclamations about – ” Half measures will never de-militarize Ukraine. Russia was defeated before they even embarked on their military adventure. – when the party is just getting started and yet an outcome is determined in your mind.

                    So Anthony as someone that has studied military matters since a kid and did my stint as a elite soldier and all the contacts that afforded me from a geopolitical view point at the time and past it – IMO first thing you need to know is … ignore the neoliberal MSM and its funded punditry.

                    Next thing is logistics and on that note Russia has the advantage, as well, the incentive to block the activities that were ongoing in the Ukraine which provoked this response e.g. it was not some random attack to enrich by means of a land grab or control natural capital for personal gain. Pretty sure the Russians have know what as been transpiring in the Ukraine for a long time and matters just came to a head.

                    This is all in context to what the Atlantic nations have been doing for decades in other countries and especially the ME. So to use your parlance – common sense dictates what is good for the goose is good for the gander and that is where the rub really lies … we can but you can’t … because it really upsets the neoliberal apple cart in achieving global dominance[tm] …

                  4. Skippy

                    “I’m not a military strategist”

                    “but I have common sense”

                    Projecting ideological biases [aka ignorance] on a complex matter far far away …

                  5. Yves Smith

                    Your entire account is garbage in, garbage out.

                    Even Ukraine sites are giving vastly more downbeat accounts than you see in the Western media. We are funding a war so we have to present Ukraine as winning. Ukraine has not had a meaningful advance since the very start of the war. The initial losses were due to bad intel, not a failure of military performance. Russia corrected course in less than two weeks. And even then Ukraine did not capitalize on its successful initial punchbacks.

                    Russia completely controls the battlefield and is dictating the pacing of the war.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Not that it will matter to you, but Mariupol is not under Russian control, because it’s under Donetsk Republic control. Remember those guys, having had a civil war for 8 years? The folks that in 2014 voted for autonomy in Mariupol and were then driven away by the Ukrainian forces?

                They are now in control of their city. The schools have opened, public traffic is being restored, just yesterday some parts of the city had water and electricity restored, so hospitals are coming back to live. There’s a new administration elected and working already. Russian deputy minister of emergencies (an ethnic Tatar) has come to help to organize the reconstruction.

                The fact that there are under 2000 Azovites (600 of which are wounded) hiding in Cold War bomb shelters under a destroyed factory area doesn’t mean they can interfere with the city in any way or form. The very second they run out of rockets and artillery shells the civilians in Mariupol stopped dying. Now the handgun fire and constant bombardment is just a faraway background noise in the traumatized but reviving city.

                The DNR troops and Russian marines guarding the factory area seem to be in good spirits (on the videos by Patrick Lancaster and others) and make witty (and morbid) puns how the Azovians are waiting for the Wenck’s army but are being de-nazified one by one.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The reports in the western media can’t all be wrong.

            Welcome to our planet!

            Of course they can*. Iraq WMDs. The foreclosure crisis. The Skripals. Syrian gas attacks. Plenty of signal-boosted examples of Ukrainian propaganda. The Western media all get it wrong consistently.

            * Granted, for some definition of “all.” There are always marginal players.

        1. Sibiryak

          It looks like inane trolling:

          “Ukraine seems to have unlimited manpower. They can’t be killed and can’t be stopped. They just keep coming. Now wonder Russian forces are demoralized. ”

          * * * *

          “Putin and his generals are no match for the cunning of Zelensky and NATO.”

    2. Milton

      No mention of the lie that those that gave the finger were supposed to have been killed as martyrs for the cause only to have been magically resurrected after receiving hero medals from the actor. And no mention that on Victory day, Ukraine lost over 60 people and assorted war toys trying to retake the island in an attempt to embarrass President Putin while giving his speech.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, I said the same to someone yesterday, that at least someone is willing to stand upon espoused principles and block a bill for more war. Sadly, it isn’t the Senate Budget Committee Chairman, but I cannot say I’m surprised.

      1. skippy

        See below … Rand is just framing the instance to drive his monetary beliefs in some candy moralistic wrapper e.g. never gave a shite about the common person, but hay, giving away free USD is a drama … because that might QTM devalue it and then were would America be … groan …

        So whats his position on all the other big ticket items like education, health care [covid???], infrastructure, wages vs productivity, anything that is a social good …. yeah its all free markets …

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Paul is a loon making a very obvious point. So obvious, apparently, that no other Senator or Representative was capable of making it, which doesn’t say much for any of them.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Asking for an audit is entirely rational. It should be done regardless of Paul’s agenda, and would be, if our political class hadn’t lost their minds in a fury of corruption and warmongering. To put this another way, one can only wonder what the agenda of the people — like AOC, Bernie Sanders, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, among other luminaries like Barbara Lee — who oppose an audit might be. More cray cray than Paul’s, perhaps? And more capable of being implemented, since not marginal politically? Let’s have a little realism here.

            2. Skippy

              I’m not beguiled by anyone personality here Lambert, the guy has baggage and a penchant for finding road kill to advance his beneficiaries agendas aka hes just a front man willing to step into the breach for a payday.

              His angle is so apparent its strange to see some NC people grasp at straws and play the mugs game to suggest a round peg is square.

              I will never submit my mind to that payday/jackpot mentality.

              1. Darthbobber

                He could be Satan and still be right on the immediate point. And is he the only one of 100 senators with questionable motives? I’m not seeing anybody here calling him a swell guy or promoting his political career.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I watched about 10 minutes of an MSNBC segment yesterday starring war peddler MacCaffrey, NYT Pentagon stenographer Helene Cooper and the Bush woman at 4 PM. Paul was accused of being erratic, pro-Putin and just doing his usual disruptive thing. Never once were the words “inspector general” or “audit” mentioned.

      Obviously, actually reporting the news might endanger the narrative and our “bipartisan consensus” about the Ukraine war and defense spending in general.

      “What? You mean they’re going to spend all that money with no audit!”

  37. Jason Boxman

    I just realized: America is a great big suicide pact that all Americans are part of willing, or not. This is what let-it-ride is, as a strategy.

    Stay safe!

      1. Darthbobber

        Well, as long as you get a fatal case it will keep you from contracting it going forward.

  38. The Rev Kev

    ‘New fan of Rand Paul
    After losing Roe v Wade and voting to send $40 billion in weapons to Ukraine, I wanted Democrats wiped out in the midterms. Now, after reading this story about them giving Peloton memberships to their staff, I want them put into a rocket and fired into the sun’


    I had to check and he was right. So, all Capitol Police officers, as well as congressional staffers, will each will get both Peloton All-Access and a Peloton App membership for free. That is for an estimated 10,000 House staffers and 2,300 Capitol Police officers-


    1. Skippy

      Treadmill conditioning for the rats peddling to nowheresville fast … its absurdly poignant …

      Then again the whole far right dramas with taxes kinda takes the shine off the argument, same, same for the 40B to the Ukraine. I mean Rand Paul was the bloke that mind came to a grinding halt whilst Greenspan tried to explain how the Governments monetary system worked and how that conflict with his commodity/QTM belief caused some nasty mental gear grinding behind his blank unblinking eyes and face.

      So Rand is just pushing his monetary barge over this cherry picked news event, ring me when he bangs on about taxes and C-corps/job creators [tm] games with low taxation bingo card addresses.

      Its just so low hanging fruit and does nothing to deal with decades of productivity and wages diverging whilst the billionaire class has exploded in the U.S.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Nowheresville doesn’t want them.

        Perhaps the purchase will help reverse the stock plunge and soak up excess inventory. A hush hush mini-bailout plus product marketing ploy.

        I wonder how much money Ohio can recoup from the deal they inked now that Peloton has cancelled the facility. Or what kind of say they have in which outfit will take over the land and facility once Peloton finishes their end of the deal. Actually I wonder if they are finishing something to trigger a payout clause in the contract. Too lazy to dig for details. Perhaps someone from Ohio knows.


        Chief executive Barry McCarthy told investors on Tuesday that Peloton is “thinly capitalized for a business of our scale.” The company had $879 million in cash left on its balance sheet at the end of the most recent quarter.

        The New York based company is struggling to recover from a series of miscalculations by former founder and CEO, John Foley, who was ousted in February for saddling the company with among other things a pile of excess inventory that has been hard to sell since demand for at-home exercise equipment has lessened as lockdowns ended.


        Peloton said its decision to cancel the factory would result in $60 million in restructuring capital expenditures. Additionally, the fitness brand is trimming its in-house warehouse and delivery operations and shifting toward third-party fulfillment vendors.

        A Peloton spokesperson thanked local officials in Ohio for their support and said the company will complete construction on the facility, with plans to sell the land and the building once it is built.

        1. skippy

          Thank you for the sanity in how things manifest due to network/political ramifications and some are blinded to the machinations of a few to keep the well healed /connected from suffering bad choices in a capitalistic market based system of class before deed …

          Imagine Jackpot or near extinction being driven by class distinctions … oops history been there and done that on a smaller scale …

    1. The Rev Kev

      Caitlin Johnstone was saying that braindead Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted to AOC ‘what is the carbon footprint of the proxy war with Russia you voted to fund?’ to mock her but AOC has been maintaining radio silence. Caitlin then said ‘Getting embarrassed by Greene is like getting your ass kicked by a quadriplegic. Getting outflanked on the left by Greene is like getting your ass kicked by a quadriplegic who is wearing a blindfold.’

      1. skippy

        Yet the entire republican hoard is ready to roll back more social programs and bring the world back into the right natural state of human organization … lmmao … cuz skydog said so …

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          A classic case of apples to oranges, surely?

          “Republicans are bad!” isn’t really an answer to anything, unless you’ve got an “In This House” sign on your lawn. And bad as Republicans may be, they haven’t planned and carried out a proxy war with a nuclear power, as the Democrats have. In any case, “better on domestic policy” implies that the Earth is not a charred, radioactive sphere, surely?

            1. SocalJimObjects

              You sure about that? Kennedy approved Bay of Pigs and then he made the decision to escalate the situation in Vietnam. And no, it’s not my take. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War#Kennedy's_escalation,_1961%E2%80%931963

              The Dems inherited many wars, but they could just opt to end them if they wanted to. Heck Biden did one right thing which was to end the Afghan war. You don’t have to be the one to start a war in order to be the war party. Continuing a war or making one worse makes one complicit as well.

              Speaking about rapprochement, it was Nixon who opened relations with China. Sure he had ulterior motives, but the Dems couldn’t even come up with such a move.

                1. SocalJimObjects

                  Of course it’s a group effort. I mean takes two to tango or is it takes two to turn a mess into an even bigger one.

          1. Skippy

            Moneyed Democrats are just socially inclusive of non traditional identity individuals in the neoliberal matrix where everyone can get their freedom on … Republicans don’t like this because it messes with creator meme and its authority structure for its chosen people.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw this too. Could it be that the idea is that if you are a Blue Check, that you will be given the ability to monitor, police and add stuff to people’s tweet? Sort of like the Hasbara – except that they will be doing it for free.

      1. ambrit

        This is actual, no nonsense censorship. No one “official” is pushing back.
        Civil insurrection is coming. The “officials” are panicking.
        The perceived need for censorship is a sign of institutional weakness.

  39. Skippy

    Just wow at some giving breath to Rand Paul on one issue because it pings some wonky concocted moralist ideological issue is just breath taking … then you all wonder how you all got crammed down in the first place … boggles the mind …

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Just wow at some giving breath to Rand Paul on one issue because it pings some wonky concocted moralist ideological issue

      I agree that it’s sort of amazing that the only person who raises the question of auditing arms transfers to Ukraine, when even CNN says we have no idea where the weapons are going, and when Ukraine was an arms dealers bazaar before the war, is Rand Paul, but that’s where we are. Is it my fault the left Democrats suck so hard? Let alone the liberals?

      1. Skippy

        Wellie when one has the “public choice” of full Randoid mental kool-aid or its social lefty brand choice of Thirdway whats a one dollar voter to do thingy ….

        My point is the man is, and always, pushing his camps monetary ideological social framework, which at the end of the day is old testament.

        The most egregious part is the abhorrent tax proposition like Americans are paying for it from their labour …. and how that sets up everything that as demolished the wage earners post mid 70s.

          1. Skippy

            Look at the end of the day his camp have some very screwy ideas about humans and society at large, less some forget Gary North sorts. So it is inconsequential to me, having picked this moment to bang on about 40B for the Ukraine when hes been absent on so many other socioeconomic dramas. Mostly due to his Currency beliefs e.g. nothing a bit of austerity wont fix up.

            Heck who really knows what is real agenda is pricking this moment and cause to involve himself. Personally I take his entire past and world view into context of which this is just a blip.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          You’re focusing on a camp. I’m focusing on a proposal.

          A proposal can be good or bad no matter the camp it originates from. So of course this entire discussion is proceeding at cross purposes.

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