2:00PM Water Cooler 6/21/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Friendly Bush Warbler, Sabah, Malaysia. With forest sounds and a helicopter (?).

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Politics

“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

“The January 6 Hearings Are Feckless Political Theater” [Peter Daou]. “The committee, which most Republicans boycotted, hired James Goldston, a documentary producer and former president of ABC News, to turn the hearings into engaging television with slick packaging and an array of pithy soundbites. The result is, and was meant to be, politics as reality television, a media diversion that will change nothing in the dismal American landscape. What should have been a serious bipartisan inquiry into an array of constitutional violations by the Trump administration has been turned into a prime-time campaign commercial for a Democratic Party running on fumes. The epistemology of television is complete.”

How exactly would a coup have happened? A thread:

Did I not get the memo on the “real theory”?

“Despite Growing Evidence, a Prosecution of Trump Would Face Challenges” [New York Times]. “What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump wrote [see below on Trump’s statement], stemmed from an effort by Americans ‘to hold their elected officials accountable for the obvious signs of criminal activity throughout the election.’ His statement, while unfounded, carried a particular significance given the intensifying focus on whether he could face criminal charges. If the Justice Department were to bring a case against him, prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false or that his attempt to block the congressional certification of the outcome was illegal.”

* * *

Sorry I missed Trump’s statement last week:

“STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP” (PDF) [Donald Trump]. Missed this when it came out. “The separation of powers is designed to make sure that no officials become dictators by granting the authority to make laws with the legislature and execute laws with the executive branch. No one office should have complete power. It must be separated among different offices. In 2020, separation of powers went out the window. The state executive branch, in both red and blue states, decided to completely ignore state laws, make up their own rules, and execute them. In other words, they became the little dictators our Constitution was designed to prevent. They illegally inflated voter rolls, illegally allowed harvested and stuffed ballots, abused the use of mail-in ballots, physically removed Republicans from counting facilities, abused the elderly in nursing homes, bribed election officials with donations, stopped counting on Election Night, gave Democrats three extra days to harvest ballots, and demanded that the American

people believe it was legitimate.” • I’ve gotta say, this is the first time I’ve seen the separation of powers applied to States. I’m no constitutional scholar. Does it? Here is the Daily Mail’s commentary–

“Trump responds to second day of January 6 hearings with 12-page statement where he blasts ‘SHAM’ investigation and complains ‘MAGA witnesses were interrogated behind closed doors'” [Daily Mail]. “But Trump, in his response, relies on the partisan support of his former adviser Peter Navarro and conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza to repeat his case that the election was stolen. Its footnotes are riddled with references to ‘2000 Mules,’ D’Souza’s much critcized documentary that claims to show how dropboxes were abused and the election was stolen from Trump.” • I still think that if Trump had been able to hire non-cray cray lawyer, Dominion would still be appealing a judgement to reveal its proprietary source code. So it goes.

“A Day After a Portrait of Pence in Danger, Trump Attacks Him Again” [New York Times]. “‘I never called Mike Pence a wimp,’ said Mr. Trump, whose daughter Ivanka was present for the call and later told her chief of staff that Mr. Trump had effectively called Mr. Pence a coward, using a vulgarity. Then, Mr. Trump went on to describe Mr. Pence as weak.'” • One of the reasons the Bolsheviks could seize the Winter Palace is that the Bolsheviks had organized the Czar’s machine-gun battalion in St. Petersburg. Somehow Trujp using bad words is being equated to this. (Last I checked, the Proud Boys weren’t packing, so….).

“The 22 wildest lines from Donald Trump’s 12(!)-page statement on the January 6 committee” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. • Cilizza actually does a good job on this, which is pretty frightening. The last two lines:

21. “Nobody brings this up, but as President, I suffered years of vicious lies, scandals, and innuendo concerning a fake and contrived narrative of Russia, Russia, Russia.”

Allow me to quote from the Mueller Report: “(I)f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” reads the Mueller report. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. … Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

22. “This is merely an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins, from running again for the Presidency.”

So, is Trump saying he is running for president again in 2024? Big news! Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.

Interesting on point #22; I’m not sure anybody else caught that.

“Liz Cheney Is Winning the January 6 Committee” [National Review]. “Congresswoman Cheney has been very effective in relating the committee’s blistering case against the former president. In the short run, however, recent polls suggest an inverse correlation between the impression she has made on the country at large (favorable) and the impression she has made at home in red Wyoming, where pro-Trumpers dominate GOP politics (not so favorable). There are two poles in GOP politics right now: (a) the too-gradually eroding pro-Trump faction that punches above its weight in intraparty matters and (b) the preponderant but diffident “wouldn’t it be nice if he just went away and let us fight today’s battles instead of relitigating 2020” crowd. These camps leave no traction for a “virulently anti-Trump” alternative — it motivates the former and, by keeping Trump front and center, irritates the latter. That being the case, there is no stomach for impeaching Trump yet again. It’s not that he doesn’t deserve it. It’s that everything has its moment, and that moment is past. Today’s prudent Republican position is that Trump is a real problem but one that is fading (though too slowly); in the meantime, GOP objectives must be: Keep the spotlight on the faltering Biden administration and its ruinous woke-progressivism, wallop Democrats in the midterms, and then nominate someone who can win a national presidential election. The assumption is that the cumulative effect of pursuing these aims will marginalize Trump.”

Biden Administration

“AARP launches ads in W. Va. urging Manchin to support reconciliation bill” [NBC]. “AARP, the advocacy group for Americans over fifty, is launching new cable and broadcast TV ads in West Virginia urging centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., to support a budget reconciliation bill that includes a major prescription drug savings policy…. The recent Manchin-Schumer negotiations have been tight-lipped and the West Virginia Democrat, who scuttled the House-passed Build Back Better Act, is facing conflicting pressures on striking a narrower reconciliation deal over tax and spending policy that can bypass the filibuster. The new AARP ad campaign is designed to push back on drug industry opposition to the savings policy and aims to give Manchin political cover to support the bill.”

2022

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NY: “How Many N.Y. Democrats Does It Take to Fill a House Seat? Try 15.” [New York Times]. “Mr. de Blasio, who once believed he could be elected president, has now set his sights lower, aiming to represent a newly redrawn House district in New York City. But he is far from alone. Others contesting the seat include a Levi Strauss heir who helped impeach Donald J. Trump; rising stars from the City Council and State Assembly; a Chinese American activist involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests; and a pathbreaking liberal who was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress — 50 years ago.There is also a sitting congressman currently representing a suburban region, who only recently moved into the district. Exactly when, he couldn’t say. ‘Time is a blur,’ said the congressman, Mondaire Jones, pivoting away from questions about his new residency, ‘when you’re fighting to end gun violence in America.'”

2024

“Democrats Expect Joe Biden to Run in 2024. They’re Less Sure If He Should.” [Wall Street Journal]. “The White House has repeatedly said that Mr. Biden, 79, the oldest president to be sworn into office, intends to run for re-election. A person familiar with the president’s advisers’ thinking said they are planning on him running and that the private conversations have matched the public statements. The current discussion is that an announcement would happen after the midterm elections, likely sometime in the spring of 2023, this person said…. conversations with Democrats in Washington and in primary states found most don’t see a better or realistic option than the incumbent to top the 2024 ticket. Key Democrats also said they doubted many top-tier candidates would try to push Vice President Kamala Harris aside if Mr. Biden chose not to run, and early polls suggest she would likely be the initial front-runner in such an event. But her own poll numbers aren’t better than Mr. Biden’s, and Democrats have mixed views of how strong she would be leading a ticket. And some noted the party’s nomination fights in 2016 and 2020 included strong runs by liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who has ruled out running against Mr. Biden but not Ms. Harris. Speculation among Democrats has touched on other 2020 contenders—Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and current Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg—as well as Biden infrastructure czar Mitch Landrieu and Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Gavin Newsom of California, who has been taking a more assertive national role in sparring with Republicans on issues like abortion. But there is no obvious person whom party leaders would see as the best pick if neither Mr. Biden nor Ms. Harris topped the ticket.” • All familiar to NC readers. I think we need to give Jesse Ventura a serious look. We’d need to balance the ticket with somebody who has more Washington experience, so I’m going with Ventura/Kissinger.

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.

* * *

RussiaGate

Lots of detail on RussiaGate. “Lawfare insurrection” is good framing, not least because it underlines how much the imperial apparatus is being deployed domestically:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Cf. Judges 12:6:

Cray cray? Or something more?

#COVID19

I am but a humble tape-watcher, and I’m perplexed about the current state of play. Case data is showing the fiddling-and-diddling behavior characteristic of a peak. However, nothing I hear in anecdotal case data tells me there’s any relief. Hospitalization data (trailing) is easing (and so the hospital-centric public health establishment probably thinks Covid is done). Positivity data (leading) has been fiddling and diddling as it too does at peaks. Then again, waste-water data (leading) is slightly downThe wild card is variants BA.4/5 (and I thought we were supposed to be giving names to these things). All the variant sources I have say BA.4/5 are up, but they differ as to how much and where, and the data is two weeks behind (hat tip, CDC; who could have known we’d need to track variant data?). I am reminded of the “stairstep” (see the Case count chart below: I muttered about this at the time) that marked the Delta/Omicron transition, just before Omicron’s amazing take-off. Perhaps a BA.4/5 transition will exhibit the same behavior. OTOH, I could be projecting patterns into clouds.

* * *

• ”The Hollow Walls and Hidden Tunnels of Vancouver’s Storied Orpheum Theatre” [Monte Cristo Magazine].. “‘One of the most up-to-date ventilating systems on the continent was installed,’ notes former Orpheum manager Ivan Ackery in his memoirs. ‘Air was brought from the outside and blown through a series of water sprays or screens, heated to any desired degree, then forced through a system of ducts which distributed it to every part of the building through hundreds of small pipes which opened beneath the seats. A complete change of air took place every three minutes, and with the aid of these huge air-washers, clean, dust-free air of even temperature was ensured at all times.'” • In 1927….

• Maskstravaganza:

* * *

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.

* * *

I cannot find a case count chart that integrates regional and national subtotals, so we are that much stupider. I thought the New York Times had the nicest data presentationL

Case count for the United States:

More or less level. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was 106,900. Today, it’s 96,000, and 96,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 576000. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

• Swiss cheese strategy:

Or, we could not emulate Japan at all, and let ‘er rip!

• How is it that the only media figure raising questions on data is…. Zerlina Maxwell:

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

0.0%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)

NOT UPDATED Wastewater data from Biobot Analytics, June 15

• “Surveillance of omicron variants through wastewater epidemiology: Latest developments in environmental monitoring of pandemic” [Science of the Total Environment]. From the Abstract: “WBE has been a monitoring system that can give purposeful and inclusive real-time assessments of civic society as well as environmental health… This information will help to improve early detection strategies, designing a prevention strategy to reduce their spread, infection control and therapies, thus, strengthening our global preparedness to fight future epidemics.”

NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 1:

Hoo boy. Here is Biobot from May 25:

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), May 28:

Variant data, national (CDC), June 4:

Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. June 4 is two weeks ago, and given doubling behavior, BA.4/5 are probably beginning to dominate!

• “Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 account for 21% of COVID variants in U.S. – CDC” [Reuters]. “The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron are estimated to make up about 8.3% and 13.3% of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of June 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.” • Estimated! Estimated! That’s CDC’s effing model, and we know how much to trust their models! Why in the name of all that is holy, and two years into the pandemic, aren’t we measuring?

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

Status quo.

The previous release:

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

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:

West Coast, and Midwest are all red. Seeing some orange (“substantial”) on the East Coast. Great Plains speckled with yellow and blue. Vermont reverts from blue to orange.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very volatile.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,038,385 1,037,928. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 22 Extreme Fear (previous close: 14 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 21 at 1:50 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

No:

I’d like to help you, Tom, in any way I can….

Games

“Gaming’s Latest ‘AI’ Woman Recycles The Usual Sexist Tropes” [Kotaku]. “When I first saw Ana, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds publisher Krafton’s attempt to put a face on its artificial ‘virtual human’ technology, I was disappointed to see that this supposed Web 3.0 innovation was really just another pretty, pale girl. She’s airbrushed, but still tangible. She’s biting her tongue, looking at you. And I fear she exists only to be looked at, and not much else. Krafton released its first images of Ana on June 15. We got two tight close-ups of a vaguely East Asian woman with all of the expected egirl accoutrements, dyed hair and adventurous ear piercings. Ana, who was created with Unreal Engine, has a lightning bolt tattooed on her finger. It’s clearly visible when she puts her pinky up to her lips to stare at you with clear, amorous intent.” • Gad.

Class Warfare

“Natalia Molina, “A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community” (U California Press, 2022)” (podcast) [New Books Network]. ” Through deep research and vivid storytelling, Molina follows restaurant workers from the kitchen and the front of the house across borders and through the decades. These people’s stories illuminate the many facets of the immigrant experience: immigrants’ complex networks of family and community and the small but essential pleasures of daily life, as well as cross-currents of gender and sexuality and pressures of racism and segregation. The Nayarit was a local landmark, popular with both Hollywood stars and restaurant workers from across the city and beloved for its fresh, traditionally prepared Mexican food. But as Molina argues, it was also, and most importantly, a place where ethnic Mexicans and other Latinx L.A. residents could step into the fullness of their lives, nourishing themselves and one another. A Place at the Nayarit is a stirring exploration of how racialized minorities create a sense of belonging. It will resonate with anyone who has felt like an outsider and had a special place where they felt like an insider.”

News of the Wired

I’ll say he was “like”:

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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.

92 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    Brains of the outfit…

    I grew up eating Bohemian fare and my mom never saw offal, she saw opportunity!

    I still can remember opening the fridge, and there it was, some cow’s grey matter on styrofoam and see through wrap staring me in the face with the knowledge that it would be breaded and baked soon-too soon.

    Luckily we had a 3-legged Irish Setter named Nero who was a willing accomplice in under the table deals, but you had to slowly deliver the liver & onions or gizzards or tongue or breaded brain to him, lest mom & dad get wise to you.

    The one thing I was really fond of was breaded plum dumplings which were then boiled to perfection and then with a spritz of confectioners sugar on top of them and serve.

    Reply
      1. Balakirev

        Total agreement. My family called the NYC Metroplex home at a time when the Bronx had Eastern Slavic, Polish, German and Irish immigrant communities. My grandmother bought beef tongue regularly after a wonderfully squalid exchange of curses with the butcher. It (the tongue) was pickled, and cooked quickly–which was a point my mother saw in its favor, since she hated cooking and cleaning. A very savory dish.

        Reply
      2. Jeff W

        Tongue is completely delicious. (I always ate it sliced so it took me an embarrassingly long time, despite knowing what it was called, to realize that it was actually tongue, not that that would have made a big difference—I was always very un-squeamish about food.)

        Gizzards, on the other hand, are one of the very few foods I can’t eat, despite trying. I think it’s a texture, rather than taste, thing—they trigger a gag reflex and I can’t get them down.

        Reply
      3. Yves Smith

        Sweetbreads are THE BEST, particularly lamb, which are hard to get.

        One time I was at a Greek Easter feast (the Greek Orthodox have prescribed fasting, with the last week being very restrictive in terms of what you can eat). At this party, the hosts had three lambs cooking on a spit, plus sausage made from the lamb’s intestines. The Greek children were fighting to get the lambs’ brains and skin, which meant I had pretty much no competition for the sweetbreads. I was able to get half of what was on offer and didn’t deprive anyone!

        Lamb and veal kidneys are also very nice, as are chicken and turkey gizzards. But you pretty much never get the latter any more when you buy a whole bird. I’ve bought duck gizzards. They are tough and need to be cooked to death. I make a nice soup from them with portabella mushrooms, onions, and I forget what else (your truly hardly ever cooks and only makes things that are very easy).

        Reply
    1. caucus99percenter

      My parents occasionally served calf-brain omelette, eaten with rice and soy sauce (this in 1950s Honolulu) — I remember liking it.

      Also tongue, which they used much like corned beef.

      Tripe (bovine stomach lining?) and rings of what I think were cut-up pig intestines also found their way into our bowls of rice gruel (a.k.a. congee / “jook” / 粥).

      I can actually wax quite nostalgic concerning the food I enjoyed during that far-away Hawai‘i childhood.

      Reply
      1. jr

        My Sicilian American grandmother was cooking something in a big pot once and I asked to see. She smiled and told me to pull up a chair to look. A sheet of tripe was roiling in hot water. I think I screamed; I remember her getting annoyed when I refused to eat it.

        Reply
    2. marku52

      I was visiting a friend and opened his mom’s freezer, and found an aluminum foil package with a tape label on it saying “Owl, Screech”

      “Umm, Toni, why do you have an owl in your freezer?”

      Turns out the poor thing had died on the lawn, and she was saving it for a friend who worked making dioramas at the University Museum.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Forty years ago, we were living in an old adobe with electricity but no running water. The place was located in one of the valleys through which the New Mexico fires just raged. The views were beautiful, but the best thing was our neighbors. They raised sheep and goats, and treated them like pets…until the end.

        The adult daughter, who lived at home, would go outside to smoke to protect the health of her elderly parents, and for company, she would share a cigarette with one of the goats she called Larry.

        As was their custom, they came knocking one day with gifts. On this occasion, it was several packages of frozen meat wrapped in butcher paper. Each package was marked “Larry.”

        Reply
    3. ambrit

      Mom would occasionally fry up some shad roe and serve it on toast. Not being programmed at that age, I gobbled it up. That and Marmite. (I still have the occasional bit of Marmite on toast.) I still love kippers, but they are difficult to get here in America in the best of times.
      Don’t get me going on some of the stuff my Texican Chinese college roomate introduced me to in the fetid back rooms of local Chinese restaurants.
      Rule of Thumb: If you can catch it, it is food. If it catches you, you are food.

      Reply
    4. jr

      I worked at a restaurant where we served deep friend calve’s brains. Horrific texture. A buddy and I dreamt up a great JFK skit though.

      Reply
    5. ChiGal

      my mom regularly served liver (prepared like leather) and sometimes tongue, which creeped me out because of the texture (taste buds).

      but she outdid herself on one occasion by cooking brains into a casserole and only telling us after we had eaten it.

      talk about hurling—blecch

      Reply
    6. Wukchumni

      Thinking this through a bit more, my mom is of Slovakian heritage and my dad was Czech and the 2 countries were similar to the US-Mexican relationship in that the Czechs always looked down on the Slovaks, and similar to Mexican fare, you often see offal included in meals such as tripe and cow’s brain street tacos (er no, carne asada por favor) down under.

      Since she was in charge of cooking, it was Slovakian fare that was my nemesis.

      Reply
  2. John

    When DJT says it, it is the revealed truth. Next minute, next hour, next day that revealed truth can be replaced by a corrected revealed truth. All depends on which revealed truth is in DJT’s interest. Make no mistake, he believes each in its turn.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Liberals call that “evolving”. There’s always an appropriate good or bad narrative arc to polsplain any possible official eventuality.

      Reply
  3. Matthew G. Saroff

    I hope that the Derrida story is true, but it does not matter.

    To quote the great philosopher Mason Williams, “Who needs truth if it’s dull.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I was on a weeklong backpack with 5 friends peak bagging the Kaweahs out of 9 Lakes Basin in Sequoia NP, and we had a blast.

      2 of my friends had never met each other before and one of them brought up how much he liked telemarking over the days it took us to make the 20 mile approach to base camp, and after 3 days one friend asked me how I could bring a creepy telemarketer type on a trip?

      When I explained that he was talking about telemark skiing, the tumblers finally clicked into place.

      Reply
        1. Rainlover

          Thank you, Wukchumni, for this beautiful trip through the peaks from one who loved to ramble through them but can no longer do so. It brought back many a happy memory.

          Reply
  4. Samuel Conner

    re: the Texas state GOP ‘chief executive legitimacy’ platform plank, a contact residing in that state who is of that political persuasion told me in 2021 that he thought that the coronavirus pandemic was a hoax intended to interfere with DJT’s re-election.

    I’m curious whether this is a common view there. If it is, it would not augur well for hopes of widespread adoption of NPIs to mitigate spread of the virus.

    Reply
  5. johnherbiehancock

    the Jan. 6 committee seems to be really trying to mainstream Liz Cheney for liberals, or bring her into the Democrat party for electability purposes.

    The term “greenwashing” comes to mind, where environmentally unfriendly corporations repackage their unsustainable products to make them seem like something they’re not. Maybe we can call exercises like this “bluewashing”?

    the powers that be need some method of getting “politically malleable” preferred “R’s” from families like the Cheneys or Bushes in front of voters. “Bluewashing” them through proceedings like the Jan 6 committee or other political theatre will keep happening between now and 2024.

    Next up will be one of the Bush twins maybe, in 2028 or 2032.

    Reply
    1. FreeMarketApologist

      “…or bring her into the Democrat party for electability purposes…”

      She certainly is getting her 15 minutes. Let us hope it is limited to that. I would grant her an extra minute if she spends it denouncing her father’s political activities.

      On the other hand, are we being set up for the political menage of the century: Liz / Hillary 2024 ?

      On the third hand, Jesse does need a running mate.

      Reply
      1. jefemt

        Cheney / Kinzinger to the Polka Dot Clown Car.

        Will Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger please come to the 2024 Polka Dot Clown Car?

        Reply
      2. Pat

        My bet is she will have plenty of time to campaign starting in January.

        I would also bet that she would a losing candidate on any Democratic ballot. I don’t think the greenwashing will matter once there is a target on her back. Republicans will attack her one way, but she will be wounded in the primaries because her record beyond the hearings will make a target the size of the moon for other Democrats. Even if she doesn’t run in the primaries, I would be surprised if large portions of the supposed Democratic base (remember no portion but the oligarchs really matter) will not forget how unacceptable she truly is. I would bet that a Hillary/Liz ticket would blow Trump disliked numbers off the charts.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          That would be a threat to Our Democracy. The electorate may be tempted to vote the wrong way. /s

          That combo could endanger national foreign policy. Think of the Vindmans, Kagans and other descendants of immigrants wanting the US to sort out their families’ grievances. What happens if Jesse/Tulsi won’t support white supremacists in foreign countries?

          Reply
        2. rowlf

          Actually, I’d bet that selection would be greyed out on the voting machines.

          It would be there, but you couldn’t select it.

          Reply
        3. Arizona Slim

          Me too. Jesse Ventura’s book, Do I Stand Alone? is one of my all-time favorite political books. ISTR, he made the argument that some issues are best viewed through a liberal lens while others are best viewed through a conservative lens.

          Reply
          1. GC54

            Now hold on! If you view through two lenses you can perceive depth. Can’t have that happen! Only left or right allowed, so really not even 2d. And for many issues that axis contracts to a point.

            Reply
        4. the last D

          I would love millions of people demonstrating in the streets for peace and collective, meaningful, serious no-bullshit action against climate catastrophe; and then, millions and millions more fighting to overturn this mad system we call everyday life.. Or something like that. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting.

          Reply
    2. Pelham

      “Bluewashing.” I like it. But from what I’ve heard, the hearings also appear to be serving their stated purpose among independents. Dems and Repubs, of course, tend to be fixed in their views of 1/06, but focus groups suggest that independents — who haven’t paid much attention to the fits over this subject to date — are now appalled over what what they’re hearing and seeing in the panel’s well-scrubbed presentations. Whether enough independents are tuning in and whether the impressions made will last into November is another matter.

      Reply
    3. Pelham

      Also re the argument I’ve seen elsewhere as well against trying to prosecute Trump because it would be difficult to prove he knew what he was doing was wrong or illegal: Since when is ignorance of the law or — in this case — ignorance of the facts a get-out-of-jail-free card for violating the law? (And if intention potentially absolves Trump, why not all the so-called insurrectionists?)

      I dunno. Maybe this is a legit obstacle. Chris Christie cited it on one of the weekend talk shows. But I suspect it might serve as a convenient excuse to not prosecute Trump, which could ignite all sorts of conflagrations. This way, Trump opponents can look proper and tough but avoid the true dictates of the law as they like to spin it, thus having their cake and eating it, too.

      Reply
    4. Zar

      I saw an opinion article by some professional nobody in the local rag a couple days ago. To paraphrase:

      “I may disagree with her policies, but I’m truly inspired by Cheney’s uncompromising patriotism and yadda yadda
      “It’s impossible to see how she stands to gain in any way from etcetera etcetera
      “Any Dem who disagrees doth protest too much, in this humble writer’s and so on and so forth.”

      I might be calling it too soon, but this seems to be a trial balloon at best, and a dire portent of things to come at worst.

      Reply
  6. none

    It’s clearly visible when she puts her pinky up to her lips to stare at you with clear, amorous intent.”

    Dr. Evil! Like, shag-a-delic!!!

    Reply
  7. Carolinian

    Dems should nominate Kevin Kline for President and maybe it will turn out like in the movie (Dave). I’d also say they better worry about Trump and his truth bombs. That’s how he got elected the first time. On a second go round Trump might decide to actually clean out the swamp. That would undoubtedly be what Hillary meant by “the end of democracy”–her State Dept cronies on the unemployment line. She drops anti-truth bombs.

    Reply
    1. Rainlover

      That was my thought about Trump too. The Republicans are underestimating him again and that turned out so well last time…

      Reply
  8. bradford

    The Minneapolis/St. Paul metro wastewater data is a little more recent; for the week of June 7-13 the total count was down somewhat from the previous week, and BA.4/BA.5 made up 42% (32% the previous week), with most of the rest BA.2.12.1.

    Reply
  9. Sutter Cane

    We’re doomed:

    https://nitter.net/ribenacordial_/status/1538769427008610304#m

    Masks a rarity at the 2022 Communicable Diseases & Immunization Conference, held indoors in a presumably poorly-ventilated conference hall. These are all allegedly public health professionals. Of the few wearing masks, they are of the surgical variety, known to anyone who has been paying attention for the past two years to be largely useless.

    To add further insult, from reading the replies to the original tweet, it appears that the conference had N95s freely available to attendees, and nobody took them.

    This the same day that a new study comes out showing that “cumulative injury” from successive sars-2 infections is likely:

    https://nitter.net/EricTopol/status/1539055374161936384#m

    Reply
  10. ambrit

    I noticed ex-New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu in the Democrat bench discussion. You could do much worse than him. He did run a fairly decent administration and is “Southern Progressive.” He comes from a political family. His father, Moon Landreiu was also mayor of New Orleans and surprised everyone by being one of the most progressive and anti-racist mayors of that town ever, this in the early 1970s. Mitch’s sister is the former Senator, Mary Landreiu. Thus, he has many ‘connexions’ at local, State, and national levels. Remember when an obscure Governor of the State of Georgia threw his hat into the ring, and won? Or an equally obscure Governor of the state of Arkansas did the same? Let’s “triangulate” this and we find that Louisiana makes a perfect triangle when combined with Arkansas and Georgia. Pythagoras was on to something.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      Mary and Mitch Landrieu are right wing Clintonistas and political cutouts. Mary, IIRC, was a pretty tone-deaf US Senator who lost a re-election bid.

      Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        Mary was horrible. If she wasn’t gang of six she dearly wanted to be, a Manchin/Lieberwoman. She always looked miserable and angry. Problem with getting any good person ‘elected’ in this system is the system will rot their soul then eat them alive. Got to quit trying fit that round peg in a square hole.

        Reply
  11. anon y'mouse

    off topic link i thought i would share about modding (game customizations made by player-coders).

    There are essentially two ways that modders view the place of their creations in the modding community: The Cathedral view, and the Parlor view.

    In the Cathedral view, modding is viewed as being like a joint effort to build a cathedral. Individually, our contributions may be small – and may not be worth doing for themselves. But by each person contributing something, we construct something larger and more worthwhile than any of us could do on our own. Under this view, creations are contributions – and may not be taken back. (Just as in building a Cathedral, it would not be allowed for a person to contribute a stained glass window and then later take it back.)

    The Parlor view in contrast, is the view that mods are more like privately owned works of art displayed in the modder’s parlor. The modder invites others into the parlor to appreciate and enjoy the work of art – but may at any time close the parlor door and ask their guests to leave. And of course, the modder may be very selective about who they invite into their parlor. Under this view, our creations are never contributions; rather we continue to own and control them – takebacks are normal and accepted.

    The Parlor view allows the creator to retain complete control of their work. But the Cathedral view creates a much larger, more enduring and more perfected body of work – and for that reason, I prefer it.

    Wrye’s notes on open modding

    Reply
    1. Anthony G Stegman

      San Jose often finds itself on various best retirement places lists. This despite it being in Santa Clara county which is among the leaders in all the US of A in EPA Superfund sites. Apparently, pollution ought not be a consideration when deciding where to retire.

      Reply
      1. GC54

        Retirees are ideal for superfund sites, will not birth mutants. Well, maybe if there’$ a trophy wife involved.

        Reply
  12. lyman alpha blob

    Trump is not going to be prosecuted. What the Democrat party calls a “conspiracy to overthrow the election” is what the non-Trump Deranged call “trolling”.

    And is the Democrat party familiar with this man after demonizing him for years on end? Because he isn’t exactly a shrinking violet and the Democrat party is guilty of many of the same “crimes” they accuse him of, and I suspect he would make that abundantly clear whether it’s in an actual court or by leaking to the court of public opinion.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      The Democrats are making the mistake of attempting to corner President Trump. Looking back, as Trumpian as his behavior often/usually was, he also often restrained (or had restrained by others) some of his inclinations towards more extreme action. If he’s cornered, there’s no longer any reason for him to hold back–might as well go out in a blaze of glory and spill all the secrets.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Trumpian as his behavior often/usually was, he also often restrained (or had restrained by others) some of his inclinations towards more extreme action

        Comparing Trump to a gen-u-wine insurrectionist, like Lenin: Lenin, too, was restrained by those around him, because the Bolsheviks actually had a committee structure and took votes. However, after the vote was taken, the Bolsheviks had material resources to draw upon, like ticked off workers and the Czar’s machine gunners. Trump seems to have been restrained by anybody around him with real power, as opposed to memo-writing bent lawyers in the Willard Hotel. It is true Trump called Pence some bad names. And I suppose for a symbol manipulator who believes that bad words are violence, that could seem like insurrectionist behavior. But bad names are not material resources.

        Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah.
      old hat,lol.
      if they ever get up the balls to secede, i’ll swiftly secede from Texas.
      be like an Andorra…or a hippie druidy vatican city.
      screw them nutters in the pink granite cathouse.
      i hear a texgop commercial from next room…about how biden et alia are radical leftists,lol
      traitors, and a fifth column for chicoms.
      at some point in the decline and fall, the intertubes will cease to function out thisaway, and all such nonsense will finally be easy to counter.
      let the radio preacher and his ilk rail at the rain.

      Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          used to be mostly in rural and semi-rural exurban places…but it’s been creeping into the cities for a long time.
          ironically, perhaps, in my very rural area, such overt secession talk has become less common, as it has grown in ‘town’.

          “Secede!” bumperstickers is what i’m going on, here….to supplement my Humint anecdata…which is spotty in the cities, and rather narrow in the sticks, because this couple of counties is my sample.

          it’s been a Thing on the Right…including Libertarians(tm)…for a long, long time.
          and since Clinton triggered the “Sovereigns”, Birchers and assorted Militia types, it’s become more and more mainstream.
          it’s been either in or nearly in the texgop’s platform for 20 years.
          #texit , lol.

          seen from a tarpaper shack on the Moon, it sure looks pretty similar to how al quaeda, et alia were created.

          Reply
  13. ambrit

    Ye Gads. A Derrida Dad joke.
    It does lead to all sorts of possibilities. such as, “The State chaosed us into submission.”

    Reply
  14. Jason Boxman

    That being the case, there is no stomach for impeaching Trump yet again. It’s not that he doesn’t deserve it

    So impeachment is now the Constitution equivalent of standing in the corner? When was the last time impeachment was treated as a legitimate Constitutional remedy and not just some partisan prank?

    Reply
  15. Jason Boxman

    Meta on Tuesday agreed to alter its ad technology and pay a penalty of $115,054, in a settlement with the Justice Department over claims that the company’s ad systems had discriminated against Facebook users by restricting who was able to see housing ads on the platform based on their race, gender and ZIP code.

    The issue of biased ad targeting has been especially debated in housing ads. In 2016, Facebook’s potential for ad discrimination was revealed in an investigation by ProPublica, which showed that the company’s technology made it simple for marketers to exclude specific ethnic groups for advertising purposes.

    In 2018, Ben Carson, who was the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced a formal complaint against Facebook, accusing the company of having ad systems that “unlawfully discriminated” based on categories such as race, religion and disability. In 2019, HUD sued Facebook for engaging in housing discrimination and violating the Fair Housing Act. The agency said Facebook’s systems did not deliver ads to “a diverse audience,” even if an advertiser wanted the ad to be seen broadly.

    That’s not a fine. That’s a hug.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/21/technology/meta-ad-targeting-settlement.html

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      So apparently Biden is non-senile enough to remember his long-term most-cherished goals.

      If this appointment requires Congressional Approval, watch the Democrats unanimously support it except for a few performative Squad members.

      At which point one could only hope the Congressional Republicans are so filled with hate, spite and bile towards Biden that they block it because he wants it.

      Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        If Monica in blue dress saved us the first time surely a daughter in the shower can save us now.

        Reply
  16. Tom Stone

    It’s been a warmer than usual June here in Sonoma County and today has been the warmest day yet,107 degrees according to the bank thermometer downtown.
    And the wind is picking up, a nice warm offshore wind.

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      Saw a fun meme with Homer Simpson talking to Bart: “This isn’t the hottest summer of your life, it is the coolest summer of the rest of your life!”

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “We reject the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

    ‘Cray cray? Or something more?’

    Payback. Simple payback. Trump was elected back in 2016 and the Democrats along with the media and the establishment immediately rejected that simple fact and pretended that the Putin made Trump President. They then spent the next four years undercutting him and trashed his Presidency. So here the Repubs with this statement are getting some of their own back.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      Payback is definitely part of it.

      But I can’t help but wonder if there is a larger strategy. The Texas Republicans know that the overwhelming majority of media sources will report the story and will seek to “debunk” it implicitly or overtly in the same reporting. But, there’s (at least) two possible outcomes to the approach the media will take.

      One, per a common theory of propaganda, is that a point repeated enough becomes the truth. (Or, in this case, the repetition will reinforce what the media asserts is the truth.)

      However, it’s also true that a point repeated enough, in the right context, becomes a definitive falsehood–a overly defensive response, inevitable from most of the media given their inability to compartmentalize their personal views, may make people less likely to view the Democratic assertions of legitimacy as the truth.

      I’m a bit skeptical about this latter theory, but it does seem possible, especially since the “New Right” does seem to have some smart people attached.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Democratic assertions of legitimacy as the truth

        I’ve shown the possibility of election theft over and over again (which is why I am an advocate of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public; digital must be removed from the equation altogether). Trump did the country a great dis-service by totally polluting this issue.

        However, my objection to the claims of election theft from Trump’s faction is the same as my objection to the Democrat claims of insurrection: Show me the timeline with the evidence. I’m perfectly willing to be persuaded, but yarn diagrams and aghastitude (from left or right) just make me counter-suggestible. (To be fair, the 1/6 Committee is actually doing a better job at this than the Republicans.)

        Reply
    2. marym

      Rejecting the certified votes of the 2020 presidential election is a consistent position for who those believe only votes for Republicans should count. The TX GOP also wants a state-level electoral college to elect state officials (which would favor rural over urban votes), and to repeal the Voting Rights Act

      Reply
      1. CheckyChubber

        Fortunately, voting in US elections is a total waste of time anyway. So try not to worry too much!

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Payback. Simple payback.

      I’m sure that’s a big factor; we have an enormous grudge match going back at least to Nixon (if you regard Watergate in the same terms RussiaGate, say).

      But I was unclear. Illegitimate election + right to secede = secession, surely? At least as the worst, or most extreme, outcome. That was the “something more” I had in mind.

      Reply
  18. marym

    “The January 6 Hearings Are Feckless Political Theater” [Peter Daou].

    “What should have been a serious bipartisan inquiry…”

    “Bipartisan legislation to establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has failed in the Senate, as Republicans staged their first filibuster since President Biden took office to block the plan.

    The proposed commission…with 10 commissioners — five Democrats and five Republicans — …would have subpoena powers. A Democratic chair and Republican vice chair would have had to approve all subpoenas with a final report due at the end of the year.

    The House approved the measure 252-175 last week with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats in support of the plan.”

    https://www.npr.org/2021/05/28/1000524897/senate-republicans-block-plan-for-independent-commission-on-jan-6-capitol-riot

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It can be “feckless political theatre” regardless of whose fault it is. (In any case, the video makes me hurl.)

      It is not easy to sort out the diamonds in the midst of all the muck. That the inquiry is being run by known and expert fabulists (RussiaGate) doesn’t make the job any easier.

      Perhaps the public prefers kayfabe with a heel and a face. Instead, they were given two heels. No wonder they tuned out.

      Reply
  19. Jason Boxman

    I feel like I bear witness to the largest own-goal in recent history.

    From comments earlier today: A reinfection red flag:

    There is simply no excuse for why these vaccines are not being hyper-aggressively pursued, particularly given the trajectory of relentless increased SARS-CoV-2 immune-evasiveness (and resultant enhanced transmissibility), the new worry about reinfection sequelae and Long Covid, and the known unknown next Greek letter variant we may well be seeing in the months ahead. The lack of priority and resource allocation stems from the illusion that the pandemic is behind us, which is obviously off-base. If ever there was a callout for don’t just stand there, do something, this is it.

    There’s no way this ends well. The “other guy” left Biden and liberal Democrats a template, and they blew it. Instead we get a farcical parody trial.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Except he is again calling for “vax vax vax” when Omicron and its variants largely escape the vaccines, and the immunity provided from boosters is on the order of 3-4 months. The European Medicines Authority has warned that vaccinating people multiple times a year may not be such a hot idea, not due to cost/logistical issues but rather the risk of immune fatigue.

      Reply

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