2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Dark-eyed Junco (hat tip, MT_Wild). British Columbia, Canada. If you have a suggestion for a sparrow species, please leave it in comments. I’m surprised at how different their calls are; this one sounds more like an insect!

“Sparrow ID Guides from Macaulay Library and Bird Academy” [The Cornell Lab of Ornithology]. Free downloads. “Sparrows are a challenge to birders of all skill levels because they’re often skulky and hard to see. At first they seem like dull brown birds, but when you get a good look, they show beautiful and intricate patterns on their feathers. Because many species are hard to see, they are sought after by avid listers and those who appreciate the beauty of birds. Whether you’re at home or out in the field, these helpful four-sheet sparrow reference guides have full-color photos of eastern, central, western and widespread sparrows.”

* * *


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

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

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

Biden Adminstration

“Free US school lunches were a dream come true. Now, a hunger crisis looms for 10 million children” [Guardian]. “For the last two years, the notion that no kid should ever have to go hungry in the US has gotten closer to a reality, thanks to federal waivers that have expanded children’s access to food. The waivers resulted in a simple but revolutionary outcome: free lunch, year-round, for every American schoolchild. But that will come to an end in weeks, as Congress has failed to include an extension of the waivers, which have allowed schools to offer school lunches as well as summer lunch handouts, enabling an estimated 10 million more students to get a free meal. Now, as rising prices hit families and school food programs alike, the program’s expiration will cause a cliff that some parents, cafeteria workers and nutrition advocates say could cause a catastrophe.” • Democrats deliver again!


* * *

“The Outlook for the 2022 Senate Elections: A State-by-State Analysis” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. Based on his model: “According to the results displayed in Table 5, only a small minority of Senate contests in 2022 are likely to be highly competitive. The most competitive races, with predicted margins of under 5 points, are expected to be in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. These contests should be regarded as Toss-ups. Three other races, in North Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire, are also expected to be closely contested. Four of the 6 contests that are expected to be very competitive are currently held by Democrats (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire) while the other 2 (North Carolina and Pennsylvania) are currently held by Republicans. These results suggest that Republicans have a slight edge in the 2022 Senate elections when it comes to potential seat swing based on the fundamentals in these races. However, Republicans are also defending seats in Ohio and Wisconsin, in which their predicted victory margin is just over 10 points, indicating that these seats could potentially be in play. The outcomes of the 6-8 contests that will most likely determine control of the U.S. Senate in the next Congress will depend to a large extent on the individual candidates and their campaigns. Based on the fundamentals of state partisanship, incumbency, and the national political environment, Republicans have a good chance to pick up at least a seat and take back control of the upper chamber. Over the past decade, however, we have seen that Republicans have blown several opportunities to pick up Democratic seats by nominating candidates who were either ideologically extreme or weighed down by personal controversies. It remains to be seen whether any of the current crop of GOP candidates, many of whom are running as staunch Trump loyalists and some of whom have endorsed the Big Lie of the stolen 2020 election, will suffer a similar fate.” • Interesting!

“‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections” [Politico]. Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys. The plan, as outlined by a Republican National Committee staffer in Michigan, includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts. ‘Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,’ said Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, stressing the importance of obtaining official designations as poll workers in a meeting with GOP activists in Wayne County last Nov. 6. It is one of a series of recordings of GOP meetings between summer of 2021 and May of this year obtained by POLITICO. Backing up those front-line workers, ‘it’s going to be an army,’ Seifried promised at an Oct. 5 training session. ‘We’re going to have more lawyers than we’ve ever recruited, because let’s be honest, that’s where it’s going to be fought, right?'” • I ran an inferior link on this recently; this one is better. Yech. Like the Brooks Brothers riot in Miami 2000, but scaled to the national level. As usual, Republicans are more serioius about politics than Democrats.

AZ: Trump-endorsed Republican:

CA: “Congresswoman, billionaire to face off in LA mayor’s race” [Associated Press]. “Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass and billionaire developer Rick Caruso breezed past a large field of rivals looking to be the next mayor of Los Angeles and advanced Tuesday to a runoff election in November. An early tally of mail-in ballots showed Caruso with 41% and Bass with 38%. A candidate needed to top 50% to avoid a runoff. Bass, who was on then President-elect Joe Biden’s short list for vice president, would be the first woman mayor of Los Angeles and the second Black person to hold the office. The race largely focused on homelessness and crime. More than 40,000 people live in trash-strewn homeless encampments and rusty RVs, and widely publicized smash-and-grab robberies and home invasions have unsettled residents…. Caruso, 63, who sits on the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and was endorsed by the police union, has positioned himself as a centrist outsider running against City Hall’s progressive establishment. He blames Bass, 68, and other longtime incumbents for sprawling homeless encampments that have spread into virtually every neighborhood and concerns about unsafe streets…. Caruso’s estimated $4.3 billion fortune allowed him to run a seemingly nonstop display of TV and online ads. His campaign’s spending — over $40 million as of early this week, most of it his money — topped all other candidates combined…. By comparison, Bass’ spending hit about $3.3 million, though both campaigns were also supported by ads from outside groups.” • More:

IA: “Iowa Democrats hope changes help it salvage leadoff caucuses” [Associated Press]. ” In a last-ditch effort to salvage their leadoff presidential selection position, Iowa Democrats are proposing two key changes that they hope will increase participation and avoid the chaos that marred their 2020 caucuses. One change would allow Iowa Democrats to submit presidential preference cards by mail or in person before caucus night. Critics have long argued that the caucuses, held in the dead of winter at the dawn of a presidential election year, have prevented older adults, disabled people and shift workers from being able to take part. The second change would eliminate the often confusing and time-consuming process of realignment, where supporters of a candidate who does not reach a minimum threshold of support in a precinct are allowed to choose another candidate. The new plan eliminates a second choice.” • Lol, Iowa Democrats screwed Sanders out of his first victory* in 2020, and this is the thanks they get! NOTE * Of course, the Sanders campaign didn’t help itself by losing counties along the Mississippi to Buttigeig, of all people. Nevertheless.

MI: “Ballot meltdown in Michigan resets GOP race for governor” [NBC]. “Over the last 10 days, two leading contenders, former Detroit police chief James Craig and self-funding businessman Perry Johnson, were disqualified from the August ballot, their candidacy petitions rejected because of allegedly forged signatures. Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, who had been polling in the single digits, earned the backing of Michigan’s highly influential DeVos family. And in the suddenly shrunken field, one poll showed fringe candidate Ryan Kelley — a real estate agent who attended the pro-Donald Trump rally that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — jumping into first place. Late Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court denied last-minute appeals from Craig and Johnson, whose disqualifications had been upheld by other courts this week. Many in the GOP had been proceeding as if they won’t be reinstated. Party leaders and voters are scrambling to reassess the five remaining candidates.”

MI: “Michigan high court keeps another Republican candidate for governor off ballot” [FOX Detroit]. ” The Michigan Supreme Court turned down an appeal Tuesday by another Republican candidate for governor whose campaign petitions were found to be full of fraudulent signatures. The court declined to intervene in a decision by the Board of State Canvassers to keep Donna Brandenburg off the Aug. 2 Republican primary ballot. Brandenburg, an entrepreneur from western Michigan, was one of five GOP candidates barred from the ballot. The state elections bureau told the board that they didn’t have at least 15,000 valid signatures because paid circulators submitted thousands of phony ones. There’s been no evidence that the candidates were aware of the rogue work.”

PA: “Uncommmon Wealth” (PDF) [American Promise]. “With the astounding rise in election spending and divisive dark money campaigns in America, the Pennsylvania 2022 Senate election has been, and will continue to be, dominated by outside spending groups and a national “donor class.” These donors and outside groups are spending millions of dollars to define “viable” candidates, distort facts, hype misleading attacks, and drown out the voices and ideas of ordinary Pennsylvania voters. The sheer cost of campaigning has created a “pay-to-play” system, where the only candidates with a chance are the ones with access to millions of dollars through personal wealth and/or national donor networks. The hyper-targeted ad campaigns paid for by this money will be overwhelmingly divisive and negative, and they will ignore many of the issues of most concern to Pennsylvanians. ”

TX: “Cisneros requests recount in race against Texas Rep. Cuellar” [Associated Press]. “Progressive Jessica Cisneros is requesting a recount in her tight runoff election against nine-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar that remained too close to call nearly two weeks later. Cuellar was leading Cisneros by 187 votes, or 0.4 percentage points, out of 45,429 ballots counted as of Monday night, according to an Associated Press count. The AP will not declare a winner until the recount is completed.”

TX: “Cuellar’s lead down to 136 votes, DCCC chair says he likely won S. Texas runoff” [Dallas Morning News]. “With Laredo Rep. Henry Cuellar leading by a mere 136 votes after last week’s primary runoff, and challenger Jessica Cisneros – and independent analysts – still unwilling to call the race, the head of the party’s House campaign arm said Tuesday that the nine-term incumbent probably won. ‘It appears that Congressman Cuellar has won again, and we want him coming back to Congress, if in fact, he’s our nominee,’ Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, told The Dallas Morning News during a briefing with regional reporters. ‘It’s my expectation that when the dust settles, he will be the Democratic nominee. And we are going to hold that seat,’ he said.” • They just can’t resist putting a thumb on the scale.


“DeSantis beats Trump in conservative group straw poll for 2024 nomination” [Guardian]. “Conservative activists in Colorado have again placed Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, a rising star in Republican circles, above former president Donald Trump in their preference for their party’s 2024 presidential nomination. DeSantis won 71% of the vote to the former president’s 67% in the straw poll, which was taken during the weekend’s Western Conservative Summit in Denver and means little in itself. Participants are allowed to offer multiple responses. But there is a growing perception that Trump is losing his previously impenetrable grip on the Republican party, having achieved mixed results in endorsements in recent primary elections ahead of November’s midterms.”

Here is DeSantis at CPAC:

Lots of red meat, but the cut seems to have changed. “In florida we reject the biomedical security state.” “I look back at President Eisenhower’s farewell address. Many of you remember it because he warned about the military industrial complex… He was right, but if you read that speech he also warned about the dangers of a rising scientific and technological elite. Government was funding more scientific research and he said when that happens there’s a danger that public policy can be held captive by this scientific elite.” • Stoller comments on DeSantis:

I do notice that DeSantis is speaking very much as a Florida governor. I also couldn’t listen to the entire speech, simply because his voice makes me feel I’m being hammered at (rather like Clinton, in fact, but not like Trump). Maybe DeSantis has a broader register?

* * *

“When Trump is right, he’s right — but many refuse to admit it” [The Hill]. “Trump reached out to the Pulitzer Prize administrator to rescind the 2018 prizes for national reporting awarded to The New York Times and The Washington Post for their investigative reporting of the then-alleged Trump-Russia interference into the 2016 presidential campaign.” And he was right.

“Black Voters Saved Biden’s Neck Last Time– Will They Do It Again?” [Howie Klein, Down with Tyranny]. “This morning, the Washington Post published a piece by Cleve Wootson, Scott Clement, Matthew Brown and Emily Guskin highlighting a degree of African American buyer’s remorse for the big support they gave Biden, not just in the primaries but more so in the general. There’s a strong feeling that “Biden fulfilled the campaign promise that mattered most… instant he was inaugurated: simply not being named Donald Trump. But in the 18 months since then, voters say they ‘haven’t seen Biden deliver on the myriad promises’ they believe he made to to Black voters. ‘There has been little movement on police reform or voting rights protections.’ Like everyone else, Black voters are concerned about inflation, especially in gas prices, food and rent. And he’s failed so far on gun control as well. Black voters say he’s well intentioned but not as capable as he portrayed himself in the campaign. One woman in southern Georgia told the quartet of reporters that ‘He’s not really holding up to his end of the bargain. Some things he’s promised. Some things he’s done. But we are still struggling as a whole. We are all still struggling.’ ‘Roughly 9 in 10 Black voters, they wrote, ‘supported Biden in the 2020 election, but a Washington Post-Ipsos poll of more than 1,200 Black Americans this spring finds what appears to be diminishing support: 7 in 10 approve of President Biden’s job performance, and fewer than one quarter ‘strongly approve.’ A 60 percent majority of Black Americans say Biden is keeping most of his major campaign promises, but 37 percent say he is not. Writ large, the poll shows much stronger support for Biden in the Black community than among most others groups. But that support is growing less intense among this loyal constituency heading into the midterm elections, and younger Black Americans are significantly less enthusiastic about the president than older ones.'” • Surely they have no place to go?

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.

* * *

The Democrats go to work on their messaging problem:

Help me.


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, wastewater detection is up, and hospitalization is elevated in many states. 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. But it’s starting to look like we won’t.

* * *

• ”Buttigieg, at least 14 others test positive for COVID-19 after Mackinac Policy Conference” [Detroit Free Press]. “In a statement issued Monday afternoon, conference organizer Detroit Regional Chamber indicated it is aware of at least 15 people who tested positive after attending the conference. Buttigieg joined hundreds of politicians, business leaders, reporters and others at the conference Wednesday on Mackinac Island. He participated in multiple events unmasked, including news conferences and interviews, at times with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. ” • Lol, Mayo Pete is a potential superspreader (“potential” because naturally no contact tracing will be done). Elites infecting each other once again. They’re really committed to the bit, aren’t they?

• Maskstravaganza:

Walensky comes from a hospital background; one can well imagine Big Hospital and Big Pharma combining to destroy any vestige of trust in public health for profit. Either that, or culling the herd. And on the same day, June 7, that the mask guidance is deleted–

“Monkeypox Can Be Airborne, Too” [New York Times]. “‘C.D.C. removed the mask recommendation from the monkeypox travel health notice because it caused confusion,’ the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.” Oh. More: “The turnabout hints at a little-discussed aspect of the current monkeypox outbreak: The virus can be airborne, at least over short distances. While airborne transmission is [A] only a small factor in the overall spread, experts said in interviews, [B] there are no firm estimates regarding how much it contributes.” That sentence. Surely [A] contradicts [B]. And: “In previous outbreaks, a majority of cases were reported in those who had close contact with an infected patient or animal. But in some instances, airborne transmission was the only explanation for the infections.”

• 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.

* * *

Case count by United States regions:

The steady upward climb resumes. 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 blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was 106,000. Today, it’s 117,300, and 117,300 * 6 = a Biden line at 702,000. 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.

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

The steady upward climb resumes, especially in the South, which jibes with both the positivity and Rapid Riser counties.

Here are the cases in the South:

Hell-o-o-o, Governor DeSantis!

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

Fiddling and diddling. This tracker does this at peaks, but also not at peaks. I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to the goons at CDC.

MWRA wastewater data:

Both South and North down.

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

Cases lag wastewater data.

From Biobot Analytics:

Note that BA.4 and BA.5 are increasing in the South (as of May 18).

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

Alabama much worse, Texas no worse, Florida oddlynot worse. New Mexico and Illinois, worse.

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:

East coast, West Coast, and Midwest are all red. Great Plains speckled with yellow. (As has been the case for weeks, even while people were yammering that “Covid is over!”)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Miuch less green. I think the hospital-centric goons at CDC started to think it’s all over. It wasn’t.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,034,284 1,033,830. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

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

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Cryptoverse: The early birds betting bitcoin’s bottoming out” [Reuters]. “As the crypto winter creeps into June, the first signs of a thaw are emerging. Some investors are now betting that bitcoin is bottoming out, judging by the money heading into listed cryptocurrency funds, which represent just a slice of the market yet are popular among institutional and retail players alike. Overall flows into such funds turned positive last month, with a weekly average inflow of $66.5 million, a reversal from a dismal April when they saw a weekly average outflow of $49.6 million, according to data provider CryptoCompare. ‘It’s largely institutional, and to a degree retail investors, recognizing that the pain is already endured, and we’re closer to the bottom than we are to the top,’ said Ben McMillan, chief investment officer of Arizona-based IDX Digital Assets.” • I wanted a crypto ice age…

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 33 Fear (previous close: 31 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 8 at 1:32 PM EDT..

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)

The Gallery

I don’t know what “L.S.L.” stands for:

Sports Desk

“Simone Biles, other women seek $1B-plus from FBI over Nassar” [Associated Press]. “There’s no dispute that FBI agents in 2015 knew that Nassar was accused of assaulting gymnasts, but they failed to act, leaving him free to continue to target young women and girls for more than a year. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and is serving decades in prison. ‘It is time for the FBI to be held accountable,’ said Maggie Nichols, a national champion gymnast at Oklahoma in 2017-19. Under federal law, a government agency has six months to respond to the tort claims filed Wednesday. Lawsuits could follow, depending on the FBI’s response. White noted the 2018 massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The FBI received a tip about five weeks before 17 people were killed at the school, but the tip was never forwarded to the FBI’s South Florida office. The government agreed to pay $127.5 million to families of those killed or injured.” • 90 claimants!

Class Warfare

This is great:

Contracts need to be signed, though.

News of the Wired

“I’m nearly 60. Here’s what I’ve learned about growing old so far” [Guardian]. “The years from late middle age onward are also marked by a steady erosion of ambition. The cause isn’t so much a loss of drive as a growing realisation that you aren’t going to change the world after all.” • I’m not sure the loss of ambition is true for artists. Painters, writers, even bloggers. Perhaps gardeners? Now, as far as becoming a major league catcher or a bass player… Probably not. Interesting piece.

“The Turbo Encabulator’s long, weird and very funny history” [CNET]. • This is great:

* * *

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 Carla:

Carla writes: “Our trusty tree-peony reigned again in mid-May here in NE Ohio. Last year we feared it was a goner (after 30+ years) but it rallied and not only survived, it appears to have triumphed. The bloom period lasts only a few days, but what lovely days they are—and the fragrance!”

* * *

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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. Wukchumni

    It’s inevitable that as one ages one becomes more cautious. Although the precautions observed may not always be consistent or even rational, the collective weight of all the times you’ve cheated death eventually leaves you with a sense that your luck may soon run out. As my 100-year-old father once said to me: “I’m very careful on stairs; everyone I know died falling down the stairs.”

    A hiker looks @ 60:

    I used to be pretty damned good at crossing creeks or rivers on boulders or logs and have noticed I don’t trust my balance as much heading into decrepitude.

    Figure i’ve got perhaps a decade left of carrying a backpack before I age out and coast on memories of what once was.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Kayaking on the edges of a glassy surfaced lake is nice, and while not there yet, I’m assuming I’ll still be able to do it in my 60s and 70s.

      My better half tries to warn me to wear a life jacket when I go out, but I refuse. If I tip over, the worst that will happen is my ankles get wet, maybe a knee. All the good stuff to look at is in the shallows anyway.

    2. Offtrail

      I know lots of folks who carry a backpack into their 70s, and even 80s. Maybe not for overnights.

      1. Wukchumni

        We’ll see how it goes, i’m content with long dayhikes in my neck of the woods if I can no longer shoulder the load.

        My longer backpack in Mineral King goes to White Chief Canyon and then all off-trail up over White Chief Pass and down and up to Ansel Lake, and then up and over to the Blossom Lakes and finally back on trail to Hockett Meadow where we’ll cadge a meal from trail crew buddies and pass the bottle. Then begins the big descent from 8,500 feet to 3,700 into the Garfield Grove of Giant Sequoias which burned in the 2020 Castle Fire. We love a dry camp called Stonehenge, which is a few hundred feet off-trail and hidden away with 15 to 18 foot wide Sequoias in between your tent. Its nicknamed Stonehenge camp because of a almost circular ring of boulders. Water is 100 yards up trail.

        The next day we hike out to a car we stashed @ Ladybug trailhead as this is a shuttle trip and drive back to our car in Mineral King where we started.

        It’s a week of walking, and off-trail miles make it more challenging.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      I once knew a man approaching 80 who climbed peaks in the Sierra. These peaks required backpacks to the approaches. And he did so while wearing denim jeans. Never grow old before your time.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I wouldn’t call it wisdom but as you get older, you learn to do things different. Like not getting yourself into situations that you can’t get out of. Maybe not to do so much stupid stuff. To always have a reserve. Stuff like that.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I’d say you only get to grow older if you learn all those things in due time ;-)

    5. CanCyn

      Some years back, in our early 50s, we belonged to an outdoor club that had a cycling group. We were amazed by the health and fitness of the riders in their late 60s and 70s. They could outride us in speed and distance. Very inspiring.
      I am not fond of the “it sucks to get old” contingent. The Guardian piece made me think of that awful complaint. Obviously there is decline as we age, but we do have some control over that decline. I am 61 and I do not grunt and groan when I get up or sit down. I can easily crouch and kneel in the garden. Shovel and use a wheelbarrow. The garden is my gym. There is a 90 yr old in my yoga class and she does not grunt or groan sitting or getting up.
      Years back, it may even been in Links here at NC, I read an article about a 90 yr old doctor who survived a fall down the stairs- head injury, some broken bones IIRC. He knew to limit pain medication to be lucid and to stay up right in his hospital bed as much as possible to avoid pneumonia. he recovered completely. Too often we accept things that are supposedly a product of age that we don’t have to accept. My goal is stay physically and mentally active and yes, to stay out of the ‘fray’ of the world and do less harm. My ambitions and risk tolerance are much less than in my working days. But there is ease in their absence not fear. Retiring just before the pandemic started helped me ‘step off’ for sure.

    6. bassmule

      Playing rock’n’roll is a young person’s game, and not all of us will ever be Mick or Keith. I’m 72, and I still jump off drum risers, but only if they are 24″ or less high.

    7. clarky90

      Re; ““The years from late middle age onward are also marked by a steady erosion of ambition. The cause isn’t so much a loss of drive as a growing realisation that you aren’t going to change the world after all.”

      From my personal experiences (FMPE), after 72 years of stumbling foolishly around our green earth;
      (1) I am not God,
      (2) I have never been God,
      (3) I never will be God……….
      (4) I DO NOT want to be God…

      Satan is the father, of these omnipresent delutions of “self actualization”, and “self aggrandizement”. nothing but chaos ever results…..

    8. Jorge

      My grandfather died that way at 88 (falling down stairs). That’s all I heard as a child. Later I realized that he was living alone. Did he die immediately? Was he helpless and paralyzed for a day or two before dying of dehydration? Not a nice way to go.

  2. Nick

    DeSantis wins straw poll.

    Tulsi Gabbard as V.P. wins the election,
    uniting the right, the left, the middle class
    and the military voters.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It would be regretabble if Gabbard lent her good name to a DeTrumpis ticket. DeTrumpis might not be the same kind of personal sewage fountain that Trump himself is, and she might not have as much risk of getting hosed down with sewage next to DeTrumpis as against next to Trump itself; but she will find herself associated with and perhaps blamed for many nasty outcomes; and many people on the non-right who currently would welcome her re-entry into politics would cease to do so.

      I hope she would not run with any Trumpiform figure.

      Now . . . a Pence/ Gabbard ticket would be interesting to think about. it would at least leave me feeling safe about voting for a vanity third party wannabe.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I knew there must be some use for old grout brushes, after they are too worn for oral hygiene.

    2. ambrit

      I’ve heard of a DARPA funded program to adapt Encabulators for zero gravity uses. It would seem to be aimed at validating Zero Point technology. As usual, the perspicacious proponent of perpetual productivity should “read between the lines” whenever dealing with Zero Point technology.
      I can see a biosciences start-up entrepreneur touting Covid Encabulators. Wait. They did, and called them “vaccines!”

  3. Mark Gisleson

    Lambert: “Of course, the Sanders campaign didn’t help itself by losing counties along the Mississippi to Buttigieg, of all people.”

    I’m still at a total loss as to how Buttigieg won any counties in Iowa. This had to be one of the most brilliant strategies ever, yet no has ever taken credit for it (other than Pete but I find his personal appeal insufficient explanation for how well he did).

    As a former Caucus goer and organizer I don’t think there should be another caucus until the last one has been forensically investigated and fixed (instead of casually reviewed and then explained away).

      1. John

        Why not adapt the turbo encabulator, a perfected technology, to replace the failed smartphone app. Could it be less successful?

      2. Mark Gisleson

        “but there is no evidence of improprieties” was the part I remembered. That and the DNC shrugging off the blame.

        I think the real truth is that I’m still having trouble accepting that people I know voted for Buttigieg. I’m probably related to some of them. And that they were probably conditioned to vote for him (or Klobuchar) by the news they watched. But somehow Buttigieg clicked with Iowans while Klobuchar did not so I’ll probably keep shaking this tree from time to time in hope of a random comment triggering an epiphany of some sort. You should always be able to explain an election after the fact and it bothers me that Buttigieg’s “win” still defies reasonable explanation.

        1. Eureka Springs

          The biggest problem with all of this is The D party is a corporation, a con. Negotiation in ones head or with others in good faith only promises the con-corp will continue.
          In an entirely new system a primary type season should begin Aug 1 and end the last day of September, leaving a bit more than a month of ‘debate’ for the big E day. There should be a raffle in early July determining which States hold primary votes and when. Unless all primaries are on one day, say September 15.

          1. ambrit

            And ban all electronic political advertisimg for the last two weeks of the ‘Election Season.’ I have read that people make better decisions in quiet environments.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps Buttigieg seemed like ” such a nice young man”, whereas Klobuchar cast the dark shadow of Minnesota Nice . . . . which is Minnesota Mean. I mean . . . ” she sure throws a mean stapler” is not a recommendation to too many people.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Most Iowans grew up on dodgeball so there’s this widely held belief that it’s on you if you didn’t dodge the stapler.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My theory.. Students were in college. Olds like to attach themselves to the perceived young. The anecdotal experience was that the young people on Jan 3rd(off by a day or two), 2008, pulled in Hillary and other caucus goers to Obama. The O campaign worked to keep their supporters from caucusing in Ames and Des Moines where they knew they would win and stay home. In 2008, the Iowa college kids were caucusing at home, not college.

      Pete to people who would be swayed by the caucus goer crowds likely seemedclike he would bring out young people. When Ames and Des Mounes had 0 support for Pete, it was obvious he was just and old man’s candidate.

    2. Darthbobber

      Buttigieg openly campaigned for R-leaners in Iowa to come over to Democratland long enough for the caucuses, and with no compelling contest of their own I suspect he bagged a significant number.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Booty Judge in 2020 also carried a huge percentage of rural and farmer voters in western Iowa. These people had overwhelming supported Bernie in 2016 and then went to the McKinsey candidate. Maybe it says more about Bernie’s 2020 campaign than Buttigieg.

    3. Jessica

      Someone I read who is familiar with Iowa said that the voters there have a tendency to vote for the shiny new thing in the caucuses. Bernie having run in 2016, Mayor Pete was the shiny new thing.

  4. Screwball

    From the people are strange department;

    This week in Cornhole it is bulk trash pick-up week. You can put 5 items on the curb and the garbage people will take it. Which of course brings out the scavengers; driving their $75,000 trucks that are drinking $5.10 gasoline to drive around and pick up other peoples junk. Quite a sight to behold.

    Only in America

    1. marieann

      Where I am we have this pickup every week. Garbage day is Wednesday so we put bulk items out on Monday night and they are mostly gone by garbage day. Yesterday we put out an old snow shovel and a broken garden fork…both gone by morning.
      Earlier in the day we put out 3 broken lawn chairs and a few odds and ends…all gone within a couple of hours.

      I love these people who take away our trash and make some money doing it.

      Also in Canada

    2. CanCyn

      I used to live in a city outside Toronto ON. Like marieann, we had bulk pickup every week and indeed, most anything we put out was gone before garbage day. I now live in rural eastern ON and they only do a bulk pick up once or twice a year. People put stuff out for scavengers anyhow. We laugh to see the ‘Free’ signs on what is clearly well used stuff at the end of driveways. Yard sale weekends are a big deal out this way. Areas schedule a weekend, advertise in the local paper, FB groups, etc. and people have stuff out for sale on Saturday and Sunday. I suppose sales are preferred to giveaway hereabouts. No cliche is more true than the one that goes, “One person’s junk is another’s treasure”

    3. Katiebird

      We used to have this every other year in my city – but our scavengers were actual resale guys. They’d pick stuff up (lots of lawnmowers for example) and fix them up for sale. We had a generous limit. What could fit on 2 pickup trucks (estimate). It was great – we’d put out whatever we didn’t want and hardly ever had anything left by the time of the official pickup.

      But then the city changed the pickup dates from spring to fall and that first year they were TOTALLY overwhelmed. People put out way more than the two pickup loads and the scavengers didn’t really get the date change so it was all out there for the official trucks. It took months before it was all picked up.

      The next year we had the 5 item limit. And now the city has cancelled the whole thing and advised us to make our own arrangements for pickup. I figure the junk haulers (1-800-gotJunk and the like) whispered in someones ear.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I was biking once in one of the richer neighborhoods in Ann Arbor. Once by the side of the road I saw a several-hundred-pound solid oak desk with nothing wrong with it. My first thought was . . . too bad I can’t get this home on my bicycle.

  5. flora

    re:“The Outlook for the 2022 Senate Elections: A State-by-State Analysis” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball].

    To be contrarian for a moment, there is so much… uh… ‘stuff’ hitting the fan now from years of both parties’ maladministrations (imo) that I wonder if both parties are trying to lose the Senate to the ‘other’ party this year to avoid blame going into 2024? Too far-fetched?

    1. ambrit

      I’ll chime in with the observation that, really, the Senate was originally designed to be a ‘House of Lords’ for an oligarchial Federal Republic. The ‘Patents of Nobility’ would be bestowed according to wealth. The old formulation was that the Senate was to hold back the most offensive demands of the mob. Up until 1913, State Legislatures “elected” the Senators. The Senators were in thrall to the state level oligarchs. After 1913, Senators were ‘popularly’ elected and supposedly represented the voting public. Now, the influences on individual Senators have inched back towards the original concept.
      Short form, neither Party cares what the “public” thinks any more. It’s all about controlling the Federal Funds Flow. Businesses invest in politicians for the traditional reason, profit. Adopt the donor classes’ focus on quarterly outcomes and you end up with a cabal of short sighted money chasers. No wonder we are faced with such a dismal group of ‘official’ candidates. The Parties aren’t being clever. They are too stupid to pull that rabbit out of the hat today.

  6. Joe McW

    That last article from the Guardian with the tag that I won’t be a bass player hurt me personally. As a 49 year old male trying to learn how to play bass, it was personal. I would like to at least be good enough to play with friends in their living room. That is success at this point.

    1. lambert strether

      I’m sorry, and thinking about it I left out the ambitions of youth. I meant a bass player like Phil Lesh.

  7. Samuel Conner

    For me, one of the things that has … modulated … ambition is the growing awareness of how easy it is to make things worse while ignorantly thinking one is making them better.

    On the premise that as people age, they generally do become wiser, and assuming that most people are basically public-spirited, and embrace the principle “first, do no harm”, I think that it’s quite natural to “pull in one’s horns” as one ages, for the sake of making fewer and less consequential mistakes than one made in one’s youth.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      In my view ambition is greatly overrated. Many (if not most) of the problems facing our world are due to unbridled ambition, with acquiring wealth and power two of the most popular ambitions.

  8. Mikel


    NC has a post about this the other day.
    While I it’s a good thing to try to resolve the issue at hand, I suspect with the down market, there is also some desire to bring back payment for each trade. Thus the deepest pockets will have less (even if it’s not a lot already, we’re talking extreme greed mentatlity) competiton for purchase of stocks at the “bottom.”
    Just spitballin’

  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: I don’t know what “L.S.L.” stands for:

    The artist’s initials: Laurence Stephen Lowry

    At one point it was not unusual to have your initials painted on your luggage (as opposed to the corporate logos which everybody now desires). So, this could be considered to be a self-portrait.

    1. ambrit

      Both the reclining man and the factory stack in the background are smoking. Severe verticals in a horizontally themed canvas. Big Ben in the background says it is Four O’Clock, tea time.

  10. griffen

    I don’t actively follow gymnastics at the collegiate level or honestly in the Olympics. But that won’t stop me from cheering this claim against the FBI. What an epic fail by that agency.

    Nassar was a monster amongst younger women, based on what I recall reading and seeing covered on ESPN, etc…And we all know the code of how that type of pervert is treated in prison.

    1. Objective Ace

      There’s a good documentary on netflix if anyone is interested. The US Olympics committee is another reprehensible party involved in the cover-up

  11. Ignacio

    I suggest Passer montanus, tree sparrow but it lives in Eurasia, not North America. To tell the truth her song is not particularly elegant though that audio might be mixed with magpie calls because I can’t believe a sparrow can’t do some of those noises.

  12. lyman alpha blob

    I know nothing about Blake Masters as a candidate but after a quick search of the interwebs showed he’s a Peter Thiel acolyte, I doubt I’d find much to like. But he’s not wrong about the kiosks.

    I ran into one of those the first time at JFK airport a few years ago. There was a guy standing behind the counter who could have taken my order in 30 seconds, but who insisted I had to use the tablet instead. Never having seen this particular ordering system before, it took me several minutes to figure out how to place the order on the machine, and if I remember right I had to ask others standing in line for help, slowing up the entire process for everyone. Dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and all to save a few bucks on labor while the fast food conglomerate is grossly overcharging a captured audience for what is barely food in the first place.

    Capitalism can’t die soon enough.

  13. Wukchumni

    Tales From Beyond The Crypt (ocurrency)

    Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The passwords have been changed to protect the innocent.

    Dumb de dumb dumb, dumb de dumb dumb dumb…

    It was a Wednesday and I was working the bunco desk @ the precinct when the call came in about a robbery in progress online, or as I liked to call it kleptocurrency.

    It’s awkward being a policeman around the house. Friends drop in, a man with a badge answers the door, the temperature drops 20 degrees. You throw a party and that badge gets in the way. All of a sudden, there isn’t a straight man in the crowd. Everybody’s a comedian. ‘Don’t drink too much,’ somebody says, ‘or the man in the badge will run you in.’ Or, ‘How’s it goin’ Dick Tracy? How many jaywalkers did you pinch today?’ And then there’s always the one who wants to know how many Bitcoins you stole. All at once, you lost your first name. You’re a cop, a flatfoot, a bull, a dick, John Law, you’re the Fuzz, the heat, you’re poison, you’re trouble, you’re bad news.

    So don’t you con me with your money expansion slop, I deal with young kids investing every day. I try to clean up the mess people like you make out of them. I’m the expert here. You’re not.

  14. Judith

    Interesting research about the evolution of the song of yesterday’s White-Throated Sparrow:


    Maybe, Otter thought at the time, they were looking at evolution in action. To find out, he and his team curated an enormous collection of male songs over a much larger region. They gathered audio uploaded to online community science platforms like eBird and Xeno-Canto and combined them with their own field recordings as well as those donated by other scientists. Altogether the team gathered nearly 1,800 songs of White-throated Sparrows throughout their breeding and wintering ranges.
    How did the song travel so quickly? The answer is simple: migration.

    After analyzing the collection, they found that in 2004 nearly half of male White-throated Sparrows in Alberta, which is east of the Rockies and neighbors British Columbia, sang the novel song—and by 2014, that figure jumped to 100 percent. By 2015, this new tune had invaded all regions west of central Ontario, completely replacing the triplet-ending song, and by 2019, the song traveled into Québec. “It looks like it took a slow time to takeoff, but once enough birds were singing it, it really took off very quickly,” Otter says.

  15. Jason Boxman

    I was just pondering that liberal Democrats are actually presiding over perhaps the largest shrinking of the safety net (after expanding it) in modern history, which is to say, more children are headed into poverty than perhaps under any administration. This after vastly reducing child poverty (lols for a year). Republicans must be proud.

    The pandemic once again clarifies that liberal Democrats profess to believe in many, many things. But offer little enough beyond such espoused convictions, and come up vastly short in any material benefit.

  16. drumlin woodchuckles

    I think it would be really neat for a DemParty wannabe to boycott the Iowa caucusprimary and boycott South Carolina and boycott Super Tuesday. And then run in the later primaries, especially the latest Big States to have primaries ( or “kawkusses”). That would weaken the power of the Conservatard Democrats from the Never-Vote-Democratic-Anyway states to pick the DemPrez nominee. And it would weaken or break the power of the preening ” First States to have a Primary or a Kawkuss” to pervert and divert the range of choices right from the start.

    Another neat thing might be for a DemPrez nom-seeker to run only in those states which would have to be won to eke out a bare Electoral College victory and put all his/her resources into those states.

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    I think the White Crowned Sparrow might be a neat song to offer. The White Crowned Sparrows I have heard sound more like a wood-warbler for tone of voice and etc. than like a “sparrow”.

  18. Jeremy Grimm

    Kim Kardashian as a force in electoral politics — I am at a complete loss for what word to use in describing my feelings.

    1. IM Doc

      This is just from this week –


      There are also videos of her saying this – and it is not altered.

      The youth and beauty worship is very strong in this country. I see it every day in my practice – people would literally do anything to achieve eternal beauty.

      The bigger problem I have with our culture is I truly believe if Kim Kardashian came out and said she was actually eating poop to stay young, I have no doubt that millions of people would begin doing it immediately. No thought involved. It is scary to me that someone like this could have as much influence as she does on things like politics.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ll have you know that that is future President of the United States Kimberly Noel Kardashian that you are talking about. Say what you will, at least she will not enter the Presidency already being senile.

      2. Tom Stone

        I’m so thoroughly unamerican I did not know what KK looked like until I saw today’s picture of her in NC .
        That’s what people consider beautiful?
        Since they consider what Mickey D’s serves as food it shouldn’t surprise me.

      3. flora

        Back in the day Blaise Pascal wrote,
        “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”

        Pascal wrote that long before Edward Bernays devised the public relations field and mass media advertising. Now? Heaven help us.

      4. Randall Flagg

        “Eternal Beauty”
        That comes from within. I don’t think many of these young minds, or old, realize that. No amount of anything in this material world or our physical selves can help one achieve that.
        Just my opinion, to each their own.

    2. John

      Frazzelated? Bumfuzzled? Aghast? Unbelieving? I was quite taken by the number of “followers” claimed. That had me frazzelated.

  19. Acacia

    > “Black Voters Saved Biden’s Neck Last Time– Will They Do It Again?”

    Kinda like how those Obama-Trump voters saved … oh, wait.

  20. Jason Boxman

    If you haven’t read The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge, go do it now. This is nuts.

    A bunch of rowdy kids at CIA write up malware for hard targets, and they hired this guy Schulte clearly without any seriously backgrounds checks, it seems, if you read deep into the story. The whole episode belies belief. This is part of our vaunted national security apparatus. (The same one that brought us RussiaGate, I guess.)

    Schulte’s friend Kavi Patel acknowledged that Schulte would “draw swastikas all over the place.” He wasn’t anti-Semitic, Patel contended; he just relished getting a rise out of people.

    Deity help us. (And this is before COVID brain damage.)

    1. Old Sarum

      This is nuts:

      In the UK “You Muppet!” is an insult and the CIA seems to have less gravitas than the character ‘Sam Eagle’. I have read that as an “intelligence agency’ it has an armed division (black ops?) with its own honour roll. What is that saying; ‘military intelligence is a contradiction in terms’? It looks as if there is a lot of ethos leakage from the military side, and if it is true that 5 million bods have security clearance, I can only say, let the black comedy continue.


  21. Acacia

    W.r.t. Buttigieg as super-spreader…

    Answering Lambert’s question (“What happens when 20% of the ruling class loses substantial cognitive function?”), one élite at a time.

    Let’s see… Trump got it, Harris got it, Hillary got it, the Queen got it, Bojo was hospitalized, Obama got it, Pelosi too, all the WH press peeps, etc. etc. And I’m sure they’re all totally fine now, bounced back and didn’t suffer any after-effects, no brain damage fog, no “executive function deficit”, no fatigue, and no weird inexplicable-like symptoms that have been reported by countless others. And for sure they only got it once.

    I mean, they’d all go on Twitter and tell us if they tested positive again, or had lingering symptoms, and especially if anything were amiss in the upper story… right?

  22. rowlf

    I always took the encabulator videos as a professional inside joke: can you make it through the whole script in one take? These videos also are in the spirit of the old engineers who submitted April 1st technical articles and data sheets, or the folks at Tektronix who would have little cartoons hidden in their manuals.

    More engineer humor: Pranking Bosses Friends and Competitors

  23. Late Introvert

    re: “Surely they have no place to go?” in reference to Black voters.

    I denounced my Demrat registration after the Iowa Cock-ups, and registered Independent. Yesterday I got a call from the Republican Party. I was asleep so my wife said I wasn’t home, but I’m actually hoping to talk to those people – like I want to side with the other war party that only cares about donors.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    — On growing old: I am retired now, but I found my ambitions grew after I retired. When I was working I discovered at very early middle age that by refusing to “kiss-the-ring” I was doomed — perhaps blessed — to fill in the details of whatever stupidity or absurdity I was asked to promote. I even attempted efforts — above and beyond the call — to raise attention to directives from above that seemed fitting and in the best interests of my firm and its clients — all to no avail. [I was never sure after that that the directives from above were truly actionable.] So I worked hard, kept my nose as clean as my temperament would allow, and retired with only two years to wait before I qualified for Medicare. I count this as quite an accomplishment in the field of u.s. government contractor engineering/software.

    Now that I am retired, my attentions have focused on the future, especially the not so distant future. There are barbarians at the gate and I hope to survive and help as much of my family survive as I can, and I would willingly add as many non-family members as I can to whatever lifeboat I might craft.

    The loss of Knowledge is my greatest concern. Humankind will survive. We are worse than cockroaches in that regard. But there is living and there is survival — a contrast often emphasized in cinema and literature. I am ambitious to do what I can to assure that Humankind survives what the future holds and that Humankind will live in the fullest sense in the coming future. Too much of our present Knowledge could be lost and never regained. [Much as I regard and treasure the great works of literature and philosophy, and other ‘soft’ sciences and arts, I am most concerned about the Knowledge described in our patents, technical and scientific literature. There may be only one Shakespeare, but his creations pale in comparison to the works of Einstein or Planck, or others I am too ignorant to have learned of at this time. I also highly regard the wealth of unrefined literature on engineering, a field whose tremendous importance I believe greatly lags its regard. I would value the volume of an engineering handbook much more highly than a volume of Shakespeare’s plays. I believe the arts … all of the arts … are a feature of the human soul. Though quashed, they and their issue will rebound with time. Though Shakespeare may not be reborn, his kin are manifold. I do not harbor such great hopes for Engineering and its Knowledge. Its Knowledge like that of Science is hard learned and too often relies on energy and material resources the future will not provide.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      I have a very different ambition. Because I think the specie homo sapien is the scourge of the planet I would like to see homo sapien become extinct. When all is said and done it has no redeeming value and provides no benefit whatsoever to the existing flora and fauna.

      1. flora

        ahem. flora protests your disparagement of homo sapiens. Some of her best friends are homo sapiens, including all the NC commentators, including you. / ;)

        1. ambrit

          Oh my flora. I appreciate the defense of we Terran humans, but this sounds a little like “d—ing with faint praise.” “Some of my best friends are Terrys.” See how well that goes down in any bar on Mars.
          “Safe journeys human fans….wherever you are.”

    2. jonhoops

      You might enjoy this book…”The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World After An Apocalypse” by Lewis Dartnell. I discovered while reading it that a lot of of our science has come from our quest to feed ourselves or stop our food from killing us.

  25. jr

    I stand with Blake Masters. What have we become as a nation when one has to wait 20 minutes to order a bag of crispy chicken McBrain nuggets? But I see a solution where others despair. All those hungry school kids need “access” to food. Congress won’t feed them but Congress loves to subsidize industry. Since they can’t concentrate anyway, let’s get those would-be delinquents McJobs and give the money to Ronald! They get fed Hopeful Meals, at a discount, and McDonalds get another hand out from Congress. McDonalds is already a leader in American education:


    so a job with Ronald is at least as good as the GED program they will bomb out of anyway. McDonalds gets cheap labor and a subsidy, the people get lightning fast gristle-patties, and the kids get to eat and learn “skills”. It’s as American as that apple pie thing!

    1. Acacia

      Depending on your nationality, if you apply even for a visa to visit Russia, you will have to answer questions such as: “Have you ever been involved in a military conflict with the Russian Federation, either as a combatant or a victim?” and “Do you have knowledge of or training with firearms, munitions, chemical, bacteriological and/or nuclear weapons?”. I’m guessing Ukrainian nationals will definitely have to answer these questions, and probably more.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It also depends where you live in Ukraine and kinda where your loyalties lay. The people of Zaporozhye oblast have been able to apply for a Russian passport for about a week now, and the first 500 will be granted on 12th, Russia Day.

        If all of the 1.5 million Zaporozhyans voluntarily turn to Russian citizens can the West still maintain that it’s “Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine” and nothing else?

      2. The Rev Kev

        In the early days of the Donbass war, whole Ukrainian formations went over to the rebels and took their equipment with them. And after Russia took back Crimea. a helluva lot of those Ukrainian service people opted to stay and become Russian citizens in the Russian armed forces. So I would not be surprised that a lot of Ukrainians may want to tie their fortunes with Russia, especially from the Russian-speaking areas of the Ukraine.

  26. jr

    re: turning 60

    I will be 60 in under a decade. I am fine with this as, given the state of the world, that may be too much time anyway. My greatest hope is that the Galactic Council reveals themselves before my doom. Then I’m ready to see what lies beyond the Veil. Hopefully I have developed enough spiritually to land a gig as a Cherubim. I don’t want to come back to a world ruled by Gen Z…

  27. nippersdad

    I came across something really interesting on Sabby Sabs channel; the list of attendees at the Bilderberg Group this year. Some really interesting names, including Stacey Abrams, who served as an organizer. It was bad enough when we found out that she was a member of the CFR, now this. Looks like Max Blumenthal is going to be reporting on it as well.

    Sabby Sabs:

    And the list of attendees via the Public Intelligence site:

  28. kareninca

    I remember that when the vaccines came out, some people were concerned that they might cause autoimmune problems. And of course there is the issue of covid itself causing autoimmune problems.

    My 79 y.o. mother has never had any autoimmune issues. About a year ago her stomach started rumbling after meals. She ignored that. Then a month ago she started having diarrhea, and so she had a colonoscopy and stool testing and was diagnosed with pancreatic insufficiency and put on pharma enzymes (for the rest of her life). She does not drink alcohol, and PI doesn’t run in our family, so this is a strange thing for her to develop.

    Now, she has been told she also has lymphyocitic colitis; a form of IBD. She’s been prescribed mesalamine for that.

    Okay, one thing is that the gastroenterologist does not seem to be considering that these two things may be connected. That she may have autoimmune pancreatitis, and that she should be tested for that and maybe put on a steroid (which would also help with colitis).

    The other thing is that the onset of these ailments corresponds more or less with her vaccinations. She has been twice vaccinated and once boosted.

    Of course, a person could end up with autoimmune ailments due to having had covid. As far as we know she did not have covid prior to her endoscopy (she developed it a few days afterwards – she probably caught it in the hospital – and is now doing well on Paxlovid).

    We’ll never know if these new and unexpected autoimmune issues are due to an asymptomatic case of covid, due to the vaccines, or just one of those things. It is really frustrating.

    1. Carla

      Thank you for sharing your mother’s experience. It could be helpful to many of us here to know what she has been through. Please extend to her my best wishes for a speedy recovery from covid, and hopefully improvements in her recently acquired autoimmune conditions.

      1. kareninca

        Thank you. I know it is a little weird to describe this stuff online, but I think that she is not going to be the only person in this position; that is, with newly acquired autoimmune issues that might be due to (asymptomatic) covid or might be due to the vaccines. In fact I think it is going to be really common. I hope I’m wrong. I’m expecting that we are all going to be trying to piece this together, along with things to do about it, while the medical profession declines. Two of her doctors are retiring; her gastroenterologist is clearly just putting out fires rather than trying to find underlying causes (and maybe that is the right thing in the circumstances).

    2. QR

      I’m sorry to hear that, and hope she recovers as quickly and completely as possible.

      fwiw, anecdotal experience in a family of 6 (two parents and their four adult biological offspring), with a span of ~50 years from youngest to oldest:

      Very suddenly, and essentially simultaneously (all were ~4 months post-2nd covid vaccine dose):
      -one parent and two offspring were diagnosed with diabetes
      -a third offspring was diagnosed with pancreatitis.

      None had ever had covid, insofar as they know. Three of those four also did not have apparent risk factors for diabetes or pancreatitis.

      I suspect that the 4/6 family members affected share some kind of genetic vulnerability which the vaccine catalyzed (similar to how covid itself can catalyze pancreas-related issues in some people). I also wonder if the same damage may eventually also befall less vulnerable people, just requiring a much longer period of time for the damage to become evident.

      The lack of interest in tracking and investigating such things is profoundly discouraging.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “When Trump is right, he’s right — but many refuse to admit it”

    I can see the mistake that Trump is making here. The New York Times and The Washington Post didn’t get their Pulitzer Prizes for their investigative reporting of the bs story of Trump-Russia interference into the 2016 presidential campaign. They got it for helping to undermine the Presidency of Donald Trump and giving a veneer of respectability to the Clinton/DNC story of how Russia stole the election from the Queen. The NYT & WaPo will never give those awards back nor will the Pulitzer committee ever ask for them back. Maybe Trump should sue them for libel.

  30. LawnDart

    Best news of the year!!!

    (And God approves of this message)

    Ask God How Much to drink: Why Beer is Nutritious?

    Beer is a popular alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermenting cereal grains with yeast, hops, and other flavoring agents. Most types of beer contain 4–6% alcohol, but the beverage can range from 0.5–40%. Because emerging research has shown that moderate amounts of wine may have health benefits, many people wonder if beer can be good for you. This article explores the nutrition of beer, as well as its potential benefits and downsides.


  31. Wukchumni

    “Free US school lunches were a dream come true. Now, a hunger crisis looms for 10 million children”

    The luckier tykes can try snagging a fish lunch using a dilapidated safety net & Donkey Show gaffe.

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