2:00PM Water Cooler 6/9/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Towhee (hat tip, MT_Wild). Oaxaca, Mexico. If you have a suggestion for a sparrow species, please leave it in comments.

“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

Capitol Seizure

Readers, I will put up an open thread on the 1/6 hearings at 7:30PM ET today. I look forward to your comments!

* * *

“Hundreds charged with crimes in Capitol attack” [Associated Press]. “More than 800 people across the U.S. have been charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which left officers bloodied and sent lawmakers into hiding, and federal authorities continue to make new arrests practically every week. The charges against members of the angry pro-Trump mob range from low-level misdemeanors for those who only entered the Capitol to felony seditious conspiracy charges against far-right extremists. It’s the largest prosecution in the history of the Justice Department, whose leader, Attorney General Merrick Garland, has vowed to hold accountable ‘all January 6th perpetrators, at any level.’ • Here is the chart of the charges under which they were convicted (there’s no legend, but orange seems to sentenced, and grey not yet sentenced:

The #1 charge: “Illegal parading.” Illegal parading?

“How to watch the House January 6 Committee hearings on the Capitol attack” [Business Insider]. “The first public hearing is scheduled for primetime on Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET. in the House Cannon Office Building…. Major television networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC/MSNBC are expected to air the hearings in full or in part, especially the hearings scheduled for primetime hours in the evening. The hearings will also be live-streamed and available to watch in full on C-SPAN and on the Select Committee’s YouTube channel.

“How to watch Jan. 6 insurrection hearings and what to know” [Associated Press]. “Several members of the committee have promised new and explosive information to arise from the public hearings, but it remains unclear what that will entail. The hearings are expected to be exhaustive but not the final word from the committee. It plans to release subsequent reports on its findings, including recommendations on legislative reforms, ahead of the midterm elections.” • I’m not exactly sure what legislative reforms would prevent an insurrection.

“Jan. 6 committee sets the stage for a historic presentation” [MSNBC]. “It’s a safe bet that this won’t be like a typical committee hearing. The presentation is about telling a story to the nation. To that end, by some accounts, the panel has even partnered with a former ABC News executive to help ‘hone a mountain of explosive material into a captivating multimedia presentation.'” • Oh. “A captivating multimedia presentation.”

“Made-for-TV Jan. 6 hearings won’t rescue Democrats” [The Hill]. “To counter ominous signs like lagging voter turnout in recent primary contests and a pronounced “enthusiasm gap,” Democrats have lined up the prime time special on the Jan. 6 hearings. To make sure it is riveting TV, they have hired a production pro — the former head of ABC News, James Goldston. To make sure it is a failure, Democrats have scheduled a ‘carefully choreographed rollout of revelations over the course of six hearings to remind the public of the magnitude of Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election, and to persuade voters that the coming midterm elections are a chance to hold Republicans accountable for it,’ according to the New York Times. Six hearings? This isn’t The Crown, or Ted Lasso; this will be, at best, a stultifying partisan show trial that follows, please remember, two impeachments and numerous Russia-gate hearings that featured Democrats undermining whatever confidence Americans still have in Congress. Remember, too, that the supposed blockbuster TV airing of Trump’s first impeachment trial pulled in only 13 million viewers, fewer than re-runs of ‘Friends.'” • Well, I don’t think “The Fiona Hill Show” was ever going to be anything another than a ratings disaster; in retrospect, it was for insiders, and part of the run-up to our proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. Six hearings is fine, though — if an only if they’ve got content to fill the air-time. Unlike, say, Benghazi.

“Pregaming the prime-time Jan. 6 hearing” [Politico]. Two Politico reporters interviewing each other. “WU: The committee is stocked with many different types of lawmakers, from nationally famous Trump critic Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), to the constitutional law professor and Trump impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), to the retiring centrist Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.). Who’s your pick for the sleeper player here, the possible breakout, and why? CHENEY: I’d watch out for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). She’s one of the savviest members and best communicators that the committee has. She’s not always the chattiest with reporters, so you won’t see her making off-the-cuff comments a lot, but when she gets into gear, she can drive home important points more succinctly and powerfully than many of her colleagues. She showed this during the first impeachment of Donald Trump, and she worked as a lawmaker and staff on the only other impeachment inquiries in modern history. WU: My pick for breakout star is Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.). He’s the kind of guy who’s a relatively under-the-radar House player but is poised to move higher in the chamber. He has been somewhat of a conduit between the committee and the rest of the Democratic caucus, and has taken on a highly visible role on the select panel. As for a sleeper player? It’s not like we haven’t seen much of her before, especially as she’s taken on a role as a top Trump critic, but my vote would be for Cheney.” Personality! Personality!

“January 6 committee to hear from Raffensperger, Sterling” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his top deputy Gabe Sterling are slated to testify this month before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, according to a person with knowledge of the situation…. Raffensperger became nationally known for his refusal to overturn Georgia’s election results following the 2020 elections in the face of substantial pressure from former President Donald Trump and his allies. ‘Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,’ Raffensperger told Trump during an infamous leaked call on Jan. 2, 2021, during which the president cajoled him to ‘find’ 11,780 votes to reverse Democrat Joe Biden’s win in Georgia…. Sterling, currently deputy secretary of state, was Georgia’s voting system manager during the 2020 election. He’s best known for his emotional appeal during a December 2020 press conference, during which he called for Trump to ‘stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence’ against poll workers and elections officials.”

“Documentarian who filmed Proud Boys to testify at first Jan. 6 committee hearing” [NBC News]. “Some of the footage gathered by Quested includes a meeting with Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers on Jan. 5, 2021. The leaders of the two far-right militia groups met at a parking garage just blocks from the Capitol…. Much of Quested’s footage from Jan. 6 has not been seen by the public. A federal grand jury indicted Tarrio and four other members of the Proud Boys on Monday on new seditious conspiracy charges related to the riot. According to the allegations, Tarrio was aware of discussions around a plan to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6 and was involved in discussions about occupying buildings, including some in the Capitol complex.”

“Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy in Capitol riot” [Associated Press]. “WASHINGTON (AP) — The former top leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group [Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio] and other members were charged with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory…. The seditious conspiracy charges are among the most serious filed so far, but aren’t the first of their kind. Eleven members or associates of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia group, including its founder and leader Stewart Rhodes, were indicted in January on seditious conspiracy charges in a serious escalation in the largest investigation in the Justice Department’s history.” • Hilariously, Tarrio was also a “prolific” FBI informant. Shades of the Czar’s Ohkrana!

“Trump privately raised Jan. 6 Capitol appearance with Secret Service agent, select panel hears” [Politico]. “As then-President Donald Trump left a rally with his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, he appears to have held out hope until the last minute — even as chaos unfolded — that he’d be able to join them at the Capitol. Trump even raised the prospect privately with the head of his Secret Service detail at the time, Robert Engel, according to a person familiar with the agent’s congressional testimony.” • But then… he didn’t.

Biden Administration

“Does Biden Really Think the Saudis Will Help Him on Gas Prices?” [The New Republic]. “The reason for Biden’s about face is largely a product of petroleum politics. Biden is buffeted by inflation concerns at home, and he needs Saudi Arabia to increase oil production in order to push gas prices lower.”


* * *

“Democratic group launches 7-figure campaign highlighting efforts to cap insulin costs” [The Hill]. “The Democratic group House Majority Forward is launching a seven-figure digital and mail campaign in 17 congressional districts on Thursday highlighting efforts to cap insulin costs, The Hill has learned exclusively. The buy lauds House Democratic lawmakers’ work to cap insulin prices at $35 a month and calls on the Senate to pass the Affordable Insulin Now Act.” • So the Democrats are running on something they’ve failed to accomplish?

“Progressives see signs of hope fade after disappointing night” [The Hill]. “In San Francisco, crime dominated the discussion. Considered one of the left’s biggest vulnerabilities, the issue proved to be a losing one at the ballot box, and validation for moderates who had for months warned of the electoral problems with the “defund the police” mentality.”

MI: “FBI arrests Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate on Jan. 6 charges” [NBC News]. “A Republican candidate for governor in Michigan was arrested by the FBI on Thursday and charged with misdemeanors for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, the agency said. Federal agents raided Ryan Kelley’s home in Allendale, Michigan, on Thursday morning. NBC News received a tip about the raid, which was confirmed by a law enforcement official. An FBI spokesperson later confirmed that a search warrant was executed at the home where Kelley was arrested. He faces four charges related to his alleged actions at the Capitol, including disorderly conduct and willfully injuring or attacking U.S. property, according to the criminal complaint.” • Nice timing!

PA: Looks to me like a careful rollout:


“Mike Pence Is an American Hero” [The Atlantic]. “Per Haberman’s reporting, the Secret Service wanted to evacuate Pence from the Capitol, but the vice president refused to leave, because he judged that doing so would weaken our democracy and give Trump and his violent followers a victory. So he stayed in an underground loading dock until it was safe for him to return to the Joint Session and formalize Joe Biden’s victory. Pence single-handedly averted the next catastrophe, and then tried to restore some sense of normal functioning to our democracy.”

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.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Americans’ Views of Government: Decades of Distrust, Enduring Support for Its Role” [Pew Research Center]. “Americans remain deeply distrustful of and dissatisfied with their government. Just 20% say they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time – a sentiment that has changed very little since former President George W. Bush’s second term in office.” • Handy chart:

Interesting to see that the two two “Good Emperors” are Reagan and Clinton. And everything does indeed collapse after Bush. Surprisingly, there’s a gradual incread under Trump, which I would speculate is due to Trump delivering concrete material benefits via the CARES Act.


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.

* * *

• From the Annals of Scientific Communication:

• Airlines and masks (1):

I’d love to see Alaska Airlines lose a packet on a lawsuit:

• Airlines and masks (2):

But the masks have cute logos on them!

• This is so pathetic:

Instead of an Operation Warp Speed for masks — remember, The Former Guy bequeathed this very effective business model to Biden, who promptly squandered it — we get a contest.

* * *

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:

A tick down. 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 117,300. Today, it’s 108,900, and 108,900 * 6 = a Biden line at 653,400. 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:

A tick down.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

Up, but 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 and check on 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:

Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas better, Illinois and Indiana better, Alabama and West Virginia better. That little speck of red in New York state is not New York City, fortunately.

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. (As has been the case for weeks, even while people were yammering that “Covid is over!”)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very volatile. Hospitals unhappy in the South.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,035,031 1,034,284. 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

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 27K to 229K in the week ended June 4th, the highest since mid-January and above market forecasts of 210K. Still, claims have been below the 200K-250K range which is viewed as consistent with healthy labor market conditions since late November.”

* * *

The Economy: “Why everyone is freaking out about Target’s inventory” [Freight Waves]. This is a good aggregation of real economy downturn signs (and not-signs). I’ll pick transportation: “More and more spooky recession signs are cropping up seemingly every day, ranging from cooling housing starts to meek GDP growth, all amid the Fed tightening rates. …. A downturn, if not a full-on recession, is clear in the transportation world. While the rest of the economy debates whether things are that bad, it’s been clear for months to logistics providers that the situation has worsened — and the velocity of that change is still stunning. The cost to move a container from Asia to a major port in North America or Europe has sunk by 23% since the beginning of this year, according to maritime research firm Drewry. Spot rates have plummeted even faster; marketplace Freightos said rates from China to the West Coast are down 38% month-over-month. FreightWaves forecast this week that ocean shipping volumes will “drop off a cliff” by this summer, based on slumping bookings out of China. Spot van rates in trucking are down 31% since the beginning of this year, with some truck drivers reporting that rising diesel and plummeting rates have already harmed their business. Even our mighty railroads are reporting a 3% year-to-date decline in volumes across the board, with only carloads of coal, chemicals and “stone, sand and gravel” (aka, frac sand) increasing. The pullback in transports has been quicker and swifter than anyone imagined. In the ocean world, carriers have deployed more vessels than ever before, according to research firm Sea-Intelligence. In March, Sea-Intelligence forecast carriers to increase their capacity following Chinese New Year by 20% over 2019 levels. Asia-East Coast services were forecast to grow an eye-popping 40%. And in trucking, small carriers flooded the market, with more than 10,000 new trucking companies established every month since early 2021. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of trucks available to haul a load is up 10%. Transporters built up record capacity to move loads that are suddenly shrinking.” • Well worth a read.

The Economy: “Homebuilder Comments in May: “Builder metrics quickly deteriorating” [Calculated Risk]. • Aggregation of homebuilder anecdotes, but impressively long. “These are clear signs of a market shift.”

Tech: “New EU Rules on USB-C Charging Could Force an iPhone Redesign” [Wired]. “Legislators in the European Union have selected one charging port to rule them all. And that charging port is USB-C. On Tuesday, EU officials ruled that any mobile electronic devices sold within the EU must come with a USB-C charging port by the fall of 2024. The new mandate applies to rechargeable mobile devices like phones, tablets, laptops, handheld game consoles, headphones, and cameras.” • That’s gonna make Apple very unhappy; they have an entire division devoted to designing expensive cables that fray, and screwing up your ports, so you’re forced to buy dongles.

Tech: “Britain will NOT follow the EU and make USB-C charging ports mandatory on all phones – meaning Apple’s ‘lightning connector’ will be allowed everywhere in the UK except Northern Ireland” [Daily Mail]. • Boris Johnson’s got his bojo working: blue passports and dongles.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 9 at 12:42 PM EDT.

Our Famously Free Press

“Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez blasts colleague David Weigel for retweeting sexist joke” [New York Post]. “A Washington Post reporter has apologized after he was called out by a female colleague at the newspaper for retweeting a sexist joke. David Weigel, who covers politics for the Jeff Bezos-owned daily broadsheet, tweeted on Friday that he had removed a post that he retweeted earlier in the day. Weigel retweeted a post by a Twitter user who wrote: ‘Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.’ Felicia Sonmez, who also covers politics for the Washington Post, was angered by Weigel’s retweet, writing: ‘Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!’ Weigel later tweeted: “I just removed a retweet of an offensive joke. I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.'” • This controversy is past its sell-by date now, but this late-to-the-dogpile tweet makes an excellent point:

I’ve had problems with Yang’s term “successor ideology,” until I figured out that when you encounter a successor ideologue, they want to be your successor. Working through union channels is unlikely to achieve that objective. Stay clear!

Class Warfare

“How One Billionaire With a 300-Year Plan Fueled the Popping Tech Bubble” [Vice]. Masayoshi Son, of SoftBank. “All this brings us to the main point: the Vision Fund invested in firms that depended on directly or indirectly achieving monopolies, which they failed in doing, even as they successfully altered regulations, consumer behavior, and daily life to be more hospitable to their business model….. ‘Here’s a different way of thinking about it: you have large international investors who have funneled billions of dollars into these business models and a core part of their logic was that the only way they were ever going to get any return on their investment is this effort to fundamentally restructure regulatory structures around work,’ Veena Dubal, a law professor at UC Hastings, told Motherboard. ‘They were banking, literally, on doing what capitalists have attempted to do for over a century: evading, lowering, or getting rid of the minimum wage. This was an investment in deregulation.'” • I’ve been muttering about this for some time; glad somebody else is saying it so coherently.

News of the Wired


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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. Toshiro_Mifune

    Major television networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC/MSNBC are expected to air the hearings in full or in part, especially the hearings scheduled for primetime hours in the evening.

    Well…. that’s certainly a line up of TV networks. Sure to reach a huge number of people over 60. I suppose the live stream on Youtube is an attempt to to make this accessible to younger viewers. To be honest though, if it is this or a new This Old Tony on Youtube I’m going with This Old tony.

    1. Randall Flagg

      Yea, like this and the other hearings are going to stop people from noticing gas prices going up by the day. Empty shelves in the markets where baby formula , pasta, you name it used to be, and what is on the shelves also going up by the week. Never mind essential medicines for those that need them. We haven’t even gotten near hearing season yet. Gun violence.
      Myself , yes, it’s fine they’re looking into the events of Han 6th. But I think they average citizen is going to stand in the voting booth this November and ask the Dems that important question, “What have you done for me lately?
      And “We’re not Donald Trump”, isn’t going to fly this time.
      And you know that when the R’s take charge here comes Hunter’s laptop.

      1. Wukchumni

        January 6th is all about who the Donkey Show can charge for admission, a 1-trick-pony.

        1. Randall Flagg

          We all know what (IIRC), a Mr. P. T. Barnum once said, “ There’s a sucker born ever minute.”

          1. Martin Oline

            I thought it was “There’s a winner every time.” Maybe that was at the sideshow?

    2. lyman alpha blob

      And Garland “has vowed to hold accountable all January 6th perpetrators, at any level” has he? That’s funny, because Ray Epps still hasn’t been charged. And he isn’t the only one caught on video egging on the crowd who is facing no charges. Quick search pulls up this fairly recent piece from the NYT claiming to explain why Epps wasn’t charged but it’s pretty weak tea – https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/05/us/jan-6-ray-epps-evidence.html

      The article claims he wasn’t a government informant, which may be true, however even the article admits he was caught on video on Jan 5 urging people to go into the capitol. He was also on video in the crowd in Jan 6.

      So unless this dog and pony show is going to tell us why select persons who were involved with egging on the riot were not charged, and also why the police allowed some people onto the grounds themselves and were generally incompetent despite supposedly knowing something was planned (especially as they were out in full force for BLM protests in DC not much earlier), well I’ll just stick to the NBA finals as I expect most others who are not suffering from the TDS will as well.

      Go Celtics!

    3. Geo

      I’d so distressed about not being able to watch it but I have laundry to do, some passive reading to catch up on, and paint to watch dry.

      Seriously, this is nothing more than Dems distracting their diehards with Sorkin-esque theatrics (with as much real world consequence as a West Wing episode) and will do for justice and democracy what Koolaid mix does for lead-tainted water in poor communities.

      1. Geo

        Literally just got an email from some Dem vote org called “ivoteforamerica.org” with an all caps subject screaming: Insurrection Alert and hyperventilating text saying things like, “We need as many supporters as possible to watch the January 6th commission. Right now, we need 100 Democrats in your state to confirm their viewership before midnight” and “It’s the only way to hold Trump and all his cronies accountable for their crimes against Democracy”.

        Watching something on tv is gonna hold them accountable? Didn’t know Nielsen ratings were the new jury system.

        Also, if they don’t think they can get 100 Dems in California to watch this thing without these emails then they’re already doomed to fail. :)

        1. c_heale

          If they are sending out emails to get someone to watch something that isn’t even being broadcast yet, that means they’ve already failed.

  2. ewmayer

    There was a discussion in yesterday’s Links about “shrinkflation”, was late to it, but wanted to share one of the more egregious examples I’ve encountered recently – I’m at Whole Foods, one of the items on my shopping list is an 8oz tub of Basil pesto. Get to the refrigerated case where they display those, there are as usual several different brands, including WF’s own house “365” brand. I’ve tried various ones in the past, all are quite good, 365 brand maybe $1 cheaper than the rest but not quite as flavor-intense, so usually get one of the other local brands. Like most things, prices have jumped quite a bit these last 6 months, my personal “whoa!” threshold for pesto is $1/oz. This time around, all are over $8 per tub, except the 365 brand which has a yellow “sale” sticker and is $6.99, that sounds good, so I grab one. On getting home I’m about to put it in the fridge, instead of grabbing by the top lid as when pulling from the display case it comes out of the bag sideways … what’s this? The plastic tub has a huge hollow dimple molded into the bottom, roughly the shape of one of those little plastic tubs hot takeout hot sauces come in, but even wider. Basically, the bulk of the pesto is in a doughnut-ring around the central portion of the container, where there is a layer less than a 1/4″ deep. But from the side, as displayed in the store, and from the top, said cheat is invisible – the new-model container was clearly designed to cheat the eye. I alas live in an apartment sans garden or patio, so planting my own Basil is not an easy task. But bought a set of large window planters, going to give it a go. Autarky! (Does using that word make me a Ras-Putin stooge?)

    1. ewmayer

      Oh – forgot to give the most salient number in the above – the net weight for the new improved decepto-container was a mere 5.5oz. And of *course* that was stated in the fine print on “Sale” sign (I checked on my next swing-by a couple days later) – that sort of thing is precisely the reason “fine print” was invented.

    2. ambrit

      Definitely give the window boxes a go. Basil is pretty easy to grow and will love it in any window with sun exposure. Do consider trying different varieties of basil. There are some Thai varieties that are quite tangy and fun to cook with. Basic ‘sweet’ basil is the one usually encountered in the West.
      Bon appetit!
      (You might also notice a hint of the basil scent in the room you grow them in. Quite civilized.)

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I got one of these mason jar kits as a gift a few years ago: https://masonjarlifestyle.com/product/ball-herb-growing-kit/

        Works great if you don’t have enough room for a bigger window box- you’d be surprised at how much you get from a quart jar. The wick system makes it easy to take care of and you can go a week or two without watering it. Lots of pesto with very little work involved.

    3. petal

      It can be happy in a window. There are also light bulbs for plants that looks like light bulbs and not like the old long tube fluorescent lights. Doesn’t take up a lot of space.

    4. Martin

      Strauss yogurt. 32 ounce tub, up $1.60 to $5.19 during Biden.
      New sized container, 16 ounce. Two of them cost $7.20.

      Regular gas is $9.49 in isolated Mendocino, California.

      What happens when prices exceed $10 a gallon? The readouts on gas pumps don’t have enough spaces!

      My brilliant solution to that, sell gas in liters, that way we will be more like the Europeans and will be part of a “world community.”

  3. JustAnotherVolunteer

    So it turns out unlawful parading has been a thing since the 50s and not surprisingly was related to protests related to the McCarthy related prosecutions:


    On the fed and dc books:


    On also the basis for pursuing protesters outside SC Justice homes:


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > unlawful parading has been a thing since the 50s and not surprisingly was related to protests related to the McCarthy related prosecutions:

      Great information, thanks!

      Also, acts of violence: two (2). Not counting the woman whacked by a cop, of course.

          1. ambrit

            “What’s with the cammo pram bud?”
            “I’m protecting the baby officer.”
            “Uh. Why is my geiger counter going crazy?”
            “You don’t want to know officer. These aren’t the seditionists you are looking for.”
            “Alright guys. These aren’t the seditionists we’re looking for. Move on now. Go about your business.”
            “Thanks officer.”

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Well, Ringo got arrested for illegal parading in A Hard Day’s Night, but that was in the UK (and a movie.)

  4. Wukchumni

    Illegal Parading:

    I went to the Doo-Dah Parade back in the day, very much the anti-Rose Parade, and somebody discovered that taco-sized corn tortillas are Mother Nature’s frisbees, a deft touch could send one a few hundred feet!

    They were also cheap, like a hundred for a few bucks.

    That one year where everybody had some was magical-it looked like an ad hoc UFO convention on Colorado Blvd, and then the next year the powers that be in Pasadena outlawed the throwing of corn tortillas under penalty of law, no illegal parading, hmmmm…ok?

    1. anon

      On “I’m not exactly sure what legislative reforms would prevent an insurrection.”

      Term limits for all elected officials would be a good start.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Term limits would mean that only already-rich people could run as a hobby or else ambitious young hustlers using their term limited time to audition for private sector payoff-employment after their limited time in office. And of course the lobbyists and etc. will not be term limited, so they will out-expertise the term-limited officeholders. We have seen this in Michigan.

        I would like to see term limits repealed here and prevented wherever it does not yet exist. Term limits are the ” flat tax” of elective office.

  5. IM Doc

    The Insulin Cost plan……

    Lambert’s comment – So the Democrats are running on something they’ve failed to accomplish?

    I think it is even worse than that. Trump had actually done at least something via executive order during his term. Within a week of his Inauguration, maybe even the first day if I remember correctly, Biden reversed that executive order, and within weeks I had may diabetics who suddenly could not afford their insulin anymore.

    What Trump did was not a lot. But at least it made the meds affordable for some. We have been struggling with many of the patients since the first weeks of the Biden administration.

    Call me cynical, but I do not really put much stock into what they are saying now. Follow actions. Not words.

    1. Randall Flagg

      Here’s a (probably dangerous) thought.
      California’s Governor has proposed spending $100 million to jumpstart a generic drug program to produce insulin. Maybe someone could send an appeal to Makenzie Scott to she if she would kick in on a project like that. She’s already given away about $12 billion of her worth so what the hell. Of course at the moment it seems like she could be trusted to be much more altruistic about it all than her peers. On a galactic scale.

    2. curlydan

      Interesting. I had not heard of this. Here’s a link with some more information about it:

      What’s amusing (if anything related to rescinding discounts on lifesaving medicines could possibly be amusing) is when I did some searches on DuckDuckGo about it, I immediately got “fact check” articles on the matter stating that, “no, Biden did not permanently rescind an order to reduce insulin or epi pen” price. It’s only “temporary”.

      Did these “fact checks” possibly have updated info? [Bleep] no. Here are two “fact checks” lacking the current facts.



    3. Princess Cutekitten

      Hi Doc

      I’m one of those patients who couldn’t afford insulin for a year, thanks to Biden & friends. (Finally managed to scrape together the money.). I am also female. The next Democrat who preaches at me about “women’s health “ is going to get an earful!

    4. Geo

      Looked it up and got this:

      “The Biden administration stopped an executive order issued by President Trump that intended to make insulin more affordable, but the order would have only helped low-income patients at select clinics.

      On July 24, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Order 13937. The stated goal was to make insulin and EpiPens more affordable.

      After a months-long review process, the Biden administration decided to rescind the rule, preventing it from going into effect.“


      Love how they keep using qualifiers to defend Biden in this piece saying it would “only be for low-income patients of Federally Qualified Health Centers.” And that it’s “only 1 in 11 Americans” that use those centers – as if that’s not a *familyblogging* ton of Americans impacted by it!

      Basically: Trump was only gonna help gonna 30 million poor Americans so Biden fixed that by helping none. And the Dems wonder why they are despised?

      I stand by my prediction that Biden will go down in history as the last Democrat president ever.

    5. haywood

      I believe Trump had an EO that capped insulin at like 40 bucks for Medicare/Medicaid recipients, but it was later on in his administration, close to his reeelction.

      Biden froze that program and most other Trump EOs temporarily at re start of his administration. Later, Biden said Congress had to cap prices formally and of course Congress did nothing because they’re funded by the insurance industry to do nothing.

      1. Geo

        Biden: “Our people deserve more than just breadcrumbs, they deserve a slice of bread. Get rid of these little crumbs and give them a slice!”

        Dems: *sweep away bread crumbs*

        Biden: “Good. No more bread crumbs. Isn’t that better?” *Wanders absentmindedly off into the back room to take his daily meds provided free for elected reps*

    6. Glen

      It is a REALLY TOUGH conversation for me to have with my Democratic friends that Trump actually did some good stuff, and was unfairly attacked for Russiagate. And the same with the things that I think Biden did that were good like getting our of Afghanistan or really, really stupid like deciding to engage in Ukraine.

      We truly live in bizarro world. But how can you argue with anything that makes life saving drugs affordable for Americans? Democrats have been promising to reduce the prices of drugs forever, and never seem to be able to do it. Trump did it with the stroke of a pen. How hard was that?

      Strange times.

  6. FreeMarketApologist

    RE: “I’m not exactly sure what legislative reforms would prevent an insurrection.

    Though oft talked about here, those would be the ones that nobody wants to deliver: universal concrete material benefits.

    It’s as simple as that.

    1. flora

      I have the odd idea that “prevent an insurrection” translates in real terms to “prevent a successful 3rd party from winning”. Nah, probably doesn’t mean that. Does it? / ;)

  7. FreeMarketApologist

    RE: Rapid Riser chart: “That little speck of red in New York state is not New York City, fortunately

    It’s Orange County, a historically strong Repub. county. Quite a bit of wealth in some areas (Tuxedo), and not so much in others (Kiryas Joel, Newburgh). Has seen lots of change during COVID as New Yorkers snapped up real estate, but for some time prior had been attracting those priced out of areas closer in to NYC. Also home of West Point (so lots of people coming & going).

    1. hunkerdown

      Antoine Dodson is admittedly a hard act to follow, but it’s interesting seeing Huntsville’s street performance art community has some bench.

  8. curlydan

    I think much of the inventory bloat is due to bad forecasting from most of these retailers. In 2021, there was a tremendous amount of money entering the economy and much of that money fortunately well-aimed at people who actually spend it.

    The third round of EIP totaled $400B. A lot of that money gets spent in Q1 and Q2 of 2021. In Q3 and Q4 of 2021, the advanced Child Tax Credit payments start where people with children get monthly payments.

    Suddenly in Q1 of 2022, a lot of those credits start to go “poof”. The customers of a year ago who had a decent source of extra cash are suddenly not only “back to normal” but getting hit hard by inflationary pressures on all types of necessary expenses, particularly gas.

    So the people at corporations ordering all the extra stuff from China wound up, in my opinion, ordering way too much as the money dried up and sending inventories skyrocketing. I know I’d like to think that they could see through this, but too often this year’s forecast is last years +x% without looking deeply at the data.

    1. Geo

      “So the people at corporations ordering all the extra stuff from China wound up, in my opinion, ordering way too much as the money dried up…”

      If true, it’s ironic that many of these corps were the ones demanding we end unemployment relief to get people back to work, were against the child tax credit, and so many of the other things that fed that flow of money.

      When will they learn that for consumers to spend they need to have money? I’m a dumb art school dropout and even I know that (made a film with that as a major theme back in 2012) yet the titans of American commerce don’t seem to comprehend that the serfs can’t buy their products because they are losing their homes and can’t eat? All these corps better switch to selling luxury goods because the rich are the only consumers they have left.

  9. Nikkikat

    I have never agreed with calling this JAN 6 thing an insurrection. This looked more like a yahoo riot to me. Just too bad there wasn’t a real insurrection. The sucking up to Liz Cheney has gone beyond lunacy for me. Liz Cheney is a horrible human being

    1. Geo

      It’s an insurrection in the same way “Dog Day Afternoon” is the story of a bank robbery. Sure, the bank robbery was poorly planned, executed by dolts, and failed before it even started, but it was still a bank robbery.

      The intent was to force the overturning of an election. If I try to rob your home but trip while live-streaming myself climbing in a window I broke, slice my arm and leave a dna trail throughout the place, set off alarms, and run off empty handed only to get caught two blocks away with my ski mask still on, am I not a robber?

      Lack of competence doesn’t erase intent. That said, the idea so many I know have in their heads that “this time they’re gonna get Trump!” is crazytalk and the whole tv spectacle is a sad joke.

      1. Jeff W

        “…run off empty handed…am I not a robber?”

        You’re not.

        Robbery is defined at common law, as “the taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear.” If you’ve run off empty-handed, you haven’t taken any property. You might, however, be a burglar, burglary being defined as “the act of entering a building or other areas without permission, with the intention of committing a criminal offence” (and that offence could be robbery).

      2. tegnost

        I disagree and think it’s a rashomon situation where it all depends on your perspective, and the perspective of those with TDS is that his supporters are the worst of the worst of the worst. Another easily backed assertion is that, having watched many many many protests kettled and dispersed, why did this one succeed at such a high value target (i.e., it ain’t nordstroms, the Capitol) with such incredible ease unless some other group saw it as an opportunity to gain of function it’s own mad horde (you should hear some of the callous and heartless things my TDS inflicted PMC friends and family say about these “others”, add in their thoughts on homeless people and I really don’t want to hear them talk they’re so mean).
        It was a riot. It’s to my mind literally pathetic that they were able to get as far as they did.
        A total 100% security fail, at the nations capitol.
        We should all be ashamed of the toothless defense of this National Institution! (/s intended , just proving how easy it is to Outrage! in our Cherished Institutions!!!)

  10. Tom Stone

    Here in Sebastopol Ca I have spoken to nearly a dozen acquaintances who are my age or older about Covid.
    All are college graduates,about half with advanced degrees.
    Only one knew that the vaccines are not sterilizing, several had heard that the virus was airborne, none knew what that meant.
    None knew that you could catch the bug repeatedly and none knew what long Covid entailed.
    None knew we were in the middle of a surge of cases.
    None were wearing masks and three of them loudly lectured me about my paranoia “why are you wearing a mask when you are protected by the vaccine?”.
    These are all people who “Follow the News”. on TV…

    1. Geo

      Haven’t had thorough discussions like you but am truly shocked by how little others seem to know about it and how this new wave is catching so many totally by surprise.

      I guess Naked Capitalism has become my own personal echo chamber where I now falsely assume others are informed too! Maybe I should watch/read a few minutes of MSM once a week to remind myself what most of the nation in s being “informed” by?

      1. ambrit

        Be careful with who you tell your viewing habits to. I can see the DSM listing watching more than a cetain amount of MSM “news” coverage as an indicator for “Multi Spectrum Delusional State Neurosis.” The treatment for that probably starts with Valium and progresses to the more exotic mood stabilizers.
        Stay safe and sane!

    2. The Rev Kev

      This is really crazy when you think about it. The CDC should have all those points in their landing page on Covid and have a constant media campaign to get the message through. I guess that the message is really ‘The Pandemic is over’ so everybody go back to work’. And people who act otherwise, like that woman wearing that mask on that Alaskan Airlines plane are just dissidents and troublemakers. Follow the science has now turned into follow your wishes.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        CDC keeps all those points off their landing page because the CDC wants to make covid spread everywhere on purpose . . . . without appearing to do so.

        CDC, through Walensky and otherwise, encourages masks-off because CDC wants to create a mass movement of oppression and persecution against people who wear masks, in order to stop them from frustrating and obstructing the CDC agenda of deliberately spreading covid everywhere, on purpose.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      Formal education is no protection from ignorance. Many “educated” people are quite ignorant about many things.

      1. Late Introvert

        I would say most. Like everyone else, only they think they are smarter and better, because they could afford to shop at the credential store and played by the rules.

        NC commenters bring real life experience, I rarely get that from the Academics I meet at my job in a college town.

  11. Princess Cutekitten

    Lambert, can you please provide a link to the Freight Waves article about Target?

    Re the Battle Of The Washington Post Stenographers, depending on the bylaws of their union, it might not be possible to file a grievance against a colleague. My union did not get involved in employee-vs-employee battles. You could only file a grievance against management, for an identifiable contractual violation.

    It seems to me that an employee who tries to get the customers involved in her beef with a fellow employee is going WAY over the line, although, again, much would depend upon the union contract, past practices, that sort of thing. That said, it seems like the management could easily solve this problem by giving battling employees so much work to do that they don’t have time to fight. And if I were running the Washington Post, I’d probably institute a no-tweet policy. As a U.S. citizen, you have a right to free speech, but as far as I know you have no right to employ a particular manner of speech while employed by the Washington Post. (Ironically, the people running Twitter don’t seem to be big fans of free speech themselves.)

  12. dcblogger

    Fed Up activists will occupy the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC on June 14th, 2022 to demand that the Fed commits to truly serving working people and building a full-employment economy in which anyone who needs a job can find one.

    1. Late Introvert

      “anyone who needs a job can find one”

      LOL, that’s your DemRat slogan of the moment?

  13. Randy

    “The correct action to take in a unionized environment is to file a grievance against the co-worker in question. The incorrect action is to rally management, peers, and the public to get that co-worker (and anyone who speaks against you) shitcanned.”

    Back when I was in a union we filed grievances against immediate supervisors and occasionally higher level management, never against our fellow union members. Most grievances were filed against first level supervisors who were misbehaving. Grievances created paperwork for the offending management and after enough extra paperwork was created they eventually learned that life was easier when you weren’t an a**hole.

    1. rowlf

      Agreed about grievances being vertical and not horizontal. However, I once ran across an ALPA Professional Standards Committee file left in an airplane where coworkers were concerned about a pilot not following company policy and procedure, and creating crew resource management problems. (ALPA likes to keep their professional image intact and bring in the strays to the herd before they get any other attention.)

      I tried to get a similar professional standards committee set up for my union at the time but it was deemed too controversial and could leave the union open to charges of harassment.

    1. marcyincny

      Why is that a joke? I’ve never seen one before and I’d pay good money for a 1.5 pint measuring cup. So many times I just need a 1.25 cups…

      1. ambrit

        It’s a joke because it’s a play on words. Just like everything coming out of the MSM Official Transcription Department today.
        Plus, it’s from Barbados, where the barbades come from. What could go wrong?
        I must agree about the utility of that measuring cup. And, litre is spelled correctly! Although that might be a one off.

  14. The Rev Kev

    That “How One Billionaire With a 300-Year Plan Fueled the Popping Tech Bubble” article deserves to be made into its own post as what they have done has done so much damage to so many people.

    1. CGKen

      The author of that piece cohosts a podcast with an academic at an Australian university. It’s often worth a listen and is called “This Machine Kills.”

  15. Alex Morfesis

    Hello AP…about that piece about the bufoonery on January 6th…the largest prosecution in the history of whom ?? Ummm…Palmer raids might just have been quite a bit larger…
    but reality… what a concept….

    1. foghorn longhorn

      That is funny as hell.
      Difference between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact is indeed six months or so.
      In related news, the local black preacher was over here this a.m., his thoughts were not positive at ALL.

  16. Wukchumni

    I heard prison guards are taunting the incarcerated Proud Goys by only offering them everything bagels for breakfast in what some might call a blatant attempt @ inclusiveness, but they aren’t falling for it and demand slices from a white loaf.

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    Beau of the Fifth Column has made a 4 minute video about the House gun safety bill which will reach the Senate in due time. He mentions some good and effective things in the bill. He then focuses on a poison pill which was put into the bill deliberately and on purpose to get the bill defeated in the Senate, so that the House members who vote for the bill can pretend they care and they tried, in hopes that people will believe them without understanding the poison pill they put in the bill precisely to deliberately and on purpose get the Senate to defeat the bill. ( Maybe some of the Urban Liberals who voted for the bill are really too stupid and ignorant to understand or even see the poison pill they voted for. I will give them credit for their own brand of stupid ignorant urban provincial sincerity).

    Anyone who watches and hears this video will be resistant to being fooled by this cynical little House performance.

    The video is titled ” Let’s talk about the House gun control bill . . . ” Here is the link.

    1. JBird4049

      IIRC, just because all police (and most everyone outside of California) can get fifteen round magazines and the current House bill wants to ban any magazine of over ten rounds does not mean it is a cynical political ploy to feed their dupes marks true believers supporters sarc/; if the man is right, good stuff was burned to fluff up a bill that was probably always meant to poison pilled.

      Both political parties need to staked, beheaded, burned to ashes, and then ashes scattered over the ocean far, far away from any land.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I believe that is exactly what he means. Good stuff was burned in order to put that poison pill in the House bill precisely in order to get the Senate to vote it down. Getting the Senate to vote it down is exactly why the House Democrats helped to put it in the bill, deliberately and on purpose. In order to get it voted down.

        I don’t think Beau was being sarcastic at all. I think he was being linearly literal, and I think he is exactly correct. The Christian Sharia Law Gilead Republicans are about to take “Preserve Roe V. Wade” away from the Democrats as a vote-raising and fund-raising tool. But the Democrats are determined to keep using “gun control” as a vote-raising and fund-raising tool for as many years into the future as they can.

        And the Democrats will treat every upcoming mass school shooting as another opportunity to pass a bill with a poison pill designed deliberately on purpose to be voted down in the Senate or struck down in the Supreme Court. ” School shootings” will be the DemParty’s “Roe v. Wade” going forward.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > He then focuses on a poison pill which was put into the bill deliberately and on purpose to get the bill defeated in the Senate,

      Well, don’t tease us and force us to watch the video to find out.

      If I’m understand the technical jargon, the bill bans magazines over 10 rounds, when most pistols have 15, which makes it a non-starter, at least for “this Senate.”

      Of course, you could change that number in conference….

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