2:00PM Water Cooler 6/17/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Chestnut sparrow. Arusha, Tanzania. Calls of a group. This is two weeks of (extremely neat) sparrows. I think next week, something else.

“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

“Tensions escalate as DOJ renews request for Jan. 6 panel transcripts” [Politico]. “The Justice Department on Thursday revealed a deepening rift with the Jan. 6 House select committee, accusing the panel of a “failure” to share its 1,000 witness transcripts. Department officials say those documents would aid the prosecution of people who breached the Capitol, including leaders of the Proud Boys. The Justice Department officials said it was “critical” that the panel provide prosecutors “copies of the transcripts of all its witness interviews.'” • Seems obvious. Here’s the letter:

“Jan. 6 panel sends letter asking Ginni Thomas to testify” [Associated Press]. “Thomas, a conservative activist, communicated with people in President Donald Trump’s orbit ahead of the attack and also on the day of the insurrection, when hundreds of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol and interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s victory…. In response, Thomas told the conservative news site Daily Caller on Thursday that she ‘can’t wait to clear up misconceptions,’ suggesting she would comply with a request to testify.”

First Amendment issues on Eastman’s Memo, Trump’s speech, etc.:

(Doucette is a former Republican, a lawyer, and very sound on cops. Worth a folllow.) Note the “imminent” test:

“Grassley has only himself to blame for skepticism about January 6 denials” [Bleeding Heartland]. “I don’t recall Grassley ever clarifying how he would have presided over the electoral college count, had Pence been absent. He had told reporters on January 5 that objecting to electoral votes was a ‘legal process,’ and he would be ‘listening to what all of my colleagues have to say during that debate’ before deciding how to vote. I have always given Grassley the benefit of the doubt when reporting on explosive evidence that has emerged during the January 6 investigation: John Eastman’s memo, a PowerPoint shown to some Republican senators on January 4, an a December 2020 email from attorney Kenneth Chesebro to Rudy Giuliani. I find the senator’s denials plausible, because Trump’s inner circle might not have fully trusted him. Grassley had acknowledged on December 14 (when the electoral college met) that Biden would be president. And in the end, he did vote to certify the electoral college count. But it’s no surprise Franken (and many others) are skeptical that Grassley was “never approached” by coup plotters who specifically mentioned him in some of their road maps. Why is it hard for many to believe the senator wasn’t in on Trump’s scheme? Here are a few reasons; this list could easily be twice as long…. So spare me the indignation from a campaign spokesperson, who asks why Franken is “spreading this conspiracy theory” and suggests he is ‘intentionally lying to voters.'”

Petty bourgieosie, as I showed long ago here:

Biden Administration

“Biden aides ‘tapped out’ as White House faces staff shake up” [The Hill]. “The White House has faced a slew of departures recently, with several top officials announcing at once that they are moving on after 18 months in the administration during a time when President Biden’s job approval rating continues to sink amid consistently poor marks politically…. One senior administration official acknowledged that many aides are ‘tapped out.’ It’s been a long few years,’ the official said. ‘The burnout is real. It might not be the ideal time to leave with everything going on, but it’s the right time.’ The official explained the early summer months are considered the best time to leave, before midterms season begins. ‘And then you’re really locked in,’ they added.” • Time to cash in!

“Republican walks out on U.S. gun legislation talks, Democrat remains hopeful” [Reuters]. “Disagreements remained over two main provisions: how to provide incentives to states to create ‘red flag’ laws, in which guns can be temporarily taken away from people who are deemed dangerous; and the ‘boyfriend loophole,’ which allows authorities to block abusive spouses from buying firearms but does not cover ‘intimate partners’ who are not married. Cornyn, whose home state of Texas does not have a red flag law and is seen as unlikely to enact one, wants the funding for that provision to cover other efforts for people with mental illness, such as ‘crisis intervention programs.'”


* * *

MI: “Samuels optimistic about challenge to Omar” [KARE]. ” Don Samuels told reporters Tuesday he believes a coalition of clergy, DFL party veterans and community advocates will make him a competitive contender in his battle to unseat incumbent 5th District Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. A day after the Omar Campaign released a poll showing the second term Democrat with a commanding lead over Samuels in the DFL primary field, the Samuels camp presented its own polling showing the gap is tighter than that…. Early voting for the Aug. 9 primary begins June 24. Omar has four DFL challengers, but Samuels is the most well-known of them. Typically, the Democratic primary outcome determines the winner in CD5, where Republicans have been shut out for 60 years.”


“Sanders says he would support Biden reelection bid” [The Hill]. “Asked if he would support the president in 2024, the Vermont senator told CNN it is ‘a little too early’ before adding, ‘I think Biden will probably run again, and if he runs again, I will support him.’

Sanders, who ran for the White House against Biden in 2020, also said he would not mount a primary challenge if Biden is running.”

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.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“GOPers push ban on lawmakers paying family on campaigns” [New York Post]. “The Family Integrity to Reform Elections (FIRE) Act, to be introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) on Monday, would bar any candidate running for federal office from compensating immediate family members for campaign services. ‘Maxine Waters [paid] $1.1 million to her daughter from campaign funds,’ Fallon told The Post in a statement. ‘Ilhan Omar, $2.9 million to her husband from campaign funds. James Clyburn, over $200,000 to multiple family members from his campaign.'” • Not such a bad idea.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Elephant In The Zoom” [The Intercept]. The deck: “Meltdowns Have Brought Progressive Advocacy Groups to a Standstill at a Critical Moment in World History.” • I ran this yesterday, and the day before yesterday, but here The Trillbillies — who have formed strong views on NGOs from their career experience — review this article in their podcast. Entertaining and acerbic as usual.


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

* * *

“UCSF’s Wachter says his wife now likely has long COVID and her health is ‘not great’” [San Francisco Chronicle]. One of the earlier PMC superspreading events, which Wachter chivvied his wife to attend, earning a coveted Sociopath of the Day award. “Five weeks post-infection, Hafner is likely suffering from the symptoms of long COVID, including fatigue and periodic headaches, he said. Noting that she hasn’t yet reached the official long COVID threshold — symptoms persisting two months after infection — Wachter said, ‘Whatever the definition, it sucks — she’s an amazingly high energy person, & now she’s wiped out most afternoons.’ He also questioned whether the antiviral Paxlovid was effective in preventing persistent COVID symptoms despite its ability to reduce the viral load to prevent the most severe outcomes in people who are infected…. Watching his wife’s experience has recommitted him to cautious behaviors to avoid the virus, he said.” • Some of us didn’t need to “recommit” to “cautious behaviors” because we weren’t swayed to Wachter’s bullshit in the first place.

“When Covid Came for Provincetown” [Wired]. “Whatever you remember, the actual story is this. The partyers in Provincetown didn’t spread the virus; they, and their allies, controlled it. On the fly, they created a model for how a community can organize against a disease threat. Even a year later, it is worth looking back at what they did—not just because Covid has not left us but also because other pandemics will come. Much of the US response to Covid has been fractured, hostile, or self-sabotaging. Provincetown was ‘a huge success story,’ says William Hanage, codirector of Harvard’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, who helped analyze the outbreak. “It should have been a message: We can avoid large outbreaks, if we want to.'” Activist Michael Donnelly created a case spreadsheet from SNS reports, and contacted CDC’s Demetre Daskalakis “Within 24 hours Daskalakis set up calls between Donnelly, the CDC, and the Massachusetts health department. By the end of the week, the agencies had created a task force, set up a phone number and an email for people to self-report, reached out to other states that visitors had gone home to, and gotten mobile testing units rolling toward Provincetown. ‘It’s the most accelerated response I’ve ever seen in public health, Daskalakis says. ‘And Michael pretty much started that outbreak investigation himself.’ [As a result of the AIDS crisis,] many Provincetown visitors and residents were primed, the way a vaccination primes the body to fight a later infection, to recognize that Delta was spreading among them and to be very public about it. People who realized they’d been exposed in the July Fourth week went further than simply admitting to Donnelly that they tested positive. They began doing contact tracing on themselves and looked for professionals to give the information to.” More: “For tracking the people who’d left the Cape, there was a bigger, better-funded effort—the Community Tracing Collaborative, a 4,000-person corps created by the state health department and the global nonprofit Partners in Health. Its size suggested the scope of the job…. This simultaneous tracing of people and gatherings was a newer approach in the US—the method was copied from Covid strategies in Japan—and it wasn’t easy. If you diagram the transmission of a disease that goes person-to-person, it looks like a family tree. In Provincetown, it looked like an overgrown forest. “There were so many overlapping interactions, across three different streets, in upwards of 20 different locations—so it was very difficult to pinpoint where someone was actually exposed,” says Perri Kasen, a management consultant who joined the Community Tracing Collaborative in 2020 and became one of the three lead investigators for the Provincetown outbreak. Among the hundreds of cases detected in the outbreak in the first half of July, contact tracers could identify only six people for whom it was reasonably certain that one had infected the other. But, as Kasen says, “you don’t necessarily need confirmatory evidence to act.’ On July 27, the CDC did act. In a bombshell media briefing, director Rochelle Walensky announced gloomily that vaccinated people should go back to wearing masks indoors, especially in schools and around the vulnerable.” • A must read.

“Disease Eradication” [Donald Hopkins, New England Journal of Medicine]. From 2013, still germane. “Eradication of a disease means worldwide interruption of transmission…. Several key principles are inherent in an eradication or elimination campaign: the need to intervene everywhere the disease occurs, no matter how remotely located or difficult to access occurrences of disease are or how minor the perceived problem is in an individual country or area; the importance of monitoring the target disease and the extent of interventions closely; the need for flexibility and urgency in response to ongoing monitoring and operational research; and the need for an intense focus on the goal of stopping transmission of the targeted disease, even when the costs per case rise sharply as the number of cases declines. Common difficulties faced by such campaigns include sporadic or widespread political insecurity in areas where the disease is endemic, inadequate or delayed funding, and the challenges of motivating officials, health workers, and affected populations.” • See above in Provincetown, but see generally the United States, especially the public health establishment and official Washington.

By now, the Corsi-Rosenthal box success story is a genre:

* * *

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

* * *

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

Case count for the United States:

More or less level. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was 100,800. Today, it’s 106900, and 100,800 * 6 = a Biden line at 641400. 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.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

Down 1.4%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)

Wastewater data from Biobot Analytics:

Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 1:

Hoo boy. Here is Biobot from May 25:

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

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

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

Better on the West Coas and Southwest, status quo in the South and Midwest, quiet in the Northeast.

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:

CDC, you’re screwing up my personal risk assessment, good job.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very volatile.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,037,928 1,037,664. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:

CDC, good job. Maybe next Friday.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “Industrial Production in the United States increased 5.8% year-on-year in May of 2022, following a 6.3% rise in April. The mining sector recorded the biggest increase (9%), followed by utilities (8.4%) and manufacturing (4.8%).”

Capacity: “United States Capacity Utilization” [Trading Economics]. “Capacity Utilization in the United States increased to 79 percent in May of 2022 from 78.9 percent in April, slightly below market forecasts of 79.2 percent.”

* * *

Employment Situation: “Long Covid Is Showing Up in the Employment Data” [Bloomberg]. “SSDI applications are (slowly) rising again, in their first sustained increase since 2009. [T]he Social Security Administration has said that only about 1% of recent claims mention Covid… [D]ig a little deeper into the monthly Current Population Survey from which these statistics are derived and it is apparent that something new is ailing millions of Americans, even though many are staying on the job despite it.” • Handy chart:

I wish I could read this for the first time in the press on the left, instead of Bloomberg. But here we are.

Manufacturing: “Boeing ‘Almost There’ on 787 Dreamliner Delivery Restart” [Bloomberg]. “Boeing Co. is laying plans to restart 787 Dreamliner handovers that have been largely halted since late 2020, notifying customers of their place in the delivery queue as it works with US regulators to complete the final paperwork. The planemaker is ‘almost there’ on returning the Dreamliner to service, said Stan Deal, head of Boeing’s commercial airplane division. The company has reviewed the carbon-composite frames for tiny structural imperfections with regulators and key suppliers. He didn’t offer specific details on timing. ‘There’s been steady progress,’ Deal said Thursday on the sidelines of a UK Aviation Club event in London. ‘There’s a lot of paperwork you have to turn in so we’ve been focused on that and on the restoration of the airplane.'” • It’s not “paperwork,” Stan. It’s government regulation designed to prevent your plans from falling out of the sky which — hear me out — they have a bad habit of doing.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 15 Extreme Fear (previous close: 13 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 28 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 17 at 1:32 PM EDT.

Under the Influence

“Did Kim Kardashian really trash Marilyn Monroe’s dress at the Met Gala? Here’s the story” [Miami Herald]. “On Thursday, Ripley’s released a statement saying to basically lay off the Hulu star, and that Kardashian treated the slinky relic well for the short time she wore it to enter the Met. (A replica was used for the festivities.) The museum definitively says that the SKIMS founder ‘did not cause damage’ to the 1962 dress that was acquired from a Julien’s Auctions event in 2016 for $4.8 million. Apparently, the dress came to the Central Florida facility already in not ideal shape, with a number of ‘pulled and worn’ seams. ‘This is not surprising given how delicate the material is,’ reads a report Ripley’s received after the gown arrived in 2017. ‘There is puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes,” among other issues.'” • Maybe. Then again, Ripley’s is for profit, and that’s what they would say.

Photo Book

“How Vivian Maier, the Enigmatic Nanny Who Took 150,000 Photographs, Found Her Place in History” [Smithsonian]. “For decades, Vivian Maier wandered around New York and Chicago, surreptitiously taking tens of thousands of photographs of people and scenes she encountered on the street. But her photography prowess was unknown until 2007, two years before her death, when she fell behind on payments for a storage locker and the belongings inside were auctioned off. More recently, Maier has slowly started gaining recognition for her work—and for her mysterious life. Now, her eclectic street-scene photographs are getting their first large-scale show in the United Kingdom.” • For example:

Zeitgeist Watch

Indeed, why not:

Class Warfare

“Leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire” [Recode]. “The report warned that Amazon’s labor crisis was especially imminent in a few locales, with internal models showing that the company was expected to exhaust its entire available labor pool in the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area by the end of 2021, and in the Inland Empire region of California, roughly 60 miles east of Los Angeles, by the end of 2022. Amazon’s internal report calculated the available pool of workers based on characteristics like income levels and a household’s proximity to current or planned Amazon facilities; the pool does not include the entire US adult population…. The research provides a rare glimpse into the staffing challenges that Amazon is now facing behind its slick veil of one-click online shopping and same-day Prime delivery. And it pointedly reveals how much of Amazon’s business success and its longtime position as a darling of Wall Street investors is dependent on its workforce of more than 1 million people who pick, pack, and ship its customers’ orders nearly 24/7.” •

News of the Wired

“Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’” [Scientific American]. “[M]ost people can’t remember events from the first few years of their lives – a phenomenon researchers have dubbed infantile amnesia. But why can’t we remember the things that happened to us when we were infants? Does memory start to work only at a certain age? One [guess] is that autobiographical memories require you to have some sense of self. … Another possible explanation for infantile amnesia is that because infants don’t have language until later in the second year of life, they can’t form narratives about their own lives that they can later recall…. Finally, the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain that’s largely responsible for memory, isn’t fully developed in the infancy period.”

“6 intriguing things to know about the stinkiest corpse flower in L.A. before it blooms” [Los Angeles Times]. “On the Huntington’s website, you can find a 24-hour livestream of the plant in all its glory. In addition to watching the flower bloom, you’ll be able to see the hilarious reactions of visitors experiencing the scent for the first time.”

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

From SC:

SC writes: “It’s late Spring and evidently Ladybird beetle mating season has arrived. These are on Common Milkweed, which I am using as a sacrifice plant to feed the Monarchs and the Ladybug-attracting aphids. The Purple MW colony is smaller and more valuable and I’m destroying aphids I find on them, and moving Monarch larvae to the Common patch. At some point in future, when I have multiple strong Purple MW patches, I’ll remove the Common patch (or at least try to suppress it; perhaps removal is not a realistic short-term goal) and let the plant/aphid/ladybird dynamic run unmolested on the Purple MW.

There are more Ladybugs this year than last, and while there are aphids here and there on the Common MW. they seem to be under control and the plants do not seem to be visibly suffering from their presence. One small part of a permaculture is in place, and getting stronger. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but I derive a bit of comfort from it.

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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. dcblogger

    the oligarchs may find that they will miss the rule of law once it is gone. What is to prevent President Demagogue from arresting all them and forcing them to sign over their wealth they way Crown Prince Bone Saws did with his royal rivals?

    1. synoia

      We have tried that. It is called “The Divine Right of Kings.”

      Historically it was a bit bloody. Free speech was very risky.

    2. hunkerdown

      Why? They have the rule of men. The rule of law is always ideological snow for class society.

    3. lance ringquist

      the rich always think they can control a hitler type. but the rich are to stupid to understand that just because they are rich, does not mean a hitler type won’t covet their wealth and power.

      a few rich hitler supporters barely made it out of germany alive, many did not.

      1. jr

        One of the funniest memories I have of those parties was of the birthday event for one of the organizers. In the living room of the apartment was a huge bed. A couple made wild love on it in full view. Meanwhile, a lonely and glum fellow sat on a corner of the bed sadly eating a slice of cake. I wish I had a photo of that tableau but of course cameras were verboten…

  2. Marylou

    dcblogger, like when they can’t drive down the street without their car being attacked by formerly middle class people who can barely eat? They will miss the police presence at that point.

    “Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’”

    “because infants don’t have language until later in the second year of life, they can’t form narratives about their own lives that they can later recall”

    I don’t know about everyone else, but most of my early memories are images, sounds and smells. I do remember a traumatic incident- in images from age 3- months. (wasp sting)

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wonder if some infants can brain-record video-audio sequences of being born and the immediate aftermath? And keep playing those movies from time to time until their language ability catches up and allows them to name their memories?

      1. Grateful Dude

        In “Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy” by Stanislav Grof, author describes regressing patients to pre-birth experiences that they are able to talk about. I can’t say much more. According to him, it’s all in there.

        See link, near the end of the list. I read it a long time ago. He was, IIRC, the last person authorized to do research with a substance that became very illegal and is still classified schedule one. The govt provided it to him until somebody noticed during GHWB’s term and they cut him off.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “middle class people who can barely eat?”

      I don’t think it will get that far. Ten bucks a gallon for gas will probably do it.

      It’s possible to fool a lot of people into riding the hamster wheel as long as they can get the stuff (a la Carlin) they want. They’ll put up with a–hole bosses and hour-long commutes, but they don’t react well to empty shelves, formula websites where the speed competition to post is worse than high-frequency traders on Wall Street, and brownouts in the summer and freeze-outs in the winter. When things are like that, why be so dedicated to the hamster wheel?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Those among them who are lucky enough to be living on or next to gardenable land may well begin to garden it.

        Perhaps a good thing the ” green propagandist-of-the-deed” could begin doing now is to do some gardening in just enough open view that the neighbors “can” see it if they “want to”. And learn enough and improve knowledge and results enough every year so that if events pressure some neighbors into “thinking about looking into gardening” . . . the already-successful gardener can offer advice, information, etc.

    3. LifelongLib

      Agree on the images etc, but as far as I can tell my earliest memories are from about 3 years old. Clearly remember at 3 1/2 being suspicious of an airplane because it didn’t have propellers (my dad explained it was a new type of plane called a jet). This would have been late 1959. Some memories of a couple places we lived before that, and of what I’m told was a minor operation (recall lying on my back with strangely dressed people looking down at me, then fading away to a dream about sailboats). Certainly nothing as early as 3 months.

    4. CanCyn

      There is a theory that says that very early memories are not our own but rather they are our internalization of the stories we’ve been told about the events.

      1. Librarian Guy

        This is the case in one incident I know of. My grandfather died when I was 4 and seeing him in a hospital bed is, as far as I know, my earliest memory . . . My brother, born 4 years after me, believed this was his earliest memory, based on my sharing it when we were growing up.

    5. Wukchumni

      My earliest memory is being roused awake in 1965 when I was 3 in order to watch the first American spacewalk by Gemini IV.

      1. Earl Erland

        At about that age -and it was not my first memory- I was sitting on my Great grandmothers lap. Molly Anderson, then Wold had finished a round trip from western North Dakota, born in 1880 in a Sod Hut to Chicago. After the good times including a Sears Home there was an argument about crop insurance one early May 1921 near about Loring. Not being lawyers, they went east. I circled back in ’89 and was lucky enough to spend an evening with three sisters, friends of Molly’s first born, Alice, who remembered the day the Wold”s went to Chicago. Molly laughed when I asked her about the hair on her lip, a mustache I asked. Sun baked face, a body that bore eight children, three of whom went to war. And when I asked she smiled, and hugged me.

    6. Darius

      My third birthday made an impression on me. It’s my first memory. 1964. I got a Tonka dump truck and loader.

  3. skk

    Re: Ladybirds

    Yeah I like ladybirds but sadly now that I do some vegetable gardening – ladybirds–>aphids–> neem spraying chore. Luckily, the ladybirds fly away first. Its amazing to see such an ungainly thing fly off.

  4. Sutter Cane

    Thank you for the “Biden line”! I was wondering how the current case count might compare to the previous surge. I guess the answer is: almost as bad.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Assuming that the prior surge was not undercounted, and that the actual undercount is at the high end of the range Lambert mentions — 8x — the answer actually is: worse.

  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    So Sanders will support Biden if he runs again? Well, that feels disappointing to hear. It also very clearly implies that Sanders will not make, nor support , a Third Party or Independent effort.

    One could be high-minded and think that Sanders sees the Republicanazi Fascistrumpanons as so much of a genuine Germany-in-1934 threat that he wants to increase the chances of their defeat. And I think that is very likely how he sees them.

    If one wanted to add a little cynicism to the analysis, Sanders is weighing in early to prevent Harris, or any Harris figure, from running for President on the Dem Ticket in 2024, and he accepts the physical suffering that a near-animatronic corpse of Joe Biden will have to bear as a reasonable price for Biden to pay in order to keep Harris out of the running. ” HeyJoe! You wanted to be President, right? Time to step up and stay stepped-up.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So Sanders will support Biden if he runs again? Well, that feels disappointing to hear.

      It is. At some point a successor to Sanders will emerge, but Sanders would be unable to support them, at least in 2024. (By your reasoning, Sanders doesn’t expect success a successor, and Biden is preferable to Harris, and I think you’re right, if those are the [yeccccch] choices.)

      1. marku52

        I don’t think it will matter. Neither the Animatronic Biden nor Harris can beat even Generic Republican, the way things are going. It’s pretty moot.

        “Fight over that deck chair!”

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . . perhaps Boot Edge Edge might try to take over from an ailing Biden, but that isn’t a better choice than Harris.

        If its Trump or DeTrumpis v. Biden, I will vote for Biden. If its Trump v. Buttajudge or Harris, I don’t know at this point what I would do. I suppose if Harris or Butagug were to name their entire choice of Cabinet and Chief of Staff and NSC adviser if elected, then I would have a sense about what “personnel is policy” menu to pick.

        Since I find a Christian Sharia Law Gilead Republican President more distasteful than Biden . . .

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I am finished with LOTE thinking. There are two obstacles blocking any path to progress: 1) the NeoLib/NeoCon fusion party known as the Dems; and 2) the Gilead/Bannon fusion party Repubs. The group of people that I might find palatable have no chance prevailing against those two forces. That has been demonstrated over and over again, my first memory being 1972.

          The one piece of good news is that those two parties are at each other’s throat, for real, it appears to me. That implies some split among the billionaires.

          So the best possibility for change is for those two factions to destroy each other. They’re getting pretty close at this point, constantly threatening to jail each other. Let ’em have at it until they destroy each other and the institutions that protect them and that they use to abuse us. The Bill of Rights is the only thing worth saving in the Constitution. Otherwise, the whole thing is designed to cripple movements for social change.

          It will be hell living through this. But hell lies ahead anyway.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well . . . . that is an approach, certainly. Different theories-of-survival grouploads of people will pursue different goals to survive, individually and also socially/politically.

            Since we can’t know for sure who is right, different theory-groups will just do their own best work from the theory they believe in.

          2. Librarian Guy

            Completely agree. Both of the corporate parties are sickening, cruel hells thru and thru. I would never vote for either. I’ve been voting 3rd party since foolishly voting Obama in ’08, just so sick of the Bush endless wars & scamming . . . but voting Dem made no difference. I left California for the Midwest last year– if I even register to vote & do so, it will not be for any soulless monster nominated by the Duopoly, certainly at the national level. One can vote against, unless I lived in Pennsylvania & had Fetterman as an option, cannot remotely imagine voting “for” what is offered.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            If we get the New and Improved Koch Brothers Constitution, we won’t have a Bill of Rights anymore.

            We’ll get a Bill of Sale instead.

            1. ambrit

              We already did get a “Bill of Sale,” back in 2000 when the Supremes who Say Nee demanded, and got, a Shrubbery. (Where is Molly when we need her?)

        2. nippersdad

          “I suppose if Harris or Butagug were to name their entire choice of Cabinet and Chief of Staff and NSC adviser if elected, then I would have a sense about what “personnel is policy” menu to pick.”

          Even then it is not assured. Recall that Obama deep-sixed all of his economic policy advisors the moment that he was elected in favor of a list thoughtfully provided by Goldman Sachs.

    2. nippersmom

      I always thought Sanders’ domestic positions were far superior to his foreign policy, and, disappointed as I have often been with him, I remained overall a staunch supporter. That support began to falter when he was too eager to take on the role of Biden apologist– despite Biden actively opposing all the policies Sanders has fought for his entire career. The final nail in the coffin, though, was voting to send money to Nazis. Even if he were to run for president as a third-party or independent candidate, I don’t think I could bring myself to vote for him.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        As I’ve said before, “too much mensch Bernie” playing nice with the oppressors (my friend, Joe Biden) and poor on foreign policy, especially and oddly enough, the plight of the global south.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Sanders is running for re-election to the senate in 2024. He is accepting funding for this effort if you are so inclined. His re-election is only assured if no Democrat runs against him.

          1. Librarian Guy

            Sad how much Sanders has diminished himself, serving his brethren like Mansion. It is a shame when people disgrace their legacy in old age (novelist John Dos Passos is one example, definitely Octavio Paz as well), sad that that’s Sander’s route now. I suppose his wife has bills to pay, & everyone’s mind does slack at a certain point.

      2. Cat Burglar

        The Sanders candidacy was a political management crisis for TPTB — it demonstrated that right-wing social democratic policies could command almost enough votes to get elected, even over the opposition of megadonors. The megadonor candidate in 2016 even had to cheat on the debate questions, and was revealed to have done so — and now they don’t have too many more tricks up their sleeve beyond confusion, obstruction, and denial (unless you count the turmoil in progressive NGOs as a tactic).

        Living in a blue state, I vote for a president candidate further left than the Dem (usually a Green), because I want to generate a countable signal of the way I want policy to go.

        Sanders’s new job as a Biden cheerleader and war enabler are pretty ugly. I expect politicians to be cutting deals, and have to wonder what Sanders thinks he will get for it. We all have our limits (I wouldn’t vote for Obama because of his Senate vote for immunizing Bush and Company’s industrial scale felony FISA violations), but I would consider voting for him again if he offers me my price for my vote

    3. The Rev Kev

      Well of course he is going to support his old friend Joe. But will he extract anything for his support? When he threw his support behind Joe’s Presidency, did he demand anything in return at the time? I don’t recall hearing anything. In politics you are not suppose to support a candidate unless they offer you something in return. If you ask for nothing, they will automatically give you nothing and ignore your needs. So will Sanders demand something for his support?

  6. HotFlash

    To whom it may:

    Re the Ilhan-Samuels battle, that’s happening in MN (Minnesota), not MI (Michigan. I was confused for a minute, but the MI lady I was trying to place (covid brain!!) would be Rashida Tlaib.

  7. Samuel Conner

    re: personal risk assessment when cdc.gov is unresponsive (and, also, when it is responsive, since we’re on our own regardless of whether cdc is online),

    I have been relying on this site:


    which shows an estimate of “present active case prevalence” at county level.

    The prevalence estimate is based on confirmed cases, and if those are significantly undercounted, I think that would imply that the prevalence estimate is correspondingly lower than the actual prevalence.

    In my county, at present, assuming a “detected case” undercount at the low end of the range Lambert cites, the actual case prevalence is significantly above 1% (as it is in many parts of the country). I suspect that most of the people who cross my path unmasked don’t realize how common COVID is. Maybe they’re already brain-damaged.

    I get nervous when the case prevalence is above 1 in a thousand, and I imagine that it may never get that low again, unless we get highly effective sterilizing vaccines.

    Today I provided about 150 plants — decoratives, herbs (basil and “BYOR Scarborough Fair”: “BYOR”: ‘bring your own Rosemary’) and tomatoes — to contacts at a social services agency. Four people came in a big van, not one masked. I gave them four 3M Aura 9210+ N95 respirators and appealed to them to wear them when indoors. I didn’t get an argument; they agreed that ‘the pandemic isn’t over’, and nodded when I mentioned that even mild cases can have long-term aftereffects.

    Keep handing out the N95s.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Today I provided about 150 plants — decoratives, herbs (basil and “BYOR Scarborough Fair”: “BYOR”: ‘bring your own Rosemary’) and tomatoes — to contacts at a social services agency.”

      I salute you. Well done. That’s something a lot of us could shoot for.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Most of the people I know are very decent, but they aren’t the ones who make it into positions that allow them to influence or control what makes it into the news. The human race is surprisingly beautiful, if you can turn your gaze away from the ones controlled by their desire for power.

        NC is a treasure, but the news flow is so discouraging. The antidotes really aren’t enough. Everyone needs a bit of garden, or something analogous that is good and beautiful, to help keep them sane.

        1. Wukchumni

          NC is a treasure, but the news flow is so discouraging. The antidotes really aren’t enough. Everyone needs a bit of garden, or something analogous that is good and beautiful, to help keep them sane.

          Yes, find something to do that most importantly, doesn’t really involve do-re-mi and if possible, with like minded friends.

          Money is generally the route to most evil, whereas taking a walk is only a little taxing.

          1. Bsn

            Wuk, funny you mention do re mi…… You mean dinero of course but I’ve found lots of enjoyment in playing music again. I don’t play large venues anymore, just small places with good air. No more smoke filled bars. Musicians will understand but I use do re me (solfege) when I transpose. If I’m on flute an reading bass clef parts, for example, solfege works real well. Anyway, learn to play an instrument or sing/drum. It’s a great way to leave this gosh forsaken world and enter a place of beauty.

        2. antidlc

          I read your post right after reading “100 Million People in America Are Saddled With Health Care Debt” that Yves posted. I had also just watched a CBS Marketwatch video on long COVID — 30 year old guy who had been working full-time, healthy, then got COVID and can no longer take care of himself.

          Your post was exactly what I needed. :-)

          “Everyone needs a bit of garden, or something analogous that is good and beautiful, to help keep them sane.” For me, it’s live theatre and opera, but I have not seen a live performance since the pandemic began, and I really miss it. Even with an N95, I just don’t feel comfortable going to a large indoor event.

          I found out that that Dallas Opera is making available some recordings of its 2021-2022 productions for free.


          As part of its Mainstage offerings, the company will present three of its 2021-22 productions including “Madama Butterfly,” “Flight,” and “The Pearl Fishers.” The company will also rotate in archival performances on a rotating basis.

          “Madama Butterfly” and “Flight” are now available. YAY!

    2. HotFlash

      Mr. Connor, you are amazing. I hereby dub you PlantMan. Perhaps Plant-and-Mask Man. Perhaps Super Plant-and-Mask Man. Also, speaking as a hazard to plants everywhere, I admire and envy you for managing to raise 150 seedlings/cuttings, awesome in its own right, and for giving them to your community. I claim no pull with Those Higher-ups, but may They bless you, sir.

  8. Pavel

    Biden staff members fleeing the sinking ship:

    One senior administration official acknowledged that many aides are ‘tapped out.’ It’s been a long few years,’ the official said. ‘The burnout is real. It might not be the ideal time to leave with everything going on, but it’s the right time.’ The official explained the early summer months are considered the best time to leave, before midterms season begins.

    I’m sure that will resonate well with voters facing high inflation at the grocery stores and gas pumps.

    As I told a very liberal friend the other day: apart from GWB’s, this is the worst and certainly least competent administration in recent history. And that includes The Donald’s.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One senior administration official acknowledged that many aides are ‘tapped out.’ It’s been a long few years

      My guess is they are just besides themselves they are getting the celebratory atmosphere Obama’s white house would get.

      1. Librarian Guy

        Obama gave good speeches, & the PMC loved his elaborate fantasy scenarios. Poor shufflin’ Joe has delivered nothing apart from a “bipartisan” Chamber of Commerce transfer of assets to the comfortable, & more debt, misery and useless war to the afflicted. Oop– let’s not forget the 8% or so boosts to Health “Care” costs that will be shared prior to the midterms!! Glad his toadies get to exit with some healthy payoffs from the corrupt interests they served. I do wonder if they’ll enjoy the hearty payoff they expect in a country that is falling apart & a joke. I guess we’ll see how that works out.

    2. Daryl

      What’s weird is describing it as “a long few years” when they’ve been in office for a year and a little change. Unless, charitably, that includes campaigning. Guess you age quickly in the Biden admin.

    3. ChrisRUEcon

      Laughing because I see this also as contagion from “Kamala deserters” … =-)

      Can only resist the urge so much, though, when they see the likes of Symone “Merc” Sanders, and Jen “PsakiBomb” inking TV deals.

  9. JTMcPhee

    On the Huntington corpse flower live stream: quite a lot of people walking through, practically none of them wearing masks. Oh well!

  10. smashsc

    Re: the FIRE act. While I would agree that some of the referenced situations seem egregious, I’m not in favor of this act. If I’m running for Federal office as an outsider or 3rd party candidate, the FIRST set of people I’d want to employ would be family & long-time friends. That way, the ability of disruptors to infiltrate my inner-circle and hamper my campaign would be limited. The lower the possibility of dirty tricks, the greater the odds that a long-shot candidacy might work. Asking family members to work for nothing as it would be a federal violation to pay them is ridiculous.

    1. HotFlash

      Totally agree. I know that Kennedy filled his administration with family and friends, I think FDR did as well. When you are in a crunch you want to know your people really, really have your back. I have been handed big ugly projects in my day, and I had a few good people I could rely on to help me get them done. Loyalty wasn’t an issue with them, and I knew their standards of work were as good as mine.

    2. Punxsutawney

      This is a good point.

      If running, I would hire my son as a speech writer and press aid in a heartbeat. Very talented with words and well to the left of myself. And I know I could trust him to have my back. And if the situation were reversed, he could trust me to manage the campaign finances.

  11. griffen

    Ugh, the Kardashian stain upon humanity. No not the dress, just the horrific celebrity status heaped upon the family formerly headed by ex-OJ Simpson defense freaking lawyer Robert Kardashian.

    Make it stop, please. They just won’t go away quietly into the good night. Famous for nothing.

    1. ambrit

      Living proof that the adage ‘Nature abhors a vacuum,’ is true. The Kardashians are the epitome of skin walking vacuums, and that ain’t natural.

    2. curlydan

      my theory is that Kim K is way bigger than Marilyn M, so the dress got damaged trying to find a bigger body in a smaller dress. Kim K doesn’t want to admit her size in an age of photo-shopping.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        By still too common head-on-a-stick standards, Marilyn was a bit zaftig (full and womanly) but Kim, with her massive, ahem, hip(s), is on a whole ‘notha level.

        1. super extra

          Marilyn’s dimensions are well-documented:

          August 2, 1945
          Blue Book Modeling Agency
          5’ 6”, 120lbs
          “Size 12”

          February 8, 1954
          DOD ID Card
          5’ 5 1/2”, 118lbs

          August 5, 1962
          LA Coroner Medical Report
          5’ 5 1/25”, 117lbs

          Kim’s are not so well documented but I found a few claims from various sources in 2020 that she said her hips were 39″. The dress is not made of stretchy material. I thought it was surprising she managed to squeeze into it but maybe she has enough squish to manage an hour with tiny steps and no sitting.

    1. nippersdad

      I think we should start a pool for when Germany starts up Nordstream II. I’m betting it will be before the mid-terms here. Prolly September.

      1. RobertC

        Sarcasm Alert I hear all NS2 compressor stations are in brand-new working condition.

        Here’s vao: “My bet remains that the Autumn (October) will be the real turning point, with hard decisions about cutting losses, accepting irreversible, widespread damage, or fundamentally reorganizing the energy system in Germany.”

        I’m inclined to agree with him.

        WRT to pool, how about losers donate $5 to WC and winners donate $10?

        1. nippersdad

          I think that they will freak out long before then. By October it will already be heating season in Germany, and they are going to have to really humiliate themselves to get anything at all. The opportunity for Russia to make us look bad may overcome their anger at Germany, though. I will be interested in seeing the terms.

          I’m in!

          1. vao

            October is the time for important deadlines.

            1) This is when the fiduciary administration of Gazprom Germania ends. The current plan is to expropriate and rename it, but if circumstances are too unfavourable, the German government may decide to extend the trusteeship by 6 months.

            2) October is when the gas storage tanks must be filled to 80% (by law, and to 90% by November). Germany has been taking advantage of the reduced gas consumption (housing needs no longer be heated, some industrial usage going down because of prices) to fill tanks — and has managed to go from an unprecedented low fill rate early 2022 to slightly below average fill of the past few years. Unfortunately,

            a) the Russian gas pipeline through Poland is now closed;
            b) Ukraine shut off some feeder pipelines from Russia, through Ukraine and Slovakia, to Germany;
            c) Russia is now significantly reducing the flow on Nordstream I.

            It is essentially impossible to achieve the stated fill rates without the tanks of Gazprom Germania. Which is not allowed to acquire Russian gas. Which must then buy gas from the North Sea or LNG — both more expensive and making GG operations so uneconomical that the German government must prop the firm with €10bn…

            3) Then there is the Rosneft refinery in Schwedt, which Germany wants to expropriate. The refinery will no longer be able to rely on a pipeline that conveniently supplies it with oil directly from Russia. The alternative is to bring non-Russian oil by tankers to ports that are not exactly close by, and then forward it via other pipelines to Schwedt. This is

            a) more expensive;
            b) just about enough to use the refinery capacity to 70% at best.

            The German government set up a task force to figure out how to ensure the continuity of operations at Schwedt, how to manage it profitably, and how to avoid mass layoffs amongst its workforce. Some trepidation is palpable, as the local (Land Brandenburg) economic minister has just exhorted the task force to pull itself together and find those solutions pronto, since without cheap and abundant Russian oil, the refinery is at a high risk of becoming wholly uneconomic. He also indicated that the German government will have to provide funds to stabilize the finances of the refinery.

            The task force is working during the summer, so 1st October is also the point where they must have nailed out all the issues so that contracts, decrees, etc, can be put in place before year-end.

            It is telling that a lack of systemic thinking has lead to this situation. The storage tanks of Gazprom Germania and the refinery of Rosneft were organized to run optimally with Russian pipelines and hydrocarbons. Without those specific components, they become horribly unprofitable. During the summer, the German government must figure out whether the situation is intractable (and thus make some arrangement with Russia), or whether it can kick the can down the road (at the cost of further €bn), or whether to embark on a truly profound energy transition (and thus accept a permanent state of disruption in the energy provision for years to come).

            1. nippersdad

              That, like your other one linked to by RobertC, is a really great analysis of the situation in Germany. I had read about the Brandenburg minister’s bleak assessment of the situation, so the process of waking up from the dream is setting in already. As they should have known, there literally is no alternative to making terms; if Habeck and Scholtz don’t know this yet they soon will.

              I still believe that, if anything is going to happen at all, they are going to need to make a deal before October. Viewing this from the Russian perspective, they no longer need Europe as a market so they have the luxury of playing with their food. Again, from their perspective, October will not work to make the points that they will extract in order to come through.

              As has been pointed out here many times, the United States and the EU have proven to be agreement incapable with the US as ringleader, so the response will have to be to the US, not necessarily Germany. That means it has to happen prior to the mid-terms. It is pretty clear that the US is going to deep six Europe and claim that they are the authors of their own problems; from the Russian perspective that cannot be allowed to happen. They will need a Brandon at the Brandenburg Gate treaty signing ceremony for this to work for them.

              They will not be content with a Minsk III that will just get the gas back on and provide time for NATO to rebuild their forces in Eastern Europe, they will never allow themselves to be put in the position of having to justify their actions again. That means a demonstration of power, and that will have to take place over time; October is just too late for the lesson to sink in before the mid-terms. It will have to be something that cannot be conveniently memory holed by the Anglosphere and European governments; the point must be made to their electorates that Russia cannot be messed with again.

              1. Russia is going to require at least a month for their propaganda blitz prior to the US mid-terms.
              2. Germany, as the country that kicked all of this off by putting the Nordstream II pipeline on hold, will have to be the first domino to fall.
              3. The gas will have to flow through the Nordstream II pipeline before anything consequential happens anywhere else.
              4. The rest of Europe will have to be seen to crawl, just as Biden has been seen to crawl to Venezuela and Iran, which means that it will have to happen sooner rather than later for the optics to work. Coordinating a Europe-wide show of humility has to happen before October; France and Italy cannot be allowed to hold out for this to work; the rest will all fall in line.
              4. They are winning both the war in Ukraine against the combined Anglosphere and Europe, and they are winning the economic war; they don’t need anything from us. If they cannot get a definitive win then they may just walk away to let the lesson sink in.
              5. Hence the September deadline for Germany. It will require at least a month for the rest of Europe and the US to get on board, so October will just be too late. If they are going to wait for October it might as well be February. I think they will let Europe freeze before they give up on the opportunity to get the US neocons to openly submit.
              6. Russia’s primary partner is China, so I think it would be a good idea to view this through the lens of Taiwan as well. If the US is just allowed to walk away to make trouble elsewhere then much of the point of the exercise will have been lost. They will want a deterrent to the US messing with Taiwan as well, and allowing the opportunity presented in Europe to pass would be a waste of perfectly good leverage.

        2. RobertC

          I’ll begin with some humor. Yesterday at the SPIEF Putin remarked

          Incidentally, the Americans have adopted sanctions on our fertilisers, and the Europeans followed suit. Later, the Americans lifted them because they saw what this could lead to. But the Europeans have not backed off. Their bureaucracy is as slow as a flour mill in the 18th century. In other words, everyone knows that they have done a stupid thing, but they find it difficult to retrace their steps for bureaucratic reasons.

          vao described the task force process enabling this retrace.

          Next, two of my concerns seem to have dissipated. It appears NATO won’t enter the Black Sea to “rescue” Ukrainian grains and it appears NATO is not going to establish a “no-fly zone” to protect weapon shipments into Ukraine. Whew!

          Addressing some of dad’s points.

          I am concerned with the rapidly worsening situation surrounding Syria. Israel is stepping up its attacks on Syria, apparently with US assistance. Russia has expressed its annoyance but Israel doesn’t seem to know how to stop. Israel just bragged how it’s F-35I is capable of reaching Iran’s nuclear facilities without refueling. Iran’s hardliners, like Israel’s, are moving to the fore, with Iran bragging about it’s ballistic missile quantity and reach. But Iran’s real tool will be Hezbollah’s missiles in southern Lebanon, which is losing a fight with Israel on oilfield access. NATO member Turkey is making another move to expand into Syria by attacking the Kurds and shifting a few million Syrian refugees across the border. Volatile is an understatement. Fortunately Biden, Blinken, et al seem to be sitting this one out.

          I’m also concerned about NATO members Poland and Lithuania (and even Romania) acting stupid starting a brush fire that escapes control in a region of centuries-old grievances. Unpredictable is an understatement.

          Regarding Taiwan, I think China wants history to bring its “wandering” province home so will not make any aggressive moves unless the US does. And then it will keep the fight outside the first-island chain to avoid harm to Taiwan and the mainland. South Korea and Japan know this.

          I’m optimistic that Blue-Yellow war fever in the US will be replaced with more (critically) important domestic concerns.

          So I’m sticking with my October bet.

          PS I was optimistic in February too.

        3. RobertC

          TurkStream down for maintenance. NS1 operating at 20% capacity to extend time until maintenance is required.

  12. HotFlash

    Just a water cooler-y note here. Going to the ballet tonight (under duress, but still going). I will be wearing a brand-new N95 and all the audience are required to be masked (for some definition thereof). AND we will be seeing Swan Lake. Well, personally, yuck, but hey, it’s by a RUSSIAN!!

    Will report back.

    1. ambrit

      It being Pride Month, there will be a mandatory staging of a section of Tchaikovsky’s “Nut Cracker,” also Russian. (It’s soooooo hard when obligatory virtue signals block each other!)

      1. Bsn

        Is anyone else getting tired of the Ukrainian natl. anthem being played at every event? If one looked up cliché in the digital the dictionary – that’s what you’d hear. I wonder why we didn’t hear many renditions of the Iraqi, Somalian, Syrian or Libyan anthems> Perhaps because they are not “white”?

        1. ambrit

          The Ukie anthem is “white” only insofar as it provides some convenient “white noise” when the “enhanced interrogations” get a bit too, oh, enthusiastic.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Is anyone else getting tired of the Ukrainian natl. anthem being played at every event?

          Is this really happening? In the United States?

          And speaking of white:

          Ukraine-supporting extremely soft pr0n is one of the less attractive forms of propaganda, but probably appealibg to potential mercenaries in the West.

          1. Lysistrata 2022

            Ukraine do have a lot of hot ladies.
            I guess there’s a reason why the ex-pick-up artist Gonzalo Lira is there.

            Also the will to get laid has achieved/caused a lot in the world throughout the history. Not to be underestimated as a driving force.

            Would be nice if the ladies of NATO would read and act like in Lysistrata and maybe Europe would do better then. No bumsybumsy until you stop your bombing of poor countries and provoking Russia.

  13. Lunker Walleye

    Grassley: Really hoping Franken can unseat him. Chuck built a reputation early of being honest but I was skeptical. I never supported him and developed a great disrespect for him during Anita Hill’s testimony in front of the judiciary committee. Can somebody figure out how to get rid of the damnable “conspiracy theory” meme?

    Sanders: So, so disappointing.

    Vivian Maier: The documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier” is terrific.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I know next to nothing about Michael Franken, other than he’s an admiral and a Democrat. Both are non-starters with me. He’d obviously just another candidate put up by the DSCC.

  14. Yves Smith

    Oh, so who was butchered and abducted on January 6? Your example disproves your contention by showing what a real effort to overthrow the government looks like.

    And as John Siman, who was there, states that what got the crowd at the speech to start going over to the Capitol (remember Trump was speaking) was the report that there were skirmishes at the Capitol that had been started by Antifa and people at the speech walked over to check it out. They had not planned to go. Siman said the atmosphere at the Capitol was friendly and goofy, like they were pulling off a massive frat house prank.

  15. flora

    re: increasing disability among working age.

    I wish I could read this for the first time in the press on the left, instead of Bloomberg. But here we are.

    It’s too bad the MSM refuses to acknowledge vax injuries as a possible contributor to the rise in disability.

  16. Jeff W

    “Why You Can’t Remember Being Born: A Look at ‘Infantile Amnesia’” [Scientific American]”

    “I was a ten-month baby” [Ray] Bradbury [the US author] told me [Sam Weller, Bradbury’s biographer] in an interview. “When you stay in the womb for ten months, you develop your eyesight and your hearing. So, when I was born, I remember it.”

    1. LifelongLib

      A little OT, but thanks for the Ray Bradbury link. Lots of stories I haven’t thought about in years!

  17. ambrit

    Just a Zeitgeist note.
    I bussed on down to the local *XYZ* outlet to purchase a low end tool. I will only need it once or twice and then it goes up on the shelf for a year or two. (Plus, being half Scots, I am congenitally cheap.)
    The trip there was bog standard for todays’ Devil may care social mileu. I was the only one masked on the bus. (The windows are “nailed shut” in some fashion, so self mediated ventilation is out.) There were two “regulars” sitting in the back of the bus. Both are homeless and have hit on the expedient of riding the bus all day to get some air conditioning action. The drivers tolerate this as long as the “riders” make no trouble. Other of the locals will pay their fares. [I have.] A cheap form of virtue signalling, I admit, but, nowadays, signals are all you can get.
    At the emporium, I encountered something I have not seen in some time, the old ‘Bait and Switch’ in action. The cheap tool I wanted was ‘out.’ The manager would not sell the display item. The next cheapest version of that tool available was over double the price of the ‘cheap’ one. I grumbled but had to pay. Then I got suspicious and went back to the aisle where those tools were displayed. Sure enough, there was not a space allotted to the ‘cheap’ version of the tool on the shelf, nor in the top stock. I asked one of the stockers to go back and look for a “mislaid” box of the cheap tools. He soon returned saying that there were no such tools in the back, nor, he added, any empty boxes marked as having contained that tool.
    Moral of this story: “One can never be too cynical.”
    Saty safe all!

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If you paid someone else’s fare, that is virtue-doing. If it was cheap, then it was cheap virtue-doing. But it was still virtue-doing.

      If you had asked someone else on the bus to pay the someone-else’s fare, that would be virtue signalling.
      Showing off your virtue by asking someone else to do a good thing. Completely cost-free to yourself.

      People are mis-using the word “virtue signalling”. If I turn off a light when I leave a room, I am virtue-thingdoing. It is a small thing and a small virtue. But it is a virtue. If I sign an online petition demanding that somebody else do something about something, that is virtue-signalling.

      1. Samuel Conner

        doing can be signaling too, depending on the motive.

        There’s an old saying about concealing the virtue-doing of the left hand from the awareness of the right hand, or vice versa. At my age, it’s getting hard to remember.

        1. ambrit

          There’s also the saying from some Teacher of Wisdom or other about praying in private being the preferred method, unless being seen is the real motive.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, yes, doing can be secondarily signalling as well. But the purest definition of virtue SIGnalling is telling someone else what they should be doing for the cause of virtue, and then demanding credit for expressing support for virtue.

          If I tell you that you should be saving energy, that’s virtue signalling.
          If I save energy myself, that’s virtue thingdoing.
          If I brag about all the energy I am saving, that’s virtue horntooting. And that can be a good thing if done correctly.

  18. Carla

    Re: “The Family Integrity to Reform Elections (FIRE) Act, to be introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) on Monday, would bar any candidate running for federal office from compensating immediate family members for campaign services.”

    As Lambert says, “Not such a bad idea.” On the other hand, with dark money and all the other scams operating in this scammiest of oligarchies, how would this be enforced? Trump and his ilk (including scummy, scammy Democrats) would simply lift their middle fingers and continue to violate it, openly or not.

    “‘Maxine Waters [paid] $1.1 million to her daughter from campaign funds,’ Fallon told The Post in a statement. ‘Ilhan Omar, $2.9 million to her husband from campaign funds. James Clyburn, over $200,000 to multiple family members from his campaign.’”

    And has anyone checked Pat Fallon’s work? Exactly why might we just assume what he says about Waters, Ilhan and Clyburn is accurate? And of how many Republicans might the same be said?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > And has anyone checked Pat Fallon’s work? Exactly why might we just assume what he says about Waters, Ilhan and Clyburn is accurate?

      Clyburn is corrupt to the bone. As for Ilhan Omar, who I like, I periodically search for stories on her, because she doesn’t come up on Twitter a lot, and I’ve seen the same story elsewhere.

  19. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Re Coronavirus

    It’s raging down here in the New Orleans area. I have heard of multiple multiple people getting it….also I’m starting to see many more masks out in public!

  20. cnchal

    > “Leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire”

    What’s worse is, ex-exploitees are not in condition to be rehired either, having been treated as consumables,

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    1. Sadistic Anger Management

      Bezos and his team being the sadist they are has the principle of high staff turnover because it is not good having a large part of your organization disgruntled.

  21. c_heale

    Imo opinion Vivian Meier was some kind of genius. Given the number of really famous female photographers in the canon is relatively small, hopefully with the widespread adoption of digital will lead to other modern female and LBGT etc. photographers becoming more well known. That they aren’t is a reflection of structural discrimination in the art world.

    Art imo is something innate to every human at any age.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    Beau of the Fifth Column has made a video called . . . ” Let’s talk about how history will look at the 6th and Pence . . . ” He has been right about some other things and I think he offers a good theory about this.
    So, here is the link. ( And for people who ask, why not offer the transcript, it is because no transcript has been made. Or ever will be, likely).

    1. Acacia

      Three dots menu… then pick “Show Transcript” (auto-generated, but seems not bad!).

      I wish YT would offer a way to download the whole transcript text. Also, while on the subject, I have recently discovered that the freeware app called Subtitle Edit has a cool speech to text feature that will auto-generate subtitles for a number of different languages. I haven’t had a chance to really kick the tires, but it looks innarestin’.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I wish YT would offer a way to download the whole transcript text.

        You can select, copy, and paste the whole transcript. Then comes the clean-up….

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, as an old analog refugee in this new digital world, I had no idea such transcript auto-write programs and stuff exist.

        An audio , and especially a video-audio, conveys things a transcript can’t . . . things like tone of voice, gesture, etc. And even more so if the video-talker uses charts or graphs or diagrams in part of his talk.

    2. GramSci

      Who is this “Beau of the Fifth Column”?? Looks to me like he’s a CIA operative.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, he has a video cast of video after video after video. I don’t have time to watch more than a tiny fraction of the videos. I would have to watch the hundreds of hours of video starting from the first one to get a comprehensive sense of the total Beau Video Experience.

        I am no intelligence/ counterintelligence expert, but from the few videos I have seen, I don’t sense any CIA presence, certainly not any CIA affect or appearance or smell. But others are free to suspect it if they want to.

        ( I would suspect CIA presence among the people who say that Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy . . . acting alone. And that’s not just me thinking that. But ymmv).

  23. Alan Roxdale

    The burnout is real. It might not be the ideal time to leave with everything going on, but it’s the right time.

    Translation: “I need to be a long long way away from the epicentre before the consequences of my actions implode.”

    Whatever else one may remark on such slinking, it definitely constitutes a brain drain at the White House

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