2:00PM Water Cooler 7/14/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Happy Bastille Day!

Bird Song of the Day

Marsh Wren, Oregon, United States. Hat tip, Judith: “This year, the marsh wrens were late at the nearby marsh. When they arrived they were fewer in number than usual. They were mostly silent instead of trilling. And they stayed hidden deep within the reeds instead of perching precariously at the edges of the cattails. Spring without the sweet abundance of marsh wrens.” So here they are!

* * *



Lambert here: One reader suggested changing these quotes; I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I need to think about it. I don’t want to be too doomy — we are not short of inventory in that department — but I don’t want to go all chipped and Pollyanna-esque, either.

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

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

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

Biden Administration

“Additional action needed to meet Biden’s climate goals: analysis” [The Hill]. “A new analysis has found that the U.S. is currently not on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals unless it takes additional policy actions to mitigate global warming. The report, from research firm Rhodium Group, found that by 2030, the U.S. will have cut its emissions by between 24 and 35 percent compared to where they were at in 2005. That’s a significantly smaller cut than the 50 to 52 percent that President Biden has called for. But, the projection does not include emissions cuts that would come from regulations that have been proposed, but not yet been finalized… Over the past year, hopes for significant legislative action to tackle climate change have dwindled, as Democrats have failed to reach a deal on President Biden’s spending agenda.”

“New Proposal Would Accelerate Student Loan Forgiveness For Borrowers In Public Service — But Its Fate Is Uncertain” [Forbes]. “House Democrats this week unveiled a new bill that would reform a key student loan forgiveness program. If passed, the bill would result in dramatically accelerated student loan forgiveness for borrowers who have devoted their careers to public service work. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program can wipe out the federal student loan debt for borrowers who work for nonprofit or government organizations. Under the original program rules enacted in 2007, borrowers must work as full-time employees for at least 10 years for qualifying employers to become eligible for student loan forgiveness. But for years, the PSLF program has been plagued by complicated and poorly-communicated rules, as well as administrative and implementation problems, resulting in sky-high denial rates. To address these issues, in October the Biden administration announced the Limited PSLF Waiver, a temporary overhaul which relaxes some of the PSLF program’s problematic eligibility rules to allow past loan periods — such as payments made on non-qualifying federal student loans or under non-qualifying repayment plans — to “count” towards a borrower’s student loan forgiveness term under PSLF. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has touted $8.1 billion in new student forgiveness approved under the under the Limited PSLF Waiver, calling the overhaul ‘life-changing’ for borrowers.” • $8.1 billion is not very much. Commentary:

“An Open Letter Denouncing the Attacks on Justice Clarence Thomas” [By Glenn Loury and Robert Woodson, RealClearPolitics]. “White progressives do not have the moral authority to excommunicate a black man from his race because they disagree with him. And those – regardless of background – who join in the charade or remain silent are guilty of enabling this abuse. We, the undersigned, condemn the barrage of racist, vicious, and ugly personal attacks that we are witnessing on Clarence Thomas – a sitting Supreme Court justice. Whether it is calling him a racist slur, an ‘Uncle Tom’ or questioning his ‘blackness’ over his jurisprudence, the disparagement of this man, of his faith and of his character, is abominable. Regardless of where one stands on Justice Thomas’ personal or legal opinions, he is among the pantheon of black trailblazers throughout American history and is a model of integrity, scholarship, steadfastness, resilience, and commitment to the Constitution of the United States of America. For three decades Justice Thomas has served as a model for our children. He has long been honored and celebrated by black people in this country and his attackers do not speak for the majority of blacks.”


* * *

GA: “Why Kemp-Warnock voters could factor into 2022 race” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “With four months to go until the November vote, it’s impossible to predict what new developments could upend an election in which even minor fluctuations in voter habits could have major consequences. But there’s some evidence that a bloc of voters plan to divide their votes in the state’s top races between Warnock and Kemp. That dynamic is backed by public polling averages that indicate the governor is outperforming Walker by about 4 percentage points — and that Warnock is garnering more support than Abrams by roughly the same margin. Some potential split-ticket voters are Republicans who can’t stomach voting for Walker, whose history of violent behavior, pattern of false claims and mystifying comments has threatened GOP chances to win a seat that could decide control of the evenly divided Senate. Polls have shown that support for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is about 4 percentage points the backing Gov. Brian Kemp is receiving. That’s helped foster suggestions that a significant number of Georgia voters could split their tickets in November, backing Kemp over Democrat Stacey Abrams but picking Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock over Walker…. Others are Democratic voters who say they want to reward Kemp for rejecting Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia or because they’re satisfied with his performance in his first term in office.”

PA: “Fetterman: To fight inflation, let’s make more stuff in America” [John Fetterman, Erie Times]. “And if we’re going to be serious about bringing down gas prices, we need to suspend the federal gas tax to provide immediate relief for people at the pump. We should also continue to use American oil — and produce and invest in more American energy…. But inflation isn’t only impacting us at the pump. It’s everywhere. So it’s not just energy we should be making here at home. It’s everything. More American energy, more American manufacturing, more American goods. And more American jobs. We should be ramping up production across industries, increasing capacity and supply to bring down prices across the board. Making more stuff here in America would mean prices wouldn’t spike every time there’s a problem overseas. We don’t need to be outsourcing any more jobs and production to China. And we don’t need to be shouldering the burden when other countries enter into conflicts or declare deranged wars, like Russia’s Putin did in Ukraine, which contributed to prices skyrocketing. We can use American energy to drive down prices at the gas pump for American workers. And we can use American workers to drive down the price of everything, for everyone.” • Hmm. (I found this via Yahoo News, which noted the original was from the Erie Times. When I searched for it, Google didn’t even bring up the hit. I had to go to the Erie Times page, where indeed I found the article. And so we see Google isn’t just ignoring local newsrooms, it’s actively suppressing them.)

PA: “Where in the world is Dr. Oz?” [Politico]. A week ago, but nevertheless: “Mehmet Oz is trailing in polls. A key Republican has yet to endorse him since the celebrity doctor won the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania Senate more than a month ago. And Oz has gone dark on the airwaves since May 21 — even as his Democratic rival John Fetterman burnishes his brand on TV as a political outsider, and paints Oz as a carpetbagger from New Jersey. This is not the general election kickoff in a pivotal Senate race that Republicans were hoping for. The shaky start to Oz’s general election campaign, coming off a hard-fought primary that took a recount to resolve, is prompting finger-pointing in Pennsylvania’s GOP circles. Some Republicans are arguing that Oz should do more to unite the party, reach deeper into his pockets to fund his campaign, and attack Fetterman more aggressively.mThe Democratic hopeful has been setting the pace of the campaign despite not setting foot on the trail since he suffered a stroke in mid-May.” • Strategic genius!

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.

* * *

“Working Class and Hispanic Voters Are Losing Interest in the Party of Abortion, Gun Control and the January 6th Hearings” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “Democrats are betting on a small set of issues to mitigate their losses this November. Inflation may have just hit a 40 year high (9.1 percent) with concomitant recession risk but Democrats believe that campaigning against the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, arguing for more gun control in the wake of recent mass shootings and highlighting Trump’s anti-democratic malfeasance through the January 6th hearings can turn the tide in their favor…. . Recent data indicate that success for the abortion-gun control-January 6th strategy, to the extent it is working (and might work in the future) is attributable to those voters for whom these issues loom large and are less likely to be influenced by current economic problems. Such voters are disproportionately likely to be college-educated whites and it is here that Democrats have been demonstrating unusual strength. More broadly, the lack of Democratic support among working class (noncollege) voters is striking. Democrats lose among all working class voters by 11 points, but carry the college-educated by 23 points. This is less a class gap than a yawning chasm. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Democrats’ emphasis on social and democracy issues, while catnip to some socially liberal, educated voters, leaves many working class and Hispanic voters cold. Their concerns are more mundane and economically-driven. This is despite the fact that many of these voters are in favor of moderate abortion rights and gun control and disapprove of the January 6th events. But these issues are just not salient for them in the way they are for the Democrats’ educated and most fervent supporters.” • I really hate education as a proxy for class (since it conceals subclasses like the adjunct precariat, clearly working class). But interesting, especially since Teixeira was so instrumental in bringing this sorry state of affairs about.


Bharat’s nasal vaccine, BBV154:


“Op-Ed: New COVID variants like BA.5 are dominating us — we can do more to prevent this” [Eric Topol, Los Angeles Times]. “The CDC has failed to warn Americans about the high risk of BA.5 spread, which can be mitigated to a significant extent by use of high-quality masks, physical distancing, ventilation, air filtration and booster vaccines…. The “leakiness” of current vaccines and boosters for preventing transmission can be patched up by nasal spray vaccines, for which three candidates are in late-stage randomized clinical trials. Such vaccines achieve mucosal immunity, protecting against the entry of the virus into our upper airway, which shots are incapable of achieving for any durable basis, especially as the virus has evolved. Nasal sprays, like a variant-proof vaccine, deserve an Operation Warp Speed-like program to accelerate their success,” • They deserved it in January 2021, but the molasses-brained Biden Administration didn’t even consider it. (Presumably Klain, Fauci, and/or Zients made this decision for Biden. Klain and Fauci are, naturally, still in power.)

* * *

“Preventing Airborne Spread of Covid-19 and Other Respiratory Diseases” [Public Health]. “In the big picture, the importance of improving air quality goes far beyond this pandemic. Good ventilation and filtration could provide a critical line of defense against the seasonal colds that routinely tear through schools and workplaces every winter, as well as toxic pollutants from industrial sources or natural disasters like wildfires. The Center for Health Security’s schools report calls for the creation of a federal task force to tackle this issue, and in mid-March, the Biden administration announced the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which aims to combat the spread of infection through improved ventilation. Gronvall sees a historic opportunity for course correction after decades of ignoring airborne sources of health risk. ‘COVID has really demonstrated that we need to pay more attention to the air we breathe,’ she says.” • Recapitulates how droplet dogma took place, as well.

Maskstravaganza: It’s hard to read this thread and conclude anything other than that the Biden Administration was (and is) not merely neglectful of masking, but actively malevolent towards it:

Plenty of other “Fun Facts” on that thread…. s


“Smart,” eh?

Maskstravaganza: Once again, masks in schools prevent infection:

* * *

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

Case count for the United States:

I’m gonna need a bigger chart. If you accept the factor of six calcution, Biden has managed to beat his previous record, set last January when Omicron took off, good job. It’s starting to feel like the train is rolling. Let’s see what next week brings. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. Under the hood the BA.4/BA.5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. 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. The previous count was ~126,000. Today, it’s ~137,000 and 137,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 822,000 per day. That’s rather a lot of cases per day, when you think about it. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes we’ve seen have 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.

Regional case count for four weeks:

Now the South and West.

The South:

Florida and Texas, still trading places.

The West:

Unsurprising, I suppose, that the large states (Texas, Florida; California) would have the largest absolute numbers. But now, Washington joins the party.That’s a big jump. Data problems?


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

10.0%, now double digits. Yikes. Looks like a lot of people came back from the Fourth of July barbecue hacking and wheezing. The Covid train always leaves on time! (I also wonder if there’s a Keynesian Beauty Contest effect, here; that is, if people encounter a sympotomatic person, whether in their social circle or in normal activity, they are more likely to get a test, because they believe (correctly) that it’s more likely they will be infected. What we are seeing here is the steepest and largest acceleration of positivity on Walgreen’s chart.


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. For June 30 – July 6:

Status quo, i.e. it’s a not-over pandemic.

Lambert here: After the move from the CDC to the laughingly named ‘https://healthdata.gov,” this notice appeared: “Effective June 22, 2022, the Community Profile Report will only be updated twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays.” Hence, the “NOT UPDATED”s; my bad. So now the administration has belatedly come to the realization that we’re in a BA.5 surge, and yet essential data for making our personal risk assessment is only available twice a week. What’s the over/under on whether they actually deliver tomorrow?

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), July 7:

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 7:

Very volatile.


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 30:

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), June 25:

BA.5 moving along nicely.

• “Why the Omicron offshoot BA.5 is a big deal” [CNN]. “After the Omicron tidal wave washed over the United States in January and the smaller rise in cases in the spring caused by the BA.2 subvariant, it might have seemed like the coronavirus could be ignored for a while. After all, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in December that nearly all Americans had been vaccinated or have antibodies from a past infection. Surely all that immunity bought some breathing room. But suddenly, many people who had recovered from Covid-19 as recently as March or April found themselves exhausted, coughing and staring at two red lines on a rapid test. How could this be happening again — and so soon? The culprit this time is yet another Omicron offshoot, BA.5. It has three key mutations in its spike protein that make it both better at infecting our cells and more adept at slipping past our immune defenses.

In just over two months, BA.5 outcompeted its predecessors to become the dominant cause of Covid-19 in the United States.” • Hard to believe that CDC could be outmaneuvered, but here we are.


Wastewater data (CDC), Jun 25, 2022 – Jul 09, 2022:

Lots of orange, more red. Not good. This chart works a bit like rapid riser counties: “This metric shows whether SARS-CoV-2 levels at a site are currently higher or lower than past historical levels at the same site. 0% means levels are the lowest they have been at the site; 100% means levels are the highest they have been at the site.” So, there’s a bunch of red dots on the West Coast. That’s 100%, so that means “levels are the highest they’ve ever been.” Not broken down by variant, CDC, good job.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,047,794 1,046,613. Rising. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a nice, simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 9 thousand to 244 thousand the week that ended July 9th, the highest since November 2021 as more companies announce job cuts amid economic uncertainty. Figures compare to market expectations of 235 thousand.”

Inflation: “United States Producer Price Inflation MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Producer prices for final demand in the US jumped 1.1% month-over-month in June of 2022, the most in three months and above market forecasts of 0.8%. Goods prices jumped 2.4%, much higher than 1.4% in May, with over half of the increase due to an 18.5% rise in gasoline prices. The indexes for diesel fuel, electric power, residential natural gas, motor vehicles and equipment, and processed young chickens also moved higher. Services cost rose 0.4%, slightly less than 0.6% in May, and mainly due to higher margins for food and alcohol retailing (3.8%). Prices for machinery and equipment wholesaling, outpatient care, transportation of passengers, guestroom rental, and hospital inpatient care also increased. Year-on-year, producer inflation accelerated to 11.3%, the largest increase since a record 11.6% in March.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 23 Extreme Fear (previous close: 23 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 12 at 12:53 PM EDT.

The Gallery

Happy Bastille Day (although I was today years old when I learned “Liberty Leading the People” commemorates the French Revolution of 1830, not of 1789):

And speaking of anachronism:

Our Famously Free Press

“Unimaginable abortion stories will become more common. Is American journalism ready?” [Nieman Labs]. “In America after the end of Roe v. Wade, one brave source on the record in the final story will often be the best we can get. Obviously, reporters and editors must make sure that their reporting is accurate and true! But those who believe that the end of legal abortion in many states is newsworthy will need to figure out how to report and publish these stories with a few more constraints than they’d prefer. If performing or receiving an abortion now counts as activism, well, then journalists will need to be okay quoting “activists,” unless they only want to tell the anti-abortion movement’s side. Countless abortion stories will never be told at all. It won’t be because they’re lies. It will be because telling them is too risky, because patients and doctors and staffers and volunteers will face arrest for coming forward.”

Health Care

BoJo on the NHS:

Class Warfare

“3.1- The Three Estates” (podcast) [Mike Duncan, Revolutions]. • I highly recommend Duncan’s “Revolutions” podcast, which begins with the English Civil War in 1642; you have to conclude that Revolutions are a regular featuire of human affairs.

“Why We Celebrate the Storming of the Bastille” [Tribune]. “On the 14th Louis XVI answered the envoys of the Assembly that it was impossible for the events in Paris to have been the result of orders given the troops. What then was the king’s plan? Perhaps, in order to reassure his conscience, he had systematically refused to foresee the possible course of events. Perhaps he imagined that Paris, laid low by the mere presence of a vast military apparatus, would cease to be a tumultuous aid and the latter, feeling the dead weight of the immobilised capital, would walk uncertainly and stumblingly, ready to fall at the least shock. The king, warned by the events of the 14th, learned that he had to take the force of the revolution into account. He would exercise cunning against it or would call foreign armies against it, but from that day forward he renounced any form of direct aggression, any declared offensive. The Assembly, having still to foil intrigues but no longer having to fear or repel royal force, was able to undertake a fight against another great power of the past, the church. At the same time that it thus liberated the National Assembly, the events of 14 July made the people aware for the first time of its strength and conscious of its role in Paris. The Assembly remained important. During these stormy days the permanent committee of electors deputised them, and the Parisian revolution only felt itself truly strong and legitimate through its contact with the national revolution. What is more, the assembly itself had set a noble example of firmness and even of heroism. Its Tennis Court Oath, its serene and invincible resistance after the session of 23 June, had electrified hearts and the most intrepid of Paris’ combatants had no other ambition than that of showing themselves to be worthy of the bourgeois revolutionaries who, without weapons and solely through the force of right and courage, had emerged victorious. It is nonetheless true that alone and without the assistance of the people of Paris the National Assembly would have ended up succumbing. And so the Revolution, which until then had had but one base, one centre: the Assembly, from that point on had two corresponding centres, the Assembly and the people of Paris.”

“A Guide to the French Revolution” [Jacobin]. “In 1856, French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville reviewed the so-called ‘grievance books‘ — lists of demands made by the various social layers of France in anticipation of the Estates-General, the assembly that would undermine Louis XVI’s reign and lead ultimately to revolution. What he discovered startled him. ‘When I came to gather all the individual wishes, with a sense of terror I realized that their demands were for the wholesale and systematic abolition of all the laws and all the current practices in the country. Straightaway I saw that the issue here was one of the most extensive and dangerous revolutions ever observed in the world.'” • I wonder what a grievance book would look like today. Or if such a thing could even exist.

News of the Wired

Perhaps I will feel more wired in a few minutes. UPDATE I remain unwired.

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

TH writes: “Last Thursday (6/16), a friend of mine wanted to buy some plants, so invited me along for her first visit to a popular nursery in our neck of the woods (well, more my neck than hers), Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach (CA). She’s in Inglewood (Los Angeles), so it was a bit of a trek for her. I has a good reputation and she has wanted to visit it for a long time. So these Bromeliads live there at the nursery until they find a nice gardener of their own, or rather, the gardener finds them.”

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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. Carolinian

    Their concerns are more mundane and economically-driven.

    Yes food on the table….bo-ring!

    Some of us are so old we can remember when the Republicans were the “values” party and the Dems the food on the table party. This clearly didn’t work since the Dems often had huge, and enduring, majorities in the House. Much wiser to go boutique

    1. fresno dan

      the Dems often had huge, and enduring, majorities in the House.
      Is it the Peter Principle? I suspect the collapse of unions. Or maybe there are no more real democrats anymore… Or is it that there is just no real money in being in the majority?

      1. Gavin

        D was the enduring majority when they focused on tangible benefits for the working class. Then nafta billy clinton and the other New Democrats decided winning was too passe — and the corruption potential seemed much greater if they’d just take Some of that sweet, sweet WallStreet luchre. They had a winning formula and threw it away.

        1. Hepativore

          Say, did anybody hear about the latest idea from Larry Summers to destroy 10 million jobs to bring down inflation? Plus, the perpetual austerians in Washington want to raise interest rates by an entire percentage point now which might lead to even further stagflation. There is no discussion of compensation or aid for all of these “sacrificed” workers of course.

          I wonder if part of this is not just run-of-the-mill elite callousness, but also born out of a desire to punish labor for the so-called “Great Resignation” and the slight uptick in unionization drives.

          I keep seeing all of these commentators in the independent news media sphere talking about the end of neoliberalism, but it seems like it is alive and well and not going away anytime soon. I am 38, and I do not expect to see the end of the neoliberal era in my lifetime. Instead, I think the US will just continue in its likely irreversible course in becoming a failed-empire klepto-state.

          1. JBird4049

            I have to disagree with the prediction that neoliberalism will continue as the federal government and many of the states especially in the South are failing.

            I am in my fifties, old enough to remember when the country functioned, like the Apollo Program, or when I got my first job via the old CETA program (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) before Reagan axed it, to the disaster that was the state and federal Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and now the mess of the past two years.

            When it goes from landing on the Moon to being unable, refusing really, to deal with an expected pandemic, the decline is severe. When corporations refuse to invest in their own businesses or even do the minimum maintenance or planning because it is not immediately profitable, despite the chance of it going down, it has become insanity. I can see the acceleration of the collapse as even the bones of our society and government are fading.

            Another twenty years of this would mean the end of any government and probably Chinese style warlordism. Only the reinstitution of the American Plan, started by Alexander Hamilton iirc and a Progressive Movement level of anti corruption and reform will forestall the warlords. Our Benevolent Elites will be fighting it the whole time.

        2. thoughtful person

          Winning formula for who? I would argue the current formula is still very lucrative.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Is it the Peter Principle?

        Perhaps those who had control of the machinery decided it would be more profitable to them personally to shift the base of the party to the PMC, rely on Democratic Strategists to win elections, and build an enormous moat of NGOs to protect the electeds and the apparatchiks, both by (a) making them relay on squillionaires for money, while (b) redirecting “progressive” energy into a black hole, instead of using it to win votes, and (c) set all the activists at each other’s throats and prevent any universalizing working class movement with ideologies like identity politics, etc.

        You have to admit that for the leadership, this architecture has been amazingly successful. The Party has been in stasis for at least twenty years, and many of the same personnel who were in power in 2006, when the Democrats took back the House and Senate, are in power today 16 years later, and doing very well for themselves, thank you.

    2. Wukchumni

      The GOP was always called the ‘Country Club’ party when I was a young whipper-snapper.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Poor nearsighted Bernie Sanders. He tried to take over the wrong political party.

    1. Matthew G. Saroff

      Well, given that his government was a dumpster fire, as Zathras would say, “At least there is symmetry.”

    2. ambrit

      Couldn’t get to it due to a paywall.
      The Washington Post should have a new motto.
      “Democracy Dies Behind a Paywall.”

      1. super extra

        well here’s CNN on the topic, but they don’t include the bit about the trash incinerator and how that led to 5S deciding to vote or abstain or whatever they did even though Draghi said he’d resign if they did it. It seems like there is a more full story going on elsewhere but I’m more intruiged by what the likely next government’s composition will be and how this will impact the ongoing NATO crackup vis-a-vis the Ukraine SMO.

      2. Humanitarian Grenaid

        One thing you can try to do is hit escape before the paywall loads. This is how I read articles on nyt and washington post.
        Doesn’t work on wsj though.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > One thing you can try to do is hit escape

          If you run Safari, the Reader View will often display complete articles. You’ve got to hit the icon fast, though, before all the crud that controls the paywall kicks in (click the little icon that looks like a page to the left of the URL bar).

          1. barefoot charley

            I get around a lot of paywalls by setting my cookies to auto-delete, except on sites I actually pay for (because the website’s record of your visit history is often in your cookies, and no, they don’t pay you rent). Only downside is, I have to click-agree to their privacy-invasion policies each time I breach their paywalls.

            1. kareninca

              Copy the url of the article you want to read. Go to archive.today. Paste the url in the box provided; hit return. Prove you are not a robot. There is the article for you, usually.

      3. Sardonia

        The new motto for the Washington Post should be:

        “Where Democracy Dies in Darkness”

    3. flora

      The Five Stars party, a party member of Draghi’s coalition govt, refused to vote in the vote of confidence, effectively breaking Draghi’s ruling coalition. I’m surprised he resigned. I thought he’d try hold on.

    4. digi_owl

      Well this could get “interesting”, given Italy’s sagging support for the Ukraine mess.

      And it looks like the president has refused the resignation, oh boy…

  2. ambrit

    I would essay to redefine for the Moderne Age “Grievance Book” as “Grievance Blog.”
    [Here’s looking at you RedChan.]

    1. MONY,MONY

      It is unfathomable that Nevada looks like a low risk for Covid state. Well we attended a conference there in mid June and the Covid infection rate for our two locations was 40-80%! Cases get reported in your home jurisdiction. Of the 40pc group many reported feeling ill, but did not test positive.

      1. hk

        I always wondered, in such cases, how many of the exposed are actual Nevadans. Most of the conference attendees are presumably out of staters. Staff at such places doubtlessly are predominantly locals, but one’d assume that they take care to limit their exposure more than the attendees.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Cases get reported in your home jurisdiction

        Good point. I wonder if that explains Florida’s weird Rapid Riser numbers, too. The cases are rising rapidly — back at home!

    2. hunkerdown

      change.org has the touch of quasi-official gravitas that preludes to Estates-Generals would entail. In reality it is only a ritual consolation. “Thy Pain hath been Felt. Click here to try again.”

      Whisper, PostSecret, and other confessional sites are wide of the mark, but in the haystack a few sharp needles might be found.

      In reality, nobody’s asking today without a multiple-choice panel to hide behind, because nobody really wants to know.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Re: Book of Grievances

      My fellow Army Buddy and I took one of those smallish green notebooks with the water proof pages when we were ‘downrange’ and filled it with the unending flow of complaints from Senior NCOs. These people here, I tell ya!!!! They’d fn complain about everything. JUST TO COMPLAIN. Anyways, we called it, The Book of Grievances.

  3. LaRuse

    Whenever I see a big jump in the death rate, I go check and see which states finally turned out their death certificate pockets. This week, Oklahoma and Washington both found a drawer full of certificates hiding in the corner. Washington reported over 800 deaths yesterday, and OK announced 718 the day before.
    How am I supposed to determine my personal risk today if no one reports their numbers in anything like a timely fashion??? /sarc
    I wish we were a serious country.

  4. voteforno6

    Re: Clarence Thomas Letter

    Is it okay to criticize him for being a moral degenerate?

    1. dcblogger

      Clarence Thomas is a truly horrible person who bears significant responsibility to the destruction of the first American republic.

      1. barefoot charley

        And that credit should be given regardless of his race. On that point I agree with the authors. The rights of all minorities and identities to grift like white men must not be abridged! (More seriously, this should be understood, so that tokens aren’t mistaken for virtues as Democrats want us to.)

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          He and his patrons have always used his race as a lever for expanding the wealth and power of the Overclass.

          Is it permissible to talk about that?

          1. Librarian Guy

            In California 2 decades ago we had Ward Connerly–

            a rich black man who benefited greatly from affirmative action in both the college environment and then thru affirmative action in signing up for high paid corporate gigs.

            So he proclaimed, Enough!! I got mine, young blacks no longer deserve that, I’m pulling the ladder up behind me to attend all the best parties with my Republican and Corporate Dem pals . . . he sponsored a bunch of ballot initiatives to end any systemic racial reparations in the name of “a color blind society”, said that “Racism is over, everyone can see that” (I’m paraphrasing), etc. His hay day was pre-Obama, I guess he was a sign of where the black bourgeois were cutting all the black poor loose in their sinking boats. And of course all that shit has gotten worse. I gotta love that Thomas’ defenders are indirectly also supporting wifey’s efforts to overthrow the (barely) legitimate election results on behalf of the White Nationalists like Steve Bannon who sponsored Trumpism. (Not that poor, dodderin’ Uncle Joe Bidet has changed any of Trump’s racial policies like Latino “illegals” family separation, etc.)

        2. ChrisPacific

          Agreed. Black people have the right to be just as vicious, horrible and reactionary as white people do, and to be criticized for it without the suggestion that it’s because of their race (or in spite of their race, for that matter). Clarence Thomas is indeed a true exemplar of that principle. In all of those categories he has few equals, be they white, black, or any other race.

  5. nippersdad

    It always strikes me as odd that the dead guy in Liberty Leading the People has lost his pants. I never understood the phrase “sans culottes” was meant to be taken so literally.

    1. jsn

      The figure of Liberty dominated the composition; as she leads the charging people trampling over the corpses beneath them, she commands attention. The brightly colored flag she handles forces the eye directly to the center of the canvas. The red – a direct diagonal to a half-naked corpse – floats just over the revolutionists.

      The action is congested, mainly taking up the lower portion of the canvas with a concentration spilling over to the center. The background and righter-most portion of the canvas remain mostly desolate, engulfed in the clouds and smoke of the cannons.

      Delacroix has created a pyramid structure with Liberty as the peak and the dead soldiers on the ground as the base. This seemly unimportant, and maybe unnoticed, configuration provides balance to the dramatic and busy scene.

      This pyramid technique achieves balance in this busy composition.”

      Goya completed his “Disasters of War” series of 82 prints between Napoleon’s Spanish Campaign and 1820, so this imagery was very much normalized by the time of this painting.

    2. GramSci

      Judging by the dead guy’s single remaining blue silk stocking, I suspect he was a Royalist who had his culottes confiscated by un citoyen who is no longer sans culottes.

  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” Maskstravaganza: It’s hard to read this thread and conclude anything other than that the Biden Administration was (and is) not merely neglectful of masking, but actively malevolent towards it” . . .

    The reason the Biden Administration is actively malevolent towards masking is because the Biden Administration supports the upper class agenda of deliberately spreading covid to everyone on purpose. So of course the Biden Admin would be actively malevolent against anything which would slow down the spread of covid.

    1. ambrit

      The “Decision Makers” have obviously never read Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death,” nor seen the Roger Corman film version on late night television.

    2. Pelham

      Active malevolence seems about right. Of course, to suppose as much is to invite accusations of conspiracy theory thinking. But so what?

      When so many malevolent tendencies (the opioid crisis, deindustrialization, globalization, financialization, bank bailouts, social media, foreign wars) join over a period of years or decades with no effective response from authorities, I submit it’s most reasonable and perhaps imperative to assume that there exists some grand, swirling confluence of forces working against us.

      Whether these forces are in fact guided by a grand conspiracy is entirely beside the fact that the results are nearly identical. It may help to at least imagine a central source of malevolence to begin to formulate a way to defeat it.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Right now the best way for some people to survive the “give everyone covid” plan is to adopt the layered defenses discussed here and there in many NaCap threads. And be publicly identifiable about it.

        IF! a higher-enough percentage of covid realists survive without case(s) of covid and without Long Covid syndromes, then perhaps other people from among the big public might begin to ask covid realists of their aquaintance . . . ” what are you doing to get the better results you are getting?” At that point the covid realist can share his/her survival information and then note that it would work even more better if even more people all diddit together.

        That is a start and a possible bridge to what ( if anything) can come next.

    3. LaRuse

      Malevolent. Indeed. I sort of lost my proverbial sh*t yesterday over a quote from Dr. Wen. I usually avoid CNN but I saw an article from CNN titled “The Worst Variant Is Here” and it got my attention.
      I got to the first Q&A about How Do I Protect Myself and here is the response from our favorite Brookings Institute Sociopath:
      “‘I don’t think that most people should have to change their daily activities, but I do think people need to be aware of their risk of contracting Covid-19 if they don’t take additional precautions,” Wen said. The question to ask yourself, she added, is this: How much do I want to continue to avoid infection?'” (Emphasis mine.)
      In other words, she and her cohort are suggesting that we may not even care to bother to continue to avoid infection.
      It left me unusually angry. These people KNOW about Long COVID. They KNOW about the cardiovascular damage. They KNOW about the neurological damage. And she’s still suggesting that even bothering to try and avoid infection is sort of pointless. She does go on to recommend a high quality mask (N95) “for those who want to reduce their risk” but it is very much an afterthought.
      At this point, it is absolutely malevolent. It absolutely is intentional. And I refuse to play along. Time to go order more Auras while I can find some since it looks like the US is hell bent on making masks even harder to “access” very soon.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > Time to go order more Auras while I can

        I’ve tried to maintain a significant stock on hand so I can pass them out to people to whom I get physically close enough to make eye contact and share speech. I hope these don’t become hard to find. They aren’t that expensive and can be reused.

        1. Tom Stone

          I went to a P100 mask from GVS with replaceable filters, it seals very well and it is more comfortable than the N95’s.

  7. Wukchumni

    In 1901, the naturalist John Muir wrote in this magazine that no description could capture the majesty of the giant sequoia. Of course, that didn’t stop him from trying: Muir spent some 17 pages ruminating on the tree, which he called “nature’s forest masterpiece, and, as far as I know, the greatest of living things.”

    This week, Americans watched as the very same specimens that so enchanted Muir more than a century ago fell under threat of wildfire. The Washburn fire, first reported nearly a week ago, continues to burn in Yosemite National Park; it has swept over more than 3,000 acres and forced evacuations of several nearby areas. The burn was first reported from a trail near Mariposa Grove, famed for its 500 towering ancient giant sequoias.

    Should the good news hold, and the trees escape alive, their survival isn’t mere luck: The National Park Service has spent decades thinking about the fire management of this particular grove. This week’s scare is a tentative case study in how wildfire preparation can help stave off destruction—an important lesson in the value of planning in our new age of unruly fire, as a consequence of climate change.

    Yosemite has done controlled burns in the grove itself since the 1970s to conserve the trees. Controlled, or prescribed, burns are planned fires that happen under the watch of fire managers. Eric Knapp, a research ecologist for the Forest Service, told me such burns are “the most effective tool” for fire-hazard reduction.

    These burns actually help the sequoias regenerate: Their tiny seeds struggle to open up unless they land on the bare soil left behind by a burn. So normal fire itself isn’t a problem. But climate change has led to bigger and hotter fires. Controlled burns preempt more destructive fire by clearing forests of too much fuel buildup—dead trees, fallen leaves, and other flammable material. “You can be proactive or you can wait for a wildfire to hit with really bad fuels and have a different outcome,” Knapp said. “And we all know we don’t like that outcome.”


  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    I wonder if Loury and Woodson were among the conspirators who helped Biden force Thomas onto the Court to begin with.

    Regardless, they are showing how Black Racist Pig Conservatives know how to use racial extortion Wokeness ( as Thomas himself did during his hearings) to extort humble compliance from their targets. They should be analysed in that manner, and careful thought given in how to destroy their reputation and influence along with that of Thomas itself.

  9. VT Digger

    I like Fetterman but onshoring probably won’t bring down prices and removing the gas tax will defund the roads even further. Onshoring would be good for the country for sure since we would begin to pay the true cost of goods we consume…but it would cause prices to rise even further I imagine. I think we should onshore but don’t kid yourself…it won’t be pretty for those who are paycheck to paycheck right now.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      So much is changed from the days of Hamilton … Onshoring is not intended to bring down prices. [Deconstruction of Corporate monopolies and monopsonies would help with lowering prices.] Remember that lowering prices was the Trojan Horse used to rationalize the consolidation of u.s. Industry and Consumer Markets. Offshoring will not bring down prices in most cases until the cost of living can be brought back to reasonable levels following Dr. Michael Hudson’s policies for putting a stake into the heart of debts and rentier profit taking. Onshoring IS intended to increase employment, the onshore accumulation, preservation, and dissemination of practical Knowledge and productive capital — “Know How” — onshore, and thereby also increase wages, the skill levels of our Populace, its prosperity, productivity and Happiness from performing meaningful work, and the resilience of our nation in responding to the impacts of a crippled, rotten, twisted, and savagely pruned supply chain … as diesel increases in price and diminishes in availability. Prices affect the savings of scared old farts like me who hoped our cash savings would let us retire without burdening our kin and without having to worry too much about obtaining the basics of life — air, food, water, shelter, and clothing for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children [… if you started very young if live a very long life — here are my best wishes that you, and as I hope I, will].

      As far as de-funding the roads I suppose someone might want do a trace on what happens to the funds that do accrue. I smell something rotten in state transportation departments.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I too thought Fetterman’s heart is/was in the right place with those suggestions, even if they won’t achieve the price-reductions he thinks they will. Progress and improvement and recovery are sometimes conquered one step at a time and it takes a step to be able to see what the next step may be.

      If Fetterman gets to the point where he sees that precisely zero of his goals for repatriating our industry-in-exile can be achieved with the abolition of Free Trade and the restoration of militant belligerent rigid protectionism, then he may start working for those things. And other people may start working to take America completely out of every trade agreement it is currently in as well, in order to “legalize Protection”.

  10. dcblogger

    why link to anything Ruy Teixeira has to say about the working class? Why not the Trillbillies, Valley Labor Report, Mike Elk, Labor Notes, Hamilton Nolan, or really anybody else. Ruy Teixeira’s job is anti progressive Gas Lighting.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps Teixeira articles should be linked to and analyzed with exactly that intention . . . a careful explanation of the methods of gaslighting, the various anti progressive material, etc.

      Getting a detailed understanding of Teixeira comes under the heading of “know your enemy”.

  11. fresno dan

    The 10-year-old Ohio girl who crossed state lines to receive an abortion in Indiana should have carried her pregnancy to term and would be required to do so under a model law written for state legislatures considering more restrictive abortion measures, according to the general counsel for the National Right to Life.

    Jim Bopp, an Indiana lawyer who authored the model legislation in advance of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, told POLITICO on Thursday that his law only provides exceptions when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.

    “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” Bopp said in a phone interview on Thursday.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      How is it that a 10-year old girl can become pregnant? Is that not a little early for menarche and very early for pregnancy? It recalls to me some scenes from a peculiar [actually very readable and entertaining — though DARK] novel by Ruth Ozeki, which I read several years ago: “My Year of Meats” — “… Jane [protagonist] visits Dunn & Son, Custom Cattle Feeders, where she meets the family [a family she has been pointed to]: Bunny, a former stripper and rodeo queen; her elderly husband, John, who proposed to Bunny during a lap dance; Gale, his “pale, flaccid” son from a previous marriage; and John and Bunny’s five-year-old daughter, Rose. The tour that Jane takes of a neighboring slaughterhouse, and the subsequent revelation that Rose—so poisoned by growth hormones that at five years old her body has matured into that of a grown woman—represent the darkest regions of the novel.”
      Hm … I guess maybe 10-years old is a little late, if local spread of the Big Ag hormones can produce maturity at five years-old.

    2. marym

      These authoritarian ghouls don’t know or care what the consequences will be of what they’ve done.

      “…during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, [Catherine Glenn Foster, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life] claimed that it “would not be an abortion” if a 10-year-old rape victim got pregnant and … had an abortion.”

      …The Americans United for Life president appeared to be trying to redefine abortion to avoid saying that, yes, of course, a 10-year-old rape victim should be allowed to have an abortion.

      Republicans blocked unanimous consent to Senate bill barring restrictions on women traveling to a state to get a legal abortion…“Senate Republicans appear divided over whether women should retain the right to travel to get abortions.“

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Yes they do. They know the consequences. They revel in the consequences.

        That’s why I refer to them as Christianazi Satanofascists, Chrislamofascist, Sharia Law Christian, Sharia Law Catholic, etc. Gilead Republicans and in the case of anti legal abortion Democrats, Gilead Republican Democrats.

        They need to be made the focus of the hatred they have earned and deserve. They need to become hated by tens of millions and then well over a hundred million Americans after that. With enough long-lasting cool persistent hatred, perhaps the decent people can organize a powerful and long-lasting-enough movement to drive these Christianazi Satanofascists back into the cultural and moral sewage lagoons from which they emerged.

        1. marym

          Yes, they do revel in it. That was poorly worded on my part – I meant to convey their ignorance, and sense of privilege as reflected in the two links. As far as the name-calling, I try to use christianist to mean religion used as a tool or a weapon, rather than a general reference to Christians, or Muslims, as they may also be pro-choice.

    3. Tom Stone

      I find the pious cruelty of people like Bopp extremely offensive, a 10 year old Rape victim should be forced to give birth to her rapist’s child?.
      Because it’s God Swill.
      Cowardly sadists oozing piety are not to my taste

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Beau of the Fifth Column has done a detailed video talk about this Jim Bopp, his place and power within the Chrislamofascist Sharia Law movement, etc. He then talks about how the Republicans are a very honest party who tell their listeners and all overhearing bystanders exactly what they think, want, believe and plan to do; as in their intention to make raped ten-year-old girls bear and deliver the rape-babies to term.

        He then talks about how Roe is “on the ballot” and bemoans the “weakness” of the Democrats’s “non-message” in terms of their unwillingess to say so and to demonstrate it. He then offers some good advice on how sincere Democrats could spray-paint Bopp all over every single Republican in every single race if they wanted to do that.

        I think the advice may be good enough that non-DemParty real-people-type citizens may also be able to use it if opportunities arise at public gatherings, campaigns, appearances, etc. ( Because the DemParty Democrats don’t and won’t care enough to take any of this advice or even consider it)

        It could also be taken as between-the-lines advice from the intensely pragmatic Beau to vote as productively as possible against Chrislamofascist Shariah Law Gilead Republicans for the next few elections.

        Anyway, here is the link.

  12. hunkerdown

    When reading predictions on the collapse of dollar hegemony, it can be hard to grasp what it means in material terms:

    The USD is going to begin to sink to its true value.

    But what is its “true value”? [thread]

    professional hog groomer @bidetmarxman · Jul 13

    Decent but unsettling back-of-the-napkin analysis with some interesting metrics about the USD around the globe.

    1. fresno dan

      I hope we see many more posts on this issue. I think the rather flippant dismissal of higher gasoline prices will come back with a vengeance – not everyone is Bette Midler. And Its not just oil or oil producing countries. Petrodollars have existed for 50 years – we may be in for a new regime….

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Do not worry. The Market will arrive at a Pareto-optimal price solution … unless there are some problems with the Market … and these ‘problems’ can be repaired by creating a new Market.

  13. IM Doc

    So this article has come out today on Bari Weiss’ substack.

    I believe the most important part of the article was what was conveyed at the very end –

    It is an ancient, moral requirement of our profession to speak up when we believe questionable treatments are being proposed. It is also good for the public. Imagine, for example, a world in which those scientists who suggested that masking for children and school lockdowns were worse for public health were not smeared but instead debated?

    The official public health response to Covid has undermined the public’s belief in public health itself. This is a terrible outcome with potentially disastrous consequences. For one thing, because of these sloppy and politicized policies, we run the risk of parents rejecting routine vaccines for their children—ones we know are safe, effective and life-saving.

    The leaders of the CDC, the FDA and the NIH should welcome internal discussion—even dissension—based on the evidence. Silencing physicians is not “following the science.” Less absolutism and more humility by the men and women running our public health agencies would go a long way in rebuilding public trust.

    Right up front, there are multiple significant issues that I most assuredly do not agree with Dr. Makary about regarding this pandemic. That is what open, honest, and good-faith debate is for. You show your evidence, I show mine. Maybe we are both wrong. This is the way medicine has been since my career started. That is, until the last two years.

    What he absolutely nails in this piece, however, is the physician’s role to QUESTION EVERYTHING. To ask hard questions, to advocate for your patients, to understand that each and every patient has their own agency, and each and every one has idiosyncratic issues that must be addressed for good outcomes. My profession has totally thrown all of this out the window the past few years. And this will be to its eternal detriment. It will take years of hard work to recover the trust of society.

    I am already seeing massive problems with people refusing things like non-COVID vaccines for themselves and their kids. In numbers I would have never dreamed possible before.

    I am so relieved that at least these issues are starting to come to light. I am certainly hearing this among my colleagues. Because of Big Pharma ad dollars, I think the big media will be the last to join the parade, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the parade has started.

    I can absolutely confirm what Dr. Makary states in this article. I have 7 former students/residents working at NIH FDA or CDC. To the one, they have all told me the morale is at an all time low. People are looking for the exits. I view these young people as my “kids”. It is so very painful to hear them tell me what is going on in our agencies and how they fell betrayed. And their supreme frustration with the complete abandonment of science. We all thought the political manipulation of the science was going to get better with Biden. What a complete joke that has become. Indeed, it is likely far worse.

    All I can say to everyone reading this is – Be patient. Medicine has gone through this type of convulsion multiple times in its past. I am increasingly certain the next several months/years are going to be very painful for us all to watch, but the cleaning is part of a process which must occur. The same will be happening, I hope, to our political class as well.

    1. jr

      Thanks for the link, Doc. The days are truly strange when one has to turn to Bari Weiss to get some good information but that is where we are at. Here are some other articles I found that may be of interest to the readers:


      This is about ideological indoctrination into identity politics at the primary education level. Here is an excerpt:

      “… I thought of assigning Glenn Loury, a Brown University professor and public intellectual whose writings express a nuanced, center-right position on racial issues in America. Unfortunately, my administration put the kibosh on my proposal.

      The head of the high school responded to me that “people like Loury’s lived experience—and therefore his derived social philosophy” made him an exception to the rule that black thinkers acknowledge structural racism as the paramount impediment in society. He added that “the moment we are in institutionally and culturally, does not lend itself to dispassionate discussion and debate,” and discussing Loury’s ideas would “only confuse and/or enflame students, both those in the class and others that hear about it outside of the class.” He preferred I assign “mainstream white conservatives,” effectively denying black students the opportunity to hear from a black professor who holds views that diverge from the orthodoxy pushed on them.”

      There are worthy people of color and there are the unworthy. Here’s another article about IDpol in academics:


      I don’t like the idea of algorithmic law enforcement but what’s telling is how the Woke mob in this anthropology department handled their dislike of one member’s research. It’s apparently commonplace at UCLA:

      “Outside the anthropology department, UCLA as a whole is showing all the signs of woke capture that typify the contemporary U.S. university. Emeritus Professor Val Rust (Graduate School of Education) was banned from campus after incurring the wrath of graduate student adherents of Critical Race Theory. Researcher James Enstrom (Environmental Health Sciences) and lecturer Keith Fink (Communication Studies) were fired from dissenting from the woke orthodoxy. Gordon Klein, after being suspended by UCLA’s business school in Spring 2020 for refusing to use race-based grading criteria, mobilized mass support and legal assistance, was reinstated, and is now suing the university.”

      God I’m glad I didn’t go into academics. I’d love to debate this !diots but then the Woke always run from honest debate. Cultists.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, the Biden administration has normalized the politicization of public health, just like Obama normalized foreign wars and financial predation. They’ve also normalized the GBD response to the Pandemic. Even with vaccines!! under the Biden administration more people are going to die than under The Other Guy, and amazingly even less will be done to prevent that outcome!

      It takes a Democrat to normalize abhorrent governance!

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Unfortunately, the response of most health care ‘professionals’ pushes the obligation to QUESTION EVERYTHING onto the shoulders of an untrained public. The implicit policy resulting is a very dangerous policy for both the short and long terms. I can only mourn for the results I expect this implicit policy might reap. I feel another somewhat more obscure concern. I feel that Humankind has reached a loggerheads in the capabilities of its native responses for thwarting viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic attack. I believe less complex lifeforms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites are more capable of adapting to climate change than the immune systems of their hosts among Humankind as well as the immune systems of the many fauna and flora that Humankind has twisted to uses necessary to Humankind.

      Among many other threats, Humankind could be threatened by unstoppable diseases and afflictions beyond all our imaginings. If we, and other currently existing higher[more cellular complexity] life forms are to survive, it will no longer prove adequate to rely on the existing mammalian immune systems developed and refined through eons of evolution. And, unless our extinction is an option, we do not have time to develop new and improved immune systems through evolution. Evolution is too slow and Humankind has through its avarice, ignorance, pride … crafted changes that occur too rapidly for the past processes which developed mammals and humankind to respond to the current and future threats. I am extremely mistrustful of the conclusions I reach. One conclusion is that our scientists must design an improved immune system or an effective response to threats completely exogenous to existing responses. This worries me endlessly. If the immune system Humankind has evolved through time and plague is no longer adequate, and new responses are limited and ineffective, … then where does that leave Humankind?

      Given my present level of comfort and given our present responses to the Corona ‘flu’, I am very very frightened.

  14. Wukchumni

    “New Proposal Would Accelerate Student Loan Forgiveness For Borrowers In Public Service — But Its Fate Is Uncertain” [Forbes]. “House Democrats this week unveiled a new bill that would reform a key student loan forgiveness program. If passed, the bill would result in dramatically accelerated student loan forgiveness for borrowers who have devoted their careers to public service work

    Chant not heard on any college or university campuses presently:

    ‘Hey Hey JRB, how many student loans did you kill today?’

    1. CheckyChubber

      Yet another reason to cancel the free trial of Apple TV subscription that you forgot about.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        In the past I’d of said the same thing about AppleTV…dont get it.

        But lately they’ve been coming out with great shows:

        Servant- a creepy m night show about a PMC couple in Philly

        Severance- a horrific business satire Ala Office Space that sees workers sever their company time memory from their Personal Memory.

        See- peddles to the Disabled Identity Politics crowd, but a solid post apocalyptic adventure thriller about communities of blind people trying to survive.

        I guess thats 3 shows! Maybe you could fit them all in a free month 😄

    2. Tom Stone

      If you want a frank conversation with HRC feed her 4 or 5 double martini’s before dinner.
      Just enough booze to loosen her up a bit before asking her about that slick…from Chicago that stole the nomination in 2008.
      Get her wound up and she’ll keep going like the energizer bunny.
      Now THAT would be fun to record!

  15. antidlc

    Just spitballing here….

    I see the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increasing and I have found myself somewhat helpless watching this nightmare unfold. I don’t know what the fall and winter will bring, but I fear things are really going to get a lot worse.

    I watch maskless people going in and out of the store, even though the community spread is quite high. I don’t think people are aware of how bad it is across the country, because, as a relative told me, “no one is talking about covid anymore.”

    So what if we become the media? Eric Feigl-Ding has put videos on his twitter feed that show how covid is transmitted. I’m not sure who owns the rights, but what if, we crowd sourced a bunch of internet ads or TV commercials that features these videos (or something similar) to communicate to the public how covid spreads (and why masking is needed.) Or we could draw attention to long COVID. The CDC isn’t doing its job, so maybe we have to step in. We could also have a campaign for people to share the videos on social media (remember the ice bucket challenge?).

    I am tired of the sickness, the deaths, and the disruption of lives and am searching for something, anything, to try to stop this nightmare. I don’t want to idly sit by watching all of this horror unfold, yet again, with the new variant. I do worry about our overworked health care workers if the current trend continues.

    It is profoundly disturbing that essentially NOTHING is being done to stop the spread.

    Sorry if my sleep-deprived brain isn’t making sense.

    1. Skip Intro

      I think we’ve taken the whole mindless brain-eating zombie apocalypse thing too literally, when we are living through a regime of completely embubbled zombies shambling into things and destroying peoples’ ability to think by drowning them in powerful anti-reality messaging, thereby spreading the zombie plague. Its not just covid, crypto, CALPERS, Ukraine, and the climate catastrophe…

    2. kareninca

      Well, here’s the thing. My 79 y.o. mom in small town New England had covid last month. It was a nothing burger from her perspective; a head cold; she took some Paxlovid at my urging, that was that. She doesn’t know anyone who has died of covid, and only knows one person who had a bad case, but that person then recovered. She doesn’t know anyone who has long covid. She does have a fairly large social network.

      So how do I convince her that there is something to worry about? Yes, I believe that there are all those deaths and long covid cases, but none of them are people I actually know. The daughter of a person in my online church had long covid, but now she’s better, and anyway I’ve never met her. There is a very strange disconnect here. I tell my mom about what I read about, and that she should be careful, but I have no personal anecdotes and that is what she would take seriously.

      It’s like there’s this pandemic in the news, with many deaths, and then there are our lives which don’t involve any. Please understand I am not doubting any of this, but likely this is why people some people are not being careful.

  16. petal

    How You Can Take in One of 4,000 Beagles Rescued in Virginia

    Snip: “Thousands of beagles are being rescued from a breeding facility in Virginia, where they were deprived of proper veterinary care and food.

    The Envigo facility in Cumberland bred approximately 4,000 dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation, the Humane Society of the United States said in a press release.The rescue operation, undertaken by the Humane Society of the United States, came following a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice in May against the facility, which accused it of multiple Animal Welfare Act violations.

    Federal inspections found multiple violations at the facility. Some dogs were found to have been euthanized without proper anesthesia, and many were living in unsanitary conditions. The dogs did not have sufficient food and were not provided with proper veterinary care. Many of them were about to be sold for lab experiments.

    In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia, many dogs were said to be injured, sick and underfed, Fox News reported. Some dogs were also subject to medical science experiments. Around 300 puppies died at the facility within a six month period in 2021, according to court records.

    The approximately 4,000 beagles will be transferred from the facility to the Humane Society’s partner organizations, where they will be put up for adoption.”

  17. petal

    The folks in the Victorian house a couple doors down(that had replaced their Ukrainian flag with the American flag around July 4th) have now taken the American flag down and put the Ukrainian flag back up. Guess that answers my question. They are in it to win it!

    And for the beagles above, some of the rescue organisations (so far) that will have them up for adoption are listed in the article.

    1. Samuel Conner

      One could troll them by flying the “Blut und Land” red/black Banderist flag.

      “What is that flag you’re flying?”

      “It’s the flag of the heroic nazis who are fighting to keep the Russians from conquering more of Ukraine.”

  18. Jason Boxman

    As I said in January, when endemicity!! became the hot topic, this is the most dangerous phase of the Pandemic yet. The elites are out of patience, and we’re living with the predictable result of their hubris.

    I’ve been following the collapse of domestic N95 production since at least last Fall; What a disgrace. The bumbling Biden administration hasn’t done much of anything to facilitate the continued existence of this suppliers, and GPOs abhor purchasing N95s from anywhere but China because they’re cheaper.

    I cannot see how this ends well. When I couldn’t fall back to asleep again last night, it occurred to me that China can simply maintain zero-COVID while other countries destroy themselves completely, and in ten years China merely needs to contend with degraded nation-state actors, with significant population morbidity. (Although I guess diseased thinking might lead the US to war over Taiwan.)

    Although the United States is so degraded already, I’m not sure anywhere will notice? We source most everything from China anyway, and lack the institutional knowledge to restart production here for so many different industries. And our leadership has a long history of stupid policies and doubling down.

    Still, citizens still stock the shelves, transport goods, and do service work. I expect significant shortages of healthy citizens for these jobs, and that means Soviet-style shortages and collapse. For that matter, perhaps we’ll start having more real buildings collapse; You need healthy people with clear heads to work in construction, industry, and so forth. How many more industrial accidents might we have? Car accidents?

    I guess we’ll find out in the coming decade!

    Let it ride man, let it ride!

    1. Samuel Conner

      I would like to think that private actors, functioning as public-spirited consumers, could continue to maintain demand for US-made N95s.

      I believe that the 3M Aura series is made in US. Hopefully demand for these will remain high on the part of individual consumers. Everyone who can — I urge you to build your own inventory of these and share with people as opportunity arises.

      We don’t have a functional public health policy coming from the top down, but perhaps it would be possible to construct a functional public from the bottom up, and that public could discern what policies best serve its interests, and implement those, with the official policy essentially disregarded as not much better than useless.

      1. Jason Boxman

        One such place to find these N95s seems to be Project N95. I bought some duckbill N95s from there in the fall. You can filter by country, and most are from the United States.

  19. Jason Boxman

    The Biden administration: Lessons in mass murder!

    The result is that we’re getting sick in droves. As Americans have switched to more rapid at-home tests, official case counts — currently hovering around 110,000 new infections a day — reflect just a fraction of the true disease burden.

    “We estimate that for every reported case there are 7 unreported,” Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, wrote in an email.
    Other experts think the wave could be as much as 10 times higher than what’s being reported now.

    So that’s possibly a million cases a day. Well done, Joe Biden! Well done, liberal Democrats! GBD is completely normalized now! Because it’s only morally repugnant when Trump did it! Because there can’t possibly be any consequence to letting everyone get infected repeatedly, forever!

    This country is in terminal decline.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      “Nasal sprays, like a variant-proof vaccine, deserve an Operation Warp Speed-like program to accelerate their success”

      Lambert > They deserved it in January 2021, but the molasses-brained Biden Administration didn’t even consider it.

      Gonna just call that failure “Operation Derp Speed” from here on out … (via KnowYourMeme.com)

  20. Tom Stone

    America’s current Covid Policy is quite deliberate.
    The herd needs thinning, why not let nature do its work when there’s so much money to be made doing so?
    It’s for the greater good in the long term!
    How much did Pfizer make from its crappy vaccine the first year?
    And the assumption on the part of our betters is that none of this will affect them or theirs is so profoundly stupid that it is seldom questioned.
    And that is clearly the assumption or they would be acting the way they do.
    So “Let ‘er Rip” and let the devil take the hindmost.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is there something “us” can do to infect more of “them” on purpose? So that “them” are not permitted to escape the disease “them” impose upon “us”?

      The point of the Masque of the Red Death is that the masses had to send a Red Death Infected Avenger into that party of the uninfected rich. They didn’t just “get” it. It had to be given to them.

  21. Jason Boxman

    LOL. Biden and liberal Democrats fail to deliver yet again.

    Manchin Rejects Climate and Tax Talks, a Crushing Blow to Domestic Plan

    Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pulled the plug on Thursday on negotiations to salvage key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, informing his party’s leaders that he would not support funding for climate or energy programs or raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.

    The party that Pelosi & Schumer built. Nicely played! Cheers all!

    1. Acacia

      Hate to say it, but I’m kinda looking forward to moar headlines containing the phrases “crushing blow”, “pulled the plug” and “to Democrats”. Kind of a Mad Libs of sh*tlib defeat.

  22. Acacia

    WaPo begins to investigate the connection between Abe Shinzo and the Moonie cult:

    How Abe and Japan became vital to Moon’s Unification Church

    So, the Church specialized in bilking grieving widows and widowers, with Abe and Trump as enablers.

    The church has claimed that it returned 50 million yen to [Yamagami’s mother], while adding there were no records of the amounts of the donations she made to the organization.

    The church “knows” it returned 50 million yen, but somehow they don’t know how much they took from her? They received a 100 million yen from one person, and just can’t account for it? Right. The truly sad thing is that people will continue to be swindled by these scam artists.

    The relationship between the LDP and the Unification Church is much deeper, though, going back to Kishi Nobusuke. For details, see: Samuels, Richard J. “Kishi and Corruption: An Anatomy of the 1955 System“. JPRI. Working Paper 83 (December 2001).

    Today, I heard that the Japanese National Police Agency has started asking questions about journos who don’t say the right things concerning the assassination. Basically, it’s a form of intimidation.

    Also, there is now apparently a petition circulating on Japanese social media to deny Abe a state funeral.

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