2:00PM Water Cooler 7/21/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Foxy Lark, Arusha, Tanzania.

* * *


“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

“Jan. 6 Panel to Sum Up Its Case Against Trump: Dereliction of Duty” [New York Times]. “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plans to return to prime time on Thursday to deliver what amounts to a closing argument in the case it has made against former President Donald J. Trump, accusing the former commander in chief of dereliction of duty for failing to call off the assault carried out in his name. To do so, the panel will put two military veterans — Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia and Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois — front and center in leading its presentation and questioning…. In an interview previewing the hearing, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. on July 21, Ms. Luria said the panel planned to document in great detail how Mr. Trump did nothing for more than three hours while his supporters stormed the Capitol, raising ethical, moral and legal questions around the former president. ‘The captain of a ship cannot sit there and watch the ship burned to the waterline and not do anything to stop it,’ Ms. Luria said, invoking her experience in the Navy, where she worked on nuclear reactors. ‘And that’s exactly what he did.'” • Burned to the waterline? Really?

“House GOP lawmakers applaud Pence for his role on Jan. 6” [The Hill]. “House Republican lawmakers applauded former Vice President Mike Pence for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, giving him a warm reception as he spoke to members of the conservative Republican Study Committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) thanked Pence for showing courage that day, sources in the room said. ‘He was congratulated for showing the courage that he did on January 6, and frankly, everyone in the room clapped, myself included,’ said Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.). ‘It was, of course, what he should have done. I mean, it was the constitutional thing to do.’ Pence’s ceremonial role presiding over the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to certify the Electoral College count from the 2020 election cemented President Biden’s win.”


“House Dems Move To Protect Contraception From Supreme Court” [Associated Press]. “The right to use contraceptives would be inscribed into law under a measure Democrats are pushing through the House, their latest campaign-season response to worries that a conservative Supreme Court that’s erased federal abortion rights could go further. The House planned to vote Thursday on the legislation and send it to the Senate, where its fate seemed uncertain.” • Gay marriage to be codified, contraception to be codified, abortion remains uncodified. Odd!

Biden Administration

Biden’s physician, July 21, 2022:

Mild, of course.

“Oh, No, Oh, No… I Love This Meme.” [Andrei Martyanov, Reminiscence of the Future…]. “Those creeps in DNC do not even understand that apart from abusing a truly mentally disabled man, however despicable Joe Biden and his clan are, they continue to humiliate the country. Leonid Brezhnev in his late years was an example of a coherent speech and mental clarity compared to Joe. It is a national shame and for any person who didn’t lose the remnants of his or her humanity and decency (District of Columbia doesn’t count–none to be found there) it is also painful to watch without cringing.”

Pelosi disses Biden on Taiwan:

“Federal investigation of Hunter Biden reaches critical juncture, sources say” [CNN]. “The federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s business activities is nearing a critical juncture as investigators weigh possible charges and prosecutors confront Justice Department guidelines to generally avoid bringing politically sensitive cases close to an election, according to people briefed on the matter. While no final decision has been made on whether to bring charges against President Joe Biden’s son, sources say the probe has intensified in recent months along with discussions among Delaware-based prosecutors, investigators running the probe and officials at Justice Department headquarters. Discussions recently have centered around possibly bringing charges that could include alleged tax violations and making a false statement in connection with Biden’s purchase of a firearm at a time he would have been prohibited from doing so because of his acknowledged struggles with drug addiction.” • That’s it?

“Sanders Files Amendment to Limit $76 Billion in ‘Corporate Welfare’ for Microchip Industry” [Common Dreams]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday introduced an amendment that would impose restrictions on the billions of dollars in federal subsidies and tax credits that Congress is poised to hand to the profitable U.S. microchip industry, which has been lobbying aggressively for the handouts. Sanders’ proposed changes to the CHIPS Act, which cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate Tuesday evening, would prohibit companies that receive subsidies under the bill from using the funds to buy back their own stock, offshore U.S. jobs, or crack down on unionization efforts. The senator argues that no-strings-attached giveaways to the microchip industry would amount to “corporate welfare.” … The latest version of the CHIPS Act, which now clocks in at 1,054 pages of legislative text, comes with an overall price tag of around $250 billion, tens of billions of which would be used to subsidize U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. Fresh tax language included in the bill increased the benefits to the microchip industry from around $52 billion to $76 billion.”


* * *

“Democrats spend millions on Republican primaries” [Open Secrets]. “Political groups and nonprofits aligned with the Democratic Party have spent nearly $44 million on advertising campaigns across five states’ Republican primaries to boost the profile of far-right candidates in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland. Democrats strategy is rooted in the belief that these candidates — many of whom spread unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential race was stolen from former President Donald Trump — will be easier to defeat in a general election. Democratic spending has helped secure Republican nominations for candidates in Illinois and Pennsylvania. In Maryland, Democrats are spending on a Republican gubernatorial primary that is still ongoing and is viewed as a tossup. But in California and Colorado, Democrats spent money elevating the profile of candidates who did not advance to the general election.” • It’s as if the Social Democrats were spending money on the Nazis. Amazing to see the Democrats doubling down on the Pied Piper strategy after it failed catastrophically in 2016. Perhaps they think their current candidates are a lot better than Clinton? Trust me, they’re not — at least not the candidates the brain geniuses at DNC are funding. Granted $44 million isn’t all that much, but it’s not nothing, especially in a primary.

“Seven endorsements that will test Trump’s influence” [The Hill]. “Trump’s endorsement has seen mixed results so far, though most of the major candidates he supported have won their races. Still, the former president’s endorsed candidates are facing some contentious final GOP primary battles. Here are seven Trump-endorsed candidates to watch as the primary season comes to a close.” • Blake Masters (AZ US Senate), Kari Lake (AZ Governor), Mark Finchem (AZ Secretary of State), David Farnsworth (AZ House), Kelly Tshibaka (AK US Senate), Sarah Palin (AK US House), and Harriet Hageman (WY US House).

PA: Shot, chaser:

PA: Oppo:


“Column: Why you shouldn’t underestimate Kamala Harris in all the speculation about a post-Biden 2024” [Los Angeles Times]. “The office of vice president might shrink its occupants in the public eye. But behind the scenes it offers a formidable platform to build a national campaign. (In recent decades, Biden, Al Gore, George H.W. Bush and Walter Mondale held the office before winning their party’s nomination.)…. Harris, who publicly shuns overt political activity, has nevertheless made moves that could serve her well, speaking at a major Democratic Party dinner in early-voting South Carolina and, as the administration point person on abortion rights, meeting state lawmakers and Democrats across the country…. It also helps a great deal that Harris is a pioneering Black woman in a party whose most loyal constituents are Black voters. Their support for Harris remains strong. In a Fox News poll released last month, the vice president’s overall approval rating was 41%. Among Black respondents, it was 73%.” Great. From the constituency that gave us Obama, Clinton, and Biden. And: “Today’s head-to-head polls are meaningless. In the fight to succeed Biden, his vice president remains the one to beat.” • Which says a lot, but not in the way the authors think.

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.

* * *

“Ocasio-Cortez pushes back on claims she ‘faked’ being handcuffed during arrest” [The Hill]. “‘Politics has become performative art,’ Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) tweeted on Wednesday. ‘So of course @aoc fakes being in handcuffs. Performance, not policy, is the name of the game up here.’ ‘No faking here,’ Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter a few minutes later. ‘Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest.'” • If you’re explaining, you’re losing. Anyhow, AOC is probably right, even if the question arises: What’s wrong with resisting arrrest? All in all, though, I’m irresistably reminded of the Democrat tendency toward auto-kinbaku-bi.

I shouldn’t run this and I apologize in advance for offense that will surely be given. Nevertheless:

(A terrible category error, of course; parties are not persons, just as governments are not households. Nevertheless….)

This, however, should be entirely inoffensive:

I love the credits at the end: “Written by Robert Reich / Directed by David Axelrod.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

If “fatal,” what then?


“Grieving in a Pandemic” [New England Journal of Medicine]. “Suffering my own loss helped me to understand how much of grief is about losing our idea of the future. The woman whose parents were both hospitalized in the days before my sister and nephew died — she eventually lost both parents, days apart — feared the pain she would experience if the people she loved died. Perhaps she even feared that her life would no longer be livable. I had that fear, too. But we go on. A good friend who has been through loss put it this way: ‘My life will always be a little more bitter, a little bit tainted, a little less full.…But I do find happiness and joy and beauty.…With time they have returned.'” • I have been very lucky throughout the pandemic and have lost nobody close to me. My “idea of the fiuture” did, however, include a United States that could undertake challenging projects in the public interest, instead of giving up. That future seems to be gone.

* * *

“SARS-CoV-2 oral tablet vaccination induces neutralizing mucosal IgA in a phase 1 open label trial” (preprint) [medRxiv]. Methods: “We conducted a single-site, dose-ranging, open-label clinical trial of an oral SARS-CoV2 vaccine to determine safety and immunogenicity. This tablet vaccine is comprised of a non-replicating adenoviral vector expressing the SARS-CoV-2 Spike and Nucleocapsid genes and a double-stranded RNA adjuvant. 35 adult subjects meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria received a single low (1×1010 IU) or high (5×1010 IU) dose and 5 subjects received two low doses. Nasal, saliva and serum samples were assessed for the presence of IgA, IgG and surrogate neutralizing antibodies. Convalescent subjects between 1-8 months post infection were recruited to give nasal, saliva, and serum samples for comparison.” Results: “The vaccine was well tolerated without any dose-limiting toxicity observed. No serum neutralizing antibodies were observed, but modest IgA responses were seen in serum post immunization. The majority of vaccine recipients had an increase in mucosal secretory IgA which was highly cross-reactive against all coronaviruses tested and persisted up to 360 days. Furthermore, the nasal IgA induced by vaccination has superior neutralizing activity compared to convalescent nasal samples.” • Interesting.

Maskstravaganza: “Can You Reuse a KN95 or N95 Mask? Experts Say Yes, but Follow These Steps” [Smithsonian]. “Virus particles trapped in the respirator will die off over the course of hours to days, so experts recommend letting an N95 or KN95 mask hang out in a cool, dry place for a day or two between outings. A simple method for implementing this resting period between uses is to put your mask in a brown paper bag for 24 to 48 hours before using it again. ‘The concern about wearing a mask in public, obviously, if you get particles on it, perhaps even the virus, but if you store it in a dry bag, you are essentially sanitizing again over a period of time,’ says Joe Gastaldo, an infectious disease expert at OhioHealth, to the Miami Herald’s Bailey Aldridge. Sabrina Assoumou, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, recommends having multiple masks in a rotation, so each mask can have a sanitation break between uses. Individuals can then label the bags accordingly to keep track of each mask.” • Just don’t use the same brown bags for tomatos.

* * *

Hey, I wonder what the Monkeypox case counts are? How’s the testing going? The vaccinations?

Meanwhile, WHO has been working on a new name for monkeypox for five weeks now. How’s it going?

* * *

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

Lambert here: The 91-Divoc chart’s case count legend reads “updated 07/21/2022.” The last “new confirmed cases” datapoint is 2020-07-18, count 129,243. Going to the source data from Johns Hopkins, the count of the latest, though undated, datapoint is 129,243. From which I deduce that the Johns Hopkins feed has stalled, for whatever reason. Watching all these data sources slowly decay from steady illumination to blinking, or winking out entirely, reminds me of a horror film. Or Philip K. Dick’s Ubik.

NOT UPDATED Case count for the United States:

The train is still rolling. 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 ~135,400. Today, it’s ~125,900 and 135,400 * 6 = a Biden line at 755,400 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.

NOT UPDATED Regional case count for four weeks:

Now the South and West.


Florida and Texas, still neck and neck.


So, the national drop resolves to California.

• “With Tulsa’s COVID risk upgraded and cases rising, local ER leaders push precautions, vaccination” [Tulsa World]. “Tulsa County’s COVID-19 risk has been upgraded from the lowest to the highest level in recent weeks as cases have continued to rise across the state since the summer holidays began. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks community-level risk to help get public health recommendations to residents based on the most recently available local data.” That is absolutely not what CDC’s “community levels” do. More: “Most of those who spoke Friday offered similar guidance for anyone concerned about becoming infected: Go back to early-pandemic precautions, including social distance, masking, hand-washing and monitoring symptoms.” • Hand-washing. And no recommendations on poorly ventilated spaces. We’ve learned nothing.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

1.1%. Up. (I 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 July 19, 2020:

Status quo, i.e. it’s a totally 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.” 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 19:

California worrse, Texas and Louisiana somewhat better, Illinois better, upstate New York worse.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 19:

Lots of yellow. Haven’t seen so little green (good) in quite some time.


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), July 2:

BA.5 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), Jul 17:

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.

Lambert here: This page was loading so slowly that I began to wonder if this is how CDC had chosen to sabotage wastewater efforts. However, after some experimentation, I find I must turn off my VPN to get this page to load. Good job, CDC.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,050,702 1,049,683 1,049,274. 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 jumped by 9 thousand to 251,000 the week that ended July 16th, the highest since November 2021 and well above market expectations of 240,000, pointing a cooler labor market.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US decreased for the fourth consecutive month to -12.3 in July of 2022, the lowest since May 2020 and well below forecasts pointing to a flat reading. The survey’s indicators for current general activity and new orders moved further into negative territory. The shipments index was positive and rose slightly, while the indexes for inventories and unfilled orders were negative. The employment indicators declined but remained positive. Both price indexes fell but remain elevated. The future indicators suggest that firms expect overall declines in activity and new orders but increases in shipments and employment over the next six months.”

* * *

Tech: “Minecraft and NFTs” [Minecraft]. “NFTs, however, can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft. To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our client and server applications, nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods, be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset. Our reasons follow. Some companies have recently launched NFT implementations that are associated with Minecraft world files and skin packs. Other examples of how NFTs and blockchain could be utilized with Minecraft include creating Minecraft collectible NFTs, allowing players to earn NFTs through activities performed on a server, or earning Minecraft NFT rewards for activities outside the game. Each of these uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies creates digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which does not align with Minecraft values of creative inclusion and playing together. NFTs are not inclusive of all our community and create a scenario of the haves and the have-nots. The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 33 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 23 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 21 at 1:47 PM EDT.

Photo Book

Abandoned America isn’t so much ruin pr0n as ruin erotica:

The Conservatory

“The New Numbers on Music Consumption Are Very Ugly” [The Honest Broker]. “It seems impossible—after all, billions of dollars are spent every year by entertainment corporations in their quest for market dominance. Yet, despite this constant spending spree, almost every week brings a new sign of cultural stagnation. The latest news comes today from market research outfit Luminate, who tell us that the share of new music continues to shrink in the face of competition from old songs. I wrote about this a few months ago, and the numbers were already ugly back then. But they have gotten worse. The latest report shows that the consumption of old music grew another 14% during the first half of 2022, while demand for new music declined an additional 1.4%. These old tunes now represent a staggering 72% of the market.”

Our Famously Free Press

Defense of free speech:

Zeitgeist Watch

“Notes on Our Tasteless Era” [Culture: An Owner’s Manual]. “Kissick calls NFTs the “most tasteless aesthetic phenomenon in history” — but NFT culture is tasteless in a different way than camp tackiness. There is another reliable way to produce tasteless things besides the intentional negation of good taste: Creators can also lack knowledge about what constitutes good taste. Kissick writes, “I don’t think the artists behind the most popular PFP series have much interest in aesthetic judgments of any sort” — there is no knowing tackiness, just “listless, enervated garishness, and saccharine vacancy.” NFTs are tasteless because they are ersatz art.” The NFTs I have seen have been uniformly ugly and stupid; I’m glad to see I am not alone in my opinion. More: ” To put a slightly more optimistic spin on the future: Tastelessness will quickly invite its own tasteful backlash. And perhaps this is the moment we’ll figure out how to revitalize and rehabilitate the notion of taste to work for us in the internet era.” • Could be!

Guillotine Watch

“The Haves and the Have-Yachts” [The New Yorker]. “On the docks, brokers parse the crowd according to a taxonomy of potential. Guests asking for tours face a gantlet of greeters, trained to distinguish ‘superrich clients’ from ‘ineligible visitors,’ in the words of Emma Spence, a former greeter at the Palm Beach show. Spence looked for promising clues (the right shoes, jewelry, pets) as well as for red flags (cameras, ornate business cards, clothes with pop-culture references). For greeters from elsewhere, Palm Beach is a challenging assignment. Unlike in Europe, where money can still produce some visible tells—Hunter Wellies, a Barbour jacket—the habits of wealth in Florida offer little that’s reliable. One colleague resorted to binoculars, to spot a passerby with a hundred-thousand-dollar watch. According to Spence, people judged to have insufficient buying power are quietly marked for ‘dissuasion.’ For the uninitiated, a pleasure boat the length of a football field can be bewildering.”

News of the Wired

Unwired once more!

* * *

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 ML:

The life cycle of the blackberry:

* * *

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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. Delbert

    “Federal investigation of Hunter Biden reaches critical juncture”

    i.e. What minor charges can they get him to plea deal with a fine and supspended sentence and most importantly, to seal the records, especially the contents of the laptop.

    1. ambrit

      “They” could perhaps have him ruled incompetent, due to all of that drugs usage, have him institutionalized, and thus, the files sealed while he is “away.” Then, after the mid-terms, out he comes again. I also would not put it past this lot to arrange for an “unfortunate accident” that ends badly for poor Hunter.
      “Stay out of small aircraft my boy!”

  2. mrsyk

    Aged Uncle Joe’s got the plague. Kamala awaits. Intriguing! I hope we get a pass for excessive spitballing today.

    1. Skip Intro

      “Why you shouldn’t underestimate Kamala Harris” – She’s failed her way this far, and she’s failing harder than ever. Don’t think littlefinger Buttigieg will move a muscle.

      1. HotFlash

        I don’t underestimate her. In fact, I believe that despite all my efforts I am still overestimating her.

        1. JBird4049

          “Column: Why you shouldn’t underestimate Kamala Harris in all the speculation about a post-Biden 2024” [Los Angeles Times]

          Underestimate Kamala Harris? Who in the LA Times did they pay off or what do they have them Epstein style? I mean really, as far as I can see, the woman has as much popularity as very old fish.

    2. flora

      The NYC public service announcement about what to do if a nuke explodes in the city should be remade, this time with Kamala as the presenter. / ha.

      1. Tom Stone

        I was considering how HRC must have felt when this news came out.
        It was HER destiny to be the first female president!
        First that Slick …black dude steals the 2008 nomination and wins and then she loses to Donald Trump in 2016 due to RUSSIA! and DEPLORABLES! and MALE CHAUVINISTS! and…and…
        And at any moment someone else, someone completely unworthy could become the FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT.
        Someone who got less than 2% of the vote in Her home State.
        Her blood pressure must off the charts.
        We might get a twofer (Pronounced “Too Fur” it derives from “Two for One” sales) in the next few days, leaving the world a better place.

        1. jr

          “ Her blood pressure must off the charts.”

          Every night, I’m falling on my knees…..

        2. caucus99percenter

          Considering the Willie Brown liaison aspect of Kamala Harris’s career, it must feel to Hillary as if, by some cruel twist of fate, she is about to be pipped at the post by the equivalent of Monica Lewinsky.

          1. MizSmitty

            If Monica had obtained a law degree, she’d make a far better president than the Kneeset Kamaleon, and, she would have gotten far more votes.

    3. Wukchumni

      When Kamala said she did dope, how was anybody to think it could be anything other than marijuana?

    4. lambert strether

      > Kamala awaits. Intriguing!

      That’s “Kamala awaits, intriguing.”

      Fixed it for ya.

    5. johnherbiehancock

      ironically all her senior aides just left too, with everyone commenting they figure she’s never going to get the nod to run on her own.

      1. Tom Stone

        If Harris does succeed Biden this year the chances of her winning in 2024 are very poor.
        Trump would whip her like a red headed stepchild.

        1. Gitta

          Remember, it’s the Air Force that manages Air Force One.

          “OK, who is the Kokomo who forgot to pressurize the passenger cabin?”

        2. chris

          I can think of nothing else that could make all our problems worse. Madame Harris for President, even in a recent type role, would be the catalyst for a million different disasters. Not least of which would be China invading Taiwan. Wokeness doesn’t help you on the world stage. Allegations of misogyny don’t replace shrewd negotiations. She has failed at everything besides being a figure head. God help us all if she’s ever put in the role of President.

    6. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know why people are talking about her and her chances of the Big Job. As long as she is popular in the Hamptons, she is gunna be fine. That is how she got her present gig. I mean, it’s not like anybody actually voted for her.

  3. Laughingsong

    The lifecycle of the blackberry skipped over the yard takeover and machete battle.

    “My “idea of the fiuture” did, however, include a United States that could undertake challenging projects in the public interest, instead of giving up. That future seems to be gone.”

    “Why I drink, in a nutshell.

    1. LaRuse

      From that lovely lifecycle image, I also noticed is the missing white to lavender to brilliant purple splatters all over my car from the well-fed birds that digest their meals in the old oak above my driveway… it’s the circle of life! :-)

    2. notabanker

      The key is to let them go crazy on the borders of the yard and forget about them. They make a nice screen and keep the critters at bay. If you get some berries, it’s bonus.

  4. hunkerdown

    re: music consumption, Ted Gioia shouldn’t call himself an “honest broker” anymore if he keeps treating music like a neoliberal industrial commodity that doesn’t exist without markets. I’ll give you $20 next payday to drop him.

    1. Louis Fyne

      his general point stands though….where has all the new music gone?

      generally, new music gets pushed from the young onto the old—whether it is Mozart, Bernstein, the Beatles, or the Wu-Tang Clan

      Today’s youngsters just are not pushing the creativity envelope. IMO, all genres of music right now are boring and full of tropes: pop, rock, hip-hop, country, classical

      Why? maybe cuz youngsters are raised in an atomized, Potemkin village culture? Maybe music producers/labels are risk adverse and stifle anything new?

      Dunno the real answer…and wary of the grumpy old man instinct to say that it is because everything was better in the “good old days.”

      1. Daryl

        I personally feel like I am awash in good, new music but that’s just me. I looked up the summary of the actual report mentioned but it’s thin on details about methodology. But as music moves away from traditional retail sales it is also less easily tracked. Does Luminate’s report include figures from Bandcamp, for example, where a lot of smaller bands release their music?

        1. Mikel

          For as long as the good, new artists can keep it up with dwindling profit margins from sales.
          And please, don’t talk about touring as an option. Too many go on the road and are lucky to break even.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Music thrives in bad times and right now y’all are missing a world of incredibly fascinating new music. African musicians collaborating with German DJs, aging reggae artists have hooked up with the London trap scene, plus something like a million musicians with home computer studios and streaming capabilities. The living/breathing wing of the fine arts seem to be sliding into patron-sponsored events like the Rilke Project.

        As one of Gioia’s commenters points out, people simply are not buying music anymore. They pay for a streaming service or get involved with some kind of sharing network with their friends. Old music still sells because the people who listen to it don’t know how to access music otherwise now that radio is seemingly for everything but music.

        Don’t worry about the kids. After decades of pop dumbing itself down, the kids are listening to some amazing new stuff (as well as some really bad stuff but Sturgeon’s Law applies).

        1. RockHard

          I agree that people don’t really buy music anymore, but they do buy experiences, and I believe that’s how musicians have to look at it.

      3. notabanker

        My personal theory is that music went through a substantial re-invention from the late 50’s through the 90’s with the advent of electronics and computers, and that cycle is now largely complete. Particularly from the mid 60’s through late 70’s, new sounds were being invented that were never before heard. The advent of electric guitar and keys, overdriven amplifiers, modulation effects created sounds that were truly “new”.

        “New” or today’s music seems to just be pushing down the sub-genre rabbit holes, which may or may not be interesting, but not exactly “new”, just more extreme forms of the previous stuff. There are still a lot of great “new” music, but there are no Led Zeppelin’s, or Boston’s or ELO’s where the first time you hear it, your reaction is “wow, what is that?”


        1. johnherbiehancock

          I agree with your assessment.

          Even some of the newer things I’ve heard and like are more or less derivative of earlier rock/alternative rock, with some other genres worked in. Running on fumes.

          It may be reflective or a more general societal issue & decline… we’re just not manufacturing anything here any more, including decent art or culture. And the types of scenes that incubate culture and art don’t really seem to exist in real life, only online. And it’s just not possible to duplicate the sort of environment needed to innovate without actual human contact.

        2. johnherbiehancock

          To be fair, I’m not sure much, if any American pop / rock / etc. music will have much staying power. So much of it was always commercially sponsored, or if not, was quickly coopted by the industry and then commercialized. And that makes it now seem a lot more disposable to me.

          And the genres of American music and artists that were legit… blues, R&B, soul, jazz… how much are they a part of our cultural fabric today?

          Future historians and anthropologists (if any survive and exist) will probably think our culture was a huge mess. All over the place… a mile wide and an inch deep.

          Is that too depressing? I had the thought at some point during this pandemic, when I realized I’d rather drive in silence than put on the radio or any music from my phone, and that got me thinking of whether anything I used to consider “great music” really was all that great, and just how deep were the cultural ties that bound us all.

        3. hunkerdown

          I agree. Then, technological efforts focused on the engineer’s side of the studio window. (Unfortunately, first efforts aided and abetted the loudness war.)

          USB and Firewire allowed the attachment of high-quality analog-digital converters to common PCs. MMX and later vector instruction sets made recorded data streams computationally easier to manipulate in time and frequency domains. The VST audio plugin standard enabled the development of a huge ecosystem of free and paid plugins for audio processing and synthesis tasks, from basic echo/delay to subtle vocal sweetening, from vintage synthesizer simulators to oscine vocal tract simulators. (Dare we establish a dialog?)

        4. Karl

          Coming soon: “Wow, what AI system did that?” No human musicians will be able to compete.

          1. Mikel

            The masses have never been much into the virtuosity of musicianship. The charts would be much different if that were so.
            Many current performers have to be more concerned if people start to project personality and sex appeal onto robots and software.

      4. RockHard

        I don’t buy into the idea that young people today are not creative. I hear creative work coming out, but it’s really hard to find, and you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. That used to be the interaction between record label A&R, radio stations, and promoters, but that entire market has simultaneously fragmented and consolidated in strange ways. The game used to be to get some radio play, but how do you do that now? Terrestrial radio is deader than dead, SiriusXM has some traction… in cars. So you get Spotify to push you onto recommendations?

        My younger kids use YouTube for music. TikTok is important – there’s really important interaction because people record dances to play back – you used to have to go to the clubs to pick up on dance trends. Soundcloud seems to be for really dedicated enthusiasts. A musician’s life has turned into managing social media because that’s how they connect, but in the end it comes down to going out on the road, managing your costs, and selling all the merch you can, but all of that is governed by power laws (ref Clay Shirky’s essays from 20 years ago).

        Anybody really can publish music for practically nothing these days, but it’s the same problem, how do you get people to listen? Or, if you’re an enthusiast, how do you find it?

        One way is to do your own A&R work – you go after trends that get people to show up at your shows. It’s always happened. I had a go at being a musician in LA in the late 80s, where you were either Guns ‘n Roses or Poison and nobody knew what to do with you if you didn’t fit those molds… and then Pearl Jam and Nirvava came out of nowhere and rewrote the script.

        1. Eureka Springs

          There was a story linked here a few years back about how few kids learn to play instruments compared to a few decades ago. Not long after that on a whim I went down to New Orleans to catch Maceo Parker at Tipitina’s. Now I’ve been to NOLA enough in my life that I could drive a cab like a local but I always managed to miss Mardi Gras. Well we get to town/TIPS in the garden district and the streets are filled with Mardi Gras parades of young people in marching bands – playing real instruments. Kids from all over several states. Funky jazzy stuff. Not that football band merde. That gave me more hope than Obama leaving office.

          On the genre front, there are too many making them all practically meaningless. What they call R&B now has neither R or B to it. And I knew the end was nigh on that front when Ska no longer meant reggae (in the early 90’s).

          I used to scour the net a few times a year with many bookmarks to get me started and in a few sessions I could have a nice long playlist of new to me stuff. Even some whole album/CD’s. How rare it is now to find young bands who compose an album as a whole work. Almost all of those bookmarked for revisiting for leads over the last 20 years are gone or as useless as Pitchfork. last year I think my singles playlist ended up with half a dozen songs, rather than 50 to 150.

          One needs to know and understand some critics. Today’s critics with most who like to talk about art, they really don’t communicate well. And of course search engines are crap and places like amazon reviews, particularly music, are not the place to read. I’m at a complete loss as to how to find new grooves.

          All that said… Jack White, Patti Smith, Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, Big Smith have all been excellent live shows this year.

      5. XXYY

        Maybe music producers/labels are risk adverse and stifle anything new?

        I have heard this about both the music industry and the movie industry. Creative types have been supplanted by marketing people who are using spreadsheets to figure out whether a particular property is likely to do well or not. In the movies, I understand, it’s almost impossible to get a script green lighted now unless it has some book, older movie, comic book, TV show, cartoon, board game, or other built-in audience attached. The idea that you would just read a good original script and go forth and make it into a good original movie is an almost unthinkable thought.

        Other signs of decline, I guess.

      6. hunkerdown

        Those are merchandising formats. Genres are evolving slowly within them and without. Look at how Metallica’s output has shifted over 40 years from thrash metal to borderline easy listening and yet you will find them filed under “Rock”. Even then, a look around the back part of the record store, in the world music, experimental, and electronic music sections, reveals a dozen flavors of hardcore as different among themselves as the genres you named. Admittedly, some might not be legible as music to all listeners.

        When you say “pushing onto the old”, are you talking about how music “ages in” to oldies radio? The format is designed to do that, to keep those ears attached to the ads without spoiling the process of generational formation among the young ‘uns. Local music wouldn’t rate, especially with radio stations programmed from afar and local music being mostly invisible to national distribution.

        The best place to look for new genres is outside of that system, because as you suspect the majors aren’t paying (advancing, actually) six figures for anything they don’t already have a demographic box for. The new, original stuff has gone underground. Artists come and go. They may release one song, an EP, or a half dozen albums over 1 or 20 years. Check local collectives, local scenes, local festivals, live venues, netlabels, microlabels, streaming services (not compensated enough to matter, but the recommendation engines can increase discoverability). Recommendation engines, peer-to-peer recommendation from baristas and blog comments are how it gets discovered. Again, it may not be legible as music to any given pair of ears, but if you can make sense of Aphex Twin you can make sense of anything.

      7. trogg

        In the past, jukeboxes and local radio allowed for variation. The most exciting music always came from small record labels, who could get their music out on the regional market even if they couldn’t break nationally. Then came MTV, clear channel, digital formats, etc., which killed all that. I’m not sure it will ever get better.

        1. Jonathan King

          What trogg said. Though the heyday of the independents ended long before MTV and all the rest — IMO with the advent in the mid-1960s of “Top 30” playlists on Bill Drake-governed radio stations, starying with KHJ-AM in Los Angeles in 1965. Adhered to religiously and hence repetitively, those tight playlists limited each Drake-confined program director’s freedom to play distinctive indie efforts that didn’t have a promo effort behind them, but that seemed likely to break out locally given radio support. Which for the most part they no longer got. Pretty soon #4 in L.A. was the same as #4 in Pittsburgh and Tucson and Miami. That lockstep, imposed consensus never loosened up on AM radio, was soon adopted by other media, and now here we are, trapped in a media frame of “Top 30 Things You Should Never Tell Your Car.”

      8. Michael Fiorillo

        Gioia’s point seems valid in aggregate/mass market terms, but there is still a lot of great music being made.

        Starting out, try the great Brazilian guitarist and composer, Yamandu Costa… virtuosity, soul, playfulness… not to be too much the fan boi, but he’s one of those kissed-by-God musicians who come around once a generation or so. Forty-two years old, making records since 2000: does that make him too old?

        youtube.com/watch?v=PT kqxrlh4R4 …. (Sarara)

    2. McDee

      Bumper sticker I recently saw: ” It’s not that I’m old.Your music really is terrible.”

  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” • Gay marriage to be codified, contraception to be codified, abortion remains uncodified. Odd! ”

    One could offer a good-faith theory or a bad-faith theory as to why abortion will remain uncodified.

    Good Faith theory: The DemParty officeholder-lawmakers hope that the Republicans dare not oppose codification of gay marriage or contraception at this time, so they hope to get these things codified before the Republicans feel they have accrued the even further yet more political capital to stop those things too.

    Bad Faith theory: The DC-level DemParty hopes to maintain the new Soopreem Shariah Law Kort codification of zero protection for abortion in order to keep fundraising and running on waving the Bloody Coathanger.

    Are state DemParties more legitimate? They will provide us a yes or no answer state by state over the next few years. In heavy probortion-majority states, they will codify and armor plate legal abortion in those states if they are legitimate. And if they decide to pursue an approach of Heightening the Contradictions, they will ban non-residents from antibortion states from getting abortions in their probortion states. Including most of all banning and truly preventing the wives, daughter, nieces, girlfriends, rape-victims, etc. of rich Chrislamo-Fascist Shariah Law leaders of the antibortion states from getting sneaky abortions on the down-low for their own social-class-favored female persons of concern.
    That should begin turning those states into pressure cooker time bombs which will either adopt probortion policies or begin to experience pre-civil-war type of unrest within their own borders. If they can be consumed with pre-civil-war levels of abortion-related violence and unrest within their own borders, they may not have the energy to send their Christian Satanist antibortion assassination and sabotage teams into probortion states to attack those states as well.

    Carry the battle to the heart of the enemy.

    1. TimH

      Gay marriage to be codified, contraception to be codified

      I honestly doubt that it’s intended to get through. But contribute to DNC and vote for us next time, and it will happen, honest!

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Because the Supreme Court would never nullify a law? That’s kinda what they do for a living.

      1. hk

        Exactly same trick that GOP was pulling to “repeal Obamacare” when Obama was still in WH. Useless performative nonsense.

    2. super extra

      > And if they decide to pursue an approach of Heightening the Contradictions, they will ban non-residents from antibortion states from getting abortions in their probortion states. Including most of all banning and truly preventing the wives, daughter, nieces, girlfriends, rape-victims, etc. of rich Chrislamo-Fascist Shariah Law leaders of the antibortion states from getting sneaky abortions on the down-low for their own social-class-favored female persons of concern.

      Believe me I understand the fury at the religious zealots but I assure you this would not ‘bring the battle to the leaders of the antiabortion states’ (because they all have multiple houses in other states; this is business for them), it would just make things even worse for those of us who live under the rule of the Heritage Foundation/Federalist Society/Chamber of Commerce mafia. You realize those are the groups that are pouring the endless funds for these actions, the endless groups that ‘raise awareness’ and create jobs for their own special-interest communities (eg members of a certain church being employed by the ‘abortion counseling services’.

      > That should begin turning those states into pressure cooker time bombs which will either adopt probortion policies or begin to experience pre-civil-war type of unrest within their own borders.

      No offense but you really need to read up on what was done to Kansas in the 90s during the first (and most vicious) wave of antiabortion protests to prepare the ground for all these changes. We’ve been living under this for decades now. The book Kochland covers a lot of this. Here’s an article from 1991 after the first summer of protests that does a very good job describing the situation on the ground. Make sure you read all the way to the end. The Democrats were never going to fight back against the tactics the antiabortion crowd was willing to deploy. They ALWAYS thought they could take the high road out of it, ‘be the better person’, appeal to the lesser angels.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the probortion states can turn themselves into unassailable Fortress Probortion States, they can then work on attracting pro-human-rights people to move from the antibortion states into the probortion states. Begin brain-draining the antibortion states in order to attrit and degrade their societies and economies to attrit and degrade the power of the Womanslave Power.

      Speed up the evolution of the antibortion states into the sort of Christian Sharia Law sh!tholes that no intelligent person would want to live in, and from which every intelligent person will flee. That would shift the power balance from the antibortion states to the probortion states.

      That in itself would not solve the problem of our Strategic H-Bomb Force being in the hands of the Christianazi Satanofacists. That would still have to be addressed.

      1. super extra

        how is this any different from ‘rednecks in flyover don’t deserve anything nice because they elected Trump’?

        I’ve got a longer post in moderation that might be too hot to free and that’s fine but you’ve got to understand that there are very wealthy forces backing the antiabortion movement – and have been doing so for decades – they’ve paired this as the red meat issue while they looted the states via public-private partnerships and tax loopholes. Making things even more miserable for the people living under this because of one part of the whole problem will not make it any better. In fact it just amplifies the entire red vs blue state horsesh** and hardens people into partisans when presented with absolutists. Aim your fire higher up at the organizations that airdrop in funds to support the most vile candidates, at the legal organizations, at the Heritage Foundation and the Federalists.

        1. hunkerdown

          Accelerationism has its boosters.

          And the Democrat Party worked both sides on this “issue”.

          Such a strategy works best when we can prevent Democrat establishment supporters from exercising their Lady Bountiful act, deny them what David Graeber called “access to the right to behave altruistically”. That’s why they hate direct action.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          That’s why I said that the very wealthy residents of the antibortion states must be most-of-all denied abortions in the probortion states. Make them feel the pain they inflict on others. Make them feel it till they decide to stop inflicting it.

          People who gleefully take the Heritage Foundation and Federalist money should not be allowed to get away with their gleeful support.

          And they should definitely not be permitted to extend their Christian Satanist rule to those states not currently under Christian Satanist rule.

          ” How is it different than etc. etc. . . . ?” It is different because it recognizes that the non-Christian Sharia Law states are now in an existential war for their mere existence that has been forced upon them by the Christian Sharia Law movement. People who don’t want to face that fact can call me any names they like. Just as I no longer care what the global warming denialists and their sponsors think of me when I suggest that our survival requires exterminating their economy before they exterminate our ecology.

          1. super extra

            So you don’t think attacking the GOP on their economic policies around public-private partnerships would be effective in getting them out of power? In OK we have some of the most rabid and feral antiabortionists in power. They’re also incredibly partial to sweetheart deals with corporations (traditionally oil/gas/ag but the current guy is trying to expand to bs tech stuff like bitcoin and self-driving cars) and charter schools. Check out some of the party’s recent deeds, just this year:

            Timeline: Epic Charter Schools’ Years of Wrongdoing: charter schools, fundamental GOP platform plank, stealing millions over several years, so bad the executives got arrested
            Oklahoma (GOP) lawmakers to introduce cryptomining-friend bill this year: great timing, right before the crypto crash started. Can’t wait to see those job gains!
            Canoo’s finacial woes raise questions with Oklahoma lawmakers: gave a vaportech company millions to base their company here, whoops they’re going out of biz before the jobs materialize

            > That’s why I said that the very wealthy residents of the antibortion states must be most-of-all denied abortions in the probortion states. Make them feel the pain they inflict on others. Make them feel it till they decide to stop inflicting it.

            No, the way you hurt very wealthy people who skew much older than the age of reproduction – that’s who the most wealthy people in these states are, especially the donors heavy in the business and religious communities – is by hitting them in their pocketbook and on taxes. Pretty wild how there’s a huge massive target right there – multiple targets, in fact – that the Democrats could take on if they were serious about winning from the GOP, but that might throw their own fundraising operations into question. Meanwhile more women will die, Christian sh!tholes and not.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              You cannot possibly out-feralise your antibortionists in power. If you try to out-strategise and out-tactitionise them, I hope you succeed. The other things you mention are certainly worth a try. But since the feral rulers have shaped the battlespace for you, they will be able to force you to fight at least some of your battle
              on the battlespace they have pre-shaped to their political combat advantage.

              I wish you luck in your political war-fighting endeavors. If you and your side is able to win by making the ferals lose, you will have valuable lessons for human rights supporters in other states facing their versions of your situation.

          2. notabanker

            So let me get this straight. Because I live in a mid-western state that has voted 55% red, me, my kids, my wife, my parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins, their kids, my friends, everyone I work with, everyone I’ve seen on the streets and highways, everyone I’ve seen at baseball and football games, all of them plus millions more, deserve to either be given the choice of moving to a state that votes 55% blue or we should be starved of resources and eventually exterminated? Because we are all part of some vast conspiracy to implement Christian Sharia law in the US? Is this what your position is?

            1. Gravity Falls

              LOL, zero sum is truly wicked. All joking aside, 55% voting majority doesn’t effectively communicate what is truly occurring. The wealthy (and ideologically committed)is effectively calling the shots, regardless of your political stripe. The rest of the populace is on the receiving end of their policies.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              ” Deserving ain’t got nothing to do with it.”

              If you and all the people you mention want a chance at preserving and keeping what you have accepted as your basic human rights up to now, you will have to move to a state where these rights are accepted within the borders of the state. If you stay in a state going more Christian Fascist as time passes, you will lose more of your rights. It all depends on whether you and the people you mentioned want to save yourselves or not. ( Or are you-all preparing to drive your Christian Fascists back into their toilets and sewers and save your state? If you are, and if you succeed, then there is no need for you-all to think of leaving in order to survive, if indeed you can conquer and assure your survival-in-place).

              In the 1930s, some German ( specifically German) Jews chose to leave Germany while others chose to stay in place and hope for better conditions to return. Those who chose to leave ( and leave behind their version of everything you describe leaving behind in your life if you were to move) turn out to have made the better choice.

              My stated suggestions are designed to try weakening the Christian Sharia Law states to stop them from conquering the Human Rights states and destroying human rights and civilization in our states too, which is what the Christian Sharia Law movement plans to do.

              When you pretend to accuse me of seeking your “eventual extermination”, we both know that you are making shit up. Weakening Christian Fascist states enough to stop them from being or becoming an existential survival threat to Human Rights states is not the same as seeking their extermination. By analogy, Russia does not want to “exterminate” Ukraine. Russia wants to stop Ukraine from being a deadly danger to Russia.

              Some would suggest that the Probortion states set up Underground Abortion Railroads to help runaway forced-pregnancy-slaves get abortions in the Probortion Free States. And that is certainly a choice the Probortion states can make. But they will have to be prepared for the Right-To-Life Christian terrorism which will follow those runaway womanslaves into the Free States. Those States will have to create large and effective State Guards able to intercept and kill every fire team and demolition team the Antibortion States will send into the Probortion States. And that will lead to a civil war between the two sets of states.

              I would prefer to see such civil wars happen within the states whose ruling elites are forcing this controversy into existence and towards this level of violence to begin with.

              And as a third tier commenter on a blog, I will have zero impact on whether a brain-drain strategy is adopted or not. I suspect thousands and then millions of people who want to preserve their human rights from Gilead Republic Christianism will self-deport their own selves to Human Rights states. And that is just a prediction that I am making. Events will prove me right or wrong over the next twenty years.

      2. GramSci

        I fear that is unlikely to be effective. The Senate can always be easily bought more cheaply through a majority of the less-populous states.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What about the House?

          If the House becomes firmly majority pro human rights to reflect a majority in the pro human rights states, the House won’t let any Christian Fascist legislation even reach the Christian Fascist Senate to begin with.

    4. Tom Stone

      Sadly, I do not believe that the USA will ever tire of moralistic cruelty to its own citizens.
      Or to the Citizens of ANY other Country.
      Even sadder is the fact that every Human being is doing the best they can with what they have at any given time.
      All of us.
      I’m off to look at the pics from the Webb telescope for a little perspective.

      1. jr

        “ Sadly, I do not believe that the USA will ever tire of moralistic cruelty to its own citizens.”

        Why would they? It’s a form of power in a society that values moral righteousness over rationalism and empiricism. I suspect it will grow worse given the accelerating loss of personal power and autonomy the average USer is experiencing.

  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    About various fed/state investigators focusing on the very smallest Hunter Biden thing . . . ” • That’s it? ”

    I hypothesise that they think this is the very smallest thing they can lead with in extorting from Biden a promise not to seek or accept another term as President. They may well privately tell Biden that if he pre-resigns from 2024, they can stop the investigation right there. If he doesn’t, they may not be able to control the legal methane eruptions which could ensue if the investigation stirs deeper muck.

    1. Tom Stone

      I certainly don’t think that this article has anything at all to do with putting pressure on Biden to resign.
      For health reasons, with the Cancer and Covid as an easy excuse.
      DOJ can go in hard or soft on Hunter because lying on form 4472 is iirc a felony with serious penalties, when it is enforced.
      I wonder who might have been upset about not getting a little prior notice about the sanctions?
      TPTB seem to have been comfortable with Biden’s obvious mental deterioration so I suspect it’s about the money.

  7. TimH

    On mask reuse… surely out in the sun to kill the virus with UV, not a cool dark place?

    1. curlydan

      I also wondered why the recommended cool, dry places. I read the full article but did get any more info.

      My N95 normally sits on my dash, so it’s definitely a hot and dry place at this time of year.

    2. Tom Stone

      Direct sunlight and heat will degrade the straps that hold the mask in place.
      I hang mine in direct sun for 4 days and simply accept a reduction in how long the straps last.

    3. Yves Smith

      The Covid dies in a few days anyhow.

      In the days of early Covid (remember when everyone was worried about fomites?) the recommendation to health care workers was to toss their clothes in a hamper for at least a couple of days before washing and reusing.

  8. chris

    Re: Biden with COVID. So does this mean we’ll learn about the official presidential nap schedule now? I’m not optimistic that the universe will see fit to have Biden experience any of the suffering he’s inflicted on others. But I would enjoy people saying something to the effect that the business of the white house won’t be affected much by the president being sick for 1-4 weeks…

    1. Another Anon

      I am wondering what will happen if Biden gets long Covid.
      Considering his health and cognitive issues, would we even be able to tell ?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, if he ended up in a hospital proned and intuberated, someone would know. We would only know indirectly. We would be told he is currently in an undisclosed secure location.

        1. chris

          We won’t be told anything. If things go right or wrong, we won’t get more information than we already have. It’s already a little odd that we get this letter as opposed to a message from the President.

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” It also helps a great deal that Harris is a pioneering Black woman in a party whose most loyal constituents are Black voters. Their support for Harris remains strong. In a Fox News poll released last month, the vice president’s overall approval rating was 41%. Among Black respondents, it was 73%.” Great. From the constituency that gave us Obama, Clinton, and Biden. ”

    hmmm . . . I wonder what the other 28% of Black respondents, the ones who did NOT support Harris, were/are thinking? Are they afraid that Mainstream Black America is spending all its Moral Authority Capital down to zero, and will then run itself into Moral Anti-Authority Debt? Are they quietly manning the political lifeboats and rowing their fastest away from the Good Ship Mainstream Black America as it prepares to sink to the bottom of the Briny Political Deep?

    Those disgruntled ( if they are disgruntled) Black non-supporters of Kamalabama Harris could be part of a Newer Deal Movement if such a thing could get itself organized. I suspect that people like Adolph Reed might be very sympathetic to it.

      1. hk

        I would imagine that, once we start getting details of anyone’s ancestry, things will get messy fast, especially when it comes to slavery. Ethnocentric/nationalist politics mixing with “history” was never pretty anywhere any time and US won’t be an exception if only because we exist on so much myth from all sides

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        My first response would be that I don’t believe in “blood quantum” determination of personal ethno-culturacial identy. We are a free country, and she gets to be whatever ethno-culturacial identy she awards to herself.

        But given that her adopted identy is purely for cynical self-advancement careerist purposes, I hope the things you point out can be weaponised and disseminationised for effective viralization against her.
        She deserves to be utterly destroyed by any means convenient and effective. If we can achieve it, then let the Clyburn-Obama fan club members cry themselves to sleep every night for the rest of their lives.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I guess I should clarify ” anyone gets to be what they say they are” . . . if the ethno culturacial identy-group-load of people you claim to be part of don’t recognize you or know you as any part of their identy-community, then you don’t get to have your claim believed that you are. Senator Warren discovered that when the Cherokee Nation and people said they couldn’t find any truth-basis for her claims to be or have been one of them.

          ( I spell it ‘identy’ because ‘identian’ is easier to spell than ‘identitarian’ which is one of those words intellectuals invent to impress eachother with . . . like ‘intersectional’ . . . ‘intersectionality’ . . .’intersectionalizationification’ . . . etc. )

    1. Big River Bandido

      Al Gore got ~90% of the black vote in 2001 and IIRC even Michael Dukakis came close to that in 1988.

      A Democrat who can’t hit that target cannot win a general election. 73% is pathetic, especially for a half-Jamaican woman.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps a genuine and sincere Renew The Deal Party could make Black support for the Democrats even more pathetic.

        Perhaps a Legal Abortion New Deal ( ” both or neither”) would force people to decide what is most important to them. Also, Legal Abortion New Deal has an easy-to-say acronym. The LAND Party.

        1. Big River Bandido

          I suspect that a party focused on actually delivering universal, concrete material benefits to the people would attract support from a wide swath of voters, all across the current so-called “political spectrum”. Keeping those potential voters alienated and impotent (“they have nowhere to go”) is central to the PMC maintaining its lockdown on the Democrat Party.

          As a stand-alone issue, “abortion” lacks the salience to successfully move large masses of voters. For one thing, it repels as many people as it attracts, if not more. The broader issue of contraception *might* have such salience, and that’s why I think it was included with “marriage equality” in the performative House bill (it has zero chance of becoming law). I’d be willing to bet that as soon as contraception is shown to be politically potent…the Democrats will clam up about it.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            But as a wedge issue, the Oligarchs find “abortion” to be a very handy wedge. And the Christian Fascists find it to be a very congenial battlefield. And the broad masses-in-the-middle respect shows of political bravery and despise shows of trembling political weakness.

            So if a Newer-Deal-minded movement-load of people would strongly overlap with support for legal abortion rights, they are better off owning it and horntooting it right from the start. That is why I have suggested something calling itself the LAND Party ( Legal Abortion New Deal Party) If Christian Fascists consider womanslavery and religious oppression against others more important than material benefits for themselves, they should be encouraged to drain into their own Republican Party sump.
            And not divide and pollute a Newer Deal movement by their Religionazi Oppressionist presence.

            We go to political war on the battlefield we have, not the battlefield we wish we had or would like to have at some future time.

  10. ChiGal

    >Burned to the waterline? >Really?

    I don’t remember the name of the logical fallacy where you argue intent from outcome.

    If ignorance of the law doesn’t preclude guilt, does incompetence?

    Honestly, my issue with these hearings isn’t that he isn’t culpable but that we already know he is: we watched it unfold in real time.

    Wasting time on politics when we have a heck of a lot of policy to attend to, not least regarding the pandemic.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The authorities have already committed themselves to accelerating the pandemic. If Congress wasn’t holding J6 hearings, the permagov authorities would still be just as committed to accelerating the pandemic.
      So the J6 hearings are not slowing pandemic response at all, because the response is already a deliberate conspiracy to deepen and spread the pandemic.

      During the Great Depression, when Congress held the Pecora Hearings, that did not stop FDR and the Congress from pursuing various New Deal initiatives. That’s because the authorities of the day wanted to solve the Great Depression, rather than accelerating and deepening it ( unlike Coolidge and Mellon).

      1. Tom Stone

        Monkeypox will be a game changer when it hits the prestigious schools.
        Sidwell Friends comes to mind.
        I’m sure there are equivalents in NY and LA…
        Covid is a lot more dangerous but it doesn’t disfigure you, Monkeypox does.
        And that’s going to upset a lot of important and self important parents.
        And the recommended quarantine period is 3-4 weeks, which will be an impossible burden for almost all families.

        1. chris

          Monkeypox has a good chance of shutting down preschools and kindergartens. Daycare options will also be hit. All the institutions where the teachers need a lot of physical contact with kids and the kids don’t have any idea how to control themselves.

          Odds are good that older kids won’t be affected. Especially post COVID. I don’t know if you’ve been around teenagers lately but a number of them are freaked out by any kind of physical contact now. My kids have seen some of their peers who couldn’t take all the physical denial and are acting out publicly. Like having sex in a car in the school parking lot after school in full view of other students trying to leave school for the day. But many of them are very selective about their partners now. Many more more, like my oldest, have never kissed anyone. Losing two years of crucial emotional development to be confined to quarantine has stunted that part of teenagers lives.

    2. John Zelnicker

      ChiGal – The logical fallacy is “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc” where the argument is that since Y followed X, X must have caused Y.

  11. Miriam

    This sums it up nicely:

    What renters are fighting; Banksters and financiers, buying up U.S. real estate.

    With access to unlimited financing from their bank owned “Federal” Reserve, such bets using the credit and financial power of our nation channeled through the credit power of their “Fed,” are just more ways to milk whatever disposable income is left from Americans who will own nothing, rent and be allegedly happy.

    e.g., if they buy 1000 houses, each with a loan of $700,000 for an interest rate of 7% per year (preferential, bankster-crony rate) and real inflation is running at 12%, they are getting an annual reduction of debt “gift” of $35,000,000.00 PER YEAR (12% less 7%, which is 5% times $700,000,000) just from those houses. Their ability to raise rents later far above the rate of inflation, and further profit from increases in land values, are just going to be millions more in profits.


    1. Objective Ace

      There’s plenty of Federal Reserve support available for “renters” too. Conventional mortgages are available to individuals with decent jobs without too much debt. Those too are subsidized by the Fed at interest rates even below 7 percent. The same inflation vs interest rate math applies to everyone buying a home–whether its to live in or rent

      The larger problem is the lack of decent jobs and large debts individuals wind up with from college, healthcare bills etc. that keeps people stuck renting ad nauseum. (it should also be noted that renting wouldnt be such a bad thing if home ownership wasnt the only option to a secure future)

      1. Skippy

        The problem is primary RE these days has a shorter shelf life, same goes for a lot of the fit out inside. Quality standards are grounded on studies of how long the original owner keeps the house e.g. 2/4/6 years before flipping it. Very much like white goods or cars where the OEM warranty rights go poof after selling on to new owners.

        Add on that most of the loans created for it is to service investor demand for REMBS and nothing to do about providing long term primary residence housing ownership. Less we forget even in old school classical economics a house was considered a depreciating consumable on top of the land asset.

        Per se around my area I would not buy anything built post the early 80s.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      A Newer Deal would condemn and expropriate all those banker and financier and Private-Equity owned masses of housing stock, and open it up for individual homesteading by millions of natural persons.

      At the very least, a LAND Party could run on that among other things.

      ” This LAND is my LAND”.

    1. chris

      Yes. People act like it matters. But we still have an astoundingly high rate of incumbents being re-elected. So what is the basis for people thinking a low approval rate results in any real impact?

  12. jsn

    “Gay marriage to be codified, contraception to be codified, abortion remains uncodified. Odd!”

    It’s the Uvalde Police waving a target in front of the Shooter!

  13. Michael Hudson

    Your Mission Impossible clip should have ended with:
    “This Party will self-destruct in five seconds.”

      1. ambrit

        As in take out the Terrestrial biosphere with it?
        This is where the mineshaft gap comes into prominence.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


      With all that dry gunpowder in storage, the fuse burns endlessly!

  14. Tommy S

    The problem with ‘music consumption’ is obviously sales of retail and physical product has been destroyed . …from a top down level. Tons of great stores are still alive, but most of their income is from reissues, 180 gram etc..(lets also note massive commercial rent increases in most cities!)….I’ve been in underground punk bands since the 80’s and still am, and worked for one of the biggest indie distros till 2001, and most bands, even bands that can pack mid sized clubs in SF, press maybe a hundred records. Everything else is free or almost free streaming, especially on band camp. My point is you can’t count ‘new great bands’ or new great band numbers or new great sounds by ‘consumption figures’. That is over….Most of NC readers aren’t into the old style of HC punk, but just a simple search on ‘Oakland HC punk’ will show you 50 bands, all mixed colors, women singers etc, going full tilt. And this is true over most of the country. I don’t like this ‘free thing’ in that it doesn’t pay working class bands even a fraction of recording costs. But that is the way it is now. So all bands deal with it. And on the positive side…left political music has never been bigger in the USA, seriously. From Mass Arrest, to the pretty Sweeping Promises, to Negro Terror in Memphis, to The Neutrals in Oakland etc. We are not lacking for an amazing underground. ‘We’ are lacking for funds.

    1. Sutter Cane

      Nice to see another aging punk rocker in the NC comments section! I’ve been in bands, too. My first band years ago sold a few thousand records and CDs. Not enough to live on, but enough to cover the cost of recording and pressing it and pay for some gas money to tour and see the world. Selling three or four thousand records now would be massive hit, by comparison.

      Today, a band is lucky to sell 500 copies (that’s about the minimum number of LPs you can press and have the per-unit cost not be too high when trying to sell them). For my last record I did a batch of 500 albums. I had the misfortune to release it right before the pandemic, so – copies are still available. However, I’ve had about forty thousand spins on Spotify, and several thousand more on YouTube. Small numbers compared to pop acts, but big compared to how many records I’ve ever sold. But you have to get into the six figures for Spotify streams before you even start to get any money out of it, so having your song played tens of thousands of times on a streaming service gets you jack squat.

      Ironically, as a musician, today your music can be heard by more people than have ever listened to you before, while you get the least money you’ve ever gotten out of it.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “If ‘fatal,’ what then?” The attack of the Zombie supreme court. Days and nights of the living dead.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        It’s a lot easier to pack an institution if it has minimal public support but don’t tell anyone in the Dem Party.

  15. Gitta

    “I think what the president was saying was maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down or something, I don’t know exactly.”

    Is there a crowdsource campaign?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “WHO has been working on a new name for monkeypox for five weeks now.”

    Taking inspiration from a T-shirt and considering the fact that the Democrats own Monkeypox from start to finish as it is all on their watch, how about calling it the Donkeypox?

    1. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      How about “smaller pox” or ” “20th century pox” or “lesions of honor”?

  17. Matthew G. Saroff

    “WHO has been working on a new name for monkeypox for five weeks now?”

    Poxy McPoxface.

  18. Verifyfirst

    “New York adult diagnosed with polio, first US case in nearly a decade”

    Uhm……who cares? It’s just polio, way less destructive or widespread than Covid.

    “About 1 in 4 infected people have flu-like symptoms including sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache and stomach pain. As many as 1 in 200 will develop more serious symptoms that include tingling and numbness in the legs, an infection of the brain or spinal cord, and paralysis,”

    It’s mild, for godsake…..


    1. The Rev Kev

      Go long iron lung machines – but now controlled by an app. The newer version will be built by Elon Musk’s Tesla Division using software built by a Bill Gates Foundation.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And turn-offable remotely if you are accused of falling behind on your payments.

  19. chris wardell

    new music numbers are ugly
    I know its my opinion but to me much of the new music is junk
    as are numerous new tv shows

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Numerous aka the overwhelming majority.

      Some good new ones:

      The Terminal List
      The Old Man
      God’s Favorite Idiot (so so)
      Solar Opposites new season
      The Challenge USA (shitty reality TV)
      Black Bird (decent)
      The Boys new season
      The Orville new season (Idpol SATURATED but still ok Sci fi writing)

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      “Everything The Circus thinks is gold is shit … “

      Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy) to George Smiley (Gary Oldman) – Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy

  20. Wukchumni

    A stricken Gulfstream jet containing 3 billionaires will crash soon and there are only 2 golden parachutes, and based on a lifetime of government handouts to his operation, Elon feels he should get one, while Bill would no longer be the single largest owner of American farmland anymore were he denied the opportunity, leaving some early Bitcoin investor named Liam, who turned $5,353 into a couple billion-as the other passenger in need…

    Who gets the golden parachutes?

  21. Li’lD

    New promoted pop music is junk
    But lots of great music is being made.
    The ability of the artist and music lover to connect is confounded by all of the intermediary players.
    As above, great stuff is out there on eg bandcamp but so is a lot of dreck and curation is a lot of work.
    I’d love to see a pandora-like algo hunt through all the crap and find a playlist of new music for me.
    Rick Beato has some good rants on this

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