2:00PM Water Cooler 7/22/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Mongolian Short-toed Lark, Sühbaatar, Mongolia. I picked this lark for the name, but what a virtuoso!

* * *



“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

“Cheney says Jan. 6 panel will hold more hearings in September” [The Hill]. Cheney: “In the course of these hearings we have received new evidence, and new witnesses have bravely stepped forward. Efforts to litigate and overcome immunity and executive privilege claims have been successful, and those continue. Doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break.” • Well, I was tired of “the walls are closing in” anyhow. So I’m hopeful the Committee will have a theory of the case in September, even if that is uncomfortably close to the midterms.

And speaking of chopping down Presidential timber:

Hawley running — the best part of the video is where they lovingly slow it down, so you can see Hawley running twice — has nothing to do with any theory of the case the Committee is trying to put together, if indeed it is doing so. It’s just a piece of oppo, dropped from Democrat strategists to pick up. I have no issue withi making fun of Hawley, but a serious Congressional inquiry isn’t the place for it. (I think, in retrospect, McCarthy was tactically right to make sure only Never Trumpers were on the Commitee, though Trump was ticked at him for it; there’s now nobody to prevent the Democrats from over-reaching themselves, as they did here.)

“Is the Secret Service’s Claim About Erased Text Messages Plausible? (Updated)” [Zero Day]. “Efforts by a congressional committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection hit a roadblock last week when it came to light that text messages the committee sought from the phones of Secret Service agents may have been permanently deleted last year as part of a scheduled device migration…. To find out if messages erased in a factory reset are lost for good, and whether the agency was following best practices when it told agents to back up phones on their own before the reset, I spoke with Heather Mahalik, senior director of digital intelligence at Cellebrite, and Robert Osgood, a 26-year veteran of the FBI who worked for the bureau as a digital forensics examiner and is currently director of the forensics and telecommunications program at George Mason University. … Both Osgood and Mahalik said that if the phones underwent a factory reset, then the messages will still be on the phone if the data has not been overwritten by other data since the reset. But they said the messages would not be readable due to the way factory resets work, and therefore would essentially be unrecoverable…. To adhere to rules that require federal agencies to retain government records, the Secret Service should have an automated collection system in place to backup things like text messages on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the agency had such a tool…. It should be noted, though, that having an automated collection tool doesn’t guarantee data is backed up properly. In 2018 when officials sought to obtain text messages from the phones of FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok — a former FBI attorney and agent, respectively — they discovered that the collection tool failed to collect data from about 10 percent of FBI devices. Notably, although the FBI had such a collection tool in place at the time, its parent organization — the Department of Justice — did not.”

“Watchdog launches criminal probe over missing Secret Service messages” [WaPo]. “The inspector general’s office sent the letter to the Secret Service late Wednesday. The office instructed the Secret Service to cease its forensic review of texts and anything else that could be construed as interfering in a criminal investigation. The Secret Service then notified the Jan. 6 committee that it could no longer try to provide them with documents responsive to their subpoena or investigate ways to recover missing texts. The letter from the inspector general’s office marked a week of escalating exchanges between the Office of the Inspector General and the Secret Service over the agents’ messages.”

“Dramatic testimony: Pence security detail feared for lives during riot” [The Hill]. • Dramatic!

Biden Administration

“It’s going to be okay.”

For you!

“Senate Democrats roll out long-awaited bill to legalize marijuana” [The Hill]. “Senate Democrats on Thursday unveiled long-awaited legislation to end the federal prohibition of marijuana, but opposition from Republicans and some Democrats is expected to pose a challenge to passing the measure…. Schumer said the bill would legalize cannabis by removing the drug from the Controlled Substances Act and ’empowering states to create their own cannabis laws instead.’ But the newly introduced bill faces tough opposition from many Republicans in the evenly split Senate, as well as resistance from some Democrats, threatening its chances of passage in the upper chamber.” • Who could have iknown?


* * *


“The Pete Buttigieg Fake Governing Problem” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. “The reality is that our industrial systems are breaking down because our government isn’t constraining the powerful people who run them according to short-term profit maximizing goals. That’s why the airlines, for instance, are a mess. Despite consumer complaints about the industry being up 300% since 2019, and $5-15B of tickets that went un-refunded during Covid, the airlines are unchastened. And the reason is that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has created an environment ripe for cheating by having his agency issue a record low number of aviation enforcement orders….. The airlines cheated people during the initial stages of the pandemic, but so did banks. Bank of America, for instance, froze people’s accounts who were getting unemployment help. But unlike with airlines, there is a real regulator on consumer protection for banks – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra. And the CFPB forced Bank of America to refund customers, and on top of that fined the bank $100 million for “botching the disbursement of unemployment insurance.” Another bank regulator followed the CFPB and issued a separate $125 million fine. The difference between Chopra and Buttigieg is stark…. There are also quieter levers useful to governing. There’s a lot of carping about bad judges of late, and for good reason. But enforcers can also shape how judges think about the law. For instance, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, run by anti-monopolist Jonathan Kanter, just issued a ‘statement of interest’ in a private lawsuit opposing trucking firms that agree with one another not to hire truckers from each other. The Antitrust Division not only enforces the law directly, but shapes the law through these kinds of briefs. Kanter is trying to create a legal prohibition against these ‘no-hire’ agreements. It isn’t flashy, it isn’t instant, but it restructures markets.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

“The Tyranny Of Structurelessness” [Jo Freeman]. This classic from the 70s is worth reading in full. I’m filing it away here because of passages like this: “Elites are not conspiracies. Very seldom does a small group of people get together and deliberately try to take over a larger group for its own ends. Elites are nothing more, and nothing less, than groups of friends who also happen to participate in the same political activities. They would probably maintain their friendship whether or not they were involved in political activities; they would probably be involved in political activities whether or not they maintained their friendships. It is the coincidence of these two phenomena which creates elites in any group and makes them so difficult to break.” • I tend to think of factions (with Madison) as being knitted together by interest. It’s important, I think, to include friendship (and marriage) to our network analysis, as Freeman reminds us.

“Big Tech Lobbyists Butter Up the Dems” [ReadSludge]. “One of Schumer’s daughters is a registered lobbyist for Amazon in New York and another daughter works as a product marketing manager at Facebook.” • Speaking of friendship….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Half of Americans expect a civil war ‘in the next few years’” [The Hill]. ” A study released Wednesday found that about half of all Americans expect a civil war to occur ‘in the next few years.’ Researchers from the University of California-Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and the California Violence Research Center reported that 50.1 percent of survey respondents said they at least somewhat agree that a civil war will happen soon, while 47.8 percent disagreed. About 14 percent said they ‘strongly’ or ‘very strongly’ agree that a civil war is imminent, while 36 percent said they somewhat agree…. Two-thirds of respondents said there is a ‘serious threat’ to the country’s democracy, and almost 90 percent said it is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important for the United States to remain a democracy. But more than 40 percent said having a ‘strong leader’ for the country is more important than having a democracy. Almost 1 in 5 said they agreed ‘strongly’ or ‘very strongly’ with that statement.” • Hmm. I’d want to look closely at how the questions are framed in that poll, given the business the researchers are in.

“What Keeps a Crowd from Becoming a Mob?” [Scientific American]. “A classic theory in psychology suggested that people in large crowds lose their sense of self and become emotionally impulsive and susceptible to the influence of others. As a consequence, the logic went, those in a crowd become reckless, violent and destructive. Though this characterization of crowd psychology is out of date, it’s been hard to shake. Many people still assume that groups will invariably engage in risky behavior. Indeed, fear that crowds will behave badly looms large in discussion of reopening society. Our research on cultural events in Denmark offers a more nuanced insight into these questions, informed by a contemporary understanding of group behavior. Crowds are neither inherently wise nor necessa

rily reckless. Instead the attitudes and behaviors of people within a crowd reflect the intentions that brought them together in the first place. What people do in a crowd is fundamentally connected to questions of what the crowd is (its “identity”) and what it stands for or represents (its values and norms, for example).”


Readers will recall that I was sure Leana Wen, M.D. would surely win the coveted “Sociopath of the Day” award, but today she outdid herself. Using Biden’s bout with Covid as a newshook, Wen slithered into the OpEd pages of WaPo and emitted the following:

“Opinion Biden’s covid diagnosis is a teaching moment for the country” [Leana Wen, WaPo]. “President Biden’s covid-19 diagnosis is an opportunity for his administration to demonstrate the success of his leadership on the pandemic and what living with the coronavirus looks like…. Biden, his medical team and others in the administration have done all the right things to demonstrate what should happen after a covid diagnosis. Right after he tested positive, his staff canceled public events. He entered isolation, and White House staff near him were cut to the minimum number. The administration began reaching out to those with whom he had exposure so that they can follow precautions and get tested.” Obviously, an “essental worker” has no, zero, zip, zilch, nada ability to do “all the right things.” Contact tracing for Jane Sixpack? Really? Wen really is telling you to follow Rule #2; that is the teaching moment, here: Elites have “access” to what you do not. I’m gonna stroke out if I read to much more of this steaming load, but just one more excerpt: “Another key lesson is that it’s inevitable that everyone — even the president of the United States — will be exposed to the coronavirus. That’s why vaccination and boosters are so important.” No! The dose makes the poison! That’s why — since, as we all know, vax prevents neither infection or reinfection — ventilation and masking are important: They minimize the amount of virus you inhale, and so you either don’t get Covid at all, or get a truly mild case. But oh, no, I just had to keep reading: “Getting the coronavirus should not come with stigma or be perceived as a failure; rather, it should reflect the new normal going forward. Indeed, this is almost certainly not the only time Biden will get the coronavirus. He, like the rest of us, could contract the virus once a year or more.” • Holy moley, the damage the virus inflicts is cumulative. Biden’s pills won’t work in 2024 if he has two more bouts; he won’t have two neurons left to rub together. I kept reading, oh gawd: “Biden is back at work and carrying out all the duties of his office. That’s exactly as it should be.” • No, it’s not. That’s a recipe for long Covid. So, unbelievably, Wen is trying to get Biden killed, along with the rest of us! Rarely have I seen a sociopath work so hard to be recognized. Leana Wen, congratulations!

(Oh, and no mention of non-pharamaceutical interventions.) And here we have Ron Klain endorsing Wen by retweeting her:

Another strong candidate! Ron, come on down!

* * *

• ”The pandemic and the boiling frog story” [Eric Topol, Ground Truths]. “Why do I remain optimistic? Because SARS-CoV-2 is a much easier virus to prevail over than influenza. We have never had a flu vaccine with 95% efficacy; we’re lucky to have multivalent ones that are 40% effective. Tamiflu is a weak hitter compared with Paxlovid. The virus’s main protease (Mpro) makes for an enviable choke point to take it down SARS-CoV-2, even though resistance to the drug from mutations in Mpro will likely manifest in the months ahead. Although the mutations with functional consequences have been considerable with SARS-CoV-2, they are minimal compared with the head of the influenza virus. Variant-proof ‘universal’ coronavirus vaccines and nasal vaccines to block transmission and infection are our way to turn off the heat and get ahead of the virus’s evolutionary arc. We know what we need to do; we’re just not doing it. The boiling frog metaphor is contributing to the lack of taking action.” • Or we do know what we’re doing, and we are doing it.

* * *

• Maskstravaganza: People are still willing to wear masks, despite the propaganda:

Shows you what a noisy and obnoxious minority can do when backed by the media (and with elites solidly behind them).

* * *

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: 91-DIVOC updating again, fortunately; I assumet there was a glitch at Johns Hopkins, or a glitch that manifested there.

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 ~125,900. Today, it’s ~123,000 and 123,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 738,000 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:

The South:

Florida and Texas, still trading places.

The West:


NOT UPDATES 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 20, 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?

Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), July 21:

Status quo for counties but more yellow than red.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 21:

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 20:

BA.5 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), Jul 18:

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: 1,051,235 1,050,702. 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

There are no statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Amazon’s self-driving robotaxi is ‘really close’ to human transport as vehicle passes key safety tests” [The Sun]. “AMAZON’s robotaxi startup, Zoox, is the first self-driving tech company to achieve a five-star federal crash rating from the NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.]…. The Amazon driving startup is reluctant to give a timetable for their robotaxi’s release since the vehicle will need approval from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles [DMV] and the US Department of Transportation [DOT]. Zoox has been a California-based company since its inception eight years ago. DMV and DOT approval would allow Zoox to operate on public roads as a rideshare service.” • I hate the styling, which seems ubiquious among startups. You can tell the designer wanted to make them look harmless, and that’s why they look terrifying, like psychotic Teletubbies:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 39 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 22 at 1:33 PM EDT

Book Nook


On the thread, I learned that Jan Needle’s The Wild Wood is The Wind in the Willows, told from the viewpoint of the weasels.

The Conservatory

I was heartened by the readers yesterday who protested that, yes, there is good new music out there. Mark Giselson:

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).

Or 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…..

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.

In lieu of functional search, could readers drop some of their favorite links? (Or even send some to me via email?) Thanks!

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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. jr

    Russia continues to make and maintain friendships around the world:


    “Moscow, Jul 22 (Prensa Latina) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that the Russian authorities are working together with their African counterparts on the agenda of the second Russia-Africa summit.”



    “Moscow, Jul 21 (Prensa Latina) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that despite pressures from Western sanctions and the difficult international situation Russia and Hungary continue cooperating.”

    1. Dirk

      Words of wisdom written on a subway wall, or in this case,
      the back of a five dollar bill:

      “GlobalistSanctions profiting from your poverty”

      1. jr

        Elements on both the Right and the Left in Germany seem to be awakening to that reality:


        “Berlin, Jul 22 (Prensa Latina) German parliament deputy Sarah Wagenknecht assured that the economic war against Moscow is destroying Germany, and expressed her doubts that it will be able to survive without Russian energy carriers.”

        She can “knecht” my “wagen” anytime she likes. Meanwhile, doomed Russia continues to collapse under the weight of, oh, wait, never mind:


        “Moscow, Jul 22 (Prensa Latina) Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulguinov confirmed to President Vladimir Putin that the country’s underground liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facilities are 81 percent full.”


        “We do not have any problems with the filling of underground reserves, which are currently at 81 percent. One hundred percent will be reached in November,” the minister explained as he briefed the president on preparations for the autumn/winter period.“

        Gee, must be nice to be prepared for winter. And a kicker:

        “…Russia could control 25 percent of the world hard coal market by 2050 and remain among the three largest exporters of that fuel.”

      2. ChrisRUEcon

        “The words of the prophet were written on the studio subway wall …
        Concert Hall!”

        Paraphrased from “Spirit Of The Radio” by Rush

        1. ambrit

          Wait. I thought that that meme began with Simon and Garfunkel’s song “The Sound of Silence.”

  2. lyman alpha blob

    When I heard about the Hawley video, it sounded somewhat damning and I expected to see a guy running for his life. After seeing it, it looks more like a guy who waited a little too long to hit the men’s room trying to get there before it’s too late. I hope he tipped the attendant!

    RE: the plantidote

    So that’s what echinaceas look like. I’ve been trying to grow them for years only to see all the petals eaten away almost immediately by what I found out last year were earwigs. Managed to keep the wigs away this year, only to have a massive beetle hatch break out and eat most everything I’m trying to grow, including the echinacea again. :(

    1. Samuel Conner

      If your Coneflowers were destroyed by Japanese Beetles, it might be possible to protect plants in future attempts with foul-tasting feeding deterrent sprays, home-made from readily available ingredients, that can be sprayed onto the foliage to make it taste disagreeable to the bugs.

      If sounds like your outbreak was too large to control by “by hand” destruction of the beetles. Spraying feeding deterrent solution onto foliage is reasonably scalable and doesn’t have to be done too often (after rains or flushes of new growth, mostly, I think).

      1. notabanker

        We use neem oil, key is to get it on early and refresh occasionally. It doesn’t completely eliminate the critters, but our yoshino cherry and roses do not get devoured like they used to. They stay in pretty good shape.

        1. BlakeFelix

          My farming is poor, but I went around my neighborhood spreading milky spores and it seems to have helped a bit, it’s a predatory fungus that eats Japanese beetle grubs. It’s usually used on lawns to stop them eating grass roots. I did get caught spreading spores on some of my neighbors but they just laughed at me, perhaps I should have asked.

  3. Wukchumni

    Pete Buttigieg made the South Bend to his will, but seems woefully out of his league when it comes to transportation, still no reason he can’t be of consideration for the Presidency, as the Chief Executive has the little people take care of rides and carrying bags.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      The overwhelming acceptance of robotaxis will sweep Pete into the White House : )

      My first thought when I saw the robotaxi is that if it pulled up outside, I’d be pretty sure that the authorities had finally caught up with me. My second thought would be, “No, that’s not it. I must be dead and this is the sci-fi version of Occurrence at Owls Creek Bridge.”

      1. Ben Joseph

        Do they test these things with bike traffic? I think that would be more terrifying than anything to have coming behind me on my commute.

  4. Bruno

    On “The tyranny of formlessness”:
    In my view, any sociological use of the word “elite” is at best a sure sign of sloppy thinking or at worst a dishonest attempt to avoid admitting the reality and power of a ruling class.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Elite” exposes all the propertied classes to interrogation, including priests and the “middle class”. The “ruling class” formulation exempts those petty officers who work directly in the production of an austere, captive, subordinate working class.

        1. hunkerdown

          That’s reasonable and sensible. I recalled Pradhan’s 2020 paper, on the extended primate coalitions model of human class systems, aggregating everyone but the lumpen and lower working class into “upper classes”. Pradhan wanted to identify the people at risk of losing their class standing, particularly in case of a change in the order. His conception does seem overbroad for general use.

          1. lambert strether

            We might further urge that the ruling class divides by multigenerational families or clans, while the governing class divides by single generation credentials/affiliations. All too schematic of course; America is a huge country

            UPDATE Adding “…single generation credentials/affiliations (and their precarity as a class comes from reproducing the appropriate credentials for the next generation”*)

            NOTE * I’m guessing Feudalism could solve this.

            1. Steve H.

              Pandit et al extended a primate model beyond rank and essentially got tranches. I just checked and did not find inheritance in the paper.

              Jalen Rose is rich and uses Chris Rock‘s distinction of rich v wealthy. The athlete can be rich, the team owner is wealthy. The athlete can get to generational wealth, where they can lift their kids^n. But only to the governing class, by your distinction.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              At what point does Marxist Class Analysis begin to look Ptolemaic rather than Copernican? How many Subclasses and Subclasses within Subclasses do Marxists have to conceptualize to make Marxism appear to explain society before it all looks like Epicycles within Epicycles to “keep Ptolemy alive”? At what point will Marxism crash down and people seek a Copernican explanation for politics, economy, and etc.?

              We won’t know it till we see it, and I don’t think I will live long enough to see it happen, but young people very well may.

            3. hunkerdown

              Lambert, is petit-bourgeois precarity really a problem for the system as a whole, or is it in fact a demonstration of its values?

              Materially, transgenerational classes tend to externalize substantially all of their social-reproductive labor, while intergenerational classes tend to prefer personal authorship (at least) over the process. This governing class may not enjoy its experience of petit-bourgeois precarity, but such is the culture of competitive excellence and celebration of personal will that said petit-bourgeois governing class is formed to govern. To reproduce their station directly as family property would contradict the petit part of their status, and undermine the conceits of non-attachment and realism that warrant their special place in the order. Instead, they might tend to valorize their own successful constitutive processes (e.g. commerce, religion, war) while minimizing the heritage implications of those processes.

              With a few recourses to markets, the ideology of competitive scholarship serves well to protect access to the ruling ideas quite effectively, at the primary and secondary level. Real estate values and schools’ dependency on property taxes form one such circuit of protection. Preferential access to private extracurricular enrichment forms another defense. Private curricula and institutions form yet another. On the flip side, school “choice” programs tend to drain the best brains from poor schools and communities with the lure of recognition and importance, to which pupils might not otherwise have the material means to access for various sad reasons.

              It might also be a balanced reproductive strategy, for a world that hasn’t enough room for hundreds of millions of upper-PMC each to monumentalize their vanity unto the end of the cosmos.

              Steve H., the word inheritance appears twice on p16, noting that its absence simplifies the model. Real societies employ various strategies of material succession, which is beyond the scope of a material, value-free model. As for how far beyond, imagine modeling Medicare set-asides.

              1. Steve H.

                hunkerdown, thank you. I failed my search.

                There’s a lot to unpack in your comment, especially in controlling ideology. Pandit has the middle classes appearing as a function of sequestering wealth upwards by the elite. Precarity goes all the way up, to where class breaks down to heirarchy ranking with small groups.

                The hidden variable is power. Ideology is cheaper than shackles and guards.

                1. hunkerdown

                  Materially, the top of the top would have access to the best weapons and fighters and should therefore be most secure in their position (next is the lowest class, who have only starvation or escape as permanent options). The lower edge of the lowest upper class should be most precarious, as they have no further to fall before they drop out of the collective upper class and lose the nicer end of their relations of exploitation. Further, because the lowest class payoff is low and doesn’t vary widely, the lowest class tends to perform the bulk of primary production for a society, and the system-productive activity is concentrated at the top of the order, I think the lowest upper class is the least structurally essential to the order, easiest to muddle along without, and most likely to be pushed down in case of a material shortfall… all else being equal.

                  Ehrenreich’s PMC paper identifies that same lower-middle substratum as prime targets for easy deskilling “gains” from routinizing its occupations.

  5. jr

    It’s reassuring to learn that Biden is back performing his primary duties of choosing the pudding of the day in the cafeteria and congratulating the winners of teen beauty pageants. But what of long COVID? One tell will be a marked decrease in hair-sniffing incidents…

    1. Tom Stone

      That would be preteen beauty pageants and girl scout tours of the White House…if we are going to be properly scurrilous.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You do wonder. Was he given the drug that cannot be named? At least when Trump returned to the White House after getting clobbered, he initially wore a mask. Biden. no.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Conservatory and finding new music

    I have found some good new bands in recent years with spotify. I’ve found that their algorithm works much better than others in suggesting things you might like based on favorites you’ve searched for and played in the past. Used to use pandora and seeded a station I wanted to create with Frank Zappa and Primus, hoping I’d get music with syncopation and odd time signatures, and it just fed me a bunch of classic rock and continued to do so even after multiple tweaks from me. Spotify seems much better at figuring out what you’re aiming for. Sturgeon’s law does still apply, and it will suggest a lot of bad bands you’ve never heard of before along with the good new ones, but it’s still the best place I can find in recent years for new bands. I found Giant Squid there – who doesn’t like some cello with their metal? – along with my new favorite Sergeant Thunderhoof, who I will promote again since they just released a new album.

    Since spotify tends to [family blog] the actual musicians, I do make a point of purchasing the albums of bands I find there at my local record store (yes we still have one!).

    Since it’s the summer, the weekend’s almost here, and the weather is thirst-inducing, I will leave you with another spotify find with a good suggestion – Richard in Your Mind with Hammered (in the Daytime).

  7. jr

    Deep Thought of the Day:

    Critical Theory is fundamental to the worm-riddled, spongy foundation of the Identity Politics cult formation. It occurred to me that as Critical Theory was born from the French Post-modernists, it’s (mis?)use breaks one of their primary shibboleths: cultural appropriation. I’ll email Judith Butler right now.

    1. hunkerdown

      Why do you believe anything should be exempt from ruthless criticism? This sounds like Protesant purity posturing tbh.

      1. Strom

        Critical Theory, in case you didn’t notice the semantics, is
        “Criticism of everything” that allows disconnected wanderers to attack the societies in which they lodge so as not to be noticed for their differences.

      2. jr

        Protestant purity indeed! Don’t start flinging straw, you’ll get some in your eyes. I don’t and I have never said anything remotely like that. Nor do I think the ontologically groundless, and therefore epistemically groundless, devotee of identity politics is in any way practicing “ruthless criticism”. Note that in my comment above I leave open the possibility, shucks I’ll say probability given the general dumba$$ery I’ve seen on display, that Critical Theory is being misused by the pseudo-intellectual leaders of the Woke. I believe it was David here who pointed out once that there is a long mile between the likes of a Foucault and a Butler.

        All that being said, any organized system of thought that makes the truth claim that all truth claims are absolutely contingent is akin to a particularly dull dog chasing it’s own tail. Language does not create reality. Reality exists and we experience it and use language to convey those experiences. And that is not a materialist claim, to be clear.

        Truth claims are contingent but they revolve around a non-contingent, objective world. Just because we can only ever approach that world in a truncated form doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it simply means we must engage in a sort of sublime recapitulation of concepts of it to learn something of it. That’s the role of your “ruthless criticism”.

        1. hunkerdown

          Well, wokies aren’t engaging in critical theory. They are being critics with no theory. (With all due respect, whoever told you that they were doing critical theory has about as much theory as the wokies do.)

          Now, there is a different thing called Critical Race Theory, which is what came about when Critical Legal Studies (a laudable, liberating field) dropped systemic criticism for discursive performance and property creation. CRT is mythological, and is very likely the basis of much of the clown honking you’re hearing.

          Leaving aside the conservative/classic/progressive tendencies of liberalism and their various interests in fomenting a durable, seething antagonism against any ideology that delivers the goods, it’s tempting to skip a charged word in the name, but then you’re naming a different thing that was nowhere near the scene of the crime and distantly related by aspiration at most.

          If CRT were truly a critical theory, it would be criticizing the concept of race as unnecessary, establishing its materiality, exploring its interaction with other social and class phenomena (which Kimberlé Crenshaw did attempt), possibly going so far as arguing for its abolition as a social category. Just try grifting on that. Ethos, pathos, and logos, on the other hand, are classic, effective, and low-cost vehicles for persuasion.

        2. witters

          Just a question, but if “Truth claims are contingent but they revolve around a non-contingent, objective world”, this seems to deliver realism (just realism that isn’t “materialist” in that disagreeably reductive way). Are you a therefore a realist? (I ask because I thought you more on the idealist side of things)

    2. Acacia

      as Critical Theory was born from the French Post-modernists…

      Well, no. For the birth of Critical Theory, you’d have to go back to Max Horkheimer, at least (and BTW, jr, Horkheimer schooled in a Neo-Kantian milieu during the 1920s). And perhaps you mean the French post-structuralists, as postmodernism is a later development, popularized by Lyotard and Jameson. Was Lyotard a post-structuralist? I’m not sure. He joined the Socialisme ou Barbarie group in the 1950s, was based in Constantine, wrote a series of essays in support of the Algerian Revolution, and later joined Pouvoir Ouvrier [“Worker Power”]. By the 1970s, though, he distanced himself from revolutionary Marxism. His book on “the postmodern condition” in the late 70s was actually a report commissioned by the government of Quebec.

      Tracing a line from the original CT to present-day idpol, we could spill a lot of ink trying to figure out where things went off the rails, but I think it’s possible to say that in its earliest configurations Critical Theory was concerned with human liberation in a very general sense (some influence of Marxism and utopian socialism here), and it had become clear to the first generation of critical theorists (let’s say the members of the Frankfurt School) that capitalism was producing new and ever more chilling forms of domination. The focus was thus on a transformation of contemporary capitalism into a more rational and democratic social order (sound familiar?). Again, worth bearing in mind that all the Frankfurt School thinkers lived through the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the dark years following in which it seemed that the future was either going to be fascism or communism.

      How we get from there to present-day identity politics is another story.

      1. jr

        Only by a cohort of 13 hooded and robed figures, arms locked, circling the Sign of Hastur drawn in virgin blood…

  8. LawnDart

    Music: The Dead South makes me very happy.

    Pre-covid, I was in a friend’s bar where a lot of cops and (dem) political-types hang out. A group of cops were playing really awful s#!t-kicker muzak, so I used a bunch of credits on “fast-pass” to drop this on them (The Dead South, Banjo Odyssey):


    It was awesome watching the cops tap their feet along to the beat, assuming it was more of their stuff… …and then the slow, gradual horror of realization took them, one at a time, and then all of them at once. I will cherish the looks on their faces as one of my fondest memories.

    Great band– excellent musicians.


    1. Randy

      I’m usually not a bluegrass fan but these guys are very, very good and warrant some further investigation.

      1. LawnDart

        Bastard Son, Diamond Ring, and In Hell I’ll be in Good Company are good jumping-off points. The Recap too.

        They’re playing in Montana next Thursday, and I had it half in mind to ride out to see them (roll the dice on an outdoor amphitheatre? Hmmm…).

        1. CheckyChubber

          Nice one. I can only stomach this kind of music when’s instrumental like that. Can’t stand it when they start singing.

          Is there a name for this genre where it’s strictly instrumental?

    2. Robert Hahl

      Hello Stranger
      Christina Vane the left, the force is strong with that one.

      Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – Warm-up Set (Live on KEXP)

      Jim Campilongo – Backburner

      Greta Van Fleet – Highway Tune

      One Fine Day – Reina del Cid
      Toni Lindgrin’s guitar playing is making Reina del Cid’s youtube career.

      1. Stefan

        Everything Rita Payes and her mother Elizabeth Roma do together is really great.

        Also, Aldous Harding’s last three albums are all rather good.

        The Portuguese singer/songwriter MARO does these zoom duets with other musicians that are super fun.

        These are three examples of young women with outstanding musicianship .

    3. Geo

      Dead South is great!

      Others in that genre/realm and far from the mainstream I’d recommend:

      George Cessna (like a goth Jimmy Rogers)
      Mama’s Broke (female duo with Indigo Girls type vox and a bluegrass sound)
      Arborea (broke up a few years back but the most haunted and ethereal folk I’ve ever heard. Gorgeous music)

      All available on Bandcamp and worth a listen.

  9. Mikel

    Remember this:
    U.K. health authorities have said they are urgently investigating a rare polio virus outbreak in sewage samples in London….

    The U.S. has reported its first case of polio in nearly a decade, in a young unvaccinated adult who had not recently traveled outside the country.

    The case, which presented with paralysis symptoms, has put health officials in Rockland County, New York, on high alert. Officials say getting vaccinated is vital to protect against potential outbreaks.

    ►The New York patient appears to have a vaccine-derived strain of the virus, possibly transmitted from someone who received a type of vaccine not offered in the U.S.

    ►The patient did not recently travel outside the country, and developed symptoms about a month ago….

    Note where they are thinking the transmission happened…

    1. Louis Fyne

      Good thing Democrats will never lose elections and always be in charge of Congress!

    2. Strom

      That was a real (show) trial.

      Meanwhile, there’s an intermission at the hearings.
      “Get your peanuts! Hot popcorn!

      1. Procopius

        Sentencing is scheduled for October, 2022. Trump won’t be President* again until at least January 20, 2025. The judge probably won’t give him any jail time. Longest possible jail time is one year for each of two counts, so it’s possible he could serve the entire sentence before Trump is elected. It’s still 102 days until the 2022 elections — a long time.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I don’t recall yet liberal Democrats doing this for any Republican and then having the House Sergeant at Arms arrest the person. So this is all theater, as we’d expect from liberal Democrats.

    1. CanCyn

      Some ‘newer’ music I enjoy:
      Basia Bhulat https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KfjnRbHtLAQ
      The Weather Station https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D3F3DsXLSaw
      Black Rebel Motorcycle Club https://youtu.be/MpOKe9Dxb_c

      Also, we listen to Radio Paradise. An internet radio station programmed by humans. A husband and wife team out of Paradis California. All music, no talk shows, weather, news or sports. They do play older music but if they play a band like Led Zepplin, it won‘t be Stairway to Heaven. They have a main mix, a mellow mix, world mix so you can choose according to your mood. We found Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on RP.

      1. griffen

        Thanks for suggesting the above internet radio site, need to find new outlets to hear the stuff I really like and find new bands and sounds that might get me interested in them. I had recently found groups like Lord Huron on Sirius but I had to drop that service recently.

  10. PhillyPhilly

    Not sure if it adds anything to the discourse, but I found a pretty hilarious meme showing how Biden can tell if he’s recovered from COVID.

  11. Mikel

    Sociopath of the day: “Getting the coronavirus should not come with stigma or be perceived as a failure; rather, it should reflect the new normal going forward…”

    Actually, protecting oneself from the virus should not come with stigma.
    I will unapologetically decline events with large numbers of people.

    1. Jess K

      Sociopaths have always been massively over-represented among American MDs, but the convergence of Science™ with the live-with-the-virus paradigm seems to have prompted the entire profession to take the proverbial mask off.

      The apparent total lack of pushback to this ‘strategy’ from the medical establishment is one thing (US doctors still collecting the highest salaries in the world after all) but the fervor with which MDs and MPHs actively shill and apologize for mass sickness, disability and death is really quite shocking.

    2. Tom Stone

      Monkeypox scars will have a stigma.
      Visible disfigurements always do and if they are also a class marker…

  12. Wukchumni

    I’ll admit that slowly scrolling down I felt sure it was the mug shot from Antoinette of cuffs.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Never fear, endemicity is okay.


    The blitz of Omicron variants has felt like one long wave. And many questions have arisen amid the tumult. Are we seeing the emergence of entirely new coronavirus variants that are impervious to immunity from vaccines and previous infections? If we keep getting reinfected, is it inevitable that most of us will end up developing long Covid?

    In short, the answer is no.

    But will some percentage of the population be disabled? Yea. How big? We’re not sure, but it doesn’t look good.

    Also mentions Evisheld but no mention of how scarce and Difficult to get it is. Mentions monoclonals but not that almost none work now.

    Normalization attempt.

  14. Screwball

    If George Carlin was still alive – between Dr. Wen (and COVID), the Jan 6th dog & pony show, and all the other crazy stuff we have going on – he would probably hurt himself just trying to keep up. Have they drove the Onion and the Bee out of business yet?

    What a giant shit show.

    1. Elizabeth

      Not only George Carlin, but Molly Ivins too. Two great voices which no one has been able to fill. They would probably be censored anyway.

      Wen as the sociopath of the week.- she needs to be permanently enshrined.

  15. Jeff W

    I always liked Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” but I’m not sure I agree with this observation:

    “Elites are nothing more, and nothing less, than groups of friends who also happen to participate in the same political activities.”

    Élites might be that but they “happen to” participate in the same political activities (and might even be friends) because circumstances (i.e., the environment) causes their behavior to converge (it’s like convergent evolution in a way) and, no doubt, behavior that allows élites to maintain their status is one type of behavior we’d see arise out of such convergence. It’s the convergence that obviates the need for a conspiracy as an explanatory mechanism.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      “Participate in the same political activities”

      You mean their never-ending lust for wealth and power?

      1. Jeff W

        You’ve got it!

        (That’s the other main type, besides maintaining their status, on which their behavior converges.)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > You mean their never-ending lust for wealth and power?

        “… there in stately splendor, far above the squalid village below, they fight their petty battles over power and money….”

  16. antidlc


    Surgery delays ramp up amid rise in post-viral complications

    “The really fascinating thing we’re seeing in ICU this time around is that we are treating an increasing number of people who had a COVID infection and shortly afterwards they are getting another secondary infection or a complication,” he said.

    “We’re seeing a lot of serious bacterial infections, pneumonia, septicemia, which is blood poisoning, pulmonary embolisms and patients whose diabetes has gone haywire and they end up getting really sick.”

    Duke said all the conditions were recognised complications that could occur after any serious viral illnesses, but there had been a sharp rise this winter, a trend he attributed partly to the thousands of coronavirus infections circulating and an earlier flu season.

  17. Partyless poster

    I couldn’t agree more with the Mark G comment about the music scene, there is a truly vast underground that most people due to either laziness or being roped into a corporate ecosystem like streaming dont ever encounter.
    Sure streaming might help you find music they want you to find but not all music is there, many artists (including myself) release on more independent sites like bandcamp since spotify pays nothing anyway.
    I’ve made more money on just a few BC downloads than I’ve ever made off hundreds of spotify streams.
    Right now the action is in electronic music, the low cost of production means anybody can release music, so I’m finding top notch artists from Africa, Asia and South America that didn’t exist even 10 years ago
    A lot of people have issues with electronic music including I suspect Ted Gioia, I read his History of subversive music and once it gets to hip hop and electronic it kind of fizzles out. Which is ridiculous, if rap isn’t subversive than what is? And he devotes about 3 pages to electronic even though its a huge and influential genre
    Not to drone on but nothing is killing music more than streaming, its the first step in Shwabs you will own nothing and be happy.
    Check out Bandcamp or Bleep or Juno downloads

    1. Jason Boxman

      Ouch. I consider myself neither particularly lazy nor roped into a corporate wonderland, simply busy and haven’t had the time or inclination to track this stuff down: It is an “underground”, after all.

      I miss Internet radio before 2006 when Pelosi and Liberal Democrats killed MP3 streaming online by further wrecking copyright laws. Nasty people, all of them.

      Happy Friday!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ve made more money on just a few BC downloads than I’ve ever made off hundreds of spotify streams.
      Right now the action is in electronic music, the low cost of production means anybody can release music, so I’m finding top notch artists from Africa, Asia and South America that didn’t exist even 10 years ago

      Sounds like BandCamp is the place to go. Not sure about streaming services, seems very Silicon Valley….

      (See my comment below on how I used to learn about new music, too, re: laziness.)

  18. Stanley Dundee

    Lambert asks:

    In lieu of functional search, could readers drop some of their favorite links?

    Lotta new (and old) music reaches my ears via wfmu.org, listener supported free-form radio. Multiple streams, vast archives going back 20+ years, live music too. Every show is unique and there are lots of them so if you don’t like what you here, come back later! Good gateway show is Wake ‘N Bake, weekday mornings 6-9 am Eastern time.

    Recent finds for me include Courtney Barnett, Colleen Green (esp. song Highway, my current summer fave), and Widowspeak.


    1. chris

      The Philadelphia Folksong Society is a place to go for interesting finds. They turned me on to Guilhelm Desq. His electric hurdy gurdy is a wild sound.

      Between him and Sleeping Pandora I have found all the instrumental music I need to keep me company while writing this summer.

    2. Bruce F

      I was about to add wfmu.org in a separate comment, but before posting thought I’d do a quick search. Glad to see someone else beat me to it! So yes, Woof Moo is a fantastic choice!

  19. Mikel

    “…Two-thirds of respondents said there is a ‘serious threat’ to the country’s democracy, and almost 90 percent said it is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important for the United States to remain a democracy. But more than 40 percent said having a ‘strong leader’ for the country is more important than having a democracy. Almost 1 in 5 said they agreed ‘strongly’ or ‘very strongly’ with that statement.”

    But define “democracy”. Because I never associated it with neoliberal market populism, which is what the political establishment does.

    1. chris

      The thing I read in that study that is troubling to me is the number of people willing to commit acts of violence for political goals. I haven’t seen some one come up with a workable theory of how a civil war would occur in the modern age. There is no clear geographic or economic separation that would permit the creation of boundaries to fight over. I think what we’ll see are flare ups and limited siege of certain areas. I think we’ll see stuff like what happens in Oregon when the states rights people nullify federal charges against their people. I think we’re in for what Ireland called “the troubles”.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        You’re probably right about your prediction. On the other hand, it is curious to me that you think of civil wars in terms of contested boundaries and regional contests. In other words, you seem to be taking the American Civil War as an example. In my mind, though, it was hardly a very typical civil war. It looks more like a failed war of independence to me. Civil wars in other countries often do not involve such very clear boundaries. (See the Russian Civil War; something like regional blocks formed eventually, but first nearly all the major cities spent a while flipping back and forth, and the frontlines have been vague at best.)

        1. vao

          In my mind, though, it was hardly a very typical civil war. It looks more like a failed war of independence to me.

          Outside the USA and especially in Europe, it is known as the “Secession War” not as the “Civil War”.

        2. Roland

          The US Civil War was, as it’s sometimes called, a “War Between the States.” The seceding regions already had their own long-established regimes, and for the most part, those regimes themselves were not being rebelled against. Therefore, the US Civil War in some ways more closely resembles a war between countries, than a war within one.

          BUT: while there was war between the states, there were also some civil wars being fought within certain of those states, e.g. Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee. In those states, the conflict was as ghastly as any civil war can get. Nobody ever kept track of the refugee problem, and the noncombatant death toll is unknown. I believe that certain counties didn’t recover their prewar population for nearly a century afterwards.

          I suspect that one of the causes of the insensate violence still found in the US is the legacy of chaos and anomie from the way parts of their civil war were fought in the West. By contrast, Canada in the 19th cent. had as many guns and as few police as the US, but the society never exhibited the paranoiac fear of one’s neighbours, or the same level of murder-and-mayhem.

          It’s interesting that the wildness of the US “Wild West” subsided in the 1880’s, which corresponds to the aging of the Civil War generation.

          Of course, violent civil strife in today’s USA won’t even show an appearance of order. It wouldn’t be a clash of organizations, but an exothermic decomposition, a hot ticket to entropy. A very familiar, and rather boring, pattern of socio-political failure.

  20. Pelham

    Wouldn’t the Secret Service have been working against itself on Jan. 6 if they were trying to spirit Pence away from the action but at the same time preventing Trump from reaching the crowd at the Capitol?

  21. Socrates Pythagoras

    Re: New Music

    The Rough Trade Blog list their Best of 2022 so far:

    The list is top 10 by genre, so a lot of diversity. I’m a Radiohead fanboy, so I really like The Smile. Also enjoying Sharon Van Etten, Cat Power, Angel Olsen, Superchunk, and Big Thief.

    And Courtney Barnett is a badass, like Chrissy Hynde or St Vincent.

  22. OverOverB

    It kinda depends on what you’re into, but I think there is some good music out there if you’re willing to look a bit.

    Instrumental/prog: Polyphia
    70s/Soul/R&B: Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak)
    80s/Synthwave: Dua Lipa, Ava Max, Agnes, The Weeknd, NewRetroWave (on Youtube and Spotify)
    Alternative/Rock/Metal: The Pretty Reckless, Band Maid (Japan)
    Rock/Pop: Maneskin (Italy), Dreamcatcher (South Korea), The Struts
    Musical/Big Band/Orchestral: VIVIZ – Red Sun, IU – The Red Shoes

    Heck, even the newer live version (driving home 2 u) of Olivia Rodrigo’s Brutal sounds inspired from Veruca Salt and Nirvana. The kids are alright!

    The Spotify playslists are pretty good. Chill piano, cool jazz, folk, classical, etc.

  23. Mark Gisleson

    I’m one of those strange people who thrives on new music. Doesn’t have to be newly released, just new to me but newly released new music is always best, especially if I don’t like it (because that usually means I haven’t figured it out yet probably because I’m getting old but I’m not getting old damnit so I figure it out or fake figuring it out but mostly just move on to the next new thing which hopefully I will understand).

    If you like strange, I recommend these artists/creators all of whom are still alive (but not all still creating):

    Igor Wakhevitch
    Anna Homler
    Eyvind Kang
    Maarja Nuut
    Sun Araw
    Iva Bittova
    Lukas Ligeti
    Utsav Lal
    Lena Platonos
    Blixa Bargeld
    Yamandu Costa
    Itamar Assumpção
    Mercan Dede
    Mikhail Chekalin

    and really there is no end of interesting music in the world if you go looking for it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > really there is no end of interesting music in the world if you go looking for it

      The issue is where to look for it, since I tend to be pressed temporally. I do confess — and I really mean confess, here — a liking for K-Pop. Makes MoTown look like undisciplined grade school stuff (and we all know MoTown wasn’t like that at all). K-Pop is a brutal industry producing wonderful, airy confections (with ectraordinary technical and musical skills). And sometimes serious themes beneath the airiness.

  24. C.O.

    A contribution to the suggestions for your music quest Lambert:

    I was stuck just about a year ago, and had even given up on the French language music station where I live – it used to be quite good for judiciously mixing new, genuinely intriguing music with well-chosen older selections that were a lot of fun. They were how I discovered Les Rita Mitsouko. Now I mostly leave the old-fashioned radio entirely off.

    What helped me start finding “new to me” and literally new music again was listening to radioparadise.com. They are listener funded, and their eclectic/world channel introduced me to a wild range of neat projects like Helium Vola and reminded me to drop what I was doing and find all of Lisa Gerrard’s catalogue at once. It’s also thanks to them that I found bandcamp, where I started from the Swedish band Garmarna and went on to the wonderful listening rabbit holes since.

    Finding some good “seed names” of artists and bands via radioparadise definitely paid off.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “seed names”

      I think part of the problem is that the old channels where I used to learn about new music are gone. I’m a reader, and I’m so old I remember when Rolling Stone was actually good for that purpose, but no. I also used to go to music stores; where I encountered Nigerian “High Life,” for example. Both of those sources are gone, and in spite of being extremely online in all other aspects of my life, I have never had the transition to online when foraging for music.

  25. Ranger Rick

    You have to wonder what’s fueling the civil war media complex. Yes there is a vocal and very visible divide between the rural areas, suburbia and the urban zones, but I’m not sure why killing everyone who disagrees with you is the go-to choice for these people.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      If a majority revolt, you move from civil war to revolution. So best to talk about how people you never meet are doing things you don’t understand.

  26. Joe Well

    Curious what people thought of the Rilke Project that Lambert linked to?

    I had a listen to a few songs and didn’t get what they were going for.

  27. Jason Boxman

    COVID news from western NC rural two? doctor person PCP practice. I asked an office staff person about COVID, and she said they’re seeing almost as many people as in January, in either the parking lot of by way of letting people in the back into exam rooms. Masks still required, but people wear any kind of mask, and poorly. Many people are testing at home now, as we know. They only do Paxlovid now, no monoclonal antibodies; They have had cases of rebound, but she said it was not common. She hadn’t heard of Evusheld at all.

    Stay safe out there!

    1. flora

      And including the intro to Handel’s “Zadok the Priest.” How’est can we middling classes find so much bravura in such music if we are not equal in spirit to the so-called “great and the good.”


      When’est the “great and good” cease to reflect the greater hopes of their larger polity, they cease to be important to that greater polity, imo. Something I’m sure the WEF is entirely ignorant about,.

      1. flora

        Thanks for this link.
        Adding: see Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting Handel’s “Messiah.”

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Is the Secret Service’s Claim About Erased Text Messages Plausible?”

    Isn’t it remarkable how with things like these accidents, it always seems to go one way. Out of 365 days a year, the two days affected were the two most important days for the Secret Service that year.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the two days affected

      As I read it, more than two days were affected. A lot of this seems to hinge on the idea that the Secret Service has good IT. But this is the stupidest timeline, so maybe they don’t.

      Also, the Secret Service is well-known for “wheels up” prostitution scandals. That provides an obivous motive for letting agents decide what to erase and what to back up.

  29. Mikel

    “What Keeps a Crowd from Becoming a Mob?”

    They keep talking about “reopening” in countries where &*^$ is open.
    And didn’t really close for long.
    At this point, they can stop trying to lay the blame for all economic woes on Covid. It’s been broken down since 2008.

  30. Mikel

    New Orleans/Marching Bands:

    That has a lot to do with a heritage and culture. Totally not surprising to find interesting marching bands with kids in New Orleans. Or that they’re playing funky/jazzy stuff. Same is still going on at HBCUs.

    Now step outside that world and tradition and see what you find. Many of the band programs in high schools are suffering.

  31. The Rev Kev

    I wonder how often this is happening now. Very interesting thread-

    ‘Na’omi 🌺
    My transition from being pro- to anti- Ukraine happened gradually over the last year, and I never took the time to apologize for arguing against people who tried to warn me about Ukrainian Nazis. Y’all were right, I was wrong, and I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner.’


  32. jr

    Here’s Australian podcaster Spanian interviewing the journalist Ross Coulthart about his research into UFOs. It’s a good overview of all the latest sightings as well as Coulthart’s experiences with US military personnel. An aside, Coulthart claims there are nuclear weapons on or around our carrier groups:


    The Others always seem interested in our nukes. Maybe they can make a PSA or something.

  33. BobK

    Glad to see Dr. Wen awarded Sociopath of the Day. I was only a sentence or two into her piece yesterday when I thought she was a prime candidate.

    Another thing she ignored was the evidence that reinfections increase the likelihood of long Covid. I vaguely recall seeing a link to a study here at NC, but even CNN covered it:


    I’m gonna stroke out if I read to much more of this steaming load

    Ditto. I don’t know how I made it through – morbid curiosity, I suppose.

  34. jr

    Here’s a trailer for the new film Ariel Phenomenon about the Ariel School alien encounter in 1994:


    The witnesses stories have remained tight over the ensuing decades. The encounters changed their lives fundamentally.

  35. Will

    The latest from Ed Yong is a sobering read. He discusses a study, to be published, that quantifies yearly excess deaths (if any) in the US since 1933 using morality rates of peer nations as the baseline. The study builds on and extends research that will be familiar to regular readers of NC.


    The study shows that “missing Americans” comprise not just minorities but even rich whites.

    “There are thousands of racial-disparity studies that compare Black people to white people—but white Americans are a terrible counterfactual,” Bor told me. They’re frogs in the same pot, boiling more slowly but boiling nonetheless. By using them as a baseline, we ignore how “everyone is harmed by the status quo in the U.S.,”…White Americans living in the richest 1 percent of counties still have higher rates of maternal and infant mortality than the average residents of wealthy countries.

    The article hammers home every single issue that explains why America is so good at killing its citizens. The whole article is well worth your time.

    1. vao

      The article is another confirmation of what has been known for decades regarding the relation between public health and inequality.

      It is a long-recognized result from the famous Whitehall studies (and the research that they spawned): the starker social inequality is, the lower health outcomes amongst the entire population (rich and poor) are compared to other countries with less inequality.

      Unsurprisingly, the rate of excess deaths in the USA compared to peer countries started to rise in the 1970 and accelerated from the 1980 onwards — in tandem with the increase of inequality. Unsurprisingly, in a country that, contrarily to its peers, has no universal public health system — a major (or even the major) factor in ensuring equitable provision of health services to all classes of the population.

  36. Glen

    This is not a good look for any country:

    Exclusive: Hyundai subsidiary has used child labor at Alabama factory

    12 years old in a factory? I thought this was behind our country:

    Several of these minors, they said, have foregone schooling in order to work long shifts at the plant, a sprawling facility with a documented history of health and safety violations, including amputation hazards.

    Please, please, please, can we drag the people that run this plant into court? And throw them in jail if guilty?

  37. Jason Boxman

    More big news out of Walgreens (fu CDC) on variants, from July 10. Better late than never.

    BA5.2.1 19.58%
    BA5.5 15.85%
    BA2.12.1 13.52%
    BA5.1 10.26%
    BA4.1 7.69%
    BA5.2 7.69%
    BA5.6 6.29%
    BE1 2.80%
    … others

    BA5 wins it, by a huge margin. But now it’s almost August, so what lurks now?

  38. square coats

    For new music, I have come to rely pretty much exclusively on soundcloud. It’s an utterly garbage company with an utterly garbage platform but a lot of really amazing musical artists. After muddling my way around on it for half a year or so I finally stumbled across cumbia &/ musica tropicale and related genres and I find a lot of it to be utterly engaging and unlike anything else I’d listened to before that.

    The one thing I really like about soundcloud’s platform is that you can pick any particular song and see a list of playlists that other users have made that include the song. So rather than discovering new music based on a machine implementing an algorithm (tho obviously soundcloud tries to do that too, imo poorly) it gives the opportunity to find new music based on shared song appreciation with random people all around the world.

    Obviously it can be a hit or miss process going through the playlists you find. In my experience it works best if you search for playlists from songs in a sort of sweet spot between profound obscurity and widespread popularity. Too obscure and there will be a dearth of results, too popular and you will end up with page after page of search results like “summer hits of 2017” or whatever which include mostly the same songs seemingly only because those songs became popular and not because of a particular taste in music. When I’ve successfully picked songs to search in that sweet spot (which I think is actually not too picky of a sweet spot tbh), I’ve found a bunch of playlists with music I’d never think to want or know how to search for and all the better if whoever made a good playlist has made other good playlists too.

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