2:00PM Water Cooler 7/6/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, today was a bit of a debacle. I got started late, and then various Covid data changed or, in CDC’s case, went pear-shaped or, in FDA’s case, emerged. So I will break my rule and do some updates, so we have some faint hope of remaining current with the political news. –lambert UPDTATE Finished. Sorry I had to leave business news on the cutting room floor.

Bird Song of the Day

Pale-throated Wren-Babbler, Yen Bai, Vietnam. Busy insects sawing away in the background.

* * *


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

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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“Cheney says it’s possible Jan. 6 panel will make criminal referral against Trump” [The Hill]. “During the interview on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ the network’s chief Washington correspondent, Jonathan Karl, asked Cheney — who serves as the vice chairwoman of the committee — whether the panel’s hearings have demonstrated that Trump should be prosecuted. ‘Ultimately, the Justice Department will decide that,’ Cheney responded. ‘I think we may well as a committee have a view on that. And if you just think about it from the perspective of, what kind of man knows that a mob is armed and sends the mob to attack the Capitol and further incites that mob when his own vice president is under threat, when the Congress is under threat?’ ‘It’s just very chilling. And I think certainly we will continue to present to the American people what we’ve found,’ she added. When pressed by Karl, Cheney said that it is possible the committee will officially make a criminal referral. She also noted that the Department of Justice doesn’t need to wait for the panel to make a decision in order for it to make its own criminal referral.” • I say bring it. But note once again from June:

Note especially the “imminent” test:

Biden Administration

“After string of Supreme Court setbacks, Democrats wonder whether Biden White House is capable of urgency moment demands” [CNN]. “Multiple Democratic politicians who have reached out to work with Biden — whether it’s on specific bills, brainstorming or outreach — often don’t hear anything back at all. Potential appointees have languished for months waiting to hear if they’ll get jobs, or when they’ll be done with vetting. Invitations to events are scarce, thank you calls barely happen. Even some aides within the White House wonder why Biden didn’t fire anyone, from the West Wing or at the Food and Drug Administration, to demonstrate some accountability or at least anger over the baby formula debacle.” Hey, how about the Covid debacle? More: “Inside the White House, aides are exhausted from feeling forever on red alert, batting at a swarm of crises that keeps growing — enough for White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to make an offhand joke about the constant ‘eleventh hour’ decision-making in the building when under fire at a recent daily briefing.

Several officials say Biden’s tendency to berate advisers when he’s displeased with how a situation is being handled or when events go off poorly has trickled down the ranks in the West Wing, leaving several mid-level aides feeling blamed for failings despite lacking any real ability to influence the building’s decision-making. That’s contributed to some of the recent staff departures, according to people familiar.” Interesting… More: “Democrats worry the lack of decisions and authority are deepening their own midterm problems and feeding a sense that the President couldn’t truly handle the extra complications of a run for reelection in 2024 — and along the way, reinforcing narratives that he’s an old man not fit for the moment.” But: “Fundamentally, Biden and his aides are operating from a very different sense of the presidency. He’s being realistic, they believe, and responsible — not just because his options are truly limited, but specifically because he’s trying to restore the structural integrity of the government and of democracy after four years of Trump.” • I think it’s unfair to say Biden hasn’t accomplished anything. He’s knocked 500,000 people off future Social Security rolls, destroyed public health institutionally and politically, and started a proxy war with a nuclear power over a country voters don’t care about. Pretty good for somebody I labeled “molasses-brained.”

“A time of war”:

The last time I heard that phrase was during the Iraq War; from George W. Bush. “A time of war” was used as a justification for literally anything. And if Biden wants to make Ukraine into a real war, instead of a proxy war, he should tell somebody about it.

“Ending Pandemic Aid Created A Disaster” [Lever News]. “New government data show that after the government terminated pandemic relief programs, millions more Americans began struggling to survive. In all, roughly four in ten Americans say they are having difficulty paying their bills — a nearly 50 percent increase since last spring, according to a Lever review of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. As the suffering has increased, Washington policymakers, Beltway economists, and corporate media personalities have started pressing an austerity agenda, demanding even more pain in the name of taming inflation — even though data suggest inflation is largely being driven by corporate profiteering and supply chain blockages rather than wages or consumer spending.” • If only the Democrats had been in charge, instead of Trump, we could have had a decade-long “recovery,” just like Obama. I applaud Biden’s efforts to bring us back to those good old days.

* * *

“EXCLUSIVE: ‘I think you’re clear’: VOICEMAIL from Joe Biden to Hunter about NY Times report on his Chinese business dealings proves he DID speak to his son about his relationship with criminal dubbed the ‘spy chief of China'” [Daily Mail]. I missed this one. Apologies! “President Joe Biden spoke with Hunter about his business dealings with a Chinese criminal his son dubbed the ‘spy chief of China,’ a voicemail to his son reveals. The president has repeatedly denied personally and through his press secretary that he ever talked about Hunter’s foreign business with his Hunter – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Now, in a voicemail left on Hunter’s iPhone, the evidence has come from POTUS’ own mouth. Joe called Hunter on December 12, 2018 saying that he wanted to talk to him after reading a New York Times story about Hunter’s dealings with the Chinese oil giant CEFC. Files on Hunter’s abandoned laptop previously disclosed by DailyMail.com show that he struck a deal with the Chinese company worth millions of dollars after touting his family connections. The Times’ 2018 story pointed out CEFC’s chairman Ye Jianming had been arrested in China and his top lieutenant Patrick Ho had been convicted in the US for bribing African officials to help Iran evade oil sanctions…. A copy of a FISA warrant obtained by DailyMail.com reveals that federal agents were monitoring Ho as a potential spy for China. And while holed up in a hotel room on a bender with a prostitute filming amateur sex tapes, Hunter accidentally recorded himself referring to Ho as the ‘spy chief of China’. ‘I have another New York Times reporter calling about my representation of the, literally, Dr. Patrick Ho — the f***ing spy chief of China who started the company that my partner [Jianming], who is worth $323 billion, founded and is now missing,’ Hunter told his female friend in the May 11, 2018 recording…. After Ho was arrested [in China for bribery], he contacted Hunter and paid the president’s son a $1million retainer to represent him as his attorney.” • Oh. Imagine if this story was about Ivanka or Jared. Dear Hunter!


* * *

Frustrated youth:

“Vote!” (1):

I love how “fight for” has merged with “vote” here, in a sort of heaving, oleaginous mass. Anyhow, first, in a democracy, voters don’t need to “earn” anything. Second, in a democracy, electeds need to earn votes by delivering. For example:

“With pressures mounting, Biden thinks GOP will make his midterm case for him” [Yahoo News]. “Inside the White House, though, advisers grasp that what’s required aren’t just plans, but votes. The 50-50 split in the Senate between the parties has proved an insurmountable obstacle for Biden’s grandest ambitions — to expand the social safety net in ways that insulate the most vulnerable Americans from economic shocks.” • As I repeat ad nauseum: This is the party Pelosi and Schumer built: Fundraisingmax + Deliverymin = “Fighting for.” Biden-world sees an opening to defy the historical trends, springing from some of the same setbacks that have so angered the Democratic base. Republicans are overreaching in ways that will alienate voters, White House allies contend. ‘I can tell you that on the street, what you hear is a bubbling, seething cauldron of anger at the Republican Party for putting in these antediluvian judges who think they can take us back to the 18th century,’ said Jay Inslee, the Democratic governor of Washington state. ‘My spidey sense and the polling indicate it’s going to help people decide not to vote for the red team.’ Biden and other administration officials intend to draw a stark contrast between the parties in the coming months in hopes of awakening voters to how their personal rights will be imperiled if Republicans seize control of Congress.” • Let me know how that works out:

Then again–

“Democrats see post-Roe campaign cash surge” [Axios]. “Democratic House campaigns in battleground districts across the country have seen a surge of donations — and new donors — in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade. The sudden influx is a bright spot for Democrats in what has otherwise been a difficult campaign marked by rising inflation and costs, potentially validating a strategy of focusing more heavily on abortion on the campaign trail. New York House candidate Pat Ryan raised over $1 million in the six weeks since announcing his campaign, nearly 40% of which came in the week following the ruling, Axios has learned. Ryan, who is running in the August special election in New York’s 19th District, told Axios his race is ‘the first competitive congressional election in a post-Roe world’ and that he plans to put abortion at ‘the center’ of his campaign. His best fundraising day of the campaign was June 26, the day after the ruling, followed by June 29 and 30. Incumbent Democrats defending swing districts have seen similar surges, driven by increased digital engagement from grassroots donors.” • Interesting.


“Americans Discuss Whether Biden Should Run Again” [The Onion]. Slide 9: “Besides his first term, I can’t think of a single reason why Biden shouldn’t run again.”

The frontrunner if Biden comes up lame:

The other frontrunner:

The comments are scathing.

So, the one frontrunner can’t form a coherent sentence, and the other one thinks he’s The Points Guy. That’s where we are!

“Trump flirtation with 2024 run growing more serious” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump is holding discussions about announcing a 2024 campaign, sources told The Hill, with some current and former advisers believing it is a matter of when, not if, Trump will launch a third White House bid. Multiple sources told The Hill that a campaign announcement as early as this summer has already been discussed, but cautioned the situation remains fluid and it’s unclear when the former president might actually jump into the race. ‘I think there are people pulling him in that direction, and he’s open to it,’ one former adviser said of an announcement before the midterms. One source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, argued there’s no rush for Trump to declare his candidacy. Trump remains the most popular and influential figure in the Republican Party, the source said, and the former president could afford to wait until he has a clearer campaign infrastructure in place before throwing himself fully into a White House campaign. In the meantime, advisers close to the former president said Trump will continue holding rallies for his endorsed candidates across the country as a way to address his most ardent supporters and test out potential attack lines for a would-be campaign. Multiple outlets reported in recent days that Trump had mulled a campaign launch as early as this month. Such an announcement would be remarkably early for a presidential campaign, with Election Day more than two years away.” • 852 days is a long time in politics. But it won’t be dull!

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.

* * *

“Why Democratic Appeals To The ‘Working Class’ Are Unlikely to Work” [FiveThirtyEight]. “These messages, though, are unlikely to work on their own because the dividing line in the American electorate is not economics; it’s race and culture. Democratic strategists often point to Barack Obama’s presidency and his response to the Great Recession as a turning point for the party’s appeals to working-class white people. After all, Obama won many of the Rust Belt states partly on the strength of the white working-class vote, but after his presidency, many of those voters turned to Trump and the Republican Party. That’s because Obama’s presidency marked another big turning point in American society: a step toward greater racial equity. And on this issue, Democrats and Republicans could not be further apart. It’s why Democratic appeals to win back the working class are unlikely to work, too.” • Wait. Didn’t…. something else happen during [genuflects] Obama’s presidency? Something… economics? [bangs head on desk]. Give credit, though. Liberal Democrats are committed to the bit!

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Two Eyes:

“Crowd” is doing an awful lot of work there. But as a quick way to describe the slowly diminishing power of the Norms Fairy, it works. (Of course, your typical Bullingdon Club member is probably more adept at “doing it anyway” than your typical Federalist Society lawyer, but the point remains.)

As opposed to the heartless people running the country:


Because freedom:

Darwin Awards (or, to put this more optimistically, an opportunity to display adaptability, which “living with it” does not do):

Just in time for 2024, in the optimistic calculation!

Maskstravaganza: Don’t do it, Bob. Don’t make me give you another award. I’m begging, here:

Hospitalization — how I wish I had a handy map (see below) — is, and follow me closely, here, Bob, a lagging indicator. If you use it as a signal to initiate a masking policy, you’re too late to save a lot of people (and doubling behavior will have had time to do its evil work) [pounds head on desk].

* * *

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 for the United States:

Looks like we’re catching up on the weekend data. Under the hood the BA.4/BA.5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. 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 ~102,400. Today, it’s ~110,000, and 108,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 660,000. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

Regional case count:

Still the South, so here is the South’s breakdown:

The South:

Whoa, Texas! Whoa, Florida!

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

2.4%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the psychos at CDC.)

NOT UPDATED Wastewater data, regional (Biobot Analytics), June 29:

Wastewater data (CDC), Jun 14, 2022 – Jun 28, 2022:

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.

NEW Wastewater variant data from FDA (!), June 29. Note this looks a lot like a pilot, and covers only WA, NV, AZ, AL, MS, VA, MS, OH, PA, and NJ:

Same message as elsewhere: Dominance of BA.5.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 8:

Out of date compared to Walgreens (below) but still showing doubling behavior.

Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 18:

I’m a bit baffled by all the BA5.* and BA4.* Are these sublineages?

Variant data, national (CDC), June 18:

CDC has restored the button that lets me turn their NowCast button off. Doubling behavior moving along quite briskly, but I would rather calculate slash intuit the rise myself, and compare that to Walgreens, than use CDC’s model, which is probably broken anyhow.

Just for grins, I thought I’d check to see if variant data was any different in the South:

(No Texas, sadly). It isn’t.

• “BA.4/5 COVID-19 variants now dominant in all US regions” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy]. “The more transmissible Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are now dominant in all parts of the United States, with BA.5 again steadily expanding its scope, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said today in its latest weekly estimates.” • The “estimates” have the Nowcast model on, but this is the official call.

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].

The White House and the CDC gut “Community Proflle” report and redirect the old URL to https://healthdata.gov:

The Community Profile Report (CPR) is generated by the Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup in the Joint Coordination Cell, under the White House COVID-19 Team. It is managed by an interagency team with representatives from multiple agencies and offices (including the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Indian Health Service)…. Effective June 22, 2021, the Community Profile Report will only be updated twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

There are no more Rapid Riser or Hospitalization maps. Those sociopathic, democidal shitheads have replaced the daily PDF with an effing spreadsheet. No more at-a-glance geographical knowledge to incorporate into our personal risk assessments. No more visualization that lets you drill down from the national level to the county level. No doubt some kind soul — at Walgreens? — will download the data and make something useful from it. In the midst of a new variant spike! Heavens to Betsy.

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:

Status quo. I wonder how long it will be before this one disappears.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,043,879 1,043,372. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 189. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) I’ve been waiting for the Rapture Index to hit the all time high again. Now it has.


Health Care

July 5 was the birthday of the NHS:

(Nobody understood chartalism back in the day.) Of course, the Tories are working hard to privatize the NHS, and hand over the carcass to big consulting firms from the United States, because that’s how they roll.

The Conservatory

“The Monitor: The Punk Album that Predicted Our Politics” [Tropics of Meta]. “One night soon after we moved to Atlanta, I was hanging out at the Graveyard Tavern, killing time before a show. I picked up the local indie music magazine and read a review of a new album by a band called Titus Andronicus. As a history professor, I was both intrigued and mortified. It seemed audacious on so many fronts: they were named after Shakespeare’s most notoriously violent play, a punk band attempting a concept album about the Civil War. Yes, that Civil War. The one with Stonewall Jackson and ironclads. It sounds like a recipe for a prog-ish, pretentious disaster, right? The Monitor ended up being one of my favorite albums—one that I continually go back to and enjoy for its rage, anguish, grit, rawness, and ambition. In ten songs, the New Jersey-based band weaves in threads of Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, and John Brown into a ragged, rampacious epic about a nation divided against itself. Titus’s debut effort, 2008’s The Airing of Grievances, was a more straightforwardly noisy punk affair, but The Monitor marries the band’s dissonant sound to an unabashed Springteenian streak. They update the pathos of the Boss’s deindustrialized New Jersey, but in a new, angrier, more nihilistic register.” • Readers?

Zeitgeist Watch

Since this has gone viral:

I believe this is a parody of the many “bushcraft” videos out there….

“The Thin Red Lines” [The Atlantic]. “[W]hen the red line showed up (after I developed a very sore throat), it was expected but surreal. This horrible pandemic has always felt very real to me, but the core of it—getting sick—had been an abstraction. Feeling my body’s immune system kick in and seeing the red line appear was sobering. I don’t mean to say that I wanted to get sick. But it feels momentous when the thing you’ve been preparing for for years happens to you. It’s unnerving but also oddly grounding to add your name to a list that is 87 million Americans long (and that’s a drastic undercount). I consider myself extremely lucky to have a healthy immune system, three vaccine shots, and the flexibility to get sick and not jeopardize my employment. But it sucked. I don’t have any way to prove it, but I believe I got the reportedly now-dominant variant of Omicron, BA.5, which, according to one account, is ‘the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen.’ I was certainly the sickest I’ve been in more than a decade; it was a couple days of bad flu symptoms, followed by a relentless, bone-deep fatigue. I consider myself very fortunate, but this was not the ‘light sniffles’ version of the virus I’d heard so much about. But what surprised me most about this illness—despite mentally prepping for it for years—was how I developed a peculiar obsession with rapid tests. In a moment where I had to give up any notion of control and let the virus run its course, the tests were my only way to orient myself to this illness.” • This, surprisingly, is pretty good. Sure, we have the self-regard, but it’s not unintrospective.

Class Warfare

Has HR gone as cray cray as everything else?

This account is from Canada. Is the United States in the same sad shape?

“No More Fake Strikes” [Organizing Work]. “In recent years, middle-class activists with little relationship to unions, workers or workplaces have routinely called for general strikes. Over the last decade, there have been a dizzying number of general strikes announced. The ones that I can remember are: in the wake of the Wisconsin uprising, in San Francisco following the Occupy movement, on May Day for most of the last decade, a whole spate of general strikes in the wake of Trump’s election, earlier this year around the TSA shutdown, and a recent call for a reproductive rights strike. There is also a call for a global climate strike, which may or may not be a call for a strike as opposed to a protest…. Most union constitutions have detailed rules and procedures for striking, including rules on when and how strike votes should be conducted. While some may dismiss this as mere bureaucracy, strike votes are taken seriously by most unions because the stakes are so high for the affected workers. By voting to strike, a group of workers commits themselves to a battle which has major repercussions for their individual and collective futures. A failed strike can mean the loss of a job, and even a winning strike may mean months of hardship—this is not a decision to be made lightly. As a democratic decision, once the decision to strike has been made, all workers, whether they voted yes, no, or did not vote, are expected to honor it. Everyone must honor the picket line and go on strike — or be deemed a scab. Most union constitutions call for fining or expelling strikebreakers, and back in the day scabs would be ostracized for years after the conclusion of a strike. Having been involved in many strike votes over the years, they usually involve lots of collective discussion in the workplace, answering questions and what-ifs. Legal strategy and possible repercussions are talked about, and strategy is debated. Striking is a collective decision, and typically the work group solidifies around the idea. When the group does decide to go on strike, folks began to act collectively and labor and management become polarized.” • It seems that “General Strike!” is as empty an exhortation as “Vote!” At least now.

News of the Wired

Dad, dad:

* * *

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 KatieBird:

KatieBird writes: ” My sister, B, sent me these photos of her garden. I like the combination of flowers and colorful leaves. Oh, and a variety of pots and sculptures. She says it’s too small but it looks fine to me.”

* * *

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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. Samuel Conner

    > democidal shitheads

    That seems a bit harsh. “shitheads”, yes, but maybe they don’t want to actually kill the demos, just facilitate a high level of chronic illness that will warrant profitable pharmaceutical interventions. I imagine that even a universal demos-care system might be acceptable if it were sufficiently profitable to the care and pharma providers.

    Is there an adjective for “tending to (medically) sicken the demos“? “Demopathic” seems to have already been coined and it means something different.


    And nice plantidote! I admire orderly gardens, but intuit that “too small” may be part of the cost of that.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > democidal

      I don’t think “All those people died because we were thinking of something more important” is all that great a defense. Wikipedia gives a list:

      Actions in which the state indirectly caused the death of large numbers of people include man-made disasters caused by the state, such as the famines in India during British rule,[22] the atrocities in the Congo Free State,[23] the Khmer Rouge years in Cambodia, the Holodomor in Soviet Ukraine and wider Soviet famine, the famines and poverty caused by the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China,[24] and the famine in Yemen triggered by the U.S.–backed Saudi Arabian-led intervention and blockade.[25][26][27

      I agree that there’s a layer of indirection here — our equivalent of the Wansee conference was, as is natural to us, held by the GBD loons in civil society, and the state only implemented that policy when it became conventional wisdom — but our system is set up such that the indirection is meant to blind elites and shield them from consequences. But it’s their job to see through that nonsense, not to leverage it.

      1. albrt

        But it’s their job to see through that nonsense, not to leverage it.

        This is very insightful, except that I think you have it backwards.

      2. chris

        I’m not so sure its an indirect correlation. We know people die because of the lack of healthcare those in power continue to support, we know people die during recessions due to job loss and poverty. The current Fed policy is very much a gun pointed at the head of the lowest among us. Democidal indeed.

  2. griffen

    Plastic wrap. I’ll have to dig around for that later (ie, is it a parody). All I could think about was, well that’s just damn weird.

    1. Wukchumni

      As a member in long standing, er sitting of the Great Hammockracy with maybe 500 nights under my belt since the turn of the century, it only takes me about 2:51 in real time to set up my hammock and tarp that goes above it-not the approx 15 minutes worth of 1-time use cling wrap.

      A hammock isn’t a trampoline though and you definitely don’t want to see me clad in spandex…

    2. hunkerdown

      She’s dressed for the great indoors. Either a) a mowed green and jogging path lies just out of frame, or b) she’s a crazy cat tick lady styling herself a wood nymph, or c) it’s a crisp satire with diligent characterization.

  3. Samuel Conner

    > Then we needed to fill out a long invasive psychological, work styles “exam” filled with ethical questions about whether you’d side with fellow employees over management, and whether you were “too much” of an independent thinker, I had to caution them about disclosure here

    In response to the question — I think that WalMart was doing something like this for low-level hires back at least as early as the ’00s. I helped a friend, who was not tech savvy, take his questionnaire, which was administered by a clunky terminal at the back of the store; don’t recall whether it was touch screen or mechanical buttons. I was there to help with navigating the menus, but I could see that his responses might matter a great deal, and I advised him, in answering the questions, to “think like management — what kind of attitudes would you prefer in your workers?” He got the job.

    1. Andrew

      My wife has helped a number of library patrons fill out applications for minimum wages jobs in the US, and she says they’re all like this. If you want unemployment, it’s some number of those applications every week on top of the bureaucratic hell Jobs and Family Services puts you through.

      1. Angie Neer

        Similar reports from my librarian wife. Employment, unemployment, immigration, housing assistance, taxes, food service certificates, all come with horrific application processes that appear designed to confuse, obstruct and deter.

        1. Wukchumni

          NPS has been having great difficulty hiring people because of what some are calling ‘the Ivanka Trump Test’ which is timed and has questions that don’t really pertain to anything they do, but if the plan was to privatize the National Parks by 2027 during Trump’s second term in ridding the NP’s of employees, this is how you’d go about it.

          First take the test:


          Her current residence may technically be the back of a Ford F-150, but Utah’s rugged canyon country is where she has made her career and home.

          After spending nine years as a commercial raft guide and several seasons as a National Park Service ranger, her resume highlights those skills: a familiarity with remote wilderness travel, technical search and rescue experience, and the ability to row a raft through whitewater rapids, to name a few.

          But this year, when the ranger was applying for seasonal jobs with the Interior Department along with thousands of hopeful candidates across the United States, her application was ranked by a new metric: her ability to complete complex logic and reading comprehension problems on a timed, online multiple-choice test.

          For the first time in her career with the federal government, the river ranger, who asked not to be named so she could speak freely about the ongoing hiring process, didn’t even land an interview for jobs she previously was deemed qualified to perform. She believes the tests are to blame.

          “I am a good employee who has done well, and I’m not getting referred for the position that I did [last year],” she said. “This is insane.” (SLT)

          1. ambrit

            Kudos for the Swift reference. A gerontocracy does indeed need such, er, enthusiastic assistants.

    2. chris

      Lambert, I have only personal and anecdata to offer for this, but my impression is that the US is much worse than that. We’re worse because in addition to money required for certain implements necessary for the job and a good rating, we also ask for a lot of time beyond filling out the application.

      The last time I had to apply for a position was 2017. There were 5 interviews. 3 in-person. One requiring overnight travel. The expenses for the overnight experience were covered, but not any of the other expenses, or any of my time, was paid for. In addition to the time during the interviews, I was asked to develop a presentation for the interviews and give it to an audience. I was already a highly credentialed and accomplished person prior to applying. Now, it was a good decision for me and I’m glad I was able to complete the process and ultimately accept the position. But that was a high bar to clear for a lot of people.

      More recently, I’ve helped other engineers through the process but that still required 3 in person visits that weren’t compensated for time.

      One of my kids has gone through the process for applying to high school type jobs. In addition to the requirements for personal transportation and having a smart phone to be on the required employee Slack channel and other apps to even get paid for their time, my kid was not given the full explanation of their rights as an employee. We found out too late to help them that they had a lot of wages stolen by an employer for things like closing shop off the clock and attending meetings on their own time.

      So like I said, my impression is the US is so much worse because you are fighting a huge system and the rewards for most are meager.

      However, there are organizations that help young college students navigate this mess while building useful experience. The one I donate time to help with is The Washington Center. i don’t know if there’s something similar for people who aren’t in college.

  4. Hepativore

    I am also seething at the latest remark by Biden that the high gasoline prices will continue “as long as it takes” in regards to the Ukraine-Russia war.

    As long as WHAT takes, Biden? We technically are not even in the war itself and gasoline prices were skrocketing before war broke out due to runaway speculation on Wallstreet and other factors. There is a lot that he could do as president to ameliorate things, and the fact that he has not done anything noteworthy with his presidency since the $1,400 hundred checks means that he is either unwilling or incompetent… probably a mixture of both.

    I live 16 miles away from work. Public transportation to and from the city is non-existent in my tiny, rural, town of 500 people and not even Uber or Lyft are available in my area as it is so small. I have no choice but to drive, and Biden’s answer of “Let the peasantry buy electric cars!” really makes me mad considering their cost relative to my income as an hourly retail worker.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Most likely not a solution for you, but an electric bicycle would fit the parameters you gave. Of course, the commute would take more time and probably be less safe.

      And if you have snow where you live, forget it.

      1. CheckyChubber

        You can ride 16 miles in no time on an e-bike. I did a relatively cheap Bafang conversion on my old bike and now it does 28mph up hill, and could go 50 miles easily. That journey would take me about 35 minutes and also be fun!

        1. Hepativore

          I live in Minnesota…we have ice and snow on our roads for an average of six out of the twelve months of the year and it gets very cold as well during the winter.

      2. chris

        Those bikes are great options. But remember the batteries are temperature sensitive, they also require “clean power” to charge without damaging the battery (meaning nothing with a dropped phase or missing neutral, plus surge protection), and the bikes are reliable targets for theft in cities. They also require some maintenance and some know how. I’m not critical of them because they are a great option for many people, especially poor people. But they still have a lot of barriers to them for citizens living in places that get too cold or too hot.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have a pretty ab-fab single track mountain bike trail system on BLM land up Salt Creek on Skyline and I rode my first electric bike by the beach last year and went by Trestles-a famous surfing spot and every surfer had one it seemed, all with a cool looking outrigger, a surfing scabbard of sorts.

          So I get back to tiny town and ask my mountain bike buddies about electric bikes and they hold them in the highest disdain as you gotta earn your turns by riding up a fire road to get to the promised land, and besides the e-bikes aren’t anything compared to their $4-6k specialized rides, and a good many of the e-riders are truly in over their head and get into trouble.

          That said, an e-bike would be about perfect for the 4 mile stretch I usually drive a car in when up in Mineral King.

    2. Cocomaan

      It’s not about the war, it’s about a forced transition to green energy. The problem is that the green energy economy is largely theoretical and there’s no There There. These people think that the financial ESG equals infrastructure on the ground and have no mooring to reality.

      I almost wonder if this bone headed tone deaf response to climate change is actually designed to kill green energy. I cannot think of a better way to create a generation or two that is extremely skeptical of green energy transition than to transition into nothing at all.

      1. nippersdad

        The closure of the Nordstream II pipeline gave away the game early on. Gas has been touted as the bridge fuel for decades now, so what happens when huge proportions of it are cut off?

        Now they are talking about fracking in Britain and reopening Polish coalfaces. Just think about it: Western fossil fuel concerns will never have to worry about the kind of problems they had when the COVID lockdowns started and they couldn’t give oil away. They now have a captive market.

        Neoliberals have always been good at coopting movements, but the way they are delegitimizing Green energy using coopted Green parties in the EU and Europe has been a master stroke.

        1. Polar Socialist

          There’s always the hope that rational greens will make a comeback destroying this mockery of the Green Movement we have in Europe.

          On the other hand, the spread of the Extinction Rebellion and its stupid stunts without any actionable agenda to speak of keeps that hope very much in control…

      2. chris

        I hadn’t thought of that. I can see where forced greening could backfire. Interesting to think about this being a psyop. Like, maybe they’re going to depress stock prices and asset prices for their friends who want to purchase fossil related suppliers, then they buy them cheap, and give the all clear to the administration to release the green boot from the country’s neck.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      sililar out here…although there is an enterprising soul who has been attempting a taxi service/drunk transport for few years.
      she won’t come down my road,lol.
      my next vehicle will more along these lines:

      i grew up with a donkey for a sister. when ya get em young, the females(or cut males) are docile and friendly, and they’ll eat whatever is growing on the roadside.
      they are just as stubborn as the mythos says, however…and if they don’t want to go to town, they wont.
      no insurance or license required.
      and, out here at least, there’s long tradition that so long as your donkey/horse isn’t drunk, it aint drunk driving(PI if yer bein a dick, tho)

      1. Revenant

        As we say in Devon on leaving the remote rural hostelries [thick Wurzel accent] “Carrr knowz itz way ‘ome!”. The single track roads between high hedgebanks are the drinkdriver’s friend, allegedly. And the whole statement was once true of the horse….

  5. Tim

    After reading the Fed Open Market Committee minutes I thought of a good Onion article:

    The Fed struggles to manage its dual mandate through interest rates. Since it can’t reduce wages, it directs the regional banks to arm homeless with AR15s in an attempt to reduce wage earners. Per the Fed Chair: “We thought long and hard about what policy changes could achieve our objectives and decided this approach is most likely to achieve the desired outcome of both reducing wages and aggregate demand, while still maintaining high employment rates as a percentage of the population. It really is a beautifully efficient mechanism at achieving our objectives if you really think about it.”

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think the “democidal sh!theads” beat the Fed to this one. We’re having a “full-employment recession.” Who knew that public health could be so effective?

      1. Tim

        I think the current COVID respose is more about getting the pensioner liabilities off the books of corporations. That’s my cynical take on why the government pulled back from actually trying to fight COVID. Their corporate overlords told them it’s been great for their bottom line. Never stop the enemy (wage earners) when they are defeating themselves.

  6. doug

    I just got the call nobody wants. My 93YO Father in Law has Covid, and has been taken to the hospital. My spouse is the only person who has been masked the entire time. His care givers and other children could not be bothered with such.
    NC is the only reason we are aware of the ongoing dangers, and reasonable mitigations. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for this place.

    1. LawnDart

      “We have to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take this seriously.”
      K. Harris, 2022

      A most worthy and insightful nominee for selected quotes, good sir, although I also liked–

      There is a (smaller) proportion of people that will take precautions without needing to have personal experience…

      There is a larger proportion that will do it after personal experience.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you very much and good luck to your father. One thing you can try to do is make sure the nurses and staff are masked. Maybe hang out in the room, if that is allowed? It’s a bad way to go.

    3. doug

      (Thur morning) Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts. He spent his first night ever in the hospital for himself. That is quite a record. We will see how it goes from here. His wife of 72 years died two weeks ago, so he is going through a lot right now.

  7. Mikel

    “It seems that “General Strike!” is as empty an exhortation as “Vote!” At least now.”

    Indeed. Support systems, especially, would need to be set up. Trust is important too.

    1. ChetG

      There will never ever be a general strike, because the people involved would be too busy sorting out their personal pronoun preferences.

      1. Mikel

        An exhortation to “everybody” should make that a null and void issue, but what do I know about the definition of “everybody” ? In these strange times, that could even be up for debate.

        1. marym

          There’s a labor movement, and a union movement, flawed as they may be at this point in history. There are strikes and at times organizers and strikers needing others to boycott, not cross a picket line, provide witness and support during times of strikebreaking, or donate funds. There are also people building community and mutual aid networks for a lot of reasons, that will contribute to resilience during any widespread labor resistance.

          These workplace and community activists include people with concerns about gender, racism, etc. They, in all their diversity, not PCM or MAGA identitarians, will be the future – if there is one – of class-based activism and progress.

          Those among us who won’t be on the front lines owe them solidarity, however we can manage to provide it.

      2. dcblogger

        wow, why is this so difficult for people. it is something we can do to build solidarity. really I just do not get the difficulty with this.

        1. dcblogger

          I understand why general strikes are nearly impossible, I just don’t understand the problem if other people want to make their pronouns clear. If you don’t want to participate don’t, I just don’t understand why so angry that other people want to do this very small think to make other people feel more welcome.

          right now the NYT and others are ginning up anger at trans people and somebody is going to get killed.

          1. ambrit

            “Divide and rule” doesn’t care about the classes of people involved. The division itself is the point.
            The NYT is trying to protect and preserve the “priviledge” of the extant Elites. To such groups, any number of literal deaths is of no import.
            The Trans are just the latest in a long line of “Others.”

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            In my experience, people pushing the preferred pronouns don’t know how to organize and/or talk to working class humans.

            Ordinary workers in Louisiana will tune that shit out IMMEDIATELY and lump you in with the libs, which they are pretty much right to do so.

  8. super extra

    > punk concept album of the US Civil War

    I am not a punk person HOWEVER I see your bid and raise you: experimental instrumentalists Matmos also have a civil war themed concept album – the English Civil War, that is. I think my favorite track on it is The Struggle Against Unreality Begins. Entire album can be played on youtube here.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Bugger, I was replying to Hepativore. Sorry for the trouble.

      On the other hand, I used to be kinda punk person way back when, and it gave me great amusement when punk bands here playing wartime songs and old people really, really were angry about such “sacriledge”. Even if it was a tribute.

        1. super extra

          I’ve linked them here before but Canadian anarchists Godspeed You Black Emperor have several albums that are operatic in scope (Yanqui UXO is about the second intifada, i think). They don’t do vocals though, so most of the message is hidden in the album art or field recordings.

          1. digi_owl

            For some reason that got me thinking of Meat Loaf (RIP), and his close collaboration with Jim Steinman (RIP).

        2. Mark Gisleson

          There is nothing operatic about The Monitor. I just listened to a remastered version but I’m not sure what that means in this case as Titus Andronicus is a garagey noise rock band, or at least they are on this album.

          A couple of Civil War-ish song titles but the lyrics only intersect with the Civil War in the most casual drive-by way. I had to do a lyrics search, btw, because for the most part I couldn’t understand the singing and no it’s not because I’m old but because when I was young noise rockers knew how to enunciate (John Lennon, now there was a screamer).

          Four Score and Seven is the album’s slow song. Here are the lyrics (family bloggerized):

          This is a war we can’t win
          After 10,000 years, it’s still us against them
          And my heroes have always died at the end
          So who’s going to account for these sins?

          And I don’t know who here is my friend
          Well, I’m certain that I’ve seen uglier men
          Chr*st, f*ck me if I can remember when
          Will I never be lonely again?

          Well the tides are a-turnin’ once more
          Six dark-winged devils line up at my door
          Each one is more evil than that which came before
          Seven angels find me spread across the floor

          You’d like everyone to believe you’re a star
          And I’ll admit that it’s worked out pretty well so far
          But when they see the kind of person that you really are
          Then you won’t be laughing so hard
          No, you won’t be laughing so hard!

          You won’t be laughing so hard

          (Pt. II)

          “We’re all depraved and disgusting” I spew like a fountain
          “And debased, defaced, disgraced and destroyed
          “Most of all disappointed” I say atop this mountain
          As I urinate into the void

          F*ck I’m frustrated, freaking out something fierce
          Would you help me, I’m hungry, I suffer and I starve
          Oh I struggle and I stammer ’till I’m up to my ears
          In miserable quote unquote art

          About how ever since our forefathers came on this land
          We’ve been coddling those we should be running through
          Please don’t wait around for them to come and shake hands
          They’re not gonna be waiting for you

          Appomattox Driftwood this ain’t.

          1. Zzzz Andrew

            Yep, it’s about the Civil War in more or less the same way that Joyce’s Ulysses is about Odysseus, which is to say, it makes for a loose but useful metaphorical framing of a different and more intimate story.

            I like Titus Andronicus a lot, and have seen them live several times (including one show consisting of a re-enactment of The Monitor in its entirety). Lead man Patrick Stickles is entertaining as hell and, to me, a deeply endearing figure. That said, The Monitor is ancient history, and even if it’s the album that made the band’s reputation, I never listen to it, greatly preferring (1) The Most Lamentable Tragedy (2) A Productive Cough (3) An Obelisk, in that order. Along the lines of The Monitor, but more ambitious, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a *double* album conceived of as a Greek tragedy detailing Stickles’ heroic struggle with bipolar conditions, and for my money kicks serious ass. Needless to say, YMMV.

            Lambert, if you’re interested in punk musicians and operatic scope, the king of them all is the guy who, as it happens, reads the Walt Whitman passage in The Monitor’s 5th track, namely, Craig Finn. Finn is best known for being the lyricist and lead singer of Minneapolis punk band Lifter Puller and, later, The Hold Steady (which is not a punk band but has deep punk roots). Both bands present a story with recurring characters that plays out over multiple albums, told in either case in a gripping, elliptical style and with exceptional skill by Finn. Joe Strummer himself is on record saying, “It’s Lifter Puller’s world … we’re just living in it” (https://www.villagevoice.com/2000/12/12/so-this-guy-walks-into-a-bar/).

            If this description piques your interest enough to actually check something out, try starting with one of these albums:

            Lifter Puller
            Fiestas And Fiascos (youtube)
            Half Dead And Dynamite (youtube)

            The Hold Steady
            Separation Sunday (youtube)
            Boys And Girls In America (youtube)

          2. orlbucfan

            I don’t know if Lennon was a “screamer”; he had a powerful singing voice. He was also one of the few whiteys who could sing blues and r & b (his fave). Smokey Robinson complimented him personally. I like the Clash and a few other punk bands but not a big punk person. I do know who Titus Andronicus is/was. :-)

    1. The Rev Kev

      The reactions to this strike will bear watching. Just yesterday saw a video of a Syrian army checkpoint turning back an American convoy from going to one of their bases. The Kurds will be getting worried, especially with Turkey feeling aggressive.

  9. Lunker Walleye

    I cancelled a EGD appointment scheduled for next week. No doc or patient in the clinic is required to wear a mask and of course a patient getting the EGD is not wearing a mask. A week after many were gathering for July 4th seemed to be another good reason not to do it.

  10. kareninca

    I don’t know which UK newspapers are reputable and in what ways, but this looks like a normal newspaper (The Telegraph) article presenting actual news. And it is the most worrisome article I have seen in the course of the pandemic, since it is describing something happening rather than something reasonably predicted.

    “Excess deaths are on the rise – but not because of Covid
    Office for National Statistics data leads health experts to call for urgent investigation into what is causing the excess mortality” (By
    Sarah Knapton,
    5 July 2022 • 9:00pm)

    Hundreds more people than usual are dying each week in England and Wales with Covid not to blame for the majority of deaths, new figures show.
    Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 1,540 excess deaths in the week ending June 24 but only around 10 per cent were due to coronavirus.
    Health experts have called for an urgent investigation into what is behind the excess mortality, with fears that the pandemic response, lack of access to healthcare and even the cost of living crisis, may be to blame.

    Before the end of March, deaths in England and Wales were lower than usual this year despite hundreds of people dying from Covid. Yet in the last three months, the situation has reversed, with overall deaths rising even though Covid deaths have been falling.

    Prof Paul Hunter, professor in medicine, at the University of East Anglia, said some of the excess could be people whose health was weakened by Covid. The infection is known to increase the risk of stroke and heart attacks. But he warned that there may be other more complex factors at play.

    . . .

    Dr Charles Levinson, the chief executive of the private GP company DoctorCall, also called for a government inquiry into what was causing so many deaths at home.
    The ONS reported 752 excess deaths in the home in the latest week, 30 per cent more than usual, and more than hospitals and care homes put together.
    “This is exactly why a proper government investigation is required,” he said. “This is not just displacement from hospitals… I do not understand how this is not being properly discussed.””

    The Telegraph is behind a paywall, but you can go to archive.today and find a screenshot of the article (https://archive.ph/xXRFn)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t know which UK newspapers are reputable and in what ways, but this looks like a normal newspaper (The Telegraph) article presenting actual news.

      The Telegraph is fine. It’s a Tory paper, but it is what it is. I have to pick up the Guardian with a set of tongs because of what they did to Corbyn.

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah i guess if nothing else, anything Tory is honest about their loathing for anything but the upper class.

        The pain of the Guardian and similar is that they will do lip service to caring and then turn their backs when it really counts.

        It is like we are back to Dickens, only with shinier toys.

  11. Lambert Strether Post author

    Readers, I am finished with the updates.

    Those of you who follow Covid could do worse than skim the section. The data is very dynamic just now, after being stable for a long time, and with the CDC, not in a good way, although there are some other bright spots.

    They’re really screwing with my ability to make a personal risk assessment! (Or, I might add, to help you.)

    1. haywood

      Thank you so much for keeping this Covid news and data section going. It’s been absolutely indispensable for me.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>They’re really screwing with my ability to make a personal risk assessment! (Or, I might add, to help you.)

      Well at least you are not quite reduced to throwing darts at some charts on a wall or auguring by reading entrails of some poor creature; it still might be more accurate than the current official prognostications approved for release by someone using whatever they consider the proper auspices.

      It is frightening that my best source of Covid information is a political economics site that is on the official Enemies List, but thank you for the good work.

  12. Wukchumni

    Watched the green bin of yard trash get picked up along with the blue bin containing recyclables all going into the same trash truck, but its all a feel-good ruse anyhow, everything is going to the landfill.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      our dump still separates out metal, at least.
      the “recycling center” is now more of a hazmat depository, for stuff the dump wont/cant take.

      local newspaper runs a weekly add offering free used newspapers for composting(they don’t compost well, and require lye and time and effort to convert into marginally useable toilet paper(that will NOT flush, btw!)
      because, apparently, the Recycling Center’s contract for paper and cardboard dried up, somehow.
      2020-2021, the contract for metal dried up…and the pile grew and entangled a lot…such that it’s difficult for lil ol me to extract useful things.

      a caveat, however: since i built a more or less coon-proof dumpster on my side of the place, i don’t hafta go to the dump near as often…so i’m not as hip to the scuttlebutt down there as i was.
      couple of three of “my kids”(Eldest’s buddies) work for city/county…2 even at the dump, proper…and they show up out here with scrap lumber, roofing tin(R-Panels, even), fence posts and discarded tools, galore.
      stuff they bring thats unusable gets tossed back,lol(too-short boards are wood for entertainment fires,too short steel goes in the “steel mine” in the far corner of the south pasture, etc)…because its a learning curve…all this professional dumpsterdiving and scavenging like the worlds already collapsed.
      i’m grateful for their offerings, and accept them.
      triage, and dumping some of these things back in the waste-stream can wait for later.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I live in an area that doesn’t offer recycling pickup. We have community bins for recycling that are basically 40 yard covered skips. I used to take my recycling down religiously but every time I went, they were overflowing with tires, old mattresses, construction debris and other straight up trash. Earlier this year, I stopped doing it because no way those were going to be able to be recycled with so much contamination. I wish I had an alternative, but I looked and I don’t.

  13. Mikel

    This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

    Great. According to the map, you just have to go where there are the least number of people to find clusters of low to moderate spread.
    Kind of like how the island of Tonga was the place to be to avoid the pandemic – until the volcano and rescue workers showed up.

  14. haywood

    I’m unable to load links and water cooler on both of my Apple devices. I’ve had this problem of delayed loading for a week or two, maybe more, but it usually fixes itself after a few moments. Now, using both Safari and chrome, I’m unable to load beyond the first few paragraphs. Using a browser called Firefox Focus just now seemed to do the trick.

        1. dk

          I’m also seeing some indications that Twitter embeds are involved, in Firefox on windows I’m getting over 400 warning like these (but the pages work fine):

          Cookie “ct0” with the “SameSite” attribute value “Lax” or “Strict” was omitted because of a cross-site redirect. Tweet.html
          Cookie “tweetdeck_version” with the “SameSite” attribute value “Lax” or “Strict” was omitted because of a cross-site redirect. Tweet.html
          Cookie “auth_multi” with the “SameSite” attribute value “Lax” or “Strict” was omitted because of a cross-site redirect. Tweet.html

      1. Old Sarum

        When confronted with technical issues I always primarily suspect that It is just me or ‘my’ particular version of whatever technology is involved. If it isn’t ‘just me’ I am somewhat relieved, and I make that point clear to all and sundry.

        With that ‘said’ have you established that it isn’t ‘just you’?


      2. dk

        Safari is famous/notorious for “strict” and/or arbitrary implementation of javascript and other web standards. But because they can argue with some honesty that they’re just blocking bugs and potential security risks, it’s hard to say they’re wrong when another provider like Twitter makes a subtle change in their code and something somewhere breaks.

  15. Tom Doak

    Is it possible that Nancy’s plan is to drag out the 1/6 hearings as long as possible, so that any criminal referral for Trump will happen as late as possible, so that his standing [as a non-felon] to run for President will be in limbo during the early part of the 2024 campaign?

    If so, I cannot think of any plan more likely to incite a Civil War.

    1. Pelham

      Also re 1/06 and the bombshell testimony about Trump trying to grab the steering wheel of his limo: Granted, Trump was being at least somewhat reckless. But what else does the incident — if true — tell us?

      Trump was president at the time. He wanted to go to the Capitol. The Secret Service warned him it wasn’t safe. But he wanted to go anyway. The Secret Service then refused a presidential order, or so it appears. So who was in charge, the president or the Secret Service? Who should have been in charge?

      I can see why some would think this is a trivial matter, or not even consider the question. But I think it’s absolutely, unavoidably essential. If a president, no matter who he is, can be openly defied like this, it’s a rather grave situation regardless of the motives driving those doing the defying.

      I’ll also even grant that the agents’ refusal at the time may have saved democracy, such as it is. But I won’t concede that any agent in the car at the time was justified in making that judgment. Does anyone agree?

      1. ian

        All the more reason to have the Secret Service agents who were in the car testify. I can think of no valid reason not to.

    2. Wukchumni

      Saw a picture of Nancy in a swimsuit in Italy and I didn’t avert my orbits quick enough, which left me temporarily cross-eyed.

      1. Sardonia

        Forget it, Jake. It’s Italy-town.

        But…it really is quite the “Newton spies falling apple” moment, isn’t it?

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          My dad who I’ve been trying to get into politics for over a decade now (and who BTW is now at the NYT, Washington Post Stage of Politics UGHHH FML) sent me a cryptic text earlier today asking if I’d seen a “Tiara” from RI do her thing….lol


          I mean…sex sells but not very professional!

        2. ambrit

          Hmmm…. I don’t know if this is the type of ‘fundamental’ reform I was looking for.

      2. ambrit

        Thank your lucky stars it wasn’t one of those topless suits popular along the Northern Med coast. Seeing that would have required years of therapy to recover from.
        Oh, and have you heard about this new heretical idea from the Rus Philosopher Vladimir? He claims that the Earth does not revolve around Washington. The Prop or Not Inquisitors will be paying a call on him right quick! I guarantee it.

  16. Soredemos

    In case anyone was wanting an update on the situation after my mother’s death over a month ago (and thanks to everyone who had kind words to say), basically it’s been a train wreck.

    She was a massive hoarder, which I knew, but it’s about four times worse than I thought it was. As far as anyone can tell, she didn’t leave a will (this after verbal assurances after her husband died almost a decade ago that ‘it would be taken care of’. It turns out that she took of nothing, in more ways than one). Or if she did, it effectively doesn’t exist because no one can find it. So, probate everything, despite the fact that the three kids have zero interest in fighting over or disputing anything.

    Four plus weeks in we (sister and I) have cleared the entire house except for the main bedroom, which she abandoned to a literal trash mountain years ago. She slept in the living room, where she lived in a four thousand dollar reclining chair (now thoroughly beaten to hell; doubtful it’ll be salvageable and sellable), also surrounded by a sea of garbage. So far we’ve hauled nearly four tons of trash out of the house (I know the exact weight and dump cost, since I’m keeping the receipts to get the estate to pay me back later). We can’t just shovel everything straight into trash bags because we have to make some effort to filter out anything that looks like it might be important, bank statements or legal papers and the like, because, again, no will. The final bedroom, by the way, is literally bed bug infested. After clearing enough trash to get the mattress out, it’s almost impossible to continue the work because if you stand where the mattress used to be to get at more garbage, they swarm and bite. So that job is on hold until after a bug fogger does whatever it can do.

    It should probably go without saying that there’s lots of other infestation damage in the house. Water damage too, from a roof leak that she knew about but did nothing to fix despite it being under a recent warranty because *she’d literally lost the warranty in the sea of trash*. The warranty was one of thigns we found early, and the roofers decided to honor it (and even issue a new one transferred to my name). The inside damage still needs to be fixed, but that looks mostly like straight forward drywall replacing, which will be relatively cheap and easy.

    Also, as with the will, it’s not clear what life insurance she had. We’ve so far found exactly one policy for a whole 30k (we also knew this existed before we confirmed it with the insurance company because we found a piece of mail saying ‘you have a 30k policy with us, you can increase this to 50k for just one dollar more a month’. She did not spend that one dollar a month. This kind of extreme financial stupidity is a running theme with her, as it turns out). This one for 30k was written out specifically to me, but she had previously promised both my siblings that there was a 30k one to be split three ways. We’re hoping she wasn’t lying or inept and this means there’s at least one more policy somewhere.

    I don’t actually need extra money; I had no intentions of buying a sports car or something when mom died. But I didn’t expect her to leave me with 76k on her mortgage left to pay off. She was eighteen years into a 140k mortgage with over half of it left to pay off because she had just kept refinancing and using the house as a money spigot to buy mountains of (mostly now literal) trash. Sol any insurance money I get will immediately go to the vampires at Wells Fargo (of course she picked possibly the worst bank to deal with, of course). Why didn’t she take a huge chunk of it out with her husband’s life insurance money, you might ask. Oh, because she wanted to buy a new car with that. So she did. That still needs to be paid off too, so she didn’t even buy it outright with his money (it’s been quite lightly driven, so I’m probably going to sell it for roughly 2/3 of its original value and give that money to the vampires as well).

    Which raises very serious questions about where tens of thousands of dollars went. Again, into literal garbage, mostly. She pissed it all away on sporadic purchases. Most of them stupid (Invicta watches for 70% off! How could you not buy them? They’re a scam mother; they’re ‘70% off’ because they never actually sell them for the full MSRP that they made up. Also no one needs watches anymore, including you, because all of these were still in their packaging), some of them not (the $2500 Patriot generator and solar panel I’ve actually been using. It works. It’s a complete ripoff for the price, you can get a comparable, and in fact even better, one for a thousand less, and a vastly better one for the same price; she obviously did zero research and just bought into the Facebook ad she saw. But it does work, I might keep it).

    (she also literally didn’t need to do the constant refinancing even if she just wanted to keep buying trinkets. Between her and my father she had three different pensions to draw on, plus social security, plus some gifted land stocks. Two of those pensions ended with her death (also Boeing wants 700 bucks back. Bite me, and go whine to the estate. I’m not paying them squat out of my cash), and we have yet to track down the third, which was through a company that no longer exists, to see if it’s still active)

    Oh, and on top of everything else, she has a storage unit. $235 a month, for over twenty years. It’s the only possible remaining place a will could be, and we can’t get into it until I’m appointed executor (which I will be; the siblings are fine with it, but the brother is now on the other side of the country, which slows down getting any signed hard copies from him), which is still weeks away. We delayed weeks before even getting an attorney because we still hoped a will existed/could be found. So far I’ve had to pay the storage bill twice, with them pseudo-blackmailing me “well, if you don’t pay, it becomes possible that we have to auction off the contents…”.

    She left lots of dangling loose ends like that. We keep discovering them. Like the fact that she never bothered to get her dead husband’s name taken off the title to the house. And when I went in to do that, they refused to except the outdated long-form birth certificate we had a copy of. See, at some point some imbecilic state legislators in Oregon decided that death certificates should be subdivided into long- and short-form, with the short-form omitting the cause of death to ‘protect the dead person’s medical privacy’. So that’s another 25 bucks to get a new death certificate made for a man who has been dead for eight years. Yet another receipt to bill the estate for later.

    Suffice to say, that as of right now it’s very hard to have anything positive to say about her. That’ll come later, probably, but right now mostly my emotional reaction to my mother’s death is extreme resentment. What kind of person leaves this much of a (to a large extent literal, physical) mess for their kids to have to clean up? Who plans have their kid inherent a house, but never bothers to pay off the house, or to even maintain it?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i sympathise.
      wife’s ‘estate’ is relatively simple…but her hoarding and lack of organisational skills has become apparent.
      (frelling shoes, man!)
      when the time comes, my mom’s estate will be a nightmare, i’m sure…based on past performance in probate regarding her mother, who had similar narcissistic and ocd problems…and a total distrust of anyone or anything that could potentially get at her money.

      long ago, exwife and i got coralled into helping a mentally ill older woman(who’s folks had parked her in the trailer park) clean out her mobile home.
      ex made the deal, and i had to follow through if i were to keep my integrity.
      like you describe, but with giant piles of dogshit from 10 teenager puppies she had been given..and i didn’t even know she had, even though i lived across the street.
      her folks had apparently also parked their evening wear from glen miller concerts and various mattresses and boxes of sheets and boxes of magazines….all of which was covered in a thick layer of dogshit and piss….and all piled up in such a way that there were corridors of shit encrusted squeeze chutes, throughout the singlewide….maybe a foot wide in some places. i couldn’t help but get covered in shit, just assessing what ex had signed me up for.
      took 2 weeks, when we were off regular jobs.
      no a/c, in june.
      1993…south austin, texas…and clinton’s miracle had not yet reached us…so the $500 we made off that little job was worth it, i suppose. i bought a early 70’s datsun hatchback.

      again, i’m with you and rockland, man,lol.
      just be happy she didn’t keep animals in there(aside from the wild intruders)

      take a break, and take time to grieve as best ya can…and try and remember the good parts.

      1. Soredemos

        My mother wasn’t the type of hoarder where she felt assaulted if you threw out her trash. A full can of trash, as well as an at least partially full one of recycling, went up to the street every week. It was more like a ludicrously extreme degree of laziness with her. Which, fine, you don’t have to do anything. Just sit in your chair and direct other people to clean up. But it seems like she also had some sort of psychological block, pride or something, on asking for help.

        She did have some degree of self-awareness about the whole thing; she stopped inviting people inside the house years ago, constantly insisting on meeting people at the street, or to go eat at a restaurant, etc.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        you did encourage me to call my lawyer buddy..big tennis supporter, loved my wife…and his girl will be explaining probate to me in the morning.
        so, thank you.

    2. marym

      If you and your siblings are mostly in agreement, and your brother lives or travels far away, would he consider giving you power of attorney to save time in getting signatures?

      Best of luck to you as you find your way through this.

      1. Soredemos

        The signatures in question were for getting a waiver on the two or three thousand dollar cost of a probate bond to give me power of attorney, is my understanding. Last I heard my lawyer finally had what he needed yesterday, so now in three or four weeks I’ll have executor status, and he’ll put out the announcement for anyone with debt claims against her estate to submit their claims. After four months of that we move on to the next stage. Over that four months I also have to put together an estimate of the big items in her estate, which is just the house (get someone to give me a value estimate), her car (I’ll have paperwork somewhere with its original purchase value), and whatever is in her bank accounts.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          if i can point my brother (PMC) to a wapo article or a Fed Chart, we’re all right with me going off(sic—our mom has convinced him that i’m nuts)
          he says not to worry/
          but there are substantial medical debts(mostly rent-seeking or otherwise of dubious quality) from wife’s first month in the hospital…before i figured out how to make medicaid kick in….and i simply cannot pay them.
          therefore i will not.
          to my knowledge, life insurance payouts aren’t subject to probate in texas.
          nothing will spend but a day in a bank, if that.

          because i dont trust any of it.

          were we a civilised country, i wouldn’t have to worry about such things.

    3. Utah

      My condolences on your mom and the situation you’re in. My own mother is the same way, and I have called not-it on both taking care of her in her old age (she’s not too old yet) and cleaning her hoarder home when the time comes. She also hoards animals, and the level of filth in her home is a biohazard. Kudos to you for being able to handle it all with grace and dignity, and good luck finding a will and a second life insurance policy!

    4. The Rev Kev

      Man, that is tough what you are having to deal with. When my father passed away his will was pretty straight forward but he had a helluva lot of stuff. He was raised during the great depression where you learned not to throw away anything still useful. And clearing out my mother’s place too was hard so a lot of it went to a charity shop. She never had a will in spite of saying for years that she had one. I hope that I do not do the same for my kids but what you and your siblings are dealing with sounds really extreme. My commiserations.

    5. Wukchumni

      My dad died rather suddenly about 20 years ago and left a tangled financial web as he was the greatest futures trader in his mind with lots of active puts and shorts and whatnot, all rolling around his head-the specifics. It was a nightmare sans clutter but we eventually were able to get a handle on things and got out of most of them or let them expire at a loss, but happy to see an ending to it all.

      When my mom decided to go to an assisted living place 7 years ago, all my siblings and I knew that the test of the emergency broadcasting system would be needed, as in we’d throw out a lot of stuff for she is a Great Depression era kid, save everything!

      The advice i’d give to anybody is to do it while they’re still alive and can give some input to what things mean or where particular stuff is. She helped out immensely although giving us agita over most item early on, but we overwhelmed her with sheer numbers and had decided on 3 piles: keep, give away & throw out.

      We’d find things such as checkbook boxes with ancient rubber bands around the outside that were full of pencil stubs with nearly no eraser and not much lead on the other end, that sort of thing. She couldn’t bring herself to throwing them out 51 years ago while there was still a flicker of potential use in the future.

      It made me wonder about the wisdom of always acquiring stuff for stuff’s sake too, even though she wasn’t like that.

      I ended up with a lot of books including the 1966 World Book encyclopedia which I read from cover to cover-largely while in the bathtub (the ‘M’ went into the drink one day when I fell asleep, and shows some water damage) when I was a little kid.

      I couldn’t believe how much bigger my childhood house was after we’d finished…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        with mom…who actually owns most of the place…i’ve tried for years to get her to foam the runway for when she dies(80 this november, hates doctors, lawyers, electricians and plumbers…and expert in their field, really)
        i’m on all the accounts, at least…have a key to the bank boxes…have a non-aggression pact with my one brother…etc.

        but i want to put the place into some sort of trust…to protect it from whatever of her shenanigans, from medicaid clawback, or really just whatever mistakes she’s made over these long years that i don’t know about, and she will never admit.
        but she’ll only pay a lawyer to tell them how to lawyer,lol.

        similarly with infrastructure on the not my part of the place: if she doesn’t understand it…like moving water….solar…whatever…it can’t be done, because she can’t micromanage it(took 40 years to get her to admit this fact,lol)

        so i plan for many things to attempt to do rapidly when she goes….over there, on the 15 acre portion that we call “the land of harder, not smarter”
        in spite of my issues with institutions and bureaucracy, i am a very, very patient man.
        i peck at the rocks in her head, and eventually, i’ll win out….and get it done.

        1. Late Introvert

          Sor sorry to hear about all of this. I’m in the process of setting up a living trust, it avoids probate and lawyers. You can do it yourself.

          “Make Your Own Living Trust” NOLO Press

      2. Soredemos

        I couldn’t believe how much bigger my childhood house was after we’d finished…

        All of my stuff fits, somewhat cramped, in one room. With a full house, it’ll be comfortably spread out now, but there’s still going to be vast amounts of empty space.

        Houses are tools for living. Not for storage. Just because there is a bit of empty floor where you could put something, doesn’t mean you should. In fact most likely you shouldn’t. If you need to store stuff, make or rent a place for storage (although even there, be reasonable. Don’t rent a storage unit for 20+ years like my mother was doing. If you have stuff you aren’t going to touch for 20 years, then you don’t need it, period).

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          with hopefully a caveat for “Means of Production” type hoarding,lol.
          outside of wife’s areas, i’m pretty organised inside the house.
          my debris field, though….lol…
          i look at it every day..spread, as it has, further into my everyday environs…due to my neglect(perhaps understandably)…and think: this winter, finally.

    6. super extra

      my sympathies. I had to help clean out my great-grandmother’s hoard house after her death in my teens, and I’m waiting for my grandmother to pass so we can handle that one. It is always tough facing the stuff directly that someone you loved refused to handle themselves. One ‘eventually nice’ thing about it, at least for me, is I’ll probably never develop hoarding tendencies myself as a result. I habitually go through my stuff and throw out anything I haven’t touched in six months. I can’t handle clutter or not being able to have a bed made.

    7. Mrs. Able


      Take a lesson from that. As to your own household, sell or give away on Craigslist anything you have not used in the last ten years. Laundered clothes go on the left side of the closet bar. After five years, the dust covered clothes on the right side should be donated to the Salvation Army of a decent local thrift shop–never the scandal plagued Goodwill!

      Anything you are thinking of buying new can probably be found free or for little online.

      There’s someone out there who can use what you are storing for nothing.

  17. Pelham

    Re Liz Cheney’s weekend interview: What also struck me was her response to a question about whether she would run for president. She said, IIRC, that she hadn’t made up her mind. I expected something close to a Sherman statement that would make it sound as if the silly thought hadn’t even crossed her mind. Though I know her name has been tossed around by others, maybe I had missed previous suggestions by Cheney herself that her hat is at least halfway in the ring. As a result I experienced several moments of cringe imagining a Cheney/Hillary or Hillary/Cheney Democrat ticket.

    1. Bart Hansen

      If Liz runs, guess who will be in charge of identifying the perfect VP candidate.

          1. orlbucfan

            It will be a cold day in you-know-where before I’ll vote for any Cheney trash. And that is IF my vote still counts after the next SCOTUS assault-on-our-rights term.

  18. Amfortas the hippie

    the assessment in the 538 link is the polar opposite from my long term findings out here.
    more recently, and still consistent,economic matters dominate every non wife related conversation ive had for months.
    …and every conversation/discussion/ad hoc struggle session i’ve eavesdropped upon for a similar time.
    we’re rural, formerly ag(now jess cattle and hay, and both are upper middle plus activities, mostly, out here), geographically isolated(gas hurts, a lot…many work out of town) and going on 40+%(ive identified bad counting) hispanic(who, if they vote, vote GOP)

    me muttering about a new new deal even went over well in the dern bank i visited, today(don’t have my new card yet, hafta darken their door)
    as well as the idea that government doesn’t, of necessity, have to suck this badly(re: my DMV woes, which were the on ramp to this brief discourse).
    even among the 2 old guys who hang out in the lobby with the free coffee, so they can spend time with their money(!)…they were old enough to remember certain new dealish ag policies that made this place hum.
    538 , and Pew, too(even though i dig their work) needs people on the ground…mingling…Listening…and being Socratic when they do speak.

  19. John

    This may be an overly general question, but does anything work the way it is supposed to any more?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      this here kegerator in my Wilderness Bar seem to work pretty adequately.
      so at least there’s that.

      it helps to remember that almost none of it has been constructed with our health, safety,convenience or satisfaction in mind.
      it is, therefore, likely “working” as intended.

      endeavor to survive, with as much humanity as you can muster, the nascent…but just now aborning…Burning Times.
      just think how much room we’ll have afterwards!

  20. Tim

    Based on comments I read from miscellaneous conservative posters, I do think that between Trump already accomplishing what he was set out to do in converting the Supreme Court, and the horrible PR of the Jan 6 riots, he is done. Momentum will now begin towards alternatives such as DeSantis by the majority.

    1. ambrit

      Ah, but the tendencies among the demos that propelled Trump into the Oval Office are still at play. The debacles that the Democrat Party have instigated or had attributed to them have, if anything, increased the general distrust of and, I do aver, hatred of said Democrat Party. One big drawback of Idpol politics is the distinct chance that there will be a ‘negative’ reaction greater than the “positive” effects intended.
      Trump defeated the Establishment Republicans with the help of exactly that disaffected demos. That group is still strong on the ground. Who cares if the margin of victory is one vote. It still counts as a victory, with all the power associated.
      If the Jan.6 Donkey Show becomes aggressive towards Trump, he will then be able to play the “victim” card.
      Don’t forget the example set by our favourite Austrian Corporal. He was convicted of attempting a putsch, and spent time in prison for it. Ten years later, he is the elected leader of his country.
      By focusing on non-vital items like the Jan.6 riot and the Ukraine, the Democrat Party is digging their own grave. Bill Clinton should be ringing the alarm bells in the DNC. “I won because ‘It’s the economy stupid!'”
      Barring a nuclear exchange, this November is going to be a Democrat Party bloodbath.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: Has HR gone as cray cray as everything else?

    Every job I’ve applied to has given me a Myers Briggs personality test on top of what I like to call the fink test. The only way around the tedium is to save all the personal information beforehand in a txt document for easy copy and pasting. I suspect they barely look at any of it and just sell it to private data brokers who turn it around and sell it to the government.

    In capitalist America the state maintains files on all it’s citizens for purely FREEDOM-related purposes. Every person who has ever held a job in HR needs to be sent to a work camp. No exceptions.

  22. Amfortas the hippie

    re: yahoo story:
    this:”Biden’s approval rating is hovering around 40%, which suggests that Republican victories in the November midterms will be not so much a wave as a “tsunami,” he said. And yet in polls pitting generic Democrats against Republicans in congressional races, Democrats perform better than expected given the president’s low standing.”

    so what they’ve been after, all these years, are “Generic Democrats”?
    i understand that this is well trod pollsterspeak, but man….
    a defacto telegraph from bidenworld(yahoo) actually says—in this particular moment— that this is what we gwin do?
    be moar generic and anodyne and spineless//and then we’ll surely win?

    it’s my fault, of course.
    i stopped sending angry and voluminous emails to texdems(rara avis) and assorted bigwig national dems after i calmed down from the second bernie betrayal.
    turned my ire on the more local(ergo, goptea) creatures.
    (prolly got a beefier fbi file for my trouble)
    i dropped the ball.
    i’ll get right on it.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Maybe they should try running generic Democrats instead of Republicans who pretend to care about the social issue du jour.

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: Frustrated youth

    Liberal Democrats talk a good game but their loyalty will always be to their class. It’s why culture wars are the dominant aspect of political life and every attempt at governance by liberals will be aimed at maintaining their privileged position in society. The Senate could be filled with eighty Democratic Senators and nothing would fundamentally change. Everything else is just an individual effort to rationalize the maintenance of their unenlightened self-interest.

    “The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.” – Julius Nyerere

    Politics is just sports for ugly and untalented people who can’t work real jobs. Which is the slogan I’m going to run under if I decide getting COVID a third time isn’t worth it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      soon to be local pol came to one of Wife’s wakes, and…during the drunktalk, gritas and even dancing…asked me if i’d consider a run for county commish.
      i laughed uproariously, of course.

      i invited him to continue to come on out and partake in my strange brew, instead.
      i’ll wield my sword thusly.
      Socrates, after all, didn’t only corrupt the youth…

  24. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: “After string of Supreme Court setbacks, Democrats wonder whether Biden White House is capable of urgency moment demands”: Who could have possibly seen this coming? Sigh.

    It’s funny because I’d think they have someone waiting in the wings, but every time we consider the Dem bench, it’s the same batch of goobers who couldn’t consolidate backers and enthusiasm to stop Biden’s sleepwalk to the nomination in 2016, plus Hillary (nuff said) and Eric Adams, whose reputation is preceding him. Instead, all this stuff just seems like the people who insisted on dragging Biden to the nomination now trying to pull a “not my fault” on the guy now that they can’t pretend his presidency is anything but a disaster, as we knew it would be. I’m just curious if Biden is even aware of what’s going on around him. He seems like a nasty piece of work so I can’t imagine he would let all the disloyalty stand.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      sorry, but Kamala reminds me of too many stoned chicks i’ve known.

      and that’s being charitable.

      dems dont have anybody….zero farm team…zero back bench…
      uninspiring habitual criminals of great age, setting their laurel beds on fire out of boredom, if not malice.
      and a “platform” that fits them perfectly…focus grouped pablum, with zero credibility, and anyway zero plan to make it actually happen.
      fuck them.
      i’ll write “None of Them” on my ballots, henceforward, until things change for the better, or fall utterly to ruin.

      i’ll dance around a fire naked tonight in support of the latter.

  25. The Rev Kev

    ‘Biggest concern via Monmouth poll:

    33% inflation
    15% gas prices
    9% economy
    6% bills/groceries
    5% abortion
    3% guns
    3% health care
    3% unemployment
    2% tuition costs
    2% housing/rent
    2% safety/crime
    1% civil rights
    1% climate change
    1% coronavirus
    1% education
    1% illness’

    And the Ukraine does not even rate a mention. Nobody really cares. Nor is the Jan 6th Show Trials rating a mention. Again, nobody cares. And yet those two issues are the only thing that the Democrats care about as in at all. Surprised that coronavirus rates so low but if the government doesn’t care about it….
    It’s all a bit of a Dodson really-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt1SKWgRtqM (56 secs)

  26. ChrisRUEcon


    Brief excerpt from a quick family sojourn in the Land Of Westermost, where we met with a dear friend who’s served many years as an emissary from The House Of Tupac.

    I had to ask …

    Moi: Is Gavin running?

    DearFriendEmissary: Everyone thinks he is … have you seen his ads from Florida?

    M: Yes I have. Is this an east-west thing?

    DFE: No. No one believes Biden can win in ’24

    M: But what about ’22? Are Dems gonna be able to ride this Roe v Wade decision to a decent showing?

    DFE: Oh no! It’s going to be awful … it goes back to what Clinton said – “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    Conversation meanders, and Harris comes up …

    DFE: OMG, she’s so bad …

    Inflation, affordability of housing, especially for those on fixed income, comes up …

    DFE: [Biden] can’t help people get housing, but we can send billions to Ukraine

    [This one made my jaw drop … I told our dear friend they were going to get labeled a radical Putin apologist if they were not careful … LOL]

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Ahhhh yesss … I never did comment on “What Does Capitalism Repress? A Jungian Perspective”, posted here on June 18th 2022, although I meant to …

      Connolly’s quote illuminates what some of us believe to be the real meaning of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”. It’s not some magic market manipulator, but rather that “stirring of the conscience” that would, even under capitalism, correct the malaise of excesses. So all the free market fanbois and fangrrlz are wrong … and they would know it too, if they would consult Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, and seek out: Chapter III – Of the corruption of our Moral Sentiments , which is occasioned by this disposition to admire the rich and the great, and to despise or neglect persons of poor and mean condition.

    2. ChrisRUEcon


      > I believe this is a parody of the many “bushcraft” videos out there….

      Oh, c’mon! She didn’t even build a plastic wrap pool! =-D

    3. Jen

      “DFE: [Biden] can’t help people get housing, but we can send billions to Ukraine …

      [This one made my jaw drop ”

      I’ve heard this grumble from more than a few people in my circle whose political ideologies don’t generally overlap.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Right?!! I really think he’s done. I think we’re going to have another night of the long knives. What delicious irony it would be if none other that Obama himself, who orchestrated the events that neutered Sanders and enabled Biden’s rise from rock bottom, is called upon to put Joe out of his misery.

  27. The Rev Kev

    Vice President Kamala Harris just spoke at the scene of the Highland Park mass shooting.
    “We have to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take this seriously,” she said.

    Vice President Kamala Harris wants you to know that she is super cereal-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h05YfP_8UsU (1:07 mins)

    1. Wukchumni

      Kamala reminds me of Mrs Jelinek of my youth who would manage to say the dopiest things as if on cue, such as meeting an aged grandmother with ‘They say you’re old’ or other maladies that didn’t have to happen but they always did.

      She was from the old country and not eligible to be President, but Kamala is.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      That sounded just like Dan Quayle. Who here remembers Dan Quayle?

      As a guest at the NAACP annual meeting where he was addressing United Negro College Fund-relevant issues, he said something like . . . . ” What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not having a mind can be very wasteful. How true that is.”

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    so i wandered around yahoo , due to one of the wc links:

    still treating that “cartoon” as an “expert”
    which, i guess, she really was, at some point…fashioning some part of the narrative framework that has us almost toe to toe with nuke armed russia…for no good reason, save boner sustainability in certain parts of the Blob, of course.
    and i think: how would i fix this?

    and glance over at the great big campaign portrait of FDR over there.
    it’s what i point to when folks ask me what we should do about many things…mass shootings…healthcare…the like….
    literally everyone i talk to out here agrees…and i don’t have a shibboleth for entry.
    all of them are likely gopteamaga indoctrinated, to some extent.
    but now, there’s a few adults coming out here.
    it’s not just impressionable teenagers and sortadults.
    but i cannot, in good conscience, recommend any of the democratic fare on offer.
    there’s nobody that i can recommend that these questing folks vote for and support.

    (save sometimes locally, but even that is mostly a lesser of evils exercise)

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “The agency, along with the director of national intelligence, commissioned a 2019 study that concluded that disinformation could, among other things, “aggravate existing societal fissures” and “cause panic that reverberates through financial markets.””

      man…what if we could …somehow…address the “existing societal fissures”, first..instead of cleaning up messes, foreign and domestic?

      strike the dern root, and all…

      happy, satisfied people with a purpose in life don’t shoot up schools.

  29. Wukchumni

    My Kevin (since ’07) is a regular news search staple for constituents with enough constitution to endure the unendurable of his reign over us, but I relent.

    Kev’s been relegated to the 2nd page, as Kevin & Irina McCarthy died in saving their toddler from a mass murderer on the 4th of July, while the other Kevin put out a press release…

    BAKERSFIELD, Calf. (KGET) — Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) released a Fourth of July greeting thanking those who have fought for the nation’s independence.

    “Today is a time to celebrate our great county and everything she stands for — freedom, patriotism, and a land of opportunity,” McCarthy said in a news release.

    “As a nation, we are thankful for the countless brave men and women who have come before us and have fought to maintain our independence. It is because of their valiant sacrifices that our nation remains a symbol of hope and freedom.

    “May God bless you, our courageous heroes, and the United States of America.”

  30. Carla

    “The problem is that the Ellipse is a half-hour from Congress if you’re going on foot. Not really imminent in that scenario”

    Oh, ya know, back when the Constitution (which seems to be the body of law the Justice Dept. and other legal eagles seem to want us to BELIEVE they are following) was beginning to be written, it took two or three MONTHS for news of the French Revolution to reach the huddled masses yearning to breathe free in “the new world.” Compared to that, I’d say half an hour is pretty damned imminent.

    But that’s just me.

  31. none

    Those sociopathic, democidal shitheads have replaced the daily PDF with an effing spreadsheet. … No doubt some kind soul… will download the data and make something useful from it. I

    The spreadsheet has an export button that allows downloading the data as a big csv, so loading it into another spreadsheet or database and turning it into graphs is straightforward in principle. The question is what to graph. Would be the same stuff that was in the old pdf’s? Does anyone have some of those pdf’s that can be reverse engineered, in order to crunch the spreadsheet data into something similar? This should be reasonably doable.

  32. Jason Boxman

    I avoid the Twitter when possible, but hooray I get a purple star tweet from Our President!

    President Biden
    I promised I would be the most pro-union president in our history.

    That’s another promise I am keeping.

    Wait, what was the first promise he kept? I’m confused. I think it was that nothing fundamental will change, and on this, they’ve delivered. I’m still on hold for my $600.

  33. Jason Boxman

    Honestly, for tech jobs, the online HR job portals have gotten better and better. Now I can just upload my resume and usually the various job history fields populate correctly, then I answer a few questions about protected class status, possibly upload a cover, and hit submit. In the early 2000s it was an abysmal experience, with every job site requiring tedious manual entry of your entire employment history.

    But these applications weren’t for working class jobs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that experience is less than ideal.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    I realize that Colonel Lang is disliked by many here for many things, but his views on things and stuff were gained over decades and where not colored or distorted by politicultural concerns can be very informative. For example, he has apparently had various interactions with Senator Biden over time and what he has learned and seen of Biden is encapsulated in a recent post titled: “Joe Biden is and always was a stupid venal local politician.”

    Here is the link.

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