2:00PM Water Cooler 8/10/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Black-and-white Triller (Northern), Ilocos Norte, Philippines.

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“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

“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Biden Administration

Just in case you thought all those new IRS agents were going to go after the rich:

“Biden approval rises to 40%, highest in two months, Reuters/Ipsos shows” [Reuters]. “The two-day national poll found that 40% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, a level of support that is historically low for a U.S. president. But the recent upward turn in Biden’s approval rating – including gains in each of the last three weeks – could temper the concern among his Democrats that the party is poised to take a drubbing in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, when Republicans hope to seize control of the U.S. Congress.”

“What is the ‘Dark Brandon’ meme that has taken the White House by storm?” [The Hill]. “But on Sunday, new imagery started to gain popularity on Twitter — one that was complimentary. Some shared images of Biden as ‘Dark Brandon’ — ominous, darkly lit, Terminator-esque images of the commander in chief with bright red eyes. ‘Dark Brandon is crushing it,’ tweeted deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates, who shared a photo of Biden with laser red eyes that said: ‘Your malarkey has been going on for long enough, kiddo.'”

Who’s “kiddo”? Nuclear-armed Putin, or nuclear-armed Xi? These people are so high on their own supply.


* * *

MN: “Omar survives surprising nail-biter to win Democratic nomination for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, CNN projects” [CNN]. “Omar beat back a well-funded primary rival in 2020, but Samuels, a moderate, entered the race with higher name recognition in the Minneapolis-based district and the support of a big-spending super PAC. Samuels had run as a pro-police critic of Omar’s calls to ‘defund the police.’ He and his wife successfully sued the city of Minneapolis to force it to increase police staffing levels to the 741 officers required by the city’s charter. Momentum built behind what had been widely seen as a long-shot challenge after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey endorsed Samuels last week. He was also backed by building trades unions, several suburban mayors and more moderate DFL leaders. His close call could inspire another effort to oust Omar in 2024. Democrats currently control four out of the state’s eight US House seats to three for the Republicans and one vacancy. Omar’s victory comes the week after two other liberal members of the “squad,” Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, also beat back primary challenges.” • Wasn’t Frey the dude who was shown on TV, sobbing over George Floyd’s coffin? 50.3%/48.2%. I guess all that DNC help for an incumbent woman of color made all the difference. Commentary:

VT: “Madden ‘up in the air’ about accepting GOP nomination for US House” [WCAX]. ” Liam Madden, an Iraq War veteran turned antiwar advocate, won a three-way GOP contest for the U.S. House Tuesday night. But a day after winning, it’s still not clear whether the self-proclaimed Independent plans to accept the nomination. Madden, who works in the solar industry, has said his real goal for running was to break Vermont’s political mold and rethink the two-party system. ‘It’s a sacred responsibility to give Vermonters a choice between what we all know is a dysfunctional, corrupt, and war-like system of politics or the opportunity to have a renaissance of community and compassionate, civic-minded problem-solving,’ he said earlier Tuesday. But Madden on Wednesday morning told WCAX that he would like to decline the nomination but does not want the GOP to choose a replacement for the November ballot. He said he is in talks with party leaders and that his decision is still ‘up in the air.'” • Entryism… into the Republican Party!


Lambert here: I’m not sure where to file all the material on the FBI “raid” on Mar-a-Lago, but this seems like the appropriate place. Frankly, the story seems like a way to keep “the narrative” alive until the House Committee reconvenes in September (though why the narrative requires constant re-animation is, well, an open question).

“FBI thunderbolt scrambles political predictions on Trump” [The Hill]. “One of the most high-profile remarks came from a former Trump and Pence staffer who has emerged as a major critic of Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. ‘This, I’m hoping, goes beyond simply not complying with some archiving laws, or DOJ [the Department of Justice] just handed Donald Trump the Republican nominee and potentially the presidency,’ Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former official, said on CNN. ‘If it’s seen as some sort of massive overreach and not something incredibly serious, this is a very good day for Donald Trump,’ she added. ”

“Opinion: Trump should make the search warrant public” [Hugh Hewitt, WaPo]. “[T]he American public needs to see the warrant — all of it. The former president has a copy; he should make it public. It likely lists the items to be seized and the laws allegedly violated. The affidavit supporting the warrant is probably sealed, former prosecutors say, and Attorney General Merrick Garland can seek to unseal it.” • Twitter is so full of bot-like entities repeating this line that search is useless; it really seems inorganic to me. First, I don’t see why it’s Trump’s job to do this, any more than it’s a responsibility anybody else served with a warrant should have. Second, there’s no chain of custody for Trump’s warrant. Suppose he releases the his copy of the warrant. Then Garland releases his, and there’s a discrepancy. I can imagine the hysteria, but what then? And how to resolve it?

“The Trump Mar-A-Lago Raid: America Needs Some Answers” [1945]. “What you cannot dispute is that this is unprecedented. Such a raid on a former president — announced by Trump himself with little official comment from the federal government — is uncharted territory for the United States…. The FBI and Department of Justice have said basically nothing a full day later. The White House has said little more, denying President Joe Biden was briefed ahead of time…. It looks bad. Trump is not only a former president. He is actively considering another run for the office, a rematch against the man currently running the executive branch of the federal government, to whom these agents are accountable. What little we know about the search suggests it is separate from the Jan. 6 investigation. The FBI has arguably mishandled every election-adjacent inquiry it has conducted since Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, including the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.”

“Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails” [Politico]. “‘People sling these cases around to suit their political agenda but every case has to stand on its own circumstances,’ said David Laufman, who led the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section until 2018 and is now a partner at the firm Wiggin and Dana. Laufman has the credentials to judge the severity of these matters. In addition to the Clinton case, he managed the investigation of David Petraeus, the former general and CIA director who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for mishandling classified material. CNN reported that one of the DOJ officials involved in the Trump investigation is his immediate successor. ‘For the department to pursue a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago tells me that the quantum and quality of the evidence they were reciting — in a search warrant and affidavit that an FBI agent swore to* — was likely so pulverizing in its force as to eviscerate any notion that the search warrant and this investigation is politically motivated,’ he said. Twenty-four hours after it transpired, there remain few details about why the FBI raided Trump’s private estate beyond months-old questions about the former president’s handling of records that appear to have been relocated to Mar-a-Lago as he departed the Oval Office.” • Well, that’s quite a quote. But spooks are good with quotes. We’ve seen their work before, and it’s always first-class. NOTE * Worked for the FISA Court with the Steele dossier!

“With the Trump Raid, Merrick Garland Draws a Line in the Sand” [Slate]. “Then last night, the sky broke open and it began to rain. A rain of joy, and of memes, and of hopes. There will be time for “a hundred visions and revisions.” In the meantime, I’m singin’ in the rain. What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again.” • The author actually kept spreadsheets, plural, of the Mueller investigation. So, indeed.

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.

* * *

“Hot mic catches Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown snap at Bernie Sanders’ child tax credit bid” [New York Post]. “Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was caught on a hot mic snapping ‘Come on, Bernie’ early Sunday as tensions flared on the Senate floor over Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid to replenish the child tax credit. Sanders offered the amendment, which would have raised the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, during the ‘vote-a-rama’ session where Democrats pushed to pass their massive tax, health care and climate bill, dubbed the ‘Inflation Reduction Act.’ ‘This is the wealthiest nation on Earth, we should not have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any country,’ Sanders said in remarks from the floor. anders’ move to push for the tax credit of $300 per month for the next five years after it lapsed near the end of 2021, drew pushback from Democrats he caucuses with, who noted they couldn’t support it as they focused on pushing through the full bill, which later passed 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. ‘We know that this is a fragile arrangement, and we’ve got to pass it — as much as I’d like to do [a corporate tax increase],’ Brown said. His time elapsed but he was caught saying “Come on, Bernie!” on his mic, according to Mediaite.” • I think one reason all the liberal Democrat bleating about “our democracy” fails to get a lot of traction beyond loyalists is that plenty of people — many of them non-Democrats willing to vote for Sanders — remember perfectly well how Democrats took Sanders down, not once but twice. $300 bucks a month ffs? That’s an issue?


• Maskstravaganza: Downgrading masks:

I’m getting the impression that hospital administrators are actually worse than university administrators. Can this be true?

• Maskstravaganza:

Anti-maskers are a noisy and obnoxious minority whose strength is that they reflect elite opinion, which the press both accepts (see the Gridiron Club superspreading event) and amplifies.

* * *

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

* * *

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

This looks hopeful, but again California is why the national curve is shaped as it is.

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 ~ 105,500. Today, it’s ~107,500 and 107,500 * 6 = a Biden line at 645,000 per day. That’s rather a lot of cases per day, when you think about it. (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. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes we’ve seen have a basis in reality. However, I’m not seeing the volume of anecdotes I did on the Twitter. What are readers experiencing?

• ”The US is on a Covid plateau, and no one’s sure what will happen next” [CNN]. “The United States seems to have hit a Covid-19 plateau, with more than 40,000 people hospitalized and more than 400 deaths a day consistently over the past month or so.” Readers will recall I started muttering about a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s mainstream. More: “And there are big question marks around what might happen next, as the coronavirus’ evolution remains quite elusive 2½ years into the pandemic. ‘We’ve never really cracked that: why these surges go up and down, how long it stays up and how fast it comes down,’ said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. ‘All these things are still somewhat of a mystery.'” But: “[W]ith children going back to school, a change in seasons and other variants on the horizon, it’s unclear when the plateau will drop — and by how much.” And: ‘Looking ahead, [William Hanage, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health] says, ‘there’s likely to be one step forward, two steps back’ when it comes to progress in the Covid-19 pandemic. And if deaths stay above 400 a day for a full year, that’s more than twice as bad as the worst recent flu seasons, he said. ‘So those are numbers we’ve got at the moment, at a point when things are, relatively speaking, good,’ he said. ‘This is something which I think a lot of people don’t grasp.'” • So everything’s going according to plan.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

South Carolina found some cases in a drawer?

The West:

As a check on the California case data, here is San Diego wastewater as of August 2:

Last time I put up this chart, San Diego had not integrated the case counts with the wastewater data for Loma County,. (FWIW, San Diego is on the CDC wasteware chart; it’s orange.) Now they have. We can see that case counts tracked wastewater nicely starting back in Fenruary 2021. As of ~July 15, 2022, they diverged. Why? (The same is also true for Encina and South Bay, although the curves are shaped differently.) Do we have any California wastewater mavens who can track down whether the same is happening in other cities? (We need the case count vs. wastewater comparison, not just wastewater.) Is this an interesting catch, or just a glitch?


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 8:

0.2%. (I wonder if there’s a Keynesian Beauty Contest effect, here; that is, if people encounter a sympotomatic person, whether in their social circle or in normal activity, they are more likely to get a test, because they believe, correctly, that it’s more likely they will be infected.) Starting to look like positivity has peaked, at least for Walgreen’s test population.


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.)

Some blue in flyover.

SITE DOWN Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 3:

Improvements everywhere (except New Hampshire. Tourism?).

Previous Rapid Riser data:

SITE DOWN Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 3:



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

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), July 21:

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), July 23 (Nowcast off):

BA.5 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), August 6:

Red dots improved.

Lambert: I added grey. Grey, not on the legend at bottom right, is “No recent data.” How is there no recent data for New York City, a major international hub and already the epicenter of at least one surge? How is there none for upstate New York, which only recently was full of rapid-riser counties? The same with West Virginia, Michigan, and Oregon. If I were the paranoid sort, I’d theorize that CDC moved in on the only accurate data source we’ve got, in order to corrupt and destroy it.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,059,641 – 1,059,210 = 431 (365 * 431 = 157,315; the new normal. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

Consumer Prices: “United States Consumer Price Index (CPI)” [Trading Economics]. “The annual inflation rate in the US slowed more than expected to 8.5% in July of 2022 from an over 40-year high of 9.1% hit in June, and below market forecasts of 8.7%. Energy CPI rose by 32.9%, after hitting a 42-year high of 41.6% in June mainly due to a big slowdown in gasoline costs (44% vs 59.9%), fuel oil (75.6% vs 98.5%), and natural gas (30.5% vs 38.4%) while electricity prices accelerated (15.2%, the most since February 2006). ”

Inflation: “United States Inflation Rate” [Trading Economics]. “Compared to the previous month, the CPI was unchanged, after hitting a 17-year high of 1.3% and also below forecasts of 0.2%. Core inflation was steady at 5.9%, beating expectations of 6.1%, and offering some support that inflation has finally peaked.”

* * *


The Mac had the Human Interface Guidelines to enforce consistency. iOS does not, hence this UI/UX dogs breakfast. I’m not sure whether to blame Brain Genius Jony Ive for this, or Jobs himself.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 48 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 10 at 2:17 PM EDT.

Adversity’s Sweet Milk

@LastPositivist (winner of the Leverhulme Award, category Philosophy and Theology) is a fun account:

If you want philosophy in-jokes, this is the account for you.

Sports Desk

“The Real Dill: Powerful Texans Are Betting on Pickleball” [Texas Monthly]. Really shameless sucking up to billionaire sports investors. “[Klitch, another finance veteran turned pickleball godfather] said he can fit just about four pickleball courts in that same space [as a single tennis court] and that six people might show up per court. ‘If you’re trying to get people to eat and drink and hang around, do you want two people doing that or twenty-four people doing that?’ he said. ‘I like the numbers around pickleball.'” • Another way of putting that is that, all other things being equal, 3-Cs spaces will always be more profitable than spaces where less air is shared. Fortunately, the courts are outside. The principle remains the same.

“USC football vs. its own donors and fans? A fight develops for control of endorsements” [Los Angeles Times]. “When USC partnered with an outside media company to launch BLVD LLC, the hope was that its unique approach to facilitating name, image and likeness [(NIL)] endorsement deals for Trojans athletes would help stave off the rise of a donor-run collective — and keep USC out of the crosshairs of any future NCAA crackdowns. But less than two months later, The Times has learned that a group of deep-pocketed USC donors and diehard fans are proceeding with their own NIL operation against the school’s wishes. The group plans to soon launch ‘Student Body Right,’ a third-party collective they say is essential for USC to properly compete with other top schools that feature collectives. They’re hardly alone among Trojans football fans, especially those frustrated by BLVD. Within USC, however, the effort to start a collective outside of the university’s reach is being viewed as an existential threat that could invite serious scrutiny if the NCAA opts to enforce its NIL policies…. Details regarding how payments will be distributed to players have yet to be finalized, but [Florida-based businessman and lifelong USC fan Dale] Rech said the collective’s intent is to provide ‘the equivalent of a base salary’ for every member of USC’s football team who is academically eligible. To receive those payments, players would perform community service and take part in charitable work with local organizations. How that charitable work will be valued or how payments would be divided among players is still up in the air. Student Body Right has filed for 501(c)(3) status as a charitable organization, which would make certain donations to the group tax-deductible. BLVD is not a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.” • Why are universities in the football business at all? (And the definition of “collective” seems pretty hazy.)

Class Warfare

“The Money Is In All The Wrong Places” [Defector]. “Here is the crux of the issue: if Sydney Sweeney cannot afford to take six months off, it is a safe assumption to make that no one in Hollywood without family money can. That means that even one of the most famous and in-demand actresses working right now is less secure than every nepotism baby who sauntered into an audition because their dad had been the legal counsel for Warner Bros or whatever. It’s easy to see how this makes the art those studios produce worse, but also easy to see how it persists. It’s also not a world I want to live in. I don’t want to exist in a place where the people who make the most money off art don’t make it at all; I don’t want to live in a country in which our best actresses can’t afford to take a break and have a baby. I don’t want anyone to have to live like that, as it happens, but even by the standards of this moment that fact seems both cruel and a waste. The whole of American society, at this moment, is a layer of various anxieties and resentments without any sincerely shared values pinning it all in place.” • Well worth reading in full, even though, or perhaps because, the hook is actress Sydney Sweeney:

“Why Americans are increasingly dubious about going to college” [NBC]. “There are 4 million fewer students in college now than there were 10 years ago, a falloff many observers blame on Covid-19, a dip in the number of Americans under 18 and a strong labor market that is sucking young people straight into the workforce. But while the pandemic certainly made things worse, the downturn took hold well before it started. Demographics alone cannot explain the scale of this drop. And statistics belie the argument that recent high school graduates are getting jobs instead of going to college: Workforce participation for 16- to 24-year-olds is lower than it was before Covid hit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports. Focus groups and public opinion surveys point to other, less easily solved reasons for the sharp downward trend. These include widespread and fast-growing skepticism about the value of a degree, impatience with the time it takes to get one, and costs that have finally exceeded many people’s ability or willingness to pay. There has been a significant and steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish school — from a high of 70% in 2016 to 63% in 2020, the most recent year for which the figure is available, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.”

News of the Wired

Great metaphor:

* * *
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IM writes: “Bryophytzzzz!” The argument for black and white, if I recall it correctly, is that it reveals form and structure better than color can. Wow, this photo!

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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. Wukchumni


    Great news, just 499 days, 15 hours, 9 minutes and 47 seconds until I can claim my first social security check, but i’m not anxious or anything.

    …imagine what the buying power of a buck will be by then?

    1. ambrit

      The writer John Varley used just such an idea as a plot element in his story “Blue Champagne,” from back in 1981. Well worth a read. Also, Varley’s treatment of on demand sex change and ‘augmentation’ in his Exiles From Earth stories is fun and creepy at the same time. Over several stories the narrator changes sex and viewpoints, but keeps the same job.
      Enjoy married life FD!

      1. flora

        Virginia Woolf may have got there first (?) with the idea about a sex change not changing the inner person with her novel ‘Orlando’. That was a novel written in the 1920’s, almost a century ago. Maybe things have changed. Hard to keep up with today’s modern times. / ;)

        1. ambrit

          Agreed. Woolf is an underappreciated writer. I am going to have to add “Orlando” to the pile of “Must Re-read Books.”
          I’ve got a copy of Alice Toklas’ recipe for hash brownies somewhere in the library. Haven’t had any for years and years. Where we live, Mississippi, has just legalized medical cannabis.
          Ten years ago, a younger woman I worked under still had to stay “in the closet” to protect her middle management career.
          Let Mississippi be an object lesson to one and all. The forces of reaction are still strong and constantly working to restore the ancien regime, including the Patriarchy and Intolerance.
          Stay safe!

    2. Yves Smith

      I had to rip out an entire thread, some of it with merely humorous or innocuous comments, because this triggered a discussion of recommendations regarding Social Security.

      We are firmly opposed to giving financial advice, particularly bad advice. The prevailing “advice” had the effect of increasing poverty among the aged. I had an uncle who lived below the poverty line in his old age. A friend found out his parents were LITERALLY eating cat food, they were too ashamed to admit to him how desperate they were.

      How dare you recommend a course of action that increases the odds of desperation down the road.

      I am appalled at the conduct here. Any future discussion of this topic will be ripped out and will earn you troll points.

  2. fresno dan

    “Why Americans are increasingly dubious about going to college” [NBC].
    Very simply, the ONLY purpose my degree did was filtering out potential competitors. The VAST majority of what I did, the degree did not help me with doing my job (other than to see that what I was doing was illogical and inefficient). I could, and should, have been trained on the job. But my bosses were too lazy and obtuse…well, not just them. We have set up this hierarchy and by gum we are going to stick with it.

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my mentors is an artist who has undergraduate and graduate degrees in fine arts. Say what you will about fine arts degrees, but in her case, she is very good at what she does and she sells her art pieces for thousands of dollars each.

      Okay, that’s her. Now, let’s talk about her daughter.

      Daughter graduated from a local private high school in 2019, and off to college she went. Second semester of her freshman year, she was sent home because of COVID.

      She was allowed to go back for her sophomore year, but the university decreed that all classes had to be online. So, she sat in her dorm room, taking online classes. As she said to her mother, “I can take online classes anywhere!”

      First semester of her junior year, she was fed up. She went to her mother in tears and told Mom that she wanted to drop out.

      Now, if you’re thinking that she came back to Tucson to pout on Mom’s couch, bzzzzt! You’re wrong.

      Instead, she went to trade school and became certified as an aesthetician. Her specialty is lash enhancement, and she’s working full-time now. Matter of fact, she’s so good at selling product, her boss is having trouble keeping the shelves stocked.

      Multiply my friend’s daughter by a few million other kids and you can see where American higher education has a problem.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let’s hope that suggestions to launch a nationwide consumption strike do not extend to striking against businesses like that allow young people an escape hatch from exploitation by Big College.

    2. Laughingsong

      I also noticed that they listed the cost of a degree (and the implied lifetime debt peonage) last, as if it’s the least concern. I would have put it first, and as part of a logical tandem with the “dubious value” reason. High cost, low return. Funny how kids using one of the basic kernels of neoliberal ideology, the Cost-Benefit Analysis (shudder) somehow seems puzzling.

    3. chris

      It really does depend on what you went to school for and what you end up doing. For example, I use just about everything I ever learned in all my time in school, in my job. Regularly. I still use and refer to all my text books too.

      I also received extensive on the job training for specialized activities. But I wouldn’t have been able to understand or apply the on job training without my education. I am happy with the way it all turned out.

      But that’s all science and engineering. I have no idea if it works that way for others. I also can’t speak to my classmates who decided they didn’t want to be engineers and changed careers.

  3. Wukchumni

    “USC football vs. its own donors and fans? A fight develops for control of endorsements” [Los Angeles Times].

    USC settles suits with 80 former students who say a school doctor sexually abused them. The University of Southern California has settled lawsuits with 80 former students, mostly gay and bisexual men, who accuse a male former school doctor of sexual misconduct.

    I think this academy of higher learning is missing out on an obvious product endorsement, why not USC Trojan Trojans, guaranteed not to rip.

    I’ve managed to pretty much avoid college ball (had a momentary lapse last xmas when one of those 83 bowl games was on in Idaho with a blue playing field which sucked me in, the novelty of) all of my life and it seems like they want to make the kind of money the NFL does, but with no 1 owner or group of owners per se.

    1. Omicron

      Is the matter to which you refer, Wuk, different from the George Tyndall scandal, in which a USC-employed gynecologist specialized in sexually abusing students from China, who had no experience of what to expect from a Western gynecologist? If so, that’s one in the seemingly endless string of USC scandals that I somehow missed.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s a new and improved USC scandal…

        LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kenny Oshita was a first semester law student at the University of Southern California when a visit to a school doctor for a possible sexual disease turned into an invasive procedure that left him feeling violated.

        He was not alone.

        Scores of other men — most of them gay or bisexual — said they had disturbing encounters with Dr. Dennis Kelly at the USC Student Health Center but they didn’t realize it was pervasive until a graduate sued in 2019 claiming he had been forced to undergo an uncomfortable rectal exam during a routine checkup.


        1. Omicron

          Yeah, thanks; I found this (and a much longer and more detailed account prepared by a USC student journalism organization, kind of a surprise) on my own; should have searched first.

          I taught at USC for 16 years. Let’s just say that none of this surprises me. At all.

  4. Raymond Sim

    I lost faith in the honesty of case counts in California during the 2020-2021 Fall-Winter catastrophe, and have paid them less and less attention over time. So I hadn’t checked Healthy Davis Together’s data in quite a while when Lambert’s solicitation for input on wastewater vs case data led me to pull up their homepage. Guess what? Mission Accomplished!: https://healthydavistogether.org/

    “We did it together.”

      1. ambrit

        It’s in the “Mission Statement” at the very beginning.
        “…we accomplished what we set out to do…”
        Covid as a dangerous Pandemic is in the past tense.
        Let ‘er rip is now “official.” Thus, ‘inconvenient’ facts that might challenge the approved narrative are memory holed.
        Buck up Lambert! With those millions of “useless eaters,” er, old people, gone, there will be a lot more resources available to trickle down!
        This is the best of all possible neo-liberal worlds. Enjoy the ride consumer.

      2. Raymond Sim

        Sorry to be confusing. They’ve never done that. I was expressing my suprise that they seem to have declared victory and ceased case testing altogether. Data ends June 30, and they now refer to their project in the past-tense.

        Wastewater is still updating, including the neighborhood level stuff, to what end I’m not sure. I don’t see anything on the site that would help anyone with their personal risk assessment.

        Will they rev the apparatus back up when monkeypox shows up in our schools? I’ll be interested to see.

  5. Screwball

    Allocate money for the child tax credit – no way.
    Allocate money for Ukraine – no problem.

    What a bunch of dicks!

    1. nippersdad

      Yesterday there was an article in The Hill about Congress allocating 87 mil for demining Ukraine. Looks like no one has noticed that you cannot de-mine areas that no longer belong to Ukraine, so someone just got a lot of pin money for doing nothing.

      1. ambrit

        No, no, no. This bill is all about providing access to demining. Neo-liberalism in (in)action.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          ambrit, your dark sarcasm is just what I needed today.

          Thanks for the head shake and grin.

        2. Will

          Don’t forget the means testing. Only mines that kill or maim fewer than 3 people or are located in designated disadvantaged areas qualify.

          1. ambrit

            That sounds a lot like Click boom bait.
            should that be ‘Means Testing’ or ‘Memes Testing?’

  6. Mikerw0

    I’m getting the impression that hospital administrators are actually worse than university administrators. Can this be true?


    My daughter has had multiple surgeries at NY Presbyterian Cornell. Regularly rated as one of the top hospital in the US and for the most part the medical care is truly top notch. Based on their form 990 they are massively profitable.

    Yet, they keep cutting back on nursing, housekeeping and things like PAs that are critical to patient care. You know cut costs. And, to show you how they think, there is a circular drive at the main entrance on 68th and York. It is constantly congested. I noticed two, quite expensive, late model sedans parked in the drive and impeding traffic (it is congested most of the day). One belonged to the CEO and the other the med school dean. So, instead of waiting for the valet to bring their cars up they make everyone else’s life more difficult.

    1. Harold

      Their doctors seem to specialize in sending patients for unnecessary tests and many refuse to treat Medicare patients, which ought to be illegal. I hate NY Presbyterian.

    2. Tom_Doak

      College administrators are only there to rob you.

      Hospital administrators may rob you and kill you. And their pool of potential victims is much much broader. They win in a walkover.

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” Just in case you thought all those new IRS agents were going to go after the rich:” . . .

    and looking at the “grouped by position on the Crapo Ammendment”, it looks like almost all the Rs voted FOR the ammendment and almost all the Ds voted aGAINST the ammendment. So the Ds are the ones who are against focusing those 87,000 agents on people and things at or above $400,000, where the money is and where the cheating opportunities are ( unless I misunderstand the ammendment and the meaning of yes versus no.) I see that Sanders also voted against it. Someone should ask him why. If the ammendment was in fact cleverly written to be a trojan horse poison pill of some kind, perhaps Sanders could explain to us how that would have worked.

    1. ambrit

      If the vote was 50 to 50, why didn’t the Vice President step in and break the tie? Is this some procedural issue? Otherwise, the Democrat Party policy was to defeat the bill all along.
      I wonder what was in the bill. Something doesn’t sound right about this.
      Uniparty Kabuki?

    2. VietnamVet

      Uni-Party Neo-liberals hate taxes and regulations. WaPo has gone so far to show the paper tax returns in the IRS cafeteria (including mine?). Someone, maybe everyone, is complaining to their congressional offices about not getting their refunds. This is just one example of the many societal breakdowns due to the failure of public health system to eradicate coronavirus. The democrat constituent services are putting their thumbs in the holes in the dike.

      The GOP is putting the metal to the floor. MAGA 2024! Two high speed crashes in LA have made it into the news. Driving through the neighborhood at 90 mph. Taxing what is left of the middle class through the nose for no service, no safety, and public health long gone is accelerating the crash into a brick wall. When the hatreds get this severe and illogical, revolts are not far away.

  8. Wukchumni

    I think ‘Marlon Brandon’ would be a better nom doubloon, more of a Godfather than a fellow who looks as if he stared into the Sun too long, a spinball wizard.

    1. ambrit

      I’m wondering if this isn’t some sort of dig at the evangelicals on the part of the Wokeista Spin Brigade. (“On to the next cycle!”)
      Those glowing red eyes are code to the religious signifying someone or something is demonically possessed.
      Considering the evil effects of “Creepy” Joe’s policies, this could be a rare case of political truth in advertising.

        1. ambrit

          Which one of them is the ‘Prince of Wokeness?’ (Otherwise known as the Father of Lies.)
          Evangelicals will eat this up!
          Avernal Addendum: This is a situation where ‘Spinning in one’s grave” is a job description.

    2. griffen

      I am dark Brandon, and all inflation will bend to my will! I am dark Brandon, and Covid 19 and the monkeysee-monkeydo-pox will bend to my well! See I have caused the oil supply to increase and the average gasoline price to decrease. I kick butts and take names, pal. Ask old corn pop.

      Dark Brandon is on a roll, and he is never slowing down. Ahem, for dark Brandon and his supporters, people still dying and getting infected with the above named disease. And also, ahem, for your awesomeness and such an average inflation of 8% or higher is still not too damn good!

      1. amechania

        The dark brandon is a seemingly guileless rehash of Q gibberish, and was done contextly as a reflex. Adding laser eyes is just lazy.


        I think this might have been reported here or just seen on FB in general


        But I think the pointless meme of the year remains ‘It’s Morbin’ Time’ A fully ironic non-meme based on the plastic and disposable nature of our super-hero society.

        For those of you fortunate enough not to know, heres the actually interesting part.


  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Defector discovers class warfare: “We do not tax rich people enough and they do not pay their fair share; the fact of that, over decades, has intruded upon and warped every aspect of American life. Sweeney has to work, like everyone else, and has to do so for whatever she can get, and she has to do it knowing that what reaches her was the absolute minimum figure that people who are paid much more than her had determined that she would be willing to take.”

    Note, too, “About 20 percent of her income, she says, goes toward paying various people who help her do her job.” The agents. The managers. The middle men. The middle women. There’s a whole class of people on the business end of the arts siphoning off their cuts.

    Ask painters about gallery owners. Almost no one is a full-time painter or full-time musician these days. At least Sweeney mainly spends her time acting.

    1. aj

      I wouldn’t consider being paid $25K per episode small potatoes and she has a $3m mansion. Not that is crazy for Hollywood, but hearing people who make that much money whinge that they don’t get paid enough drives me nuts. I don’t feel sorry for you that you have to work hard to keep up your posh L.A. lifestyle when there other others working hard struggling to eat.

      “If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have income to cover that,” ROFL cry me a river.

      1. Mikel

        There could be a catch-22. If she doesn’t floss somewhat of a higher standard of living, the Hollywood elite will think they can pay her less.
        That’s the kind of thinking that goes on here.
        However, she may want to consider a roommate and increase her savings. That seems to be her biggest beef: she can’t save and buy some time.

        But she has a point that she is one of very few that can make it without the more intimate connections (not referring to the casting couch) and it’s getting worse.

        1. ForFawkesSakes

          Exactly! This is what they call the ‘golden handcuffs’.

          To be perceived as capable of the job in question, the subject has to project certain high quality class markers. Think of the civil attorney who wears bespoke suits and drives a luxury vehicle but can’t really afford it. You must act like you’re PMC even if you’re only PMC adjacent to even be considered for entry.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            The thought process is similar to relators who lease expensive cars to shuttle clients and potential clients around. It’s more important to appear successful than to actually being successful. Of course, the realtors can deduct the lease payments as a business expense, so there is that motivation as well.

      2. Pat

        There are some very real issues for actors in that article along with almost every no name person in film production, the writer also puts some of the hollowing out in journalism that our whack a doodle pay differential between the top and the bottom has meant. Unfortunately Sweeney is still a bad example of the issues and her whining actually flat out misrepresents at least one of the supposed problems, health insurance. Her claim that she would have none if she took time off is unlikely. She has certainly made more than enough to have covered her SAG benefits requirement AND she would certainly be eligible to cover it herself for a quarter or two, something that might be possible to do before even COBRA would kick in. And was she an emancipated minor for all the work before she was eighteen, otherwise she should have a trust from that.
        Not for nothing, but scrabbling for jobs, saving when you do get work, and having to plan for periods of no work have been an actors life for the decades I have been around them. Even when they had better residuals (major union fail). Oh and all those middle people they have to pay are tax deductible, it still cuts into take home but when you are grossing a million or more being able to deduct 10 to 20% of that does drop your tax bill significantly.
        I am about supporting workers and family leave, but this just doesn’t sell it even if there is a case to be made. Certainly not when your complaint isn’t equitable compensation but that people who might enjoy family support shouldn’t get the jobs.

    2. Petter

      Musician jokes:
      Why does the lead guitarist keep ringing your doorbell?
      He’s trying to deliver the pizza.

      What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?


  10. jr

    Why are Americans dubious about going to college? At least part of that answer is the deleterious effect that postmodernism has had on the humanities. When little Suzie cannot tell you what a chair is:


    you have to wonder what that English degree was for after all. Which is sad, because in an age of industrial dehumanization we need the humanities more than ever.

      1. jr

        “”Structuralism” is just special pleading the middle class happens to like.”

        An overarching narrative such as this demands a structure.

        Let me know when the game starts.

        1. ambrit

          From the other end of the microscope, I can attest that, having worked deconstruction over the years, it falls into a recognizable boom and bust cycle.
          It’s also the ‘Preferred’ narrative: “Move fast and break things.”
          “Bull Market, meet China shop.”

  11. B flat

    87,000 new IRS agents — Guessing this is Biden’s workaround since “his” attempt at flagging any bank transaction greater than $600 failed. He really is a malicious old thing, glad not to have voted for him at least.

    1. Checky Chubber

      The problem is that right now you have many crypto tax evaders putting up to $9,999.99 of undeclared capital gains into their banks per day without getting reported. Reducing it to $600 would make their tax evasion more laborious and easier to spot because of all the extra transactions needed to move the same amount.

      1. notabanker

        That’s because they are doing it all wrong. You form a PE firm, sell shares to idiots like CALPERS, syphon off all the gains as fees, when the market turns let the SPE go bust, leave investors holding the bag and take your miniscule loss as a tax write off against all those fees. No IRS agents required!

      2. Fraibert

        This doesn’t make sense as a rationale. Certain crypto holders allegedly engage in tax evasion by structuring their withdrawals…so therefore the IRS needs to hear about every $600 deposit?

        It sounds more like a way of giving the IRS a gigantic amount of additional information so it can find an excuse to harass anyone it feels like harassing. $600 is not a significant amount of money these days and there is no conceivable way the IRS is going to intelligently review all of the reports it receives.

      1. Petter

        How many will be employed opening paper returns from us international filers who aren’t allowed to file electronically? We’re still waiting for them to open our return – 2020 – due a refund (wife got through to them and they can’t confirm they’ve received it.)

    2. marym

      IRS workforce

      The Inflation Reduction Act…includes roughly $78 billion for the IRS to be phased in over 10 years. A Treasury Department report from May 2021 estimated that such an investment would enable the agency to hire roughly 87,000 employees by 2031. But most of those hires would not be Internal Revenue agents, and wouldn’t be new positions.

      According to a Treasury Department official, the funds would cover a wide range of positions including IT technicians and taxpayer services support staff, as well as experienced auditors who would be largely tasked with cracking down on corporate and high-income tax evaders.


      Because the expansion in the IRS’s budget is phased in over a 10-year horizon, each year the IRS’s workforce should grow by no more than a manageable 15%.


      1. scott s.

        I don’t see anything in the law re “phase in”. It appropriates ALL the funds in FY22 and they are made available to spend through 2031. Now, I guess OMB could probably require IRS comptroller to phase it in, but some like that portion designated in the law for IT (IIRC $4.7 billion) probably aren’t suitable for phasing.

  12. Harto

    “remember perfectly well how Democrats took Sanders down, not once but twice.”

    Yup. This one did it in California. The then secretary of state,
    ALEX PADILLA, who disenfranchised millions of decline to state voters likely to vote for Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary through uncounted provisional, lost, shredded ballots, especialy in L.A. County.

    Partisan? Well, he was on the Elect Hillary Clinton President Committee. Mere coincidence? There’s even a movie about it:
    UNCOUNTED – The Story of the California Election

    Part of the California bilingual gang, used to take over the state for the benefit of billionaires wearing serapes, a longer term garb to the Kinti cloth taking-a-knee hags further up the food chain.

    That punk is now running for the remainder of the senate seat he was appointed to warm by Newscum, AND for the full term.

  13. Angie Neer

    Plantidote: curse the 600 pixel limit! And curse you, IM, for awakening my petty jealousy with such a beautiful photo! Bravo!

    1. IM

      Credit British Columbia and the Mamiya corporation. I just have to get away from my job and click!

  14. fresno dan

    “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” the statement said. “When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”
    You know the question I would like to ask Trump? (well, one question and a couple of follow ups)
    Question: Do you think everybody arrested by any US police force is guilty? (examples please)
    Question: Do you think everybody who has had a search warrant issued against them has something to hide? (examples please)
    Question: Do you think you are the only person ever abuse by the US police system?
    Question: As the current laws, and current personnel, are not protecting your rights, how would you change the laws, and who would you fire???

  15. Jason Boxman

    Liberal Democrats learned nothing from ObamaCare. What materials benefits are offered in the Inflation Reduction Act:

    Democrats passed a major climate, health and tax bill. Here’s what’s in it

    The bill includes a historic measure that allows the federal health secretary to negotiate the prices of certain expensive drugs each year for Medicare.

    But this won’t impact every prescription drug or every patient, and it won’t take effect quickly. The negotiations will take effect for 10 drugs covered by Medicare in 2026, increasing to 20 drugs in 2029.

    The bill puts a cap of $2,000 on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for people on Medicare, effective in 2025.

    So it is worth mentioning that, given the vast quantity of time that must elapse before this goes into effect, some seniors on Medicare will be dead by the time these benefits manifest. And some of these individuals will surely die because they couldn’t afford drugs, or to choose between food and medicine.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is our Democrats!

    What a thing to run on! We’ve got your material benefits, available after the 2024 election! Vote for us today, in 2022!

    It is hard not to conclude that the Democrat Party is merely a rearguard action against the left.

  16. Carolinian

    Re color versus black and white–black and white under studio conditions can be quite beautiful and those old Hollywood movies–almost always shot on a sound stage–had the skills and the equipment to make it so. At the same time Ansel Adams and others were turning out black and white nature photos that looked like studio photography via a great deal of manipulation of the materials rather than spotlights.

    However I don’t find the “tone and form” argument to be very compelling. The high contrast needed to make black and white work can leave out a lot of nature’s subtlety and the technical barriers to color photography no longer exist. To me Adams’ “tone and form” photos seem lifeless compared to the nature vistas that inspired him. If one wants to truly abstract better to take up a brush?

  17. Leftcoastindie

    Being from San Diego County (I live in Oceanside) we have a large number of tourists this time of year.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the discrepancy in the waste water numbers and actual case count are because of the tourists – some bring it in with them – asymptomatic or think they just have a cold – and pass it around to their fellow tourists and then leave. And then those other tourists take it back to wherever they came from before they even know they have the virus. They won’t show up in the case counts in San Diego but will eventually back in their hometowns I would think.

  18. nippersdad

    Re: Why Trump…is nothing like Hillary’s e-mails.

    I noticed yesterday that Hillary has sold out of her “But her e-mails” hats again over this. Her hold on the pussy hat crowd is difficult to get my mind around. If this is to be a something at all, it will be EXACTLY like her e-mails and private server. All the purple prosed protestations in the world will not change that, so if this is to go anywhere the FBI/DOJ is ultimately going to have to address the differential in the way they are being treated if they want to retain any credibility with anyone.

    Seems like there is no upside for the FBI or DOJ, so it makes just as much sense as anything else they have been doing of late.

    1. digi_owl

      “Her hold on the pussy hat crowd is difficult to get my mind around.”

      It is all about the symbolic win of getting a woman elected president.

      That the woman they have decided to go with is vile to the max is of lesser concern to them.

  19. Tom Stone

    When does Hunter Biden start serving time in the Federal Pen for the”Gun Felony” he has admitted committing?
    Daddy Joe and the Dems are all strongly in favor of “Sensible Gun Laws” so why have the Feebs been sitting on this for years, and why haven’t DiFi, Pelosi and Sanders made a point of commenting on this lack of prosecution?
    It’s a question a lot of people are asking, and not just “Conservatives”.
    It doesn’t particularly surprise me after seeing what didn’t happen to the wife beating Sheriff of San Francisco when he committed a “Gun Felony” live on TV.
    I know, “Laws are for Little People”, but when they are only for little people it can become a big problem for the “Big people”.

  20. fresno dan


    The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,’ Trump posted to his Truth Social page on Wednesday morning.

    ‘Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting,” he continued while placing doubt that the raid was conducted properly.

    Trump, 76, questioned: ‘Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!’

    Christina Bobb, a Trump lawyer, told Real America’s Voice on Tuesday that the raid was a ‘weird flex’ and repeated Trump’s suspicions that the FBI might have planted something during the search.
    I think I have a long history of being willing to doubt police/FBI ethics, honesty, adherence to law. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will do anything to raise skepticism about police conduct with regard to how they treat the average or poorer persons they encounter, or do anything to improve police conduct. No real raising of accountability for police. Indeed, I see Trump legal tactics being increasing adopted by anyone who can afford lawyers (and the richer, the better the lawyers, and the more successful the tactics…)

    And again – is Trump the first individual to ever have evidence planted against him? Is Trump EVER concerned when police miscounduct happens to someone else? What is Trump’s plan for FBI reform???
    Despite this, repubs will still be the tough on crime and law and order party.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Which Republican acts or sounds more draconian than this Democrat, pushing a 1992 Democrat crime bill on the Senate floor?

      “Let me tell you what is in the bill, and I’ll let you all decide whether or not this is weak,” he said. “Let me get down here a compendium of the things that are in the bill. One, the death penalty. It provides 53 death-penalty offenses. Weak as can be, you know?”

      “We do everything but hang people for jaywalking in this bill,” Biden added. “That’s weak stuff,” he said.

    2. Tom Stone

      Why don’t you ask Whitey Bulger about the FBI ethics?
      You know,the fellas that let a man they knew was innocent be sentenced to life for murder because they were protecting the real killer?
      Have you forgotten the coldblooded murder of 14 year old Samuel Weaver who was shot in the back, unarmed and never charged with a crime?
      Or the murder of his mother Vicki Weaver who again had never been charged with a crime and who was shot in the head by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi while holding her 10 Month old Daughter?
      More recently,do you recall Kevin Clinesmith who lied to a FISA judge in order to get a warrant allowing the feebs to spy on the Trump campaign?
      Information that the Obama admin shared with the Clinton campaign…
      Clinesmith was a small enough fish that he was actually charged and had to perform 400 hours of community service, there were NO charges levelled against the murderers of Samual or Vicki Weaver.
      That FISA judge described the FBI as having “An institutionalized lack of candor”.
      In my mind the refusal to have Trump’s lawyer’s present during the search raises serious questions about any evidence they purport to have found.

    3. The Rev Kev

      First thing that Trump should do when he goes back inside his Florida mansion is to call out-

      ‘Testing, testing. One, two three, testing.’

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: Why Americans are increasingly dubious about going to college

    Younger generations are finding out the hard way that the American dream isn’t possible anymore. A college degree is no longer a guarantee of class mobility. It’s resulted in entry-level work requiring an absurd amount of educational requirements. I’ve seen a library assistant posting which demands an associates degree with a four year bachelor degree being preferable. All this for a job that barely pays $15/hr. You could learn and do that job as a high schooler for an elective credit back in the day.

    Of course, education and credentialism isn’t about any single economic factor. It’s a system which reproduces social relations and hierarchy. It’s doing a terrible job of that as well. Most of the people I know attending college are working a 30-40 hour week job and going into copious amounts of student debt for the chance at a better life. All the while they’re being told that forgiving hundreds of billions of their debt is inflationary, but the free money from PPP loans isn’t.

    This process of proletarianzation via student debt will only accelerate the decline of the country. Which is pretty ironic considering one of the early proponents of widespread post-secondary education thought that increasing the number of college graduates would help alleviate what he called stagnation in the 80s and early 90s. What does it even mean to be an American if you can’t better your economic or social circumstances?

  22. Mark K

    Re: “Madden ‘up in the air’ about accepting GOP nomination for US House” [WCAX]

    Madden would have been right at home in North Dakota in 1916 and 1918. In each of those years the progressive Nonpartisan League fielded a winning slate of candidates for the state legislature kin the Republican primary, most all of whom went on to win in the general election. Their candidate, Lynn Frazier, won the governorship as well.

    The establishment Republicans screamed like crazy about this usurpation of “their” party and none other than the New York Times vilified the NPL*, but that didn’t stop them from instituting several reforms, including a state bank and a state grain elevator that exist to this day.

    * https://www.nytimes.com/1917/09/20/archives/patriots-at-st-paul.html

  23. ilpalazzo

    This is Australian documentary made in ’84 about everyday life in the SU. 1,5 Hours long. I had one of those Dutch cigarettes and was completely sunk watching this, perhaps others may want to try as well:


  24. Wukchumni

    ‘Dynamic Pricing’, because markets.

    Bruce Springsteen Fans Furious at Ticket Prices Going as High as $4-5K, Due to Ticketmaster’s ‘Dynamic Pricing’

    Bruce Springsteen fans like to think of him as tougher than the rest, not pricier than the rest. So there were inevitable eruptions of anger when fans logged on for the first day of sales for the opening shows on his 2023 arena tour and found tickets going for as as $4,000-5,000 for mid-range floor seats, and into the four-figures for other, less desirable tickets that remained. If these were being offered on the secondary market, offers that exorbitant might be expected… but what gave fans sticker shock was that these were face value tickets, with no middleman jacking up the price.

    It was an introduction for many fans to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” program, in which “platinum tickets” — which may be placed anywhere in the arena, from the front section to the back rows — fluctuate in price, in what is said to be ongoing reaction to demand. The system lets ticket prices quickly rise to a level it’s believed resellers would get for them, keeping that extra money in-house for the artist and promoter. But as Wednesday’s ticket sales went on and went up, even some concert veterans who know and accept the idea of variable pricing wondered: Would even scalpers ask close to $5,000 for a good but not directly front-of-house seat?


    1. Clem

      Same thing is about to happen with water, gas and electricity, thanks to the public’s willingness to accept “smart meters.”

      Remote shut off, or reinstatement of service, based on willingness to top the price your neighbor will pay, on a daily basis or weekly basis.

      Because “markets.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      So moving forward, going to rock concerts will largely be reserved for the wealthy and the kids of the wealthy – and no students need apply. I would in fact expand that to say that through a monetary filter, that going to a concert will be an upper class activity in all but name.

      And it sounds like Bruce Springsteen is not the working class hero that we are looking for.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        They have been for a while. That is, any big act stadium show, though even smaller club shows are getting up there. Like sporting events, they are catering more to the corporate write off crowd. I say this because the ex-in laws owned a slew of car dealerships and I was amazed to learn how common taking clients to big shows, like Da Boss, was. (Not to mention how many acts they saw at auto manufacturer sponsored shindigs.)

    3. Carolinian

      Counterpunch St. Clair says he saw Springsteen in 1975 (me too–different city) and it was like ten bucks. Perhaps Boomers that can bid up tickets into the thousands should be filed under Guillotine watch.

      Not to mention Bruce and his pals the Obamas. Gotta keep up with the Jones and their millions?

    4. notabanker

      For big shows like Zeppelin, Springsteen or the Who, you would have to send in money orders for $25 a ticket to ticketmaster and they would do a drawing and whoever got tickets, got tickets. I looked up the inflation adjusted amount and that would be around $125 today. And the shows were better and longer.

      $4-5K to see 70 yo Bruce, lol. Let the morons who are gonna pay it go. Have a great time with him and your $22 White Claw in a plastic cup.

    5. griffen

      After including fees, it was about $160 to see the Eagles perform live in nearby Greenville, SC. Granted the lineup has adjusted after departures from the band, and departure from this mortal life. Vince Gill does make a worthy substitute since young Deacon Frey was not along this go around. And if you somehow were late on entry, you missed the lead single from their biggest album.

      Comparatively that show now seems like a bargain. And, we all agreed the above rate was money well spent.

      1. wuzzy

        Live musician here. Why pay more to see the Eagles than I could get for a gig, as in:

        A musician is someone who loads $5000 worth of gear into a $500 car to play a $50 gig.

        1. griffen

          Last summer I visited family in Marietta, and we went to live shows for an AC DC tribute band and another tribute band for mostly ’80s music. Fun times.

          I had to wonder how these bands might perform, financially, after such shows at smaller venues. Maybe they get incremental benefits from the drunken celebrations. One band did a whole lot of whiskey shots on stage.

  25. Jan

    Lambert, “Mask deniers are a noisy minority?”

    Why then do the majority of ppl stop wearing masks when mandates are dropped? “Maskophiles”, or whatever you want to call them, would be expected to step UP in mask quality when others are no longer masked… not weakly join the deniers in foregoing their own non pharmaceutical interventions!!
    And PS- nobody believes polling anymore, they’re used to push ideological objectives.

    1. Checky Chubber

      It’s peer pressure. People don’t like to stick out.

      IMO The whole point of universal masking was so that people who are actually sick and contagious can wear a mask without feeling like idiots. If everyone is wearing a mask, then you know the people emitting poison, will be doing it too.

      1. Jan

        So mask “believers”/ophiles or what have you will only do what’s best for themselves (and others) if government is MANDATING EVERYONE to do it?
        Seems to fit in with all the other nonsense of our world.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          There are mask-supporters who will wear masks even in the teeth of opposition from their anti-mask neighbors and strangers. This blog has featured several items from people harrassed by anti-mask airplane personnel for wearing effective masks . . . . in order to stop them from wearing effective masks.

          So there are some mask-supporters who are wearing the mask in defiance of everyone else’s malicious efforts to give them covid. Wearing-the-mask helps mask-supporters recognize eachother and perhaps share covid survival information among themselves.

      2. digi_owl

        On that note, i have seen some glorious elastomeric masks on social media recently. Some ladies of the creative sort have taken to adorning them with paint and such to go with their outfits.

        Or if all else fails, embrace ones inner goth…

  26. Tom Stone

    The Biden White house is claiming that no one there was informed of the FBI raid on a former President’s home in advance.
    If that’s a lie I find it concerning, if it is the truth I find it very concerning.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Biden approval rises to 40%, highest in two months, Reuters/Ipsos shows”

    Who do they think that they are kidding? Try half that. And as economic pressures grind on, you might be able to halve that again. I hate to say it but taking a poll of the denizens of the White House does not count as a national poll.

    1. Carolinian

      Hey he’s “Dark Brandon” now with eyeball ray guns. We are ruled by kindergarteners.

      And you Australian “partners” too? Don’t get smug.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nothing to get smug about. No matter which tool gets made President in the US, we keep on getting more US troops and more US bases here in Oz. Just down the road we have been having B-2 nuclear attack bombers on a “visit”. pretty soon the whole country will be a nothing more than a massive US base – but with kangaroos.

    2. Checky Chubber

      Hardly surprising with gas prices going down and stock market going up… But will it last?

  28. Glen

    So I’m watching an ex President take the fifth, and get searched by the FBI, and I’m torn between that doesn’t sound right, and here’s a list of some other ex Presidents, please do them next: Clinton, Bush, Obama.

    Strange times indeed…

  29. spud

    free trade is driving prices through the roof!


    America’s biggest ports are still contending with record volume, indicating the country’s supply chain woes are far from over.

    “gee they can always make the ships bigger to carry more, and of course burn lots more fossil fuels, ERR, the dim wits already did that, the ships are so large and ungainly they keep getting stuck wasting even more fossil fuels, spewing even more carbon! gee, anyone with half a functioning brain cell could have predicted this”

  30. Mj

    “I’m getting the impression that hospital administrators are actually worse than university administrators. Can this be true?”

    Yes. Resounding yes, having worked in healthcare for a decade. And that’s a low bar to clear.

  31. spud

    The Bombshell in the July Jobs Report


    “The dynamic of the relationship between full time hiring, part time and temp hiring over a business cycle is poorly understood by most economists. However, one thing is clear: the US economy is already in recession in early stages as the data in the CPS survey Tables, A-8 and A-9, shows. These tables reflect the deeper job trends—not the CES Table B-1.

    By the politicians and media—and the Fed—focusing on the CES survey’s 528,000 jobs they are about to miss—and in the case of the Fed exacerbate—the recession that’s already begun and, in turn, fall behind the curve. Of course, that’s nothing new for the Fed.

    By the late fourth quarter 2022 the ‘bombshell’ embedded within the CPS data will have ‘gone off’. The jobs market will no longer lag and the recession will be blatantly obvious. The Fed will have to abruptly halt accelerating its rate hike policy. And the NBER will have to agree after the fact that the so-called ‘technical recession’ that arrived in the first half of 2022 did indeed signal the US economy had entered recession.”

  32. spud

    this recession will be brutal. i just found out Gene Sperling is working in the Biden administration! you can’t make this stuff up!

    Evictions spiking as assistance, protections disappear


    “I really think this is the tip of the iceberg,” Shannon MacKenzie, executive director of Colorado Poverty Law Project, said of June filings in Denver, which were about 24% higher than the same time three years ago. “Our numbers of evictions are increasing every month at an astonishing rate, and I just don’t see that abating any time soon.”

    According to The Eviction Lab, several cities are running far above historic averages, with Minneapolis-St. Paul 91% higher in June, Las Vegas up 56%, Hartford, Connecticut, up 32%, and Jacksonville, Florida, up 17%. In Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, eviction filings in July were the highest in 13 years, officials said.”

  33. skippy

    Oh this is interesting ….

    “Aug. 9, 2022 (EIRNS)–Americans, and others in the West, could take a lesson from African leaders, who are not taking orders from arrogant elites demanding capitulation. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters on Monday, with Secretary of State Tony Blinken sitting next to her, that she objected to “patronizing bullying” coming from the West: “Because when we believe in freedom – as I’m saying, it’s freedom for everybody – you can’t say because Africa is doing this, you will then be punished by the United States…. One thing I definitely dislike is being told `either you choose this or else.’ When a minister speaks to me like that … I definitely will not be bullied in that way, nor would I expect any other African country worth its salt to agree to be [so] treated.””


  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a video from the workersstrikeback subreddit, of a 13-year-veteran Starbucks employee who has just been fired, clearly for being a unionization leader at his Starbucks, but ostensibly for . . . “reasons” . . .
    It looks to me like Starbucks is incorrigible and irredeemable. How many people in this just-fired employee’s town or area would have to take their business from that particular Starbucks to the geographically nearest non-Starbucks coffeeplace in order to put that particular Starbucks out of business? Would enough people do that to generate enough more work at that other non-Starbucks coffeeplace that it would need to hire another person . . . . like, say, that just-fired Starbucks worker?

    What if all those ” we have taken our business elsewhere” people were organized enough to patronize the one-same closest non-Starbucks coffeeplace for a month, to show what is possible, and then tell the owners of that place . . . ” if you hire this particular Starbucks worker at his same wage and benefits ( or more), we will keep our business at your place to make and keep it worthwhile for you to have hired him.” . . . ? Is that kind of functional solidarity possible or even thinkable among Starbucks patrons?

    Starbucks is not yet the Amazon of coffee houses. It has not bankrupted every non-Starbucks coffeehouse in every city where Starbucks operates. How many people would have to switch from a Starbucks to a non-Starbucks in order to get a Starbucks shut down, closed, and put out of business?
    What if pro-union inertial-Starbucks coffee drinkers overcame inertia enough to begin shutting down Starbucks all over the country? ” Two, Three, Many Starbucks”.

    Anyway, here is the link.

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