2:00PM Water Cooler 8/12/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

White-winged Triller, Western Australia, Australia. Energetic

* * *


“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

“Astonished Democrats set to clear finish line with climate, tax, health care package” [The Hill]. “House Democrats of all stripes are lining up to approve the Senate’s $740 billion tax-and-spending package on Friday when the lower chamber returns briefly to Washington, sending the legislation to Biden’s desk and securing a huge win for the president and his party less than three months from the midterm elections. It seems likely the bill could clear the House without a single Democratic defection, whether from the left or center of the party. The universal accolades reflect, at least in part, the Democrats’ astonishment that they’re voting on any major part of Biden’s domestic agenda at all. Just a few weeks ago, the prospects of enacting a massive climate package this year appeared to be dead, buried under the opposition of centrist senators — most notably Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — wary of exacerbating inflation with new federal spending. The bill’s revival — a deal worked out privately between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — has drastically expanded the Democrats’ legislative accomplishments under Biden, providing them a late political boost as they head into midterm elections that are expected to shift control of the House to the Republicans. ‘This is a big deal. This is historic. And I’m anxious to get it to the floor, pass it and get it to the president’s desk,’ Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chairman of the House Rules Committee, told reporters in the Capitol Wednesday night. ‘People like me wanted a lot more, right? But the bottom line is you can only get done what’s possible within the reality you’re living,’ he continued. ‘And in any other Congress, if we were to pass one of these things — one component of what is in this reconciliation bill — it would be huge.'” • The Democrats have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

“Yellen tells IRS not to increase middle-class audits if it gets more funding” [Reuters]. “Yellen told IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a letter released by the Treasury Department that any new IRS personnel ‘shall not be used to increase the share of small business or households below the $400,000 threshold that are audited relative to historical levels.’ The IRS is a bureau of the Treasury Department. Yellen said, ‘contrary to the misinformation from opponents of this legislation, small business or households earning $400,000 per year or less will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited.'”


* * *

NY: “Is Money Enough?” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. Of course money is enough. What else is there? More: “In the final weeks of the competitive race for the open 10th Congressional District in New York City, a former prosecutor named Dan Goldman has emerged as a front-runner. Most famous for helping to impeach Trump the first time, Goldman built up a large social media following as an MSNBC analyst. He is plenty telegenic. He looks the part of a congressman. With a bevy of connections in the business, real estate, and political worlds, he has been a strong fundraiser. In addition, because he is an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune with a net worth as high as $253 million, he can self-fund. So far, he has given his campaign $1 million. It’s plausible, as the August 23rd date draws closer, he will unload far more of his own cash on the race. He might have to if he actually wants to win…. In addition to Jones and Goldman, who clearly do not like each other, there are four other top contenders: City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. Many believe the biggest factor in the race will be who the editorial board of the New York Times decides to endorse. The Times is the totem for the highly educated and well-off, and that describes a good portion of the Democratic voter base there.”


What will be unsealed, and what will not:

So, in terms of evidence, we don’t really know anything until the affidavit is released (or until somebody starts leaking). I’m so bored of this. (I hate the “bored of” locution — instead of “bored with” — and I use it to emphasize how bored with this I am.)

“‘It Could Be Anything’: Experts Tell Us What Kind of Nuclear Secrets Trump Could Steal” [Vice]. “The problem is, because of the way nuclear secrecy works in the U.S., it’s possible Trump took something without realizing it was classified. Presidents have done similar things before with regards to nuclear secrets. I reached out to several nuclear weapons experts, and they all told me the same thing: They had no idea what it was, and the list of possibilities was enormous. The category of “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” is so broad as to be meaningless…. The nuclear secrets the FBI is looking for could be innocuous, or they could be world-shattering. The possibilities are so large that there’s no way to know. Historically, the consequences for stealing nuclear secrets in America are pretty dire. Early Trump lawyer and mentor Roy Cohn made his career by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for stealing nuclear secrets and passing them to the Soviet Union. Cohn won the case, and the Rosenbergs were executed in the electric chair.” • Lol.

“Event venues (like Trump’s Mar-a-Lago) are not good places to store nuclear secrets” [Philip Bump, WaPo]. “On Monday, as you are no doubt aware, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and procured a number of boxes of material from the property. It was the latest stage in a protracted effort to secure material that Trump took with him when he left office, including, it seems, classified documents. Among those, The Washington Post reported Thursday evening, may have been ones pertaining to nuclear weapons.” • Oh. Let the walkback begin!

“The Downside for Garland in Speaking” [Andrew McCarthy, National Review]. “So here is what people are interested in: Did Trump do something hostile or uncooperative which left Garland no reasonable alternative but to seek a warrant — something worth blowing up a 230-year norm of not using hardball investigative tactics against a former president of the United States? And is Garland sure there was probable cause of a crime here that justify the issuance of a search warrant? If Garland had made no statement, we would assume affirmative answers to these questions. We would assume that he just wasn’t explicitly providing such answers because (a) the DOJ does not speak publicly about investigations, and (b) he got a magistrate-judge to sign the warrant, so he can bank on the court’s finding of probable cause. But he did speak. If you’re going to speak, you’ve got to address the questions that actually matter to people. He didn’t. In the meantime, Trump is speaking. He says he cooperated with the FBI and the DOJ and is stunned that, after two months of silence, they suddenly went to DEFCON 5 with a warrant to rifle through his home. When Garland speaks but does not refute, or even attempt to refute, what the former president has said publicly, it is reasonable for people to deduce that he is not in a position to rebut Trump’s claims. One final, related point. The more one thinks about it, the more incredible it seems that the White House knew nothing about this. The Justice Department — in particular, those leaking on its behalf — speaks as if the issue here were the peril the nation would be in if the intelligence in Trump’s possession fell into the wrong hands. That’s not a law-enforcement problem; it’s a national-security problem. Even if Biden were right that he must never “interfere” in the Justice Department’s work (and he’s constitutionally illiterate on this point because the Justice Department exercises his power as his delegate), we are not talking here about political interference in the administration of justice. We are talking about the defense of the United States from hostile forces. That is one of the president’s main duties — probably his most consequential and solemn duty. So how does Garland not tell Biden? I can think of a million things they might have done short of a search warrant. But I can’t think of a single scenario in which, if the facts are as government sources claim they are, Biden would not have been in the loop.” • My reactionary old grandfather read the National Review. Now I am [bangs head on desk].

“Trump Hires #BillionDollarLawyer” [New York Times]. “Amid a deepening swirl of federal and state investigations, former President Donald J. Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta lawyer to represent him in a criminal inquiry into election interference in Georgia. The lawyer, Drew Findling, has represented an array of rap stars including Cardi B, Gucci Mane and Migos, and is known by the hashtag #BillionDollarLawyer. But he is also well regarded for a range of criminal defense work that he has done in Georgia, and his hiring underscores the seriousness of the investigation — as well as the potential legal jeopardy for Mr. Trump.” • I have been muttering for awhile that Georgia was far more dangerous to Trump than any of the other election-related events. Looks like Trump believes this too,

* * *

“An unusual deal gave Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin $8.5 million in cash and tax-free status to his almost $200 million in stock, a lawsuit says” [NBC]. “In January 2020, Glenn Youngkin, now the Republican governor of Virginia, got some welcome news. A complex corporate transaction had gone through at the Carlyle Group, the powerful private equity company that Youngkin led as co-chief executive. Under the deal, approved by the Carlyle board and code-named ‘Project Phoenix,’ he began receiving $8.5 million in cash and exchanged his almost $200 million stake in the company for an equal amount of tax-free shares, according to court documents. … Now, that transaction is under attack by a Carlyle shareholder in Delaware Chancery Court. The suit, filed last week by the city of Pittsburgh Comprehensive Municipal Pension Trust Fund, says the $344 million deal harmed Carlyle’s stockholders, who received nothing in return when they funded the payday. Meanwhile, the Carlyle insiders who received the payouts escaped a tax bill that would have exceeded $1 billion, according to the complaint, which accuses Rubenstein, Youngkin and other Carlyle officials of lining their own pockets at the expense of people like police officers and firefighters.”

Republican Funhouse

“‘Stop the Steal’ Is a Metaphor” [The Atlantic]. “Elaine Godfrey: Tell me what connection you see between the Tea Party movement that you studied and the Trump-inspired Stop the Steal effort. Theda Skocpol: There’s a definite line. Opinion polls tell us that people who participated in or sympathized with the Tea Party—some groups are still meeting—were disproportionately angry about immigration and the loss of America as they know it. They became core supporters of Trump. I’m quite certain that some organizations that were Tea Party–labeled helped organize Stop the Steal stuff. Trump has expanded the appeal of an angry, resentful ethno-nationalist politics to younger whites. But it’s the same outlook.”

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.

* * *

“Beau Biden (Baby) Is My Beautiful New Baby” [Gawker]. The deck: “I want to smooch my new king.” • Well, it’s Gawker. Nevertheless.

“Josephine Baker Was the Star France Wanted—and the Spy It Needed” [The New Yorker] • Listen to Black women! Especially when they’re spooks! (No knock on Baker; it’s only that the New Yorker and its readers… have lost their minds.

“Holder Discusses Ongoing Battle for Voting Rights at Vineyard Author Series” [Vineyard Gazette]. “Ms. Smith then asked Mr. Holder if he would charge Donald Trump and his allies for their role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. To answer that question, Mr. Holder turned to Lanny Breuer, the former head of the criminal division at the DOJ, who was sitting in the crowd. ‘So Lanny, would we bring this case?” Mr. Holder asked. ‘We would bring it in a minute,’ Mr. Breuer responded.” • Lol. This classic parody video of Lanny Breuer describes his role in the Great Financial Crash very accurately:


I give them awards, but they keep begging for more:


Why are these people smiling?

* * *

• Maskstravaganza:

• Maskstravaganza:

* * *

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:

It’s almost as if the West and the South dance the same stately quadrille as Texas and Florida.

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 ~108,700. Today, it’s ~102,600 and 102,600 * 6 = a Biden line at 615,600 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?

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

Encouraging on Georgia and North Carolina. Meanwhile, South Carolina found some cases in a drawer? I guess we’ll have to wait a week to find out!

The West:

As a check on the California case data, here is San Diego wastewater as of August 10 (a big data dump today):

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?

UPDATE New data, and the wastewater count drops (though not in alignment in cases). San Diego is both a tourist town, and close to the Mexican border (i.e., workers come from over the border). The surge begins July 4 and peaks roughly August 1. There are a number of events over that span — July Fourth Fireworks, Pride, ComicCon — I’m wondering if we could have spotted the first peak in the wild where the infected are tourists, who don’t show up as cases or in hospitals? Readers, is this plausible?

NOTE To be fair, Santa Clara County covid figures are consistently down, much more in line with the case data. Ditto Los Angeles County (although CDC reports “no recent data” on its wastewater map; perhaps CDC is hooked up to this project from the California Department of Public Health, where there is no Los Angeles data charted after April 20 [bangs head on desk].) Neither have case data comparisons.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 9:

0.4%. (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. Some orange in Maine, yellow in Nevada. Improving!

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 10:

I’m almost ready to say “All is quiet.” Boy howdy, does that feel weird. I suppose that if cases are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 10:

Volatile. What’s up with the Northeast?

Lambert here: When the cut the frequency of these reports, they said the reports would come out Wednesday and Friday. Ah well. Enjoy performing your weekend personal risk assessments without current data.


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 30:

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

BA.5 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), August 8:

Many more orange dots, which is good news.

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.

Lambert here: Maine also has grey dots, so its drop in transmission (CDC) although rise in positivity (Walgreens) can’t be confirmed. What a PITA.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: If in fact the drop in cases is real, as CDC seems to believe, we should start seeing deaths, which lag, drop around September 1.

Total: 1,061,346 – 1,060,755 = 591 (365 * 591 = 215,715; today’s 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.

Alert reader Deschain asks: “Is it just me or do COVID deaths look like a cup-and-handle formation?” I don’t know. Readers?

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech: “Amazon’s Roomba Deal Is Really About Mapping Your Home” [Bloomberg]. “Amazon.com Inc. hasn’t just bought a maker of robot vacuum cleaners. It’s acquired a mapping company. To be more precise: a company that can make maps of your home. The company announced a $1.7 billion deal on Friday for iRobot Corp., the maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. And yes, Amazon will make money from selling those gadgets. But the real value resides in those robots’ ability to map your house. As ever with Amazon, it’s all about the data. A smart home, you see, isn’t actually terribly smart. It only knows that your Philips Hue lightbulbs and connected television are in your sitting room because you’ve told it as much. It certainly doesn’t know where exactly the devices are within that room. The more it knows about a given space, the more tightly it can choreograph the way they interact with you.” • I don’t think it’s choreography that’s the point…

The Economy:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 11 at 1:03 PM EDT. Mr. Market crusing on Dark Brandon?

Groves of Academe

“Inside Lockheed Martin’s Sweeping Recruitment on College Campuses” [In These Times]. “To a casual observer, the Black Hawk and Sikorsky S-76 helicopters may have seemed incongruous landing next to the student union on the University of Connecticut’s pastoral green campus, but this particular Thursday in September 2018 was Lockheed Martin Day, and the aircraft were the main attraction.: • ”Lockheed Martin Day”?

Class Warfare

Good thread on the WASPs:

I don’t “identify as” a WASP. I am one.

They hate you. They really hate you:

News of the Wired

“Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?” [Smithsonian]. “Today, only a handful of millennia-old scripts remain unreadable. Thanks to a team of European scholars led by French archaeologist Francois Desset, one of the last holdouts might finally be deciphered: Linear Elamite, an obscure system used in what is now Iran…. Elam was part of the world’s first surge of cities to use written symbols to administer an increasingly complex society…. Writing systems employ a number of methods to express a spoken language. English, for example, uses Latin letters to express particular sounds, while Chinese is based on pictures, or logograms, with specific meanings…. Cuneiform and hieroglyphics use symbols denoting both sounds and logograms. But Desset argues that Linear Elamite takes an approach more like the modern alphabet. He concludes that the script draws solely on syllables, making it the oldest known writing system to do so.” • Interesting.

Ever helpful:

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

RM writes: “A couple poppies popped out this morning on my morning walk. They are so flashy and they look like they should be in town rather than where the cows graze.”

* * *

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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. Dirk

    “Astonished Democrats set to clear finish line with climate, tax, health care package”

    Astonished motorists to see $2.19 gas by midterms…
    Food prices plummeting,
    Cheap insulin,
    major infrastructure rebuilding,
    a controlled border, jobs for our teenage kids,
    rents, used car prices plummeting as migrants go home,
    wide open schools, airports and to top it off,
    an end to spam robo-calls. Hallelujah!

    1. Lee

      There should be no doubt regarding Biden’s campaign promise to rich donors that “No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.”

      From an interview on PBS Newshour regarding new corporate taxes. What the interviewer initially describes as “significant” at the beginning of the interview turns out in the end to be a nothingburger.

      Lisa Desjardins:

      “Over all of this, of course, is growing disparity in this country.

      And I just want to ask a big-picture question. Do you think these tax changes will have any effect on that rich and poor gap that has been growing in this country?”

      Michael Graetz:

      “I think not, I’m sorry to say.

      There are no taxes on wealthy individuals. Joe Biden, as president, proposed $365 billion of increased taxes on the wealthy in his budget proposals this year. And, in this bill, there are zero of those. So there are many loopholes that remain. But this bill has basically decided that the only taxes that will be raised here mainly are large, large corporations.

      And those taxes are small enough that I don’t think it’s going to have any effect, any noticeable effect on the distribution of wealth or income in this country, that the division between the rich and everybody else is going to continue, I’m afraid.”

      Mission accomplished!

      1. Mr.Peet

        this bill has basically decided that the only taxes that will be raised here mainly are large, large corporations.

        Aww come on man, 87,000 new IRS agents are going to extract the last wealth from Mom and Pop and some politically unfavored corporations. Nothing like a field audit to keep ’em busy. And if people rebel, many along with existing agents, will be armed and can serve as a defacto Posse Comitatus militia.

        Just another version of his flagging any bank transaction greater than 600 bucks, remember that?


        Flat ten percent tax on every human being and every corporation doing business in the U.S. is the only fair way to tax. Either that OR people get the same write offs that corporations do to, for example, education, health care, facelifts, personal ads and even group memberships to lobbyists.

        1. katiebird

          Wow. That would have meant a 100% tax for my parents – who had 8 kids. Is that really what you mean?

          1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

            Ideologically that would be completely congruent, communism has simply been rebranded as “equity”. Destroy the nation-state, the family, and religion, to make sure the citizen is completely dependent on and beholden to the state. People forget the part where at the end of the day communism is only ever imposed by force bc it goes completely against human nature. Champion awards for who murdered more of their own people, Mao or Stalin. So of course they had to rebrand.

            1. hk

              Fwiw, the same logic applies to “capitalism” as it has developed. Everything matters only so far as it can be monetized/marketized/commodities, subverting the underpinnings of human societies. Two recent works pointed to its problems: Milan Brakovic’s Capitalism, Alone, and Sebastian Junger’s Tribe (the latter more subtly than the former). There are some interesting contradictions between them: individually, humans really like commodification, as Milanovic likes to point out. Often, assertion of “individual rights” amount to the legal protection of the right of the individuals to defy the tribal norms to marketize what they like via “open markets,” and in so doing, destroy the bindings of tribes at the hands of the state, and this is, I think, a major price of modern capitalism.

            2. ambrit

              Yeah, right, and I bet you think that Hitler was a Socialist. It says so in the name of his political party, doesn’t it?
              Also, I do suspect that you have a basic misunderstanding of what ‘Communism’ is. If you had said, top down autocracy masquerading as redistributionism, I’d cut you some slack. After all, the First Century Christian Communities were often organized as theological communes. Tell that to some of your “outwardly religious” fellow travelers, and watch the heads explode.

              1. LifelongLib

                My understanding is that in the predecessor to the Nazi party, there were some members who considered themselves socialists and insisted (over Hitler’s objection) that “Socialist” be included in the renamed successor party. Hitler went along but got rid of them later (Night of the Long Knives).

        2. Darius

          You’re letting billionaires off scot-free. They should be taxed until they aren’t billionaires.

          1. MathBabe

            That guy probably meant a 10% income tax, not a 10% head tax. To grow their money, you would assume that billionaire’s money grew faster than 11% a year right?

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            aye…a maximum wage that is as stingy as the minimum wage has been, historically.

            the uber wealthy will adapt.

            i mean… i get by on heb brie and croissants for First Breakfast 3 days out of the week…
            even snogged some real french foi gras for $6/tube.

            and is “Crystal”, or whatever, really that much better than whatever cheap ass mass produced champagne the hoi polloi make their mimosas from when they’re feeling randy/hungover?

            the uberrich, bless their holes(where hearts started to develop but died and morphed into ravening maws), need our help.
            the concept of Enough, fer dog’s sake!
            send em to me…i’ll stick them in a teepee…walmart pup tent if they be bad…and teach them all they need to know.
            if they prove uneducatable*, i’ll cook them…feed them to the poors….or just mulch them into the raised beds.

            ffs, this ain’t hard.

            *spellcheck wanted to substitute “uneatable”,lol.
            life is frelling hilarious.

            1. LifelongLib

              Maybe suitable treatment for the nouveau riche who know where the money came from, but what about the nice ladies who sign some papers once in a while and spend their days as docents in art museums. Kinda harsh for them. Ultimately it’s about a bad system, not necessarily bad people.

        3. Yves Smith

          Making Shit Up is a violation of site Policies. The IRS is not adding 87,000 agents:

          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.

          “It is wholly inaccurate to describe any of these resources as being about increasing audit scrutiny of the middle class or small businesses,” Natasha Sarin, a counselor for tax policy and implementation at the Treasury Department, tells TIME.

          At the same time, more than half of the agency’s current employees are eligible for retirement and are expected to leave the agency within the next five years. “There’s a big wave of attrition that’s coming and a lot of these resources are just about filling those positions,” says Sarin, an economist who has studied tax avoidance extensively and who was tapped by the Biden administration to beef up the IRS’s auditing power.

          In all, the IRS might net roughly 20,000 to 30,000 more employees from the new funding, enough to restore the tax-collecting agency’s staff to where it was roughly a decade ago.

          Anyone in tax who is not a crook will tell you the IRS has been badly understaffed for quite a while.


      2. GF

        Janet Yellen has ordered the IRS not to increase the number of IRS tax audits on companies and individuals making less that $400,000 per year when the IRS windfall arrives.

          1. Yves Smith

            You just earned a lot of troll points.

            The IRS is literally an instrumentality of the Treasurer:

            The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.


            We say provide links at the top of Links and I mean it. I don’t have time to waste cleaning up bullshit, factually false opinion. You are going into moderation. More like this and you will be blacklisted.

            1. Darthbobber

              Oh,dear. I suspect my terseness here has caused my point to be taken as other than it was. So I’ll try to clarify my intent.

              I certainly wasn’t intending to say that the Treasurer’s guidance had no effect or didn’t have binding force on the IRS or wasn’t appropriate administrative guidance WITHIN the law. My understanding of that is the same as yours.

              My point is that as a guarantee over time such administrative guidance differs from an actual piece of legislation saying the same thing.

              Because while such guidance can be issued by the treasurer, it can also be modified or eliminated altogether by the issuance of different guidance by the same or a different treasurer a year or two years or a month down the road.

              So the only guarantee offered is that her present guidance will remain in effect until she or a successor elects to change it. Which is not the same at all as the effect of Congressional legislation mandating it directly.

              I was under the impression that this was well within the realm of common knowledge. But I’m inclined to think my comment was taken as making the first point above rather than the actual one.

    2. notabanker

      I read an NBC article yesterday – 5 things that will benefit average americans in the we’re Ignoring Inflation Act. Evidently the Average American qualifies for Medicare and makes under $150K. Even the tax credits for cars is means tested. How many people making under $150K a year can afford a new $50,000 car?

          1. Yves Smith

            Huh? If you worked 40 quarters on a payroll and you are retirement age, you qualify for Medicare.

            If you worked less than 40 quarters, you still get credit towards Medicare A premiums and can buy in.

            Medicare is highly overrated, by the way. Insanely complex unless you get into a simple, ripoff Medicare Advantage plan (which is among other things have restricted networks), gatekeeping, etc. I am very sad to be forced to have to get it.

            1. BobW

              Yes. I am in an Advantage plan, I tried not to be but it is, as you say, insanely difficult. This is working out fairly well for now ( for the US anyway ), but things could change rapidly on either the insurance company side or on the government side.

              It’s not at all like my parent’s Medicare. My father was a union man–they had great coverage.

      1. Darthbobber

        And one of the benefits-the insulin price cap- applies to about 8 million fewer Americans than the Trump one that Biden overturned. Because he was going to do so much better.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    “‘It Could Be Anything’: Experts Tell Us What Kind of Nuclear Secrets Trump Could Steal” [Vice]. “The problem is, because of the way nuclear secrecy works in the U.S., it’s possible Trump took something without realizing it was classified.
    Also, since they’re secret you now don’t have to disclose any of the details of what they are and what he may have taken. You can just keep endlessly repeating “He took secrets”.

    The nuclear secrets the FBI is looking for could be innocuous, or they could be world-shattering.
    If he really did manage to walk away with “world shattering” nuclear secrets what are the possibilities that that would ever be disclosed? Thus implying security around them is so f****** sloppy that 1) he managed to take them 2) they’re still relevant 3) it took them several years to notice.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The idea seems to be floating about that Trump would have sold the nuclear secrets to the Saudis. But the Saudis wouldn’t build nukes; they’d buy them. Say, from Pakistan.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        The idea seems to be floating about that Trump would have sold the nuclear secrets to the Saudis.
        How much of a mess are things that he could have walked away with secrets like that?* For my job I can’t view Visio files on an unsecured device. I can only view or edit them on secured devices that I can’t copy anything off of. That’s just network diagrams.

        *This is assuming he actually has them and they aren’t using “they’re secret” to not have to disclose what the items were to just keep pounding him.

      2. David

        The Saudis know how to make nuclear weapons, because the Pakistanis told them (and they in turn learned it from the Chinese who learned it from the Russians). But does anyone seriously believe that in Trump’s office was a document called something like “How to make nuclear weapons: an idiots guide?” Why would that be?
        The most likely explanation is that somebody was afraid that Trump had taken with him some briefing material about the President’s role in decision-making in a nuclear crisis, or something equally abstruse.

        1. fresno dan

          The most likely explanation is that somebody was afraid that Trump had taken with him some briefing material about the President’s role in decision-making in a nuclear crisis, or something equally abstruse.
          Actually, all decisions made by the US government, as well as by the Trilateral commission, are made in exactly the same way.
          many people believe this South Park episode was about Family Guy script writing, but it was in fact about how all US government decisions are formulated. South Park creators disguised reality to avoid being “disappeared” by the ixnay AIC…
          You can imagine the shock if it was found out the State Dept, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, indeed, all supposedly “policy formulating” offices were all a big waste of money and the threat that would pose to “our democracy”. Congress is a big McGuffin, as well as the President – its manatees all the way down that decide our fate. So it is a secret that any means necessary will be used to keep. I don’t know about you, but I find it a great relief that the fate of humanity lies in the flippers of manatees…

          1. ambrit

            And here I am thinking that all we had to do was Take the A’Tuin. (I prefer the version by Flo and Eddie.)

            1. Michael Ismoe

              Here’s my personal theory:

              After Dobbs, the Dems caught a bit of wind at their backs. Horrified that they might actually have to do something if they clung onto The House and Senate, they came up with a plan to ensure every GOP voter comes out in November. Mission Accomplished.

              1. ambrit

                My inner cynic gives your idea serious consideration. However, using parsimony as a guide, plain vanilla stupidity serves the same purpose. It’s a case of, if they knew what they were doing, they would be really dangerous.

      3. fresno dan

        what I have been reading it that the documents are photos of a trilateral meeting (wink, wink, i.e., threesome) – Hillary, Barry, and Bill in that Russian bed in Moscow.
        but of course, that is from undisclosed sources speaking on background in the agency waiting further independent confirmation…of course, I am skeptical.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      The problem with the mania for classification, too, is that we are likely to discover that these Nuclear Secrets consist of an illustrated periodic table of the elements and a Good Housekeeping article on keeping the bomb shelter tidy.

      So we see an administration in which (typically white collar behavior) no one can accept any accountability for initiating the FBI visit (or can we call it a “conversation”?).

      The article in Josephine Baker slips and makes a very important point: “Her visa was revoked, returning her to France. The F.B.I., once the recipient of intelligence facilitated by Baker’s wartime activity for the Resistance, opened a dossier on her.”

      Her crime? Challenging segregation on a U.S. tour. The FBI hasn’t mended its ways since.

      I hesitate to ask where the ACLU is during all of this kerfuffling.

    3. Robert Hahl

      According to Joe Wilson’s book about the Plame affair, Bush was nervous about being impeached over the lack of WMD in Iraq, and Cheney decided to change the subject from possible war crimes to illegally blowing a CIA agent’s cover just for spite, while the media obligingly went along.

      The raid of Trump’s estate smells similar to me. What they are trying to distract us from this time is not clear. My guess is the evidence uncovered by Russia in those Ukrainian bio-labs is starting to have consequences behind the scenes around the world, and since leading Dems are to blame, they would rather be blamed for something else, like messing with Trump’s campaign; the media will no doubt oblige, but I hope this web site does not pile on. It really is boring.

      1. Acacia

        What they are trying to distract us from this time is not clear.

        This is speculative, but: perhaps that the whole 1/6 insurrection brouhaha is proving to be a big fat nothingburger and it won’t take down Trump, so the paranoid security state has literally opted for “the nuclear option”, to try and finally make some criminality stick to him?

    4. Skip Intro

      There’s a hint of the old Nixon Grand Jury gambit — claim information leaked from a GJ, no one can legally rebut it. You know the Clinton gang remembers that one.

    5. voteforno6

      The problem is, because of the way nuclear secrecy works in the U.S., it’s possible Trump took something without realizing it was classified.

      That’s doubtful. These documents have classification markings all over them, so if he wasn’t sure if they were classified or not, having stuff on them like, say, “TS/SCI” is an indication that they shouldn’t be removed, and certainly not stored in a shed next to the pool, or wherever it was that they found them. These are the types of documents that can only be read in specially-constructed rooms.

      I’ve seen some reports that some of the documents recovered were at that classification. If that’s the case, that’s a big, big, problem for Trump. I don’t know if they would actually prosecute him for this, though, as there’s an argument that they were removed inadvertently from the White House. He’s not helping himself, though, by acting like a petulant baby, and is only making it more likely that he’s going to get charged with something.

    6. anon in so cal

      ” since they’re secret you now don’t have to disclose any of the details of what they are and what he may have taken. You can just keep endlessly repeating “He took secrets”.”

      Seems perfect.

      As journalist Aaron Maté suggested, AG Garland is the new Mueller. Russiagate all over again?

    7. wendigo

      Why assume it is technical information about the American nuclear program?

      Could be as simple as something with a lot of pictures that shows who has nuclear weapons.

      Anyways if it is stuff that was shown to Trump it has a lot of pictures not lots of boring technical details.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I hope these aren’t the same nuclear secrets the Administration was trying to give to Ukraine in February.

      2. The Rev Kev

        It could have been reports about Israel’s nuclear establishment. Trump could have declassified those documents as President before leaving office but then old Joe reclassifies them again which means that Trump technically is now in breach. I guess that the 6th Jan committee wasn’t having the effect that they wanted so now they are going after him direct. Why not? He never was in their club.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Israel’s nuclear weapons program is an open secret. The official policy of the US and Israel is to neither confirm nor deny that Israel has such weapons. It is estimated that Israel possesses 300-400 weapons including thermonuclear devices. The fissile material for Israel’s first weapons was provided secretly by the US government. Advanced technical knowledge was provided by spies working at the behest of the Israeli government. The nuclear reactors at Dimona in the Negev Desert along with underground processing facilities continue to provide Israel with weapons grade uranium and plutonium.

          1. ambrit

            Hah! I wonder if it is information about nuclear weapons and the Ukraine? Do we already have tactical nukes in theatre, perhaps for the HIMARS?
            At this point, I would not put anything past the Exceptionalists in the Foggy Bottom.

    8. Anthony G Stegman

      How “world shattering” could these secrets be. Basic nuclear weapons designs are an open secret. A numbers of years ago a Princeton undergraduate published a design for a working atomic bomb. His design came from publicly available materials. From what I read the FBI paid him a visit, but he broke no laws so nothing came of it. Many nations have the technical know how to build nuclear weapons. A few that come to mind are Japan, South Korea, Australia, likely Taiwan, likely Singapore, likely Italy, likely Germany, perhaps Canada as well as Brazil. Iran certainly does also. And most certainly Ukraine. What prevents these nations from doing so are fear of sanctions, military threats (think Israel’s threats against Iran),as well as the financial costs involved. The truly world shattering nuclear secrets of the US probably have more to do with the massive weapons testing in the 1950-80s and the radioactive poisons knowingly released in populated areas in the US and elsewhere than the weapons themselves.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Iran may have the technical know how, but it is prohibited from building nuclear weapons by a fatwa issued in 2003.

        This is the same year that US and Israeli intelligence say the Iranians abandoned their nuclear weapons activities (same link).

    9. metrognomicon

      All the bending over backwards attempting to explain away or justify what he did is surprising. Agencies go to extraordinary lengths to protect classified materials, particularly TS/SCI, and the thought that he would waltz right out with documents and then resist giving them back should be horrifying to everyone who has ever worked with classified information.

  3. fresno dan

    From the opinion piece. Will is saying everything I believe:
    Regarding this week’s events in Palm Beach, Fla., of course the rule of law is important. So, however, are other things, including social comity and — check the Constitution’s preamble — domestic tranquility. No value ever eclipses all others. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum — let justice be done, though the heavens fall? Let’s not.
    As this is written Thursday, there are important unanswered questions about who instigated the search of Mar-a-Lago, and why. One remarkable aspect of this debacle, however, is that vigorous disgust need not wait until we know those answers: Try to imagine a justification for this flamboyant exercise of — what? law enforcement? What was important enough to bring to a rolling boil the already simmering suspicions of tens of millions of Americans about tentacles of the “deep state” engaging in partisan skulduggery?
    One adjective describes most of life’s biggest blunders: “disproportionate.” ….. In 2020, having watched Donald Trump govern for four years, 74,222,958 Americans — 11,237,852 more than voted for him in 2016 — decided that they wanted to have four more years of him. This can be deplored but should not be ignored.
    Of course, majority or near majority of voters does not excuse injustice or illegality – a great many Americans once fought for slavery. But seriously, documents at Mar-a-Lago are equivalent? In light of the extremely poor, if not a downright coup attempt undertaken by the FBI in investigating Russiagate, it is gobsmacking that the dems think they advance their interests by making Trump the center of their concern…

    1. Pat

      Oddly I find it amazing that after watching Barack Obama “govern” for four years, 65,915,795 people still voted for him despite his throwing away hope and rejecting change. That it was almost four million fewer people who fell for his line in 2008, while Trump gained voters might have told Democrats something if they had been interested in the why rather than being only indignant and outraged about Trump himself.

      Goldman was one of my cursory rejections from the overcrowded primary field for NY district 10 just for fawning as he announced he worked for Pret Bharara in his ad. Every time I find out something more it gets worse. I’m not through trying to find a candidate to vote for but I am beginning to think of this as my preview for the next Democratic presidential primary, geriatric choices, PMC neoliberal useless tools who couldn’t sell the public out fast enough, stealth candidates and a few possible unknowns who could be good but more than likely are also stealth authoritarians and/or corporate tools. Good times now and in the future.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        if i write “NOTA” on my ballot, it gets roundfiled….by frelling Statute.
        how is this in any way representative of the People’s Will(tm)?
        i cant even write in Mickey Mouse…or Willie Nelson…because there’s no longer a space for that…and if we color outside the lines in any way, it’s not a “Ballot” any more…but trash.
        “Our Democracy”,lol.

        and yet, i’m seeing…in my incessant wandering during breaks…lots of references to Deneen and his ilk, as well as hamhanded Plato references, about the inevitable unworkableness of putting disparate humans in charge of their own fates.
        “oh, the poor dears simply cannot be allowed to determine what civilisation entails…”, etc
        these arguments are quite often persuasive…even to someone like me, who has been reading things like Jefferson since preteendom…but they fall apart on one, fatal, misunderstanding/omission: like real communism, socialism, anarchism, its never been honestly and forthrightly tried on any kind of scale.
        some entitled former baron or his heirs always…always…persuades an invasion or coup in order to subvert that hallowed will of whatever People we’re discussing.
        from the Paris Commune to Fidel and Che, peasant revolts are never given the chance to succeed or fail…but are instead Made to Fail.

        i dont know anyone….especially the all now dead korean vets(most anticommie subspecies to date) who knows that the us, britain and everyone else invaded the newly formed ussr to subvert and stop that mess…because the very idea of a worker run world terrified them.

        rant off

  4. Mark Gisleson

    I think it is possible that Biden’s health has resulted in Cabinet level officials being told that so far as their bailiwick extends, they should act with the President’s authority in a manner consistent with the administration’s goals. This could all be on Garland who, absent guidance from Biden, would be hearing nonstop disinformation from subordinates still on the hook for illegal/inappropriate behavior during Russiagate. The kind of subordinates who might be in full blown panic mode.

    James Howard Kunstler has a lot of dirt on magistrate judge Bruce Rhinehart that is frankly eye-opening if not alarming. [link] I’m not seeing fascism right now so much as a clown car with a flat tire. This could turn into the comic opera version of Watergate.

    1. Darius

      I would think there’s someone at the White House they all have to check with but Biden isn’t surrounded with people whose alacrity outweighs his feebleness.

    2. Carolinian


      But the epic blunders of “Joe Biden” are giving Mr. Trump, and the movement behind him, a pretty good shot at routing the incumbent regime. Doing so, first in the 2022 midterms and then in the 2024 presidential election, portends a now quite visible effort coming to dismantle that reckless, unelected “fourth branch” of government. So, the intel-and-surveillance agencies are fighting for their lives — and the actual humans in charge must be keenly aware of their criminal liabilities.

      Despite all attempts to disable him in office, Mr. Trump, as president, got to see an awful lot of classified material, including all the evidence of Hillary Clinton’s Russia Collusion hoax, abetted by the FBI, the DOJ, CIA, and DOD, plus all the lawless shenanigans that took place in the FISA court. A lot of it was assembled when, late in the game, Mr. Trump was finally able to appoint Directors of National Intelligence he could trust — Ric Grenell and then John Ratcliffe — who wrested many documents out of the foot-dragging agencies. Further maneuvers by artful Attorney General William Barr — the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel and his drawn-out investigations — kept Mr. Trump from releasing any declassified RussiaGate material ever since. The catch was: he still had bales of that evidence in his possession among the personal papers he took with him from the White House.

      This is what Larry Johnson said yesterday–that it’s Trump’s threats about exposing Russiagate that are behind this event and maybe Trump baited them into “raiding.” Johnson is a former agent and plugged into that world even though now retired in Fla.

      And btw I agree with Lambert’s “bored of” to the extent that we are once again talking about Trump. On the other hand the obsession with Trump is a kind of litmus paper of social decline.One does have to wonder what our “elites” as so very afraid of.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        kuntsler’s always been a hoot.
        and he’s been right on the money a number of times about big , impotant things that we still refuse to talk about in polite company(or media) some 20 years later.
        i have no idea anymore.
        i believe in things on my farm.
        i believe a little less certainly out in the county in which i reside.
        outside those boundaries?
        beats me…
        like the covid numbers Lambert dutifully reports(which remain important, if only for their holes)…who the hell really knows what is going on?
        the Ontological Multi-Crises i’ve been warning about for 25+ years is in full swing.

        and we’ve still got 80 years of brother Nietzsche’s “200 years of nihilism” to go.

      2. Lee

        “One does have to wonder what our “elites” as so very afraid of.”

        If by “elites” you mean the electeds who are trapped between the investor/donor class to whom they are much beholden and an ever more skeptical and restive general population, what could they possible have to fear?

        1. Carolinian

          Well Kunstler means the FBI and CIA re this raid in particular. Guess I mean the Dem branch of the ruling class which these days is so very joined at the hip with the FBI and CIA. Some of us are so old we can remember when it was the Repubs who loved the spooks.

            1. LawnDart

              I once found some a while back…

              Don’t try to post them here– the mods find these of poor taste.

              But, yeah, some of the recipes that I found online actually looked pretty good.

    3. griffen

      I suggest we’d need a good amount of dirt to throw at Reinhart. In one hot minute, or maybe more than a day after all, he shifted from performing work on the prosecution of one man named Epstein to choosing a side and working against the prosecution.

      Scruples. Yeah, I am wondering about them scruples by such an individual practicing law of all things. Everyone is entitled to a legal and proper defense after all, but Epstein was just so “icky” in hindsight.

    4. LifelongLib

      Kunstler tells good stories, but I’m not confident in his political judgment. He thinks Democrats are The Left and that MMT is a gimmick. I’ll read his novels but take his attempts at non-fiction with a shakerfull of salt.

  5. digi_owl

    “They hate you. They really hate you:”

    And then one guy comments how immigrants should come in legally, and everyone piles on him to say NO.

    When instead they should recognize that if they came in legally, it would be much easier to get them unionized and organized. Such that their arrival didn’t undermine the existing working class hard fought wages etc, as is the present case.

    This is also increasingly the problem in Europe, via the EU’s freedom of movement pillar. And unions has to get on the offensive here and push hard to ensure that such labor migration do not undermine the status quo, as that is what is feeding the right wing rise.

    1. Mikel

      He says he doesn’t know why this moment (for immigrants) is different from the early 20th Century.

      The difference: an industrial base to absorb that labor and the labor already here.

      How many more restaurants do we need?

  6. fresno dan

    “The Downside for Garland in Speaking” [Andrew McCarthy, National Review]
    • My reactionary old grandfather read the National Review. Now I am [bangs head on desk].
    I found at the beginning of Russiagate that McCarthy’s analysis was the most dispassionate and equinanimous. He conceded at the beginning that it was reasonable to be suspicious of Trump’s relationship with Putin. But he did a very good job of showing where all the holes were (maybe so many holes there really are no holes because there is no cloth left – nothing but a hole).
    And I hear ya bro – so many years of believing the dems were anti war and for the poor…
    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

  7. ChrisRUEcon


    Roy Cohn made his career by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for stealing nuclear secrets and passing them to the Soviet Union. Cohn won the case, and the Rosenbergs were executed in the electric chair.

    Lambert > LOL

    Indeed … between this and the Post heiress Mar-A-Lago tie-in, one gets the sense that the wrong kind of “full-circle” is being described in Trump’s time-space continuum.

    But seriously, though, the more relevant circle is the #RussiaGate one. All roads lead to it, and those who set the curve in motion are no doubt salivating at the prospect of “closing the loop” here. I suspect that if anyone remotely associated to anything Russian visited Mar-A-Lago since the end of Trump’s presidency, said persons are now “in play” as potential linkage to Russia/Putin.

    Wow … stunned, but not surprised … still don’t think this works out. Trump said he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, and his supporters would still love him. If #RussiaGate seeks to be an irresistible force for Dems looking to plough Trump out of political existence, he stands to prove himself to be an immovable object.

    Place your bets!

  8. Mr.Peet

    Pliabable peons promote profits and suck up all the used cars, cheap lodgings and drive Americans into higher rental catagories. What’s not to love about that if you borrowed money at 2% to buy the apartment building they are living in?

    6-month remittances total up 16% over last year
    As the U.S. faces a possible recession, Mexican workers are still sending record remittances
    Published on Monday, August 1, 2022

    Remittances totaling US $27.56 billion were sent to Mexico in the first half of the year, a figure that represents a new record for the January to June period. https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/remittances-up-over-last-year/

    And that’s just Mexico, probably approaching $100 billion sent out of our communities if you add in all the other countries legals and illegals. “Poor communities with little wealth”…in need of public services, food assistance, bilingual education, etc

  9. Darthbobber

    Regarding the vagueness of a term like “classified documents relatd to nuclear weapons”, I’m reminded of United States vs Progressive, inc., brought against Progessive Magazine in 1979, seeking prior restraint on an article/pamphlet purporting to rveal the “secret” of making atomic bombs. The entire piece relied on publicly available information, but the dept of energy relied on the “born secret” provisions of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, which set up the idea that you could assemble totally unclassified material in such a way that the end product was classified as soon as it came into existence.

    1. John Steinbach

      Actually the story was “The Secret of the H-Bomb” by Howard Morland. It included some interviews Wirth atomic scientists & a simple drawing of components. Big deal then.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the Gun Type is rather easy to comprehend, even without higher maths.
        a determined and more or less suicidal person with rudimentary engineering skills could likely do it.

        that’s the big secret, right there.

        cats way the hell out of the bag, by now…and the bag has long ago rotted away from being left in that dry field in New Mexico.
        (ive been there, btw–Trinity…no Trinitite to be seen when i was 13…and i was looking(53, now))

  10. Art_DogCT

    Apropos of “What’s up with the Northeast?”

    From Christine Stuart, of CTNewsJunkie.com

    “The new [CDC] guidelines are being announced just as school is about to start in Connecticut, though in many other states classes have already begun. Connecticut reported 34 COVID-19 deaths over the past week, the highest total for a seven-day period since mid-May.

    “Connecticut’s positivity rate for the week that ended Thursday was 12.07%.

    “Cases have increased in recent weeks amid the spread of the BA.5 subvariant and currently stand at or near their highest levels in several months. More than 81.6% of the cases are the new BA.5 subvairant in Connecticut.

    “As of Thursday, Connecticut has 325 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, down 27 from a week prior.”


    I nominate Dr. Greta Massetti, chief of the field epidemiology and prevention branch at the CDC, for one of Mr. Strether’s awards for saying the following in a public press release, quoted by Ms. Stuart: “We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools – like vaccination, boosters, and treatments – to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19 [. . .] This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

    From the Waterbury Republican-American:

    “Twenty-eight additional residents died of COVID-19 in the last week, up from nine the week before, as hospitalizations jumped to 352 statewide.

    “The positivity rate remained steady at 11.7%, though local and state health officials say that number should be higher due to the widespread availability of home tests.

    “Hospitalizations have increased by 116 patients since June 30. Cases have increased by 11% from the average two weeks ago.

    “The state has lost a total of 11,130 residents to COVID-19 since the pandemic began here in March 2020.

    “Waterbury, the smallest of the state’s major cities, has had 506 deaths from COVID-19, while Bridgeport, the largest city, has had 455. Torrington’s death toll has held steady at 183.

    “Last week, Waterbury had 91 new confirmed cases, according to the health department.

    “Most of the hospitalizations are now among vaccinated patients.”


    And all of this while CT’s Senatebeasts Blumenthal and Murphy are dashing about the state crowing how President Manchin’s ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ is a miracle, a game changer, better than sweet and sour Jesus on white rice even.

  11. Geo

    My apologies if this has been shared in prior WC or links but was new to me and wanted to share. Apparently Liz Warren is still trying to trash Bernie (and voters) as sexist and actually stated, “Everyone comes up to me and says, ‘I would vote for you, if you had a penis.’”

    The politico article also quotes Hillary saying “I believed her, because I know Sanders, and I know the kind of things that he says about women and to women.”

    It’s an amazing descent into grievance and the worst kind of “feminism” (if you can even call it that) but a hilarious read if you like laughing at the narcissistic idiocy of our liberal elites.


    1. IM Doc

      That is about as good a lie as what got her the name Pocahontas. Having spent some of my life in the State of Oklahoma, I can assure you that everyone there has some kind of family story that they are descendants of American Indians. It is the zeitgeist of the entire eastern half of the State. That being said, I never imagined anyone would use that kind of “Indian heritage” as a stepping stone to get ahead in the world by changing their race on application forms. This kind of heritage was talked about alot by the clearly Caucasian, but never acted upon like that. Until her. At least in my world. And then to be disabused of the notion by the elders of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. We call that a zinger.

      I could still have seen myself voting for her until the performance at the debate when she let it rip on Bernie.

      They really must think we are stupid.

      If you think that complete strangers, or in her parlance “everyone”, are walking up to her and using the word penis in the first line of addressing a US Senator, you really are daft.

      In my life I have been the personal physician for multiple national Congressmen and Congresswomen. Even when I have an established relationship with them over years, there is still a programmed respect and dignity if not for them, at least for the office. I walk on eggshells all the time I am around them.

      I just cannot believe what comes out of these people’s mouths.

      1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

        But (stay with me here), if Liz did have a penis, but still identified as a woman, wouldn’t the people supporting her…still…be supporting her bc she is a woman? Or is she saying that people…who voted for her because she had a penis…would be supporting a man? It’s really hard to keep up

      2. Pat

        I’ve gotten to be an outspoken broad in my old age, so I might say something unacceptable. So let me say that it isn’t just respect it is terminology that marks this as as made up. That and the lack of justification. Penis would not be the choice for that kind of remark, even if it is meant as a compliment. If it were said, it would be either “ if you had a dick, you’d be President” or “too bad you don’t have balls, they’ll never let you in the locker room and that means I can’t vote for you.”

        And if you are going to reference anatomy in this context, you don’t clean up anything not deeply scatological for publication by using a more clinical term, the lines of acceptable discourse have blown past that necessity long ago. She can’t imagine it really so the tone just doesn’t work.

        1. flora

          Warren is good when she sticks to middle class economics issues. See her book “The Two Income Trap.” On everything else she sounds like she’s debating someone in the uni faculty lounge, trying to win idpol points having nothing to do with the argument at hand. (We all have our limits, and politicians’ limits are on public display.)

          1. digi_owl

            Because more and more it seems they never left uni, at least mentally.

            Campus has become some kind of magical place, and it worries me whenever hear that term these days.

      3. Amfortas the hippie


        first, much respect, man…
        but the officially recognised Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma does not represent all Cherokees..nor associated and thoroughly mixed in Choctaws, Chickasaws, etc.
        I’m of the Texas Band of the Cherokees…although i am of Choctaw derivation(along with a bunch of Irish, Bohemian Jewry and a bit of French Huguenots tossed in(from Davey Crockett’s brother, no less))
        found my grandad’s mom and her dad in the Dawes Rolls.
        the federally recognised Tribe does not recognise me or any like me…due to some as yet nebulous disagreement over how to respond to the Trail of Tears and its aftermath.(Texas Band were rebellious fucks who gave the Finger to the Feds, apparently)
        much more research is necessary, on my part.

        just pointing out that the Nation’s opinion is to be taken with a grain or two of salt.

        and!…the Blood Quanta such organisations use is rather unwoke, no?

        1. hk

          I tend to think this gets at the problem of what exactly a “race” or even ethnicity is. I used to date a very blonde girl with Cajun ancestry. Not very Cajun now: she and her family are fairly typical rural white southerners with stereotypical politics. But, like many Louisianans with Cajun heritage, she (probably, according to her family) has some African ancestry going back past few hundred years. So literally, she is (probably) an American descendant of African slaves, and people like her are not uncommon, in various parts of the South. It is probably better to recognize that race and ethnicity are both complex and often absurd, rather than try to define what “real” race and ethnicity are, it’s better to be honest and recognize that these are fundamentally messed up concepts.

      4. Sardonia

        “I just cannot believe what comes out of these people’s mouths”

        I’d love to see the lab results of what could come out of Kamala’s mouth as she was starting her “political” career.

      5. skippy

        If you read her book the two income trap its all very apparent where she is coming from e.g. boy/girl equals 50s family and all that came with it, at the time, but woopsie … the economic paradigm changed and how do you get the unwashed to take their daily meds and – own – their suffrage …

    2. Pat

      I don’t see it happening, but imo it is not so much grievance as it is preemptive strikes based on fear that once again Sanders will run,. And that this time there will be no stopping that run.
      They know Biden was a Hail Mary, and that no one else in 2020 would have gotten past Sanders. But now the world has experienced Biden and even most Obama nuts know Joe’s not Barry. Sanders could take Joe and who else is there? Kamala? Liz? Pete? Amy? Hillary is the best shot but she already lost to Trump and her dislike numbers are even higher. There is no certainty she could beat the old man.
      I don’t think Sanders will run. But I do think it is the stuff of nightmares for many of our top contenders.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I kind of think this is just about Hillary’s self esteem. With minimal levels of competence such as knowing how the electoral college works, she would be the former President (she’s not getting reelected). Trump and Obama? Obama lost 1,000 during his stewardship of the Democratic Party.

        Despite every advantage in the 2008 cycle, she couldn’t help but try to change the schedule. She was so brazen, Dean threw Michigan out of the primary.

        Then as for “women’s issues”, her husband is Bill Clinton. She’s simply going to blame everyone but herself.

        It’s dumb, but the narrative of a primary disrupting the coronation is the only story where she isn’t a doofus who should be dismissed in public.

        1. flora

          She’s very book-smart and a good speaker in front of a friendly audience. Her political instincts, however, are …. yeah, that bad.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            ive watched a few of Hilldog’s podcats with Chelsea and a couple of her…whatever…”Teachings”…that she so helpfully put on facebook/youtube.
            (Sun Tsu, and all…)

            she reminds me overmuch of my covert narcissist mother…as well as all the cousins she grew up with…toxic, and subtly crazy, and controlfreaks….passive/aggressive manipulation as an art-form…etc
            such creatures should be kept as far away from real power as possible.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Nah. Sanders is controlled opposition. He’s twice shown he’s a team player by standing down and falling in line and the Dems have twice shown they will toss the nom to their favored candidate, no matter how obvious the fix is.

        Warren is irrelevant. This sounds to me like she’s taking a page from her friend Hillary’s book to explain why. She still doesn’t realize how she was used by the Dems in the primary and she’s of no further use to them.

        1. JBird4049

          Sanders might very well be controlled opposition and is probably too old to run again, but if he did, he would probably win, being too honest and a classical liberal leftist he would probably have a “heart attack” before the inauguration.

  12. Palmer

    City corruption watch: A future V.P.? In the mold of Kamala, and Chesa Boudin, identity politics and the D.A.’s office as the crib of the most corrupt city in America.

    One supervisor charged with felonies, Ed Jew, a school board president charged with gun running, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leland_Yee “California State Senator for District 8, which covered parts of San Francisco and the Peninsula. In 2015, Yee pleaded guilty to felony racketeering charges for money laundering, political corruption, arms trafficking, and bribery.” “Prior to becoming state senator, Yee was a California State Assemblyman, Supervisor of San Francisco’s Sunset District, and was a member and President of the San Francisco School Board.”

    A Department of Public Works Director, Mohammed Nuru, in federal prison, Willie Brown, Kamala’s funder, investigated by the FBI, and now this:

    “In statements to multiple news outlets, (District Attorney) Jenkins said, “I leveraged my career and prosecutorial experience to help provide a new source of income to help support my family and small children.” At least she’s honest, after getting caught.


    Newsom emerged from there as well.

    1. antidlc

      I posted this on yesterday’s Water Cooler:
      Bernie and Jha doing a live Q+A on COVID:


      I had to stop watching.

      Jha said we may just have to get vaccinated a couple of times per year for the next couple of years.

      Also said Biden took Paxlovid and it is an effective treatment. (Does he know how ridiculous this statement is?)

      I couldn’t watch anymore.

      Good luck, Lambert. I couldn’t stomach it.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        The photo does pretty explicitly link to a meme hashtag, so a reasonable person would likely assume it’s meant to be parody. Kind of like the entirety of Fox News’ programming for the past generation.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        One of Franken’s book had a chapter about how O’Reilly avoided lawsuits. O’Reilly’s lawyers would just point to all of his antics to show he wasn’t serious. The picture isn’t the lie as much as its a way to say “oh, we are just clowns and no one takes us seriously” when they peddle their sober lies.

    1. howseth

      How do they get away with that one without issuing a retraction? Is this there First Amendment right to lie? I suppose, since photos did not exist when the First Amendment was written in 1791. Have at it if you are an originalist?
      Alas, (Photoshop cloning – technically – is really not too difficult. It’s easy to fall prey to it –
      especially, if we are motivated to believe.)

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Right, like how they punished Rachel Maddow for years of fake news by awarding her a gargantuan new contract. That’ll teach her!

    3. griffen

      Yeah, like the guy who authored the Steele Dossier was really doing the work of angels to prove maybe after all, there was a legitimate pee tape. And then the lawyer from a prominent campaign took that info to the FBI, you know, as a citizen out of concern. just not buying it.

      As succinctly put earlier, Ms. Maddow milked that proverbial cow for a long time. Absolute bs smells no matter the side of the aisle. Polishing turds don’t make em smell good.

      1. howseth

        Thinking about it – it’s one thing to bullshit on and on and on about dossiers and and scandals – and all kinds of poop – lies, innuendoes, along with the mocking, winking, lip smacking, etc – but those are still words, so many words – and can dissipate up into the air… however a realistic looking photo might linger as fact – a shock – to the mind, like a turd on your bed – or a horses head.

        1. griffen

          The aforementioned judge Reinhart is a piece of work. And I’m being incredibly polite. He shifted away from prosecuting an alleged pedophile and employer of underage teenage girls (no, not women) to defending the alleged pedophile.

          My sympathy extends but so far, for creeps and the people that enable the creepy lifestyle. Epstein was a class A creep of the highest order. Is judge Reinhart an isolated penniless guru sitting on a mountaintop? Sorry but I think he is not penniless or isolated.

  13. playon

    Regarding Josephine Baker — there was a time when referring to a black person as a “spook” was not a good thing.

    1. flora

      We’ve gone beyond that old old US trope I hope, where now “spook” means “spy”, applied equally to everyone who’s a spook (spy).

  14. Tom Stone

    I am feeling both sad and frightened after talking to three life long Dems today.
    All three are mid 40’s to mid 50’s in age and college educated small business owners.
    Two Women and a Man
    I asked their opinion on the Mar A Lago raid and all three told me that it was necessary and performed in an appropriate manner.
    I asked them if they trusted the FBI and I got a firm yes from all three.
    I asked if they had read the Horowitz report, two did not know what it was, the Man told me he didn’t pay any attention to propaganda ( I don’t know how I kept a straight face, but I did).
    All three volunteered
    1) That Joe Biden is doing a good job

    2) that “WE” have to do something about all the Gunz the Trumpers have before it is too late.
    I didn’t pursue that remark because every time I have asked someone who holds that position how they would go about disarming the American Populace all I get is handwaving and angry virtue signalling.

    1. flora

      Oh, I’ve had the same experience. It’s taken a long time for me to understand that while I might think I’m talking simple politics my counterpart might be talking their religion. I was raised to not talk religion or money in even friendly company. So now, the minute I realize my conversation group is talking religion instead of politics I back off and only nod and smile. It’s strange to think people confuse politics and religion, but apparently some do, based on their responses. / sigh…

      1. JBird4049

        Oh, I’ve had the same experience. It’s taken a long time for me to understand that while I might think I’m talking simple politics my counterpart might be talking their religion.

        Are we sure that it is just a problem of religious beliefs? I have known some seriously devout believers who were able to separate their religion from an individual’s worth or decency. I think that many people just do not want to make the often hard work of listening without judging the speaker; that the speaker might have something valid to say can also mean more work for the listener to think, perhaps reevaluate and change their own minds. It is much easier to condemn and refute in righteous rage than sit in their fear and listen.

        Propaganda. Fear of all the stuff that is here and oncoming. Exhaustion mental, emotional, and physical. The sheer lunacy that is our world and the lack of both the opportunity and practice of social interaction especially outside our narrow little silos. All this makes being a rage monster less exhausting.

    2. Carolinian

      It’s not an original thought to say that American politics has always been like this to some degree. The power struggles in the late 18th century were quite vicious. To get rid of slavery it took a Civil War and to get rid of the Gilded Age it took a Depression. Only when one party is dominant do things seem to calm down a bit–the Republicans after the Civil War and the Dems after the New Deal. Of course it doesn’t last.

      Perhaps the real problem with the Dems is that they want to act as though they have a landslide government instead of a squeaker. Thus all the insecurity and delusion?

  15. flora

    zmog. The Lanny Breuer parody is great ’cause it’s “true.” ( And ’cause if I don’t laugh I’ll cry.)

    1. griffen

      I had forgotten about him. I’d lose sleep too, ’cause all them investment bankers were not just going to jail themselves now was they. I remember those creeps applying the Holder doctrine. All along there was no one they could find to bring legitimate charges against, not a soul. The runways must be foamed, I believe little Timmy Geithner said.

      And all under a Democrat administration. Eight years of that crap. And now in 2022 the rule of law is supposed to matter. Ha.

  16. johnherbiehancock

    This made me think of that Florida condo collapse. I wonder how many more structurally unsound buildings there are like this around the country?

    River Oaks (Houston, TX) condos evacuated over structural safety concern

    HOUSTON — Residents were evacuated Thursday from The Royalton at River Oaks, a condominium community in one of Houston’s most elite areas.

    The Houston Fire Department said it responded to an automatic alarm at the building at 3333 Allen Parkway at about 7 p.m.

    “Water was flowing through the lobby and the floor had buckled due to a significant water main break,” the department said in a statement. “A wall was also structurally damaged.”

    HFD notified the PWE – Water Department and the City Building Department. Residents were removed from the building and the elevators were shut off. Firefighters checked each floor to make sure everyone was safely out of the building.

    The City of Houston Public Works said it can confirm that “a structural engineer is on-site to inspect the integrity of the building.” The city said the structural concern does not involve a water leak from the city’s water system.

    According to its website, The Royalton at River Oaks is a 33-story high-rise condo in the Inner Loop. There are one- and two-bedroom condos listed for sale from a little more than $314,000, to more than $1 million.

    From real estate listings, looks like that building only dates from 2003. This is in a pretty pricey part of the city. Yuppie central… full of young professionals and college grads, and older more established folks who’s kids are grown. There have been other highrises flying up all around there in the last couple years as they pushed out and gentrified what were filled with shotgun shacks and smaller houses owned largely by African Americans.

  17. Wukchumni

    With a bevy of connections in the business, real estate, and political worlds, he has been a strong fundraiser. In addition, because he is an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune with a net worth as high as $253 million, he can self-fund.
    Would that be a 501(c) Relaxed Fit?

  18. ian

    The ‘nuclear secrets’ bit is very convenient. It guarantees that any references in the warrant or the affidavit will be heavily redacted, and that any demands for more specificity will be met with the ‘sources and methods’ argument.
    I think the best indicator of the seriousness of what they found will be if Trump is charged.

  19. Tom Stone

    I’m a little slow and just realized that if you wanted to drive up Republican turn out in the midterms you couldn’t do better than the Mar A Lago raid.

    1. Jason Boxman

      It’s all rather unprecedented. A presidential candidate surveilled by our intelligence services based on a political hit, smeared as a foreign actor, investigated throughout his presidency without any goods ever being delivered, impeached twice and acquitted, and now in his post presidency, raided by the FBI under peculiar circumstances.

      Meanwhile, many other obviously corrupt and law breaking political actors continue to walk free and unmolested, and just happen to be in the opposite party to the former president that’s been continuously under some form of investigation by the former party and its cutouts for 6 years now.

      How to even begin to comprehend that, I don’t know.

      Given what we know about the Steele dossier, which is pure fantasy, and yet its underlying claims were the foundation for years of failed investigations into this now former president, well, this is all simply difficult to grasp. Farce doesn’t go far enough. The damage caused to the legitimacy of the United States as a political project demands a more potent word for what all the aforementioned represents. It’s sinister beyond words.

      Politically motivated investigations, entirely without merit, is a witch hunt. What is happening here is dark indeed.

      1. skippy

        lmmao at Hoover era, business plot era, all the way back to the tropes about the tea party back in the day – you see the act was because the taxes screwed with an inside game and not about freedoms[tm] to trade ..

        Never the less the U.S. has become a FB page ideological crank bumper stickler culture lashing out at anything else to maintain the exceptionalism meme and little else save corporatist profits …

        Trump is just a side show …

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