2:00PM Water Cooler 8/4/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Southern Martin, Jujuy, Argentina.

* * *
Politics

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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“Harvard Study: J6 Rioters Were Motivated by Loyalty to Trump, Not Insurrection” [Jonathan Turley]. According to The Crimson, Harvard has completed what it calls the most comprehensive study of the motivations of those involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Many will not be surprised to learn that most participated out of loyalty to former President Donald Trump. However, the study also found that only eight percent harbored ‘a desire to start a civil war.’ That is inconsistent with the virtual mantra out of the J6 Committee and many in Congress that this was an insurrection rather than a riot. Some of us (including many in the public) have previously questioned that characterization. Yet, it reflects the relatively small number of seditious conspiracy charges brought by the Justice Department. The study found that a plurality of the 417 federally charged defendants were motivated by the ‘lies about election fraud and enthusiasm for his re-election.’ It concluded that ‘[t]he documents show that Trump and his allies convinced an unquantifiable number of Americans that representative democracy in the United States was not only in decline, but in imminent, existential danger.'”

“Homeland Security watchdog halted plan to recover Secret Service texts, records show” [WaPo]. “The Department of Homeland Security’s chief watchdog scrapped its investigative team’s effort to collect agency phones to try to recover deleted Secret Service texts this year, according to four people with knowledge of the decision and internal records reviewed by The Washington Post. In early February, after learning that the Secret Service’s text messages had been erased as part of a migration to new devices, staff at Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari’s office planned to contact all DHS agencies offering to have data specialists help retrieve messages from their phones, according to two government whistleblowers who provided reports to Congress. But later that month, Cuffari’s office decided it would not collect or review any agency phones, according to three people briefed on the decision. The latest revelation comes as Democratic lawmakers have accused Cuffari’s office of failing to aggressively investigate the agency’s actions in response to the violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. Cuffari wrote a letter to the House and Senate Homeland Security committees this month saying the Secret Service’s text messages from the time of the attack had been ‘erased.’ But he did not immediately disclose that his office first discovered that deletion in December and failed to alert lawmakers or examine the phones.” • Cuffari was appointed by Trump but retained by Biden.

“The Jan. 6 Committee’s Findings Have Met the Appropriately High Bar for Prosecuting Trump” [Walter Olson, The Unpopulist]. Cato. Caveats on prosecutorial discretion: ” In some instances, as with the fake-electors scheme, it’s not clear whether courts would define the behavior at issue as illegal. In others, where the state of the law may be better settled, a good defense lawyer might successfully sow doubt about the former president’s intentions or state of knowledge, and it’s anyone’s guess whether a jury would convict. An unsuccessful prosecution of Trump could allow him to claim vindication, embolden him to reoffend if returned to power, and mislead the public as to what presidents may legally do.” But: “[T]he work of the January 6 committee has helped to make clear many facts relevant to whether to prosecute. These facts include Trump’s state of mind and state of knowledge regarding events at the Capitol and the efforts to derail the certification of electors, as well as the seriousness of those events.” And: “I have also come to think that this is a moment in which America can no longer see itself as all that different from the rest of the world. We, too, are vulnerable to criminal conduct by a head of state in a form that we associate with unstable and vulnerable democracies—in this case, an attempt to stay in power despite losing the election. We cannot ignore that conduct, and we must deter it, even at the cost of new dangers.” • Worth a read.

Abortion

Biden Administration

Promises, promises:

 

“CDC expected to ease Covid-19 recommendations, including for schools, as soon as this week” [CNN]. Hard to see how they can be eased any more than they are now. “The agency also plans to re-emphasize the importance of building ventilation as a way to help stop the spread of many respiratory diseases, not just Covid-19. It plans to encourage schools to do more to clean and refresh their indoor air. Sources say the tweaks reflect both shifting public sentiment toward the pandemic — many Americans have stopped wearing masks or social distancing — and a high level of underlying immunity in the population. Screening of blood samples suggests that as December, 95% of Americans have had Covid-19 or been vaccinated against it, reducing the chances of becoming severely ill or dying if they get it again.” • Good news on ventilation, possibly, but the exact working remains to be seen.

“Biden–Harris Administration Releases Two New Reports on Long COVID to Support Patients and Further Research” (press release) [HHS]. “The Biden–Harris Administration is committed to helping people across America affected by Long COVID. In April, President Joe Biden issued a Memorandum on Addressing the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19, which called for the creation of two reports. Within 120 days, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), leading a whole-of-government response, developed two reports that together, pave an actionable path forward to address Long COVID and associated conditions. The National Research Action Plan on Long COVID details advances in current research and charts a course for future study to better understand prevention and treatment of Long COVID. The Services and Supports for Longer-Term Impacts of COVID-19 report highlights resources for health care workers, and those effected by broader effects of COVID-19, including not only Long COVID but also effects on mental health and substance use, and loss of caregivers and loved ones.” • The final sentence reinforces CDC’s bogus “community levels” metric [bangs head on desk].

“4 police officers federally charged with civil rights violations in Breonna Taylor’s death” [NBC]. “Two current and two former police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, have been charged with violating Breonna Taylor’s civil rights in the 2020 botched raid that led to the young Black woman’s death, federal officials said Thursday. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in announcing the charges, said the Department of Justice alleges that the violations ‘resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.'” • Good.

2022

* * *
“Left loses momentum” [Axios]. “An Axios analysis shows the moderate candidate won 14 of 22 congressional primaries this year, when a progressive candidate challenged a more moderate candidate in seats Dems can win. That’s almost two-thirds of the time… Gallup data from last year show that the Democratic party’s voters are almost equally split between moderates and liberals: 51% of Democrats identify as liberal, while 49% identify as either moderate or conservative. But liberals are gaining ground: In 2011, just 39% of Democrats identified as liberal while 59% considered themselves moderate or conservative. Liberals make up the smallest share of the electorate. Gallup found a 37% plurality of voters ID as conservative, 36% as moderate and 25% as liberal. That means Republicans can play to their base and still manage to win elections with a minority of moderates, but Democrats need moderate support to win outside the bluest parts of the country.” • The usual slipperiness between progressive, left, and liberal.

“Just How Real Is Democrats’ Recent Surge?” [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report]. “One thing that has been noted by both Democratic and Republican pollsters is that given the circumstances, Republicans seem to be underperforming on the generic congressional ballot test. Given the political fundamentals, one might expect Republicans to be ahead at least five or six points. Instead, the GOP leads by a scant 0.9 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average and an even narrower 0.3 percentage points in FiveThirtyEight’s measurement. Many top election forecasters and political scientists consider ‘the generic’ to be the best single predictor of which way the House is going, and whether the winds are light, moderate, heavy, or hurricane strength…. It isn’t hard to see how the GOP could win the House but come up short in the Senate. [At PredictIt, Republicans’ chances of winning a House majority are about the same as a month ago, now 87 percent. But in the Senate, the 63 percent chance has shrunk to 52 percent, and winning both has dropped from 62 percent to 50 percent. I am still a bit skeptical that things have changed enough to change the trajectory of the election in terms of the House. Yet in the Senate, it may be time to stop and call it a 50-50 proposition while we wait for more data. So how real is this? Too soon to say.” • It’s not even Labor Day yet.

AZ: Wut:

 

GA: “Herschel Walker agrees to debate Raphael Warnock — but with stipulations” [WSB-TV]. “Warnock has committed to three debates. Walker said Friday he is ready to debate anytime, but he has yet to commit to any. Instead, he offered a different option…. ‘Oh, I’m ready to debate anytime he wants, but it has to be fair and equitable debate,’ Walker said. ;And it’s got to be for the voters, not for the press or some particular party. It’s got to be before the voters so they can see the contrast.’ Warnock’s campaign said the senator has agreed to three debates this fall. Two of them already are scheduled for October, including one in Atlanta.” • Hmm.

MO: “St. Louis Voters Keep Cori Bush as Missouri Democrats Choose Anheuser-Busch Heir” [The Intercept]. “Rep. Cori Bush sailed to a comfortable reelection Tuesday night, sending a message that St. Louis Democrats are happy with their nonconformist representative. Her victory marks a win for progressive incumbents in an election year that has seen them embattled by outside spending and little supported — if not outright opposed — by the party establishment. But progressives faltered statewide: In the open race for retiring Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat, populist-styled Lucas Kunce lost the primary to Trudy Busch Valentine, an heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune. ‘They don’t like the fact that we don’t accept any corporate money. They don’t like that I speak the way that I speak because I came from this community and I sound like my community. They don’t love the fact that, instead of being what they call dignified, I show up as a protestor, that I’ve been on the frontlines forever,’ Bush told the crowd at her election-night speech. ‘But our work isn’t based on what they like. Our work is based on what folks need.’ A former nurse and activist, Bush gained prominence locally as the Black Lives Matter movement took to the streets in 2014, after Ferguson police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.”

TX: “Texas Ethics Commission wants funds for tech upgrades after Beto O’Rourke crashes servers” [Dallas Morning News]. ” After Beto O’Rourke’s massive fundraising report overwhelmed state servers last month, the Texas Ethics Commission wants three-quarters of a million dollars to upgrade its aging technology ahead of the midterm elections. Without change, the system ‘will likely fail again’ when the next round of campaign finance reports are due in October, commission leaders warned in a July 29 letter. The issue is coming to a head as campaign finance reports grow ever more voluminous, the letter said, and the commission’s decade-old servers cannot keep up.”

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.

* * *
Obama staffers believed that The West Wing was an accurate description of how the White House worked:

 

(No surprise to those who listen to the West Wing Thing podcast.) Aaron Sorkin has a lot to answer for. (From Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster by Helen Andrews.)

#COVID19

• 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:

Lambert here: I am but a humble tapewatcher, but this the first time in a long time I’ve seen a lot of indicators improve simultaneously (and federalism + private data work against manipulating everything). Good news. But also modified rapture. Let’s focus on the case data, specifically at points A) and B) on the chart above, and at the “fiddling and diddling” (as I call it) delineated by the red boxes. At A), I remember having the sensation of Omicron going around the house, banging on doors, trying to get in. It did, then “up like a rocket, down like a stick”. At B), we have a pattern I’ve called “sawtooth,” not flat like A), but flat enough. Of course, we can’t see the real curves because our data is so bad (see discussion of the “Biden Line”). But if we make the assumption that the curves for actual cases are the same as for reported cases, the sawtooth pattern has been very persistent (note that deaths, which lag cases, have the same pattern). Now, if I were the sort of policy maker who believed in herd immunity and the Great Barrington Declaration and “everyone’s going to get it,” I might be rubbing my hands and congratulating myself right now, on having achieved a consistent and politically acceptable level of suffering and death that can continue indefinitely; I might even think that BA.5 had been very good to me. (The great lesson of the Covid pandemic would be that elites can slaughter a million people without civil resistance. They can even get people to slaughter themselves in the name of “freedom,” etc. Good to know!) We will see in the coming days and weeks.

Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~121,700 Today, it’s ~116,500 and 116,500 * 6 = a Biden line at 699,000. per day. That’s rather a lot of cases per day, when you think about it. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes we’ve seen have a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

• “US stuck in a ‘horrible plateau’ of COVID-19 deaths, experts say. Here’s why” [USA Today]. “”COVID is over” might trend within social media circles, but weekly U.S. death tolls tell a different story. The pace of COVID-19 deaths has remained relatively steady since May, despite an uptick in July to about 400 a day, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. ‘We’re sitting on this horrible plateau,’ said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist with Pro Health Care in New York and a clinical instructor of medicine at Columbia University. ‘It’s been this way for the past couple of months, and we’re getting used to it.’… ‘This plateau now, as horrible as it is, is unfortunately lower than it’s going to be if we don’t do a great job this fall with boosters and improving education about how to properly manage COVID,” Griffin said.”

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

It has not escaped my notice that big states are driving the national case count, and that DeSantis (Florida) and Newsom (California) are both Presidential timber, and Abbbot might consider himself so. However, we have other indicators than cases.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

The West:

I’m just not sure I can trust California data. For example, here is San Diego wastewater from July 17:

Cases say one thing, wastewater another. What do California readers think?

Positivity

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 1:

0.0%. (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.

Transmission

NOTE: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you. For July 21, 2020:

Some blue in flyover.

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 3:

Improvements everywhere (except New Hampshire. Tourism?).

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 3:

More green. Good!

Variants

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].

Variant data, national (Walgreens), July 21:

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), July 16 (Nowcast off):

BA.5 moving along nicely. NOTE CDC restored the previous layout it had been using, so I used it. But the data remains the same.

Wastewater

Wastewater data (CDC), July 31:

Red dots improved.

Deaths

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,057,239 – 1,055,975 = 399 (1264 * 365 = 461,360; the new normal). Quite a pop. However, note the sawtooth pattern marked in red. I have added an anti-triumphalist 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.

NOTE Readers, I introduced a new piece of arithmetic: The level of death that the CDC and the political class generally would like us to become accustomed to.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Challenger Job Cuts” [Trading Economics]. “US-based companies announced plans to cut 25,810 jobs from their payrolls in July of 2022, a 36.3% increase from the 18,942 cuts announced in July of 2021. The figure marks the second-highest amount of job cuts in the year so far, easing from the 16-month high of 32,517 in June…. Still, the Challenger report noted that the labor market remains tight and that larger-scale layoffs have not yet started, despite indications that hiring activity is slowing after an extended period of growth.” • Do better, employers!

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 6 thousand to 260,000 the week that ended July 30th, surpassing market expectations of 259,000.”

* * *
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 4 at 1:40 PM EDT. I suppose this is what Mr. Market thinks the odds are for a nuclear war?

The Conservatory

“Four Lads That Shook the Wirral” [Tribune]. “[Half Man Half Biscuit’s] catalogue is littered with class rants and songs skewering complacency and this writing is at its most forensic and brutal on the latest record, The Voltarol Years. A lot of the usual cultural cornerstones are drawn upon—lower league football, parochial oddballs, lapsed Catholicism—but it comes with a heftier weight now, a sense of fragile mortality quite probably galvanised by the pandemic. Covid-inspired or not, the album delves more extensively into a deep seam that the band have explored for their entire career: you are born, you are trapped by your socio-economic conditions, you die…. the band’s active fanbase are absolutely rabid—referencing songs in the way they dress at gigs—and because of the band preferring to stick to a reasonable radius of the the Wirral, make considerable journeys to see the band play. It’s a loyalty which is rewarded, as the band have an anachronistically meaningful relationship with their fans—most recently demonstrated by Nigel scattering a fan’s ashes onstage in Holmfirth, having been asked by the deceased’s friend who was in attendance.” • Musical interlude:

“… probably by a junior employer.” The lyrics are great; check the first comment for the video. That chord progression sounds an awful lot like “Everything’s Going According to Plan,” oddly appropriate(d(?)):

Zeitgeist Watch

Class Warfare

“Reuters US Reporters Are Striking for First Time in Decades” [Reuters]. “Thomson Reuters Corp. journalists in the US launched a daylong strike Thursday, the first walkout in decades among the media company’s long-unionized staff. Employees began a 24-hour strike at 6 a.m. New York time Thursday after claiming the company didn’t fairly negotiate pay increases, according to the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild, which represents US-based Reuters reporters, photographers and video journalists. The group said about 90% of the 300 or so Reuters employees it represents agreed to participate. The news organization proposed a three-year contract with guaranteed annual pay increases of 1%, according to the union, which would erode employee spending power against a backdrop of 9% inflation. Members of the guild believe Reuters managers aren’t working with them in good faith, and have also filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board. They join an expanding group of media workers that have recently pushed back against what they characterize as unfair treatment by their employers.” • Of all the institutions where workers could seize the means of production…. See Defector, a success.

Spooks everywhere:

 

“A TRAP for workers” [Cory Doctorow, Medium]. “TRAP — ‘training repayment agreement provision’ — was billed as a free job training scheme for new Petsmart hires, a 4-week program to teach you to groom cats and dogs. But this ‘free’ program actually loaded new hires up with $5500 in debt that they owed to the company if they quit, got fired, or were laid off within two years. In a darkly hilarious turn, TRAP didn’t even train you to groom pets. As a new class action suit led by ex-Petsmart employee BreAnn Scally reveals, most of the ‘training’ was just sweeping floors, and the ‘four-week’ course ended after three weeks.” • There’s that word: “smart” [makes warding gesture]. Avert!

“The ‘Great Resignation’ Started Long Ago” [Peggy Noonan]. “Part of the story of job-leaving in America has to do with early retirement. ‘In 2021, older workers left their jobs at an accelerated rate, and they did so at younger ages.’ They felt able to do so because their houses were suddenly worth more, they had retirement accounts, and they were afraid of getting sick. There are good things in what we’re seeing. Workers, especially those in lower skilled jobs, have increased leverage—feeling more valued, able to demand good treatment and better salaries. More mothers who want to stay home with their kids feel able to do so. But there are also causes for concern. The unfilled jobs look to be setting the perfect historical circumstance to usher in a new rise of the robots. And it means something that there are many who’d like to join the Army but can’t meet its mental- and physical-health requirements, for reasons including obesity. Which gets us to Mene Ukueberuwa’s January interview in the Journal with the political economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Eberstadt notes that recent workforce changes follow a postwar pattern. Usually after recessions, male labor-force participation drops, and when the recession ends it ticks up, ‘but never gets back to where it was.’ Labor-force participation for both sexes, he notes, peaked in 2000 at 67%. We’re now 5 points lower than that. The work rate for those in their prime working years, 25 to 54, has been declining since the turn of the century. The economic implications are obvious—slower growth, less expansion—and the personal implications are dire. ‘By and large, nonworking men don’t ‘do’ civil society,‘ Mr. Eberstadt says. They stay home watching screens—videogames, social-media sites and streaming services. There is something ‘fundamentally degrading’ in this, and Mr. Ebestadt refers to an ‘archipelago of disability programs’ that help make not working possible. Staying apart, estranged from life and not sharing a larger mission can create ‘really tragic long term consequences,’ Mr. Eberstadt says. ‘These young people aren’t taking chances, leaving a job to start a small business. They aren’t finding themselves. They aren’t even looking.'” • Eberstadt is looking at the same population at Alex Moyer was looking at (Taibbi here), a population that, come to think of it, reminds me of the otaku in Japan. Eberstadt, being from AEI, thinks the answer is to slash disability. Moyer doesn’t really pose a question. Of course, another way of saying “don’t ‘do’ civil society” is “enormous opportunity.” But we’ll probably have a moral panic instead.

News of the Wired

I continue in my state of non-wired-ment.

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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 IM:

IM writes: “The Englishman River, near Parksville, BC, in good old fashioned black and white. This part of the river marks the transition point between the massive basalt of the Karmutsen formation, an ancient seafloor LIP (large igneous province) that ran into North America, forming a big chunk of Vancouver Island in the process, and the Nanaimo group, sedimentary sandstone, slate and mudstone eroded from the precursors to today’s coast mountains. Nanaimo Group sandstone was used to build the San Francisco Mint, so this picture does have a finance angle. However, it is mostly basalt in this view. Cedar, Doug Fir, Broadleaf Maple, Spanish Moss, Alder representing Kingdom Plantae.” I’d love to see a print of this. Wow!

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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.

84 comments

  1. petal

    CVS plans to make a major primary care play by the end of 2022

    “CVS plans to make a big move in primary care by investing or acquiring a provider by the end of this year.

    The play comes as competition heats up with Amazon’s nearly $4 billion bid for One Medical and Walgreens’ tie-up with VillageMD.

    There were reports earlier this month that concierge primary care company One Medical was looking at potential suitors for a takeover deal. The company reportedly attracted and then rejected preliminary acquisition interest from CVS Health. The drugstore giant’s loss was Amazon’s gain as it scooped up One Medical for nearly $3.9 billion.

    CVS, which operates 9,900 locations across the country, is looking to enhance its health services in primary care, provider enablement and home health, CVS CEO Karen Lynch said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call Wednesday morning.

    M&A will be a key part of that strategy, she said.

    “We are being very disciplined, both strategically and financially, as we pursue kind of our M&A strategy,” Lynch said.

    Beyond its drugstores, CVS has a deep reach in healthcare as it owns health insurer Aetna and pharmacy benefits manager Caremark.

    CVS’ size also gives it a competitive edge, Lynch noted. Nearly 4.8 million customers engage with the company every day at retail locations. The company also operates MinuteClinics inside its stores, conducting 2.8 million patient visits a year to date, up 12% from last year, Lynch said.””

    Reply
    1. JohnnySacks

      CVS minute clinics seem like nothing more than a perverted joke, crapified profit driven alleged medical care at it’s worst. WebMD, only with access to drugs.

      Say it’s Saturday 4:00 PM and I cut myself and need routine stitches, seems like a no-go? Off I go for a four hour wait and thousand dollar bill to the emergency room instead?

      Will it ever end before I’m dead?

      Reply
    2. Jill

      They’re just trying to monetize this nonsense. If Covid doesn’t point out the need for National Health Care, free at the point of service, don’t know what will. The narrative is quickly unraveling.

      “The calls and text messages are relentless. On the other end are doctors and scientists at the top levels of the NIH, FDA and CDC. They are variously frustrated, exasperated and alarmed about the direction of the agencies to which they have devoted their careers.”

      “It’s like a horror movie I’m being forced to watch and I can’t close my eyes,” one senior FDA official lamented. “People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything.”

      https://www.commonsense.news/p/us-public-health-agencies-arent-following?triedSigningIn=true

      Reply
      1. ChiGal

        this is Bari Weiss’ Substack (do check out her infamous interview with Joe Rogan) and she asserts as a fact that science has shown masking in schools doesn’t prevent transmission, linking to a single preprint. pretty sure I have seen links at NC to studies showing the opposite.

        I’m not a big fan of the CDC either but her version of “not following the science” has an agenda and I somehow doubt it involves national health care.

        Reply
    3. griffen

      The sentence reading that CVS has a deep reach in healthcare should go back to rewrite and get a PK Dick revision. Heavy on the \sarc with this I am.

      CVS extends wide it’s open arms into your daily life and daily health needs, by operating our friendly retail stores, our world wide presence on the online interface, and our always there where you need us insurance provider Aetna (within network services). And with our benefits manager Caremark, we will always be sure you have all the Ubik a person would ever truly need.

      When you think Ubik be sure to first also think of CVS. Because we care and we are there.

      Reply
  2. fresno dan

    “Harvard Study: J6 Rioters Were Motivated by Loyalty to Trump, Not Insurrection” [Jonathan Turley].
    I think it just affirms that the media is agenda driven – any facts that contradict the world view of the particular media outlet (FOX believes one thing, MSNBC quite another) are simply never spoken.
    I think one aspect of this is the theory that the market provides an incentive for objective, unbiased information. I think the US media always propagated that rah rah, US is best political system in the world nonsense. Now, one or the other politcial party advances the theory that the US electoral system is corrupt (Russiagate, fraudulent 2020 election). Hard to square the circle of the best country ever, but with a corrupt election system, incapable of rending fair and accurate results, and one political party (according to the other political party and their media toadies) totally evil. Now, market incentives are very much advancing the proposition that the country is horrible, terrible, no good and maybe should splinter. We’ll see…

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Working on the theory that “The Market” is always reactive, never proactive, I’d say that America is already “splintering,” only not “officially,” but along class lines. When the policy of “The Public Good” is abrogated, the main force holding the civil society together, which is essentially a group mediated series of compromises, is removed. Socially centripetal forces are replaced by socially centrifugal forces. America can ‘break apart’ internally and yet retain the outward illusion of “unity.”
      Stay safe over there in the Golden West.

      Reply
  3. flora

    re: the great resignation.

    In fall 2021 came the Biden vacs-or-else mandates and many retired rather than take something they needed more safety data results for over a longer period of time. It’s possible many applied for disability if they quit their jobs or were let go.

    You might disagree with Ed Dowd’s assessment about disability, but it correlates. (This is also the time frame the unexplained large increase in all cause mortality started according to life insurance company statistics.)

    “When slicing Disability data up by age and employed you can see a very noticeable rise in employed 16-64 starting around May 2021. Democide is death by government we need a new word for disability by government.

    At this point it’s undeniable.

    Data Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics ”

    https://gettr.com/post/p1knnsp712c

    Reply
  4. DMS

    That “AsabiyyahPepe” linked for the Obama staffer’s idiocy appears to be a literal fascist, though Poe’s law delayed my conclusion at first. Since you already cite the book for the text in the image, perhaps best to just pull it out as a quote?

    Reply
  5. Tommy Strange

    AS far as that music post goes, I would add that most old and young people that like the ‘spoken word’ class based type new punk are all, listening to the clockworks, the idles and Yard Act (which have one of the best ‘acted videos’ of the year with 100% endurance…)….Idles Mercedes Marxist is great…These bands are already packing mid level clubs too….there’s a real thirst out there for the aggressive, but expressionist , and poetic. Glad at 60 years old, I’m still able to be part of it….

    Reply
    1. britzklieg

      I heard them live in Edinburgh, the early 90’s after the band regrouped. Great stuff! Brilliant lyrics!

      Reply
      1. Adrna D.

        Seeing them mentioned here has made my week! I’ve loved them ever since ‘Back in the DHSS’. Masters of their art.

        Reply
  6. fresno dan

    “The ‘Great Resignation’ Started Long Ago” [Peggy Noonan]
    Mr. Eberstadt notes that recent workforce changes follow a postwar pattern. Usually after recessions, male labor-force participation drops, and when the recession ends it ticks up, ‘but never gets back to where it was.’ Labor-force participation for both sexes, he notes, peaked in 2000 at 67%. We’re now 5 points lower than that. The work rate for those in their prime working years, 25 to 54, has been declining since the turn of the century. The economic implications are obvious—slower growth, less expansion—and the personal implications are dire.
    ==============================================
    Now, back when dinosaurs walked the earth, I remember when one earner could support a family. Just bop a meatosaurus on the head, and the family ate well for a few months, and an apartment could be rented for two hours of pushing broom*… And the rise of a two earner family had dire portents. Just sayin’
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART
    * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c7D0YsgnrE

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Interesting that you should mention that. My definition of a “middle class lifestyle” is so hopelessly trapped in the late Sixties/early Seventies that I have no idea how such would be defined now. I know I never achieved my own definition, but I wonder if it is even applicable anymore.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I listened to this interview of Steve Keen by Nate Hagens, and was especially struck by Keen’s assessment that a 67% reduction in living standards would be necessary to bring us back not just from the GHG problem but from planetary overshoot in general. Then he said that would bring WEIRD countries back to 1970 living standards, not as many “bells and whistles” as now, Keen said, but also not so bad. In fact, for many, something of a lost “good old days” as you point out.

        Throughout the interview, Keen emphasized that the bulk of the problem is the rich, that old 50% of emissions produced by the world’s richest 10%, but of course, in the U.S., that is more like the top 25%, are going to have to see substantial reductions in living standards to avoid either an even worse climate catastrophe or people starving by the millions is everything is left to “markets.” Keen says rationing is necessary.

        Sobering stuff.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          And i suspect much of that is from the nouveau riche.

          After all, wasn’t a rapper seen flying a private 767 between neighboring cities recently?

          And yeah, listening to Keen can be sobering indeed. Lets hope his cancer treatment gets the job done and we get many more years of sobering thought from him.

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Obama gave a definition of a “middle class lifestyle.” He said that it was a job in an Amazon warehouse.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I believe that this exercise in snake oil salesmanship is called “Managing Expectations.”
          I can well see Obama as a modern day example of Mr. Casby from Charles Dickens book “Little Dorrit.”
          “Squeeze them Krugman! Squeeze them!”

          Reply
        1. ambrit

          I’m waiting for someone to “find” a sinister connection between the Dastardly Russians and the Sharpie Company.
          Such a relatively small investment in time and money with which to effect the “corruption” of the American voting system. Very much like the fiendishly ‘efficient’ Russian investment in Facebook ads that stole the 2016 election from H Clinton. /s

          Reply
          1. Michael Ismoe

            I live in Arizona. I have actually seen the giant warehouse where the Board of Elections is holding all Trump’s votes from 2020. But I’m not allowed to tell you where it is.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Could that be one of the buildings recently exposed by the drying up of Lake Mead? These parties cannot even “bury the evidence” with any efficiency any more.

              Reply
  7. flora

    re: the great resignation.

    Another great question has to do with the shortage of workers. You see this all around you. There aren’t enough people to fill available jobs.

    Fill the jobs paying what wages? I notice an uptick in unionizing activity in the US.

    And early retirements starting to increase in the fall of 2021? Might unwelcome jab mandates have something to do with that uptick?

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      flora
      its funny (no its not) that the market can’t figure out INCENTIVES when it comes to paying people at the bottom, but it is always the first thing to be dealt with when looking for executives…

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        I think there was a link about a plant on the east cost that had trouble filling 25/hr jobs.

        My thoughts went immediately to:
        1) Sick workers – disease (including drugs and Covid)
        2) Dead workers – disease, drug ODs, shootings
        3) The crapification and discrimination in online job search. Also, things like lots of people now with gaps in work history that are getting their resumes thrown out without a way to talk directly to someone about the reasons for such a gap.

        Reply
    2. Mikel

      What do you think machines programmed to dismiss people’s resume’s if they even a 3 month job gap or not even looking at resume’s for anyone unemployed does?

      Reply
  8. HotFlash

    Re otaku, that’s just a fan, usually of Japanese popular culture such as anime, manga, etc. I consider myself an otaku (anime). We come in all sizes, ages, shapes, colours, and special areas of interest. We are often quite outgoing. I think you are thinking of hikikomori, some of whom may also be otaku.

    Reply
    1. JM

      I feel like the NEET (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEET) population might fit a bit better? The acronym stands for Not in Employment, Education or Training, and is basically younger people who have checked out of the mainstays of society putting value on a person. Seems like Wikipedia points it to originating in the UK, but I had only heard of it in relation to Japan so that’s new to me.

      I haven’t read the article so maybe I’m missing something that’s in there, but hikikomori are generally severely socially isolated which I didn’t get from people discussed in the snippet provided. But you’re quite right that otaku isn’t the right group to be associating with this.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Mmmhmm. The hikikimoro are Japanese, in the US it’s more like my nephew. High school grad, no $$ for college and, thanks to parents medical debt, student loan not possible. Used to be lots of jobs in the area, a couple of biggish plants and a whole lot of small shops feeding the Auto industry. He’s a pretty good musician, plays in bar bands when the band can get gigs and the van runs. He used to work at Dollar General until he got fired after a DUI*. Only other thing available is military, lots of his friends took that route. Many came home broken, some not at all. What a country.

        Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        I find it annoying that “not dying from Covid” is lumped under “health” and dismissed in passing.

        Technically I don’t ‘do’ civil society at present, but it’s not at all by choice or preference. I am, however, stably and productively employed (thanks to working for an employer that’s supportive of working from home). I’m guessing Eberstadt’s faux concern for the wellbeing of all these poor unemployed young men who must be forced back into society for their own good doesn’t extend to me. Or to non-working women, for that matter.

        Reply
  9. .Tom

    > i just saw a passenger harrassed while boarding a flight from NW to Boston in an elastomeric mask, being told “can’t wear that gas mask” and offered a very inadequate surgical mask in exchange.

    That’s disgusting. To any of the people flying with CO2 monitors that connect to your phone, I’ll buy you a portable printer if you print out the measurements from time to time and tape them to the luggage bin above your seat, to inform passengers and staff how safe or unsafe their air might be. At the end of the flight, give the printout of the whole graph of the flight to an attendant explaining that they should give it to their union rep. Airlines are lying about the safety of their work environment.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Go a step further and post the graph of flight CO2 readings on a Website. Then potential passengers can do their own due diligence, (like everything else in this best of all possible neo-liberal paradises.)
      There are other crowd sourced “information” sites like this already. Oh, “GasBuddy” as an example.

      Reply
    1. Greg

      Similarly a big fan, first encountered them in this antipodean land via trading music collections with an irish immigrant. Cheers for the heads up on the new album drop

      Reply
  10. Kurtismayfield

    Re: Alienated male subculture.

    I know a few young men who fit this, and let me tell you something. They are all working and paying rent. They are just single, and not going out all weekend or dating much. Probably because everything is expensive, and the activities that they do are cheap in comparison! Why date or go to a sports bar when you can stream , game, talk with buddies online while inside your home?

    The economic opportunities have been measured, and have been found lacking.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      IDK for sure, but some of it seems to be stunted social skills. My nephew (referenced above) generally has a girlfriend, often for fairly long time. Doubt if he’d ever actually marry and settle down, but he figured out how to be Popular With The Ladies (does not require genius IQ). So, his tips: if you spend all your time doing guy stuff, you will meet guys. EG, not a lot of girls play football or are on the guys hockey team. He hinted, although did not say, don’t bother with cheer leaders, the also-rans are just as nice, just as cute, but not so stuck up.

      The Nephew whilst in high school was scoffed at by his male peers b/c when he had to get his phys ed credit, he chose the unmanly Dance Team. That was mostly girls, but he was a pretty good dancer plus strong enough to do the lifts and carries. He also knew how to be polite, VERY IMPORTANT*!!!. He would usually walk out of class with as many girls on his arms as he had arms, maybe more.

      * My BFF dated a guy who was short, fattish, and going bald. She reports that they would go into a restaurant and she would get pitying looks from the ladies, since their dates were more, unh, conventionally handsome and hot. But then G would take her coat, escort her to the table, pull out her chair, confer with her most respectfully, and order for her; in general G would treat her like a queen. She reported that within a half hour, the formerly disdainful ladies were now looking on enviously. G learned his manners from his European parents, esp his father. Dunno if Papa was an aristocrat, but he sure had the manners thing down, and if there are guys, uhhh, persons who would wish to connect themselves with ladies and find they cannot, I would recommend taking up Scottish- or Contra- or Country- or whatever dancing — for explication, see Pride and Prejudice )if the book is too l9ong, the movies is quicker).

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Fully agree with you. Simply taking an interest in the person you are out with is half of the battle. As far as Men Seeking Women is concerned, it also helps a lot to actually like women. If there are psychological problems that keep one from being comfortable around the opposite sex, (if that’s your thing,) do something about it as soon as you can. Otherwise, a co-dependency can result. The last bit of ‘advice,’ [from about as fully messed up a person as you will ever meet,] is to try and keep your expectations balanced, and your tolerance for imperfection high.
        YMMV squared.

        Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      I dunno. From my experience, if you’re an average looking guy, you don’t have many options, because Tinder. I hear it wasn’t always this way, but once you’re outside of high school/college it is. Meanwhile my very above average guy friends had their Tinder blow up with messages. You just have to see it for yourself I guess. At a certain point why bother? And of course there are always exceptions, with great social skills or unexpected good fortune, but nonetheless. And the older you get, the deeper the hole.

      Reply
  11. herman_sampson

    I retired last year at 61 – SS at that age was same as my pay at that point (in short, I think, worked at PMC-level job for 25 years, laid off, worked in warehouse (not Amazon, thank Athena) last 8 years) (first generation college grad, so little networking skills). Could not work anymore for a paycheck anymore with all the BS society puts us through (employer not especially bad, but typical ). My condolences to all who still have to work for a paycheck.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      How do you retire and draw SS at 61 when the min SS Retirement age is 62?
      If you’ve got a hack-why not share it?
      Thanks

      Reply
      1. ChiGal

        disability?

        and boy do you lose a lot retiring early. If you can manage it, taking retirement at 70 increases your monthly check as long as you live by a third (if it would be $2k at full retirement age you get $3k etc.).

        I turn 65 next month but plan to keep working part time for another five years.

        Reply
        1. Fun with numbers

          > … boy do you lose a lot retiring early.

          Not necessarily! Everyone needs to run the numbers for his/her own situation.

          I was able to self-retire before 60 (so no FICA contributions in later years). When it came time to think about Social Security, I compared the reduced benefit from age 62 to the full benefit at 65. When I added up the 36 months of payments between 62 and 65 and offset them against the higher rate if starting at 65, I found that by drawing SS at the earliest opportunity I would be ahead in total benefit received until age 77 and 3 months. Bird in hand, &c.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            Bad math.

            Life expectancy at age 62 is 20 for men and 23 for women. So unless you have a serious health condition that makes you less likely to live than the average 62 year old, you screwed yourself.

            Plus many old people are correctly worried about outliving their money, which would argue for making more conservative assumptions than you did (ie properly assessing what would happen if you lived to your actuarially expected age, and even longer).

            Reply
  12. fresno dan

    “The Jan. 6 Committee’s Findings Have Met the Appropriately High Bar for Prosecuting Trump” [Walter Olson, The Unpopulist]
    One of the many ways in which America has been lucky is that we’ve never had to prosecute a former president. Aaron Burr, tried for treason, was just a vice president; Richard Nixon, caught dead to rights, was pardoned by successor Gerald Ford. All our other chief executives who committed crimes got away with them.
    ….
    : “I have also come to think that this is a moment in which America can no longer see itself as all that different from the rest of the world. We, too, are vulnerable to criminal conduct by a head of state in a form that we associate with unstable and vulnerable democracies—in this case, an attempt to stay in power despite losing the election. We cannot ignore that conduct, and we must deter it, even at the cost of new dangers.”
    ….
    In retrospect, I think I underrated how divisive and destructive of civic peace it can be to see criminal behavior prosper, above all when it strikes at the process of democratic succession itself. Letting a brazenly unrepentant elected official walk free after such conduct will only embolden more and worse behavior of the same kind.
    =================================================
    All our other chief executives who committed crimes got away with them. First, I would say practically every president has broken laws that seriously made the WORLD worse off (cough, cough, coughs lung out – BUSH). Did Licoln break the law when he (?alone? did not the congress aid and abet) suspended writ of habeas corpus? Maybe that was justifiable in supporting a good cause, but when you think of all the bad things done by the governments of the US, it gets a little nauseating listening about how the US is a shining city on a hill always on the side of virtue and democracy, and we are only NOW not living up to the true ideals of law.
    And I see the statement “I have also come to think that this is a moment in which America can no longer see itself as all that different from the rest of the world” as either hopelessly naive or just part of the elite classes propaganda effort to justify everything we do, when so much (?everything?) we do is for the benefit of the rich and makes the world worse.
    AND finally, when one considers Hillary Clinton’s instigation, planning, and wide ranging support at the highest levels in the US government to OVER THROW an election, and cover up and thwarting of any true investigation and accountability of Russiagate, I find any yammering about Trump beside the point (and remember, I despise Trump). C’mon man – Clinton (and probably Obama) in my view far exceeded the criminality of Trumps amateurish and ineffective actions. If one wants to do something about the REAL diminishment of democracy, one should have started with H. Clinton – the fact that there was never an investigation only shows that the real criminals have been getting away with murder for decades.

    Reply
  13. Val

    Amused but not impressed when an AEI opinion-haver notices something ‘fundamentally degrading’.

    Neolib handwringing over the degradation of civil society. really. Who is running this open-air mental hospital anyhow? And whattabout TINA?

    Perhaps rent, fraud, mayhem and propaganda is not a sound long term basis for a modern political economy? Even golden retrievers would eventually quit playing under such conditions.

    Such breezy population-level analysis is almost always specious and here has a late-soviet ideological vibe. AEI could hold a junket and go talk to some “resigned” individual human beings who persist in the late neoliberalism. Non-professional humans are delightfully adaptive in my experience. Someone just might learn something, if that is tolerable.

    Love the pic and the geology framing is most welcome!

    Reply
  14. Lex

    Jan 6 was a color revolution. They never have more than a tiny, committed base that pushes the mob in the “right” direction. The Maidan was really an outpouring of anger over life in a failed state. It became a coup because of the ultra-right acting with the blessing of the US DoS. It was a failed color revolution but my gut tells me it was a closer run thing than we’d like to admit.

    School ventilation is good news, unfortunately the cycle for designing and implementing school projects means it’s unlikely to happen before summer 2023.

    Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      :: chef’s family-blog kiss::

      Thanks so much for sharing this … bookmarked, and will share forward. Yet another nail in empire’s coffin. Feel for the scientists, but this is what happens when you give fiduciary responsibility over this country’s vast assets to a bunch of crooks, idiots and liars.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link. What a story. It’s one thing for China to be eating America’s lunch. It is another when the US government is acting as the waiter.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        They were building a battery — a vanadium redox flow battery — based on a design created by two dozen U.S. scientists at a government lab. The batteries were about the size of a refrigerator, held enough energy to power a house, and could be used for decades. The engineers pictured people plunking them down next to their air conditioners, attaching solar panels to them, and everyone living happily ever after off the grid.

        And then the Feds gave the rights away to the Chinese. My head hurts.

        Reply
  15. Verifyfirst

    So monkeypox has mutated 50 times in the past 4 years, versus expected 4 times in that time frame:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-monkeypox-evolving-so-fast/

    And it is in the wastewater:

    https://www.eenews.net/articles/sewage-reveals-spread-of-monkeypox-virus/

    This study found the 1970’s version of the virus can be viable in the air for 90 hours:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3556235/

    But nah, I wouldn’t worry, Walensky is in charge!

    Reply
  16. Mikel

    https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/pop-up-clinics-in-la-county-aimed-at-vaccinating-eligible-individuals-for-monkeypox/2954476/
    (From Aug. 2)

    “….Gov. Newsom has declared a state of emergency over monkeypox as cities and counties are working to bring in as many vaccines as possible.”

    “…As of 9 a.m. Monday there were 400 confirmed cases of monkeypox in LA County. The increase in confirmed cases prompted the LA Board of Supervisors Chair Holly Mitchell to issue a proclamation of local emergency. The board will vote on this matter Tuesday….”

    Barely a year ago, this was a fairly rare disease mostly confined to Africa.

    Reply
  17. digi_owl

    About spooks everywhere, it seems places like Facebook and Reddit is hiring “ex”-CIA as their content policy bosses these days.

    Oh, and actually mentioning this on Reddit will get you evicted in short order…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      One wag left a good tweet in the follow-up

      ‘@OnesieInd
      Replying to
      @SilvermanJacob
      You don’t understand. She was forced to work for the CIA, then the Pinkertons, then do union busting for Starbucks because she needed healthcare, and those three companies were the only ones hiring! She had no choice!’

      Reply
  18. kareninca

    Here is the drugs.com entry on Jynneos: the section on adverse reactions included this (under “cardiac adverse events of special interest)(thanks to Karl Denninger for pointing this out):

    “Cardiac AESIs were reported to occur in 1.3% (95/7,093) of Jynneos recipients and 0.2% (3/1,206) of placebo recipients who were smallpox vaccine-naïve. Cardiac AESIs were reported to occur in 2.1% (16/766) of Jynneos recipients who were smallpox vaccine-experienced. The higher proportion of Jynneos recipients who experienced cardiac AESIs was driven by 28 cases of asymptomatic post-vaccination elevation of troponin-I in two studies: Study 5, which enrolled 482 HIV-infected subjects and 97 healthy subjects, and Study 6, which enrolled 350 subjects with atopic dermatitis and 282 healthy subjects.” (https://www.drugs.com/pro/jynneos.html).

    This is a serious drug. I suppose most drugs are serious drugs, and each person needs to do a risk benefit analysis with his or her doctor (if they have one).

    (It is strange; this is clearly part of the drugs.com site, and I saw it there this morning, but now when I try to get to this part via the Jynneos entry I can’t find it again).

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘GALLUP: Biden has lower average approval at this point in his presidency than Trump or any other president.’

    That long list that starts with

    NO minimum wage hike

    If you took away the ‘NO’ from each of those entries, isn’t that a list of his campaign promises?

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      A partial list,don’t forget marshaling every department of the Federal Government to eradicate Covid 19.

      Reply
        1. c_heale

          Missed out., Ffing up the economy, Being corrupt, and Spending lots of money on foreign wars, while there are more than enough problems back in the USA that need fixing.

          Reply
  20. Tom Stone

    Does anyone else here recall the “Society for Indecency to Animals” from the 60’s?
    It was started by a comedian as a joke but took on a life of its own for several years.
    He had patterns for Dog diapers, Horse diapers and so on…and ended up with several thousand people taking him seriously and joining up.
    “Murika!
    And that sparked the idea of special award that could be awarded to Fauci or Wolensky or perhaps both jointly.
    Something along the lines of a fancy bronze plaque or an ornate framed certificate awarded by an organization with an impressive name,maybe the “Society for the Propagation of Arrant Nonsense.”.
    Call it the “Mengele” award.
    And it should come with a small honorarium of $1,000 because these two are capital “G” greedy.
    Have an attractive but demure young woman award it, one with BIG eyes who knows how to gush like an overflowing toilet.
    Presented properly ($$$$ and adulation) I’m almost certain they would bite.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      Jeez, there used to be several groups that pranked/pantsed the media in the US in the past and really trimmed their sails. Wonderful people. Even Don Novello writing letters to significant people as Citizen Lazlo.

      The US population is losing it’s Huckleberry Finn nature. Why does anyone above the common people in the US expect respect?

      Reply
  21. Carolinian

    Taibbi on how the press’s negative psychology is apt to elect Trump again.

    We’re watching a replay of 2015-2016, when one establishment organ after another ran laudatory stories about establishment-approved Trump rivals supposedly seizing control of the race from twenty, thirty, forty points back. Who could forget MSNBC’s “Is Ted Cruz 2016’s invisible GOP front-runner?”, or the Washington Post conferring the same “plausible nominee” moniker on John Kasich that’s now cursing DeSantis, or temporarily tumescent headlines like “Marco Rubio has surged to the front of the pack”? In 2015 a near-identical New York Times story about Rupert Murdoch’s “misgivings” about the “catastrophe” Trump ran to no effect, and the National Review published a massive “Against Trump” issue, in which editors and an all-star cast of Republican heavies railed against the “excrescences of instant-hit media culture.”

    Paywalled but i had to get in “temporarily tumescent.”

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-press-is-already-working-overtime

    Reply
  22. Acacia

    A little COVID update from Japan: https://www.stopcovid19.jp/

    Hospital beds are maxxed out everywhere. Just heard that hospital beds in Kanagawa prefecture (i.e., Yokohama and surroundings) are at 98% capacity. And here’s some weird COVID news from Osaka:

    https://twitter.com/Tomynyo/status/1555197053214814208

    The death rate for those seriously ill and hospitalized is far lower than for those who were considered to have ‘mild’ symptoms and deemed well enough not to be admitted to a hospital.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      What the hell? Could it be that those that were admitted to hospital had some sort of medical assessment & treatment while those that weren’t were left to their own limited medical self-treatment? Here in Oz the message is if you get the virus, you stay home and deal with it yourself unless it gets bad enough to call an ambulance. That fact that you noted would indicate that this protocol would have to be revamped.

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