2:00PM Water Cooler 9/2/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Great Bowerbird, Western Australia, Australia. Notes: “Male initially singing/calling near bower, then approach and scold me towards the end of the recording. Other Behaviors: Advertise, Scold. Habitat: Dry Forest.”

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

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

“You can’t really dust for vomit.” Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap

Biden Administration

“Jon Stewart and the Pentagon honor Ukrainian Nazi at Disney World” [The Gray Zone]. “This August, during the Department of Defense’s annual Warrior Games at Disney World in Orlando, Florida this August 19-28, liberal comedian Jon Stewart awarded a Ukrainian military veteran named Ihor Halushka the ‘Heart of the Team’ award for ‘inspiring his team’ with his ‘personal example.’ Halushka happens to have been a member of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which has been armed by the US and integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard. The award-winning ultra-nationalist wore a sleeve over his left arm as he accepted the prize, presumably to cover up his tattoo of the Nazi Sonnenrad, or Black Sun…. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of this year, mainstream outlets from the Daily Beast to Vox to Foreign Policy, and even the US government propaganda outlet Voice of America, have each acknowledged the Azov Battalion’s embrace of Nazism. Right Sector group has been similarly identified as a fascist organization. Since the invasion, however, Western corporate media has downplayed the presence of Nazis in the Ukrainian armed forces as groups like Azov have taken on prominent front-line roles. Reached by phone, Warrior Games communication director Travis Claytor would not tell The Grayzone who covered the travel expenses of Team Ukraine and other foreign competitors.”


* * *

“Biden seeks to reframe midterms into stark choice between democracy and Trump-led extremism” [ABC]. “‘There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the ‘MAGA Republicans,’ and that is a threat to this country,’ Biden said Thursday during a prime-time speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. His remarks represented the culmination of weeks of ramped-up rhetorical attacks on not all Republicans but Trump-loyal Republicans, whom he has blasted as ‘ultra-MAGA Republicans’ and ‘MAGA extremists.’ Last week, he said ‘the entire philosophy that underpins; the GOP was akin to ‘semi-fascism.'” • But not suburban Republicans, good Lord no. “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia.” I’m going to put on my yellow waders and look at Biden’s speech this weekend, but for now, I don’t even know what “akin to ‘semi-fascism'” even means. It’s not a serious statement. Maybe Biden is thinking of semi trucks? Meanwhile:

Adding, the Democrat did poll on “dark Brandon.” Ne

(To be fair, I think this image crops out the blue and white. Still, Marines in the background? Why not F-15s, while we’re at it?)


“Trump search inventory shows empty ‘classified’ folders, commingled top secret and unclassified items” [Los Angeles Times]. “Twenty-seven documents with classified and top secret markings were recovered from former President Trump’s office at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to a detailed inventory of what the FBI removed during its court-approved search of the home last month. The eight-page inventory detailing over 10,000 government documents removed in the search includes the location where each item was found and if it was classified, but not the subject matter. In many cases, highly classified materials are listed as having been stored in the same boxes as hundreds of unclassified items, including newspaper and magazine clippings and clothing.” • Correct me if I’m wrong here — I’m not as on top of the detail here as I should be, because I have things to do, like re-organizing my sock drawer or lying in the sun with my eyes closed — but just because a document is marked “Classified” doesn’t mean it is Classified. Which, presumably, is why the Los Angeles Times is careful to say “markings.” The same goes for “documents” and “items.” So the headline is a bit deceptive.


“Tiny discovery in Chinese lab could be a big deal in stopping Covid-19” [South China Morning Post] (Nature original). “A Chinese research team has developed a nanomaterial that can find Sars-CoV-2 viruses in a living cell and remove them. Unlike most existing Covid-19 drugs, the material can inhibit infections from all major variants including Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron with high biosafety, the researchers said….. The structure of the material – called CIPS because it is made of copper, indium, phosphorus and sulphur – takes the form of nanosheets that are about 200 nanometres, around the size of two viral particles…. Normally, the Sars-CoV-2 virus invades human cells with help of the spike protein on its surface. The spike protein binds with the ACE2 protein on the surface of the human cell in the same way a key opens a lock, thus allowing the virus to invade the host cell. CIPS, however, is capable of selectively binding with the virus’ spike protein, resulting in the infection process being blocked… Once CIPS has captured the virus, it forms a stable complex. The complex is then recognised and eliminated by the host’s macrophages, large white blood cells in the human immune system that digest foreign substances…. The good news is that the nanomaterials could be relatively cheap enough for mass production and widespread applications.” • Leave to the Chinese to turn preventing infection into a manufacturing problem*. (Mouse study; no clinical trials.) NOTE * And take dead aim at Big Pharma, too. Who needs to sink an aircraft carrier?

* * *

Now make it a transparent space helmet with a respirator:

* * *

* * *

* * *

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:

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 nominal 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 ~87,550. Today, it’s ~83,350 and 83,350 * 6 = a Biden line at 500,100 per day. (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. If you look at the Fauci line, you will see that despite the bleating and yammering about Covid being “over,” we have only just recently reached the (nominal) case level of November 1, 2021, and we are very far from that of July 1, 2021. And the real level is much worse.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

Florida and Texas to resume their dance, though Texas is still a little coy.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

Doing pretty well!

The West:

Backward revision in California completely changes the shape of the curve. Downward. Very downward.

California on a “high plateau”?


Wastewater data (CDC), August 29:

Very unhappy with the grey dots in California, or virtually no dots in Texas and Florida. We have no check on case numbers in critical states.

For grins, August 27:

What I’m really worried about is an increase in grey dots (“no recent data”), because that would mean the effort is being shut down or defunded.


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

-2.2%. The downward trend inside the red circle is actually encouraging.


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.)

This is actually still improving. More yellow in the Plains states and the Mountain states.

Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 30:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 30:

Lots of green, which should make the hospital-centric goons at the Centers for Disease happy. Then again, Light Green is trending down, and Dark Green is straight down. What I would like to see is a lot of Dark Green. But I’m not.

NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.


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].

Lambert here: The last real — i.e., not modeled — data from CDC is August 6. That’s such a ginormous derelection I don’t even know what to say. Basic disrespect for honest, hardworking Americans trying to make their “personal risk assessments.” How on earth are people supposed to do that without variant data? Do the morons at CDC think BA.5 is going to be the last?

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), August 20:

Still no sign of BA2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.

Variant data, national (CDC), August 13 (Nowcast off):

Still no sign of BA2.75.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,072,125 – 1,071,420 = 705 (705 * 365 = 257,325, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, thought they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). Rather a lot; maybe CDC found some deaths in a drawer. I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent in August of 2022, the highest since February and above market expectations of 3.5 percent.

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The Bezzle: Thread on fossil fuel ownership changes:

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 43 Fear (previous close: 45 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 2 at 1:20 PM EDT.

The Gallery



Guillotine Watch

“The Haves and the Have-Yachts” [The New Yorker]. We ran this before, but I missed this part: “If you’ve just put half a billion dollars into a boat, you may have qualms about the truism that material things bring less happiness than experiences do. But this, too, can be finessed. Andrew Grant Super, a co-founder of the ‘experiential yachting’ firm Berkeley Rand, told me that he served a uniquely overstimulated clientele: ‘We call them the bored billionaires.’ He outlined a few of his experience products. ‘We can plot half of the Pacific Ocean with coördinates, to map out the Battle of Midway,’ he said. ‘We re-create the full-blown battles of the giant ships from America and Japan. The kids have haptic guns and haptic vests. We put the smell of cordite and cannon fire on board, pumping around them.’ For those who aren’t soothed by the scent of cordite, Super offered an alternative. ‘We fly 3-D-printed, architectural freestanding restaurants into the middle of the Maldives, on a sand shelf that can only last another eight hours before it disappears.'” • “Imaginary gardens with real toads in them” (as Marianne Moore said of poetry). Perhaps other forms of over-stimulation are on the horizon?

Class Warfare

Win for Amazon Labor Union:

“The State Of The Unions 2022” (PDF) [Ruth Milkman and Joseph van der Naald, City University of New York]. Some of the most dramatic union wins occurred in New York: the first Starbucks stores where unionization votes succeeded in 2021 were in Buffalo, and the warehouse where the independent Amazon Labor Union famously won an election in April 2022 is in the New York City borough of Staten Island. More generally, as pages 4-9 below document, New York City leads the nation in the recent wave of union organizing ” But: ” the scale of this new wave of organizing has been insufficient to reverse the long-term downward trend in privatesector union density. To do so would require far more extensive, large-scale efforts. ” • Well worth a read.

“Casino Capitalism, Literally” [The American Conservative]. “When Sen. Estes Kefauver’s organized crime investigation discovered in 1951 that illegal gambling dens near Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi were absorbing $500,000 out of the base’s $4 million monthly payroll, nobody said that airmen were grownups who should spend their money however they want. People said that casinos and slot parlors took advantage of traits that every human possesses and military men possess in abundance—appetite for risk, concentrating on the present rather than the long view—in order to separate them from their money. Abstract notions of freedom of commerce were not assumed to be a defense. That is how present day regulators should regard Big Tech. There are many ideas floating around for how to limit technology’s addictive power, from banning autoplay to limiting apps’ ability to tailor stimuli to individual users based on their personal data. Some of these ideas may not be practical. But none of them should be dismissed out of hand. Looking at Big Tech and saying it is free speech is like looking at a casino and saying it is just commerce. It’s not. It’s a parody of commerce.”

News of the Wired

“Kids Yell “Poop” At Alexa, And These Musicians Profit” [Wired]. “There are many topics that my 5-year-old and I don’t see eye to eye on: how many popsicles per day is reasonable or the virtues of sleeping past 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday. But there is one area where we are in philosophical lockstep: ‘Poop’ is a funny word. So when my son commanded our Amazon Echo Dot, ‘Alexa…play poopy diaper,’ I shot him a faux-stern look that indicated this isn’t appropriate, but I’ll allow it. And when Alexa replied, ‘OK, playing ‘Poopy Diaper’ from Spotify,’ I was intrigued. When the voice robot creation of one of the richest men on the planet started playing a thumping techno banger with a soaring chorus of a woman vocalist signing, ‘I’ve got a poopy diaper, a poopy diaper, that’s me,’ I descended into hyperventilating eye-watering laughter. As it turns out, there are quite a few songs that will fill Alexa requests for the whole gamut of things a kindergartener might dream up: poop, diapers, dog poop, stinky butt, farts.” • The stupidest timeline. Then again, this dude is stupid enough to install a surveillance device in his house. So here we are, fathers and sons.

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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 Copeland:

Copeland writes: “I planted these black oil sunflowers to attract birds during the winter months but they sure are attracting and feeding a lot of bumblebees and other bee species right now. Curiously I’ve never seen any European honey bees on them.” This is the time of year for sunflower photos!

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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. Bruno

      I expect the WSWS to pontify soberly how Trump, that paragon of orderliness, had set it up to disguise his clever scheme to overthrow the government and make himself our Fascist Dictator.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > No plantidote?

      Fixed, So sorry. I really need to change my workflow to do the plant right after the Bird Song, before I careen into the mad rush of the Covid charts.

      1. Angie Neer

        Thanks, Copeland and Lambert. A nice sunflower (with bee, especially) is always helpful for my mood…

      2. The Rev Kev

        Something tells me that over time, that you will have less charts to deal with as they are quietly taken down or are only updated weekly if not monthly.

    2. Ed Miller

      Copeland: How do you manage to keep the squirrels from eating the black oil sunflower seeds in the fall before any birds have a chance? Squirrels are everywhere!

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Very sad news indeed. Always an important writer for me, always aware of class and trying to keep it in the conversation.

    2. marcyincny

      Also for me and “Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer” if only for the title!

    3. pjay

      This interview from 2019 has been posted here before. It’s a very relevant discussion of the ‘professional managerial class,’ a term she coined with her husband in the 1970s. As most NC readers know, it is an invaluable concept for understanding politics and ideology in the US today.


      There were a lot of “theoretical” debates around this notion back in my student days. But for Barbara, it was developed to help understand real problems in the real political world. This focus on real people and their experiences would shape all of Barbara’s work.


      1. semper loquitur

        She also coined “bright-sided” which rang like a bell in my mind when I read the book. I’d always wondered why everyone around me was always bleating about “positivity” while eating $hit sandwiches. She taught me why.

        Good travels, Barbara.

    4. Earthling

      A lonely voice sticking up for those kicked around the most in our country. Much respect. We have lost a very worthy person and writer.

    5. Pelham

      Oh no. The loss really can’t be calculated. I don’t believe there’s anyone else remotely like her.

    6. CanCyn

      Another Ehrenreich fan here. Like kj1313, Barbara’s book Nickel and Dimed was a huge wake up for me. It made me value Canadian health care so much, it had always been something I’d taken for granted. I will never forget one of the stories in the book about the guy who was a a roofer who was cut badly on the job. Cut got infected, he couldn’t work, couldn’t afford the meds and had no paid sick leave, lost his job, downhill from there. That book was one of the things that kept me off the PMC judge-y meritocracy path, helped me understand that getting and keeping a job wasn’t just about trying hard enough.
      Thank you for the enlightenment Barbara. May you Rest In Peace.

      1. Carla

        I agree, Nickel and Dimed is an incredibly important book. I will share something trivial that I think Barbara Ehrenreich would like to have known: in that book, she passed along an important cleaning technique that I have used ever since, thinking of her every single time.

        Here it is, a technique she learned from the house cleaner who was training her: it’s called “kill time.” You spray something (a range top, a counter top, the top of a refrigerator) with your Fantastik or Clorox spray or other equally toxic cleaner and then you LEAVE it for 10 minutes for it to do its job. When you return to wipe it off, the dirt and stains come off like magic. This might even work with non-toxic cleaners like diluted vinegar; I confess I haven’t tried that yet.

        Barbara Ehrenreich, I am so grateful for the essential work you did in exposing the true nature of exploitation in USA USA. And I will continue to spread the gospel of “kill time” in your honor and memory. I’m gonna go right now and find my dog-eared copy of Nickel and Dimed.

    7. Clark

      kj1313 @ 2:19 p.m. Nickel and Dimed was a revelation to me as well. That book profoundly changed the way I viewed the world outside my crabbed little bubble. She did a lot of good by writing honestly about her experiment. I recall she wrote that her life among the working class was only an approximation, a simulacrum — because she had a “beam me up, Scotty” way out at any time. A great book. My condolences to her family and friends.

    8. Koan

      She will be missed. I used to assign Nickel and Dimed in some of my courses. Ehrenreich was courageous and insightful.

  1. digi_owl

    Recreated Battle of Midway, airlifted temporary restaurants, i am at loss for words.

    Some old cyberpunk stories tried to be over the top by including arranged wars between mercs acting as broadcast sports. Now i start to wonder if bored billionaries would start real life wars, just because.

    1. shinola

      Only the billionaires with substantial “investments” in the MIC (not only “would” but most likely “have”)

    2. ambrit

      It goes way back to the 1950s and 1960s. Kornbluth and Pohl did corporate wars with mercenaries, and Mack Reynolds did Gladiator at Law, legal fights being determined literally by fights. The cyberpunk writers are standing on the shoulders of giants.
      As it is, go on back to Dashiell Hammett’s “Red Harvest,” which spawned numerous films, the best being “Yojimbo,” by Kurosawa. In it, the Private Dicks were hired goons for business. Just like the Pinkertons, who Hammett worked for as a field operative.
      I could see bored billionaires starting big time wars to cut the world population. Think “The Jackpot” with agency.

      1. BeliTsari

        We’d been discussing Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz’s Azov Battalion love-in at Disney World a few days ago on Twitter. Seemed to be yet another Grayzone post nobody could be bothered to make up? Now, it’s only beginning to claw it’s way up outa Google’s SEO memory hole, so they simply pretend it never happened!

        “It’s looks like the results below are changing quickly If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for reliable sources to publish information” MiniTru

        Meanwhile, back in reality; several very astute old white guys have gone to war with China, Taiwan, AGW mitigation, us investors who’d bought stocks, they’d all but ignored, until WAY too late (because companies like BYD made oilgarchs cry?)


        Wonder what’s going on with his purchase of Duke & Dominions’s fracked gas pipeline holdings, rusting away (until “our party” picked a war to save Albright’s fracking & bitumen pyramid schemes?


  2. Carolinian

    The wingers are making quite a deal out of that Biden speech and perhaps justly so. Is a revival of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the offing?

    NC re-post may have called it first. “Authoritarian liberalism”….

    1. IM Doc

      I have had two encounters today in my world regarding that speech last night – 1 in real life, 1 virtual.

      Firstly, in real life, a brief encounter over coffee in the doctor’s lounge with the speech/imagery blaring on the TV in the background. 2 MDs – both loyal PMC – both loyal Dems, were just horrified by the “look”. I am quoting from memory here – but one was saying something like – “They are going to make me vote for Republicans this year” – while the other was saying something like “A speech decrying Fascism in America with the President doing his best imitation of a Fascist. Replace MAGA with Jew and it was Nuremberg 2.0”

      My personal feeling – I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. There is absolutely zero chance this life long Dem will vote for a Dem either now or in the foreseeable future. My feelings about this are best demonstrated by those of my family members which is the virtual I am talking about – Facebook posts this AM.

      My family members are all working class Dems – most of them are concentrated in 2 swing states that are currently very important for the US Senate. This speech clearly did not go over with them well last night. We all have learned to put up with MAGA Uncle John and Uncle Joe in the family. Calling them fascists last night did not sit well with the family. Those two and every MAGA person I know in my life is as loyal to this Republic as anyone else. Especially given the fact that both of those elders lost family members and sacrificed greatly during WWII.

      I am sick and tired of the whole setup in the Dem party we have now. It is a cult. You do not like what we are doing or you have anything to say – and you need to be gone. You are a horrible person. It is getting worse by the hour.

      My feeling is at least in my family, several reliable Dem voters will be, like me, casting their votes elsewhere. What a complete joke this Administration is. Unfortunately, it is not a joke. That speech was downright scary. And I never dreamed I would see that kind of talk nor that kind of trope in American political discourse.

      My personal resolve and that of my wife to vote for anyone but Dems is now complete. I will not even consider it again until the enema is complete.

      1. Carolinian

        When he was president FDR would visit his Warm Springs, GA Little While House and drive around in his special car and talk to the sharecroppers and the poor people. When he died at Warm Springs they lined the tracks in tribute as his funeral train returned North. He had the common touch, and he got it from the Polio, from those treatment times at Warm Springs perhaps, from getting out of his aristocratic skin.

        Some of us here are old enough to have parents who lived through the Depression. As a young man my father was for a time a country school teacher who helped bring electric lines to the area of the school. There was terrible racism back then but the people weren’t terrible. They believed what they had been taught. The brittle elitism of some current Dems smacks of immaturity and inexperience of the real world. Perhaps that’s why they are so eager to make wars against it.

        BTW you can visit Warm Springs and see the house that is more like a cabin and a museum with the car, the braces, the things that most of the public didn’t know about but that made FDR who he was. Churchill said he was the greatest man he had ever known.

  3. Louis Fyne

    rule #1 for US midterms if you are the incumbents: make the election as boring and perfunctory as possible to dampen turnout.

    But for Team DC Dems, nope….stir the pot and dare them to vote you out. Bonus points for using staging that looks like it’s straight out of a dystopian 70’s George Orwell movie about goodthink.

    Heckuva job Joe!

    1. notabanker

      It worked! I received my absentee ballot today. I cannot find any MAGA Republicans though, they are all labeled the plain old variety. Maybe they can hire some factcheckers to put a red label next to the MAGA one’s on the ballot. Or maybe they will just skip that step and send em all straight to Gitmo.

      I’m so confused. I would let the NYT or WaPo tell me what I am supposed to do, but, you know, paywalls. Eat, drive or read factaganda, tough choices these days.

  4. semper loquitur

    ““This August, during the Department of Defense’s annual Warrior Games at Disney World in Orlando, Florida this August 19-28…”

    Vonnegut Event!


    Hosted by the U.S. Army, the 2022 Warrior Games will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort from August 19-28, celebrating the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran U.S. military service members.

    I wonder if the events include marathon paperwork exercises to make a claim only to have it denied due to incompetence:

    The Veterans Administration is meant to help veterans with various needs, including obtaining disability benefits. Regarding potential Camp Lejeune victims, the VA did not do the right thing. They enlisted the help of non-specialists physicians to evaluate veterans affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination. The physicians in the VA have only completed four hours of training on the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue. The lack of experience and knowledge led to many disability claim denials. Veterans are left to deal with the consequences of their medical conditions individually.

    Additionally, military members and their families could not file lawsuits for these injuries. North Carolina prohibits claims of exposure to be brought after ten years, which is far past the exposure time for veterans and their families. Their only recourse was to work with the Veterans Administration.



    Of 57,500 claims filed since 2017 for illnesses related to water contamination at the base that spanned more than 30 years, the VA denied 17,200 “prematurely” instead of asking for additional information, according to a report released Thursday by the VA Office of Inspector General.

    Claims filed by another 2,300 veterans were assigned incorrect dates, denying them nearly $14 million in retroactive payments, the inspector general found. A total of 1,500 claims were denied for other technical and procedural errors.


    and scrambling for food and shelter, although some progress has been made towards ending homelessness for the 37K+ unhoused vets nationwide:


    fifty or seventy housing units at a time according to the sampling of news articles I found.

  5. Wyatt Powell

    How long before the Romanian Army takes Cernăuţi, Bugeac, and Moldova? *taps foot* Im getting rather impatient.

  6. Carolinian

    Re Casino Capitalism

    The modern American casino industry is a lot younger than people think. The first casino outside of Las Vegas opened in Atlantic City in 1978. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988, but the Indian casino era didn’t really take off until Foxwoods added its first table games in 1992. Until about 1990, casinos catered to a much narrower demographic: stag parties, not family vacations. Only 15 percent of Americans had ever visited Vegas in 1989. Six years later, with the launch of the Mirage and Excalibur and other family-friendly megaresorts, that number had doubled to 30 percent. In 2019, 45 percent of Americans reported having visited a casino in the last year.

    Must be my Baptist upbringing but I have a deep aversion toward gambling in all its many forms.

    Guess dancing is ok. Maybe.

    1. dday

      A couple of days ago I dropped $5 at a slot machine at the Brass Ass in Cripple Creek, CO. Ok it was on my bucket list. I was hoping to last ten minutes playing on the quarter line. I think I made it to 8.

      It turns out that there is a huge labor history around Cripple Creek and the miners union. They organized in 1894 when the big mines wanted to increase work hours to nine hours a day, but leave the pay at $3 per day. Around 1904 the owners fought back hard and destroyed the union.


      1. Carolinian

        There’s a song (not about CO). See Scorsese The Last Waltz.

        As for gambling, I just don’t get any fun out of it. If you win you didn’t deserve it and if you lose you feel foolish. Presumably for card counters and poker players it’s a test of skill. At any rate for me there’s not much value add to the experience. As Wuk says it’s more Skinner Box than entertainment. Pavlovegas.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I do like gambling myself, but agree with the article that legal gambling never should have left Vegas. I saw it come to WA state in the 90s . At first the casinos were small and actually on tribal lands and it was largely tribal members working in them. But that was just the camel getting its nose under the tent. A few years later they got much bigger, were no longer only on tribal lands, and pretty much anyone could work there. Took a drive through the tribal lands several years after the casinos had arrived and they reeked of poverty. The promises of riches never panned out.

      A few years later I was doing some work with the Maine Green party and we met with the tribal leader here who was working with Vegas developers to get a casino started. We were trying to decide whether to endorse the project, as if anyone gave a rat’s ass what the Greens thought. This proposed casino would not be on tribal lands at all – somehow they big $$$ people had figured out a work around for that. I pointed out what I’d seen in WA and asked the chief if he was really comfortable trusting a bunch a Vegas developers given the history of the industry and the even longer history of broken promises to the tribes on any number of issues all over the US. Turns out he was willing to trust them and so were the rest of the Greens. That was about when I decided the Greens weren’t wasting more time with.

      1. JBird4049

        I pointed out what I’d seen in WA and asked the chief if he was really comfortable trusting a bunch a Vegas developers given the history of the industry and the even longer history of broken promises to the tribes on any number of issues all over the US. Turns out he was willing to trust them and so were the rest of the Greens. That was about when I decided the Greens weren’t wasting more time with.

        I would think that they would have some healthy paranoia. Maybe some “gifts” were given? Broken treaties, various atrocities, and lies actually predate the Republic by around two centuries with the British Colonies. To fair, I don’t think that the British were as bad as the later Americans although that is not saying much and both sides including the French were generous with the atrocities.

    3. eg

      The only sure thing in a casino before Covid was the buffet. Now there is zero reason ever to darken their doors.

  7. Daniil Adamov

    Semi-fascism may be a classic Democratic Party compromise, a triumph of sensibility, moderation and vacuousness. “They are fascists!” “No they’re not!” “Let’s agree to meet half-way.”

    1. hunkerdown

      Semi-fascism is a forgivable sin in national-liberal theology. Fascism is akin to blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and therefore not forgivable (but the DNC will pay them generously for their services).

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think I remember Orwell noting a distinction in Homage To Catalonia and in other writings. He considered Franco to be mainly Traditional Authoritarian . . . supported by and fighting for rule by the Catholic Church, the Huge Feudal Landowners ( which Spain still had much of), the Army, etc. It also had a fellow-traveling Spanish Fascist Party which Franco found convenient to work with.

        But the Franco government was not modern fascist like the Italian government or the German government, in Orwell’s analysis.

        The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is authoritarian. But could anyone really call it fascist?

      2. Daniil Adamov

        There are many possible definitions of fascism. Authoritarianism does seem like a common thread for a lot of them. One option would be to call fascism “authoritarianism for the sake of authoritarianism”; that at least is the vibe I get from Mussolini’s speechifying on the subject. Gratuitous, gleeful, self-justifying authoritarianism rather than authoritarianism in the name of tradition, progress, security, prosperity or any other thing. Of course, that kind of thing is very rare and may be limited to Mussolini and some of his less successful imitators.

        At any rate, the question I would ask in this case is: “is semi-fascism authoritarian?” Perhaps it isn’t and that is what sets it apart? I have seen some repressive impulses among MAGA supporters online, but they do not amount to a coherent authoritarian ideology, and many seemed quite keen on preserving democratic and constitutional proprieties. Perhaps the “semi-fascists” aren’t any more authoritarian than the average citizen.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Esteemed commenter Old Sovietologist posted this link to a long, detailed, and insightful interview with Jacques Baud:


    It’s in this morning’s Links, but I just got to it now, it being evening in the Undisclosed Region in a country led by people who claim that they will dictate natural-resource prices to the Russians. And send Luigi Di Maio to show the Russians what’s what.

    Baud, being military, is especially good at explaining why certain tactics don’t work. Baud also is good on strategy. And let’s note that the “West” has no strategy.

    Baud has an interesting working hypothesis about Ukraine / Russia mirror propaganda: The Ukrainians bomb the nuclear facility and blame the Russians, who have troops in the facility. He’s still skeptical about the massacre at Bucha, considering it staged–and note his chronology.

    Note his observations, as a Swiss, on how Switzerland just wrecked its neutrality–a policy 170 years old, as he points out.

    It didn’t have to be like this. Yet the rise of the managerial elite, and their willingness to fight nastily over fine points in office politics, means that the bad habits of a coddled bourgeoise are leading us to ruin. I’m also seeing photos of Reagan and Gorbachov in some of the articles about Gorbachov’s death–and was reminded which of them was truly the more mean-spirited. And it wasn’t Gorby.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Good interview. Zelensky is setting the strategic goal of re-capturing Kherson by calling the action in southern Ukraine a counter-offensive. If they’re unable to do it they’re handing the Russians a propaganda victory. That probably explains why neither British or American sources are inclined to call it that.

      The number of troops deployed and attempted seizure of the airport suggest Kiev wasn’t a diversionary attack, Whether the Russians intended to take it by storm or not is another matter. That doesn’t make it a feint regardless. It looks like leverage for another Minsk-style agreement with the benefit of hindsight. Where Russian forces would act as the armed guarantor.

      It might explain why Moscow labeled this a special military operation.

      1. Yves Smith

        Please look up Kiev.

        You don’t try to take a sprawling city of 3 million with 40,000. Russia is not a bunch of suicidal morons.

        As Scott Ritter has repeatedly pointed out, for a fixing operation to work, it has to look serious. That means taking important targets, getting bloodied in offensive maneuvers.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I suspect Ritter was the anonymous author of the Marine Corps Gazette article which made similar points. The initial numbers of troops isn’t a solid basis for that claim. If Russia had captured the airport and held it they could’ve added more troops to the mix. I’m not convinced that Russia ever intended to storm Kiev much less while negotiations were ongoing. The mere presence of Russian troops at the gates of Kiev was a source of leverage during the proceedings. It gave Moscow the option to tighten the screws on the capital or deescalate as they saw fit.

          1. Yves Smith

            No, it’s widely believed to be von Riper. And Ritter’s view of the move on Kiev is not the same as that of the Marine Corps Gazette author.

            Ritter is a persona non grata after his Bucha article in Consortium News and his felony conviction. I am convinced it was the Ritter connection that led to Consortium News and Mint Press being demonetized by PayPal. Other people I know who are well plugged in share that view. There’s no way any official pub would run a piece by him.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      “Mean-spirited” isn’t what I would call him either… although, some of the people who worked with him might beg to differ. But that may just be the product of normal workplace tensions. Anyway, I would call him delusional and reckless when it comes to other people’s lives and livelihoods, but probably not mean-spirited.

  9. semper loquitur

    The article on the NYT’s COVID newsletter was a study in trying to use words to create a new reality. Call it the Judith Butler school of Journalism:

    “The briefing is changing to reflect that outlook, with a greater emphasis on living with the virus instead of preventing infection.”

    Or dying with the virus. Or wishing you were dead. I had a friend who recently told me he is sick of masking and will go without from now on. He’s managed to avoid at least a symptomatic infection so far but who knows how long that will last. His wife and toddler haven’t though. It’s no wonder he thinks it safe, given “reporting” like this. These people are deranged liars.

    “The acute phase where Americans were highly concerned about infection is fading.”

    Why?! Are the infection rates fading? Or is it due to elites downplaying the risks?

    “We’re going to focus on those sorts of effects rather than information about treatment and prevention.”

    Effects such as long COVID? Because I noticed the author failed to mention it in the article. Talk about some “…ripple effects on our mental health.” God we are so fu(ked. Masking around here has gone away by and large. I get more and more looks when I wear one. I was at the hospital the other day and only my nurse was properly masked. Everyone else was wearing a surgical mask and often incorrectly. It’s like living in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” where you know everyone else is actually an alien. The dumbest timeline for sure.

    1. HotFlash

      DId a little shopping today, masked as usual. To counter the “it’s over” mood (and keep myself masking), I check 91-divoc.com daily. Itinerary permitting, I tell everyone I meet (mostly cashiers and people in the check-out line) how many of our fellow Ontarians died the previous day. Today I was very motivated to mask: 82 dead yesterday, same day Ont Premier Dougie Ford has had it announced that quarantine period has reduced to zero days (ie., “just come back to work when you are feeling better”).

      If 82 people had died of traffic crashes, food poisoning, flea bites, gunshot wounds, too-tight underwear, quite literally *anything* other than covid, it would have been screamed from the headlines. But it’s just covid, and we get crickets.

      Oh, and the free test kits (assuming you can find any) stop in December. Do we not have govt health care in this province?

      1. Paleobotanist

        Still masking in Montreal… spousal unit and I. I seem to be one of the rare few masking at my university. I did not mask during fieldwork in the back of beyond, but now that I’m back in Sin City (Montreal), I’m masking.

  10. KD

    Anyone noticed how they stopped talking about “white supremacy” when all the nasty stuff came out about Azov Battalion? Now we have “Maga Extremists” and “Semi-Fascists,” which sounds more like extras from the set of the Road Warrior movies.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    Having taken a good look at the set decoration and lighting for Joe Biden’s “Democracy in the Twilight” Speech in Philadelphia, I can come up with only this interpretation:

    The choreography, lighting, props, and set direction are all a coded message related to a novel by Anne Rice.

    {Having had to sit through the film Interview with the Vampire, laughing aloud only once or twice (honest!) at inappropriate moments, I’m no expert. But I know forced spookiness when I see it.}

    Can anyone here decode the reference?

      1. ambrit

        Alas, I empathize with DJG. Some movies create their own fugue states. “Interview With the Vampire” is one such of a film. Another example would be, if I could remember it, “Battlefield Earth.”
        Some astute observers make the association between “Creepy” Joe’s speech and one by Burt Lancaster’s character in “Seven Days in May.”

        1. Carolinian

          With an added dose of Precious Bodily Fluids? And vampires are out of date since Kristen Stewart retired to play a better looking Princess Diana. Maybe Joe was going for a Twin Peaks vibe.

          1. JBird4049

            I have not seen the entire speech, being as it is right out of Riefenstahl’s and Goebbels’ book Propaganda 101: Brainwashing People the Easy Way. I was… disturbed. I mean really disturbed.

            To grasp the full insanity, I to intend see the entire film reel production in one sitting as so far it is an excellent example of American iconography much as Triumph of the Will is an excellent German one. People wonder how the Germans could have been fooled by the Nazis’ propaganda, but the party was using German cultural references; the producer(s) of Biden production intended to push the same buttons as the Nazis did.

            However, not only was Riefenstahl a genius, her messaging was not as strident or clumsy. I think there was also the goal of propagandizing the PMC, particularly the local Democratic apparatchiks, which makes it even more jarring for everyone else including other Americans. It focused on what are their buttons. What works for 10% of the population will probably not work for the other 90%, but the goal is not really convince the general population. It is to inspire the same people who worked against and betrayed Bernie Sanders as well as all the candidates not a doctrinaire neoliberal.

  12. semper loquitur

    I don’t think this got mentioned here, apologies otherwise:

    Here’s a fun story about “smart” tech from out of Denver:

    Thousands of Xcel Energy rewards customers were hot after losing control of thermostats

    Voluntary participants in the company’s AC Rewards program allow Xcel to control their “smart” home thermostats during hot summer days when demand for electricity and air conditioning is at a peak.

    On Tuesday, as temperatures rose into the lower 90s in the metro area, Xcel took complete control and locked thermostats because of an “emergency situation.”


    Some reward! Talk about social control. Quit protesting and get back to work or you’ll freeze to death. Oh, and your electric car is shut down as well. Same with your coffee pot. And your pacemaker. Did someone let Maddow know the Russians have infiltrated Xcel Energy?

    1. Delvo

      Wait until all the people with ‘smart meters’ find that they can be cut off remotely by the utility, or, can participate in a bidding war, their credit card already on file, to pay the hourly bid “market price” for power, which with and only with smart meters, can cut them off or allow them to cool, heat or cook, hour by hour.

      That goes for electricity, gas and water too.

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    I’m getting a little local demonstration of Brandon’s F-15 warning as I write. But it’s not the old F-15 flying down my street so low you can feel the afterburner. It’s the new Super Hornet F-18 flown by the Blue Angels.

    It began yesterday afternoon and will continue for a couple of hours every afternoon until Sunday (or Monday?). Covid brought a couple of years’ respite from this ear buster for man and beast, but now that all is back to “normal,” my neighborhood gets fake-strafed every afternoon this long weekend.

    1. HotFlash

      Yeah, we have the Air Show at the CNE this weekend, they are flying today as a warm-up/crowd teaser. I just want to throw stones at them. To be clear, I used to enjoy the airshow, back when there were no current wars (at least that I knew of). I saw a couple of planes go down, with crew, which blunted my enthusiasm. And those were *accidents*. I cannot participate when the flying stuff causes *intended* deaths. Thanking my parents once again for having me in 1949, and dumb luck for not being a parent, old me is fixing to be out of this before SHTF.

      As we used to say back in the ’60’s, ‘War is not healthy for children and other living things‘.

    2. Angie Neer

      The Blue Angels (of death) visited us in the Seattle area a few weeks ago, an annual event except for 2 years off for Covid. Pre-pandemic, the local paper (yes, we still have one) tended to at least acknowledge that not everybody is thrilled about the annual terror in the sky. This time, the only commentary was about how excited people are that they are now even louder. Yay!

    3. HotFlash

      Also, the fly-by scared my cat. This is *serious*. More seriously, we have a friend who was teaching school in central Santiago a block or so away from the Presidential Palace when the US jets came by as the US couped Chile. Memories like that leave a mark, and the people who lived through such things talk. Since 60 years, I trust anecdotal info way more than ‘official’, whether gov or MSM.

      Possibly only a coincidence, but I can no longer find info on the fly-by in Oz re the 1975 defenestration of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Any Ozians (or anyone!) have functioning links to what happened? I am sure I read of fly-overs, but searches nowadays show up nada. Perhaps it didn’t happen…

      Winston Smith, do you know anything about this?

  14. aj

    “When Sen. Estes Kefauver’s organized crime investigation discovered in 1951 that illegal gambling dens near Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi were absorbing $500,000 out of the base’s $4 million monthly payroll, nobody said that airmen were grownups who should spend their money however they want.”

    And now Biloxi is one of the prime gambling destinations outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. (8 casinos in the city and 12 if you include the surrounding areas). It wasn’t cool when it was “illegal” but now that the state of Mississippi gets a cut, all is fine and good.

    As an interesting aside, Mississippi has had legal casino gaming for over 30 years, but didn’t have the lottery until 2020.

  15. David

    The LA Times article on the Trump documents is garbled, but the situation is clear enough. “Classified” in this context means “bearing a security classification.” In most countries today, above a level which means basically “don’t leave this lying around,” you have three levels of classification: Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. If it doesn’t have one of those markings, it’s not classified. That’s it. “Classified and Top Secret” is meaningless, because TS is, of course, a classification. What the story is trying to say is that, of all the documents found, twenty-seven had security classifications of some kind. There have been bigger scandals.

    1. HotFlash

      I am reminded of a server reportedly in a (second?) bathroom. Which was, we are told, was not wiped with a cloth?

    2. Yves Smith

      On top of that:

      In the US, documents still have their former classification stamps even after having been declassified. There is no new stamp put on them to signal visually that they are unclassified.

      Moreover, Trump as a former President has lifetime clearances.

      The boxes were packed by the GSA, not Trump or Trump staffers,

      Trump had the boxes in a locked room. The FBI thought in needed a better lock so they got one.

      No one has yet alleged that anyone at Mar a Lago other than Trump saw any of the marked documents.

      1. The Historian

        In the interest of clarity:

        32 CFR Part 2001 Subpart C explains the markings on classified documents. Everyone who deals with classified material is expected to know this part of the code because if someone in the government wants to make your life difficult, this is part of what they can use.


        All classified documents have ‘sunset’ dates marked on them. If the document is past its ‘sunset’ date, then no, it doesn’t have to have extra declassification markings because it is clear that document’s classification has expired. There are some exceptions the gov can use to extend the automatic declassification date.

        But, there is also this:
        § 2001.25 Declassification markings.

        (a) General. A uniform security classification system requires that standard markings be applied to declassified information. Except in extraordinary circumstances, or as approved by the Director of ISOO, the marking of declassified information shall not deviate from the following prescribed formats. If declassification markings cannot be affixed to specific information or materials, the originator shall provide holders or recipients of the information with written instructions for marking the information. Markings shall be uniformly and conspicuously applied to leave no doubt about the declassified status of the information and who authorized the declassification.

        (b) The following markings shall be applied to records, or copies of records, regardless of media:

        (1) The word, “Declassified;”

        (2) The identity of the declassification authority, by name and position, or by personal identifier, or the title and date of the declassification guide. If the identity of the declassification authority must be protected, a personal identifier may be used or the information may be retained in agency files.

        (3) The date of declassification; and

        (4) The overall classification markings that appear on the cover page or first page shall be lined with an “X” or straight line. An example might appear as:


        Declassified by David Smith, Chief, Division 5, August 17, 2008

        As far as former president having lifetime clearances, I think those clearances are only granted at the behest of the sitting president so that former presidents can write their memoirs, etc. Did Biden grant Trump an extended clearance? It is entirely possible but not probable!

        I found this code, which only applies to Treasury, but I am sure there are similar codes elsewhere, but I’ve spent too much time on this farce already to care to search any more. I need to get back to reading Josephus.


        1. Yves Smith

          A former President being “read in” on current security matters is at the discretion of the current President. An ex President does not have the right to walk into the DoD and demand a briefing, and no one suggested that was the issue here.

          However, former Vice Presidents and Presidents can access classified documents generated during their tenure, by going through a process with the department that holds the documents (since the National Archives would not hold classified material. The current President has nothing to do with this process….as least as provided in the various regs.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The pandemic is a national emergency that enabled both Trump and Biden to delay repayment and interest. If the only argument these legal scholars can muster against debt forgiveness is the original intent of an act than it hardly matters from a legal standpoint. The Supreme Court has historically been reluctant to override executive decisions because they have no means to enforce their decisions. The power of the judiciary has always been limited to the deference shown towards their rulings. I guess we’ll how the nutters from the Federalist Society express their feelings about it in their legal opinions.

      The Republican base is primarily motivated by their spite and sense of grievance so it goes without saying they’ll try to use it for electoral purposes. The neoliberals can’t stomach the thought that the government can provide debt relief or other subsidies to the working class. They’re only supposed to subsidize corporations and the donors who give the politicians money like the PPP’s so-called loans.

      It’s good politics for the Biden administration and they’re choosing their enemies wisely at any rate. Personally, I don’t think there should be an income threshold or a limited amount that was forgiven. People making six figures a year don’t deserve to be left out of debt forgiveness when they’re shopping at Walmart. That’s gotta be humiliating for the aspiration class of privileged workers as it is.

      1. Carolinian

        The Supreme Court has historically been reluctant to override executive decisions because they have no means to enforce their decisions.

        Turley’s the expert not me and he says the Supreme Court has already struck down several Biden efforts to expand executive power. And that’s really the issue because the Congress, while about as bad as Biden is, at least represents the broad will of the voters whereas Biden’s autocratic tendencies are in fact quite scary, not benign. The man has no judgment and apparently very little self restraint.

        And in this instance he clearly sees the 10k forgiveness as a bribe to voters rather than the needed reform of the loan system (which he personally had a great deal to do with making the unforgiving system that it is). One could even argue that the Ukraine mess was an attempt to bolster the weak political position of Biden and his Democrats.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Student loan forgiveness was already authorized by Congress in the Heroes Act. If Congress has a problem with it then they need to be more careful drafting legislation. They are responsible for handing over that power to the executive branch. Once again, the terms of the act stated that it could be postponed or waived during a national emergency.

          Turley doesn’t like it and stated that it wasn’t the intention of the act. Well, so what? He’s writing an opinion piece that is masquerading behind the thinnest of legal opinions. That isn’t autocracy, nor is it hijacking the act for an ulterior motive, only executing a law as it was written.

          That’s democracy in action.

  16. digi_owl

    Just read that the V-22 that has been stranded in Norway since doing an emergency landing, managed to land itself in a nature reserve no less.

    So now the Norwegian military is drawing up a expensive plans to get it out of there while doing as little permanent damage to the area as possible.

  17. flora

    …but for now, I don’t even know what “akin to ‘semi-fascism’” even means.

    Erm… does it mean “3rd cousin to an Azov battalion member” ? / heh

  18. Pat

    I’m going to throw another movie reference into the mix for the Biden imagery. It is nothing direct but my first thought was President Snow and Panem from Hunger Games. There is a vague resemblance between Joe and Donald Sutherland, and the movies used saturated color for many of their speech/presentation scenes. But there was just something about the the flanking Marines above and behind with the red projected on the white building as a backdrop that made me flash on the Snow pronouncements to defeated and downtrodden people.

    And semi fascist seems to me to be a weasel way of using a scary reference about something that doesn’t really qualify to get around someone pointing out its inaccuracy.

  19. marym

    > LA Times: “Twenty-seven documents with classified and top secret markings

    Here’s a copy of the full list of items (103 C, S, TS documents). The 27 documents were those from the office (Items 1-7). The rest were from the storage room.

    Another court document was unsealed today. Here’s a tweet from a thread about it from a reporter who does a lot of court reporting:

    “Something else that wasn’t in DOJ’s FL filing this week is the parenthetical here making clear that the 103 *documents* seized from Mar-a-Lago with classification markings during the Aug. search amount to *hundreds of pages*, per the govt’s accounting of them”

    Here’s a link to an image of the document. Reference to “hundreds of pages” on p.5. Text and footnote re “classification markings” on p. 7:
    “…therefore a complete response would not turn on whether or not responsive documents had purportedly declassified”


      1. Yves Smith

        Documents are not restamped when declassified. Robert Barnes in a recent interview at The Duran describes how he has many once classified docs and they have only their original marks.

        1. marym

          The footnote with the “purportedly” statement refers to a quote in the text from Trump’s motion that “President Trump determined that a search for documents bearing classification marks should be conducted – even if the marked documents had been declassified.” I didn’t mean to imply any judgment of my own on whether marked documents had or hadn’t been declassified by a generic “standing order” (phrase used in the media, but not, as far as I’ve read, in Trump’s court filings) or some other process, just how the two descriptions (marked classified, or classified) seem to be used in this context.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Documents are not restamped when declassified

          To put this more forcibly, there’s nobody in the government whose job is to take the top secret covers off documents and put new covers on. I believe this is done with a note or stamp.

          So the photograph is by symbol manipulators, for symbol maniulators. Hence the jouissance.

  20. semper loquitur

    Some good news re: Amazon’s Ring Meat of Power. Apparently they have a measly 36% approval rating on Amazon Prime. I tried to review bomb them but they asked me to watch it first. Fat chance. Then I go to Youtube to find out they’ve blocked all reviews anyway because of trolls. Guess I’m a troll. I’ll have to content myself with going to every trailer they have up on Youtube and bombing it there.

    Rotten Tomatoes is ripping out bad reviews but the true believers keep coming at ‘em. We’re gonna kill this pile of $hit. Forward to glorious victory!

    1. eg

      I decided not to bother watching when I realized that it’s not even based upon the Silmarillion which I had foolishly assumed a prequel to Lord of the Rings would necessarily be.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I decided not to bother watching when I realized that it’s not even based upon the Silmarillion which I had foolishly assumed a prequel to Lord of the Rings would necessarily be.

        I remember the Walt Disney adaption of The House at Pooh Corner, that had Pooh going to answer the door with a gun in his hand. A pop-gun (with a cork in the barrel) but nevertheless.

        This is far far more vile and degrading. Leave it to Amazon!

  21. chris

    Reuters reporting that Nord Stream One is shuttered until further notice due to maintenance issues.

    So if the Europeans and UK manage to cut fuel use enough from now until November, they might be able to make their storage goals, assuming the winter is mild. I can’t believe they really didn’t think this through prior to committing to Ukraine above the needs of their own people. I also can’t believe they seriously expect Russia to just turn everything back on the way it was if sanctions and other constraints vanished tomorrow. Russia is going to sell that fuel to everyone else in the world, make a healthy profit, and not worry about Europe.

    1. Yves Smith

      Storage was never intended to substitute for supply for more than a short-term basis.

      And what happens even if Europe gets through the winter? They have nothing left to run things in the spring. This is not a one shot deal

      Russia provided somewhere between 140 and 155 billion cm of gas per year to Europe. They are still providing, from memory, 13 billion cm annually via TurkeyStream.

      Full gas storage = only three months of normal use:


      Russia has offered NS2, which could fully substitute for NS1, but Europe is too proud to do that.

  22. flora

    Barbara Ehrenreich has passed away. From Wikipedia:

    “During the 1980s and early 1990s she was a prominent figure in the Democratic Socialists of America. She was a widely read and award-winning columnist and essayist, and author of 21 books. Ehrenreich was perhaps best known for her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America; a memoir of Ehrenreich’s three-month experiment surviving on a series of minimum wage jobs. She was a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award. ”

    And from her son Ben:

    Sad news. Barbara Ehrenreich, my one and only mother, died on September 1, a few days after her 81st birthday. She was, she made clear, ready to go. She was never much for thoughts and prayers, but you can honor her memory by loving one another, and by fighting like hell.


    1. eg

      The only thing I ever read of hers were the materials associated with her designation “the professional managerial class.” That alone is a worthy legacy.

  23. eg

    Regarding that sunflower, I’ll never forget encountering fields of them off into the horizon in every direction while on a motorcycle trip through Manitoba — it was like something out of The Wizard of Oz.

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a picture of a toucan holding a bat titled ” Toucan crunching a bat”. It looks as though the toucan is getting ready to eat the bat. I did not know that toucans ever ate anything but fruit.


    My best guess is that this is a yellow ridged toucan, but I can’t be sure. ( Image of yellow ridged toucan . . .

  25. skippy

    Hay Lambert I thought I should note the musical link I left in yesterdays WC was produced by Danger Mouse of none other than the Roots reggae band and though you might appreciate the synergies.

      1. skippy

        I offered it as a palliative to you because I know your affinity with Roots et al … but yeah … was there too mate …

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