2:00PM Water Cooler 9/30/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Black-throated Bobwhite, Celestún, Yucatán, Mexico. This is only three stars, but I think people take points off for things I like, like lots of other birds and atmospherics. But you can hear the Bobwhite. I think the migration season is coming up, so if you, dear readers, have any suggestions on birds leaving (or moving in) to the neighborhood, please leave them in comments.

• “How a COVID lockdown changed bird behaviour” [Nature]. “Because people spent more time at home and in parks than before March 2020, the analysis found that 20 of the 25 bird species examined behaved differently during lockdown. Parks — which were flooded with visitors — saw an an uptick in the numbers of corvids and gulls, whereas smaller birds, such as Eurasian blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus), were spotted less frequently than in previous years. And because people spent more time at home, the number of avian species that visited domestic gardens also dropped, by around one-quarter, compared with previous years.Other species, including rock pigeons (Columba livia), didn’t react to the lockdown at all. Warrington found this surprising, because pigeons are city dwellers, so she thought they would be affected by the changes in people’s behaviour. ‘But they don’t give a crap about what we do,’ she says.”

* * *


“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

“The logic of the insult and the logic of scientific classification represent the two extreme poles of what a classification may be in the social world.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

“Treasury moves forward with database on corporate ownership” [Associated Press]. “Tens of millions of small U.S. companies will be required to provide the government with details on their owners and others who benefit from them under a regulation finalized Thursday that’s intended to peel back the layers of ownership that can hide unlawfully obtained assets. The Treasury Department said it was moving to create a database that will contain personal information on the owners of at least 32 million U.S. businesses as part of an effort to combat illicit finance. Treasury officials said the new rule represents a sea change in the world of corporate transparency. The regulation comes in the midst of U.S. and Western allies’ ongoing attempts to sanction Russian oligarchs and wealthy friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the start of his invasion of Ukraine. The wealthy Russians are accused of hiding stolen money and assets in the U.S. and around the world.”


* * *

“Two Dem stars struggle to recapture the magic” [Politico]. “Just a few short years ago, Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams were among the Democratic Party’s shiniest stars, two youthful candidates who electrified their parties even in defeat. While they came up just short in their longshot 2018 bids to win statewide office in Texas and Georgia, respectively, their promise was such that each sparked talk of their prospects on the national stage…. Both have consistently trailed their opponents in the polls. O’Rourke hasn’t led in a single survey since he announced his candidacy last November, and Abrams is barely doing better.” • Those candidates aren’t for electing; they’re for fundraising. (Also, stars shine, but they are not “shiny.” “Brightest stars,” or “most brightly shining stars.”)

“A Choice Election, but an Uncertain One” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “Here’s another factor working against overly confident prognosticators: ‘Toss-Up’ House, Senate, and gubernatorial races have a tendency to break in a common direction rather than evenly. Two years ago everyone was whipsawed in the last six weeks. Things seemed to collapse on Republicans after then-President Trump’s hideously bad performance in the Sept. 29 debate. Down-ballot Republican candidates’ numbers plunged as well, triggering speculation of an impending “blue wave.” But after several weeks of conversation about the implications of such a massive victory for Democrats, a last-minute gust shifted in the opposite direction, turning the blue wave into a Dead Sea as independents decided to hedge their bets. In the House, every single race rated as a toss-up going into Election Day went Republican. But this is not only a House or a 2020 phenomenon. Over the last 12 elections, an average of 77 percent of the Senate races rated in the toss-up column going into Election Day broke in the same direction. Democrats won eight out of nine toss-ups in 2006, Republicans eight out of nine in 2014. In 1998, Democrats won six out of seven toss-ups. Democrats won eight out of 12 in both 2008 and 2012, and seven out of nine in 2000. The trend is even a bit streaky: Toss-ups broke in favor of Republicans in the last four elections (2014-2020), but for Democrats in the previous four (2006-2012).” • Cook points to the mostest of the first-past-the-post-ness….

* * *

PA: “OnPolitics: Pennsylvania’s Senate race heats up” [USA Today]. “From being trolled by Fetterman on social media over referring to a supermarket veggie tray as ‘crudités,’ Oz has now attracted millions of dollars from national political action committees. He has a barrage of ads running against his opponent, has the media joining him in asking for the Democrat’s health records and has effectively cut Fetterman’s lead to a few points – within the margin of error. Early in the summer, Fetterman held a nearly double-digit lead over his Republican opponent and was on track to help Senate Democrats secure their majority. But in the last month, Oz has surged in spending and favorability and eroded Fetterman’s lead to 3 points, according to a new Franklin & Marshall Poll out Thursday. ‘It was like Fetterman was running unopposed over the summer,’ said Berwood Yost, director of Franklin & Marshall’s Center for Opinion Research. ‘That has changed. Oz is challenging his crime record, and the messaging is working.'” • If the key moment turns out to be the debate, that’s not good news for Fetterman, who is not a good debater.

PA: “John Fetterman Offers Voters Medical Transparency By Ripping Heart Out Of Chest” [The Onion]. “‘It’s essential that we address any worries voters have about their candidate’s fitness for office, which is why the lieutenant governor chose to tear out his still-beating heart and hold it out for all to see,’ said campaign manager Brendan McPhillips….”

WI: No means no:

“Amazing Democrats”…. That’s quite an act. What do you call it?


“More Democrats want Biden to run in 2024; Harris top choice if he doesn’t: poll” [The Hill]. “A new Morning Consult-Politico poll found that 59 percent Democrat voters think Biden should make another run for the Oval Office, up from 53 percent in August.” • Let’s just hope Biden isn’t counting on becoming a “wartime leader” as an October Surprise. Say with a nuclear strike.

Grateful to The Hill’s photo editor for leaving me some space for a value-add.

“Newsom signs UFW bill aimed at helping California farmworkers organize” [Los Angeles Times]. “After previously indicating he might veto the measure, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law Wednesday that will make it easier for agricultural laborers to join unions, a hard-fought win for the United Farm Workers.

The signature came after union members and their supporters made a 335-mile pilgrimage from Delano, Calif., to Sacramento and then camped out in front of the state Capitol for weeks as dignitaries visited — a vivid and theatrical display of political heft. Adding to the pressure, President Biden took the unusual step of inserting himself into state politics, releasing a statement over Labor Day weekend urging Newsom to enact the law, known as Assembly Bill 2183. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) also joined the chorus.”

“Judge overrules special master order for Trump to give ‘final’ objections on FBI search inventory” [FOX]. “U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Thursday overruled an order by Special Master Raymond Dearie that said former President Donald Trump needed to provide any ‘final’ objections or disputes regarding the items seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid on Mar-a-Lago last month. Last week, Dearie asked the Trump team that by no later than Sept. 30 to provide a declaration of affidavit that includes a list of any specific items in the property inventory that they assert were not seized from the premises; a list of items that were seized but to which the description of the contents or the location of the item was incorrect; and a list and description of any item that Trump’s legal team asserts was seized but is not listed in the property receipt. ‘This submission shall be plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed property inventory,’ Dearie wrote in the filing last week. Cannon, who appointed Dearie as special master, reviewed his order and on Thursday said there ‘shall be no separate requirement’ for Trump ‘at this stage, prior to the review of the Seized Materials, to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents.'”

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

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.

* * *

“Registered Democrats are sick of the radical left—and some are switching sides” [New York Post]. • This is the post, so take with a dose of salts. Interesting interviews, though.

Sullying the name of Occupy, as they have for many years:


“Durham Prosecutes FBI Informants, While Protecting Their Handlers” [RealClearPolitics]. “Since being named special counsel in October 2020, John Durham has investigated or indicted several unscrupulous anti-Trump informants. But he has spared the FBI agents who handled them, raising suspicions he’s letting investigators off the hook in his waning investigation of misconduct in the Russiagate probe. In recent court filings, Durham has portrayed the G-men as naive recipients of bad information, tricked into opening improper investigations targeting Donald Trump and obtaining invalid warrants to spy on one of his advisers.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Problem with Polling Might Be Unfixable” [Richard Hanania’s Newsletter]. “Taking the data together, I think there’s a decent amount of evidence for a trend in which the polls started out relatively unbiased, but have been getting more biased towards Democrats over time. It’s not very strong evidence, but the problem with hoping for anything better is that the longer you wait in order to gain more observations, the more the world changes. It therefore wouldn’t be appropriate to say “let’s wait until 2050 so we have a decent sample size,” because by that time the two major parties, and in all likelihood American society itself, will be unrecognizable to us today. This is a problem with political science more generally – findings can be historically contingent and it is always open to interpretation how much they can help in forecasting the future.” • Very interesting article. If polls are broken, and nobody does exit polls any more, then we don’t have a cross-check on election resujlts. Not that this would ever be a problem….

Live-tweeting jury selection in DC for the Proud Boys:

There’s your sans culottes, right there….


• If you wonder why I’m still watching the charts like a cat watching a mousehoke, here’s why:

• ”New Infectious Threats Are Coming. The U.S. Probably Won’t Contain Them” [New York Times]. “If it wasn’t clear enough during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become obvious during the monkeypox outbreak: The United States, among the richest, most advanced nations in the world, remains wholly unprepared to combat new pathogens. The coronavirus was a sly, unexpected adversary. Monkeypox was a familiar foe, and tests, vaccines and treatments were already at hand. But the response to both threats sputtered and stumbled at every step. The United States spends between 300 to 500 times more on its military defense than on its health systems, and yet “no war has killed a million Americans,” noted Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who led the C.D.C. under former President Barack Obama.”

* * *

• ”Long COVID risk falls only slightly after vaccination, huge study shows” [Nature]. “Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 lowers the risk of long COVID after infection by only about 15%, according to a study of more than 13 million people1. That’s the largest cohort that has yet been used to examine how much vaccines protect against the condition, but it is unlikely to end the uncertainty. The authors of the latest study also compared symptoms such as brain fog and fatigue in vaccinated and unvaccinated people for up to six months after they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The team found no difference in type or severity of symptoms between those who had been vaccinated and those who had not. ‘Those same fingerprints we see in people who have breakthrough infections,’ Al-Aly says.” • Well, I guess we can see who nobody in the Adminisration or CDC or Big Pharma wants to talk about Long Covid.

• ”New guidance released on diagnosing, treating long COVID symptoms” [ABC]. “Citing concerns about the lingering and sometimes debilitating long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the body — and observed inequities amongst minority patients suffering disproportionately from the virus — medical experts on “long COVID” issued the first guidance of its kind to diagnose and treat the mysterious illness. Experts at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation said they hope the guidance will help other doctors leverage their experience with patients to help address and mitigate their symptoms. The guidance is indicative of widespread concern among medical experts that even months after resolving the initial infection, COVID is still causing serious health concerns amongst many Americans. At least 9 million long COVID patients are grappling with a range of symptoms, but experts said that number could be as high as 28 million people.” • In my understanding, only governmental entities like CDC can issue “guidance.” Not NGOs like the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

* * *

• When they say “personal risk assessment” they mean just that:

So I don’t see the issue here….

• And speaking of the moral high ground:

* * *

• ”COVID-19 pandemic changed our personalities, claims study” [Sky News]. “The study assessed the personality of 7,109 people, between the ages of 18 and 109, and participants were given a test measuring neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The first tests during the start of the pandemic, December 2019 to March 2020, showed people’s personality to be relatively stable with just a small decline in neuroticism. In the second half of the pandemic, there were declines in how extroverted people were, how open people were to new experiences and how agreeable and conscientious they were.”

* * *

• ”Oregon to cover health-related climate change expenses under Medicaid” [Seattle Times]. “Oregon is set to become the first state in the nation to cover climate change expenses for certain low-income patients under its Medicaid program as the normally temperate Pacific Northwest region sees longer heat waves and more intense wildfires. The new initiative, slated to take effect in 2024, will cover payment for devices such as air conditioners and air filters for Medicaid members with health conditions who live in an area where an emergency due to extreme weather has been declared by the federal government or the governor’s office, according to the Oregon Health Authority.” • But not Covid?! Still, since Corsi-Rosenthal boxes can be used for both Covid and wildfire smoke, perhaps other devices may as well.

* * *

• More on “mild”:

I remember that video and that moment. “Mild” spread round the world instantly

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 ~60,000. Today, it’s ~53,100 and 53,100 * 6 = a Biden line at 318,600. (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 the first surge in New York, in the spring of 2020 (after which the Times printed the images of the 100,000 who died, considering that a large number, as it was at the time).

Lambert here: The fall in case count looks impressive enough. What the Fauci Line shows, however, is that we have at last achieved the level of the initial peak, when New York was storing the bodies in refrigerator trucks. So the endzone celebrations are, to my mind, premature. Not that anyone will throw a flag. Of course, the real story is in the charts for California and the South. See below.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

The West:

California dug its cases out of that drawer.


Wastewater data (CDC), September 26:

Lambert here: I’m pleased to see that there are now some live sites in New York City.

For grins, September 25:

NOTE To get the CDC data pages to load, I have to turn off my VPN. Thanks for the security breach, CDC.

An alert reader suggested taking a look at the MWRA data from the Boston area, and lo and behold:

Still vertical. This is a seven-day average, mind you, so the rise is no fluke. Let us also remember that the Boston area is not only the home of many, many students, it’s also a PMC center, and we have already seen one ginormous superspreader event from the conference in Boston. Boston also has a major international airport, another cause of spread.


SITE DOWN From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 21:

-0.5%. Not so much down, as fluky. Something seems to have nuked the layout.


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.)

Lambert here: I have to say, I’m seeing more yellow, which continues to please.

NOT UPDATED FFS Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 23:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers. Those two red areas in Northern Maine and upstate New York are both on the way to Quebec, Canada.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED FFS Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), September 23:

Not a sea of green.

NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays. Not this week, though! Mr Covid’s on vacation? So the boys and girls don’t have to come into the office?


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].

SITE DOWN Variant data, national (Walgreens), September 10:

Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its appearance in CDC data below.

Variant data, national (CDC), September 10 (Nowcast off):

Since BA.2.75 seems neglible besides BA.4.6 and our new friend BF.7, I’m going to abandon updating the table I made for it (though I may recycle it later).

• “COVID Variant Tracker Shows BA.4.6, BF.7 on the Rise as BA.5 Cases Slowly Decrease” [NBC]. “New York is seeing nearly 15% of its COVID cases tied to the BA.4.6 subvariant, while an area of New England that includes Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island is seeing more than 3.9% of its cases caused by the BF.7 subvariant.”

• “Big COVID-19 waves may be coming, new Omicron strains suggest” [Science]. “Nearly 3 years into the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 faces a formidable challenge: finding new ways around the immunity humans have built up through vaccines and countless infections. Worrisome new data show it is up to the challenge. Several new and highly immune-evasive strains of the virus have caught scientists’ attention in recent weeks; one or more may well cause big, new COVID-19 waves this fall and winter. ‘We can say with certainty that something is coming. Probably multiple things are coming,’ says Cornelius Roemer, who studies viral evolution at the University of Basel. Whether they will also lead to many hospitalizations and deaths is the big question. ‘It’s not surprising that we’re seeing changes that yet again help the virus to evade immune responses,’ says molecular epidemiologist Emma Hodcroft of the University of Bern, who notes that SARS-CoV-2 faces ‘the same challenge that things like the common cold and influenza face every year—how to make a comeback.'” • Here’s the video that goes with this story:

I didn’t hear ventilation mentioned by the newscaster or the “health equity consultant.” Or masks….

LEGEND: Previous CDC variant release shown in parentheses, (thus).

Not encouraging. Of course, the absolute numbers are small, but we’ve seen that movie before. I especially don’t like the jump in Region 2, because the New York area is “spready,” based on past history. Region 1, on the other hand, dropped.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,084,282 – 1,083,798 = 484 (484 * 365 = 176,660, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line.

It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

There are no stats of enough interest today and I am in a rush.

* * *

Tech: “Google Broke Image Search for Creative Commons and Hardly Anyone Noticed/Cares” [CogDogBlog]. “Except me. As of one minute ago I confirmed what I noticed last Wednesday. According to the all seeing Google, on the entire world wide web there are but three Creative Commons licensed images of a dog.” • Yikes!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 17 Extreme Fear (previous close: 14 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 24 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 30 at 2:15 PM EDT.

Sports Desk

“World Cup 2022: These are the COVID requirements to enter Qatar” [Al Jazeera]. “Football fans heading to Qatar for the World Cup, due to start on November 20, must show a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country, organisers have confirmed. All visitors over the age of 18 must also download Ehteraz, a contact-tracing, government-run phone application that tracks people’s movements and infection status.” • Let the whinging begin!

The Gallery

I love the flattened surfaces (if that’s how you would describe them). Like the lamp. Almost cubist:

Also the kid nearest the stove doesn’t have a blanket.

Health Care

“Medical Debt Makes the Sick Sicker” [MedPage Today]. “We found that more than one in 10 U.S. adults — and nearly one in five households — incurred a medical debt they couldn’t pay… While the uninsured had the highest rate (15.3%) of medical indebtedness, 10.5% of individuals with private coverage had medical debts — presumably due to high copayments, deductibles, and coverage denials — with Medicare Advantage enrollees having a particularly high rate. And the debts weren’t trivial: they averaged $21,687 per debtor in 2018.” Medicare Advantage working as designed, I see. More: ” Because the Census Bureau repeatedly surveyed the same individuals over 3 years, we, unlike previous analysts (who used one-time surveys), could assess the consequences of newly acquiring medical debt. Among individuals with no medical debts in 2017, those who newly incurred such debt in subsequent years were more than twice as likely to newly become food insecure or unable to pay their rent, mortgage, or utility bill, and to be evicted or suffer foreclosure in subsequent years.”

“Biogen pays $900M to settle doctor kickback allegations” [Associated Press]. “Biogen has agreed to pay $900 million to resolve allegations that it violated federal law by paying kickbacks to doctors to persuade them to prescribe its multiple sclerosis drugs, federal prosecutors said. The agreement announced Monday settles a whistleblower lawsuit brought by former Biogen employee Michael Bawduniak, according to a statement from the office of U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Rachael Rollins. Under the terms of the settlement, Biogen will pay more than $843 million to the federal government and more than $56 million to 15 states for overbilling Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs. Bawduniak will receive a portion of the federal recovery. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company in a statement said it settled so it can focus on ‘our patients and strategic priorities’ and said the settlement does not include an admission of liability.” • I think these people should start admitting liability.

Guillotine Watch

CEOs behaving badly:

“Dr. Fauci and wife’s wealth ‘skyrocketed’ by $5 million during pandemic: analysis” [New York Post]. “The couple’s wealth boost was due in part to major salary increases, cash awards and royalties, according to the report. ‘Fauci’s soaring net worth was based on career-end salary spiking, lucrative cash prizes awarded by non-profit organizations around the world and an ever-larger investment portfolio,’ [OpenTheBooks CEO Adam Andrzejewsk] said. ‘He is the top-paid federal employee, his first-year golden parachute retirement pension is the largest in federal history, and he’s accepting $1 million prizes from foreign non-profits, he added.” • Ka-ching….

Class Warfare

 ”My Family’s Slave” [The Atlantic] “To our American neighbors, we were model immigrants, a poster family. They told us so. My father had a law degree, my mother was on her way to becoming a doctor, and my siblings and I got good grades and always said “please” and “thank you.” We never talked about Lola. Our secret went to the core of who we were and, at least for us kids, who we wanted to be. After my mother died of leukemia, in 1999, Lola came to live with me in a small town north of Seattle. I had a family, a career, a house in the suburbs—the American dream. And then I had a slave.” • ”The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.” –Richard Morgan, Woken Furies. Well worth a read.

“How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions?” [Reviews in History]. “The gentry and nobility who led the long English struggle for a constitutionalism to hem in the Crown – climaxing with the Civil wars of 1640s and more durably with the 1688 Glorious Revolution – may well have been capitalist, in so far as their income derived from farming organised for exchange and profit – but they were in no more a ‘bourgeoisie’ than the nineteenth-century Prussian Junkers who likewise organised their estates on a commercial basis. Honour, status, and politicking remained their primary determinants of existence. As for the bourgeoisie proper, unless engaged in the American trade most merchants supported the royalists in the Civil Wars. The intentions of the Roundheads in the English Civil War did not differ so radically from the aristocrat-led rebels of the Fronde. We can legitimately see the English Civil Wars as part of a general crisis of the 17th-century world. The French Revolution, in contrast, certainly was made by a bourgeoisie, but not a particularly capitalist one. Many were tax-farmers, lawyers, civil servants, and so on, and those few engaged in living by commerce or industry generally had little time for subversion. Karl Kautsky [of blessed memory], the chief theorist of Marxism in the generation after Marx and Engels, made just this point in a book published for the Revolution’s centenary: those pre-1789 French bourgeoisie most directly engaged in capitalist enterprise were the least likely to be anti-royalist revolutionaries. Bourgeois modernity, therefore, was not usually an outcome of the middle classes taking over the state. It might be seen as emerging somewhat adventitiously from a conflict between two established social forces. The aristocracy tended to favour a representative parliamentarianism that would inhibit the executive state from interfering with the laws, privileges and rights of the propertied. The crown, for its part, struggled to subordinate over-mighty magnates, open landed estates to the law of the realm, and encourage the prosperity of taxable commerce and trade.” • In a way, it’s too bad that Capital started from (presumed) first principles, and not at the end (where the classes turn out to be bourgeioisie, rentiers, petty bourgeiosie (on whom the Bearded One really punts), and the working class. (And no peasants?) Anyhow, this 800+ page tome really does look interesting…

News of the Wired

“Hurricane Ian uproots Dali Museum’s Wish Tree” [Florida Politics]. “The St. Petersburg Dali Museum’s beloved Wish Tree has fallen victim to the powerful winds brought by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday. The tree, woven with over 20,000 handwritten wishes, has stood in the museum’s Avant-garden for nearly 11 years. The tree holds wishes among visitors of the museum, written by guests on wristbands tied to the branches. Although Hurricane Ian was the ultimate force behind the tree’s uprooting, the museum had already been planning on replacing it, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Hurricane Irma also took its toll on the tree in 2017, leaving it reliant on support crutches and anchors.” • From the headline, I thought the tree has something to do with Dali. One hesitates to imagine what kind of wishes he would have written.

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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 CF:

CF writes: “These asters just started blooming, very last gasp of summer, at the butterfly patch in our local community garden. It’s been another very confusing year for the plants.”

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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. Carolinian

    So I see Zelensky is applying for expedited Nato membership–now wants to fight his war to the last American. If Nato says yes do we Americans get have a say in this? Maybe a referendum…..

    1. nippersdad

      Biden doesn’t like referenda, they are undemocratic, against international law and will be forcefully put down by NATO using nukes if necessary.

      I saw it in the news, so it must be true.

      1. nippersdad

        In addition, I thought this was funny:

        “Calling Putin’s annexation ceremony in the Kremlin a “sham routine,” Biden committed to providing Ukraine with military equipment and reinforced NATO’s resolve to “to defend every single inch of NATO territory. Every single inch.”

        “Mr. Putin, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Every inch,” the president emphasized.”


        Am I misunderstanding something or did someone at State fail to mention that Ukraine is not a member of NATO? It would be a shame if we got into all of this because Joe forgot something like that.

        1. Glen

          The next two weeks or so are going to be very, very dangerous.

          So anybody that lives near a SAC airbase (or whatever SAC is called now-a-days), let us know if you see all those old B-52s rumble into the air so we all know it’s smoke em if you got em time.

          1. notabanker

            I agree with your first sentence. With regards to the second, smoke if you got em now, because the revolution will not be televised.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its like the “don’t use nukes”. We delivered random assortment of weapons into the hands of yahoos with the promise of game changers for every delivery against an enemy not providing the opportunity for guerilla warfare. Biden simply wants to look tough. NATO countries aren’t at risk which matches Putin’s language. For the average American who can’t locate Canada on a map, to be fair is hard to find with it being small and tucked away down there, might sound tough.

          US wonder weapons failed against a peer opponent. What happened to no-fly zones? Do you mean those weapons were just deployed against opponents who could be handled by refitted cessnas?

          There is a great deal going on in the US pathos, but Biden plays a “tough guy” on tv. Mark Wahlberg will play him in a movie one day. Now, Biden can declare victory.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Russia raised/called NATO’s bluff (by annexing Donbas et al) and today the White House and NATO folded re. UA’s absolute non-entry into NATO.

      Today is the most important geopolitical day since 9/11 that 99.9% of Americans have zero hint of it.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes apparently Stoltenberg–when asked about Zelensky’s comment–said Nato is “not a party to the conflict” along with the usual boiler plate.

        So no referendum needed–yet.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Why, yes, That is why they call it the Rules Based Order that we keep on hearing about. What are these rules? Whatever the elites make up so that they win and everybody else loses.

  2. Lee

    “I think the migration season is coming up, so if you, dead readers, have any suggestions on birds leaving (or moving in) to the neighborhood, please leave them in comments.”

    Are readers who are still living allowed to comment? If so, October is a good time to go to hawk hill on the Marin headlands.

      1. Lee

        Not to worry. I think it’s quite nice of you to reach out to a portion of the commentariat rarely heard from.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Whew. Thought we might need to iron our tie-dye tees and spin Workingman’s Dead in the background before reading water cooler.

      3. Stephen V

        After Biden’s comment, I thought speaking to the dead might become a thing (again). Holding and Arthur Conan Doyle cone to mind…

  3. Mary Yashida

    “United States spends between 300 to 500 times more on its military than on health systems, and yet “no war has killed a million Americans,” noted Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who led the C.D.C. under former President Barack Obama.”

    It is estimated that there would be more than 90 million people dead and injured within the first few hours of the conflict that “Joe Biden” and the Neocons are volunteering your family and future for to help their long term economic interests.

    “The Science and Global Security team developed the simulation to depict what it described as “a plausible escalating war between the United States and Russia using realistic nuclear force postures, targets and fatality estimates.”


    The weekend after the mid terms should be the beginning of a national sit down strike to protest the Ukraine war–if it’s not too late. All economic activity shuts down for a week. That would get their attention.

    1. Lee

      This is a rather chilling interview with my favorite neocon dominatrix, Fiona Hill interviewed by my favorite neocon scold and pompon waver, Christiane Amanpour. ‘Complete and utter nuclear blackmail’: Fiona Hill on Putin’s brinksmanship

      Some snippets:

      “We must now accept that we [the U.S.] are now the home front as well.”

      At minute 12:30 discussion turns toward the many nuclear powers in the world. FH says we need to reach out to other nuclear powers as they too are interested parties in regards to the possibility that Russia uses them and that these parties must make the point that there will be further consequences should that happen. In any event the West must not capitulate.

      I want neither to freeze for lack of fuel, starve for lack of affordable food, nor be incinerated by a nuke for the sake of a corrupt shithole of a country involved in a Slavic civil war. Let Russia have its warm water port, and portion of its western border NATO-free.

      1. Screwball

        I think that Fiona Hill women is nuts, but I also think the people running our foreign policy are nuts too. I’m with you on letting Russia have what they want. How many billions have we sent to Ukraine (most probably doesn’t leave here as it ends up in the hands of MIC companies) which has a GDP about the size of Nebraska. WTF? And one of the most corrupt countries on the planet since forever.

        The problem is, opinions like ours will never be heard – or tolerated – unless there are enough like us. But so many people I talk to are “all in” on whatever it takes to crush Russia, including “tactical” nukes. And if anyone speaks out against that – you are a Putin puppet or on Russia’s payroll.

        You have to give them credit – they leveraged 5 years of Russia, Russia, Russia hysteria into people gushing for a potential thermonuclear war just to get that dastardly Putin who put Trump in the White House. Then they tell us we must vote for them to save our democracy. GMAFB! Fat (family blog) chance of that.

        1. Scewball

          Adding: getting people on the right side of this war so we don’t get nuked.

          I happened to visit my fake Facebook page today. My “ex” is a big time PMC and Dem lover, as well as her two daughters. They love Hillary, Nancy, Joe, Kamala, and oh that Pete guy. They hate Bernie, hate Republicans, and still live, breath, and live almost every second of their waking life hating and worrying about the Trumpster.

          Today on FB they (bunches of people) were gushing – and I mean gushing – about Nicolle Wallace on whatever media narrative station she spews her “news.” Sorry for using the word news. I was really tempted, but I didn’t say anything. I really wanted to ask “is this the same Nicolle Wallace who was the Jen Psaki (they loved her too) for the warmongering GWB administration (you know, the one with Cheney (his daughter is now one of their hero’s as well – funny that) and Rumsfeld, as well as campaign aid to fellow warmonger John McCain (they love him now too)???????? Remember what they did???????

          That wouldn’t go over very well so I didn’t say anything. They are now warmongers too. We have to get that Putin to save our democracy and the fascist takeover. Oh, and next month vote democrat in the most important election EVER.

          Someone here said it, don’t remember who, but brilliant. I will paraphrase “Orwell’s 1984 wasn’t suppose to be an instruction manual.”

          Him an Bernay’s are laughing from the grave.

          And seriously, I’m old, I remember the Cuban missile crisis; I did the stupid drills hiding under my desk at school. Will there come a time when people start speaking up against the insanity we are witnessing? For the first time in a long time I’m getting quite concerned where all this may be headed. We really need some adults in the room, and it sure as hell ain’t the ones we have.

          I keep thinking of the Carlin skit when he said “they don’t give a “bleep” about you.” As Josie Wales might say “I reckon so.” I’m starting to think they want to kill a bunch of us – but how many?

          I think FUBAR has arrived. These people are simply nuts.

          1. Hepativore

            What makes these elite idiots in the MIC and Deep State think that they would be able to survive a nuclear conflict themselves? I realize that they are selfish and shortsighted narcissists, but this would be suicidal on their part. Even if we “win” in a nuclear exchange, it would be a pyrrhic victory as our infrastructure would be in even more shambles than it already is, and we no longer have the industrial capacity to rebuild it having outsourced it all decades ago. The economic fallout would be catastrophic and probably permanent at that point. We would probably accelerate our decline into a third-world country overnight.

            The surviving elites would probably have to leave for a different country to host them then, after having destroyed this one.

            1. JBird4049

              >>>The surviving elites would probably have to leave for a different country to host them then, after having destroyed this one.

              If they make large chunks of the USA radioactive, do you think they would be able to escape the mobs and would any country take them?

              1. Hepativore

                The problem is that these elites have friends and like-minded acquaintances in a small, but worldwide network.

                The neoliberal elites of the UK and other countries of the world are not that much different from American neoliberal elites and they unfortunately all seem to have each other’s backs.

                As to escaping the “mob” that would result from the US causing a nuclear exchange, I think that the populace would be too distracted by being at each other’s throats caused by desperate survivalism to pay much attention to those responsible getting on their yachts or private jets and exiting.

            2. Rolf

              @Hepativore and @Screwball,
              Thanks for your comments. I too remember hiding ‘neath-your-desk exercises as a kid. I think there is little exceptional in many of our “elites” save breathtaking hubris, little experience, even less conscience, and zero payment of dear price for bad decisions. As for the willingness of so many Americans to gushingly and uncritically buy into war narratives: this is easy if you’ve never had to accept the excruciating and permanent pain of seeing what’s left of a loved one come back from some hellhole in an aluminum box, with only a flag as a keepsake. An uncritical media focused on access, entertainment, and distraction helps, a lot. People do speak up, but unless they set themselves on fire in the public square they are ignored by the media and thus unheard.

              Thank God for NC.

      2. John

        Russia has restated ad nauseum that their policy is no first use of nuclear weapons. The USA has never disavowed first use. If there are foolish persons who actually think nuclear war is anything but suicidal, please, gently but firmly confine them until reality sets in.

    2. Rolf

      The weekend after the mid terms should be the beginning of a national sit down strike to protest the Ukraine war–if it’s not too late. All economic activity shuts down for a week. That would get their attention.

      Agree with the sit down, but I wonder in fact how much effect it would have. The elites and players in this administration are highly insulated and absolutely convinced of their own righteousness and invincibility. And Biden, with his use of this absurd, inflammatory language about “defending Ukraine”, shows himself to be very weak-minded — and I wonder how much control he exerts over this — or indeed any — critical situation.

      It thus seems to me that the neocons in the Biden camp and elsewhere really want a nuclear war with Russia or China, think they can nuke it out early and “win”. Does anyone here doubt that — absent some extraordinary intervention — this is indeed where we are headed?

  4. zagonostra

    >Medical Debt Makes the Sick Sicker” [MedPage Today].

    Yet our medical institutions harm patients daily. They dun them for medical bills they can’t afford, often leaving them unable to pay their rent or mortgage, or buy enough to eat….It was medical bills, not lost income due to illness or depleted assets from non-medical bills, that drove people from their homes and left them struggling to afford groceries.

    I hate to admit it, but I’ve given up on hoping that anything will improve when it comes to the U.S.’s healthcare system. People have become inured to current conditions. Short of the unlikely emergence of a third political party nothing will change. All one can hope for at this point is to stay healthy and protect your assets from bill collectors should you end up in medical debt and pray for a peaceful dissolution of the empire and transition to a functioning nation state.

    1. JAC

      The last few weeks, dealing with systematic pain and suicidal impulses and psychosis I attempted to find a doctor who cared. I found a doctor at least. I am homeless and on permanent disability and Medicare. Now I keep getting messages about how I owe them $1467.96.

      I just don’t pay. I never pay medical bills. eventually it just goes away. That is the only privilege I have being poor.

      1. Rodeo Clownfish

        So sorry that you are facing these difficulties, apparently alone. I do hope some good fortune will find you soon.

  5. CanCyn

    Re the plantidote.
    “These asters just started blooming, very last gasp of summer, at the butterfly patch in our local community garden. It’s been another very confusing year for the plants.”
    In Ontario asters are fall flowers. They’re in bloom all over our roadsides and hedgerows right now and usually are at this time of year. Maybe a tad late but not much. Relative of the chrysanthemum I think, which is also a fall bloomer. Maybe the people who planted the butterfly garden got it wrong? Or perhaps thinking of human visitors not just the pollinators?

  6. Roger Blakely

    In yesterday’s media briefing, Dr. Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health talked about trying to prevent a devastating winter surge. But she knows that we won’t. We don’t need a new variant. BA.5 will work just fine. People’s immunity will wane. People will have drunk the Kool Aid about the pandemic being over, and they won’t protect themselves. They’ll get a snoot full of BA.5 and end up dead.

    All measures are slowly decreasing with the exception of sewage concentrations of SARS-CoV-2. Sewage concentrations are coming back up. And we all know what that means. It’s only September.

  7. johnherbiehancock

    Re: Via 313 LLC CEO’s behavior

    I’ve never heard of this company/chain, so I visited their website, and thought it was a little ironic that their branding and corporate motif harkens romantically back to the Detroit auto industry (Detroit’s primary area code is 313), which was of course famously unionized, and now their CEO in Austin TX – of all places – is fighting his bar/pizzeria chain’s unionizing efforts.

    Also, I’m from Detroit… when did “Detroit Style” pizza become a thing? It’s delicious when done well, but we never knew it as “Detroit Style” it was the type of pizza made by a single (AFAIK) chain, Buddy’s Pizza, and now appears to be widely copied by Detroit ex-pats living in other states?

    The pizza most of us ate was the sort of regular pan pizza you order from Dominos (which was founded in Ann Arbor – nearby Detroit – and FAR more commonly served even in Detroit… going back decades)

    1. notabanker

      What the world needs is another private equity owned fast food franchise. The whole twitter thread is worth looking at, there is a 4 minute video that goes through the story in more depth from the workers point of view.

      It is all really disturbing, and maybe I’m connecting dots that aren’t there, but when you read the Treasury story on corporate ownership first, it sure sounds like the corporate owned government is squeezing small businesses now and driving further consolidation. Because Russia, which is becoming a really, really tired excuse.

    2. semper loquitur

      It sounds like a marketing ploy to me. I worked pizza for years. Restaurants are always looking for some angle to make their pies seem special.

  8. semper loquitur

    Unions could face a big obstacle in 2023 if the economy falls into a recession

    The union movement that kicked off across the country more than a year ago has continued its momentum in 2022, with workers in warehouses, coffee shops, grocery stores and airlines pushing for representation.

    Working conditions during the pandemic pushed many of these frontline workers to organize, but fears about the economy and a potential recession could stand to curb the union boom if the job market shifts.


    1. albrt

      Maybe they can unionize the homeless folks living in the ever-growing Bidenvilles all across this great land.

    1. John

      How much of and in what form does the aid to Ukraine actually reach Ukraine and how much sticks to the pipeline and/or is shunted here and there in the USA and other money laundering locations?

      1. The Rev Kev

        You remember that $40 billion package that was voted for the Ukraine in Congress several weeks ago? It was worked out that only about $6 billion of that was actually going into the Ukraine but after it arrived, who knows where it actually went.

      2. Screwball

        One would think someone would be keeping track and someone else telling us that exact answer.

        Ha! Not here.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That $40 billion package that I just mentioned? There was a delay in passing that as one guy was insisting on an amendment to have all that military gear tracked but I forget who it was. Maybe Thomas Massey. But both sides were outraged at this even hint of an accountability and they forced him to back down under dire threats.

  9. semper loquitur

    Student debt forgiveness curveball means 4 million borrowers won’t be eligible

    Student loan forgiveness was thrown a bit of a curve after one group of borrowers discovered that a limited backdoor strategy suddenly closed.

    It’s estimated that up to 4 million borrowers are not going to be eligible for forgiveness if they hold older Federal Family Education Loans and Perkins loans that are not held by or on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, according to Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert and author of “How to Appeal for More Financial Aid.”

    We are talking about some fairly old loans here, including loans for those who graduated from college or left school 10 years ago or more.


    1. albrt

      I was astonished by this news. Fortunately for me I looked into the status of my loans a few weeks ago. A nice lady from my servicer told me that although the guidance was not final, I would probably need to do the federal consolidation thing to qualify. I started the process right away thinking bureaucratic delays might be a problem. I had no idea Biden’s brain trust would set a retroactive deadline a week later.

      I was toying with the idea of voting for a democrat or two this year, but their malice and incompetence is just too great.

  10. semper loquitur

    Our Cancers Are Filled With Fungi

    People’s cancers are apparently playing host to their very own fungi. A pair of studies this week have documented the unique neighborhoods of fungal species that can live inside our tumors. It’s possible that these microbes may even influence how cancers grow or manage to fend off certain treatments.

    Dating back to the 19th century, scientists have known that bacteria and other microscopic organisms routinely live on or inside our bodies, usually without making us acutely sick. But it’s only in the past few decades that we’ve started to appreciate the importance of these microbial communities, or microbiomes, to our well-being and health. And it’s only more recently that we’ve begun to closely study the microbiomes found within cancers


  11. caucus99percenter

    The tweet re jury selection in the Proud Boys trial is missing.

    In the place where it should be, instead there’s a second copy of the tweet re grifters sullying the name of Occupy.

  12. MLK

    Mousehoke? Mousehole I believe you mean. I don’t know what our indoor-only cat would do if he met a mouse. Spiders and moths on the other hand–in the words of David Byrne–psycho killer!

    1. Lee

      Our indoor cats do love a rodent hunt. They kill them, and the fun’s over til the next generation of naïvely adventurous ones enters the forbidden zone.

    2. playon

      Our little kitty loves chasing and eating bugs – moths, mantis’, grasshoppers, spiders, you name it. She tried a yellow jacket once but that didn’t go too well…

  13. hemeantwell

    Good to see a reference to Neil Davidson’s book on bourgeois revolutions. I thought it was interesting until my reading ran into this rut, which Dylan Riley nailed in a generous and thorough NLR review in 2015:

    “As Davidson frankly states at the outset, the motivation for the present book
    is, first, to show that these twentieth-century revolutions were indeed, contrary to appearance
    and self-perception, bourgeois ones. Secondly, he aims to show that the success of the bourgeois
    revolutions demonstrates the viability of the insurrectionary road for those who wish to see
    capitalism replaced by socialism. Like their ‘bourgeois equivalents’, revolutionary Marxists today
    face objective conditions—the forces of production, which for Davidson play an independent
    propulsive role in historical development—that are ripe for transition to a new form of society.
    The circumstances in which he first sketched out his views on the bourgeois revolution supplied a
    third motive: this was a 2004 Deutscher Prize debate, in which Davidson defended the concept
    against Benno Teschke, who argued along broadly the same lines as Robert Brenner that it had no basis in historical reality. The construction of How Revolutionary? is thus dogmatically driven: to prove a set of convictions held prior to
    investigation of the historical evidence, rather than using that evidence to test a preliminary
    hypothesis. This leads to a misshapen struc- ture, long stretches of which have little to do with
    the subject in hand; but it does not deprive the whole of an impressive energy and ambition. As
    ever, a flawed ideology need not be an impediment to fresh or original lines of
    thought or research, and may even be a stimulus to them.”

  14. DGL

    I was disappointed in the title: ‘My Family’s Slave.’ To me it is inflammatory and self-serving. I think Downton Abbey illustrated the same relationship as described in this comment on The Atlantic article.
    Servants the the elites actually care about. Just like the Queen cared about people.

    Vicente L. Rafael, a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Washington commented on Facebook about the article.


    “In Alex’s narrative (and in everyday experience of Filipinos who grew up with servants), they are also materialized in affective ties of pity (awa), reciprocal indebtedness (utang na loob), shame (hiya) that hold together as much as they pull apart the master to and from the servant.” wrote Vicente L. Rafael, a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Washington on Facebook.

    The relationship of power over powerless is repeated endlessly in our society today and in the past. I grew up being quite familiar with the phrase ‘wage slave.’ The wage relationship is worse today that 50 years ago. USA elite policy, both foreign and domestic, is to shatter relationships to maintain control. Over the past 40 years all:
    “These affective ties in turn provide the servant a kind of moral leverage that she can use to hold the master accountable or account for her own status and acquiescence. ” Wrote Vicente L. Rafael, a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Washington on Facebook.

    My friends would have ‘vapors’ because of the word ‘slave’ as they haggle and harass their lawn and housekeeping crews. Jeff Bezos will wax on about the ‘reciprocal indebtedness’ he has with his workers.

    The final evil of the slavery as practiced by England and the USA, was chattel slavery. People were a tangible and movable piece of property. There are no restrictions or affective ties between elite and the underclass in our modern neoliberal world,

    1. Carolinian


      The speech had very little content drawing on current events, aside from the referendums in the respective territories which have now become ‘subjects of the Russian Federation.’ He did mention the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines in one sentence, as the work of the ‘Anglo-Saxons,’ which in the context we may take to mean the United Kingdom. It will be interesting to see in the coming days whether Russian diplomats put forward this allegation in international forums like the United Nations.

      1. FredW

        Thanks for the link to the Doctorow article. In the second paragraph, he says, “The speech was indeed substantive and very important…”, and goes on at length to explain why it was. But the quote from the article that you chose seems to suggest that Doctorow thought Putin’s address was trivial, if I’m understanding you correctly. But perhaps that was not your intention.

  15. The Rev Kev

    Just to go along with Lambert’s Covid updates, here is the latest for Oz-

    ‘Mandatory COVID-19 isolation periods scrapped from October 14, emergency response ‘finished’ says national cabinet’

    So I guess that a thousand dead people a month is considered a good price to pay to not disturb the economy. And just after the media were announcing this news story, they then reported that two cruise liners had arrived in Sydney because it is the beginning of – ‘cruising season!’ I have never heard that term before in my life but I guess that it is a thing now. Time to pack all those people aboard those ships and if some of them get sick, why they probably won’t even have to isolate themselves anymore and so not miss out on any of the ship’s entertainments. So we got rid of Scotty from Marketing and swapped him for Albo from Marketing. And laws are being changed so that when – not if – the next pandemic arrives, that the medical establishment won’t be able to take public health measures. I just hope that it is not a Zombie virus-


  16. C.O.

    Article in the Times Colonist in BC yesterday, which I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    Province bracing for combined surge in COVID-19 and flu, Henry says


    Since the provincial officials have taken every possible step they can take to drive the surge they are now ostentatiously worried about as expressed by Bonnie Henry, this is not looking like it is going to be a pretty winter. It should also be noted that BC already has acute medical staff and ambulance shortages. Pharmacies have been quietly offering Vitamin D level testing and providing full suites of nutritional supplements for the immune system since the summer.

    The other day while out on my own errands, I saw people coming out of the hardware store with stacks of furnace filters and occasionally box fans. The store can barely keep them in stock. Meanwhile, the price of gasoline for no apparent reason leapt from 1.899 per litre to 1.999, then 2.159, then suddenly 2.299. Interesting times.

  17. skippy

    Here we go ….

    Queensland’s Browns Plains without electricity after drone food delivery crashes into powerlines

    Thousands of people were left without power after a food delivery drone crashed into powerlines yesterday in what has been described as a “first” by Energex.

    Energex restored power for about 2,000 customers within 45 minutes, while 300 customers in the immediate vicinity of that drone were without power for three hours.

    “The meal was still hot inside the drone’s delivery box when the crew got there,” Mr Donald said. – snip


    Oh and with our telecom Optus suffering a major data breach one can only ponder what a hack on a drone delivery system might portend – everyone will remember the day the food delivery drones attacked us ….

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Clearly that was Putin’s retaliation against the West for holing the pipelines. Will he stop at nothing?

  18. JBird4049

    “health equity consultant”

    WTF is that? Seriously. We can’t pay nurses bupkis, but can have and pay for health equity consultants.

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