2:00PM Water Cooler 11/1/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Red Siskin, location unrecorded. Call, song. With crowing rooster, and I swear somebody chopping wood.

* * *


“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

“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Capitol Seizure

“Do Violent Protests Affect Expressions of Party Identity? Evidence from the Capitol Insurrection” [American Political Science Review]. “Using day-level panel data from a large sample of US social media users to track changes in the identities expressed in their Twitter biographies, we show that the Capitol insurrection caused a large-scale decrease in outward expressions of identification with the Republican Party and Donald Trump, with no indication of reidentification in the weeks that followed. This finding suggests that there are limits to party loyalty: a violent attack on democratic institutions sets boundaries on partisanship, even among avowed partisans. Furthermore, the finding that political violence can deflect copartisans carries the potential positive democratic implication that those who encourage or associate themselves with such violence pay a political cost.” • I’m not sure that numbers (within reasonable limits) matter here so much as “energy” (for want of a better word). See Benjamin Studebaker yesterday on resentment.

“Oath Keepers member: Capitol riot was historic, spontaneous” [The Hill]. “A Florida man who stormed the U.S. Capitol with other members of the far-right Oath Keepers testified Monday that he believed they were participating in a historic “Bastille-type event” reminiscent of the French Revolution. Graydon Young, a government witness at the seditious conspiracy trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four associates, said he saw parallels between the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and the French people who ‘stood up and resisted kings and tyrants’ more than two centuries ago…. Young said he came to Washington to fight against ‘the corrupt elements of the government’ that were preparing to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. ‘I guess I was acting like a traitor,’ he added…. Defense attorney James Lee Bright, one of Rhodes’ attorneys, pressed Young to point to any evidence of a criminal conspiracy or “explicit plan” for Oath Keepers to attack the Capitol. ‘It was implicit to me at the time,’ Young said. ‘I did not explicitly say, ‘Let’s commit a crime,’ but I thought it was implicit.’ ‘It was spontaneous,’ Bright said. ‘It was,’ Young said.” • Hmm.


“Supreme Court’s Alito says abortion draft leak made justices ‘targets'” [Reuters]. “In blunt terms, Alito also commented on the man who was charged with attempted murder after being arrested near the Maryland home of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh in June. Alito said the leak of his draft opinion made the conservative justices who at the time were thought to back overturning Roe v. Wade ‘targets for assassination because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.'” • They never did find the leaker, did they? Must make for a collegial atmosphere in chambers.

Biden Administration

“‘We’re not against profits,’ White House presidential coordinator says after Biden’s tax threats on energy companies” [CNBC]. • Glad that’s clarified.


* * *

“Ballot paper shortage could cause problems onElection Day” [ABC]. “A paper supply crunch is testing the preparedness of U.S. election officials and exposing a key vulnerability in America’s democratic process as midterm voting gets underway. The 2022 election cycle will use an estimated 30 million pounds of paper, according to industry experts. Soaring demand and a shortage of manufacturers during the pandemic have pinched national stockpiles, leaving little room for error. ‘We’re all just collectively crossing our fingers and hoping that the supply chain works just fine,’ said Ricky Hatch, county clerk and election administrator for Weber County, Utah.” • “Our democracy” can’t even make sure there are ballots? And speaking of ballots–

Creepy indeed–

What next? Home visits? Armed home visits?

* * *

“Control of the Senate is coming down to this hidden dynamic” [Ron Brownstein, CNN]. “Control of the US Senate will be decided next week in cross-pressured states where most voters disapprove of President Joe Biden’s performance but also express unfavorable views about their state’s Republican Senate nominee…. In this stormy sea, the biggest lifeline still available for Democrats is the large number of voters in those battleground states who view the Republican Senate candidates as extreme, unqualified, or both. Recent public polls by CNN and other media organizations have found that more voters hold unfavorable than favorable views of virtually all the GOP nominees in the key states – including Blake Masters in Arizona, Herschel Walker in Georgia, Adam Laxalt in Nevada, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. Negative assessments of the Democratic candidates in those states have been rising as well, as they face a barrage of Republican attack ads, often tying them to Biden. Even so, in most (though not all) cases, voters hold a relatively more favorable view of the Democratic candidate than the Republican, polls show. The fulcrum in the campaign’s final days may be whether the last remaining voters are moved more by these personal doubts about the GOP contenders or by their policy objections to Biden’s performance at a time when polls show that most Americans disapprove of how he has handled crime, the border, and above all the economy and inflation. The recent CNN polls in several key Senate races show that a large, and potentially decisive, slice of voters both disapprove of Biden’s performance and view the GOP nominee unfavorably: 9% in Wisconsin, 11% in Nevada, 13% in Pennsylvania and 15% in Arizona, according to detailed results provided by the CNN polling unit. ‘The real question comes down to that group of independents in the middle, and who votes at the end,’ says Paul Maslin, a long-time Democratic pollster. ‘Is it people saying, ‘I hate inflation, crime is wrecking this big city I live in,’ or people saying, ‘I’m sorry but Herschel Walker is a clown, Mehmet Oz is a clown. … Blake Masters is a joke,’ and they go back to [the Democrats]? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.'” • So nobody knows anything….

* * *

NY: “How Bad Is It for New York Democrats?” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. “Beyond Zeldin [v. Hochul], there’s a Democrat-run state legislature that will, barring true catastrophe for the Democrats, stay in their control. What will likely fall, however, are the supermajorities—the veto-proof margins in the State Senate and Assembly that, in theory, lent the legislature a great amount of leverage. Enough Republicans are poised to win to erase the Senate supermajority and take away, more surprisingly, the huge margin Assembly Democrats have always enjoyed.” • A good, very on-the-ground piece.

NY: “Stefanik eyes leadership role as Castelli seeks upset as a moderate” [Syracuse.com (bob)]. “U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik is on the precipice of becoming one of the nation’s most powerful federal lawmakers. She first has to overcome a challenge for her seat by Matt Castelli, a former CIA intelligence officer and self-described moderate Democrat. Then, Stefanik has to hope election predictions hold true, which would mean that Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 8 election.” • Lord, another CIA Democrat. I’m so old I remember when that was a story. Now it’s, er, a norm.


“Youngkin Vows Virginia Won’t Follow The CDC’s ‘COVID Vaccine Mandate.’ But That Mandate Doesn’t Exist” [DCist]. “Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced on Thursday that he wants to eliminate COVID-19 vaccine mandates. ‘COVID-19 mandates should be in our rear view mirror,’ the Republican governor tweeted. ‘The decision to vaccinate a child against COVID-19 is for Virginia parents to make about what’s best for them and their family. We will not adhere to these @CDCgov mandates. In Virginia, parents matter.’ But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have never mandated any COVID-19 vaccines for adults or children. While the CDC’s advisory committee on vaccines did approve adding COVID-19 vaccines to the recommended schedule of immunizations for both children and adults this week, that list is only a recommendation for states.. The CDC recommends vaccines; state health agencies choose whether to mandate them. On Friday, following the advisory committee’s vote, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Todd Gilbert issued a statement clarifying the process for vaccine mandates in schools, and indicating he would not move to add the COVID shot to Virginia’s list of mandatory vaccines. ‘Under state law, the only way to create a mandate would either be through rule-making by the Board of Health, which would not happen until 2024, or through an action of the General Assembly, which will not happen while I am Speaker,’ he wrote. The Virginia Department of Health did not provide answers to questions about which public schools require vaccines or the process by which an immunization is added to the list of those required for children attending public schools in the state by the time of publication.” • Nothing wrong with a little red meat, though, right?

“Democrats condemn Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin for Pelosi dig following husband’s attack” [USA Today]. “At a Virginia campaign rally for GOP congressional candidate Yesli Vega, Youngkin alluded to the Friday home invasion and subsequent attack, which left Paul Pelosi, 82, with a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. ‘There’s no room for violence anywhere, but we’re going to send her back to be with him in California,’ Youngkin said at the event.” Democrat went nuts, as one does, but compare the agility of other Republicans: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he was ‘horrified and disgusted’ by reports of the assault, while House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reached out to Pelosi ‘to check in on Paul and said he’s praying for a full recovery and is thankful they caught the assailant,’ his office said in a statement.” • No attack surface there. Trying to thread red meat through a needle at a campaign rally. Awkward! (Trump probably would have gotten the crowd booing Pelosi, and then damped them down. “Folks—…..”)

“Virginia’s Governor, a Rising Republican Star, Walks a Fine Line” [New York Times]. “With the earnest pep of a youth pastor, Mr. Youngkin has touted his win as proof of his appeal to a broad electorate, including moderate swing voters in the vote-rich suburbs of Washington and Richmond. But Mr. Holsworth and others challenge that narrative. Suburban voters who traditionally support Republicans turned away from the party during the Trump years, several analysts said, then returned to their old voting habits with Mr. Youngkin on the ballot. But the suburbs remained Democratic turf — more so, in many areas, than they were before the Trump years. Mr. Youngkin lost Loudoun County by double digits, even though it had become a ground zero for parental outrage over the school district’s antiracism efforts. He made up for it by racking up huge margins in Virginia’s small towns and rural areas, in some places exceeding even Mr. Trump’s showing…. Chesterfield was one of the few counties that Mr. Youngkin flipped after his Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam, won it in 2017, and interviews with a dozen voters here did not suggest that the county was turning against him. Few had strong feelings about Mr. Youngkin’s tenure at all.” •

“Pence: Post-2020 election meeting with Trump, lawyers ‘a new low’” [The Hill]. Pence has a book coming out: “‘Loyalty is a Vice President’s first duty; but there is a greater one—to God and the Constitution,’ reads the description of his book, entitled ‘So Help Me God.’ Pence writes in the book that his relationship with Trump ‘broke down’ when the former president ‘pressured’ Pence to overturn the 2020 election, according to the description. ‘The vice president refused to leave the Capitol, and once the riot was quelled, he reconvened Congress to complete the work of a peaceful transfer of power,’ the publisher adds, referring to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

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.

* * *

“Fog of disinformation spreads after Pelosi attack” [Politico]. “Charges filed yesterday against suspected assailant David DePape unearthed more shocking details about the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband — including ones that seemed to intentionally counter disinformation swirling around the disturbing incident.” Oh? Here is the criminal complaint.

“Six new details from Monday’s affidavit on the Paul Pelosi attack” [The Hill]. “She noted that there was ‘no security present’ at the home and that DePape ‘was able to break the window to a glass door to gain entry into the home.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Truth Cops” [The Intercept]. This ran in Links this morning, but I want to call your attention to one phrase in one paragraph: “Jen Easterly, Biden’s appointed director of CISA, swiftly made it clear that she would continue to shift resources in the agency to combat the spread of dangerous forms of information on social media. ‘One could argue we’re in the business of critical infrastructure, and the most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure, so building that resilience to misinformation and disinformation, I think, is incredibly important,” said Easterly, speaking at a conference in November 2021.” • If we take Easterly seriously — and why would we not — your critical thinking skills, your mind, your heart are “cognitive infracture,” like, say, the electrical grid. And like the electrical grid, cognitive infrastructure will be built out based on ROI, specified and constructed according to standards, maintained, and above all inspected. There’s a word for this. I know it’ll come to me. I think it starts with an “F”…

“The American people deserve to know how the war in Ukraine will end” [Joshua C. Huminski, The Hill]. From October 25, still germane. “Kyiv has been impressively controlled and successful in its control of the messaging of this information war. The West, at least publicly, has very little insight into Kyiv’s aims and intentions, or indeed its losses or battlefield performance beyond that which is conveyed via social media and journalistic accounts. Even raising questions related to these critical factors is tantamount to heresy within the present geopolitical and cultural environment — as if asking the questions themselves is akin to supporting Russia. It is not. It is simply prudent interrogation of geopolitical realities that have significant policy implications.” • Huminsk is the director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence & Global Affairs at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress, and a fellow at George Mason University’s National Security Institute. In other words, a Republican can pose entirely reasonable questions that a Democrat cannot.

“America’s brittle consensus on Ukraine” [Financial Times]. “‘Diplomacy’ is a taboo word in American politics right now. The speed at which progressive Democrats this week disowned their call for Joe Biden to talk to Russia is testament to that. Only Ukraine can decide when and how this war will end, the lawmakers insisted. The group was clearly shell-shocked by the savagery of condemnation from their own side. Yet they were guilty only of speaking out too soon. Wars end in one of two ways: with the unconditional surrender of one party or in a negotiated settlement. As the world’s equal largest nuclear power, Russia’s full capitulation is almost unimaginable. That means the west and Ukraine will eventually have to negotiate an end to this war. That moment has not arrived. But it is probably nearer than most people think. Two big factors will weigh on when Biden will try to bring this war to an end. The first is Republicans’ probable capture of one or both chambers of Congress in midterm elections in two weeks. Kevin McCarthy, the likely next Speaker of the House of Representatives, has warned that Republicans will not provide a “blank cheque” for Ukraine’s self-defence. Fifty-seven House Republicans and 11 senators voted against the $40bn Ukraine aid package earlier this year…. The second is that the US will be entering a recession. Economists are virtually unanimous that America will not escape that fate in 2023. This will pose an acute threat to Biden’s — or to another Democratic nominee’s — chances of defeating Donald Trump, or a Trump-like Republican, in 2024. Congressional Republicans will be working in tandem with the recession to darken Biden’s electoral clouds. As the 2024 reckoning looms, Ukraine’s fate will take a back seat to America’s.” • As it should. Who’s writing the checks?


Remember: The elite hate masks and don’t want you to wear them, regardless of harms. And it’s hard to think of a more elite institution than the Metropolitan Opera*:

In case that embed goes pear-shaped, here’s a screen shot:

UPDATE Alert reader Jeff W reports that the Met took down their Instagram ad. Fortunately, some kind soul preserved the video on the Twitter, and I really advise you to watch it. But put down your coffee!

UPDATE And our New York readers might consider giving the Met a call:


NOTE * This makes me sad, because I listened to the Met’s Saturday matinee broadcasts as a child. All part of growing up PMC, I suppose.

* * *

“CDC Director Walensky Has Covid Rebound After Paxlovid Treatment” [Bloomberg]. “Walensky contracted a mild case of Covid earlier this month and tested negative after taking Pfizer’s treatment. On Sunday, she began developing mild symptoms [as they always are] and has again tested positive, the CDC said Monday in a statement. The infectious disease expert [lol] is isolating at home and will continue to work virtually. Many patients, including President Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci, have faced a return of Covid symptoms after taking a full, five-day course of Pfizer’s drug. The phenomenon appears far more common than officially reported, and rebounding patients may still spread the disease, doctors said in a September New England Journal of Medicine article.” • September? How about April? And there are questions:

* * *

Another massive takedown of the droplet goons:

Will Upton Sinclair please pick up the nearest white courtesy phone?

* * *

“The role of schools in driving SARS-CoV-2 transmission: Not just an open-and-shut case” [Cell Reports Medicine]. “Early in the pandemic, four findings led to the perception of limited potential for in-school spread of SARS-CoV-2: (1) perceived reduced susceptibility of children to SARS-CoV-2 infection, (2) apparent lower infectiousness of children, (3) lack of identified transmission chains in schools, and (4) similar rates of infection between schools and communities. However, there are significant methodological limitations associated with each of these early findings, and the ongoing pandemic has directly provided evidence that contradicts the initial findings. We detail the limitations of the evidence for these perceptions and provide strong evidence that schools can be an important SARS-CoV-2 transmission source (Table 1).” • A takedown of, among others, yesterday’s Sociopath of the Day, Emily Oster, whose “work” focused on schools. And speaking of Emily Oster, one of the first to jump on to the Twitter with praise for Oster’s “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty” was none other than Great Barrington Declaration psycho eugenicist Jay Bhattacharya. But oh well–

I don’t see a lot of aerosol scientists asking to be forgiven. Only people like Oster and Bhattacharya. Why would that be?

* * *

“U.S. workers have gotten way less productive. No one is sure why.” [WaPo]. • ‘Tis a mystery!

Everything’s going according to plan:

Obviously, we’re going to have to cut disability benefits.

* * *

“COVID-19 infection damages gut microbiome, study shows” [MSN]. n = 100. “A COVID infection can reduce the number of bacterial species in the gut, creating an opportunity for dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications. ‘Our findings suggest that coronavirus infection directly interferes with the healthy balance of microbes in the gut, further endangering patients in the process,’ said study co-senior author Ken Cadwell, a microbiologist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City….. The study is the first to show that COVID-19 alone damages the gut microbiome, researchers said. Before now, doctors had suspected that the use of antibiotics to treat COVID had been damaging gut bacteria. Analysis of nearly 100 men and women hospitalized with COVID in 2020 found that most patients had low gut microbiome diversity. In fact, full quarter had guts dominated by a single type of bacteria, the researchers found.”

* * *


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 and more yellow and more blue, which continues to please. But is the pandemic “over”? Well….


NOT UPDATED From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, October 26:

1.3%. Faster increase.

Lambert here: Please, please, please Walgreens. Keep updating regularly!


Lambert here: C’mon, CDC. If you don’t keep your site up and running, I can’t perform my personal risk assessment.

SITE DOWN Wastewater data (CDC), October 23:

October 23:


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. 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? [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk]. UPDATE Yes. See NC here on Pango. Every Friday, a stately, academid pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

Variant data, national (Walgreens), October 19:

Lambert here: BQ.1*, out of nowhere. So awesome.

Variant data, national (CDC), October 8 (Nowcast off):

Lambert here: Most of the screenshots of CDC variants running around crop out whether Nowcast (CDC’s model) is on or off; see red box at top. The BQ1.* figure of 27% that’s running around is CDC’s Nowcast projection, three weeks out. (It’s telling that CDC would rather build a model than fund faster acquisition of real data.)


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,095,315 – 1,095,204 = 111 (111 * 365 = 40,515, which is today’s LivingWith™ number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the LivingWith™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease.

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

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.2 in October of 2022 from 50.9 in September, pointing to the slowest growth in factory activity since the contraction in mid-2020. Still, figures came slightly higher than market forecasts of 50.” • Powell keeps trying to strangle the economy and it keeps not working. Not saying things are great, but they are clearly more great than Powell would wish them to be.

Logistics: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US retreated to 57.5 in October of 2022 from 61.4 in September, pointing to the slowest growth in the logistics sector since May of 2020. Transportation metrics continue to be a drag, while inventories remain high, warehouses remain full, and they both remain expensive. While there is some evidence that firms are finally winding down their inventories, the costs associated with holding them remain high, and there’s still a lack of available warehousing capacity.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 1 at 1:51 PM EDT. I must admit I don’t understand Mr. Market at all. OTOH, it’s now November, and we haven’t had a Crash.

Groves of Academe

“Founders,” a phrase from YCombinator, I believe:

I wonder if anybody was ever done a study of how YCombinator’s startup culture netted our for society as a whole. Was it all rent-seeking and dopamine loops? Or were useful social functions performed? Not to be cynical…

Guillotine Watch

“The 20 Richest Tech Billionaires Have Lost Nearly Half a Trillion Dollars This Year” [Wall Street Journal]. That’s a damn shame. But too small to be even a good start. “The paper losses for many of the world’s biggest tech moguls come after the collective wealth of billionaires grew more during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic than between 1987 and 2010, the antipoverty group Oxfam International reported earlier this year. In the early months of the pandemic, Oxfam reported, a new billionaire was created every 30 hours.” • So, I guess the optimal way forward is another pandemic? Mars, b*tches!

Class Warfare

“Cash-Rich Consumers Could Mean Higher Interest Rates for Longer” [Wall Street Journal]. “Washington’s response to the pandemic left household and business finances in unusually strong shape, with higher savings buffers and lower interest expenses. It could also make the Federal Reserve’s job of taming high inflation more difficult.” • Just to be clear, our Central [genuflects] bank wants to beat down your wages and take money out of your pocket. This gets a little crude.

“Hundreds Of Resident Doctors Unionizing At Ny’S Montefiore Medical Center” [A More Perfect Union]. “MMC residents who worked through the initial years of the pandemic say another reason for unionizing was the lack of proper resources for care for their patients. Rather than providing basic PPE, the hospital instead gave resident doctors garbage bags and Yankees rain ponchos and told them to make due.”

News of the Wired

“The Ventura problem” [Raspberry Pi]. Ventura is the latest MacOS release. “If you plug a Raspberry Pi Pico, or other RP2040-based board, into a Mac running Ventura, the RPI-RP2 “virtual” volume will be mounted as normal. Unfortunately, if you then try to drag-and-drop a UF2 file onto the volume, the process doesn’t complete, throwing a kPOSIXErrorENOATTR (“Attribute not found”) error.” • If you understand what that means, you also understand it’s bad. C’mon, Apple. Kicking Raspberry Pi is like kicking a puppy (not to mention that Raspberry Pi is a lot more Jackpot-ready than any Apple machine is).

* * *

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 Gmail:

Gmail writes: “A bountiful tomato plant that I will miss as the cold air arrives. Some pumpkin, zucchini, leek, and sweet potato plants in the background as well.”

* * *

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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. Jason Boxman

    From that Twitter thread, someone posted: Prevalence and Correlates of Long COVID Symptoms Among US Adults (27 October 2022)

    Question How common are COVID-19 symptoms lasting longer than 2 months, also known as long COVID, among adults in the United States, and which adults are most likely to experience long COVID?

    Findings In this cross-sectional study of more than 16 000 individuals, 15% of US adults with a prior positive COVID-19 test reported current symptoms of long COVID. Those who completed a primary vaccination series prior to infection were less likely to report long COVID symptoms.

    Meaning This study suggests that long COVID is prevalent and that the risk varies among individual subgroups in the United States; vaccination may reduce this risk.


    We included data collected from 8 waves of the COVID States Project, a large-scale internet survey conducted for an academic consortium approximately every 6 weeks between February 5, 2021, and July 6, 2022, inclusive of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. …


    We adapted the World Health Organization4 definition of long COVID, including all individuals whose survey start date was more than 2 months after the month in which they initially identified a positive COVID-19 test result and defining casees as reporting continued symptoms at the time of the survey.

    Somehow, I think the outcome of all this will be way worse than the diesel shortage.

    1. mookie

      There was a Twitter thread linked here recently that claimed Covid travels through the body via endothelial cells that make up the inner lining of blood vessels, and that damage to these cells and the blood vessels that contain them explain long Covid. https://twitter.com/AlisaValdesRod1/status/1582566898528489472
      Searching endothelial, Covid led me to some studies that discuss this possibility but little to nothing in the media. Does anyone have any more information on Covid and endothelial cells?

      One of the studies claims a rather astonishing success in the treatment of long Covid symptoms with a combination of L-arginine and vitamin C (1.5g arginine, .5g C 2x daily) Again, little to no coverage of this study anywhere. Does anyone have any more information or insight into these studies and the status of research into Covid/long Covid and endothelial cells?

      1. Kengferno

        Thanks for this! Good info. My wife’s had good results with hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy too

  2. Roger Blakely

    I agree with Dr. Osterholm that zero COVID is unrealistic. Omicron is just too transmissible. However, pretending that the pandemic is over is insanity. On Friday’s Indie SAGE Youtube video Dr. Rae Duncan (Scottish cardiologist) said that we are sending our children unprotected into a level 3 biohazard. To be fair public health officials keep saying that people should be behaving as if the pandemic is as bad as ever.

    I think that the 27% number for BQ.1 has value. We aren’t there yet, but there is every reason to believe that we soon will be.

    1. hunkerdown

      But it was realistic, and we can and should destroy with great ferocity the people and interests who took that option away from citizens so that “the social order” could be preserved.

    2. Bazarov

      Zero covid cannot be “unrealistic” due to viral behavior because the policy is really-existing in China despite the very viral behavior you find disqualifying.

      Therefore, any statement regarding why zero covid isn’t done in the United States ought to account for human agency.


      “Zero Covid won’t be accomplished in the United States because it would cost elite interests too much money. They profit in the short term from the virus and its calamity.”

      “America lacks state capacity to carry out a zero covid policy due to decades of neoliberal privatization and crapification.”

      “Even if the American government could in theory orchestrate a successful zero covid policy, individuals in America are so atomized from one another and alienated from public institutions that they would resist politically, dooming the project.”

        1. JBird4049

          How about greatly reduced? Even if one can not eliminate the disease, I think it would be possible to use a combination of masking, quarantines, medications, and maybe vaccination if they could create ones known for efficacy and safety.

          I mean there are many diseases that we have not eliminate, but we do control.

          1. Basil Pesto

            I know that’s a bacteria but still

            of course it’s entirely possible that the pathogen we’ll come to call SARS-CoV-3 is already in a bat somewhere

            1. Basil Pesto

              my point is that this ‘animal reservoir’ meme seems to be another means of inducing learned helplessness in the population when it’s actually largely a distraction. Will we eradicate SC2? Highly unlikely. But then (assuming zoonotic origin) it was probably around for many years before it was allowed to get out of control in the human population (and if you assume
              lab origin it doesn’t really make a difference. Zoonotic origin is the starting point for almost all other pandemic viruses, I think, so my point remains the same). Is it technically possible to eliminate SC2 in (eventually) all human jurisdictions such that infections from the animal population becomes a problem that effects only a minute fraction of the world’s population on an only occasional basis? I believe so. But is it politically possible? No. Like, with China’s whack-a-mole dynamic zero, I’m pretty sure most if not all infection incursions have come from humans, not animals.

              1. Basil Pesto

                Last thing: I think the “animal reservoir” thing could be less consequential than those humans who are chronically infected with SC2, which is of course most likely whence Omicron came. Consider this recent pre-print. This has consequences for any hypothetical containment policy (we would need to dramatically step up wastewater surveillance for one thing), although we’re a long way from that. But the implications are more troubling and ostensibly confirm what GM has been warning consistently: in the context where public health has been completely destroyed and we are adopting a maximalist approach to infection with SARS2, meaning virtually no pathogen surveillance, we could plausibly see the Omicron-like emergence of a new, deadlier (or less deadly!) serotype with Delta-like characteristics from a chronic infectee at some point in the future. If this happened in China, such an outbreak would probably be contained within weeks. In the west/RoW, it will spread to all corners of the Earth within a month assuming it’s readily transmissible, as happened with Omicron.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > Zero Covid won’t be accomplished

        Eradication may be impossible, but I think that a public health policy of “high suppression of community spread” is conceivable and would IMO be much preferable to what we now have.

        I console myself with the thought that the current policies have the long-term effect of promoting multipolar world order. We’ll drag ourselves there, kicking and screaming.

      2. Societal Illusions

        Does that the policy is “really existing” mean it is really working? Keep reading about new Chinese shutdowns and lockdowns again and again. Australia/NZ had this policy for quite some time. Vaccination seems to have tossed it off track.

        1. Basil Pesto

          So this is actually the policy, and it is working. What you’re describing reflects the shift from “Strict” Zero Covid to what the Chinese call “Dynamic Zero”. This is reflecting an acceptance that outbreaks will happen periodically, and that cities/regional governments will use the tools at their disposal (TTIQ – Test Trace Isolate Quarantine – including mass testing and snap lockdowns) to nip these outbreaks in the bud in a matter of weeks if not sooner, which is what has happened to date – the Shanghai disaster being the exception (and there is currently an outbreak in Guangzhou which is looking a bit dicey). They do this instead of a more “strict zero” to, I believe, help maximise trade and mobility while simultaneously fighting a dangerous pandemic disease.

          Australia’s ZC policy never developed to the point where we were able to try ‘Dynamic Zero’. I’m also not sure that it would have been necessary (we have a small population and no land borders, which is a much easier starting point than what China has) or, for that matter, accepted. Australia was actually locked down very little until the ZC policy was abandoned in late May 2021 (and you’re correct in saying that vaccines were used to rationalise abandoning the policy – I should emphasise that it wasn’t “tossed off track”, it was deliberately abandoned), and some credible studies last year showed that Australians enjoyed more “freedom/liberty” relative to the rest of the world during this period (of course the world ex-China now enjoys a universal amount of “freedom”, it’s just that in order to get this freedom, we have all been scammed out of our health in the long run). The major exception to this was Victoria, which locked down for nearly four months in 2020 due to a state government fuck-up. If we had bothered to learn from China’s strategies, namely mass testing, then that lockdown could have been halved in duration. Then, after the ZC policy was abandoned, Victoria and NSW (the most populous states) as well as ACT and, for a period, Queensland, locked down for long stretches in order to vaccinate the population (locking down to eliminate the disease was abandoned as a goal using two significant lies to justify it: 1. “this will be a pandemic of the unvaccinated/vaccines are the road out of the pandemic” and 2. “Delta (and later Omicron) are too transmissible to be eliminated”, the second lie being bolstered by the first.

          However, Australia had a few “dynamic zero”-type snap lockdowns, usually lasting a week, sometimes two. One was in Melbourne in Feb 2021, for example. There were a couple in South Australia though if I recall correctly, one of them was a false alarm after someone lied/misspoke to contact tracers.

          Western press are accentuating the number and frequency of lockdowns in China but obfuscating the fact that these restrictions generally impact a tiny fraction of the population for a brief period of time. Life is normal in most of China for most of the year, which, incidentally, also means that masks in most part of the country are completely unnecessary. This was also the case in Australia when it had a ZC policy (with a few other hardships: we couldn’t travel overseas without quarantine on the return trip, which is also currently the case in China. More seriously, it was unacceptably difficult for Australians overseas to repatriate during this time.)

          1. will rodgers horse

            and you would also wish that we implement bar code access to all facets of life? And that you would willingly see your children sent to quarantine? And just how long does this whack a mole approach need to be carried out?

            1. Soredemos

              Ah, so you’ve now retreated to trying to use emotional blackmail. “But what about your children?!”

  3. will rodgers horse

    1) Given how inconvenient it is the the NARRATIVE, why do all our officials go out of their way to make sure everyone knows of their rebounds and reinfections?
    IMO to make it seem like we are all in this together.
    2) Why should we believe a thing they say about their medical conditions? They lie about everything else do they not?

  4. will rodgers horse

    re gut microbiome some scandalous treatment protocols using the horse paste include a prominent mention for use of Kefir or probiotics and have been saying this for a while. Go figure

    1. Objective Ace

      I believe theyve recently updated the recommendations. Pre/prebiotic themselves may not be as useful as they are mostly destroyed in the stomach. Probiotic protected by “spores” are much better as the spores allow the prebiotic to travel past the stomach to the gut where there can be helpful

      1. Objective Ace

        Ps: there’s a good podcast on this topic (no mention of covid) if anyone is interested. The genius life: 249, Heal Your Gut

  5. Reader_In_Cali

    Another wrinkle in the Paul Pelosi cover up, I mean, story is that the SF Board of Supes just passed legislation authorizing law enforcement to use private security camera footage to investigate and solve crime. Let me tell you that a) every home in that neighborhood has TONS of cameras catching all angles on the street and on their property b) since the crime panic stoked by the Boudin recallers, people are very quick to post vids and pics from their security cameras on social media or rush them to the mainstream media. Odd that the extremely craven SFPD haven’t leaked any security footage of the alleged assailant from a private residence nearby (presumably he had to do *some* walking to get to the residence? unless the next bombshell in this case is that he parachuted down under the cover of darkness haha). And super odd that none of these rich snitches haven’t handed over any footage that has been leaked to the press yet, which is their usual MO.

    Additionally the latest story in the SF Chron cites an unnamed security guard nearby (you’ll be shocked to hear that this person doesn’t have a name or location mentioned in the story) who caught a glimpse of the assailant before the alleged crime occurred, and heard a “bang” not soon after. Presumably what he heard was the hammer used to break in the house. Again, where was this guard located? And glass shattering does not produce a “bang” noise… Oh, and by the way the Chron story directly contradicts the LA Times story with respect to key details (h/t to the commenter in yesterday’s water cooler who linked to this).

    As an SF resident, this story is getting more and more hilarious.

    1. Mikel

      After all the hand wringing about Jan. 6, it doesn’t sound like Nancy was really that concerned for her safety.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > As an SF resident, this story is getting more and more hilarious.

      Well, I’m sure that with the SFPD and the FBI on the case, everything is going swimmingly. They have form!

    3. Danny Boy

      What a shitshow. Wonder if Pape is the same guy who fled from Pelosi’s Porsche after he hit the pickup truck in Napa? Pelosi was drunk. The passenger airbag deployed. A sensor in the uber luxury car triggers that. No passenger, no deploy.

      Pelosi is a known habitues of the Castro gay bars, which are a mile and a half down Divisidero Street from his mansion. Imagine the pressure on the new London Breed appointed D.A.Of Color. to protect the higher ups.

      When do Pelosi and DePape have a “restorative justice circle.” Also, why isn’t DePape released without cash bail? Many other violent felons in S.F. have so been released. Is he getting specially harsh treatment?

      1. JBird4049

        >>> Is he getting specially harsh treatment?

        I don’t know if he is getting harsh treatment, but he did attack Someone Who Matters unlike the rest of us.

      2. Dave in Austin

        Based on my time in SF, at least 7/10 of the non-Asian, non-Hispanic males residing in the city are either gay, bi, dabble in such things or just have a screw loose. That’s not counting the Trannies and Persons of Fetish. So the chances that two White Males involved as perp and victim will both be “nonstandard” is 7/10 x 7/10 or 49/100… a 50-50 chance. And Pelosi according to one account knew the assailant’s name.

        The assailant looks to me to be gay/bi/screw loose. Pelosi… I don’t have a clue. As they used to say in my Hill days “Don’t get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.” We have at least progressed to the “dead girl or dead boy” stage.

        I believe in statistics and increasing the number of proper nouns.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>I believe in statistics and increasing the number of proper nouns.

          Well, modern Western Civilization is unusual for only two social genders for the two biological sexes. We could use a few more genders. However, I think that Western Civilization is too bonkers for that conversation for now.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      When the Pelosi story first came out I felt that there was more to the story than what had been published. I had no idea that there would be MUCH more to the story, with much of it yet to be fully disclosed. The Pelosis, to put it mildly, are a real piece of work. Some might say only in San Francisco.

  6. John

    I have a beef with the continual use of never identified initials and acronyms whose presence assumes that of course any truly sentient person knows for what these letters stand. Is this carelessness, arrogance, or passive aggressive insider signaling? I do not suppose it is about to stop and I will keep searching out the meanings, but it is a real pain. Big pharma ads do it all the time to alert the unwashed to the disease of the weak, its miracle cure, and its list of 78 drear and dreadful side effects. That would be a joke did it not rope in a certain number. Here in Naked capitalism, I just find it annoying and unnecessary.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Could there be a glossary of acronyms for NC? Example entries:

      NC Naked Capitalism
      PMC Professional-Managerial Class [see Wikipedia article]

      and so on.

      1. lambert strether

        Those are the two most frequently used.

        Frankly, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this complaint. First, it’s vague. I’m not spelling out CDC or PMI or GNP or DNC or HTTP or USA! USA! on first use in an informal* post like Water Cooler; I prefer to be writing rather than observing academic niceties. Second, I personally enjoy looking up acronyms; I generally learn something. I’m not certain that filtering for lack of intellectual curiosity is such a bad thing. Third, you can always ask; the NC commentariat is a glossary in itself. Fourth, creating and maintaining a glossary is a lot of work; I know because I’ve done it, professionally and as a blogger. Fifth, this post veers dangerously close to assigning work, against site policy. In short, deal.

        * You will no doubt have observed that I go to considerable trouble to expand acronyms in medical abstracts in Links, or in full-dress posts on the Centers for Disease Control, etc.

        1. Old Jake

          If a reader were to assemble such a compendium and post or send via email (a post would likely be long), would it be possible to put it into a location with a link, so that it can be found by the casual reviewer? No, I’m not volunteering, just asking. Perhaps someone in the commentariat would assemble such a collection. Just for a jolly time. ??

        2. OliverN

          Actually PMC is the one that caused me the most confusion for years until I realized it meant Prof Managerial Class. I always thought it stood for “Private Military Company/Contractors” (granted, it made sense in quite a few contexts).

          Being in Australia, if I google PMC, my first result is “Prime Minister and Cabinet”, my second result is “PubMed Central”, my third result is Platinum Capital (Aust stock exchange code PMC) and finally I get Private Military Company as my fourth result. Prof Management Class doesn’t show even 40 results later.

          Granted, PMC is the only one I’ve had trouble with, everything else has been quite jargon free or the context makes it clear (eg “the CDC must be some health organisation”)

      2. Skip Intro

        Don’t forget:
        TINA – There Is No Acronym Alternative – Battle cry of neoliberal isolation of politics from economics.

    2. ChiGal

      which are the ones you need explained? I don’t think it’s arrogance, just the way tech drives us to use language these days, it’s more convenient for texting, etc.

      ask and ye shall receive!

      1. caucus99percenter

        In my case, I was stumped a few days ago when someone referred to a “DwB” website. All I could determine was, DwB did not stand for Doctors Without Borders.

  7. fresno dan

    “Do Violent Protests Affect Expressions of Party Identity? Evidence from the Capitol Insurrection” [American Political Science Review].
    “Using day-level panel data from a large sample of US social media users to track changes in the identities expressed in their Twitter biographies, we show that the Capitol insurrection caused a large-scale decrease in outward expressions of identification with the Republican Party and Donald Trump, with no indication of reidentification in the weeks that followed.
    Hard for me to believe that the above actually means anything.
    AND I don’t think there was an “insurrection.”

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On average, Americans’ political party preferences in 2021 looked similar to prior years, with slightly more U.S. adults identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic (46%) than identified as Republicans or leaned Republican (43%).

    However, the general stability for the full-year average obscures a dramatic shift over the course of 2021, from a nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a rare five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

  8. John

    I could never be a proper billionaire. I would find growing ever wealthier from the misery and misfortune of others to be dishonorable and unethical. Clearly not a problem for others. I guess I am not a proper capitalist.

  9. Mikel

    “…One could argue we’re in the business of critical infrastructure, and the most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure…”

    To quote a Clinton (George Clinton):
    “Free your mind and your a – – will follow.”

    “Think. It ain’t illegal…yet”

    1. hunkerdown

      I think “cognitive” has a very particular meaning here:

      Cognitivism is the meta-ethical view that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be true or false (they are truth-apt), which noncognitivists deny.[1] Cognitivism is so broad a thesis that it encompasses (among other views) moral realism (which claims that ethical sentences express propositions about mind-independent facts of the world), ethical subjectivism (which claims that ethical sentences express propositions about peoples’ attitudes or opinions), and error theory (which claims that ethical sentences express propositions, but that they are all false, whatever their nature).

      So, it could be that Easterly is counting among her “assets” the means by which Anglophones can be manipulated through language and tone of voice to enhance exploitability and self-negation, and yes, the PMC would be very concerned about losing their one lever of power over the help.

      1. lambert strether

        Assets, almost literally (as in monetizable). Absolutely abhorrent. Marketing and influencing are bad enough. This is thoughtcrime, and all put in place by liberals bleating anf yammering about “norms” and “our democracy.”

    2. Greg

      The most concerning thing to me about the idea that our betters consider our “Cognitive infrastructure” part of their remit, is the quality of care our other infrastructure receives.
      Bridges falling down, the plot of “Falling down”, both the result of elite infrastructure care.

  10. fresno dan

    “Fog of disinformation spreads after Pelosi attack” [Politico]. “Charges filed yesterday against suspected assailant David DePape unearthed more shocking details about the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband — including ones that seemed to intentionally counter disinformation swirling around the disturbing incident.” Oh? Here is the criminal complaint.
    The link to the criminal complaint is to the NYT, which has a paywall. I did find the actual criminal complaint

    From the affidavit
    While talking with each other, Pelosi went into a bathroom, where Pelosi grabbed
    a phone to call 9-1-1. DEPAPE stated he felt like Pelosi’s actions compelled him
    to respond.
    DEPAPE stated that they (both Pelosi and Depape) went downstairs to the front door. The police arrived
    and knocked on the door, and Pelosi ran over and opened it
    So, due to watching WAY to many true crime shows, the only thing that really strikes me as odd, is why would Pelosi, leave the bathroom? I assume this is a normal bathroom with a door, and a door that locks. (remember, Pelosi has a rather relatively lengthy conversation with the police dispatcher and Depape isn’t stopping Pelosi – seems to me there would have been time for Pelosi to shut and lock the door) Pelosi was able to call the police, and this Depape had obviously gotten into the house illegally, and Depape stated that he wanted to committ a very serious crime against Pelosi’s wife. So why in the world don’t you just say straight forwardly on the phone to the police that a burglar or assilant is in the house??? And stay safely locked in the bathroom until the police arrive??? seems odd. I mean, if I was in that situation, I would get fully awake right quick.

    I would add that this may be just an ordinary crime – that strikes me as the most plausible. Screwy people do screwy things. BUT, when you look at how so many FBI personnel acted in the Trump investigation, you can see where people may wonder if all the relevant information is being provided…

    1. anon in so cal

      Who was in the car with Paul Pelosi when he was cited for the DUI a month or so ago?

      Why is that a secret? Or is it?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Do you or anyone else have a link about the passenger from Pelosi’s DUI? I hadn’t heard of that and I’ve looked over the last couple days and can’t come up with anything, but admittedly haven’t gone farther than the first page of search results.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      The reports a few days ago said Pelosi called 911 after making an excuse to use the bathroom and then left the phone on and spoke in “code” to alert the authorities that he needed assistance. And now we have this bathroom visit in the affidavit. Like you said FD, no need for “code” if you could just tell them directly. If he wanted to be really clever, maybe a flush or two to drown out the call while fingering the perp to 911.

      Until we get surveillance footage of exactly how this guy got into the house, because there must be some somewhere, I remain skeptical and will assume someone’s hiding something.

  11. Jeff W

    “In case that embed goes pear-shaped, here’s a screen shot”

    Well, I won’t say the embed went pear-shaped—it worked less than a half hour ago—but the page on Instagram now appears to be unavailable. On its “Commitment to Our Audiences” page, however, the Met reassures us that masks are “now optional.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the page on Instagram now appears to be unavailable

      Thanks for the heads-up. I added UPDATEs to the post with the same video, but on Twitter — really a must-watch, wonderfully clarifying — and also a call for people to pressure the Met to reinstate the masking requirement.

      1. antidlc

        I wonder what the opera singers think of this. They have to make a living, but if they catch COVID, it could very well ruin their careers.

        I really, really miss live theatre and opera. I got notified I still have a credit on my account for an opera that was cancelled during the shutdown. I don’t think I will be going to any live productions any time soon, so I think I will just donate the ticket.

  12. Revenant

    That plantidote looks familiar….

    Also, I think the word for cognitive infrastructure does not begin with F, it begins with T: Totalitarian. Our overlords are totalitarians: the world is not enough, they must have your soul. You will support Ukraine, your pandemic will be over, you will be grateful for your punishment.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Dang, my back teeth were itching so bad from the Met thing…. Fixed.

      I did think of the T word. I view it as a level of abstraction above the F word. And representing a tendency both parties share, albeit not completely overlapping.

      1. Revenant

        Agreed but I think it needs to be used more!

        The problem with calling people fascist is the cartoon imagery, the immediate resort to Hitler comparisons etc. Who doesn’t like leather? Whereas totalitarians are against freedom. The totality of their power-hunger leaves them no excuses. Calling them totalitarian sucks the oxygen out of their positioning – provided you can make the charge stick. I should hope the paean to thought-control looks good on the charge sheet. :-)

        It’s basically a better smear than fascist because everybody has a view what fascism is and it is not them: there is too much iconography and too little consistency in the signs and symptoms of fascism to get a conviction in the jury of popular opinion. The best definitions are about the union of state and party and corporatism but that’s a bloodless PMC concept.

        The Uniparty is Totalitarian: it has already done away with any other parties. The three minute hate and the jackboot stamping on your face, that’s totalitarianism of any stripe (even rainbow-striped LGBTQIA+ jackboots) and that’s what Orwell warned against.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The best definitions are about the union of state and party and corporatism but that’s a bloodless PMC concept.

          I disagree. I think Paxton’s definition is historically-based and more accurate:

          Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

          It’s like there’s a Republican version, which is partial:

          Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

          And a Democrat version, also partial:

          Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

          I’m comfortable with characterizing liberal Democrats as “committed nationalists” (RussiaGate, Ukraine).

          The missing piece in both cases is “militants.” I think the right is closer to that than liberals.

          Not sure I got all the crossings-out right!

          NOTE “bloodless PMC concept”… Not “blood- and soil-less PMC concept”? Not so much a gotcha as a recognition that fascist tropes are incredibly virulent…..

  13. McWatt

    Am I imagining things or was there a link yesterday to a Santa Monica newspaper that had some interesting facts regarding the unfortunate Pelosi attack? Or was that a scam?

    1. Duke of Prunes

      It was also labeled an opinion piece, in which the author clearly said “this is what I think happened (IMHO)”.

      Having said that, the opinion expressed, to me, was just as believable as today’s FBI documents… another organization known to fabricate from time to time.

  14. will rodgers horse

    Why are you conflating Jay Battacharya’s comments with Oster? Her is what he wrote:
    “I believe very strongly in the power of forgiveness and have had many opportunities to practice the art during the pandemic. We also need an honest evaluation of failed leaders and institutions, and reforms so these destructive policies never return.

    1. Diogenes

      I had a similar (unironic) thought.

      He general seems like a reasonable sort to me. Weigh the costs & benefits. Protect the most vulnerable. &tc.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Protecting the vulnerable doesn’t work. See: *gestures at the globe*. The costs of the “cost benefit analysis”, already a fairly asinine approach to a crisis of this sort, are being tendentiously and disingenuously misrepresented in a rehash of climate change denialism/smoking-is-good-for-you-actually sophistry: “covid is just a cold/flu”, a sophistry which Bhattacharya, not uncoincidentally, is the spearhead of. The costs will be far greater, deeper and more awful than all but a small fraction of the population (and apparently the Chinese government) understands, as we will now have to learn the hard way, thanks to all these insufferably unreasonable-seeming sorts, who are in fact straightforwardly evil.

          1. Diogenes

            I’d be interested for my own (unironic, non-snarky) edification if you have a link to a supporting example of Bhattacharya being “straightforwardly evil.” (Or, for that matter, illogical or unreasonable.)

            I’ve read what the man wrote and heard him interviewed at great length multiple times and while I wouldn’t wish to underwrite his every utterance, and have found multiple issues of theology and politics with which to disagree, not a single time have I heard him make any claim that remotely smacked of climate change denialism or smoking is good for you.

            I think the empirical evidence is ample that the risk of the virus is highly risk stratified (by age, co-morbidities, etc.) — extremely serious for some at one end of a continuum to not so very serious at all at the other end — from which it would seem to flow straightforwardly that the policy response should be tailored accordingly, and not “one size fits all”. At bottom, that, as I read him, is what Bhattacharya has advocated for.

  15. digi_owl

    The impression i have of late is that there are basically two ways to remove “excess” money from the economy. First is the age old taxation, the second is paradoxically loan repayments. There is supposedly some arcane logic behind how banks do accounting that makes money used that way to basically vanish in thin air.

    1. John Zelnicker

      digi_owl – It’s not arcane logic, it’s basic MMT.

      When banks issue loans they create deposits, that is, the money appears out of thin air in the borrower’s bank account.

      When the loan is repaid the process reverses and money disappears into thin air.

      Raising interest rates increase loan repayments and pulls more money out of the economy, leading to a recession. A growing economy requires a growing money supply, otherwise it shrinks.

      1. Paradan

        The collateral you take out on a loan does not supply then money for loan. Since, to the bank, it has zero liquidity.*

        *Am I using this word correctly?

        1. John Zelnicker

          Paradan – Your are using liquidity (the quality of being readily convertible into cash) correctly. I’m not sure it’s zero to the bank, but it is low.

          The vast majority of bank-issued loans today, from 80 to 85%, IIRC, are for real estate mortgages. For residential commercial property mortgages, the expectation is that rents will cover the principal and interest payments, for home mortgages, it’s the income of the homeowner.

          In the event the mortgage goes into default, the bank will foreclose and sell off the property hoping to recoup at least the outstanding principal. This takes time and expense, so the liquidity is low, but not zero.

      2. eg

        I think your description is correct for private sector loans — they net to zero. Increases in the interest rate on public debt, however, add net money via the interest income channel.

        This at least is how I understand Mosler’s contention that the mainstream “has it backwards” where interest rates and inflation are concerned.

    1. Carolinian

      Sara Bareilles is somewhat big on Broadway but the appealing Tea Leoni likely joins Sean Penn in the celebrity has been corner. Turley thinks Musk will be a good thing. You wonder why this panicky fear of potential propaganda since, if it worked, Biden’s approval rating would be over 40 percent. Perhaps the Repubs and the dastardly Musk know special Mr. Subliminal trigger words.

      Meanwhile the administration wants to shut down TikTok which I’m all for before my car gets stolen. Seems unlikely to happen however.

      1. Paradan

        “Biden’s approval rating would be over 40 percent.”

        I’ll make the argument that it has been working, because he hasn’t been impeached.

    2. Late Introvert

      Alex Winter is the guy that crowd-funded a Zappa doc, then sold it to Hollywood and reneged on “a copy of the movie” by sending links to a Vimeo page. He was/is also that Ted’s sidekick doofus. He sucks.

    3. communist mole

      Téa Leoni played in a series called ‘Madam Secretary’, where she’s a CIA analyst who becomes Secretary of State. In one episode, Hilary Clinton has a guest appearance …

  16. upstater

    re. NY: “Stefanik eyes leadership role as Castelli seeks upset as a moderate” [Syracuse.com (bob)]

    It is not just Stefanik’s opponent as a “CIA Democrat” in New York State. NY 22 encompasses Syracuse and Utica, classic rustbelt cities with 40% poverty rates, rural poverty and well-to-do suburbs and exurbs.

    Democrats hand-picked Francis Conole, a Commander in the USNR, Special Forces and Naval Intelligence, and an aide to Mattis and Ashton Carter. His opponent characterized him as never having worked in the private sector.

    I simply cannot vote for a “CIA Democrat”. Not sure whether I abstain or vote for the Republicans.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I had the same options in AZ. A Nancy Pelosi Democrat versus a Doug Ducey acolyte. Who cares which one wins? When the options are A) Shyt sandwich and B) Shyt sandwich with cole slaw, I just pass. Why waste energy?

  17. Michael Ismoe

    Wars end in one of two ways: with the unconditional surrender of one party or in a negotiated settlement. As the world’s equal largest nuclear power, Russia’s full capitulation is almost unimaginable.

    Uh, no, Russia isn’t going to capitulate to Zelensky. Funny how the potential for Ukraine to capitulate to Putin wasn’t even an option. Russia is about to put 300k troops into the field. You think they are going for a negotiated settlement?

    Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Don’t know what they are going to do when Russia starts their offensives if they won’t even consider negotiations with them. There are no more sanctions worth levying against Russia anymore. And they can’t go into the Ukraine with US/NATO forces as most of the gear that they would need to fight Russia has already been spent in the Ukraine. Germany alone has only about two days worth of ammo and that is it. So what can Washington do to stop Russia? Ask China to get them to stop? it looks like Washington has painted itself into a corner that they can’t get out of now.

      1. Polar Socialist

        As per Martyanov (since I can’t get to RT nowadays, thanks to EU not respecting freedom of speech) apparently Peskov has made it clear recently that Russia wont negotiate with Kiev, since they learned in March that Kiev is not making the decisions.

        And Moscow will negotiate with Washington only based on the proposals (“the ultimatum”) Russia delivered in December. That is, within the framework of collective security for Europe.

        I can’t say whether this is setting the starting level for bargaining or broadcasting the dissolution of NATO as one of the political aims of the war. Maybe both.

    2. Anarcissie

      It seems to me Putin & Co. have already gotten what they wanted: Ukraine is pretty much neutralized as a NATO asset / staging ground / cat’s paw, Russian-populated territory is now politically Russian, a lot of stuff has been destroyed and wrecked as punishment. So why the 300K? My guess is that Putin foresees the final move of the game as an all-NATO Hail-Mary rush over the line, or over the Dniepr, whatever. But 300,000 is a few too many to just push aside. The possibilities that the move will be very expensive and will fail have been increased to the point where the US will not risk them, or, if they do, will suffer significant losses. They really might as well start talking.

      1. ambrit

        What scares me is that the Americans have renounced the previous policy of no first strike with atomics. I can see a panicky West determining that “just a few” tactical nukes will stop the Russians and that the Russians will sit still for that. The Americans are moving upgraded nukes into Europe now.
        The Stupidity, it burns with the fierceness of a thousand megatons TNT.

        1. barefoot charley

          America was never ‘No first strike,’ from Hiroshima to today. First strike with tactical nukes was our response to huge Soviet conventional superiority back in Cold War days.

      2. eg

        Given the recent shenanigans on the Black Sea I can’t imagine Russia accepting any deal that doesn’t include their control of Odessa.

    1. c_heale

      Sanctions do have an effect on the poorer people in a country, which is a good argument against using them.

      1. Paradan

        not if you hate poor people. If the government of a country refuses to abuse the masses, or, God forbid, actually has policies that aid them, sanctions are a great counter. Its like Diet Capitalism, none of the capital extraction, but all of the misery.

        1. digi_owl

          Invariably that seems to be the goal, to make it so painful for the masses that they topple the undesired government and “elect” one more friendly to Wall Street.

  18. Darthbobber

    The WAPO must really want that productivity piece to get wide distribution, since it was paywall-free.

    It would only make sense to frame things as workers being more or less productive if workers actually controlled all of the main determinants of productivity. Alas, we don’t. An accurate characterization would be that a given industry is more or less productive per worker employed.

    I’m seeing a lot of businesses pretending to be past COVID when they really aren’t and limping along at 80 or 90 percent while pretending that things are normal.

    Between the supply chain problems and some other issues that disrupt continuity of operations, there’s another major contributor to lower efficiency and productivity. Most production systems perform optimally with a steady stream of work going through them, but right now there are a lot of fits and starts. Someone who’s periodically waiting for work for multi-hour stretches obviously can get less done than someone who always has work.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Thanks for this comment. That article is complete bu11sh1t, entirely framed as “why aren’t people working as hard as they could/should?” when that has virtually no impact on the productivity data. The statistic is called “labor productivity” because it measures output per unit of work time but the main drivers of productivity growth (having nothing to do with how “hard” people work) are 1) capital investment and 2) the relative speed at which high (mfg) vs low (everything else) productivity sectors are growing (often referred to as “Baumol’s disease” even though Baumol never characterized it as a disease, only an inevitability). Plus, the data are unbelievably (or not) noisy – most analysts seriously trying to investigate productivity growth use 3- or 5-year moving averages – and are closely tied to the ups and downs of the business cycle (productivity generally grows faster when economic growth is high, which is typically interpreted the other way around, as if it’s the productivity growth that causes the economic growth and not the other way around, and also grows/falls in periods when employment falls/grows, which is also typically interpreted incorrectly as related to the hiring/firing of less experienced or skilled workers when it is simply a function of lags in scaling production up/down.)

      TL/DR: just a lot more economistic mis/disinformation.

  19. thump

    Debunking of that Eric Ding tweet:


    “If you read the NYFed report, this is not because of newly disabled Americans, but because the labor market is so hot that previously unemployed disabled people are now getting jobs.

    There are two major reasons this post is bad:

    1) makes the historic success of disabled folks getting good jobs seem like a bad thing
    2) erases the fact that our disability system isn’t really equipped to deal with Long COVID symptoms and few people are getting disability for it”

  20. Joe Well

    Update on Sanotize/Enovid/Fabispray nasal spray.

    Enovid (specific brand name) was apparently put on the FDA’s “Red List” last year, meaning customs officers are instructed to seize it. Red List is here (do a Control F for “Enovid”). If anyone knows anything about the Red List (I’d never heard of it before today), please share. I do not know if this is only a problem if you order fromthe listed pharmacies or if any shipment from any pharmacy in Israel will be detained. A Control-F search for “Fabispray” turned up nothing.

    I found out about this from this Reddit thread.

    Also, I found this long, detailed interview with the creators of Sanotize, from 1 month ago.

    Please reply if you know anything, this is the thing I’m most hopeful for wrt covid.

    1. Joe Well

      Sanotize/Enovid/Fabispray (different brand names per country) is a nasal spray to prevent or treat Covid-19.

      It’s been posted about earlier in the year in Water Cooler. A few commenters on here have indicated that they are using it.

      I just realized that I didn’t explain what it was.

    2. Daryl

      Interesting. For what it’s worth, I’ve obtained it several times since this notice was issued, this is the first I’m hearing of it.

      1. Stubbew

        I ordered some and the FDA made a great show about confiscating it and alerting me repeatedly to the bad bad thing that I was being kept very safe from.

        I let the vendor know and they refunded me, so no harm done.

        1. Carla

          No harm done, except you don’t have the protection of an anti-viral with zero side effects that is used to both prevent and treat Covid-19. Aren’t you relieved that the FDA is keeping you safe?

          I’ve been ordering and receiving Enovid without problems from 2 different Israeli online pharmacies since May 2022, as have several friends and relatives.

          BTW, Enovid is sometimes known as NONs, which stands for nitric oxide nasal spray.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            From the manufacturer, Sanotize:

            enovidTM and VirX TM are the identical product, branded under different names for marketing in various territories around the world. Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) is the generic name of the product.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Top Democrats Question Their Party’s Strategy as Midterm Worries Grow

    Leading lawmakers and strategists are openly doubting the party’s kitchen-sink approach, saying Democrats have failed to unite around one central message.

    I thought the message was, look at how bad those other guys are! I guess Orange Man Bad isn’t working so well as hoped?

    The criticisms by Democrats in the final days of the midterm elections signal mounting anxiety as Republicans hammer away with attacks over the economy and public safety. For weeks, Democrats have offered a scattershot case of their own, accusing their opponents of wanting to gut abortion rights, shred the social safety net and shake the foundations of American democracy.

    Yet as the country struggles with high gas prices, record inflation and economic uncertainty, some Democrats now acknowledge that their kitchen-sink approach may be lacking.

    LOL. Where the benefits? This is like the most inept Congress and presidency yet!

    Democrats have spent nearly $320 million on ads focused on abortion rights, more than 10 times as much as the $31 million they have spent on spots about inflation, according to data from AdImpact, a media tracking firm. They have spent nearly $140 million on crime ads.

    Oh. Well, they ain’t got much to say about the economy, do they?

    For weeks, much of the intraparty critique has centered on whether Democrats made a mistake by leaning too heavily in their messaging on the backlash to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Since June, when that ruling arrived in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, some Democrats hoped they could overcome economic anxieties and the pull of history with promises of preserving abortion rights and castigating Republican extremism.

    Hooray! Can’t beat something with nothin’.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “What were the historical reasons for the resistance to recognizing airborne transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic?”

    So as I was waking up this morning and the TV was on playing the news. Didn’t catch much until they talked about some group dealing with the pandemic who made some basic recommendations. Yes, hand-washing was a major one but no, masks were never mentioned as in not at all. These recommendations could have come from 2020 but they didn’t. They came from today after all that we have learned since the pandemic first appeared three years ago. They haven’t learned a goddamn thing.

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