2:00PM Water Cooler 11/18/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Speckled Nightingale-Thrush, Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Pichincha, Ecuador. “Two cuts of song from the same bird, sitting on a fallen log in dense foothill forest. The first cut is of song at full volume, the second at a much quieter volume (for unknown reasons).”

* * *

Politics

“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

Biden Administration

“White House’s hopes for a lame-duck debt ceiling deal are fading fast” [Politco]. #MintTheCoin.

2022

“The Midterm Elections and U.S. Policy on Public and Global Health” [ThinkGlobalHealth]. “[T]he need to strengthen domestic public health in the wake of a devastating pandemic played no apparent role in political campaigns or when ballots were cast.” • After a million dead under two administrations. In World War II, 880,000 British soldiers died. In return, after the war, they got the NHS. What do we get?

“Was crime as bad as it was portrayed ahead of the midterm elections?” [ABC]. No. It never is. “However, surveys show Americans are continuously bad at perceiving just how much crime is actually happening. The Pew Research Center found that 61% of voters say violent crime was a key issue of importance when voting in this year’s congressional elections, despite reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics that show no significant increase in the U.S. violent crime rate. The crime rate — for both violent/property and overall offenses — has been at a steady decline since the crime peak of the 1990s, and remains much lower than that. Pew found that Americans’ poor perception of crime has been seen in many elections before it: in 2020, 2016, and beyond.”

“Abortion and the 2022 Elections” [RealClearPolitics]. “Pew Research reports that over 60% of ‘Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.’ This isn’t much of an issue for Democrats, Ziegler says, because the party is unified in its support of abortion. There is more dissent on the Republican side, which presents a problem likely to emerge within the party: disagreement between state lawmakers and their fellow partisans on Capitol Hill. Legislators at the state level have shown a willingness to pass uncompromising statutes. Hardline abortion bans passed at the state level could stymie efforts to present GOP congressional candidates as caring and understanding. If Ziegler is right, abortion will vex Republicans for elections to come. But Democrats may be tempted to press their advantage beyond what the market will bear. If Democrats try to ‘see how far they can go’ they may ‘forget political realities’ and push an absolutist position. That would be the very ‘mistake that the GOP has made,’ she says. Does that portend endless, bitter conflict between Americans who insist that abortion on demand is a right and those who believe all abortion is murder? Mary Ann Glendon doesn’t think so. She suggests that the push and pull of politics allows the electorate to work out its differences rather than acting them out.”

* * *

NY: “The New York establishment is beating up on AOC. It should be looking in the mirror” [NBC]. Absolutely brutal, justifiably so. “Democratic losses in the Empire State appear to be pivotal in the narrow majority in the House of Representatives that Republicans are likely to have starting next year. The icing on this rotten cake is that New York Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.” More: “On a night of many disappointments, the party’s most egregious own goal was the one scored for Republicans by no one less than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman himself, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. Maloney, whose DCCC role is to elect as many Democrats to the House as possible, not only presided over the loss of four previously Democratic New York districts, but failed to win his own race after putting his ego above the warnings of party officials and activists. Maloney isn’t the only one to blame for Democrats’ Big Apple bludgeoning, however. The Democratic legislators who control the statehouse fumbled the ball when they were given the task of drawing up new congressional districts to reflect the results of the 2020 census. Their new congressional maps failed to satisfy the courts that they didn’t violate the state constitution’s bar on partisan gerrymandering, leading to the appointment of a nonpartisan election expert as a special master to draw new maps that cut deeply into Democrats’ previously safe districts. But even facing those tough maps, Democrats could have prevailed had their state party — which was busy deflecting progressive criticism of their conduct — marshaled better infrastructure and financial support for swing-district candidates. The maps were a problem; the party’s malpractice was fatal.” • Liberal Democrats would rather hammer on “progressives” than beat Republicans. No surprise, but the evidence is laid out here.

PA:

2024

We’ll see….

WI: “15 Takeaways from the 2022 Midterm Election in Wisconsin” [The Recombobulation Area]. “Going into Election Night, one of the big picture questions I had for the state results at large was about suburban voters in Wisconsin. This 2022 midterm seemed like it would shape up to be a test case on whether or not the suburban shift towards Democrats that largely began during Donald Trump’s presidency was still unfolding, or if it had reached a point where there would be some level of backlash and a return to the GOP for some suburban swing voters. The suburban trend toward Democrats seemed to happen more slowly in the Milwaukee suburbs than it did in other parts of the country. Perhaps this is in part due to the deep rifts in the region that prompted the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert in the 2010’s to identify the Milwaukee area as one of the nation’s most politically polarized metros. The polarization was so deeply entrenched, it took awhile for it to shake loose. But this shift has been happening here for several election cycles now, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. In fact, it seems to be picking up steam. After the election, the verdict is in: That shift is still happening….”

2024

“Trump and the Fight Republicans Need to Have” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal]. “In the coming 18 months of the big argument, Trump supporters can fairly be asked to consider a thought experiment. What if it had been Barack Obama in 2012 who refused to accept a democratic outcome to a presidential election? What if we later found out he probably knew he’d lost but didn’t want to accept it so he incited the Obamaites with accusations and false claims and made speeches insisting the election was stolen? What if he’d made a big outdoor speech and sent his forces, including some antifa chapters, to storm the Capitol in an attempt to thwart the Constitution and stop the counting of electoral votes? What if he refused to stop them once he saw on TV what they were doing? What if Democrats had done that? Republicans would feel righteous rage. They would never forgive Mr. Obama, who’d have shown the worst of himself and his movement. He and his actions would make you feel democracy itself was in the balance, and you would pledge to never let him enter the White House as president again. You’d feel as Liz Cheney does now: This must end.” • But see Taibbi’s post below…

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.

* * *

“The real story of the making of Nancy Pelosi” [Ryan Grim]. Well worth a read on Democrats going back to 1980. For those who don’t know this: ” If your knowledge of her comes from Republican attack ads, you know her as a “San Francisco liberal” or even “radical,” but she was raised in Maryland by her father Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., the boss of the Baltimore political machine, who was by turns a congressman and mayor of Charm City. D’Alesandro’s operation, like most big-city machines of the era, was linked in public to local Mafia figures, according to his FBI file.”

“REVEALED: Oil Industry Lobbying Group Funded ‘Dark Money’ Ad Campaign for Conservative Democrats” [Read Sludge]. “The American Petroleum Institute’s (API) 990 tax form for 2021 shows it paid more than $3.5 million to the Better Jobs Together Campaign, an opaque Virginia corporation that was formed in April 2021, for advocacy services it performed as an independent contractor…. The group’s ads praise Cuellar, Schrader, Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, Rep. Marc Veasey, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, according to copies that can be viewed on its website. The bulk of Better Jobs Together’s spending went towards ads that praise Cuellar, on which they spent at least $1.4 million, according to AdImpact. Cuellar has been labeled “Big Oil’s favorite Democrat” for his tendency to cross the aisle and take votes aligned with Republicans and the fossil fuel industry. He has the worst environmental voting record of any House Democrat, according to the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard. The American Petroleum Institute’s 2021 990 shows it paid Better Jobs Together as an independent contractor This is the second election cycle in a row that Cuellar has been boosted by a dark money political group that Sludge later uncovered was funded by API.” • It’s a big, beautiful tent!

Republican Funhouse

“GOP turns focus to Hunter Biden business dealings after winning House” [The Hill]. • Good, because the intelligence operatives, Democrat operatives, and their assets in the press and the platforms who suppresse the story of Hunter’s laptop before Election Day all need to be punished severely and driven from public life. OTOH, the Republicans can’t pull another Benghazi. No more yarn diagrams, because I’m not having it. Clear narratives, evidence, timelines, and no posturing. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“”Election Denial” for Me, But Not for Thee: YouTube Censors TK-Produced Videos, Again, Despite Factual Accuracy” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. “This video after all is packed with clips of people like Karine Jean-Pierre saying the 2016 election was ‘stolen,’ Joe Biden saying ‘I absolutely agree’ Trump is an ‘illegitimate president,’ Kamala Harris saying ‘you’re absolutely right’ Trump didn’t really win in 2016, and even Jimmy Carter saying ‘Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.’ Old pal Keith Olbermann proclaimed the public wouldn’t stand for this ‘bloodless coup’ called voting, Chris Hayes said Trump ‘cheated,’ and a conga line of officials from Adam Schiff to Elizabeth Warren insisted foreigners had ‘hacked our elections.’ These videos made what we believe to be a powerful and legitimate point about the framing of the last two presidential elections. The first is that despite Hillary Clinton’s reluctant capitulation on Election Night in 2016, the Democratic Party as a whole as well as key officials in the government never recognized Donald Trump as a legitimate president. Clinton in fact spent four years leading a public relations campaign insisting that a) she actually won in 2016 b) Trump only won because of fraud and actual vote tampering and c) Democrats going forward should not recognize his victory should he win a second time. Our view is that whether it’s Stop the Steal or Russiagate, denying a president’s legitimacy because you believe a conspiracy theory is the same behavior, and should be treated the same way. YouTube by administering a strike to [videographer] Orfalea is sending a message that you may leave videos of Hillary Clinton saying ‘we know that they were into voting rolls’ (they being the Russians), or Olbermann warning ‘It will not be a peaceful change of power!’ or the current president and vice-president agreeing their predecessor ‘didn’t really win,’ all without YouTube’s required Surgeon General-type warning called ‘EDSA’ (YouTube’s clunky acronym for ‘Educational, Documentary, Scientific, or Artistic’ context). In other words, you may leave up such statements without pointing out they’re unproven, incorrect, or irresponsible. This is a de facto endorsement of such behavior when committed by certain people. When others do exactly the same thing, it’s conspiracy theory, incitement, even insurrection.” • Wait ’til YouTube starts censoring videos on paper ballots, because the Democrat Party doesn’t support them.

#COVID19

Lambert here: I can’t call a winter surge, though we’ll really have to wait for Thanksgiving travel. However, high transmission (CDC), the elevation and continued increase in positivity (Walgreens), and the steady takeover of BQ.1* (CDC; Walgreens) are all a little unsettling (as is the apparent proliferation of variants). Stay safe out there! (As far as Thanksgiving travel goes, lacking CDC’s “Rapid Riser” counties feature, the best we can do, I think, is follow the news and look at wastewater. I would order risk from highest to lowest at JFK/LGA (New York), LAX (Los Angeles), ATL (Atlanta), and ORD (Chicago). Since New York — as of this writing, and of course all the data is delayed, making personal risk assessment an effort in delusion, but I digress — is a BQ.1* hotbed, I’d try to use EWR (Newark) not JFK/LGA. My $0.02!

* * *

“The End of Vaccines at ‘Warp Speed’” [New York Times]. A must read. “But as a third pandemic winter begins in the United States, its vaccine-making effort has lost steam. Efforts to test and produce next-generation Covid vaccines are bogged down by bureaucratic problems and funding shortfalls. Foreign rivals have raced ahead in approving long-awaited nasal-spray vaccines, including one invented in St. Louis, creating a scenario in which Americans would have to travel abroad for the latest in American vaccine technology. The Biden administration has launched a last-ditch effort to restore the country’s edge. In a bid to resurrect Operation Warp Speed, President Biden asked the lame-duck session of Congress this week for $5 billion for next-generation vaccines and therapeutics, as part of a broader $9.25 billion pandemic spending request. But Republicans, having blocked requests for next-generation vaccine funding since the spring amid complaints about how the White House spent earlier pandemic aid allocations, have shown no signs of dropping their resistance. As a result, even with the pandemic still taking a heavy toll, prospects have dimmed for the two most coveted kinds of next-generation vaccines: nasal sprays that can block more infections, and universal coronavirus shots that can defend against a wider array of ever-evolving variants…. China, India, Russia and Iran have all approved vaccines delivered through the nose or the mouth, even though they have not released much data about how the products work. In the United States, nasal sprays have been held back by the same funding constraints and logistical hassles that, before the pandemic, often made developing vaccines a decade-long ordeal. The delay could not only weaken the country’s defenses against a more lethal coronavirus variant but also hurt preparations for a future pandemic, depriving the world of an oven-ready nasal vaccine platform that could be adapted to a new pathogen.” • Biden should have implemented his own Operation Warp Speed on the first day of his administration, not two years on. Of course, when you look at who profits — and who will live and who will die — everything’s going according to plan. (And of course, both Pfizer and Moderna denied nasal vaccine researchers access to their mRNA machines, so the use case where nasal vaccines could be used as boosters could not be tested. Those executives need to be in the Hague, along with Walensky and Klain.)

* * *

• “Association between vitamin D supplementation and COVID-19 infection and mortality” [Nature]. From the Discussion: “Vitamin D supplementation during the pandemic was associated with a significant 20% and 28% reduction in laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 rates for vitamin D3 and vitamin D2, respectively. Vitamin D3 was associated with a significant 33% decrease in mortality within 30-days of COVID-19 infection. This decrease in COVID-19-related mortality is identical to the 33% observed in the Andalusian data for calcifediol when prescribed 15 days before hospitalization and similar to the 25% associated reduction in mortality for cholecalciferol21. For vitamin D2 the associated reduction in mortality was 25% but was not statistically significant. These associated reductions in risk are substantial and justify more significant exploration and confirmation using RCTs. This is particularly important given the high rates of vitamin D deficiency in the US population and COVID-19.” • Holy moley!

* * *

• A thread about how New Brunswick, Canada Public Health (PH) was formally told about Long Covid, but shared nothing with the public it’s their legal duty to produce:

* * *

• ”Aerosols from speaking can linger in the air for up to nine hours” [Building and Environment]. From November 2021, still germane. From the Abstract: “To understand the role of speech aerosols in the spread of COVID-19 globally, the lifetime and size distribution of the aerosols are studied through a combination of light scattering observation and aerosol sampling. It was found that aerosols from speaking suspended in stagnant air for up to 9 h with a half-life of 87.2 min. ” • Oh.

* * *

Transmission

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.)

Positivity

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published November 17:

0.3%. Up.

Wastewater

Wastewater data (CDC), November 14:

=

November 13:

Lambert here: Queens County (JFK/LGA) is no longer orange, i.e., not increasing, so I thought I’d look at Cook (ORD) which isL

Variants

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, academic pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

• Handy chart:

Variant data, national (Walgreens), November 6:

Lambert here: BQ.1* moving along quite briskly, though lower than CDC. XBB present here, not in CDC.

Variant data, national (CDC), October 29 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* moving along quite briskly. New York/New Jersey (Region 2) numbers are higher:

• As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated November 17:

Lambert here: Looks like it’s leveling out, for the moment.

Deaths

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,101,843 – 1,101,370 = 473 (473 * 365 = 172,645 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ 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.

• “Who Is Dying from COVID Now, and Why” [Scientific American]. “Older people were always especially vulnerable and now make up a higher proportion of COVID fatalities than ever before in the pandemic. While the total number of COVID deaths has fallen, the burden of mortality is shifting even more to people older than age 64. And deaths in nursing homes are ticking back up, even as COVID remains one of the top causes of death for all ages. COVID deaths among people age 65 and older more than doubled between April and July this year, rising by 125 percent, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This trend increased with age: more than a quarter of all COVID fatalities were among those age 85 and older throughout the pandemic, but that share has risen to at least 38 percent since May. Where people live also affects their risk level. The pandemic first hit urban areas harder, but mortality rose dramatically in rural areas by the summer of 2020—a pattern that has held. The gap is currently narrowing, but people living in rural areas are still dying at significantly higher rates. Rural death rates fell from 92.2 percent higher than urban rates at the end of September to 38.9 percent higher in mid-October. Racism and discrimination also play an outsize role in COVID deaths. While differences in age-adjusted death rates based on race have recently become smaller, experts predict inequities will likely skyrocket again during surges. For the past several weeks, the COVID death rate in the U.S. has stayed fairly steady, with 2,344 people dying of the illness in the seven-day period ending on November 9, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even so, the U.S. still accounts for a large portion of all confirmed COVID deaths happening around the globe, and it has the highest number of confirmed COVID deaths of any country. There have been 1.2 million excess deaths in the U.S. since February 2020, according to the CDC—losses that have reshaped almost every part of American life. The viral illness has remained a leading cause of death throughout the pandemic. And overall U.S. life expectancy has dropped significantly since the crisis began. ‘That is unprecedented,’ says Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, an advocacy network memorializing the victims of the illness. ‘And I don’t think that’s going to stop anytime soon.'”

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Let crypto burn” [Financial Times]. “In the aftermath of the collapse of FTX, authorities should resist the urge to create a parallel legal and regulatory framework for the crypto industry. It is far better to do nothing, and just let crypto burn. Actively intervening would convey undeserved legitimacy upon a system that does little to support real economic activity. It also would provide an official seal of approval to a system that currently poses no threat to financial stability and would lead to calls for public bailouts when crypto inevitably erupts again…. Banks, dealers, insurers, and pension funds should not be allowed to purchase and hold crypto or accept it as collateral. For the most part, crypto today is just a multiplayer online video game (like World of Warcraft). If virtually all the transactions remain internal to the crypto world without links to the real economy, the process might as well be occurring on Mars, leaving traditional finance unaffected. The overriding goal of policymakers should be to keep crypto systemically irrelevant. The best way to do this is let it implode under the pressure of its unsafe and unsound business practices. Meanwhile, authorities should constantly point to the record that crypto is rife with failures and fraud.” • Commentary:

The Bezzle: “Binance in Hot Water After Moving $2.7B Out of Proof of Reserves Wallet” [Be In Crytpo]. “All eyes are turning to Binance as the crypto community noticed that the exchange had moved $2.7 billion out of its “proof of reserves” wallet. Another Reddit post also stated that the exchange did not hold adequate proof of reserves on the BNB chain. Some community members claim that Binance moved 2.7 billion USDT 20 hours after it had published its report. It was noted that the destination address wasn’t mentioned in the report. 200 million USDT was later moved back, leaving 2.5 billion USDT in the undisclosed wallet. Binance has since responded to the post, noting that the undisclosed wallet is a TRX cold wallet. The executive stated, ‘the asset movements [highlighted] are the result of standard operations which move funds between our internal wallets.'” • Of course, of course.

Tech: “Twitter API Status” [Twitter]. • Another site to check to see if Twitter is really down (although in a world totally without trust, the green checks could be faked).

Tech: Twittergeddon (1):

Tech: Twittergeddon (2):

Tech: Twittergeddon (3):

Tech: Fond farewell (1):

Tech: Fond farewell (2):

Tech: Still buying green bananas?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 62 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 18 at 1:48 PM EST.

MMT

Fiat rules, crypto drools:

Our Famously Free Press

Podcasts FTW:

Most pitches or blurbs for podcasts include the phrase “or wherever you get your podcasts.” (Technically, this is because podcasts are distributed via good old-fashioned Web 1.0.) I cannot help thinking that the lack of a monopoly podcast platform is what’s making the creativity and resulting growth possible.

Zeitgeist Watch

This is the video on NFTs, Bitcoin, crypto, and so-called Web 3.O I was looking for. The consistent thread is NFTs, but all the other topics are covered. This is an extremely thorough stomping:

(I have started it with Chapter 1 (at 7:19) because Chapter 0 is on the Great Financial Crash, where he doesn’t emphasize the critical role of CDOs). Definitely grab a cup of coffee, but if you want to dig into the bullsh*t behind FTX, this is an excellent introduction. Chapter 6 is an excellent introduction to the culture of crypto. It really is fraud all the way down.

Class Warfare

“She Was In the CIA. Now She Makes Pajamas for the Royals” [Wall Street Journal]. • Why isn’t she running for Congress as a Democrat?

News of the Wired

“Why This Universe? A New Calculation Suggests Our Cosmos Is Typical” [Quanta]. “Our universe is the way it is, according to Neil Turok of the University of Edinburgh and Latham Boyle of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, for the same reason that air spreads evenly throughout a room: Weirder options are conceivable, but exceedingly improbable.” • Oh no. Not the stupidest timeline?

* * *

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 JT McPhee:

JT McPhee writes: “Most of the front yards in my neighborhood are just mowed weed jungles. These little beauties are the size of a nickel (anybody recognize that measure any more?) and open to the morning sun and then fold neatly closed in the late afternoon. Worth getting down close — many species of bees, skipper butterflies and other pollinators frequent the blossoms.”

* * *

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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.

109 comments

  1. Samuel Conner

    A question in hope that someone in NC’s excellent Commentariat may know:

    Does anyone know if the “Arp” variety of Rosemary is grown from seed or exclusively from cuttings?

    “Arp” is preferable to other varieties of Rosemary as it is a bit more cold-hardy.

    I can’t find seed in online searches, and I can’t even determine whether the nurseries that offer live plants (I’ve been purchasing plants from Burpee since last year) are growing from seeds or cuttings. I haven’t yet gone so far as to contact a nursery to inquire their “secret sauce”; perhaps that is the next step.

    My attempts to propagate from cuttings have been mostly failures (and the one success was unexpected — woody stems, that broke off potted plants that fell off a bench in high winds, grew roots after several weeks in water. Cuttings from the same plants taken a few weeks later do not seem to be producing roots) and I’d like to try growing this from seed if seed can be found. But I can’t even determine, from the all-knowing search engines, if the commercial growers are using seed.

    Reply
    1. JustAnotherVolunteer

      I have an Arp Rosemary I bought as a rooted plant from Territorial Seed Company. I’m in Oregon but I get temps below freezing a couple of weeks each winter. Plant is over seven years old now and still healthy – stems are guide woody but it smells great.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Am curious if you would be willing to disclose your USDA zone. Arp is reputedly cold-hardy to zone 6, but I have seen sites that suggest that winter survival is iffy in zone 6. I’m trying to grow lots of this and maybe it simply isn’t cold-hardy enough for the people to whom I hope to distribute plants.

        Reply
        1. JustAnotherVolunteer

          Technically I’m sunset zone 6 but I’m in the rain shadow of a local hill so shorter days and cooler temps than the surrounding valley. I cover most of my large pots around November 1st but the Rosemary seems to handle snow and cold just fine. It will get scraggy if we have a silver freeze but comes back strongly the following summer.

          Reply
          1. Samuel Conner

            That is very encouraging! I will proceed with a measure of optimism. I’m trying to interest my network of gardening contacts in “edible landscaping”, and Rosemary is a lot more edible than the local alternatives for hedges and borders.

            Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Thanks, petal; my big mass-cloning experiment in damp growing medium this Summer did use IBA rooting “hormone”, and nothing rooted. However, my IBA may have been past ‘best by’ date. All the twigs were green new growth, as some online advice suggested.

        This isn’t rocket science, and I’ll eventually find out what works in my conditions. The woody broken-off sticks that grew roots in water (with no additives) were in late Summer; maybe the warm days/cooler nights helped.

        Reply
        1. petal

          Yeah hormones will degrade over time(and due to adverse storage conditions), so it could’ve been an issue depending on just how far past its best by date it was, where it was stored, etc. Might be worth a new packet.
          Keep trying. Sometimes I think it’s voodoo.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I have had some success with just urinating onto the growing medium that the potential rooted plant is deposited in. I learned this years ago from a very successful gardener who I met while doing a gig job with the US Census Bureau. (I was the Census Worker for a section of Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana back in 1980.)
            I know not the true scientific basis for the phenomenon, but I do see verifiable results when the strategy is resorted to. (The source of this “knowledge” asserted that hormones excreted from the Terran human body during micturition accounted for the observed results.)
            Be thou safe.

            Reply
            1. petal

              Now there you go, Samuel. You could do 2 test groups-1 with traditional rooting compound and 1 with ambrit’s special sauce. Do update us on the results!
              ambrit, please give my best to Phyl. You guys take care. Cheers.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Thanks petal. It takes the idea of “taking the piss” to a whole ‘nother level. (Whether up or down, I know not. Awaiting experimental data.)
                Stay safe and warm up there.

                Reply
    2. Lex

      I don’t know if Arp is from seed or asexual propagation. If you can’t find seed anywhere it’s probably that it is not true from seed, though it may just be that cloning is more economical for the nurseries. IIRC, rosemary takes a long time to germinate from seed so the nurseries probably avoid growing from seed.

      In most cases (excepting true tropicals), cloning works better with woody stems than green. I haven’t done rosemary cuttings in years but i remember them being fairly slow to root as well. Some rooting hormone would likely help quite a lot.

      Reply
    3. Samuel Conner

      Thanks, all. This is all encouraging.

      Something that may be relevant is that the sticks that rooted, that came from wind-damaged potted plants, did not break cleanly off the parent plants, but dangled for a while after the damage (I didn’t notice the fallen pots until the day after the high winds). It’s possible that the damage sites began to heal while the sticks were still attached to, and nourished by, the parent, and this might account for their rooting in unfavorable conditions (I’ve read that Rosemary roots better in sand, perlite, or growing medium than it does in water, but I wanted to see what was happening after the earlier 100% failure in growing medium). I’ve read that “callus” formation is helpful for rooting of woody stems (though this seems to be debated), and perhaps leaving the damaged sticks on the plants for a bit helped that to start.

      Reply
      1. petal

        Broken or cut pieces will begin to develop a vacuum and start to seal right away, so then water cannot get up into the plant/piece. It’s good practice to trim the bottom of whatever you are putting in if it isn’t immediate since the breaking off. Nip a good inch off most things if you can.
        So do one right after the other: trim, dip in water, dip in rooting compound, stick in soil.
        The trimming also holds for any cut flowers. It will help them last longer.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        missed all of this…because i was in my little greenhouse all day, rooting cuttings, lol.
        iba is good stuff…and ive got a bunch of pots with cuttings rooting of roses, honeysuckle, cottonwoods, plums, oregano, thyme, figs, peppers, sycamores, blackberries, table and wine grapes, kiefer pears,…waiting a bit to do the peaches and apricots.
        i have always had difficulty with rosemary..
        best results were from cutting a big stem from underneath that had already started forming roots, and slicing that up with a node or two for each bit.
        i soak overnight in the liquid root stim…with pee, like ambrit…then dip in the iba powder and stick em in a pot.
        willow bark is an excellent homegrown rooting hormone source…as is cow spit, remarkably.
        the former is easier to collect.

        Reply
  2. fresno dan

    “Trump and the Fight Republicans Need to Have” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal].
    And the Taibbi post as well.
    So, what is a stolen election?
    What is the most critical, salient factor? That the person with the fewer votes becomes president?
    Well, that CAN’T be the answer, because we have had a few elections were the popular vote and electoral vote did not coincide. AND the person with fewer votes became president – but it was legal.
    Now, I don’t know all the permutations and possibilities, but say Pence had backed up Trump, and say that the repubs had control of the House, and that they decided to do some stuff, and the election is not certified, and the POTUS is decided in the house (or the states, however it works) and it is Trump. That could be legal.
    Would it be OK? Legal minority election is OK, as long as its not involving too many laws?
    Many commentators have pointed out how many policies are desired by substantial majorities, but are thwarted by our system of goverence. I’m afraid that I think decomcracy died in the light a long time ago, so I am not much concerned about this…

    Reply
    1. pjay

      Taibbi documents the “denial for me but not for thee” hypocrisy quite well. But to me, the fact that there was an *actual* conspiracy to overturn the election of 2016 by elements of the Democratic party, DOJ, State Department, FBI, CIA, and at least two foreign intelligence services, aided by their shills in the media, is much more significant. It is extremely frustrating that so few people seem to grasp the implications of Russiagate, and what *that* has done to undermine the legitimacy of all of those institutions. Let’s see Noonan address that issue.

      Reply
      1. marym

        One difference between “stolen elections” conspiracy theories:

        A lot (not all) the 2016 the Democrats’ conspiracy theories attributed the evil-doing to elites – meetings and connections between Trump’s family and cronies with Russian counterparts; Russian (presumably state directed or sanctioned) propaganda and hacking; demonization of Putin supposedly pulling Trump’s strings.

        A lot (not all) Trump’s/Republicans’ 2020 CT’s attributed the evil-doing to rank and file voters, and election workers (introducing fake ballots into the workflow, ballot harvesting, ineligible people voting due to inadequate signature verification or voter ID checks). This type of accusation against non-elites already had a long history with Trump and Republicans, and was taken to great lengths in 2020.

        Both approaches were fairly “actual,” the 2020 Republican version in court cases, submission of fake electoral ballots, and media.

        Reply
    2. t

      I’d I ran the circus, a stolen election would be any election in which citizens who were eligible to vote either could not or did manage to find an open polling location that allowed then to cast some kind of vote bit did not have their vote counted.

      Reply
  3. Roger Blakely

    COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

    The Los Angeles County Department Public Health held it’s weekly media briefing yesterday. Here are my takeaways:
    1. Infection rates have exceeded 100 per 100,000 residents. As shown in today’s transmission map posted by Lambert, LA County went from substantial (light red) to high (red).
    2. LA County Public Health announced that universal indoor masking is now strongly recommended. The tone of the remarks left the impression that they would make indoor masking mandatory if they had the political freedom to do so.
    3. The latest variant data shows BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 at 27%. However, this data it two weeks old.
    4. Hospitalizations are increasing.
    5. This week’s wastewater SARS-CoV-2 concentration data went from low concern (25%) to medium concern (30%). (High concern is above 60% of July 2022 peak.)
    6. The next threshold to cross is going from the CDC’s low community level to medium or high. LA County Public Health is not sure if things are going to get that bad in December and January. Currently LA County is listed as low.

    Reply
  4. fresno dan

    The Bezzle: “Let crypto burn” [Financial Times]. “In the aftermath of the collapse of FTX, authorities should resist the urge to create a parallel legal and regulatory framework for the crypto industry.
    Isn’t the whole point of crypto is that it has nothing to do with that terrible, no-good, very bad, awful, horrible, dreadful, nasty, inferior fiat currency, what with all their government and such? Aren’t just freely given contracts on free exchanges regulated by free and UNFETTERED markets fool proof???

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      I’m in the “let it burn” camp.
      The reasons were explained well in the article.
      The financial system is complicated already with enough slipping through the cracks.
      It’s a nightmare that should be left to “buyer beware.”

      Reply
      1. Earl Erland

        Quick profits, money for nothing . . . .

        In the Alaska Gold Rush [some of] the losers froze/starved to Death.

        SBF shakes like he has 1st stage hypothermia; Bermuda and its temperature be damned, damnably hot!

        Reply
  5. Mark Gisleson

    Not a fan of Shafer’s lengthy explanation of what happened in Wisconsin. A lot of names are omitted from his analysis, starting with the specific legislative leaders who’ve made Wisconsin so toxic, as well as a continuation of the erasure of Hillary Clinton’s lingering toxic DNC legacy of disempowering state parties. I mention this because Shafer goes out of his way to avoid mentioning Robin Vos who is to toxic WI politics as Ted Cruz is to US Senate comity, or the refusal of HRC to allow the nation closure through her selfish and reckless perpetuation of the bankrupt lie that is Russiagate.

    WI is still eating social medium opprobrium over 2016 which means WI R’s are still getting bonus backlash votes. As Hillary disappears in the rear view mirror, WI should depolarize and possibly even normalize a bit.

    Wisconsin has always been more progressive than the votes show, and the Republicans wins have been due to very bad DNC-driven strategies, not superior GOP GOTV. Milwaukee’s red suburban counties should have gone purple a long time ago. In the 1990s I had MN clients move to those counties and they were indeed very red but in very upscale (PMC) ways. They were only slow to shift because the DNC has been so remarkably tone-deaf and wrong-footed. Etc. /rant

    Reply
  6. Carolinian

    Re “what if it had been Obama”–what if it had been Peggy Noonan who falsely claimed that Obama had never denied an election or played a part in a conspiracy to do so? Maybe this Noonan gal needs to be investigated as a fake newser or at the very least have her blue check taken away.

    One could even argue that the wacky Russiagate CT insired Trump’s own 2020 denial by way of revenge. I’d say believing in crooked drop boxes is a lot less off the wall that believing that Putin somehow skewed the 2016 results. But then being a Democrat is, to quote an old movie, never having to say you’re sorry. Or perhaps one should say being an elite since Republican Noonan is one of the gang.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      This just in–Garland allegedly to announce a Trump special counsel this afternoon. Let Russiagate 2 begin.

      Perhaps this is their plan to get Biden re-elected should Trump in fact gain the nomination. They’re going to Nordstream him.

      Reply
        1. Earl Erland

          Hiding the politics behind the fig leaf of politics? Political Incontinence? Via Reuters: “Garland’s announcement came three days after Trump, a Republican, announced he would run for president again in 2024. Garland said Trump’s candidacy, as well as Democratic President Biden’s stated intention to run for re-election, made the appointment of a special counsel necessary.”

          Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Remind me again what “election interference” means.

        That they are so afraid of this guy is the only reason I need to give him my “vote.”

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The first comment after the article at the time I read it started this way:

      OMG – “Feel like Liz Cheney”????

      You really have turned into a crazy old bat Peggy.

      If you hadn’t noticed, she lost her seat by FORTY (40) points, the largest gap for an incumbent in history. So your using crazed Liz as your one example threw mud over the rest of your column, and frankly, in your face Peggy…

      The next comment went like this:

      If there was ever a prototypical independent candidate for President, Trump 2024 is it.

      Donald Trump received 7 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016, a feat not accomplished by an incumbent president in something like a hundred years. And it was just yesterday that it was pointed out here that Trump’s endorsements scored an 82% general election success rate in 2018-2020. “Highest ever.”

      In the areas of the interwebs where loyal members of the uniparty do not go, the message is simple. “It’s the mail-in ballots and crooked drop boxes, Stupid.”

      Reply
    1. griffen

      Pass the popcorn and have a cold, adult beverage of your choosing. This may get yet more interesting as we turn the corner into 2023…will be a tantalizing feat if other crypto companies are able to escape the path of destruction and chaos (ok I am interested to see just what else gets annihilated at this point).

      Those engineers should demand a first class round trip or just go ahead with the booking. Hello new Twitter boss, thank you for flying us into SF on short notice, but doing so with class.

      Reply
      1. Tom Stone

        I expect most Crypto to revert to its fundamental value, that of the electron…however Crpto is very useful to certain State and private actors so I do expect one or two platforms to survive.

        Reply
    2. Louiedog14

      Not sure how you can be so glib. What will become of poorly drawn cats?

      WHO WILL THINK OF THE POORLY DRAWN CATS????!!!!!

      I like a little Tony Chachere’s on my popcorn btw.

      Reply
  7. griffen

    Good on Repubs, I must suppose with good intent, on furthering an investigation into the sleaze and debauchery of one Hunter Biden…maybe the Big Guy really just means a tithe and offerings to the local parish. My recall is Joe Biden is Catholic.

    But seriously, this is what they will do now that the R has control of the House. I do sense a little smoke of just being near the power of a long-serving DC politician. But please, Republicans, be a little more thorough this go around. Sarcasm just can’t compete with the satire of real life. Am I wrong?

    Reply
    1. Screwball

      Maybe it’s all a show because if they really went down the rabbit hole they would all be in orange jumpsuits?

      The colors are not blue and red – the only one that matters is green,

      But we can always hope. There’s that word again.

      Reply
  8. flora

    re: “Association between vitamin D supplementation and COVID-19 infection and mortality” [Nature].

    Do we hear a peep about this from the CDC? Anything? nope. Why is that I wonder.

    Time to start taking the daily vit D again in the winter months. Thanks for the paper.

    Reply
    1. Stephen V

      It is criminal that those flying the banner of *public* health seen incapable of informing peeps about things that most of us have access to: diet, supplements, and exercise. In attempting to research D I have found that the majority of studies assume! rather than prove–that Doses over 5000 are harmful with hypercalcimia being the problem. Vit K2 takes care of that. I do 50k per day with the main side effect being my NP freaking when the yearly test comes back. For details FLCCC has protocols for Covid prevention.

      Reply
          1. ambrit

            Yes, ‘they’ really are. I learned that from my travails resulting from my fruitless attempts to obtain a prescription for “The Drug That Cannot Be Named.” Right now, our local medical establishment is very much like some deviant cult as described by Lovecraft.

            Reply
              1. ambrit

                Yowza! Now to check out the “additional ingredients.” The good bit about the veterinary form of TDTCBN is that I view myself as a medium sized farm animal. (If Wokesters can “identify” as this or that self determined ‘gender,’ then others of us can ‘self identify’ as medium sized farm animals.)
                I’m firmly in Lambert’s camp on this subject. The Ruling elites are actively trying to reduce the population, any way they can.
                Stay safe!

                Reply
    2. Questa Nota

      Not enough money in plain old vitamin D, and the competition can* shine every day.

      * can, as in has the potential to. Your Sunshine May Vary

      Reply
    3. rowlf

      In Atlanta on local Fox news in mid 2021, near the end of an interview with someone representing the CDC, the CDC person recommended taking D3. (At the time there was also concerns that many non-Trump supporters were also not getting vaccinated)

      I nearly fell off my couch. I thought that the CDC person maybe made a career ending statement.

      In May 2022 I came down with Covid after attending a trade show to represent my employer. When logging the infection at the company health website the program recommended I take Vitamins C, D3, zinc and follow CDC guidelines before coming back to work. Why not let this info out before I got infected?

      What else has been omitted?

      Reply
        1. rowlf

          A friend of mine said that after being vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine that it was like having lyme disease again.

          A lot of us are different after being vaccinated.

          Reply
  9. IM Doc

    A word about the Vitamin D study in Nature regarding its positive effect on COVID mortality.

    This is a study using VA patients. It was centered on the first year of the pandemic, even before Delta. It was a retrospective study looking back at an entire cohort of patients in the VA system that were documented to be on VIT D compared to a cohort that was not. Vitamin D blood levels did not play a big role here – it was literally if the cohort was taking VIT D or not. Efforts to decrease confounding issues were done in about as good a fashion as you can do in a retrospective look back.

    I would say the results are rather startling and this bigger study falls exactly in line with results found in smaller studies already done in Spain. Vitamin D-3 supplementation, pre-exposure to COVID, seems to be interestingly helpful in both decreasing infections as well as decreasing the mortality of COVID-infected patients. (The actual endpoint here was 30 day all cause mortality in COVID positive patients). Vitamin D3 seems to work better than Vitamin D2. The risk reduction was on the order of 30% or so – which is actually an improvement on the numbers from the vaccines after a few weeks.

    The effect on both infection reduction and mortality reduction was significantly more powerful in African Americans.

    I have told this before – but will tell this again. In the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic, my old professors would absolutely demand that every AIDS patient, but especially the black ones, be placed on VIT D3 2000 IU every day. It is dirt cheap and it seemed to them to absolutely help in outcomes.

    So, it was a no-brainer for people like me who had lived through that nightmare decades ago to insist that all our patients start doing that in 2020. A cheap intervention that was perfectly safe and may very well help. And this current study seems to suggest we may have been right, although certainly not proof.

    I will say again. Lose weight, exercise, be less fat, spend quality time with your family and kids, get outdoors, get your a1c down, de-stress. I encourage every single one of my patients to get on Vit D 2000 IU daily – especially from Halloween to Easter. Do all of these things and do so now.

    Studies like this vitamin D study, I believe, are going to start coming out now. It seems to be an absolute vindication for those of us who were laughed at and scoffed. Again, all that we were doing was reverting to what we experienced in the dark days of AIDS. And I will ask again – how can anyone ethically subvert using non-harmful cheap interventions in the early days of a crisis? Especially those who know better in our federal health apparatus? And especially anything safe that has any kind of previous good numbers behind it?

    I am not going to go into details here – but I have been hearing very concerning things from trusted colleagues and a conference speaker today about subversion tactics used against other non-harmful agents like ivermectin and plaquenil. The TOGETHER trial was trumpeted by the media earlier this year as the “final nail” in ivermectin. When indeed, it will be taught for generations, as one of the worst studies ever seen about any agent. Any conclusions from that poorly designed study are null from the beginning. It was a classic case of a drug trial designed specifically to torpedo a competing agent. This is a tried and true Big Pharma tactic. It is known as a “show trial” in the business. And apparently, our media fell for it hook, line and sinker. I was profoundly disturbed to the core of my being today when the speaker put on the screen the screenshot from material from the TOGETHER trial. “The TOGETHER COVID-19 Group – sponsored by FTX”

    Not to be sucked in, I am currently in the process of determining if this is really the case. I want to make certain something like that is true before it alters my perception of the world. As a physician, I am haunted by the faces of those of my patients who have died or been maimed by this disease. Monkey business in this serious of a crisis has absolutely no place. I can feel the rage welling up inside me, so I must confirm for myself that statements like this are true.

    Why the rage? If this is true—–Let’s put everything else aside—- it comes down to a critical question —- Why on earth would FTX, a crypto dealer run by scallywags and speed-heads, have any advantage or business at all sponsoring studies for COVID 19 therapy? Does the NIH, tasked by our government to perform such studies, not have enough funding for something this consequential? Why would the modefanil crowd at FTX be funding a “show trial” in the pharmaceutical industry? Again, I am really doing what I can to find out if this is true. But if so, the implications of this are enormous.

    Reply
    1. IM Doc

      I forgot to place above – this is what I have so far –

      https://www.togethertrial.com/

      That is the official site of the TOGETHER trial – scroll about half way down the page – and you will see a big banner FUNDED by the FTX FOUNDATION — Please note – there is but one funder. That in and of itself is very unusual – these kinds of things are usually decorated with corporate logos. But this instance, there is but one, FTX FOUNDATION.

      One naturally would then go to the website of the FTX Foundation – https://ftxfoundation.org/

      and there to the left of the beautiful sunset is the following:

      The FTX Foundation works to save lives, prevent suffering, and help build a flourishing future.
      The FTX Foundation is a philanthropic collective. We are funded principally by Sam Bankman-Fried and other senior principals at FTX. Our charitable activities are also supported by FTX users and employees, who make contributions to FTX Philanthropy Inc., a non-profit organization, through the FTX Giving program.

      It appears the conference speaker is correct. There is no indication of how much money is involved.

      My blood is boiling right now.

      Reply
      1. juneau

        IM Doc thank you for the important information. This may seem obvious but I would look for connections from FTX to the number one FDA approved vax and treatment maker, obviously they have a stake in the treatment outcome studies. It’s a club and we still ain’t in it (to paraphrase the great George Carlin).

        Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Dunno, Doc. That website says “We’re proud to announce that the TOGETHER Trial has won the Society for Clinical Trials’ David Sackett Trial of the Year Award 2021!”

        It’s a prestigious award. You know. Like a leg lamp.

        Reply
        1. IM Doc

          Sorry – that makes no sense either – Why is FTX funding any of this? Why are we depending on a janky crypto exchange as the sole funder for these trials of any of these agents? Why has our own NIH not been front and center getting this done with trials that actually get to the bottom of the issue and make the results clear for all to see? Why are we three years into this with no reliable results?

          If you recall, one of the constant refrains from those in American medicine early on was that the Ivermectin trials were all foreign. Therefore, they cannot be trusted. I heard this racist claptrap from the podium and on my TV on multiple occasions.

          There were those of us who found that line of thinking quite rich from the diversity/equity crowd among the leaders of medicine.

          What else did I just find on the TOGETHER trial website?

          https://www.togethertrial.com/trials

          It appears that the TOGETHER trial has been conducted in multiple foreign countries by strictly foreign investigators that are not the USA. If location is so important, why is FTX not funding studies in American centers? It is OK to accept these results from foreigners when they comport to the narrative – but when they do not go the narrative’s way – well, those foreigners really do not know how to do trials, do they?

          Again, our media and medical leaders put down any trials from foreign sources that seem to support the use of these meds – because they are foreign, don’t you know? Not under the same oversight as in the USA – bla bla bla – but they accept results with open arms when they do not support the use of these meds……

          Something is really not looking good here..

          Reply
      3. Yves Smith

        FTX made a big deal about how it was engaged in “effective altruism”:

        Ten years ago, William MacAskill came to MIT in search of converts.

        The Scottish philosopher was already one of the world’s most prominent proponents of “effective altruism” (or “EA”), a social movement dedicated to ​​”using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible.” In 2012, MacAskill believed that many idealistic young people had misconceptions about how they could best improve the world. Specifically, such individuals had a tendency to seek low-paying jobs at philanthropies and progressive nonprofits even though, in many cases, such institutions had no great need for their labor…..

        In truth, highly effective charities didn’t need more idealistic workers; they needed more deep-pocketed donors….

        The former strategy was called “earning to give.” And MacAskill hoped to guide MIT’s aspiring altruists onto that path. While in Cambridge, he learned of an especially promising candidate for the cause, an undergraduate named Sam Bankman-Fried.

        Over lunch, Bankman-Fried told MacAskill that he had recently become a vegan and wanted a job in which he could advance the cause of animal welfare. MacAskill suggested that he would reduce animal suffering far more if he tried to make a lot of money and then donated it to relevant charities. Bankman-Fried took his advice.

        A couple weeks ago, that lunch looked like the best thing that had ever happened to effective altruism. Now, it looks like the worst.

        https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/11/effective-altruism-sam-bankman-fried-sbf-ftx-crypto.html

        At the top of a Google search for “FTX charitable donations” is a FTX ad with this header:

        FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
        https://ftx.com › giving
        1% of all FTX net fees will be donated to the world’s most effective charities, through FTX Philanthropy Inc., a non-profit organization.

        It takes you to: https://ftx.com/giving

        More detail:

        1% of all FTX net fees will be donated to the world’s most effective charities, through FTX Philanthropy Inc., a non-profit organization. FTX will also match user donations up to US $10,000 daily.

        Total amount donated by the FTX Foundation so far

        over $190 million

        Contributions by FTX user fees, donations, and matching: $0.00

        Reply
        1. farmboy

          “One example was funding a company called SecureBio. SBF donated $1.2 million to them for pandemic preparedness & defense. On the surface it appears they are doing wastewater surveillance. In reality they insist that essentially all virology is just bioterrorism waiting to happen.” from @angie_rasmussen comments very enlightening

          Reply
      1. Screwball

        I’m pretty sure I read it here (under the best COVID coverage on the net) Vit D was an easy cheap preventive to take. I believe I read it clear back in year 2020. I have been taking it ever since, along with other suggestions I read here (Yves gargle concoction as an example).

        Kudo’s again to all the contributors here. Not only for the great information, but the ability to discuss alternative treatments, some of which can’t be named. :-)

        Thank you again from this reader.

        Reply
        1. Utah

          I’ve been taking 2000 iu of vitamin D for years, long before covid, and remember reading about vitamin d in the early days as well from here. I urged family to start taking it. Somehow I’m still covid free as far as I know, but I started working at a school this year, so we’ll see how long that lasts- one teacher in my small school is out sick as we speak. Taking what I know about air ventilation from here, I turn on my air conditioning a few times per day (even when it’s below freezing) to circulate the air and have my air purifier on for 10 hours per day. And wear my mask except when eating and drinking, much to the chagrin of my principal.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Vit D was an easy cheap preventive to take. I believe I read it clear back in year 2020

          My personal preference is to keep my routines as simple as possible, and I have vitamins mentally classified under “nutritional remedies,” which I don’t do (except for big doses of C when I feel a cold coming on). But I’m persuaded by the study and IM Doc’s endorsement of it.

          Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        My understanding is that Magnesium may be a confounding factor in many of the studies into vitamin D – or put another way, for D to work correctly on your immune system you must have high levels of magnesium in your diet. So I think its important to ensure you have plenty of Mg in your diet – basically walnuts, chocolate, dark green veg, along with your D. I think K3 (fermented foods) also has a complementary impact.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          That reads almost like everything you would get out of a northern winter diet back in the day, as fermentation was not an unknown preservation technique.

          Reply
      3. eg

        I never stopped taking vitamin D3 — though in my case it was part of a group of supplements recommended to me by a doctor to reduce inflammation (along with B vitamins, fish oil, melatonin and a probiotic).

        Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      It’s terrifying to think the public health establishment is actively working against saving lives in order to goose pharmaceutical profits.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Following from your idea is the equally terrifying theme that “The Health of Big Pharma is the Health of the Nation.” Didn’t we hear a version of that idea just before the 1930’s Great Depression.

        Reply
    3. OIFVet

      If there is one thing that I truly miss about the US it must be my VA hospital and my primary care physician there. He was an older doc and his entire philosophy was geared toward prevention. So diet change it was to get my cholesterol levels right, and vitamin D regimen from Halloween to Easter, same as you are saying. The VA, for all of it’s faults (mostly forced upon it by politicians who want to privatize it), has highly committed and knowledgeable doctors, and is way ahead of the for-profit systems when it comes to prevention and pain management. That saves money and promotes better health outcomes.

      Of course, saving money by disease prevention and pain managment focused on physical therapy and a big move away from addictive pain killers means that Big Pharma and hedge fund-owned hospital systems won’t make huge profits. Is it any wonder that in our profit-driven system anything that may be effective in prevention/treatment but not profitable will be suppressed?

      I guess that’s the long way of saying that I am not surprised that it was a VA study that you cited. Those docs there really have to focus on prevention to make the most of limited resources to serve a challenging population, so Vitamin D is likely to be widely prescribed within the system. My VA hospital was also a training ground for med school interns, so hopefully they take the good practices with them when they go elsewhere and have the moral wherewithal to follow them and not the drive to profit off disease, as the MBAs up above want.

      Reply
  10. t

    Aerosols from speaking can linger in the air for up to nine hours
    Article goes on the have pretty good news regarding air changes per hour.

    Reply
  11. Lex

    Thanks for the Pelosi link. Quite depressing. History is not going to be kind that generation of Democrats, just like that generation of Democrats has been unkind to the American people who needed them. I wish I had hope that the next generation of powerful democrats would be different but I have to assume that they’ve been carefully selected and mentored by the Pelosi/Biden/Clinton clique.

    Reply
    1. Hepativore

      I am sure that Hakeem Jeffries is all set to pick up where Nancy Pelosi left off in terms of sabotaging or browbeating progressives, and we already have AOC making excuses in terms of rationalizing how pathetic she has let herself become.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=E4cIh52OWNc&feature=emb_title

      I honestly do not know what AOC has gotten out of trying to be Pelosi’s lap dog. The Democratic Party establishment, including Pelosi, still despises AOC and the rest of the “Squad” and always will.

      Now with “Mama Bear” Pelosi gone, will AOC start singing the praises of “Big Daddy” Hakeem Jeffries as he kills off what remains of the progressive Democrat wing and dances on the casket?

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        “…he kills off what remains of the progressive Democrat wing…” I think that “Big Daddy’s” job has already been done. Unless it is intended to cancel the Kabuki performance as well?

        Reply
      2. Earl Erland

        Adam Schiff could have chowed down on necessary with a wonderful Cali Burnt Red as Minority Whipster.

        Why go back to Urban New York?

        Problems again, in WallhaStreethalla?

        What do us Rubes not know about Eastern Brooklyn and Southern Queens?

        Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      There’s a pic of Nancy P with a young Jack Kennedy I encountered the other day that reminded me that she was once a very attractive young Woman, prettier than AOC.
      That pic was taken when JFK was still a Senator…

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          The site admins have a very wide tolerance for ‘eccentricity’ here at the NC Commenteriat. As long as something said is coherent and not destructively malicious, it seems to be tolerated.
          I venture out on a rotten limb here, but I surmise that Mr. Stone is an old time satirist. His comment about Mz Pelosi’s “past” is wide open to speculation as to overt and covert meanings.
          As those of us who have run afoul of ‘Our Gracious Hostess’ from time to time can attest, it requires a thick skin to comment on the internet. Here, the standards are stricter, and fairer.
          If you take offense at Mr. Stone’s comment, say so, and why. Then he can respond to your criticism. Such a back and forth is how we learn and grow.
          Stay safe in this dangerous world we all share.

          Reply
          1. Hepativore

            Considering how much Pelosi and pals hate AOC, I do not think that they would ever let AOC get any sort of high position. AOC at this point is like the dorky kid in school who idolizes a group of mean girls for their popularity hoping it will rub off on her, when they are laughing at the person behind her back the entire time.

            The populist left does not trust AOC anymore, and the Democratic Party neoliberal establishment will never consider her as being one of the neoliberal cool kids.

            I think AOC’s political career will soon fizzle out into nothingness due to how politically ineffectual she now is.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              AOC was neutered by some of Pelosi’s threats, but because she has advocated some progressive ideas and replaced a popular-in-DC politician they still don’t like her. It really is like a high school full of children masquerading as politicians.

              I have read that she is an effective retail politician as her local office does help her constituents; maybe her replacing the previous representative has made her determined to keep her voters happy, but I think that, yes, she is going to decide whether to go with the Democratic Machine or truly go progressive. I do wonder if they have any dirt on her, or her family and friends. I have no difficulty in believing that blackmail isn’t being used routinely. Just look at Jeff Epstein’s blackmail operation.

              Reply
      1. Revenant

        She looks like a debutante. And she was. Democratic aristocracy (oxymorons R us).

        She also looked vulnerable and human, which rather brought one up short, but that may have been a trick of the light.

        Reply
  12. amechania

    Quick request for the community

    Just saw an ad for this page

    https://www.mass.gov/get-treated-for-covid-19

    Ad reads “eligible patients” and go to this website.

    Website has no info on who is eligible, but some fair amount on what. (god help us when this trash is from the ‘adults in the room’)

    Fortunately, the feedback page is *very* prominent. Kindly leave your input for the state government here. Sorry for the directedness of my message.

    Reply
  13. semper loquitur

    Here is “the radical center” channel on Youtube analyzing the Social Justice cult-formation:

    Social Justice in a Nutshell

    “”Social Justice” is a process of deconstructing, dismantling, and replacing Western cultural norms and values with a process of perpetual comparison for the purposes of establishing social hierarchies. It is a philosophy of anti- resilience where resentments are encouraged and rewarded. Existing and historical cultural systems and structures are considered hopelessly flawed and deeply offensive (akin to the “four olds” of the Chinese cultural revolution). “Social Justice” is an overt attempt at Western cultural revolution and it is being disseminated primarily through education programs (K-12 via SEL and higher ed).
    I could elaborate much more on this but tried to keep this video short. Thank you for watching!”

    https://youtu.be/qcxkPPhbNdw

    “Perpetual comparision”, in other words, eternally shifting sands upon which no one stands with any stability, a framing within which everyone but the anointed and ever-suffering Victim is born in sin and from which there is no absolution. The only avenue is to constantly proclaim oneself fallen in performative displays of moral flagellation. Then, perhaps with a boost of hair dye as a physical badge, one can assume the mantle of the eternally contrite but morally elevated proselytizer, combing the classrooms, streets, and cubicles searching for the Enemy.

    The presenter expresses her fears that there will be a societal-scale backlash, a fear that I share and have noted here time and again. She “doesn’t think this is going to end well.” To see that backlash forming, hop over to “The Matt Walsh Show”.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      The thing is that there is still a massive amount of racism, sexism, homophobia, and so on; this blasted Social Justice Movement is going to set back the efforts of changing this for decades, if not multiple lifetimes, in an ostensible effort to do the opposite, but really is a power grab and pseudo religion. It is a kind of social washing akin to the green washing of many corporations.

      Reply
    2. Earl Erland

      I did a small part in Boy Scouts, twice. The first was when the Weblos Pack leader asked me if I was comfortable in joining a Boy Scout Troop sponsored by St. Johns Lutheran Church, or would I like to see another Troop. I was a student at St. Johns, and my Pop was on the Board of Directors. I said I’d take a look.

      I took a couple of reads at the pipeline discussion, yesterday, an I’ma gonna look at it again.

      Next time I see me some “Western Cultural Norms” I’m gonna invite them to a ____________.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Perpetual comparision”, in other words, eternally shifting sands upon which no one stands with any stability

      An ideological mirroring of the precarious economic position of the PMC. Eesh, maybe those oversimplifying base-superstructure dudes are right! (“In a crisis, things correlate.”)

      Yang calls this the “successor ideology.” I’ve warmed to the terminology, because what a successor ideologue wants to do is succeed you at your job, by manipulating the “shifting sands.”

      Reply
  14. psmith

    Thanks for posting the Nature study on Vitamin D and COVID-19! I rushed right to the kitchen table and took a Vitamin D pill. I also looked on Google to see how much news coverage of the study there was. Answer: not much, but Google did provide this helpful “featured snippet”: “There isn’t enough data to recommend use of vitamin D to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 or to treat COVID-19, according to the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization. Several recent studies have looked at the impact of vitamin D on COVID-19.” (NB–The first twenty-odd words were in boldface type.)

    Reply
  15. Screwball

    Marjorie Taylor Greene unveils resolution to audit Ukraine aid funds

    Lambert may have posted something along these lines the other day, so this may be a duplicate. While MTG is toxic, I don’t see the problem with this resolution. Why shouldn’t we know where the money and weapons are going?

    Do we have something in place now to track this that I have not read about? If so, I apologize for my ignorance. I said something to my PMC friends and they went nuts at just the name and never answered that question, but I still think it’s legit thing to know. Will it go anywhere? That’s another topic.

    Reply
      1. Screwball

        Sorry Lambert, I didn’t say that very well. IOW, are we tracking all this money and weapons now? Is there a procedure or something in place to do so? I honestly don’t know. I was thinking something along the lines of the SIGTARP after the bailouts in 09 would be a good idea. Sorry for the confusion.

        Reply
    1. Acacia

      Next time, you could ask your PMC friends whether they support corruption and selling weapons on black markets. Then “You’ve all read the OECD reports on the Ukraine, haven’t you?”. They’ll probably all go silent or try to change the subject.

      Reply
  16. Mike

    RE: “Was crime as bad as it was portrayed ahead of the midterm elections?” [ABC].

    Reminds me very much of the gigantic propaganda assault during the 1920s and 30s about the Mafia, all to burnish the local police force and FBI’s shine(ola). The amount of murder, especially in cities like Philadelphia, is always inflated to emphasize the “innocent” victims. In most cases of issues like drive-by shootings, the target is a well-known gang member at odds with the shooting gang. But, otherwise, crime is at an all-time low, which doesn’t stop the cry for impeaching D. A. Larry Krassner and his “progressive” brethren elsewhere. As Ferdinand Lundberg stated in the 30s, crime is merely one upcoming business using what means are available to them to elbow out another business (i.e., newspaper sales areas during that period).

    Reply
  17. eg

    From what I know about New Brunswick, nothing happens there without the Irving’s approval — which would include what is and is not communicated by NB Public Health.

    Reply

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