Links 11/6/2022

Pictured: Gimp Man ‘is spotted flopping to the floor, writhing and grunting by stunned 19-year-old’ as police arrest man in his 30s in hunt for bodysuited figure who has terrified Somerset villages Daily Mail. There’ll always be an England!

Travelers have a lot to say about shrinking airplane seats CNN


Report: 90% of all U.S. coal plants are contaminating groundwater Grist

Migratory birds in North America are shrinking as their wings get bigger. Climate change is to blame. Live Science

This West Texas Farm Grows the Most Expensive Spice in the World Texas Monthly


I spent 10 days in a secret Chinese Covid detention centre FT. Interesting personal experience, but in my view buries the story: “Early in the morning, we awoke to a lawnmower-like noise, which was in fact an industrial-grade disinfectant machine spraying our windows and front steps” and “The window was barred, though you could still lean out.” Apparently, China believes in fomites, but not in airborne (confirming tweets by Naomi Wu). Without an adequate theory of transmission, I don’t see a successful exit from Zero Covid anytime soon.

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France masks up:

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“Immunity debt” (1):

See especially tweet 6–8….

“Immunity debt” (2):

CDC warns of tough winter as flu, RSV and covid collide WaPo. Walensky endorses “immunity debt” without using the phrase:

“All of that regular exposure that usually happens that bolsters immunity year after year didn’t happen,” Walensky said Tuesday during an appearance before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “If you go two years without getting that infection, without getting that protection from infection and then all of a sudden, boom, everybody from zero to three years gets RSV, you see the impact on health care.”

Now we can be sure “immunity debt” is wrong. Walensky has form. (“I let my children drink just a little sewage. It toughens ’em up!”) From the same article, but a different meeting:

Lynn Goldman, dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University who serves on a committee that advises CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, asked at a meeting Thursday why agency officials were not recommending masking given the strain on hospitals.

At this point, nothing can be mandatory,” Brendan Jackson, the CDC’s incident manager on covid-19, replied..

José Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, mentioned well-fitted masks at the end of a list of recommended precautionary measures during the agency’s press briefing Friday..

If a family wishes, they can use masks,” Romero said.

Complete abrogration of any responsibility for public health. Please, please, won’t somebody burn the CDC to the ground?

* * *

Pittsfield Saw Two Mini-COVID Surges This Fall iBerkshires (Re Silc). “‘Our wastewater is completely different than what we saw in our case counts,’ [Director of Public Health Andy] Cambi said. ‘This is a true reflection of what we’re seeing as far as the virus concentration in our population.'”

Forget about a single strain: The new COVID calculus is all about viral families Fortune


How to Take Down A Big Nation in Just 7 Steps All Things Chinese. From October, still germane.

Hong Kong’s Cultural Icons Vanish as Covid Hastens Gentrification Bloomberg


Understanding the People’s Defense Forces in Myanmar United States Institute of Peace. I checked the (bipartisan) board; Stephen Hadley (of Iraq yellowcake uranium fame) seems to have been stashed there….

Fuelled by meth addiction, Vietnam’s drug-treatment centres are rife with abuse Globe_

The Koreas

Moktancha, wood gasifier truck, North Korea’s Retro Invention (video) Inside North Korea, YouTube (Re Silc). Re Silc: “On to the EU!”


Several Journalists’ Bodies, Others Speak Out on Searches at ‘The Wire’, Its Editors’ Homes The Wire

European Disunion

Who Will Be NATO’s Next Chief? The Race Is On. NYT. “One prime candidate has surfaced in Washington: Chrystia Freeland, 54, the Canadian-Ukrainian deputy prime minister and finance minister of Canada.”

New Not-So-Cold War

U.S. privately asks Ukraine to show it’s open to negotiate with Russia WaPo. Immortal deck: “The encouragement is aimed not at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, but ensuring it maintains a moral high ground in the eyes of its international backers.” Since the Kherson counter-offensive is off?

A Biden-Putin meeting in Bali cannot be ruled out Indian Punchline

Ukraine Support Tracker Kiel Institute for the World Economy. “A Database of Military, Financial and Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine.”

* * *

US oil producers reap $200bn windfall from Ukraine war price surge FT

* * *

Russia Occupies American Land, Too WSJ. The deck: “The U.S. should reclaim Wrangel Island, which Lenin’s gunboat Red October seized in 1924.”

After independence, Ukraine turned into a ‘sick man of Europe’ as democracy faltered CourtHouse News. Part one. Good background.

El Panal Commune (Part III): Food, Science and Dignity Venezuealanalysis

Biden Administration

Strategic Scarcity: Allocating Arms and Attention in Washington The National Interest


Kelly or Masters, Lake or Hobbs: 12 Arizona Voters Discuss NYT. The Times files polls under News, and panels like this under Opinion. That’s 180° wrong. On the issues, looking back [turns head] I see 800,000+ Covid deaths…

… and looking forward [turns head] the prospect of war with nuclear powers. Neither issue is part of the midterms campaign, although both might be thought important to evaluation the performance of Biden’s Democrats. On “our democracy”:

Why Republican Insiders Think the G.O.P. Is Poised for a Blowout The New Yorker

‘What Idiots’: Biden Rips into Protesters for Calling Democrats ‘Socialists’ National Review

Don’t Look Now But Progressives Are About to Expand Their Ranks in Congress In These Times

* * *

Obama says Fetterman’s stroke did not change ‘his values, his heart, his fight’ The Hill. If the Democrats could have gotten Conor Lamb in there, they would have….

Why Is the Fetterman-Oz Race So Freaking Close? New York Magazine

Realignment and Legitimacy

Here are the 10 biggest donors in the midterm elections The Hill

Investing in Influence Sparkline Capital

King Oil Reigns Over American Politics NYT

The Bezzle

Bitcoin mining in the crypto crash — the mining companies’ creative accounting Amy Castor


Why Does Chronic Pain Hurt So Much? The Atlantic

CDC Just Changed Its Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. Here’s What to Know. MedPage Today

Police State Watch

Why So Many Jails Are in a ‘State of Complete Meltdown’ The Marshall Project

In San Francisco, “No Intention to Seek Justice” Bolts

Florida Cases of Havana Syndrome, FBI agents lawyering up CBS12

Big Brother Is Watching You

Exclusive: State Dept. gives law enforcement, intelligence agencies unrestricted access to Americans’ personal data Yahoo News (guurst). Did I miss this one? Has this story been buried at the scrappy by decidedly underdog Yahoo News?

According to documents posted on a Department of Homeland Security website, data collected on U.S. citizens include: names, addresses, birth dates, biometric data like fingerprints and facial images, email addresses, phone numbers, gender, race, Social Security numbers and other types of personal information.

Sports Desk

Astros Credit World Series Win To Subject Of Future MLB Investigation The Onion because Mattress Mack Wins $75 Million, Biggest Win in Sports Betting History Action Network

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Alabama’s Confederate mansions get state funding, distort our history

Guillotine Watch

The Private Equity Guys Trying to Shoplift a Supermarket Chain Before They Sell It Slate. “Our ruling class spent $882 billion on stock buybacks in 2021—but couldn’t be bothered to fix the leaky roof of the plant that produces a quarter of the nation’s infant formula.”

Class Warfare

Labor Secretary says Congress needs to block rail strikes without new deals CNN

‘I’m selling my blood’: millions in US can’t make ends meet with two jobs Guardian

Home Depot Workers Reject Union Effort In Philadelphia HuffPo

Older, White and Wealthy Home Buyers Are Pushing Others Out of the Market NYT

Military history:

Why Do Batteries Lose Charge When You Aren’t Using Them? How-To Desk

Daylight saving: Americans want to stop changing the clock but can’t agree how The Hill

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Paul Jonker-Hoffren

    Wood gasifiers: I remember from history class that this kind f device was used in the Netherlands during German occupation.

    1. digi_owl

      Also quite common in Norway.

      I think there was even a news story some years back about some guys that converted an old WV Golf to run the same way and took it on a summer road trip. A messy, but apparently fun, experience.

      1. Polar Socialist

        In Finland during the war 4/5 cars were using gasifiers. There was a lot of research into those already in early 30’s, since the country had more wood than it needed and importing gasoline was expensive.

        When the gasoline rationing finally ended in 1949, the gasifiers disappeared totally. When I was a kid, most adults seemed to have a story or two about the unreliability of those things.

        1. digi_owl

          A local newspaper loves to print old archive photos. And a recent photo was of similar cars working as taxis during WW1.

    1. griffen

      It’s the precarious nature of modern living in America. Sadly for many seniors and others living on a fixed income or have relied on savings that are no longer there. Locally here in the southeastern US, on occasion I get those flyers for donating plasma which appear to promise an immediate cash benefit to those wishing to do so.

        1. chris

          I’m so sorry to hear that you were in a place where that was an option. I hope you’re not struggling like that now.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve found the end user so don’t need to use the black market anymore, and things are on the improve.

    2. begob

      On a different point, Irina Conboy does very promising research on rejuvenation through plasma replacement.

      1. chris

        “I have a dream, that one day, we will live long enough to suck the life from the youth after we have paid off our student loans!…”

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Photo of the Day: Two P51 Mustangs escort the unmistakable “Memphis Bell” over RAF Luton to signal the first take off of Concorde (The plane on the floor) in 1921’

    That’s not the “Memphis Bell” nor are they P-51 escort fighters. The “Memphis Bell” was actually a USAAC B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. The bomber here is actually a British Avro Lancaster with a Supermarine Spitfire on the left and a Hawker Hurricane to the right. I think then that they are from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight-

    1. Polar Socialist

      I though it was hilarious! Basically everything in that tweet referring to the picture is wrong. Almost like reporting from the war in Ukraine…

          1. ambrit

            Probably the “Hammer of Vulcan” heavy metal Ministry.
            And, 1921? What timeline is that from? The one where WW-1 started after the Agadir Crisis?
            The RAF Lewton account is like the Onion now. The ‘Ruling Elites’ are so disconnected from “Objective Reality” that they are now making it up as they go. [For purposes of State, “it” includes past histyory. Orwell is proud.]

        1. Grebo

          That’s actually the least unlikely thing about it.

          I did once see a USAF A10 Warthog parked at Luton Airport. Dunno if that was unusual, I didn’t go there often.

      1. spud farmer

        And the photo wasn’t taken in 1921 (as the caption states).

        Given how many people that scour the mediaspehre daily think they are savvy info warriors who are always adept at separating fact from fiction, wheat from chaff and signal from noise, it’s interesting that only a handful caught the glaringly obvious clue (1921) that this was most likely a fake from a parody account. I suspect a great many smart people are prone to falling victim to their cognitive biases but are loathe to admit it (even to themselves).

  3. griffen

    The man in latex bodysuit, well that is plain weird. We need real experts on the ground to report back. Like out there type of FBI agents who are willing to step on a limb. Let’s haul Fox “Spooky” Mulder out of his basement lair to go visit the UK and find the details !!

    I hope Cigarette Smoking Man is in this episode. Just to add a tinge of conspiracy.

      1. semper loquitur

        What a strange story. Those poor folks! It must have been terrifying to encounter the guy on the street, instead of leading children’s story hour at the local library where he belongs.

        1. Revenant

          Weirdly, the Daily Mail undersells the rural Britishness of the story.

          This account is much better – our unfortunate latex protagonist made the mistake of picking on two Somerset lads full of beer and rural common-sense (one of them is 6’9″ for heaven’s sake!) who are entirely unfazed by his act, offer him a cigarette and wish him safe home. It’s all very League of Gentleman (the BBC comedy macabre, not the stupid superhero film)

          1. digi_owl

            The latter would be League of EXTRAORDINARY Gentlemen.

            That so happens to be based off a comic made by an, even by British standards, eccentric fellow known as Alan Moore.

            Same author that created Watchmen and V for Vendetta.

            Given the kind of artistry that has come out of the British Isles over the decades, i wonder if there is something extra in the water supply.

      2. Tom Stone

        I’m surprised that Guardian article doesn’t mention Donald Trump, I can’t think of a better example from 2016.

    1. Mikel

      I think the costume (rubber suit) is inspired by its appearance in several seasons of the TV show American Horror Story.

      Sometimes it was an entity of its own a “rubberman” and other times it was the costume of choice by other killers or villians.

      1. griffen

        Inspiration for rubber suited or similarly attired villains, heroes or anti-heroes are prevalent as well in film. I find this particular example, well quite memorable from Batman Returns. An otherwise mess of a film, if my recall is worth anything at all. Selina Kyle.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          nah, it’s bruce willis’ shining moment…the whole Gimp Movement of Pulp Fiction…with the damned bunnywatch.
          wherein he surprised evereyone and actually acted pretty well.

  4. griffen

    Private equity guys looting, in this instance the merging of Albertsons into Kroger. Yeah they have a history of doing these deals in such a manner, dividends and cash to me and higher leverage and ridiculously high levels of debt expense for thee.

    Neither is in my current zip code, so this impacts me less directly. But it will likely not be a win for consumers or those chains’ employees (okay that’s all too obvious). And a first hand account anecdote, private equity was just not so damn smart.

      1. DorothyT

        Gretchen Morgenson has written important articles about how Private Equity has invaded healthcare, for example, ER care.

        I’ve noticed in NYC where I live that Private Equity has taken over or started up veterinary care practices. I’m capitalizing ‘P’rivate ‘E’quity to call more attention to it. Same with anesthesiologists’ practices and many others.

        Don’t think that because you don’t have Albertsons or Safeway in your area that your grocery/restaurant prices aren’t escalating thanks to Private Equity. Blaming the current administration is a red herring.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            sez right there, to the right of my stumpstool in the wilderness bar:dont blame me, i voted for Perot…twice….

        1. GramSci

          I’m sorry, but I disagree. I think something is fishy here, and I don’t think herrings are Commies.

          In last Tuesday’s Water Cooler Lambert cited Stoller on the BIG DOJ anti-trust suit blocking the Penguin Random House – Simon Schuster merger. Stoller may wish to believe that his outspoken anti-trust journalism has moved the Biden administration to a progressive stance, but it’s by their fruits that ye shall know them.

          Where was the DOJ in this merger? Compared to a grocery merger that threatens to starve thousands, if not millions, the DOJ’s suit against the antediluvian book publishing industry was sad joke. And why did the DOJ contest the Penguin – Schuster merger, you ask? Per their filing, the DOJ argued:

          “Authors are the lifeblood of book publishing,” the suit argued. “Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster would result in substantial harm to authors, particularly authors of anticipated top-selling books.”

          Yes, that’s Brandon Burisma, standing up for the top-selliing author, John Q. Public. /s

        2. Glen

          PE is also buying up local TV stations. They jack up the cost for the feed to the cable company, and get the public to complain when the cable company drops the local feed. All while $hitifying the rest of the station, and pocketing the money. More goodbye to good local jobs, good local news.

    1. Splashoil

      When these mergers are inevitably approved, stores are redundant and the properties are sold off with “no compete” clauses included in the boilerplate sales terms. Many communities are already plagued with these vacant stores and parking lots that won’t allow another grocer to fill the need.

      1. GF

        In our town all of the big grocery stores are owned by Kroger or Albertsons. So I wonder, after half are closed, how high grocery prices will go? We do have a Trader Joe’s and Sprouts as backup.

        1. tegnost

          what happens to o organics?
          It gets subsumed into simply whatever, the kroger marketing sham
          Whatever problems one might have with o organics, at least they offered a line.

      2. Joe Sharma

        Ideal for building housing to “alleviate homelessness” and “house workers” so they “don’t commute as far” and to further enrich the hit and run developers, masquerading as progressives.

        In 2019, Newsom signed a “housing package” of 18 bills. In 2017 and 2018, Jerry Brown signed a total of 31 housing bills into law, including draconian measures such as Wiener’s SB 35 and SB 828, and Nancy Skinner’s SB 330 and SB 167. That adds up to 64 new housing laws in four years.

        To justify this legislative onslaught and the rollback of the California Environmental Quality Act and local say in land use that it authorizes, its proponents claim that California has a gigantic housing shortage.

        That’s debunked here:

    1. Polar Socialist

      I’m kinda Old School with this issue. We either go back to totally local times and get rid of the practical global time zones altogether or we use the very practical global time zones.

      12/24 hour clock is just a frame of reference, it should be stable and not tempered with constantly. If you need to have more light in the summer, then you just wake up earlier. It’s not a complicated concept, but obviously it can be made into one.

      Just like with the deer collisions: if you can’t see the road ahead, drive slower! We don’t need headlights that burn the scenery and blind everyone of the opposite lane, nor do we need to set our clocks differently each month, if we only learn to adjust our speed according to the situation (as I was taught to do).

      We certainly have a serious tendency to use technical solutions to bitch-slap problems.

      1. Tom Stone

        In three cases where I hit deer with my pickup going slower would not have mattered, when a six point buck comes off a 10 Ft bank at a dead run and lands 2 feet in front of your bumper there’s no way to avoid it.
        Deer brains don’t seem to recognize cars as dangerous.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Probably explains why wolves have no trouble keeping them in check where they are allowed to.

          1. Wukchumni

            The equalizer here is mountain lions, who are kind of like a supermarket for the other top of the food chain member in that deer are their favored meal, and the first thing they eat is the organs, and then they’ll often stash the carcass in a tree to keep most other forest dwellers out of the loop, except for black bears who can easily climb anything, and would never kill a full sized deer, but are only too happy to indulge in leftovers.

        2. Polar Socialist

          The point being that when you drive slower, the collision wont kill or maim you or any other people in the car. It’s your speed and the mass of the deer that causes the havoc.

          So, since you can’t make them smaller, but you can drive slower, your way to lessen the risk is to drive slower.

        3. wilroncanada

          It’s an education problem. Too many deer have not been taught to read the Deer Crossing signs. Too many others are jay-running instead of running beside the road a hundred metres or so and crossing where the Deer Crossing signs are posted. Just like all the parents, after picking up their kids after school, who jaywalk with them across the street in front of the school to their cars illegally parked on the other side in the school bus zones.

      2. Wukchumni

        I parlayed my daylight savings into a nightclub and with the new & improved earlier darkness, things should be hopping!

        In 2015 when tiny town had our black bear invasion in October-November of 100-150 bruins we had around 10 bears get hit by vehicles as these were all backcountry denizens who were only here because our acorn crop was plentiful and oak trees further up in elevation where they usually nosh on, were barren.

        Probably none had ever seen a car before, I betcha.

      3. caucus99percenter

        Heh. Back to local solar time? Smartphones with GPS could actually bitch-slap manage this quite easily and elegantly. Unlike those printed 19th century railroad timetables before the invention of time zones, which had to show the local time differences in minutes between each stop and the next.

        Very strict Hindus and Muslims, for example, may nowadays use an app to help with various religious practices (e.g. prayer or fasting) whose correct observance is defined in terms of one’s precise location.

        Such apps provide accurate geodetic info (e.g. direction to face in order to align with a great circle passing through Mecca) as well as real-time calculations of the sun or moon’s rise and set, as seen from the user’s exact position on the earth’s surface.

    2. semper loquitur

      I say we allow each individual to pick and choose as they wish. Like with masking. It’s all about personal choice!

    3. QuantumSoma

      I agree. All of the arguments over which one to choose like to ignore that it is in fact possible to adjust schedules without changing the damn clocks. If it’s still dark when kids are going to school, then just start school later for gods sake. Do the opposite if it’s getting dark too early and eating into people’s free time.

    4. Vodkatom

      I vote for standard, or whatever puts the sun closest to its highest point at noon in the middle of a time zone. While true local “natural noon” would be nice, it’s not necessary. Let’s just have a nod that our clock is related to the sun.

      Though I do wonder what it would be like to go back to Roman concept of always having 12 hours in a day (from sunrise to sunset) with longer hours in the summer and shorter hours in the winter time.

  5. griffen

    “Democracy is on the ballot. Truth and facts and logic is on the ballot.” As an aside, my quite reasonably informed cousin keeps reminding me we are a Republic.

    News coverage this Sunday morning, election campaign pleas by former POTUS while at a rally in PA, the words above spoken by Obama. I would vomit but have not eaten much yet, early yet on the US east coast.

    1. griffen

      Which party has your back? Per sitting US Senator from NJ, Cory Booker, whom I have heard from before he won that position. His actual statements on live TV this morning.

      “Lowering healthcare costs.” Exactly when that is, and where we shall see.
      “Unite us, not divide us.” Except for those crazy people who follow Trump.
      “Our Democracy.” Typical, political speech tripe.
      “Bring People Together.” See, # 2 listed above.
      “Save Democracy.” Redundant tripe.

      Sen Booker avoided any real hard hitting questions on inflation or the actual performance of the economy.

    2. Wukchumni

      So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified online terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

      1. ambrit

        So, your opponent in this race is Cthulhu? He, she, or it, [pronouns are meaningless here] fits your description perfectly.
        “Why vote for the Lesser Evil?”

        1. griffen

          I say vote your conscience or your wallet, and choose whichever is the lightest at the end of each month. I caught more of the news coverage this morning, which amounted to the following exchange between a Dem strategist and former NJ governor Christie. I am seriously paraphrasing this, to be certain.

          Republicans are mean and don’t have a plan.
          Well, this is the Democrats plan and we get 7% to 9% inflation so that sucks.

        2. Wukchumni

          Just a few more days of political tv commercials for candidates in Godzone, and their missives tell me everything wrong about their opponent, and pretty much nothing about them.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Ha. Who’s facts? Who’s truth? We live in a multi-truth world, after all!

      The last time I saw Obama speak, it was part of the commercial imploring everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible back in early 2021. Obama, W. Bush, Clinton. Ugh. I had to walk away from the TV section at Best Buy. It was obnoxious in the extreme, to see so many horrid people so rapidly, all having profited so handsomely from their respectively presidencies.

    4. IM Doc

      “Democracy is on the ballot…”

      “If we allow these election-deniers to win the election, our very way of life will be over.”

      “if the GOP wins, our rule of law will be over and the very lives of our children will be threatened.”

      I am not sure about you – but the most scary thing about this current temper tantrum is what comes next. Once the losses for Team Blue are registered on Tuesday, what do they do next after weeks of this kind of rhetoric? What comes next on the hit parade? How does a political party that played this poison card recover with a straight face?

      I am sorry, but in my worst nightmares, Trump could not have done anything worse to the morale of our country than this clown car brigade.

      They cannot be gone or shut up quick enough. Myself and millions of other concerned/former Dems are indeed afraid of losing our democracy – but not in the way these Dems are talking.

      As much as these morons are constantly talking about how off the rails the GOP has become, can anyone tell me this kind of rhetoric would be coming from Moynihan, JFK, Truman, Wellstone, or really any Dems prior to Hilary? They are so good at recognizing this in the GOP because it is so easy for them to see it in themselves. They do not have to look far. They perfected the art of election denying. They have perfected censorship and groupthink. The cool kids at the dailykos table that I was once a part of used to laugh out loud at Fox News. OMG – just look at the clip of Joy Reid talking about inflation yesterday. In one fell swoop she has insulted the intelligence of every single American struggling to make it today.

      I look at my elders who were right there in Okinawa and the beaches of Normandy. That generation did not make that sacrifice so their grandchildren can be told what to say and think and vote by a bunch of woke goons in the NYT and Twitter and Facebook. “Vote the way we tell you – or you are a Nazi or white supremacist” That is certainly the message. My elders through their experience and wisdom have earned every right to say or vote how they feel. The suggestion that those among them who voted for Trump are traitors and causing things to occur like the Pelosi attack is absolutely repulsive. F%ck you. Dems – I have the utmost of respect for your historical figures – but your current iteration is a total insult. This kind of talk is going to alienate voters in ways you cannot possibly imagine. Please stop.

      I look at my kids and just shake my head. I refuse for this nightmare to be the inheritance my generation leaves them. The first step is going to be the hammer released on the Dems on Tuesday. It is going to take years of hammer falling on both sides, but it must be done.

      1. Hepativore

        All things considered, I still think that the Dubya administration was worse than the Trump years, yet everybody seems to have forgotten the damage W. Bush has caused, of which we are still suffering from today. Trump was an amateur by comparison, as both he and Obama merely built on the shenanigans that W. Bush did. Also, the Democratic Party at the time aided and abetted The Bush administration and its extralegal, idiotic, or unconstitutional practices every step of the way and then Obama swept them under the rug after he took office.

        The thing is though, the Democratic Party is going to invariably take the wrong lesson from this even if they are shellacked in the midterms. The party leadership will think that it should be even more like the Republicans thinking that not being right-of-center enough is what cost them the midterms in the first place. I am sure that the liberal blame cannons are going to be aimed squarely at the left amid all of the pearl-clutching that you can predict will come from cable news media pundits and blogs like Balloon Juice.

        I am not looking forward to the red tsunami, either, as the Republicans seem to have all sorts of things lined up for after they regain control of Congress, like various union-busting measures, anti-labor bills, etc. Granted, a lot of this stuff was going to happen anyway, as the Democrats are just going to capitulate in the face of Republican opposition no matter if they are the party in power or not.

        On the other hand, the Democratic Party leadership is going to try and make a fundraising mint from all of the empty promises it will make to challenge Republicans on the next time it is in power, so losing elections does not really matter to the Democrats.

        1. Geo


          George W. Bush: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

          Sarah Palin: “The best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hardworking, very patriotic, pro-America areas of this great nation.”

          The GOP has told me for decades I’m a traitor and not even American. That whole party can (to paraphrase Grover Norquist) “drown in a bathtub” for all the hate they’ve spewed at those of us who were against the Bush wars.

          Sadly, the Dems have embraced this rhetoric now. Used to despise Olbermann, Cenk, and so many of those on the “left” who appropriated Limbaugh/Savage style hysterical pomposity and outrage for ratings. It was bad enough that one side had always had its Father Coughlins, William Buckleys, Falwells, and other divisive fear mongers but now both sides have wholeheartedly embraced it. It is good for ratings and fractional (and factional) fanbases but leaves those of us who value humanity and social cohesion with no political home.

          “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” ― Marcus Aurelius

      2. anon in so cal

        “”Democracy” on the ballot”

        Shortly after taking office, Biden’s DHS issued its criteria of a “domestic extremist”:

        The “”domestic extremist” designation includes not just anti-Biden and anti-government protesters on the right but also leftist groups including animal rights activists — essentially anyone who objects to prevailing ruling class dogma and wants to use their constitutional rights to advance those views. To compile these reports, the CIA appears clearly to be breaking the law in using its vast intelligence weapons for domestic monitoring and control.”

        “In sum, to DHS, an “extremist” is anyone on left or right who opposes the prevailing ruling class & system for distributing power.”

      3. semper loquitur

        In a related vein, I had an interesting conversation with a local baker the other day while walking the dog. He’s a “deplorable” type. I asked him what his raw ingredient bills were looking like and he rolled his eyes. They are through the roof. So are his energy bills.

        He then asked me, in a quiet voice, what my political affiliations are. I said I am an Independent; I vote my conscience. When I vote at all.

        He then said that he hoped I didn’t hate him for saying what he was going to say next. I said please go on. He said that he wasn’t crazy about Trump but that he had got some things right.

        I agreed. He then went on to decry the lunatic actions of the Democratic establishment. The money lost on the war in Ukraine. The COVID mandates. I mentioned Joe’s penchant for touching young girls and he grimaced in disgust.

        We spoke for a few more minutes about the dreadful cost of home groceries, the fact that his egg bill has doubled, and that his prices have had to go up. He then thanked me for letting him speak freely. He said he figured I was the only “one around here”, by which I believe he meant liberal-ishy, that he could say what he said about Trump without being attacked or sneered at.

        1. chris

          That’s about right. I’ve heard from many in liberal establishment positions, like corporate law, who were happy with Trump’s actions and would be happy to have him back… if he could keep his mouth shut.

          It really is a crude kind of class based elitism. The same that makes people mock Joe Rogan. These people don’t talk or act like anyone who’s allowed to have an opinion. So they should be censored. And when the PMC and elites find out they can’t censor them, they rage in impotence at the audacity of these common folk being allowed to have any opinion that other people can listen to.

          1. semper loquitur

            It’s been noted here before that the PMC are simultaneously privileged and precarious. They are house-servants beholden to capricious masters who dole out material benefits and status on one hand then snatch it away on a whim. It’s no wonder they reject any affiliation with the “deplorables”and arrogate a moral superiority over them. It’s no wonder they mock their politics, condemn their culture, and brand them as irredeemable racists and (X)phobes. It’s no wonder they hold them as far off as possible. Such a relationship would be a constant reminder that they are but a lay-off away from joining their ranks.

            A friend’s company was purchased by a private equity concern a few years ago. These are “creative” types, talented and well compensated. They are all infected with TDS to some degree. They travel and enjoy the “good life” as best they can. They aren’t haters but they hate Trumpers without reserve.

            Well, things have been slow and the equity people were looking for a few more percentage points on their return. Word came of layoffs. People were told they had a month, mostly junior staff.

            Then, literally the next day, they were told to tell the people being cut that they were gone the very next day. Tears were shed and careers cut short. Now my friend is doing twice the work, everyone is exhausted, and everyone is terrified that they might be next.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Who Will NATO’s Next Secretary General Be?”

    Meh, why not Chrystia Freeland. The New York Times may whitewash it but being the grand-daughter of a Nazi may be seen as a good qualification seeing how many original Nazis got high positions in the EU and NATO after the war. And a major qualification for being a NATO Secretary General seems to be being a rabid Russia-hater anyway. Thing is, this war is now serving to make Nazis almost acceptable and I just don’t mean the Azov guys and gals. NC has linked in previous years how when there is a vote in the United Nations for a UN resolution opposing the celebration of Nazism and related ideologies, that the only countries opposing this resolution are the United States and the Ukraine which would surprise almost nobody. Well, on Friday that just had this vote again and this time over 50 countries opposed this motion. So I guess that Nazis are OK now or something. Personally I would be curious to map those 52 countries against those who voted to recognize Juan Guaido as President of Venezuela and see if there is a correlation.

    1. digi_owl

      On that note, i am unsure how much actual say the civilian office has when shit hits the fan. And as i understand it, the uniform in charge is always US.

    2. Cetra Ess

      It’s actually quite amazing how the NYT downplays the Freeland Nazi past:

      “There is also an older concern, dismissed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that her Ukrainian grandfather, a grateful immigrant to Canada, was as a younger man involved with a Ukrainian nationalist movement that saw the Nazis as useful foils to counter the Soviets.”

      Compare and contrast with this apologetic piece in the Ottawa Citizen, he wasn’t just involved, he was an chief editor of a newspaper actively promoting the genocide of Jews:

      The only way I would let that go is if there was anywhere a statement of apology or regret by said grandfather, otherwise I’ll assume he was a Nazi until his death and passed those views to his grandkids.
      Because hate running that deep is not easily excised.

      But yes, this makes Freeland a clincher for the Ukrainians.

    3. Kouros

      Chrystia is smarter than Stoltenberg and in some ways more dangerous. She was the dark eminence carrying water for the Americans and organizing western hemisphere countries in the Lima Group against Venezuela.

      And she’s an ideologue. She claims she wants an independent Ukraine, but I don’ts see any sympathy for the 20-30% of ethnic Russians there, or for the Hungarian or Romanian minorities, living on land that became Ukraine only after WWII. How is that fair Chrystia?

      1. The Rev Kev

        If it wasn’t for the fact that the NATO Secretary General has to be European (while the actual NATO Commander is an American), Antony Blinken would make a good candidate as he has a grandparent from the Ukraine as well.

  7. Screwball

    Its pretty amazing that the US has added over 830,000 covid deaths since the November 2020 election, including over 300,000 covid deaths in the last 12 months, and somehow covid is almost a nonissue in the current campaigns.

    Yesterday my PMC friends were talking and one asked; “I will be interested in the study of how COVID was stopped. Was it herd immunity? Was is it a combo of herd and vax?”


    I informed them that we are averaging 2500 deaths a week, which is 358 a day, or 130,000 a year according to the CDC.

    One told me the big hospital is wife worked at dropped mask mandates last week, SO, the threat of hospitalization to most of the population is very minimal now.

    There you have it – we are not filling up the hospital, and130,000 deaths are OK. Oh how the narrative has changed over the last two years. I really wanted something smart a$$ to say, but I just couldn’t find the words. Two years ago they were screaming about every death and how Trump was killing people, and their contempt/hatred for the anit-vax, anti-mask people – now crickets. Amazing really.


    I haven’t read about new vaccines in a while, and things change with a virus, but is it possible to develop a “sterilizing” vaccine for this virus, and if so, why are we not working on it? Maybe you can’t for this virus, I honestly don’t remember.

    1. griffen

      Well, that is incredibly clarifying. Covid was ended by this President and the fearless leaders in the administration. Sadly what I suggest above, not sarcasm. Even satire can’t compete.

      Words, oh I could find the words if’n I did not care about the repercussions of saying them.

    2. katiebird

      One of my sisters tested positive for COVID a couple of days ago. The day before her husband tested positive. When she announced his positive test result, I asked if they were masking. No, she said – “it’s my choice” … and “it’s all about the viral load” … OK. Well. And then, as I said, she tested positive the next day. “It was inevitable,” she said. I’d have to agree considering their social calendar. And lack of masks. Anyway, she’s got MS and you’d think enough trouble with that.

      Oh, well. She also explained that it’s just like a bad cold (not even flu anymore.)

      This is my 3rd sibling out of 7 to get COVID. I just hope they all get the “just a cold” version and not the dead version.

      1. semper loquitur

        I had an argument with a family member whose responses to maintaining basic COVID protocols like masking and gargling were that a. “It’s been three years!”, as if COVID was a hung-over house guest who had crashed on the couch and appears to be angling to stick around for dinner and b. “I’ll take care of myself and you take care of you!” as if COVID gave two motherfu(king $hits about Libertarianism. When I explained to him for the thousandth time that that’s not how it works with highly infectious diseases, I just got an angry stare. Chimps gonna chimp. I’m moving to a deserted hermitage and descending into mysticism. Oh wait, they’ve all been gentrified…

    3. John Zelnicker

      Screwball – Apparently, it’s extremely difficult to make a sterilizing vaccine for coronaviruses in general, according to studies linked to here on NC.

      This seems to be due, in part, to the speed with which the viruses mutate and create evasive variants.

      There are some folks working on sterilizing vaccines, especially those that are inhaled.

      1. Screwball

        Thanks John, much appreciated. That’s kind of what I thought, but I struggle with all the medical terms and meanings. And of course all the information we must sift through to find the “truth.”

      2. chris

        Yep. We could do a lot to help if we wanted to implement better building standards in this country too. A great way to slow down spread would be to remove the viral particles from the air. But we still can’t agree on this virus being airborne. And the latest CDC vax campaign video can’t even show cartoon characters wearing masks. So we’re firmly on the vax or nothing train. And we’ve decided to stop researching new vax options… :(

    4. Jason Boxman

      Exactly this. The Great Barrington Declaration was a kind of new holocaust proposal, one which liberal Democrats have now thoroughly embraced, and Biden most of all with his recent declaration that the Pandemic is over. Aghast over Trump’s desire to test less — we don’t test at all now! — or with possible treatments like IVM, now liberal Democrats are content to allow everyone to get infected, while pushing vaccines with a worse safety profile than IVM and encouraging death!

      I’d say liberal Democrats and the PMC as a whole are the greater evil; In addition to the lies, they claim a kind of superior moral standing. While inflicting the same harms! To say nothing of the vaccine mandates, a vaccine that is non-sterilizing, that was known or should have been known to be non-sterilizing, and in addition to therefore being entirely useless, have discredited public health for the next hundred years.

      The harms set in motion by discrediting real, sterilizing vaccines, not to mention public health in general, cannot be overstated. Liberal Democrats unleashed a certainty of needless suffering and death upon the population, because markets, and because smiles.

      This kind of thing cannot be rebuked strongly enough; The only consolation is that these people will get sick early and often, and some will likely suffer long term consequences, including long-COVID, which they have so richly earned.

      Difficult it is to fathom, that such a loathsome class of people exists, and has power.

      1. Late Introvert

        “The only consolation is that these people will get sick early and often, and some will likely suffer long term consequences, including long-COVID, which they have so richly earned.”

        This, only the vast majority of them will ignore and deny it to the bitter end. F’ them.

  8. Hacker

    “Immunity debt” being used to refer to an individual’s health is clearly wrong. However, applying the term to a population makes sense, especially in regards to why more people are getting sick. The loose language Walensky uses doesn’t help, I’ve tried to clean that up.

    “If you^h^h^h a population goes two years without getting that infection, without getting that protection from infection in the population and then all of a sudden, boom, everybody from zero to three years gets RSV, you see the impact on health care.”

    That just says more people without immunity will mean more people get sick, with more people getting really sick, even though the percentage of really sick stays the same. in relation to those getting sick.

    1. Raymond Sim

      It only ‘makes sense’ if you misperceive the immune system as being like a muscle.

      That’s not a misperception? Pony up some evidence. Your handwaving about population vs individual effects applies just as well to any widespread potential cause.

      Taken as written in good faith your comment betrays you, portraying a misinformed person with deficient reasoning skills.

      1. Objective Ace

        There’s plenty of real life examples to use as evidence. Getting covid confers immunity for a month or two and then slowly goes away. On the other side of the spectrum is measles: once one got measles they were effectively protected for life.

        So diseases do give you a degree of immunity. The only question is what is that degree which depends on the varying disease characteristics like mutation rate.

        1. Raymond Sim

          There’s plenty of real life examples to use as evidence.

          Then provide one ffs!

          Lifelong immunity resulting from certain infections is an example of how the immune system is not like a muscle. Note also that your assertion “diseases do give you a degree of immunity” is false as a general statement. Additionally the fact that immunity can wane over time in no way validates the immune debt nonsense.

          Your comment, if made in good faith, evidences deficient reasoning skills and ignorance of basic facts.

          1. Objective Ace

            What exactly are you asking for evidence for? Here is what Walensky said: “All of that regular exposure that usually happens that bolsters immunity year after year didn’t happen,”. Since they’re both subjective phrases I cannot convincingly argue that that statement is either a “photo album” or “muscle memory”.

            All I can say is she is correct [at least technically]. Getting a disease does bolster immunity for at least a little while [for that specific disease]. Measles is the ultimate example that this is true. Are you prepared to argue that someone who had measles is equally likely to get measles and die from it as someone who never has had it? There may be some instances where recovering from a disease confers no additional immunity to that disease–I would genuinely be interested what disease that is if thats the case. This isnt my field so there could be some exceptions. Loathe Walensky all you want, but shes not wrong here (which isnt to say theres not much more to the story)

            1. Raymond Sim

              All I can say is she is correct [at least technically]. Getting a disease does bolster immunity for at least a little while [for that specific disease].

              You’ve never heard of rabies? How about second infection with Dengue? HIV?

              You’re not aware of the rapid re-infection by SARS-2 of Marine recruits who didn’t seroconvert, documented back in 2020?

              You think there are rules? “If you don’t die you get immunity points.” or some such thing?

              You appear to be laboring under severe misconceptions. And, like most Americans, your reasoning skills appear to be severely underdeveloped: Do muscles retain for life the strength gained from a single workout? No. Therefore measles show that muscular strength is not a valid analog for immune function.

    2. chris

      So… we shouldn’t have other boosters then? I should just get tetanus on a regular basis to keep myself strong?

      No, the analogy to a photo album makes much more sense. We have memory cells in our immune system for a reason. Because we don’t need to keep antibodies around forever since we aren’t supposed to regularly be exposed to things that are trying to kill us. We just need an immune system that can respond when it’s challenged.

      If you want to keep the muscle analogy, then use it to refer to people who have poor nutrition, poor sleeping habits, and too much stress in their life. Expecting them to respond to COVID with a robust immune system is like asking a chain smoker to run the mile in 6 minutes or less. The only debt we owe to our immune system is to try and live a healthy life so that it can respond as trained when needed.

      1. Objective Ace

        I think the argument is Walensky’s point can be true using the photo book example too. If your child has no “photos” of RSV from the past couple years then they are more likely to get it, or get it more severely at least

        1. chris

          Not in this case. Keeping with the photo album analogy for a bit more, for example mothers can put photos in their kid’s albums via breast feeding or vaginally delivery. People can also get vaccines that train the immune system so that they never have to suffer through a primary infection. The concept of immune debt is catchy but false.

          I think Dr. Walensky is being purposefully negligent proposing that others need to get sick for us to move on. I’m sure we’ll hear lots about how she won’t let her kid’s go to chicken pox parties and the like soon. Just like we found out how different the recommendations she gave to her kid’s school were compared to what she told the country.

          1. Objective Ace

            >I think Dr. Walensky is being purposefully negligent proposing that others need to get sick for us to move on.

            Is that what she was doing, or is she just explaining what is going on? Here’s the exact wording Lambert quoted:

            “All of that regular exposure that usually happens that bolsters immunity year after year didn’t happen. If you go two years without getting that infection, without getting that protection from infection and then all of a sudden, boom, everybody from zero to three years gets RSV, you see the impact on health care.”

            1. chris

              Well, for starters, if COVID is as bad at disordering immune systems in people as has been suggesting by articles posted on NC, then yes, she is lying to cover up her agency’s past failures. Because if COVID performs like measles, there is no immunity debt – COVID just wrecked the immune systems of so many people that they can’t resist viral infections from what for many is a background virus.

              The immune debt concept as described above and in articles on it assumes that everyone gets all these diseases all the time. They don’t. The article also assumes that RSV and other viruses weren’t in circulation and infecting people from 2020 – 2022. There’s no evidence of that. Further, the article assumes that COVID mitigations were practiced on a wide enough scale and with enough consistency as to prevent people from getting sick with these viruses. Again, no evidence of that over the time period. The only illness we have any kind of indication that something like that happened was with flu in 2020.

              But let’s assume there’s great data which shows our COVID mitigations also knocked down RSV to zero levels for 2 years only to have it resurface this year and infect people with naive immune systems. Let’s take Dr. Walensky’s claims at face value and assume she’s telling the truth – then why isn’t she advocating for more masks and better ventilation instead of shrugging her shoulders with a term that hasn’t been used in any publications before?

              The other tell, IMO, is that she’s talking mainly about RSV with respect to this concept. RSV is such a nasty illness when you’re exposed to it as a young child that we do everything we can to prevent babies and toddlers from being infected. The reason we do that is because you can’t be sure the kid will survive their encounter without hospitalization and other treatment. Speaking as a parent who had a kid hospitalized due to a severe RSV infection it is frightening. But most kids get through their early years without being crippled by it and encounter it when they’re older and not as likely to suffer serious repercussions. Which means they should have their immune memory cells in place and ready to go, contrary any “immune debt”.

              But really, the best reason to doubt anything the good doctor is saying in this context is because if you agree with her then you also have to agree two things are true:

              1) there’s nothing the CDC can do about the current situation. So stop asking!

              2) it’s your fault for protecting yourself against COVID. Your nasty masks have created this situation. Shame on you!

              I don’t trust anyone in government who makes arguments asserting those conclusions. I don’t trust anyone in government developing new reasons why they’re not at fault for something that is their responsibility to handle. I don’t trust a doctor who tells the country one thing, and the people in charge of her kids another. There is no basis anyine can present to trust Dr. Walensky on this or other topics. She should be fired. And she should take her ridiculous concepts with her when she goes.

  9. jo6pac

    If mike milken has anything to do with this it bad thingy. he is as bad as gates

    Lynn Goldman, dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      with regard to famous names attached to ostensibly charitable causes, that’s just the way of the worldm – money is like fertilizer – in a pile it stinks, spread it around and it helps things grow

    2. Basil Pesto

      “The Ford Foundation School of Jewish Studies”

      “The Madoff Institute School for Public Ethics and Integrity”

      etc etc

  10. LawnDart

    Travelers have a lot to say about shrinking airplane seats

    I flew fairly often for work. The shrinking-seats is friggin absurd: I’m 6’3″ and 250#, with broad shoulders and long legs. Pre-covid, a few times, when paying the priority premium wasn’t available, I distinctly recall the looks of horror on fellow passenger’s faces as I ambled down the asile looking for an open spot, and believe me– that sense of horror, dread, was mutual.

    Yes, it’s definately painful for someone my size to cram themselves into the allotted passenger space. I refuse to subject myself to that, and don’t wish to subject others to my somewhat immense physical presence. Now I won’t take a job if travel by air is a requirement.

    I haven’t flown since covid began, and don’t anticipate doing so, except maybe one last time– my flight outta this neoliberal hellhole.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve flown domestically 4 times since 9/11, and much prefer a roadtrip where you can adjust the seat any which way you choose, all food consumed along the way actually has negative calorie values, that fast food combo racking in @ -1260 calories, a package of Twizzlers -520 calories, and the most tricky tucker to eat en route is of course Mexican food with much potential for spillage on a 2 taco carne asada combo with rice & beans -760 calories.

      You get to see the country up close if only superficially as you pass by, not the 6 miles high version.

      If you run across something interesting and worthy of a stop in the middle of your itinerary, by all means do it… but please don’t try that in a jet, they call it hijacking.

    2. Daryl

      I flew recently and walked out of the plane feeling like I had scoliosis, hunched over as I was to try to avoid elbowing the person in the middle seat. The whole thing is profoundly unpleasant.

    3. Raymond Sim

      I’m a half inch shorter, also long legs and broad shoulders, last flew cross-country in 2003 and it was just this side of unbearable. Flew Sacto to Portland more recently and was impressed at how much room there had actually been for things to get worse. The indignity of involuntarily imposing myself on others is definitely my biggest complaint.

    4. Nordberg

      LawnDart, I am of a similar size. My observation is there must be some sick, cruel algorithm that seats people of our similar stature in the same row.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I found being crammed next to another guy with excess shoulders less miserable than being next to a young woman who perhaps didn’t realize I couldn’t suck the damn things in.

        The other gorilla and I could at least commiserate.

    5. CitizenSissy

      I’m 5’1″ and feel crammed in airplane seats! However, I’d happily switch my aisle seat for you, LawnDart.

    6. ChrisJ

      I recently flew the QF10 London to Perth route (3rd longest passenger flight) in economy on the 787. I make no claim to being a big guy but even with both arms squeezed to my ribs I still completely covered both armrests. If sat next to someone like yourself we would find it a very very uncomfortable 17 hours.

      It was really quite appalling how small the dreamliner economy seats were, they are smaller than the 737 low-cost short haulers.

      Then you also have the amenities which consistently had a queue of 4-5 people throughout the flight, I suspect these are “optimized” too.

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Travelers have a lot to say about shrinking airplane seats

    ” “Airlines continue to invest in a wide range of innovative technologies to maximize personal space in the cabin while maintaining a level of comfort passengers expect,” the group said in a statement.”

    How about a [family blog]ing tape measure?!??! That really ought to do the trick. Or is that not “innovative’ enough?

    And there really ought to be a deeper circle of hell for the PR types who wretch up this type of bafflegab.

  12. FlyoverBoy

    Yesterday, I saw a TV commercial Pfizer is running for its Covid boosters: “Hug a blind date! Join a line dance!” Why, it’s almost as if they know they’re completely immune from ever being sued no matter what they say or do to us.

    I got a booster last week, 2 months after I got Omicron 5 through my wife’s dental technician. We’d done all the things for 3 years, secluded ourselves, skipped holiday gatherings, masked everywhere. Now I got a note from a family member who’s a professional cancer researcher and amateur anti-Covid crusader that there’s mounting research showing the new bivalent boosters are actually looking like worse than nothing for people who’ve had Omicron 5. There are multiple holiday gatherings just ahead of us, including people just stepping off of flights with no mask mandates. Oh sh!t.

    1. katiebird

      I’ve had a broken tooth for months now. And everything I eat gets pushed down into the gap (which is invisible – Rick couldn’t see it at all with a flashlight and his incredible vision) to the point of searing pain. I’ve gone through 3 things of dental floss in these few months. … But I can’t seem to make a dental appt. It just seems the opposite of hunkering down.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I don’t suppose that you can use something to fill that gap temporarily until you get to see your dentist that won’t interfere with your future treatment. The first thing that comes to mind would be well-chewed chewing gum (to get rid of the sugar) but there would be maybe better alternatives. Got a broken tooth myself at the moment but not in a way that is open to the air or holds food – for now.

        1. katiebird

          That’s actually why Rick was looking for the broken bit. He has dental glue and paste and stuff for emergency repairs. But even though I can feel it and attempt to point to it, he couldn’t see where it is at all even with a pretty good flashlight shining on it.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Of course I do not know your situation from over 10,000 kilometers away but maybe the reason that it is so hard for your Rick to located is where it actually is. This being the case, would it be worthwhile to get one of those dentist mirrors? You know, the small, round ones on a stick that are angled-


            That and a strong light and he might have a better chance of seeing it.

            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              Or a small USB endoscope camera like they use for kitchen sink inspections. Some plug into laptops. Some into cellphones.

              Also buy some McKesson Iodoform packing strips.

              Also warm salt water followed by warm water followed by warm salt water, etc. Rinse throughout the day even with beverages. It will help keep the bacteria down. Final flushes with regular warm water.

              Avoid foods like popcorn which can get caught. Avoid very hard foods that might that small break / crack into a major break.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                OMG. Just get it fixed by a dentist already. All due respect, this is taking things more than a bit too far. I can state unequivocally that it’s not going to get any better or less expensive the longer you wait.

                How sanitary do you think something you snaked down a kitchen drain is?

                  1. Avalon Sparks

                    Maybe look into the nose sprays (enovid) and mouthwashes that many claim will help prevent or kill covid as a preventive before and after a dental appointment.

              2. GramSci

                Instead of salt, I recommend a dentifrice/mouthwash mix of baking soda and Boraxo in a 20:1 or even 10:1 ratio. Baking soda alone is good, but the sodium tetraborate dramatically increases the mixture’s ability to cut and dissolve dental biofilm. It’s also a highly effective antacid.

                  1. GramSci

                    Thanks for listening. Usually people tell me I’m nuts and that I should use the stuff they see advertised on TV :-/

                    I might as well add that I started using the boron/Boraxo as a cure for arthritis. I had a CAT scan done for radiculopathy in my hands. The doctor congratulated me on my “impressive case of arthritis”, recommended physical therapy (which proved useless), and said he’d see me for surgery in about five years. I had been brushing my teeth with baking soda, so simply added a little Boraxo, and I discovered that the added boraxo really cut biofilm.

                    That was 15 years ago. Since then, I haven’t had heartburn, radiculopathy, or a single dental problem. With N=1, I’m reluctant to attribute all this to boron. I think a little light yoga (like rolling my head around my neck to bust up calcium deposits, kundalini-style) might have helped the radiculopathy more. But I continue to use the baking soda/Boraxo.

                    1. katiebird

                      GramSci, this is very interesting to me. I have terrible acid reflux. How much Baking Soda do you mix with how much Boraxo? And then just dip the toothbrush in it?

                      I also roll my head around my neck. And turn it as far as I can in each direction off and on through the day.

                      Thank you so much for this info.

                  2. kareninca

                    Orthodontic wax is great for temporarily covering a broken tooth area to prevent pain. GUM brand is a lot better than Walgreen’s. You warm a blob of it in your mouth and then press it onto the bad area. You don’t have to be precise.

                    Of course, then you need to get to the dentist when you can.

      2. outside observer

        Have you tried swishing with coconut oil for a few minutes? I haven’t had searing pain, but this has helped me with mild pain. Also sucking on a clove bud from the spice cabinet.

        1. katiebird

          Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind. But the pain only exists as long as the food is in there. Once I floss it out, I’m OK. It’s just weird to floss during a meal. Luckily it’s only Rick and me & he’s not bothered by it. The worst was yesterday eating popcorn — the husks are horrific to that tooth!!

          1. Carla

            katiebird, when my dentist pried a popcorn husk from the gum surrounding a VERY expensive implant and pointed out that it had been in there awhile. I protested that I floss religiously and said, “I suppose I shouldn’t eat popcorn anymore.” He nodded sadly and confirmed that it’s best at my age, with the condition of my gums and teeth, for me to forgo that little pleasure of life. Damn!

            1. kareninca

              I definitely can’t eat home-popped popcorn, due to the risk of kernels. But I think that bags of already popped popcorn are safer. Not perfectly safe, but safer. It offends my sense of frugality to buy pre popped popcorn, but it’s cheaper than additional dental work.

      3. johnnyme

        I’m in (well, now almost out of) the same boat as you. I broke a filling in August 2020 and figured that it, since it would be inevitable that I would catch the virus, I might as well wait until after that to get it fixed. Then I broke another one last year right before the omicron wave took off, and again, decided to hold off on getting it repaired until after the inevitable occurred. Last month, broken tooth #1 took a turn for the worse and there’s no way it would make it through the upcoming winter surge, and even though I still haven’t gotten it yet, I bit the bullet and made the appointments.

        My dentist has thankfully not relaxed his covid protocols. N95s for all the staff and a giant HEPA filter in every room. It turns out he got covid right out of the gate in April 2020 which landed him in the hospital and he’s determined to never go through that experience again. I’ve made it through two appointments unscathed with just one more to go…

        If you call the dentists in your area and ask about their covid mitigation strategies, you might get lucky and find one like mine.

        1. katiebird

          I think I’ll do this. My own dentist retired a year or so ago, so I have to call around anyway. And that sounds like as good a way as any to judge a new dentist. Thank you!!

          1. adrena

            Use an electric toothbrush (no longer than 2 minutes). It is very good for your teeth as it massages the gums. I rarely have dental problems.

      4. MaryLand

        Eventually you may have to see a dentist. I understand your dread of that because of covid. I have had ongoing dental problems but did not get covid so far. Here is what has worked for me. Try to time your appointment for when a covid surge is not at its peak. Also try to get an appointment on a Monday and the first appointment of the day to minimize aerosolized virus. I wear an N95 mask and take it off only as necessary at the dental office. When they are not working on my teeth I put it back on. I bring my own HEPA air purifier and plug it in inside the exam room. Nobody has objected to that yet at the several dental offices I have had to go to. Just before I go into the building and soon after leaving the building I use a nasal spray containing xylitol (Xlear nasal spray) and spray my throat with Betadine antiseptic spray. I haven’t gotten covid yet, but wish me luck on Tuesday when I have to have 11 teeth pulled.

        1. katiebird

          Where did you get your portable HEPA filter (I am going to call around to dentists that have their own though)

          1. MaryLand


            When I bought it last year it was $40, now $73. Didn’t think it was much in demand. It’s small enough to fit in a grocery bag. Some dentists have their own, but they don’t always plug them in. I add mine whether or not theirs is plugged in.

            1. katiebird

              We just don’t go anywhere. Except grocery shopping. This dental thing though has to be done. I’m going to call around and hope that I find someone that uses the filters in their practice. I don’t want to spend that much unless I have to.

          2. Grumpy Engineer

            My dentist has been running HEPA units in every room since the pandemic began. It’s one of the reasons I really like her.

        2. Objective Ace

          Whats the rationale for Monday instead of say Friday?.. I’d assume most super spreader events happen friday night or saturday–just in time to infect you monday. By Friday–hopefully someone who got covid over the weekend would realize it and act responsibly

          1. MaryLand

            I was just thinking of the accumulation of breathed air in the office from previous patients. No guarantees of course, but hopefully first thing on a Monday morning there would be less covid still floating in the air from the previous week.

      5. Fiery Hunt

        Go to a good dentist!

        Wife works in good office… everyone in 95’s, no patient allowed in without mask, iodine rinse before any procedure…probably the safest environment you can find!

        Call, ask questions then go!

        1. ChrisPacific

          I’ve found dentists are better than average at this (not to say they aren’t exceptions). Even before Covid they were a high risk occupation for transmission of respiratory illnesses, and getting sick is quite damaging for them financially, so their controls are often pretty good.

          The receptionist(s) are not always so careful so the waiting room is often the highest risk spot. Wear a good mask, and show up on time (i.e., not early).

        1. HotFlash

          Oil of cloves/whole cloves only temp. Stops (numbs nerves) pain but doesn’t fix damage. Get your dental work done, and/or invest in a Vitamix.

    2. Tom Stone

      I recieved my second Moderna shot March 20, 2020 and I am still experiencing substantial pain in both elbows, to the point I was cussing under my breath yesterday morning.
      Both elbows had been severely sprained in the past and both had been fully healed for years when I took that shot.
      My other injuries were also exacerbated, Sciatica, cervical spine and lumbar region.
      I have idiosyncratic drug reactions and spent a good deal of time considering the odds before getting vaccinated.
      I played the odds as I saw them at the time and lost.

      1. HotFlash

        Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make informed decisions about this kind of thing? Oh, for a real public health agency!

    3. Raymond Sim

      I overheard something similar during a YouTube video I was mostly just listening to, but it seemed to be a U.S. government ad. I got over to the computer in time to see hugging and dancing, but it was off the screen before I got a chance to see if it had any official imprimatur. I was actually (yet again) aghast that something so despicable could be getting any sort of airtime.

  13. petal

    Burn down the CDC, and make sure those people never work again. They cannot be trusted in any capacity.
    I imagine when the weather in the northeast finally turns(it’s been unusually warm, and 70-75 this weekend in northern NH), then we’re really going to see a jump.

    1. Tom Stone

      They could keep the initials (CDC) and simply change the name to reflect their real mission “Center for Disease Communication”.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Occupies American Land, Too”

    ‘The U.S. should reclaim Wrangel Island, which Lenin’s gunboat Red October seized in 1924.’

    Unfortunately for the WSJ, Wrangel Island is north of Siberia, not Alaska. And the five settlers (the Canadian Allan Crawford, three Americans: Fred Maurer, Lorne Knight and Milton Galle, and Iñupiat seamstress and cook Ada Blackjack) that were dropped on that island were there to try to claim that island for Canada, not the US. All but Ada Blackjack died so it was she and 13 Inuit – and the expedition’s cat – that the Soviets removed from this island-

    I swear to god that this woman’s name has come up on Naked Capitalism the past year or two but can’t recall when or how. Another interesting fact about this island is that it is the last place that woolly mammoths survived which was in about 2500–2000 BC. So just as human civilizations first kicked off, there were still mammoths wandering around on that island-

  15. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. privately asks Ukraine to show it’s open to negotiate with Russia”

    Bit late after nine months now of war for the US to be suddenly worried about what the rest of the world thinks about how the Ukraine looks to them. The Russians have, from day one, been fighting this war with an eye on how the rest of the world views this war to get their support.

    1. Cristobal

      Yes, that is certainly the best way to keep the recomendación private, Publish It on the front Page of the NYT. Be sure to not let the Ruskies know! How dumb do they think we are?

      1. NotThisAgain

        Well, I think it’s pretty clear that they are seeking a face-saving way to get to the negotiation table. This has been building for a while now–expect more noise about the need to negotiate over the next few weeks (combined with the empty talk about how the US will support Ukraine to the very end, blah blah blah blah blah that is not matched with concrete measures)

        If I were responsible for NATO communications, I think I would be trying to spin this as a Russian loss (Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Russia was dragged into a year-long war instead of a three-day conquest and only ended up with 20% of Ukraine, etc.) and just sign whatever paper gets put in front of me. I don’t see why Russia would stop until they get all of eastern Ukraine, but NATO has piss-poor options at this point, and they are only going to get worse over the next few months.

        I am curious how many more wars the US needs to lose before it fundamentally re-examines its doctrine, though–surely the Majors and Colonels and Generals must realize that something is very wrong by now and must be concerned about the wider implications.

        1. semper loquitur

          Lose? Billions in the hands of the weapons developers and their p!mps? The EU weakened and even more pliant to US demands? Eastern Europe in chaos and fertile soil for spook run insurgencies, weapons sales, and money laundromats? A morally satisfying fable woven for the neoliberal powers that be and their PMC schwein-hunde to coalesce around? Where’s the downside?/s

        2. digi_owl

          Re-examination will not happen until they have “red team” on US soil.

          As long as USA can retreat behind its massive moats when the world turns sour nothing will change.

          That is why things like the Cuban Crisis and 9/11 produced such vicious response. Because they violated the sanctity of the moats.

          1. eg

            The US is like Daisy and Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby” — “They were careless people … they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . . . ”

        3. Tom Stone

          The people who decide to start these wars are a very small Minority who answer to corporate Oligarchs who have no concern for the USA, any other Country or their populations.
          They care about Wealth and Power and their Greed is insatiable.
          From one perspective Ukraine is a battle between a Nation State (Russia) and the Globalist Corporate/Security State.
          I view Corporations as an extremely perverted form of Tribe, one whose God is Profit.
          And unless we get lucky these arrogant greedheads will destroy all life on earth.

          1. NotThisAgain

            All that may be true, but I assume that if you are a Major or a Colonel, you do your best to win a war (and minimize your casualties) whether you believe it is a worthwhile cause or not.

            Why are we not yet seeing major rethinks analogous to the Weinberger-Powell doctrine?

            Similarly, if I understand correctly, the foundation of US defense strategy rests on Von Clausewitz’ theories. Perhaps those foundations should b re-examined?

            I am no military strategist–I am just very curious as to the lack of major rethinks given the last 30 years of fiascos. I mean, at a time when people debate the minutiae of transgender bathroom regulations, you’d think that defense policies and theories would also get some attention, especially after three very expensive losses over the last 20 years

    2. NotThisAgain

      I’m a bit surprised that this article isn’t drawing more comments, but I don’t think the US is really worried about what the “rest of the world thinks”–I think that the powers that be have finally concluded that this is an unwinnable war for them (what possibly took them so long??), that with each passing week their position gets more obviously weaker, and that they desperately need to try negotiations before Russia takes over Odessa and before Europe splinters and blames the US. The talk about moral high ground and what not is simply a face-saving fig leaf to justify an attempt at negotiations after all the bluster about launching nukes and all the other idiocies, and it is quite frankly a welcome walk back.

      In any case, this strategy is by now probably hopeless–Russia is now too invested and will likely keep fighting until Ukraine is landlocked and capitulates completely. And if some imbecile decides to launch another attack on Russian infrastructure to “prove a point” (which is very possible), then all talks will be off the table unless Ukraine is outright humiliated on a scale that rivals post-WWI Germany.

      I honestly believe that historians are going to look at the last twenty years and have a vociferous debate as to which of the three major US interventions (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine) was the stupidest, most incompetently fought, and long-term catastrophic for US interests. My money is currently on Ukraine, because I am not sure that either NATO or the EU is going to truly exist as a functional organization after this.

      1. NotThisAgain

        Incidentally, another story that is getting no attention is the NY Times claim that Kyiv is planning to evacuate all 3m of its residents in a worst case scenario:

        Two obvious questions:

        1) How do you evacuate 3m people? Where can they possibly all go? This is one of the stupidest things I have seen written so far–obviously if things get to this point, Ukraine will surrender unconditionally.

        2) Why would they need to evacuate if they are so clearly winning the war and if the Russians are on the ropes? Why is Russia not trying to evacuate Moscow (magical logistics about moving all of its residents notwithstanding, of course)?

        At some point, you really just need to sympathize with all the poor schmucks who pay for subscriptions to access this rag.

        1. Polar Socialist

          As far as I understand it not a “plan” plan, but something the mayor Klitschko announces people have to do if the situation with the electric grid gets any worse.

          It’s more of vocalized hope that people would find their own way out of the city to anyplace else, so that Klitschko doesn’t have to actually do anything.

          So, pretty much on par with Ukrainian government’s efforts in general so far to take care of any situation involving safety and well being of their people.

      2. doug

        Like the vociferous debate 20 years after Vietnam? Oh wait.
        I think you might be over estimating USofA ability at introspection.

        1. NotThisAgain

          I think that Vietnam was deeply debated and exhaustively analyzed–especially by the Officer corps–and it brought about many fundamental changes in how the US fights wars. Although the Powell-Weinberger doctrine came about after Beirut, it was clear that there was a sharp debate between the very cautious Defense Department and the aggressive State Department regarding whether troops should be stationed there at all well before the attack.

          I think it was the overwhelming victory of the first Gulf War that changed the minds of policy makers (including DoD) regarding intervention in large wars (Grenada, etc. occurred, but these were very small events).

          The big problem is that the 1991 Gulf War is the only major post-WWII conflict that the US can claim to have attained clear victory (and even then, it was won with a very large coalition with extremely limited objectives against a minor power). This must surely be ringing alarm bells and provoking internal debates among the people who actually fight and die in these skirmishes…And yet, unless I am reading all of the wrong sources, I don’t see any serious, fundamental rethinks…

          1. Geo

            Agree with your point so this isn’t a criticism of your post but the idea that we “won” in ’91 has always been a sore spot with me. Iraq had just been through a brutal decade long war with Iran (backed by us) and was barely able to put up a fight. It’s like if I rounded up a group of buddies to go kick the *familyblog* out of my malnourished foster child and I then claimed to be a champion fighter.

            Not to mention we didn’t go into Baghdad because we didn’t want to have a real fight then we let our local allies to the wolves when we sauntered back home “victorious.”

            Anyway, just ranting. Again, not a critique of your comment as much as me just complaining about our pathetic national superiority complex based on bravado and delusion. It sickens me. I still get teary eyed when I think back to ’03’s Shock & Awe. Watching that done to innocent civilians in my name broke me.

          2. VietnamVet

            The First Gulf War wasn’t a win. I always thought that Saddam Hussein still in Baghdad afterwards was one reason (along with not knowing what a grocery store scanner was and an economic recession) for George H.W. Bush’s loss to Bill Clinton. Twelve-year Administrations like the Obama/Biden White House are simply too long of a time in power. They think they know it all but don’t. Son George W did what his father couldn’t and the U.S. war in Iraq/Syria continues to this day.

            I really do think that the breakup of NATO and the EU will be traced back by historians, if any survive the world war, to the Apple IPhone text between UK PM Liz Tuss and US SoS Tony Blinken a minute after the Nord Stream blasts, “It’s done”.

            Germany cannot be a US lapdog and an industrial power at the same time.

      3. spud

        the russians pin it on bill clintons assault on a sovereign nation that refused to be integrated into free trade, yugoslavia.

        “The crisis did not start in 2022, it started in the mid-1990s.

        Others later referred to it more accurately as global liberal imperialism. But it was built on sand.

        in a daze of impunity, the bloc violated Yugoslavia. “

    3. digi_owl

      Again and again it seems that US foreign policy is nothing more than an extension of their (re-)election jockeying. Pelosi going to Taiwan because of the big Asian contingent in her district. Nobody dear going soft on Cuba for fear of losing the Florida vote. Thus with the midterm soon to be over, DC can start to cool the Ukraine thing as there will be no election held for the next two year (and all those old munitions have been burned through anyways, time to write some blank MIC checks).

  16. Wukchumni

    The demise of a hot spring is always cause for concern, but Miracle Hot Springs wasn’t my cup of tea for a couple reasons in that most of the pools were like 110 to 112 degrees and i’m good up to 108 for a short period of time, but forget about anything above that.

    Those tubs would stay mostly unused as only a few Asian soakers (they have the world’s highest temperature tolerance from what i’ve seen) would venture into what must be hell for everybody else.

    So as a consequence, this relatively easy to get to hot springs got way too much traffic in the few accessible pools and there was always trash strewn around, kinda yucky in comparison to any other natural hot springs i’ve been to, in spite of the elegant location just off the Kern river, where you could go from hot spring to river & back and forth, a feature seldom seen by those who seek the treasure.

    Rest In Pieces…

    It’s no longer a whodunit.

    Now it’s been confirmed.

    The rock-and-mortar pools and soaking tubs at Miracle Hot Springs, a U.S. Forest Service-managed day-use area on the east shore of the Kern River, were destroyed by men with sledgehammers or jackhammers, or maybe other tools last month.

    On Friday, a ranger with the U.S. Forest Service confirmed that law enforcement officers with that federal agency broke apart the tubs on Oct. 20, days after a man died at the location.

    “All of the tubs are all gone,” said Ranger Al Watson.

    1. Earthling

      Sigh. As usual, the Forest Service’s answer to slob users is to abandon or trash sites, rather than secure or patrol them.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That is a lunatic thing for the Forestry Service to do. They destroyed those tubs only three days after that guy died and before they even know why he died. Since when does a government department move so rapidly? What happens if some idiot gets himself killed trying to climb a giant sequoia tree? Will the Forestry Service chop down all the sequoias so that it never happens again?

      1. Wukchumni

        Not the first time Forest Service has jackhammered the tubs into rubble @ Miracle Hot Springs.

        Its a problem child that used to be called Hobo Hot Springs before miracle happened.

  17. Wukchumni

    Stock & Home Syndrome must have owners anxious of tumbling values after all that gravy ladled out since the turn of the of the century, some might feel captured by their investments/wanting to slit their risks.

  18. Mildred Montana

    Sorry, I couldn’t restrain myself from interrupting the stimulating conversation with the following:

    Jackpot now $1.9 billion! Pardon cynical me, but I remember the old days when lottery draws were done on TV at a scheduled time with the cage of bouncing numbered balls, a chute ready to receive them, and the lottery host ready to announce them. Pretty hard to rig that.

    No longer (not sure if this applies to Powerball). All the draws now seem to be computerized. What a wonderful opportunity for skullduggery!

    Here’s what my mind envisions: As the computer scans all the tickets, it discovers that one and only one ticket has a chance for the winning combination. But it is programmed to not allow only one winner. Ergo, it chooses a losing number and—voila!—no jackpot winner! Carryover to next draw!

    Am I being too paranoid?

    1. Wukchumni

      He always buys while others walk
      He acts while other men just balk
      They say its winner who takes all
      And he strikes it rich playing Powerball

      He knows the meaning of success
      His needs are more so he needs excess
      He looks at this world and once in all
      Somebody strikes it rich playing Powerball

      Any geegaw he wants, he’ll get
      He will break anything without regret

      His days of winning are all gone
      His fight goes on, and on, and on.
      But he thinks that the fight is worth it all
      So he buys for next week’s Powerball…

      Thunderball, by Tom Jones

    2. caucus99percenter

      Last I saw, some German “6 out of 49” lottery drawings were still being conducted with numbered ping-pong balls rolling around on camera.

      Of course, nowadays, in principle modern CGI (computer-generated imagery) techniques would find it trivial to edit different numbers onto images of the balls, frame by digital frame. The only question would be whether the cheaters would have enough computing power at their disposal to do it during the broadcast in real time.

      1. Tom Stone

        I think I’ll blow $2 on a ticket, just for fun.
        I could get up to a LOT of enjoyable mischief with a Billion Two after taxes…

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    No direct links on the current consternation over “poll watchers” today, but I found this bit of history, courtesy of The Automatic Earth, very “interesting.”

    …The 2020 contest was the first presidential election since Ronald Reagan’s first successful run in 1980 in which the Republican National Committee could play any role whatsoever in Election Day operations. For nearly 40 years, the Democratic National Committee had a massive systematic advantage over its Republican counterpart: The RNC had been prohibited by law from helping with poll watcher efforts or nearly any voting-related litigation.

    Democrats had accused Republicans of voter intimidation in a 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial race. The case was settled, and the two parties entered into a court-ordered consent decree limiting Republican involvement in any poll-watching operation. But Dickinson Debevoise, the Jimmy Carter-appointed judge who oversaw the agreement, never let them out of it, repeatedly modifying and strengthening it at Democrats’ request.

    Debevoise was a judge for only 15 years, but he stayed 21 years in senior status, a form of semi-retirement that enables judges to keep serving in a limited capacity. It literally took Debevoise’s dying in 2015 for Republicans to get out of the consent decree. Upon his passing, a new judge, appointed by President Obama, was assigned the case and let the agreement expire at the end of 2018.

    The effect of this four-decade hindrance on GOP poll-watching cannot be overstated. Poll watchers serve many functions. They deter voter fraud, but they also help with getting out the vote. Poll watchers can see who has voted, meaning campaigns and political parties can figure out which areas and voters to call and encourage to vote. They also can observe who was forced to vote provisionally or who was turned away at the polls.

    “Without poll watchers, the RNC would have no good way to follow up with its voters to help ensure a provisional ballot is later counted, direct confused voters to their correct polling place and document irregularities, such as voting equipment malfunctions and other incidents that are important flash points in a close election or recount,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has explained.

    I was a “poll watcher” in 2008 for obama. My job, which I took very seriously, was to check off dem / obama voters as they came through, and periodically send the list to volunteers outside. They would then call those who had not yet voted to remind them to vote, offer them a ride, etc. GOTV and all that.

    This was in Indiana, and I guess the “strategy” worked, since that notoriously red state was delivered for obama. Yay!

    1. curlydan

      Interesting story. I will be an election worker on Tuesday (and did one day working on early voting last Wednesday), and the pre-work training mentioned poll watchers. Apparently, if a poll watcher appears, I need to change the standard “flow” to state in a loud voice the name of the voter after he/she gives me their name and address. It seems a little odd, but I can see why it would help the poll watcher.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Hey hey! Lifelong Hoosier here. I knew Obama had it in the bag when I had to queue for over an hour to cast a vote and I was in a long line of black and brown faces. From what I understand, my wait was shorter than many.

      Of course, we all know how that story ends. No line for 2012. I can’t imagine Indiana will go blue again in my life. Heheh.

    3. marym

      I’m more familiar with some of the details of arguably questionable Republican election tactics than with similarly questionable tactics of the Democrats. I didn’t know anything about this one. I browsed around a bit and the continuing restriction seems to have encompassed more than some aspects of poll watching.

      The first two links give some background on activities (not just poll watching) contested by the Democrats (both posts have a point of view favorable toward Democrats, that assumes their grievances were legit, but they include some detail and links nevertheless).

      On poll watching itself, the third link (a 2016 ruling denying a DNC request for an injunction on some related issue) notes a distinction between “normal poll-watch functions [that] are expressly permitted under the Consent Decree” and “activity related to voter fraud.” (pp. 31 and 34).

      This freeing of the RNC to contribute to other Republican election “integrity” efforts happened in 2018. These efforts didn’t uncover fraud or attempted fraud in 2020. We’ll see what results from what the Federalist describes as expanded plans for 2022.

  20. Mikel

    “Apparently, China believes in fomites, but not in airborne (confirming tweets by Naomi Wu). Without an adequate theory of transmission…”

    I’m going to extrapolate this into a broader theory or observation:
    Whether a unipolar or multipolar situation, the people of the world are in deep trouble.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s not theatre, in that their case and death counts are much lower than the death cult-dominated freedom-loving West.

        It’s possible to get actions pragmatically right based on the wrong theory. But I don’t see how, without attention to ventilation (China’s masking is IIRC good) they get out of the Covid trap. They should maximize their layers of protection.

        1. Basil Pesto

          They won’t get out of it with good ventilation. Even scaled up to some mind of planetary maximum, ventilation/air cleaning will merely swap slow degeneration for slower degeneration. China’s stubbornness vis à vis airborne transmission is infuriating, but it if they knew and understood it, and acted accordingly, the best it could do for them would be to make their TTIQ strategy easier and more painless to execute by keeping outbreaks even smaller. If they abandoned ZC with HEPA for Everyone, it would still amount to slow-motion Let It Rip because HEPA/CR boxes can’t solve the problem of near-field transmission (keeping in mind that Omicron is not only incredibly contagious, but also that we know outdoor transmission occurs, which by extension means that ventilation/redirecting airflow through a HEPA filter is not going to be a Covid magic bullet even if used at scale). The only way out for them, unless and until a miracle cure emerges, is to abandon the policy, and there’s currently no way to do that without serious consequences for the population in the short, medium and long term. The other possibility is for the rest of the world, or at least China’s near neighbours, to get their shit together and implement their own TTIQ strategy, which would make China’s Dynamic Zero strategy waaaaaay less onerous than it currently is. But that won’t happen as long as we’re still on Omicron.

          It will be interesting to see how the world reacts if/when (more likely when, I think) a new Omicron-type event occurs and a new serotype emerges and it’s more pathogenic with a relatively high IFR . And, incidentally, if a hypothetical 50% IFR variant did emerge, all the Corsi-Rosenthal boxes in the world wouldn’t stop me from wearing anything other than a very comprehensive respirator and spending anything more than 60 seconds indoors if I could help it. Assuming they maintain their current approach, most people in China would not have to live like that if such a variant did emerge, because they would have the disease under control irrespective of whether fomite doctrine is dominant over airborne there.

    1. Objective Ace

      Is it possible Chinese authorities understand it is airborne, but continue all the charades for another reason–say, to keep the issue front and center and make it easier for the citizens to remain pliant with other measures that actually do prevent airborne transmission

      1. Mikel

        Not sure I understand
        So you’re saying the authorities there don’t think the people will believe that it’s airborne, but they believe what the authorities are saying so far?
        Do authorities think announcing it’s airborne will cause some kind of chaos?

  21. griffen

    Houston Astros have won the World Series, 2022. I’m sure millions watched ( I chose not to watch ), as the rival teams were large established cities with a rabid fan base. Philadelphia fans have been known in prior years to let team owners know quite vocally if the sports team in question was not worthy (most of my anecdotal recall is around the Eagles fans).

    Reached for comment about the Astros winning once again, noted expert Buddy the Elf had a quick retort. Hint, Buddy still holds a grudge about that “trash can” scandal.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      The Astros should have been banned from post-season play for 10 years after the 2017 scandal. This year the Astros have won a bunch of post-season games in dramatic fashion. I’m of the mind that they continue to cheat.

  22. Cristobal

    Yes, that is certainly the best way to keep the recomendación private, Publish It on the front Page of the NYT. Be sure to not let the Ruskies know! How dumb do they think we are?

  23. Mikel

    After a shout out to Micheal Hudson’s latest observations and also one to Andrea Zhok, Professor of Ethical Philosophy at the University of Milan, Escobar includes this in his report:

    “…Solid German business sources completely contradict the “message” delivered by the German Council on Foreign Relations on the trip to China.

    According to these sources, the Scholz caravan went to Beijing to essentially lay down the preparatory steps for working out a peace deal with Russia, with China as privileged messenger.

    This is – literally – as explosive geopolitically and geoeconomically, as it gets. As I pointed out in one of my previous columns, Berlin and Moscow were keeping a secret communication back channel – via business interlocutors – right to the minute the usual suspects, in desperation, decided to blow up the Nord Streams.

    Cue to the now notorious SMS from Liz Truss’s iPhone to Little Tony Blinken, one minute after the explosions: “It’s done.”

    There’s more: the Scholz caravan may be trying to start a long and convoluted process of eventually replacing the US with China as a key ally. One should never forget that the top BRI trade/connectivity terminal in the EU is Germany (the Ruhr valley).

    According to one of the sources, “if this effort is successful, then Germany, China and Russia can ally themselves together and drive the US out of Europe…”

    1. NotThisAgain

      There’s more: the Scholz caravan may be trying to start a long and convoluted process of eventually replacing the US with China as a key ally. One should never forget that the top BRI trade/connectivity terminal in the EU is Germany (the Ruhr valley).

      Both China and Germany depend on net exports to maintain their economies. How would BRI simultaneously help both countries?

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        That can never happen since Germany remains under US military occupation, as it has been since 1945. Germany is NOT a sovereign nation, anymore than is Japan which is also under US military occupation.

      2. digi_owl

        make sure their exports do not overlap too much?

        That said, i get the impression that they have done well with Germany exporting heavy machinery to China and getting consumer goods in return.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Germany has little experience with “the Great Game.” Russia, China, the UK (and latterly the US) have a lot.

      Germany might be taken to the cleaners. Still, it makes sense to try. Ostpolitik with a vengeance!

      1. Mikel

        Yep… until situations develop further, can’t help but get an “all over the place” vibe from Germany’s negotiations or what’s reported about their negotiations with various countries..

    3. Polar Socialist

      What Germany can offer for peace? It has no influence in Kiev, London or Washington. Only thing it can do is to deny the use of German soil for transporting weapons to Ukraine, and that probably work only if Bundeswehr took over all the US bases in Germany.

      That, and resigning from NATO, which would then likely dissolve, as it becomes more and more russophobic lunatic asylum driven by Poland and USA.

      1. David

        I don’t think Germany has to do anything dramatic: just expressing scepticism about the war and calling for a negotiated solution would effectively derail the whole of the EU’s policy. The French, who are privately lukewarm about the whole thing, would probably join them. Some kind of split in the EU 27 was always likely, if not probable, simply because interests and situations are so different. If the Germans have now realised that the war is un-winnable, it would make sense to bring it to a conclusion as quickly as possible, while they still have some industry left. It could be accompanied by a more flexible strategy, which would continue actions, for example, whilst also promoting the idea of peace talks.

        1. Michaelmas

          David: If the Germans have now realised that the war is unwinnable, it would make sense to bring it to a conclusion as quickly as possible, while they still have some industry left.

          Time for another covert UK intervention then, eh?

    4. kson onair

      >According to one of the sources, “if this effort is successful, then Germany, China and Russia can ally themselves together and drive the US out of Europe…”


    5. John k

      Wonderful if true and anything comes of it. And maybe Germany picking up hints us about to pivot to China, so safer now?
      I’ve been wondering about German business silence.
      But what could they be suggesting at this late date that Russia would accept? Ending all sanctions? Or wondering if they can buy energy while still keeping Russia from buying what they want? Or who pays to fix pipes?
      If it’s to stop the war… imo Russia not likely to not take Odessa and Kharkiv after crimea attacked from Odessa oblast.

  24. ACPAL

    Havana Syndrome:

    I read about this when it first came to light and, if I remember right, the first cases were at the US Embassy in Havana and mostly affected people in the room next to the CIA office, but not the CIA personnel. This, of course comes under the tin-hat, rumor, fake news, mis-information category (as did Hunter Biden’s laptop) but so did some of the theories about the origins of the Covid-19 virus. In the Havana Syndrome instance the people affected were much closer to the CIA operatives than any Cubans and in Florida it would be much easier for the CIA or their operatives to be playing with their toys than for foreigners up to mischief. I’ve read enough about the CIA dirty tricks and false flag activities to say that it’s at least plausible that they’re involved.

  25. JBird4049

    Exclusive: State Dept. gives law enforcement, intelligence agencies unrestricted access to Americans’ personal data Yahoo News (guurst). Did I miss this one? Has this story been buried at the scrappy by decidedly underdog Yahoo News?

    Nice to know that I am one of one hundred and forty-five million Americans who can have his personal information access by almost any yahoo with a badge and a gun because reasons. And Julian Assange is in prison for what reason precisely, aside from embarrassing Our Lords and Masters that is?

    Really, the fact that the the Border Patrol does not need a warrant for anything really within a hundred miles of the international border (this does include international airports) should be more widely known.

    So yes, the Empire always comes home.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Gotta love this. From the Fortune article, it looks like one of our best sources for variant information is a researcher’s personal tableau dashboard. I’m going to use this going forward in addition to the Walgreens variant tracker.

    If only CDC bothered to collect and publish data in a timely manner.

    We also don’t hear about monkeypox at all anymore, so I assume it’s now endemic and the CDC failed yet again.

    1. JBird4049

      How nice. I just went to find some more information on Monkeypox, and found out about the possible Ebola outbreak, in the United States.

      Covid, Monkeypox, and Ebola. A trifecta. Don’t wait. Collect them all! Isn’t Monkeypox and Smallpox somewhat closely related? I read somewhere, and this could be complete nonsense, that Monkeypox could possible mutate into something more like Smallpox. And now Ebola, which has strains that are the most lethal on Earth, in these United States.

      From way back in class, I heard that in crowded, unprotected populations, infectious disease tend to select for the more infectious and often more deadly strains; a population of viruses or germs is trying to survive and spread, which it can’t do, if it kills too quickly. It dies with its host/victim. It will burn out, which is why you can see diseases like cholera getting more or less deadly. Guess what we are encouraging these diseases to do? The rebirth or recreation of Zaire ebola or variola major? Hyperbolic, maybe, but our medical system seems to be pushing for this.

      Forty years ago while enjoying the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Bay Area, I was confident that the CDC would eventually find someway to deal with it and things would get back to normal. After the last funeral, that is. It might become endemic, but that the epidemic would end.

      Today, I have absolutely no confidence, or rather, it will only happen after there are massive epidemics like we haven’t seen since the aughts, maybe the 20s, of the 1900s, that our deathcare system will be reformed to deal with them. Maybe in five, ten, twenty years?

      Forget about the CDC. All the legislatures and agencies from Congress and the CDC to the smallest town and village in every state need to be burned to the ground and rebuilt. But only the survivors, who ever they may be will being doing it.

      Forget the idea of stochastical eugenics, how about stochastical suicide, instead? You really cannot control just how dangerous a disease will become once it is out. All you can really do is change the probabilities of what it will do, but maybe our Masters of the Universe, like the Fed and its rate increases trying to control inflation, think that they can fine tune them. Perhaps make it a money making opportunity with more questionable warp speed vaccines. Fools.

      1. chris

        Where did you see any information about Ebola in the US? I know we are screening for it in travelers arriving from Uganda. I know there have been a few articles describing how doctors are supposed to be on the look out for it in the US – as if there are any options if they find it? But I have not heard or read anything about it in the US. Please share links if you have them.

        1. JBird4049

          Honestly, I think that I might be too panicked. Supposedly, there are no live cases of Ebola in the United States. So, we only really need to worry about the shortage of testing labs and having a vaccine that is not effective for this version of the disease.

          I guess I am using boulder sized grains of salt, here. The CDC has both been economical with information about Covid and creative with their interpretations and suggestions. This nurse’s son no longer trust them.

          If the disease did spread in the country, whywouldn’t they lie? They have on much less… embarrassing things.

    2. Screwball

      Funny, I just saw a Tweet about MP, replied to by Matt Yglesias that said “Dark Brandon cured monkeypox but gets no credit — fantastic example of the media’s fundamental bias toward negativity.”

      I’m not sure, and I read through the thread, but I actually think he was serious.

      This Dark Brandon guy is quite the guy, cured Covid, and I think he said cancer was next.

  27. Mikel

    Exclusive: “State Dept. gives law enforcement, intelligence agencies unrestricted access to Americans’ personal data” Yahoo News

    That data collection already has been suspected by people all over the world.
    And still the USA hasn’t managed to produce anything but a global sh- – show from it and make a mockery out of everything decent.

  28. Maxwell Johnston

    Re Courthouse News article on recent Ukrainian history:

    This is an excellent and concise summary of how we got to where we are, and it’s well worth a read. Just two quibbles (and the author tosses them in offhandedly, so I don’t think he focuses on them as being particularly important):

    1. Yushchenko’s alleged dioxin poisoning that disfigured his face has never (as far as I recall) been proven. The fact that Yushchenko was UKR’s leader for several years (hence, control over UKR’s police and investigative bodies) but never actually convicted anyone for this alleged poisoning, makes me wonder what the truth was (and his face was indeed grossly disfigured). FWIW, my RU colleagues at the time (2004-5) insisted that Yushchenko was doing the Botox thing to preserve his boyish good looks, but an evening of serious vodka drinking (apparently a big no-no during Botox treatment) led to the facial disfigurement.

    2. Re MH17: “Investigations showed the likely culprit to be a Russian-made rocket launcher driven across the border into eastern Ukraine.” I have my doubts about this. Helmer covered this subject thoroughly a few years ago, and I recall that the RU manufacturer of the BUK showed technical evidence that the fragments from the BUK had to come from a BUK operated by the UKR armed forces (something about serial numbers, shrapnel remnants, and the fact that this particular series of BUKs had long ago been purged from RU armed forces but was still present in UKR). His articles were very granular and convincing, much more so than the Bellingcat varieties. Hence the BUK was (IMHO) stolen or purchased from the UKR side, but used by the Donbas rebels to shoot down (accidentally, but what were they shooting at, a question for another day…..) the Malaysian jet.

    Again, these are just small quibbles. An excellent summary. If I’m misinformed on either point, please correct me.

    1. Acacia

      My recollection also is that independent investigation pointed to MH17 being downed by the Ukraine (and not with a BUK). It was sort of a preview of all the dishonest “Putin-didit!” blame shifting we have seen in the current conflict.

      1. digi_owl

        The whole situation reek.

        Why did Ukraine keep the airspace open above a hot warzone?!

        It’s like they were crossing fingers in Kiev hoping for an incident to take place.

  29. RadioGuy

    Havana Syndrome, no one mentions the high tech communications equipment on top of the buildings where these “diseases” take place, abroad and in the U.S.

  30. Pelham

    Re immunity debt: I don’t buy it when it comes to viruses and especially when espoused by our homicidal health authorities. But doesn’t it at least sort of line up with the notion I’ve heard for many years that a too-sanitary environment for young kids can make them more vulnerable to infections and susceptible to developing allergies?

    1. JBird4049

      IIRC, allergies tend to happen to people who live in too clean environments because one’s immune system has to be trained or conditioned to react in just the right amount; living next to an open sewer is likely to kill you, but living on a farm is likely to stop those allergies. It is a matter of scale. Too much or too little clean is bad for you.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Yes, the actual evidence pertains to allergies, not infectious disease. I think it’s worth noting that this got a lot of play as a probable cause for the high incidence of asthma in poor city kids after ‘they breath cockroach dust” fizzled. Apparently the cockroach dust breathers were living in an excessively sterile environment.

        Turns out it’s actually urban air pollution harming the children’s lungs. So this makes the second time this nonsense has been employed in an attempt to blame parents etc for harm due to contamination of our air.

  31. Pelham

    Re the photo of the WWII planes: Entirely wrong identifications. Those planes are a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane escorting a Lancaster bomber. They’re all British planes. Not one American P-51 or Flying Fortress in sight.

  32. petal

    Have had the local classic rock radio station on today and Tulci Gabbard is advertising(endorsing?) for Don Bolduc, the guy challenging(and I believe currently leading by a hair) Hassan(D-NH). The DNC put a ton of money into Don Bolduc during the primary so that he’d be the too-extreme R candidate and then Hassan would beat him handily during the general election. Oops.
    Tuesday is definitely going to be interesting.

    1. Screwball

      She just Tweeted an endorsement for Chuck Grassley. Wow!

      I’ll give her this; when she burns bridges, she doesn’t mess around.

  33. no one

    Re: How the world’s first socialist nation was taken down in just 7 steps.

    Interesting that the Reagan administration adopted this protocol for the US as well as the then Soviet Union. Living in Ontario, where “Trump of the North” just claimed his second majority government with less than 40% of the vote, these steps seem to echo eerily as all of our public services are eviscerated and destroyed:

    Step 1: Privatisation (of state enterprises)

    Step 2: Domination (by a few big private businesses)

    Step 3: Inflation

    Step 4: Liquidation (of national assets)

    Step 5: Transformation (of the nation’s wealth overseas)

    Step 6: Colonization (of the economy by multinationals)

    Step 7: Destruction (of the nation’s political, social and cultural structures)

    Can’t wait for the Ontario oligarchs to show up in all the world’s best watering holes.

  34. jax

    “Exclusive: State Dept. gives law enforcement, intelligence agencies unrestricted access to Americans’ personal data”

    What do I care? Since the T-Mobile and Equifax breaches, all my information is for sale on the Dark web where all the Alphabet agencies can buy it if need be. All any of us can do is freeze our credit reports and use bank or security alerts to stay informed.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Apparently some Russian generals ordered an attack without sufficient preparation that led to heavy losses. So now soldiers are saying that as a law was passed to limit the surrender options for Russian soldiers, how about a law that effects the general. Dima was talking about this on his Military Summary channel- (19:48) – about the 8:30 mark.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Well, this tidbit of information was apparently based on an alleged letter written by 155 Marine Brigade to the governor of Primorske (where they are from).

          The governor has already denied getting any letter, but having called the said marines who told him there’s heavy fighting going on, and there are casualties, but nothing like what was claimed.

          Other (alleged) witnesses have stated that there was at most 30 minutes of gunfight in Pavlovka that day, it was mostly artillery battle – Russians are apparently trying to bring down the high rises in Ugledar, which are the very reason it’s such a significant spot of the front. And Ukrainians are trying to stop the Russian artillery.

          Although Ukrainians did admit that had to give up big parts of Pavlovka, but nobody seems to be able to tell what the actual situation is. Except that due to the huge amounts of unharvested grain the local mice population has grown exponentially and they are eating everything and spreading deceases (so WW3 is more like WW1, who would have guessed?).

          Oh, and the mud is starting to freeze.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Rather ominous that last sentence. It’s like when Douglas MacGregor was talking about the energy situation in the EU a few weeks ago and he ended with the news that the first snows have started falling in Europe already.

            1. anon in so cal

              “For the first time in our memory, the Russian Ministry of Defense reacted to the public outcry raised by patriotic Telegram channels, refuting all statements and providing some texture:

              Units of the 155th Marine Brigade of the Pacific Fleet have been conducting effective offensive operations in the Ugledar direction for more than 10 days. The losses of the marines of the 155th brigade do not exceed 1% of the combat personnel and7% wounded.

              Enemy losses along the contact line of the 155th brigade of the Pacific Fleet in the DPR are 7 to 1, in some areas 9 to 1 in people and equipment, the Russian Defense Ministry said.”


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