2:00PM Water Cooler 12/2/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Bolívar, Venezuela.

* * *


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

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

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

Biden Administration

Biden’s happy dance:

Of course, Biden doesn’t have to sign the bill. He could still jawbone the railroads. As if he would!

“Railroad Engineer on the Imposed Contract: “It Really Fell Short of Railroad Workers’ Needs” (interview) [Jacobin]. Jonah Furman interviews Russ Grooters: “I’d point to Sara Nelson and the Association of Flight Attendants, which has found ways to work within the RLA to put pressure on their employers to bargain. Instead of declaring a nationwide strike, the flight attendants have figured out that they even under the RLA they can have rolling strikes that are unpredictable. So say today they strike in Atlanta, Georgia, and shut down that airport, and it causes disruptions across the system: flights are cancelled, et cetera. It’s a short window, it might be a day, it might be eight hours. They do this over a series of dates, and it puts pressure on the airlines to negotiate. Something like that could be tried with the railroads. Whether it would have the same effect remains to be seen. The railroads might react very differently from the airline industry. But it’s definitely something that could be attempted. I’d point to Sara Nelson and the Association of Flight Attendants, which has found ways to put pressure on their employers to bargain. This is the root of where we’re at today. A lot of this takes organizing membership. It takes having conversations and getting membership activated to be involved in the process. That’s step one. It wasn’t even until this year that these contract negotiations were on railroad workers’ radar, really. The last two years without a contract, things had been quiet. And that’s because there’s a disconnect between leadership and membership. Leveraging the power of the rank and file to do things like informational pickets, getting stories out there — all that work that could put pressure on the bosses wasn’t done. For whatever reason, rail labor has removed that from the process.” • Commentary:



Of course, we’re assuming that “union leadership” and “Democratic operatives” are not synonomous.

“On the Wrong Track: Why Biden Abandoned Rail Workers” [The Nation]. “‘The thing that people need to understand is: Rail bosses have been banking on this result the whole time,’ says Maximillian Alvarez, editor in chief of The Real News Network, host of the Working People podcast, and author of The Work of Living. ‘It is because they always expected that any president and any Congress—Democrat or Republican—would bail them out in the end and force a contract down workers’ throats rather than risk a rail shutdown that the carriers have seen no reason to bargain in good faith for the past three years or seriously consider addressing any of the dire quality of life and workplace-safety issues workers have been screaming about.'”

“Senators Help Donors Derail Paid Sick Days” [Lever News]. “In August, a federal report prepared by the Biden administration stated that the railroads contend that their enormous profits do not reflect “any contributions by labor.” The railroads, meanwhile, have waged a full-court press to have Congress implement an agreement negotiated by the Biden administration that only includes one day of paid sick leave, after refusing to agree to any paid sick days in three years of talks with unions. Buffett’s BNSF, a wholly-owned subsidiary of his nearly $700 billion conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, raked in $1.4 billion in the last quarter… Another major rail operation, the Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern, reported $958 million in profits in the quarter ending September 30…. Union Pacific, based in Omaha, Nebraska, brought in $1.9 billion in profits in the quarter, up $200 million from the same period a year ago…. Jacksonville, Florida-headquartered CSX generated $1.1 billion in profits in the quarter ending on September 30, up $143 million from the same period the year before…. Canadian Pacific brought in $664 million in profits in the quarter — double the haul from the same period last year…. Finally, Montreal-based Canadian National brought in more than $1 billion in profits in the quarter, a 44 percent increase over the same period last year…. Railroad workers will return to the bargaining table again in 2025. Railway union sources told The Intercept Thursday that their next step would be to push for sick leave in an anticipated Biden executive order mandating a week of paid sick days for federal contract workers.” • Commentary:


“AP sources: Biden tells Dems he wants SC as 1st primary vote” [Associated Press]. “President Joe Biden has declared that Democrats should give up ‘restrictive’ caucuses and prioritize diversity at the start of their presidential primary calendar — dealing a major blow to Iowa’s decadeslong status as the state that leads off the process. In a letter Thursday to the rule-making arm of the Democratic National Committee, Biden did not mention specific states he’d like to see go first. But he has told Democrats he wants South Carolina moved to the first position, according to three people familiar with his recommendation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. The president’s direction came as the DNC rules committee gathered in Washington on Friday to vote on shaking up the presidential primary calendar starting in 2024. Members now expect to approve new rules putting South Carolina first, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on the same day a week later. Georgia and Michigan would move into the top five as new early states, and each would hold primaries in subsequent weeks, committee members say. The two battlegrounds were critical to Biden’s 2020 victory over then-President Donald Trump, who had won both states in his 2016 White House campaign.” • So, a payoff for Clyburn, and a veto for the corrupt and reactionary Black Misleadership Class. And sadly, Iowa Democrats get nothing for having screwed over Sanders in 2020. Nobody likes a betrayer, I suppose.

Republican Funhouse

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

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *


Lambert here: I can’t call a winter surge, but I’m certainly not uncalling it either, after what we see post-Thanksgiving. High transmission (CDC), the elevation and continued increase in positivity (Walgreens), and the steady takeover of BQ.1* (CDC; Walgreens), along with increased hospitalization in BQ.1* hotbed New York, plus a wastewater surge in Boston are all more than a little unsettling (as is the apparent proliferation of variants). As one might expect at the beginning of a holiday surge, wastewater in Queens County, NY (JFK/LGA), Cook County, IL (ORD), and Los Angeles County (LAX) continues to be elevated. If you are planning to travel on Xmas, do consider your plans carefully. Stay safe out there!

* * *

• Michael Hudson sends this:

That’s a lot. I would imagine in two or three weeks, New York City will look at their community levels start to think about indoor masking. Adding, New York and Los Angeles look like they’re in trouble. Do we have any Chicago readers who can weigh in?

“COVID-19 Forecasts: Hospitalizations” [CDC]. “This week’s national ensemble predicts that the number of new daily confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions will likely increase, with 1,600 to 11,000 new confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions likely reported on December 23, 2022.” Note the qualification: “Ensemble forecasts combine diverse independent team forecasts into one forecast. While they have been among the most reliable forecasts in performance over time, even the ensemble forecasts have not reliably predicted rapid changes in the trends of reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. They should not be relied upon for making decisions about the possibility or timing of rapid changes in trends.” • Handy chart:

The CDC forecasting page is a sad mess of data they still track — hospitalizations, above, and deaths — but not cases. (The implication, as usual with CDC, is that transmission is not important, nor are vascular and neurological damage from even mild cases, nor Long Covid.)

* * *

• “How the Black Death changed our immune systems” [Science]. “[B]y analyzing DNA from those old bones and others from London and Denmark, Klunk and her colleagues have found an answer: The survivors were much more likely to carry gene variants that boosted their immune response to Yersinia pestis, the flea-borne bacterium that causes the plague. One variant alone appears to have increased the chance of surviving the plague by 40%, they reported today in Nature. ‘We were blown away. … It’s not a small effect,’ says Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist at McMaster and co–lead author of the study (and Klunk’s Ph.D. adviser). The findings also indicate the Black Death caused a dramatic jump in the proportion of people carrying the protective variant; it is the strongest surge of natural selection on the human genome documented so far. But the improved immunity came at a cost: Today, the variant is also associated with higher risk of autoimmune diseases. ‘This is a truly impressive paper,’ says population geneticist David Enard at the University of Arizona, who is not part of the study. ‘The implications of the potential speed and power of natural selection in immune genes are wild.'”

* * *

• “Covid evolution wipes out another antibody treatment, threatening the country’s medicine cabinet” [STAT]. “The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday ended its emergency authorization for the only remaining Covid-19 antibody therapy cleared for use, saying variants that render it ineffective are now dominant in the United States. The news about bebtelovimab makes official what has been anticipated for several weeks, as the Omicron sublineages BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 have been growing in prevalence. Still, it comes as a blow to both providers and patients who are at risk for more severe outcomes. The rapid evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus had already knocked out several other monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of Covid.” • I guess transmission matters after all?

* * *

• Maskstravaganza: “Universal Masking Policies in Schools and Mitigating the Inequitable Costs of Covid-19” (editorial) [NEJM]. “Universal masking and individual masking are distinct interventions. Universal masking lowers the amount of virus exhaled into shared air, reducing the total number of cases of Covid-19 and making indoor spaces safer for populations that are vulnerable to its complications. Individual masking lowers the amount of virus that a masked person inhales from shared air, but only in environments with a relatively high amount of circulating virus and when others are unmasked. Furthermore, individual masking has little effect on population-level transmission. Public schools are an important context in which to understand the ramifications of moving from universal to individual masking. Although quasi-experimental studies indicated that universal masking was associated with reduced Covid-19 transmission before the availability of vaccines,6,7 we previously had little causal-inference evidence regarding the effect of universal masking in schools or as part of a layered risk-mitigation strategy with vaccination, testing, and ventilation. A study by Cowger and colleagues, the results of which are now reported in the Journal, provides new evidence that the removal of universal school masking policies in Massachusetts was associated with an increased incidence of Covid-19.”

• Maskstravaganza: “The science behind masks and their use” [Bill Comeau, Chasing Normal]. A link-heavy summary with lots of diagrams and videos. “Why do N95 masks work when viral particles are so small? One of the biggest hurdles in public acceptance is getting past disinformation and myths that quality masks do not work, eg viral particles are too small. In fact, the viral particles do not travel solo, they hitchhike on mucosal or other larger airborne particles. N95 mask filters include multilayered technology that both attracts particles while also exploiting the physics of their brownian motion.”

• Maskstravaganza:

The masque goes on….

• Maskstravaganza: Musical interlude:

• Maskstravaganza: More on bullying:

“Let’s schedule a time….” I love it!

* * *

• “COVID-19 disruptions in HIV testing and prevention highlight need for innovation and investment before the next public health emergency” (press release) [CDC]. For World AIDS Day (yesterday). “HIV testing and prescriptions for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) dropped substantially during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. HIV tests declined about 32% between the first and second quarters of the year, and PrEP prescriptions fell about 6%. Testing and PrEP prescriptions started to rebound in the second half of 2020, but they did not reach pre-pandemic levels until early 2021. …


Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission (the “red map”). (This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.)

Lambert here: The powers-that-be don’t even see transmission as a problem, obviously. But you might!


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published December 1:


4.1%. Yesterday was 4.3% (3.8%). A slight slackening. Could be a Thanksgiving travel artifact, of course, in which case it should slow in the next week. But if not….


Wastewater data (CDC), November 28:

JFK/LGA, Queens County is red; ORD, Cook County is orange; LAX, Los Angeles County is orange. Stay safe when travelling.

November 27:

And MWRA data, November 28:

Lambert here: Nothing special, but note the date. I hesitate to say “going vertical.” Let’s see what happens after the coming weekend when all the college kids go clubbing.


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk]. UPDATE Yes. See NC here on Pango. Every Friday, a stately, academic pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), November 13:

Lambert here: BQ.1* moving along quite briskly, though lower than CDC. XBB coming up on the charts.

UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), November 12 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* moving along quite briskly. Note the appearance of XBB, and see the highlighted note: Like BQ.1*, XBB appears suddenly when CDC decides to disaggregate the data. Exactly as with CDC’s infamous “green map,” a lag is introduced, this time by CDC’s decision-making process; Walgreens had XBB last week, but CDC has it only this week. I don’t see what purpose the aggregation serves. If the issue is a jillion low-circulation variants would make the table impossibly long and confusing for users, that’s a UI/UX issue; handle it with software. Have a slider/filter that aggregates variants under 1%, say. Allow scrolling the results. Whatever. But stop concealing data!

New York/New Jersey (Region 2) numbers are higher. BQ.1.* is dominating:

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

Lambert here: Looks like acceleration. That’s worrisome. Unlike positivity, this data is not smoothed, so we really can’t be sure if there’s a train rolling or not. Nevertheless, we now have not only an increase, but an increase in the rate of increase.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,106,378 – 1,105,546 = 832 (832 * 365 = 303,680 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

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

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The unemployment rate in the US was unchanged at 3.7 percent in November 2022, matching market expectations and remaining close to September’s 29-month low of 3.5 percent. The jobless rate has been in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March, suggesting that the tight labor market will likely continue to contribute to inflationary pressure in the world’s largest economy for some time to come.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “‘The more you submit, the more we get paid’: How fintech fueled covid aid fraud” [WaPo]. “‘The faster the better,’ the workers were told at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, as the little-known financial technology company Blueacorn raced to review small businesses that sought federal loans. Speeding through applications, Blueacorn employees and contractors allegedly began to overlook possible signs of fraud, according to interviews and communications later amassed by investigators on Capitol Hill. The company weighed whether to prioritize ‘monster loans that will get everyone paid,’ as the firm’s co-founder once said. And investigators found that Blueacorn collected about $1 billion in processing fees — while its operators may have secured fraudulent loans of their own. The allegations against Blueacorn and several other firms are laid out in a sprawling, roughly 120-page report released Thursday by the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, a congressional watchdog tasked to oversee roughly $5 trillion in federal pandemic aid.” • Fee-fees. Always about the fee-fees. So far as I know, the House Select Committee* hasn’t called, say, Fauci or Walensky. Am I missing something here? NOTE * OMG, guess who the chair is? Clyburn.

Capital: “Cash-Hungry Companies Get Creative Raising Capital” [Wall Street Journal]. “The end of the era of easy money is forcing companies that need cash to get creative. Dozens of companies have recently raised money through so-called structured private funding rounds, and bankers and lawyers say there are many more in the works. A number of companies with depressed stocks and limited access to traditional financing are doing so, often adding sweeteners like extra dividends or preferred-note status to lessen the risk and make the deals more attractive for investors. … Creative deal-making among private companies has helped push U.S. venture-capital investment activity to $195 billion this year through Sept. 30, higher than all other prior full years except 2021, according to PitchBook Data Inc. Some deals involving private companies aren’t publicized and likely won’t be revealed until they file regulatory paperwork to go public.”

Capital: “Why Silicon Valley is so hot on nuclear energy and what it means for the industry” [CNBC]. That they were was certainly never part of the narrative. “From 2015 to 2021, the pace at which venture capitalists put money into private nuclear companies eclipsed the entire VC space and even the fast-growing climate tech space…. In any industry, there can be a ‘groupthink’ or ‘narrowness’ in the way things are done over time, [John Parsons, an economist and lecturer at MIT] said. With private investment in the space, ‘there will be out-of-the-box thinking,’ he said. ‘Maybe that out-of-the-box thinking doesn’t produce anything useful. Maybe it turns out that the old designs are the best. But I think it’s really wonderful to have the variety of takes.'” • Or out-of-the-containment-structure, eh Jack? Heh heh heh kidding.

The Bezzle: “Senators eye funding breakthrough for wildlife bill” [E&E News]. “For months, the bipartisan “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” — H.R. 2773 and S. 2372 — has been stalled over how it would be paid for. But people close to negotiations told E&E News on Wednesday that they were considering closing a tax loophole on cryptocurrency as the funding mechanism. Specifically, the pay-for would involve clarifying cryptocurrency assets, according to three people familiar with negotiations who were given anonymity to speak candidly about sensitive conversations. That change would make it clear that the wash sale rules apply to cryptocurrency assets, as they do to securities today.” • So awesome. The same week as SBF mounts his “stupid and confused” defense, the Senate sets out to legitimize crypto.

The Bezzle:

The Bezzle:

Tech: “Zuckerberg slams Apple’s ‘problematic’ app store dominance” [The Hill]. “Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg slammed Apple over its dominance over the app store market Wednesday, ramping up his criticism of the tech giant on the heels of similar comments made by new Twitter CEO Elon Musk. Zuckerberg called Apple’s control in the app store market ‘problematic’ at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit. ‘It is the only one where one company can control what apps get on the device. I don’t think it’s sustainable or good,’ Zuckerberg said. … Congress is also considering a proposal that aims to rein in the power of Apple and Google’s app store dominance. The Open App Markets Act would add regulations, including restricting companies from requiring users of their devices to only use their app marketplace and blocking them from collecting commission fees up to 30 percent.” • 3% would seem more than reasonable.

Pharma: “Federal claims court rules in favor of Gilead in CDC Truvada patent case” [EndPoints News]. “The US Court of Federal Claims ruled on Nov. 21 that the government breached certain agreements with Gilead by failing to promptly notify the company of its patent applications for Truvada for PrEP, according to documents unsealed on Wednesday…. The email notification in 2016 came a year after the first patent was granted.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 63 Greed (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 2 at 2:01 PM EST.

Department of Feline Felicity

Well, they tried:

The Gallery


One where I’d really, really like to see the actual paint. (I mean, I always do, but this one especially because I wonder how Whistler handled the sky.)

Zeitgeist Watch

“New York City Wants to Pay a ‘Rat Czar’ $170,000 to Solve Its Rodent Problem” [Wall Street Journal]. • Make up your own jokes!

Class Warfare

Remember “essential workers”?

“Why some tech CEOs are rooting for Elon Musk” [The Verge]. “[Facebook crypto guy David Marcus] has plenty of company in being annoyed at the entitlement of some tech employees; countless rank-and-file tech workers have told us stories about one outrageous request or another that one of of their peers made at an all-company meeting. Some executives are positively giddy as they imagine a world in which all of these issues can be dismissed out of hand. But it’s worth pausing on why workers have felt free to ask questions like this over the past decade. At the former Facebook, where Marcus worked and this incident took place, the company was generating an estimated $1.6 million in revenue per employee last year. Talented engineers had their pick of companies to work for. That gave them power — to demand better toilet paper, yes, but also to protest payouts to executives accused of sexual misconduct, or compliance with China’s censorship regime, or funding transphobic comedy. Watching Musk remake Twitter in his image, some executives are positively giddy as they imagine a world in which all of these issues can be dismissed out of hand — and the employees responsible can be dismissed along with them.”

News of the Wired

“The ‘enigma’ of Richard Schultes, Amazonian hallucinogenic plants, and the limits of ethnobotany” [Social Studies of Science]. “Ethnobotanists must learn about plants through people, and are not able to conceal their interactions with indigenous informants and other ethnobotanists. I focus on an ‘enigma’ that Schultes presented, concerning the peculiar ability of indigenous Amazonians to distinguish between local varieties of vine that he was unable to tell apart, notably those used to prepare the hallucinogenic beverage ayahuasca. The enigma describes a complicated and irresolvable question thrown up at the uneasy intersection between different ways of knowing about the world, and shows how modern scientific travellers might navigate – or fail to navigate – the uncertain passage between them. Together with Schultes’s accounts of his own non-ordinary states of consciousness elicited by ayahuasca, and his writings on the Victorian botanist Richard Spruce, I chart an epistemological gulf between Schultes’s modern scientific cosmology and that of his Amazonian informants. In describing his inability to learn about the ayahuasca varieties from Amazonians, Schultes’s enigma traces the very limits of the ethnobotanical discipline and reveals the fragility of the processes by which scientific naturalists might impose categories such as ‘nature’ and ‘culture’.”

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From TD:

TD writes: “Early Fall the plants are still blooming.” Masses of color! Totally to my taste.

* * *

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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. Melanie

    “Why Silicon Valley is so hot on nuclear energy and what it means for the industry”

    The words not present in the article, or any of the other puff pieces for nuclear power:

    “Free Market”
    “Half Life”

    The only vestige of Soviet style central planning and government subsidies in America is the Price Anderson Act which dumps liability for potentially hundred billion dollar accidents onto taxpayers, after the nuclear power industry pays a tiny sliver deductible, if the operator hasn’t already declared bankruptcy.


    That’s a 2004 article. NOTHING has changed since then, except for Biden pumping more tax dollars into nuke industry pockets.

  2. Roger Blakely

    RE: Maskstravaganza

    Today’s episode of Indie_Sage is a must-watch on YouTube. The guest is Dr. David Nabarro, who is a special envoy of the director general of the World Health Organization on Covid19 and co-lead of the UN Global Crisis Response Group. His comments were brilliant. His humanitarian and international perspective offered a breath of fresh air.

    However, he said one thing that will shock you (34:45): “Because this is primarily a droplet-borne infection–it may be airborne in certain circumstances–we still in the WHO context believe that it is primarily droplet-borne–the spikes of infection tend to be hyper-local.”

    1. Raymond Sim

      … the spikes of infection tend to be hyper-local”

      Oh ffs.

      I think most readers here probably have seen the logical and scientific fallacies encapsulated in this statement detailed more than a few times by now, so I’ll skip that, and just remark that this is unfortunately something I’ve come to expect from ID people in general, and also from those with a generally international humanitarian orientation.

      It’s extremely dispiriting

      1. agent ranger smith

        Well, if David Nabarro is really the great humanitarian that people say he is, then he wouldn’t want to hurt or kill people, even secretly.

        So if he still says that covid is mainly droplet-borne, he must really believe it. And that can only mean that he and the scientific community he is rooted in and sprung from are too utterly and incurably brain-damaged to even realize what malignant agnatology they foster and spread all over the world, to the detriment and mass death of tens of millions of victims yet to come.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > this is primarily a droplet-borne infection–it may be airborne in certain circumstances–we still in the WHO context believe that it is primarily droplet-borne

          They believe droplet dogma, and they enforce droplet dogma. I’d speculate that’s why the infamous WHO tweet saying that Covid is not airborne is still up. From Tricia Greenhalgh:

          Political and policy actors at international, national, and regional level aligned—predominantly though not invariably—with medical scientific orthodoxy which promoted the droplet theory of transmission and considered aerosol transmission unproven or of doubtful relevance. This dominant scientific sub-field centred around the clinical discipline of infectious disease control, in which leading actors were hospital clinicians aligned with the evidence-based medicine movement. Aerosol scientists—typically, chemists, and engineers—representing the heterodoxy were systematically excluded from key decision-making networks and committees. Dominant discourses defined these scientists’ ideas and methodologies as weak, their empirical findings as untrustworthy or insignificant, and their contributions to debate as unhelpful.

          And they still do. The droplet dogmatists are still in charge, though weakened. (See CDC’s guidance on hospitals.)

          In my view, “great humanitarians” don’t propagate a false theory of transmission, which will cost many lives. As you say.

  3. pjay

    Noonan slightly ammended:

    “What if it had been Hillary Clinton in 2016 who refused to accept a democratic outcome to a presidential election? … And went on to utilize allies in the DOJ/FBI (*Obama’s* DOJ), CIA (*Obama’s* CIA), the media, etc., to wage a four year offensive to frame Trump as a treasonous Russian agent?”

    Not a rhetorical question like Noonan’s. I don’t believe Trump was robbed in 2020, but one can certainly see why Trump might think it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I still remember Hillary demanding before the 2016 election that the loser had to respect the results of the election and not challenge it. But when she lost the election, that night she started plotting Russiagate which roiled and upturned the entire American political/media establishment for the following four years. Dammit, it was supposed to be her turn! /sarc

      1. agent ranger smith

        One bad turn does not deserve another, but it often gets one.

        But since it is we the public who are damaged and degraded by the Trumpublican plot to overturn the election they lost just as much as by the Clintocratic plot to undermine the election they lost, I see no reason to grant the Republicans a free overturn-an-election mulligan just because the Clintocrats were granted one. Let the responsible Republicans be prosecuted to the very fullest extent of the law.

        And then let the Republican House drag the Clintocrats through an acid bath of hyper-detailed and super-extensive hearings about their plot to undermine the elected President Trump. Perhaps the House Republicans can unearth things which will force the Justice Department or other relevant Prosecution Departments to prosecute the relevant Clintocrats to the very fullest extent of the law in their turn.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t believe Trump was robbed in 2020,

      If Hunter Biden’s laptop had shifted the right number of votes in the right number of precincts…

      Win or lose, Trump was certainly jobbed by the Democrats, who dominated Twitter’s moderation process, and used it to suppress a news story. (It’s as if the Republicans (and Democrats) of Nixon’s time had been able to suppress the Pentagon Papers by taking the story off the newsstands, stopping the presses, etc. No difference.)

  4. Hana M

    I live in the Boston area and check the MWRA site almost daily. The MWRA RNA signal always spikes up after heavy rains, which we have had this past week. Heavy rains flood the sewers and wash out extra effluent. So don’t read too much speculative detail into the uptick.

    1. lambert strether

      Good point, for Boston and generally. But surely one would expect Biobot to be able to compensate for this?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The readings aren’t normalized for fecal matter content?

        Normalization takes place, but appears to be an issue. From BioBot:

        Biobot Analytics, Inc. is the current vendor for the CDC’s NWSS Covid-19 wastewater testing contract. The effective virus concentration reported by Biobot is different from the results reported on CDC’s Covid Data Tracker. Biobot normalizes to a fecal strength indicator measured in wastewater samples, whereas CDC results are normalized using flow and population.

        There are no standards, international or otherwise, for wastewater data reporting. Typical, but to be fair, there hasn’t been much time.

        1. Hana M

          Interesting! If you look at prolonged recent upward trends they tend to correlate with the availability and uptake of vaccine ‘boosters’. In my upscale suburb of Boston (which straddles both the north and south MWRA systems) recent uptake of the Mouse Boosters (both the eight and 10 mouse types) has been brisk. There’s a fool born every minute. So many people I know have had four or five shots and then suddenly “tested positive”. There are confounding variables but still it’s interesting.

          After a brutal, prolonged autoimmune reaction to the first two $PFE shots I swore off the stuff. A year and a half on I have yet to have so much as a sniffle with no masking. I worry that the media and medical emphasis on “Long Covid” is a convenient institutional cover for vaccine injury and also obscures the tendency of the hypervaccinated to suffer from repeated infection (ADE? antigenic fixation? immune suppression?) I would hear IM Doc’s thoughts.

          1. Raymond Sim

            “Long Vaccination” could scarcely be the cause of a disease that was occuring before the vaccines were in use. Were the scare quotes to indicate doubt about the reality of the disease or its actual cause?

            IM Doc, who I hope is enjoying his weekend rather than reading this, has made it clear that in his opinion Long Covid is a real syndrome.

            Why are terrible syndromes caused by vaccines so easy to believe in if ones cause by the virus are so unbelievable?

            1. Acacia

              How about terrible syndromes being caused by the virus, and becoming worse with repeated “vaccination” (scare quotes intended, as that seems to be the upshot of negative vaccine efficacy within weeks of the shot)?

              For context, recall that on 11/08/2022, IM Doc posted a question about Dr. Anthony Leonardi’s hypothesis that COVID wears down T cells in people who get it, and — if I understand IM Doc’s question correctly — the vaccines may not be mitigating this in any meaningful way (apologies if I’m not paraphrasing this correctly). The original article was ”What If COVID Reinfections Wear Down Our Immunity?”).

              For clarity, I will add that I really don’t know what to think about this, and am not posing any rhetorical questions here. I’m just curious to hear additional, thoughtful perspectives on these questions, that’s all.

              1. Raymond Sim

                One way I visualize this for myself is this: The immune system has memory, makes decisions, and takes actions. These functions can be analogized to the same functions in our central nervous system. (And are similarly complex.) Our age and experience to date have just as strong a bearing on our immune status as on our state of mind.

                Leonardi began warning very early on that because of the role T-cells play in immune memory, and the limits of that system, the observed effects of Covid on T-cells meant both that formation of immune memory to Covid would likely be deranged, and the immune system’s attempts to respond could result in (among other things) what could be described as a kind of premature senility of the immune system. It’s usually this that people are referencing when they speak of Leonardi talking about T-cells getting worn out, though this is not the only phenomenon Leonardi describes that could reasonably be described that way.

                Key to this matter is the fact that the system functions by activating ‘naive’ T-cells, of which adults at least have a limited stock, and working them up into the various kinds of T-cells that do the work and bear the memory. These cells can reproduce themselves in vast numbers, but the process that initially produces them consumes suprising numbers of naive cells even under ideal circumstances, and SARS-2 can make it run wild. This could lead to the kind of immune decline otherwise seen mostly in old age – an immunological ‘mind’ that is no longer capable of coping.

                I should reiterate that this is a way I think about these things, not some established model. Thinking of things in these terms though, could the vaccines conceivably exacerbate this process? It seems plausible to me, but just as my reaction to any given event is heavily conditioned by my past experiences, immune system response can be very path dependent. It might require a huge study to discern the patterns correctly. The last time I looked into this stuff, which was quite some time ago now, doctors from around the country who struck me as speaking in good faith, were describing very different patterns of disease severity relative to vaccination status. I was left scratching my head.

                Man, I’ve gone on quite a bit. Before I close though I think it’s important to point out that infection with SARS-2 absolutely does cause this sort of immune damage, and at this point I think it’s pretty well established that reinfection makes things worse in such a way that none of us should count on having it in us to weather all that many cases of Covid – and that’s bearing in mind that cases we don’t notice can still do harm.

                I hope this is of some use to you, and as always I speak subject to correction by those with a better understanding than my own.

            2. Hana M

              Sorry to be late getting back to you. I meant the scare quotes to simply signify that long term sequelae that are very similar might follow either the viral infection and/or the mRNA or DNA vaccines and that one of the two syndromes is being studiously ignored in the current scientific literature. Take for example a recent JAMA paper Association of Initial SARS-CoV 2 Test Positivity with Patient Well -being 3 Months After a Symptomatic Illness that seemed to show that Covid caused long term negative effects at the same, or even lower rates than other upper respiratory infections. Of all the many characteristics of the Covid and non-Covid study arms one missing variable was that the vaccine status of the participants was not recorded. Since this study was done after the vaccines were widely available and adopted this is clearly an important variable to track.

              I definitely believe there are long term effects from Sars CoV2 infections and that they can be very serious. What is not being discussed adequately is that vaccine injuries and viral infection sequelae may well share common mechanisms, such as massive increases in auto-inflammatory responses, like mast cell activation syndrome. Some of the damage caused by both the virus and the vaccines may also be related to the cytotoxic properties of the spike protein introduced in both cases. It would not be surprising if negative effects from the vaccine and the virus were additive, especially if multiple injections make it harder for the recipients to clear the virus and/or seem also to make repeated infections more common. So much remains unknown about all of this but the mysteries will not be resolved by focusing on one syndrome to the exclusion of the other.

        2. Raymond Sim

          I’m puzzled. It seems to me that even fairly crude correction should prevent big changes due to storm runoff, unless the runoff were enriched in SARS-2 RNA relative to the usual effluent.

          If that were to be the case, well …

          1. Hana M

            That’s actually easy to imagine. The efficiency of effluent discharge might be related to the slope of the sewage drains with higher ground draining more efficiently than low-lying areas. Older sewage pipes might also leak more and only drain freely when the water flow is rapid. The composition of the pipes (copper, lead, PVC, corroded vs new, unlined vs. relined) might also affect effluent discharge. Such differences would be very hard to model and control for. If such locational differences were also correlated with socio-economic factors or other population differences such as the presence of large universities or tourist hubs, it would be very easy to explain the rain effect but very hard to track the exact cause and the location of the super-spreaders.

            1. Raymond Sim

              I can see how all of those factors could affect a correction that wasn’t assessing total fecal matter accurately. But even in that case, we seem to be talking about a significant fraction of a days worth of viral dry matter being retained in the system, with the deposition rate outrunning the rate of degradation. It seems odd.

  5. mrsyk

    Watched the Justin Feldman video from yesterday, “How to Hide a Plague”. I much enjoyed it as it plays to my priors. Elite capture and foisting responsibility away from the state and onto individuals are (IMHO)) strong signals that Joe Citizen will yet again be overcharged and underserved. Here, Feldman delivers some lovely color in a few choice examples. For instance BP is responsible for driving the Your Carbon Footprint campaign, and the Keep America Beautiful campaign was an industry initiative to prevent regulations against disposable packaging being considered at the time. Also, this quote: “When the controversies flare up, the debate gets technical.” That’s a fungible idea. And, Stephen Molldrem was up to task as host. He was nimble during the Q&A. Thanks again

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    “the “essential worker” discourse we’ve been bombarded with for almost 3 yrs is about disciplining workers to labor in perilous conditions”

    Reminded me how on Le Guin’s Annares, all workers, even theoretical physicists, cycled through regular stints at the society’s dirtiest and/or most dangerous jobs.

    1. CanCyn

      I have always thought this was a good idea. And not just garbage pick up or janitorial work…Parents who bitch about schools and teachers should have to spend a few days trying to manage an elementary classroom full of kids. Or a day or two driving a school bus. People who are rude to coffee shop servers and food servers should try to do that job. I know people who bitch about Starbuck’s baristas getting their coffee order wrong who wouldn’t last an hour in a busy SB never mind a full day. It is called empathy and for the most it seems non-existent. Whoever made the point the other day about the sick leave that Congress, Senators etc. get not wanting rail workers to have anything similar was bang on, it is sickening.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        As I also recall, Albert’s Parecon, not willing to dispense with price entirely, set the pay scale for dirty or dangerous jobs at the top with pay for desk jobs at the bottom.

  7. John

    “the railroads contend that their enormous profits do not reflect “any contributions by labor.” Well then a strike would have no effect. I propose the railroad employees test that thesis.

    On the other had if the top management… you know masters of the universe … were to all take a year off or simply go away forever, the people who actually do the work would get along just fine.

    I think not having some paid sick days indicates a breath taking level of callousness.

    1. GF

      I hope the unions turn their back on Biden and union misleadership and vote to strike. I would love to see the national guard taking over the operations… oh wait, you’re telling me there is no national guard available or other military engineers as they have been deployed to Syria, Ukrainian europe, SE asia etc? Well sick days are looking better all the time.

      1. agent ranger smith

        Would such a strike be illegal under Federal Law? If it would, then the strikers would all be mass-arrested, mass-tried, mass-convicted, and sent back to work as slave convicts under the convict slavery loophole in the Thirteenth Ammendment.

        If the railroad workers decide to strike, they should all find a way to go into such deep hiding that the forces of Federal Law Enforcement can not physically find any trace of them to arrest,try, convict and enslave.

        1. rowlf

          Airlines also are under the RLA. About 25 years ago a small non-union airline maintenance station in the midwest had a manager forcing mandatory overtime. Due to a family situation one mechanic could no longer work the mandatory overtime. The mechanic was fired, but then the entire staff at the station quit in support.

          The manager was fired and the staff was hired back.

        2. Pekka Oksa

          > If the railroad workers decide to strike, they should all [hide].

          Some years ago, the national contract for Finnish nurses was up for renewal. The woefully-underpaid nurses wanted a significant pay rise. The government said ‘Oh, you nurses! We love you! You do such important work! … blah blah blah … and we really wish we could do better for you but there’s simply no money available in the budget.’ The nurses said ‘Well, we don’t want to strike … but if we have to, we will.’ The government went to Parliament and rammed through an emergency act under which any striking nurses would be heavily fined for each shift they missed.The nurses said ‘All right, if that’s how you want to play it … we’ll quit.’ Thousands of nurses signed an online petition pledging to resign their positions unless the pay offer improved. Was it a bluff? Maybe for some — but mirabile dictu the government found the money!

          There is a similar situation unfolding at present and the government is proposing a sort of slave-labour law like what the American railroad workers seem to be facing. In direct response

          ‘Record number of healthcare workers quitting profession’

          Maybe the railway workers need to ‘man up’ and ‘woman up’.

          Solidarity forever.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I’m still thinking that work to rule is the way to go. But this was entirely predictable. The union leadership sold out their members? Saw that with the teacher’s strike before the pandemic as an example. Bernie, the Squad and the progressives sold out the workers? It’s who they are and what they do. They sided with the railway barons. Biden sold out the workers? That is what he has spent his life doing. Here is a good explanation-

      ‘Neal Meyer
      Let’s be clear about what just happened. Progressives and the Squad (minus Rashida) voted to crush a strike in return for a symbolic vote by the House for paid sick days. And now, predictably, the Senate just voted down paid sick days. Truly awful stuff.’


    3. Glen

      Biden went to crazy town on this decision. The rail workers are the canary in the coal mine.

      Did he not understand WHY they passed a big bill to bring key industries back to America? Because American CEOs and Wall St shipped that technology, factories, and jobs overseas to MAXIMIZE profit.

      Do people not understand WHY PG&E stopped doing necessary maintenance, and the resulting Paradise Fire burned down whole towns killing 85 people? Because American CEOs and Wall St quit doing necessary maintenance to MAXIMIZE profits. (This is called “Run to Failure” and my company wanted to do it too, but we finally convinced them it is a very bad idea to run certain critical things to failure.)

      Do people not understand why American hospitals are running out of doctors and RNs. Why the only remaining major hospital and ER in my county had to call 911 to get help? Because American CEOs and Wall St are running American healthcare to maximize PROFITS.

      Do you see a [family blogging] trend here?

      I can almost guarantee that American railroads are less capable, less nimble, less efficient than in the past. Because this is the result of maximizing profit. We cannot let CEOs and Wall St wreck our critical infrastructure to maximize profit.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > This is called “Run to Failure”

        Holy gawd, this is something consultants are selling? Adding, a quick search and I see it’s well-known in the business field. And not always wrong. For example, we run lightbulbs to failure.

        Readers, have you experienced any examples of “Run to Failure” in your workplace, ideally in a case where the phrase was explicitly used, and a conscious decision taken? Thanks!

  8. Questa Nota

    This just in:

    Biden invites rail leaders to White House for televised convo. BNSF owner Warrent Buffett to cater with Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream. That raises the stakes for the other railroads, and should produce results! Somehow, Mayo Pete’s invite got misplaced. /s

  9. midtownwageslave

    “New York City Wants to Pay a ‘Rat Czar’ $170,000 to Solve Its Rodent Problem”….

    As if NYC needs more lawyers on payroll.

    1. ambrit

      I noticed the use of the word, Czar. That is a word of Russian origin. So, does the NYC plan to hire Vlad Vladimirovitch for the job? He does have an excellent track record in his American ventures. Just see his stellar work in dezinformatsia during the 2016 American Presidential campaign.
      My thinking, such as it is, is that the VVP Educational Service will not physically get rid of the rats, but convince New Yorkers that the rats are just “illegal immigrant” City Workers. Since this is very close to how New Yorkers view actual Terran human ‘illegal immigrant’ workers, the legerdemain should work a treat.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Czar…or Tsar…derives from Latin “Caesar”.
        see also Kaiser.
        maybe even Keister,lol…given my own experience with boss-types…
        idk where the Spanish Jefe comes from…i like to think it derives from “Heavy”.
        I usually prefer to be addressed as “mi’lord”…but allow Jefe in some circumstances.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Moses famously was able to convince Pharaoh of something similar. “You see these frogs? These are Y-h-w-’s frogs!” (hat tip to Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History of the Universe)

    2. semper loquitur

      That “Rat Czar” better be a member of the Justice League if they expect anything to get done about the rats here. There is small street just north of Houstan Street in Manhattan. There were a lot of restaurants along it. At night, you could walk out of the Mars Bar, rat infested itself, and watch up the street to see small black shapes running back and forth the whole way up. It was always fun to watch pedestrians walking along and suddenly jump and shriek because a fatty had run across their shoes…

    3. Wukchumni

      I say Ben is the man for the job, I mean look how he handled the 2 legged rat problem in lower Manhattan!

    4. Pat

      Let me put this in some perspective here. NYC has always had rats, but it is incredibly bad now. Some of it was the lockdown. Some of it is the restaurant sheds that are both sources of food and nesting materials plus places to nest. But the primary reasons are that the sanitation department is not keeping up with the garbage, and the public has gotten even more lackadaisical about garbage as they are out and about. It is hard to tell people not to toss their garbage in the curb or in tree pits and planters when sidewalk garbage cans are overflowing, but there is still no excuse for doing it.
      The city has supposedly tried to address some of the problems, but passing laws making it illegal to put your garbage out for collection until after eight the night before is annoying, a problem for smaller apartment complexes and mostly pointless. (Because the nocturnal rats were only feasting on garbage between four and eight pm, so now they won’t chew into the bags at all.)

      The bigger issue is that Adams, facing a fairly deep budget shortfall, has declared a hiring freeze for city workers, especially any that might get a union job. So the logical response, to have more garbage pick ups, more extermination, etc is off the table. But he can pretend to be taking action by naming a sacrificial Person in charge of rat elimination at a relatively low salary.

      1. amechania

        Forgive me if it was here, but I read a blog about the french indo china colonialists trying a rat bounty. Enterpreneurs created rat farms, while independent faux-sterminators ™ didnt kill rats anymore, but just cut off the tails. The administrators were the last to know.

        I believe the modern sewers introduction created the initial problem… Jeez. A self licking ice cream cone.

          1. amechania


            Found the link. Or at least a link to the story, clearly based on some book my original read cited.

            “’It’s sort of a morality tale for the arrogance of modernity, that we put so much faith into science and reason and using industry to solve every problem…’

            So what does (the researcher) think the lesson is instead? ‘To watch out for programs being created in situations where where the arrogance is so strong and the power differential is so intense that evidence can be ignored.'”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The bigger issue is that Adams, facing a fairly deep budget shortfall, has declared a hiring freeze for city workers, especially any that might get a union job.

        Apparently the city used to be able to keep up with its garbage, so what changed (besides the restaurant sheds)? Is it really a change in public attitude? Did Covid reduce garbage collector headcount? Was there more garbage because WFH meant food packaging and Amazon cardboard?

  10. skippy

    Concur on the painting Lambert, love the vertical thin scratching strokes to denote movement of embers downwards. My big question is was this work conceptualized or the result of its process. Too pull that imagery off with so many off blacks and minimal colour with a side of wash is something I could stare at for a long time …..

    Anyway off to work for a previous client post the same these last two weeks. How good is it to have clients so happy after the job is done, and say so, amazing, better than new, tell the young business owner how glad they are I did the job for them.

    1. nick

      Thank you for the notes on the painting.

      I took Art History in high school and every week or so we’d have to pick out our favorite piece in that chapter of the book and one week mine was that painting of Whistler’s. Oh what I’d give to be able to read that again! Twenty years now so cannot remember. But I get the same feeling. I do remember the figure onshore and their shadow to the left.

    2. Tom Stone

      There’s an El Greco at the San Francisco Legion of Honor…
      My Exwife was a concert Violinist who played there twice or three times a year, the first time I accompanied her I walked the galleries and saw it.
      I spent the rest of that concert trying to truly see it.
      Time well spent.

      1. skippy

        @above …

        Achieving that result with such a minimal palette of colour through subtlety and some light layering with additional brush strokes, local randomization, and too top it off – the specter of a human watching from far shore is just … invoking a deep level … both pulling you in yet at the same time wanting to flow yourself into it …

        One thought I would like to know is what kinda of light was it painted in, somber would be my first guess. It was lovely too look at having my morning El Diviso Geisha honey process coffee made in my Brika pot before working on another old Queenslander.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think Whistler is super-underrated and should be in the Pantheon along with the greatest of the Impressionists. I suppose part of why Whistler is not so classified is that he wasn’t part of a movement, not an *-ist, and the narrative of salon v. Salon des Refusés does not apply. Also, he was more a studio, and even a society, painter than any of the Impressionists, though some of the Impressionists were plenty bourgeois. But oh my heavens, the paint!

          Bourdieu has a long book on Manet and how he invented new ways to see, which “we” adopted, but it’s been in my stack of books to read for awhile. Too busy doomscrolling!

          1. skippy

            I don’t so much get stuck into the painter after they are dead because the classification process is basically a monopoly affair for whatever reasons. What I do respect as a living human is the subject and how it effects me, after that the knowledge I have about the art, and then again the craft it takes to shape colour, light, substrate, and many other things as the light moves in a day, too find night, and then it starts all over again … too produce something that firstly captures the eye and then the mind …

            I know I am only a humble painter of old homes, but each one is a passion driven effort and I take all that knowledge and experience to give clients a result that reflects it and more so how that result effects their emotional state at home. I am as critical of all aspects of protecting and providing ascetics as a good canvas painter would.

            In other disheveled news the ex just went mentally pop in Budapest, long time OCD anxiety/panic attack diagnosis that suffered a ICH 3 yrs ago [ask doc] and decided that risk factors of dying in 10 yrs was enough to long hall flight [oops head] and muck around for 2 months. Seemed to be done well by the holocaust museum and buildings are big thingy, and some later drinks. Now the kids are in a fluff as one is in London City proper working, one in Milan, and the other two here, and all just before the Xmas shopping season … count yourself lucky mate lmmao …

              1. skippy

                Its just life ambrit …

                Clients of last Thursday wife has worked in public health all her life and husband is ex military …. joked that who knew SEER School was a prep course for my marriage … as him and me walked to the front of the house he said quietly – he reckoned marriage was prep for being a POW … or the other way around ;) …

                At least she has money so that’s not a drama, so its trying to get her back to Oz and then work out her dramas. Only 3 yrs into a big bleed on the right side and relearning lots of normal physical functions, done well there. Now the hard part is the cognitive/emotional aspect, once a highly skilled clinical paramedic and University educator – all gone now – and might never work at all again. Previous psychological condition does not help in that matter IMO.

                You know me … I just keep on keeping on regardless … there are worse things …

                1. ambrit

                  I remember seeing Joseph Campbell on one of those TV shows saying as how marriage is an ordeal that we must endure to “grow.” Phyl and I will cycle through all the “dramas” and “emotions” over a year or so. My hardest lesson was to learn when to just shut up and let “Nature” take it’s course.
                  Stay safe all.

          2. skippy

            Sorry I forgot to say how he used the same brush lines to delineate between the sky and the water line, but its so lost in the scene. Like you would love to see the real thing to further the examination.

          3. ambrit

            It seems that Whistler was an innovator in the art of showing one’s works as well as the works themselves.
            As to the technique of some of his works goes; I detect a Rembrandt aspect to his oil technique. This admittedly amateur observer (preferred pronouns: “hey, you!”/ “a—hole!”) noted the similarities between Whistler’s handling of the night with fireworks in “Night…” and how Rembrandt handles fabrics in his works.
            Whistler the showman: https://tfaoi.org/aa/4aa/4aa170.htm
            Rembrandt technique: https://www.ingetang.com/praxis/rembrandts-medium-a-study-of-rembrandts-painting-technique-via-copying/
            Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  11. Raymond Sim

    Just checked the SCAN Bay Area wastewater monitoring website.


    They keep making it harder to read and, imo, more obfuscatory. That said, for the past week the Covid log plots for Sacramento and San Jose have been tracing upward sloped straight lines. I think that of the facilities monitored by SCAN these two probably exhibit the least noise in their signals. So it looks like we’re off to the races again.

    The charts for Influenza A and RSV might show some leveling off, but that might also be the smoothing. I didn’t try to investigate. Levels for both are the highest they’ve been since January. Human Metapneumovirus continues to increase markedly. It hasn’t been monitored for very long, so I don’t know what ‘normal’ looks like, but this pathogen kills a lot of people every year, so seeing it shoot up rapidly seems concerning.

    Monkeypox went away, but now it’s back. Which I assume means it didn’t actually go away? In other words it looks like ‘nondetect’ likely doesn’t mean close enough to ‘zero’ to signal eradication.

    They’ve recently started monitoring norovirus. Again I can’t say what ‘normal’ looks like, but it’s been pretty much up, up, up, and up since they started monitoring.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Monkeypox went away, but now it’s back. Which I assume means it didn’t actually go away? In other words it looks like ‘nondetect’ likely doesn’t mean close enough to ‘zero’ to signal eradication.

      never actually went away, I don’t think. It’s just (actually) endemic now, in the US anyway. Apposite use of the term for once.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They keep making it harder to read and, imo, more obfuscatory. That said, for the past week the Covid log plots for Sacramento and San Jose have been tracing upward sloped straight lines.

      That site takes forever to load.

      There’s a dip around November 29, so we’ll see if that was a peak or a data artifact from Thanksgiving.

  12. petal

    More examples of immunologists behaving badly: Our micro/immuno department’s holiday party is tonight. I was asked today if I was going, and I said no. They asked why. I said because of covid. They again asked “Why?” and I explained-room full of people with no masks on eating a 2 or 3 course meal, singing, and talking. Then they went on a rant about how that’s my loss, that they are going because they are “living their life” and then boasted about being out in crowds, attending their big monthly MLM meeting(they do an MLM scam on the side), the whole 9 yards. I tried to explain that everyone should be masking, that it puts everyone at risk, that it needs to be a team effort, and got talked down that I’m some weak, scared, selfish nut. This person was ranting about “individual choices”. I swear sometimes I’m in The Twilight Zone. Cannot deal with this anymore. Selfishness, willful stupidity, and knowingly making bad choices. “Idiocracy” wasn’t supposed to be a goal.

    Art Basel/NFTs: And here’s a new David Lowery song(Cracker, Camper van Beethoven) about Art Basel and NFTs and congresscritters on the take.

    1. curlydan

      I’m with you! I won’t go to my work group’s holiday party for the exact same reasons. Sorry you had to be lectured, especially by people who should know better.

    2. FlyoverBoy

      I’m sorry you had to go through that. I had to withstand heavy pressure to not attend my department’s massive, unnecessary 48-hour gathering of the tribes in a hotel conference room and a restaurant, complete with the obligatory playtime “team-building exercise.”

      This included a manager ominously warning a week before that the meeting, which required some people to fly cross-country to attend sessions that mostly could have been conducted by video, was “not optional.” And this even though I have it in writing that my job is “a work-from-home position.” I’m sure I’m far from alone.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i dont have company parties(unless you count me sitting in my greenhouse with beer…i think i’m rather festive, after my fashion)
      but i did do 2 thanksgivings…my mom, brother and his Golden Horde.
      and wife’s familia…much bigger, but people i’m exposed to more often than i am by brother.
      i spent a lot of time on the porch, when i wasn’t in the kitchen.
      i also complained about the weather pain(cold and wet lays me low)
      so i can likely beg off any xmas festivities…which is fine with me.
      i took MIL to san antone for dr’s visit. xmas music everywhere we went.
      i heard enough about jingle bells and holly jolly cold wet stuff to last me all season long.
      i mean, if folks wanna have a shindig here at the Wilderness Bar,ie: outside, with windbreak of sorts to the north, and a spot for a big fire…then, well, ok…but i’m not crowding in with a bunch of folks in small rooms in december during a pandemic.
      i have no shame in using my disability to get excused.
      (and yes, bah frelling humbug. i loathe the “holidays”)

    4. The Rev Kev

      ‘This person was ranting about “individual choices” ‘

      So why aren’t they respecting your individual choice not to put yourself at risk?

      1. petal

        Apparently it’s my choice and I need to do what I need to do, but I’m missing out on life and being weak and hiding from the world in my hidey hole. Somehow I touched the third rail. Go figure. Rationality and respect left the barn a long time ago.

        1. Samuel Conner

          > missing out on life and being weak

          It’s not “weak” or “selfish” to want to delay one’s own disability from long COVID in order to in future be able to care for long-COVID- disabled loved ones who were not as foresighted.

          The future is going to be really “interesting.” I don’t like boredom, but I’m not sure that kind of excitement is preferable.

        2. The Rev Kev

          It would be ironic if you found that your career path improved remarkably due to the number of people ahead of you that had to retire for, ahem, medical reasons (*cough, cough*).

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          “Be like a rocky promontory against which the restless surf continually pounds; it stands fast while the churning sea is lulled to sleep at its feet. I hear you say, “How unlucky that this should happen to me!” Not at all! Say instead, “How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation or complaint.”

          ― Marcus Aurelius

          you’re already a badass( i can tell)
          merely continue to be a badass.
          and when they’re all laboring to breathe or think, there you’ll be…taking over all that shit.

          1. tegnost

            I’ve taken a page from your book and am doing the duck blind thing, why stick your neck out and get your head chopped off? I have a list of “i told you so” as long as my arm and have come to realize that it is worth nothing. Covid whacked my heart rhythm (it is getting slowly more normal, slowly) and the stress isn’t worth it. On the bright side the waking up every few hours makes keeping the fire going easier, so that’s nice…

          2. petal

            That is a beautiful quote, Amfortas. I am going to write it down. Thank you. And thank you for the compliment!
            Yeah, I am choosing to not be stupid. Not a tough decision. I’ve had health problems knock me flat in the past, and sometimes I wonder if these folks have never known that feeling, and the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that come with it. I’ll never understand.

    5. Basil Pesto

      Look on the brught side though: you’re positively drowning in civil liberties. Don’t you just feel so free?

      (/s, for those playing at home)

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm…. I seem to remember reading that the preferred treatment of “drowning in civil liberties” is intubation. Either that or a mass grave. (Caterpillar stock should do very well next year. The best way to dig the holes for and cover back the up all those defunct ‘useless eaters’ is heavy machinery! This is also the definition of a “shovel ready” project.)
        Stay safely out of the way of the big machine Basil!

  13. IM Doc

    About professional behavior among physicians.

    So, this article was written this week.

    I find it very humbling that it is left to a mystery/spy novelist to call out behavior that is completely inappropriate in my profession. I guess I should not be too surprised. This self-righteous virtue-signaling behavior was becoming more and more common among the students and house staff as I got older – and is in no small part why I am now as far away from that world as I can be.

    The doctor in question here, however, is in that world, He is an ER physician in an academic center and is in no doubt in constant contact with learners every minute of every day. The behavior described in this piece would have not been tolerated in any way as recently as 10 years ago. 20 years ago, it would have resulted in immediate termination.

    I will remind everyone that the founder of Internal Medicine, Sir William Osler, when asked what the single most important trait in any physician was, responded without hesitation – EQUANIMITY. He even wrote a speech about it – AEQUINAMATAS. Somehow, I do not think Dr. Osler or any of my faculty as a young man would look kindly on calling out a grieving mother with names or making light of people dying in an opioid epidemic as appropriate behavior. It is shameful.

    But what do we expect? We sat through all kinds of dancing nurse and doctor videos with suffering patients in the frames. We sat through multiple videos of young physicians ridiculing the dying unvaccinated – one even went so far to brag how she had scolded the patient as she was intubating him. We sat through some of the leading medical ethicists in the country demanding on national TV that the unvaxxed give up rights and freedoms and privileges – up to and including their Medicare and SS benefits. Not a thing was said or done in any of these cases – indeed the response from our media and medical leaders was at times laudatory.

    This young Dr. Marino appears to have all kinds of time all day to tweet insults and ridicule to all who do not fit the narrative. I would like the rest of America to know that there are all kinds of hard-working physicians in this country who are just horrified by this behavior. I am spending my days now dealing with all kinds of sick patients. I am writing Christmas cards to every patient in my practice or their families who are suffering and alone this season. I am doing my best to deal with social problems in my patients that were never dreamed of when I was just starting. I am doing my very best to be the level-headed person in the room – to be the guy who the kids and young people look up to.

    I simply do not have time to pick on grieving mothers who have vaccine-injured kids. In my opinion, these people are heroes. They did their duty as was asked of them. Belittling them when things go south is simply insane. That kid and his mother need a physician to put their arms around their back and make sure they know they are not alone.

    I do not have time to make light of the opioid epidemic. Indeed, I deal constantly with the human tragedies that opioids leave in their wake.

    Yet somehow, this behavior is becoming so common in younger physicians. I grieve for the future. I am not sure of the answers – but I do know this. Medicine as it is known today – will be completely different in a generation. And it is very likely not going to be anything that Dr. Marino or his friends in med Twitter ever dreamed of. They are playing with fire. And the boards and licensing agencies are letting them do it. God help us all.

    Sorry, rant off. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

      1. flora

        adding: I am writing Christmas cards to every patient in my practice or their families who are suffering and alone this season.

        God bless you.

    1. Carolinian

      We are grateful for doctors like you although experience suggests there are more than a few doctors like him if not quite that blatant. The context of the Berenson piece was about a California law that would regulate medical speech and thereby make it very political indeed. It sounded like the doctor in question was trying to stay on the right side of politically powerful pharma and no doubt felt invulnerable for that reason. It also said he has a Twitter following and even makes TV appearances. It goes without saying that the Biden enthusiasm for mandates shows how medicine may begin to be an all purpose excuse to weed out the politically uncooperative–even declare them to be medical “terrorists.” In our current political climate equanimity seems to be long gone.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…shows how medicine may begin to be an all purpose excuse to weed out the politically uncooperative–even declare them to be medical “terrorists.” ”

        yeah…any tool in the toolbox, and complexity hides the knife.
        being that im in rural texas, almost all of the overt scolds IRL are Goptea…and they’re apparently still in the refractory stage after the 4 year Trumpgasm.
        but , venturing on occasion into my more local virtual duck blinds(faceboe*, twit and next door(!)), the handful of Teamblue out here, in their hillforts, are as one along the same lines as that guy.
        and to think that i got accepted to Oberlin with a ged,lol…but mom and dad laughed at the cost.
        i could have been one of those people.


        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and, btw…i attempted to send the NEJM thing on universal vs individual(sic) masking to my local ISD…and they’re requiring “further authentification” in the form of signing in with faceborg, google+, etc.
          i’m not on any of those, of course…and so cannot use electronic means to send a complicated web address to an aspect of my local gooberment.
          i feel that this violates the “redress of grievances” clause of the First Amendment, as well as Texas Statutes regarding Open Government.
          it should always be easy to yell at and/or inform and correct our “representatives”.
          i should damned sure not hafta sign up for a surveillance app to do so.

          1. flora

            AtH, I do not think you would ever have been one of those people, whether accepted or not to one of “their” unis. / ;)

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i wanted to go..circa 1987.
              to get away from all the idiots and rednecks and crosseyed superiority and ignorance as bliss halelujah and snakehandling madness i grew up around.
              the hoods were mostly kept in the closet for special(crossburning) occasions by then.
              my autarky and microstatehood is derived from my utter disappointment in Liberalism and the frelling demparty…i took a page from radical libertardians(free state project) and applied socialism on a small scale(!).
              my flag has a middle finger on it.
              and i have no party, but for perhaps the one i’m building out from this place.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i sent the NEJM thing directly, by text , to the school nurse, after raiding wife’s fone for number.
                because i walk by and get it done

    2. Pat

      Thank you, sir. You are not just a voice of sanity, but a reminder to many of us that there are alternatives to the Dr Marinos. Hard working, thoughtful, empathetic physicians do exist and we need to look for them, support them. Otherwise we may only be left with the blind bullies.

    3. Raymond Sim

      It struck me as strange that Marino would have made light of the opioid epidemic, since he’s a harm reduction guy. So off to Twitter I went. My strokified parietal lobe can only handle so much scrolling on there and I hit my limit before finding any of Marino’s remarks about the grieving mother. However it seems pretty clear that Berenson has had it in for Marino for quite some time, and some of what he says seems to be deliberate mischaracterization.

      I’m not a fan of Marino’s style, and I’m not entirely sure where I stand on harm reduction, but mocking myths and lies about drug abuse isn’t the same as mocking suffering people.

      I have to say, you seem far too credulous where Berenson is concerned, especially when he’s engaged in attacking someone’s character. I would remind everyone that, because he opposes interventions against airborne transmission, he portrayed Kimberly Prather as some sort of hysterical germophobe for saying that storm runoff makes Southern California beaches unsafe for swimming. Naturally, doing so required taking her remarks egregiously out of context.

      1. JBird4049

        >>> I have to say, you seem far too credulous where Berenson is concerned, especially when he’s engaged in attacking someone’s character. I would remind everyone that, because he opposes interventions against airborne transmission, he portrayed Kimberly Prather as some sort of hysterical germophobe for saying that storm runoff makes Southern California beaches unsafe for swimming. Naturally, doing so required taking her remarks egregiously out of context.

        Really? Dude’s a twit.

        All of California’s beaches from San Francisco to San Diego are poor places to visit after a heavy rain and it’s a problem that gets worse the further south you go. It has been this since the turn of the last century as water treatment is never updated as fast as the population growth. In fairness, it can and has gone from months or years of little rain to inches per hour and flooding. (Shrug) And most people are not interested in the beach anyways in such weather. And overflow of sewage on the beach. Eeech.

    4. skippy

      My Grandfather that studied Medicine at Chicago U, Air Force surgeon in WWII, and then on call trauma surgeon in AZ for yonks would agree with you IM Doc. His 30 year anniversary party as a surgeon was a wide array of every sort one could think of from religion to ethnicity, not to mention as a Jew he was also a Mason and did not donate with his money, but his personal time for civic goods.

      It just blows me away to think so much of this started in L.A. Calif in the 80s, turning a sexual orientation social issue into a market based approach to seek redress by the means of their flow of money. Old NC commenter Down South and I had a chat about this back in the day and knows how it dramatically changed the framework of that social debate. What was once an argument against conservative dogma about genders and family formation or notions of Natural Life then became a flow of funds across a business balance sheet. So rather than have a social debate it became a profit margin PR/Marketing hot button for profit e.g. X corporation is on your side and if you buy our service/product we will promote your social agenda. Not that most Universities are beholden to such corporations and as such would then seek to push this social agenda on students in formative years just the like the Kochs wanted with other issues. Its just good for business mate, good talent will be given the flick so some malleable mind that does not challenged this agenda/policy will be advanced instead just like Anthony Fauci and everything else will go down the drain with them …

      I’ve watched for a few decades as people like you are force out of industry too make way for the new and improved product[tm] that is bringing in a new energetic younger[tm] product …

    5. juneau

      Thank you for this post. I have seen Dr. Marino’s posts on fentanyl on twitter, and he completely minimizes the risks and mocks those (like me and you and families and victims) who deal with the aftermath of these deaths. He labels himself an addiction specialist (in his byline on twitter). I too am flabbergasted by his reckless and bullying tweets in this arena.

      He is extremely confident and people like his heavy handed approach, it is frightening to see. People believe him. He is very very wrong. My response to his claim that he doesn’t see these cases in his ER is that they don’t go to the ER, they often go straight to the morgue.

  14. Wukchumni

    Down from Wilmington
    To the capital in Washington
    Past the angry political divide
    The mighty diesel whines

    And the union comes
    And the union goes
    Round another bend
    The giant dividers role

    Roll on, no sick days specific
    On your silver rails
    Through the moonlight
    Roll on, no sick days specific
    On your silver rails
    On your silver rails

    I rode the Amtrak
    I saw the daylight
    When I turned sixty-five
    Beau was still alive

    So it was Mr. Casey Jones
    We’ve got to let you know
    That’s country policy
    You’ve got a pension, though

    Roll on, no sick days specific
    On your silver rails
    Silver rails, silver rails
    Roll on, no sick days specific
    On your silver rails
    Silver rails, silver rails

    I ain’t no idea man
    Ain’t no conductor
    But I would be though
    If I was President when younger

    I got my imperial watch
    I put in my time
    Now I’m left to roll
    Down the long decline

    Roll on, no sick days specific
    On your silver rails
    Through the moonlight
    Roll on, no sick days specific
    On your silver rails
    On your silver rails

    Southern Pacific, by Neil Young


  15. Tom Stone

    “He’d sell his mama for a nickel, and take a postdated check”.
    I suspect that there is no limit to how vile and corrupt a Politician can become, any more than there is a limit to Human stupidity.
    I just wish American politicians weren’t so dedicated to demonstrating that fact.

  16. The Rev Kev

    Banksy won’t be happy-

    ‘An artwork by mysterious street artist Banksy disappeared from a wall at an apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Gostomel on Friday, the police have confirmed to a local media outlet.

    The artwork in Gostomel depicted a woman in a gas mask and a bathing gown, and holding a fire extinguisher in her hands. She was standing on an actual wooden chair, which had been attached to the wall.

    However, locals reported on social media earlier in the day that the mural was gone and posted images with an empty wall at the spot where it used to be. The graffiti had been drawn on a piece of thermal insulation and this was cut out by the perpetrators.’


    Entirely predictable. Probably find that that piece of artwork is already being installed in some billionaire’s villa in the west right now.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Huh? It’s the start of flu season too right? I mean, what year would this have ever made sense in?

  17. Lee

    Every four years I become a soccer fan, so this caught my eye.

    Netherlands Players Dealing With Flu Symptoms Ahead of U.S. Match Sports Illustrated

    “Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal revealed Friday that a number of his players are dealing with flu symptoms on the eve of Saturday’s round-of-16 match against the United States men’s national team.

    Speaking to reporters in a press conference, van Gaal said that all 26 players of the Dutch squad went through training on Friday, but admitted that he was fearful of the illness spreading through the group. He did not reveal how many players were experiencing symptoms or the names of those that were ill.”

    It’s just the flu. Color me suspicious.

  18. Judith

    Thanks for the Merlin Sheldrake paper on Richard Schultes and the enigmas associated with ethnobotany. Lots of fascinating ideas to think about and a great set of references to escape into.

    1. 430MLK

      One of my favorite books, One River by Wade Davis, traces Shultes life. Davis was a young student of Shultes’ who also became an ethno-botanist, and the book jumps back and forth between their two lives (roughly 1930s-50s for Shultes; mid 70s for Davis, IIRC). William Burroughs, oddly, even makes an appearance.


      A lot of Shultes’ time in South America was spent seeking out new sources of wild rubber, important in the run-up to World War II.

  19. Pat

    Regarding a primary schedule change, screw diversity. How about recognizing that the compromises of so-called party ideals to become more acceptable in deeply Republican areas often do not lead to candidates winning those areas.

    Perhaps the schedule should either put the 3 or 4 states that have not voted for the party nominee the longest first all on the same day, and label them “The utterly Useless Primaries To be Ignored” or even dead last after it has all been decided.
    I know Clyburn wants to be an even bigger power broker, but I hope he is stymied as most people ignore SC results similar to the way nobody cares about NH once the next primaries are on the horizon.

    1. Carolinian

      New Hampshire has said that by state law they have to be first primary.

      The Republicans are going to stick with Iowa.

    1. Daryl

      That’s fun. Did they tell the Russians? Can I unilaterally legislate that I pay less at the gas pump, or does that only work for G7?

    2. skippy

      I say in a global market I will pay more for others energy than buy it from this one mob, oops others say I will buy the one mobs energy because it will give my economy an advantage over aforementioned others … a few business cycles later and …. its like Brexit on a much bigger scale …

    1. The Rev Kev

      This could be Musk firing a shot across the bows of the establishment here. Consider – Balenciaga does what amounts to child pron and yet the media and nearly everyone else wants to give them a free pass. Samuel Bankman-Fried comes back from the Bahamas but instead of being crash-tackled and thrown into the slammer, they let him give speeches and do interviews with softball questions. In both cases they are in the club. Musk, on the other hand is on the outside. When he took over Twitter, Yellen was saying that this should be looked at from a national security perspective and the EU is demanding that he hire back the censors that he fired. Obviously he is under the gun here so perhaps with things like this series if tweets, Musk is warning them that he knows things too and if they don’t back off, that he will take them down with him. Trouble is that the establishment wants “their” twitter back again but like with Russia, stepping back is not an option.

      1. barefoot charley

        Taibbi’s become an essential free-speecher, one of the few left on the Left. It’s so telling that lefties think he’s a right-winger–that’s how little thinking is left, and how necessary it’s become for ‘lefties’ too to self-bleach their brains. Those labels are good for nothing anymore.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > [1] Balenciaga does what amounts to child pron and yet [2] the media and nearly everyone else wants to give them a free pass.

        [1] Because child pron sells in Balenciaga’s wealthy market

        [2] Because child pron sells in their Balenciaga’s market

        Why it sells is an exercise left to the reader. I don’t believe in lizard people, but…. this stuff is going to be normalized.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I saw excerpts from The View talking about the Balenciaga story and you could see that they were running cover for them. I had the firm impression that if it had been the little girl in that photo wearing the bondage gear rather than the teddy bear, that they still would have run cover for Balenciaga. Just goes to show you. Epstein had an ecosphere – and it was larger than you imagined.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Yellen was saying that this should be looked at from a national security perspective and the EU is demanding that he hire back the censors that he fired.

        Because to Democrats being able to censor a major platform is national security.*

        Which is what you would expect from a party whose base is in the PMC, hence not specially inclined to any form of democracy but “ours,” and where cohesive forces have brought together Democrat operatives, intelligence operatives, and their mutual and overlapping assets in the press.

        NOTE * One might look on this sorry episode as one more example of the “state of exception” declared by the hegemonic factions of the PMC post-2016.

      1. skippy

        I stopped at Tuckers notion of political censorship considering he works for a decades long flagship on that paradigm … mate …

        1. The Rev Kev

          Come across his vids from time to time flicking through YouTube but I linked to it because that was the first time ever I saw him doing a vid as if he was doing straight reporting.

          1. skippy

            I was just saying anyone taking what comes out of not only fox, but all the others these days, and confuse it with reporting are seeking romantic notions mate. I would have thought the silly part about how that all happens in don’t look up movie would be apparent … what is said is for eyeballs and nothing else …

                1. Pat

                  But Tucker reporting it gets that straight ethical reporting more exposure.

                  And not for nothing the lies and slanted material coming out of the non Murdoch universe these days from every major network and newspaper is just as heavy or heavier. In the past couple of years Carlson has beaten their average on letting the truth come out imho.

                  That doesn’t mean I believe everything he says, what it means is I believe most everything supposedly acceptable is worse and even more corrupted and I welcome anything that helps make that obvious which is cynical not romantic.

                  1. skippy

                    As Fox is the counter MSM outlet to all the so called Liberal MSM I just see it as taking the opposite side of issues to maintain that distinction of polarity. It should be remember that Fox started off as a Calif Liberal network and then Murdock did the overnight coup, complete 180 into the most far right network.

                    The cast of caricatures during the ME wars and Occupy gaslighting a nation into a frenzy.

                    And after that one guy that switched teams makes noises that at moments seems reasonable is not enough to ignore all the rest or how that could again change suddenly.

            1. Carolinian

              I don’t get cable TV and doubt I’ve watched more than ten minutes of Fox my entire life but the “he’s from Fox” charge doesn’t mean much when they have all turned into Fox–at least according to those I trust who do watch cable TV. I did once get cable TV and thought Carlson was annoying long ago on CNN but he’s not a stupid person and seems to have rightly concluded that an injection of common sense into our current media bubble would make him a star. His views are available in his book and I have read that and thought he made a lot of good points while in other ways being a doctrinaire conservative.

              In short when we play the ad hominem game we are playing their game not ours. What’s taking place is a battle of ideas and not one of breeding, education, background or most of all of “evil” in the religious sense. If the species is to survive good ideas are going to have to drive out the bad no matter where those good ideas come from.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you.

      Taibbi’s reporting — mostly internal email from Twitter — shows that the Biden campaign leveraged Democrat assets in the Twitter moderation team to suppress a news story from The New York Post that would have hurt their candidate in the closing days of the campaign.

      If that’s not rigging an election, then what is it?

      1. ambrit

        Re: “If that’s not rigging an election, then what is it?”
        I’ll say that deploying Homeland Security goons to “protect” American polling places from ‘domestic terrorism’ would fit the bill nicely. Said goons immediately become the “gatekeepers” for American elections. All sorts of requirements and exclusions can then ‘legally’ be applied to the franchise. Say, as an example, that the CDC mandates that everyone who enters a voting facility be “vaccinated” and up to date on their ‘booster’ shots, for purely “public safety” reasons, of course.
        The possibilities are well nigh endless.

Comments are closed.