2:00PM Water Cooler 2/15/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

In honor of the tool-using Cockatoo:

White Cockatoo, Julio Enrique Monaga, Bayamón, Puerto Rico. This cockatoo attempts to be melodious and then gives up the unequal struggle.

* * *


“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

“How the temperature of US politics came down” [Financial Times]. It did? Anyhow: “A few things are helping to turn an acute condition chronic. One is Biden himself. White, old, non-Ivy League and, with apologies to his hometown of Scranton, non-metropolitan, no Democratic president since Jimmy Carter has been so superficially digestible for conservatives. He also deals in the big-government populism that Donald Trump invoked in the abstract without enacting in law…. At 80, Biden can only be a fleeting balm. A more lasting one is China. The US has the unifying external rival now that it has missed since the fall of the Soviet Union. Yes, Republicans fault Biden for taking his time to down a Chinese balloon over terra Americana. But such tactical bickering is pro forma. The point is that both parties face the same way on, bar climate change, the largest question of the century. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, is untribal when China is the subject. Partisanship feeds on low stakes. The Newt Gingrich congressional Republicans, the strident turn in cable news: it all started when the US had nothing exterior to detain it in the 1990s. So, we have a personal factor (Biden) and a structural one (China).”

“In Trump probe, US seeks to pierce attorney-client privilege” [Associated Press]. “The privilege protects lawyers from having to tell prosecutors about confidential conversations their clients have with them. But prosecutors can get around that privilege if they can convince a judge that the communications they want information about were made in furtherance of a crime — a principle known as the crime-fraud exception.” • What could go wrong?


“Who should lead? Democrats, Republicans struggle to decide” [Associated Press]. “While President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, are preparing for a possible rematch in 2024, a new poll finds a notable lack of enthusiasm within the parties for either man as his party’s leader and a clear opening for new standard-bearers. About a third of both Democrats and Republicans are unsure of who they want leading their party, according to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. No single Democrat captures significant support when asked who should be their party’s leader; instead, Democrats sprinkle their attention across more than a dozen politicians. Yet they also feel more hopeful than dejected about their party. Some Republicans, meanwhile, coalesce around a couple of individuals — Trump included. But a majority remain uncommitted to him despite his grip on the party, and Republicans have grown somewhat more pessimistic about the GOP’s future. The findings reflect a deep sense of uncertainty about the future of the nation’s political parties and the challenges both face in tethering their frayed — and perhaps disenchanted — coalitions.” • Good. Great!

“Five reasons DeSantis may not be another Jeb Bush” [The Hill]. • His charm of character? Not so bad, actually. This: “Unlike Bush, who had been out of public office for nearly a decade by the time he announced his 2016 presidential run, DeSantis still has the bully pulpit of the Florida governor’s mansion behind him — and he’s taking full advantage of it.”

CA: “California Sen. Feinstein says she won’t run for reelection” [Associated Press]. • Finally. Poor woman overstayed her welcome just a little.

NC: “NC Democratic Party ousts Richardson and shakes party leadership” [Local Today (TW)]. “Members of North Carolina’s Democratic Party ousted their chairman, first vice chairman and second vice chairman on Saturday, instead voting to select new candidates for the top four leadership positions. The overhaul comes three months after the party failed to win a single national race in the midterm elections. And two months after Meredith Cuomo, who had been the party’s executive director since 2019, announced her resignation. The party’s executive committee selected campaign organizer Anderson Clayton, 25, to succeed incumbent leader Bobbie Richardson, who was seeking a second term after his election in 2021. The victory of Clayton, chairman of Person County’s Democratic Party, is seen as a big surprise. Richardson, 73, ran for re-election with the support of the party’s top elected officials, including Governor Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and US Rep. Wiley Nickel, among others. Nonetheless, Richardson became the first sitting party leader to lose a re-election bid in at least a decade.” • Good. Great!

NY: The balloon hadn’t popped yet:

Republican Funhouse

“Pence Asserts Novel Constitutional Claim to Avoid Testifying Before Grand Jury” [Jonathan Turley]. “Former Vice President Mike Pence is making a novel constitutional argument in opposing the recent grand jury subpoena for testimony from Special Counsel Jack Smith. He is claiming that, as President of the Senate, he falls under the protections of the “Speech and Debate Clause” like members of Congress. It is an unresolved question and he could ultimately prevail…. The challenge could force greater clarity on the bifurcated role of a vice president as a member of both branches. As President of the Senate, Pence does vote and engage in legislative business. That certainly included the deliberations on January 6th when some members were opposing certification — a move that Pence correctly opposed.” • Dick Cheney, in the good old days, actually thought he was a fourth branch of government, due to the same “bifurcated role.”

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.

* * *

If the knobs are already at eleven in 2023, what will happen in 2024 [shudder]?

This one seems to be targeting geeks…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Temptations of Carl Schmitt” [The Upheaval]. Fascinating article, well worth a read. This factoid caught me eye. “Under martial law, Bavaria proved a hotbed of political turmoil, with powerful local socialist and communist factions generating a constantly looming threat of civil disorder. Given his legal training, it was young Schmitt to whom the general staff, in 1915, gave the assignment of preemptively coming up with a legal justification for why the military executive should be granted an extension of exceptional powers even after the war was over (‘Me of all people! What else may providence have in store for me,’ he wondered in his diary at the time). By 1916 he had duly done as asked, delivering a lecture on the precedents for ‘dictatorship and the state of siege.’ In 1917 he was released from service and appointed as a civilian member of the military government, heading a unit surveilling socialists and other troublemakers.”


Looks like “leveling off to a high plateau” across the board. (I still think “Something Awful” is coming, however. I mean, besides what we already know about.) Stay safe out there!

Lambert here: Last Friday, I reconfigured Covid coverage (at least temporarily; we may need to adjust to another surge). I’ve always thought of this section as providing readers with not only trend data, but early warning about locations (to the county level) particularly in travel season. But now the data is simply too slow and too bad, unsurprisingly, since “Covid is over.” So I will revert to three charts only: national Case Data (Biobot), state Positivity (Walgreens), and national Deaths (Our World in Data). I also feel that the top of the #COVID19 section has not been sufficiently structured, and I’m going to create some buckets, like “Indoor Air,” or “Masks” (and “Variants,” if I encounter a good link). This reconfiguration is not a “step back,” as Dima would say; but I do think I can use the freed-up time to beef up other sections, like Politics and especially Stats. Reader comment welcome!

Resources (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC); Variants (CDC; Walgreens).

Resources (Local): NC (Dashboard).

Readers, since the national data systems are being vandalized, let’s start collecting links state data, too. If readers would send me links (see Plant below) to their favorite State and local dashboards/wastewater sites, that would be great. Or leave a link in Comments. Hat tip to JB for the NC dashboard.

* * *

Look for the Helpers

“Covid Meetups” [COVID MEETUPS (JM)]. “A free service to find individuals, families and local businesses/services who take COVID precautions in your area.” • I played around with it some. It seems to be Facebook-driven, sadly, but you can use the Directory without logging in. I get rational hits from the U.S., but not from London, UK, FWIW.


“A Crucial Group of Covid Drugs Has Stopped Working” [Wired]. “The problem with these existing monoclonal antibodies is that they bind to a very small piece of the virus known as the receptor binding domain, part of the spike protein. Throughout the pandemic, this part has constantly mutated, giving way to new variants and subvariants that current monoclonal antibodies can no longer recognize and neutralize…. [P]eople who don’t mount a good immune response following vaccination are now virtually unprotected against the virus… The Vanderbilt team and others are continuing the search for powerful antibodies that could be turned into new drugs, including preventive ones like Evusheld. But it’s a constant game of viral whack-a-mole. ‘The virus has changed so rapidly that antibody discovery efforts get stopped mid-track,’ [Robert Carnahan, associate director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center] says. ‘Variants are changing now on a three-month time scale.’ His group would find an antibody that was effective against a current variant, only for it to be rendered useless by a new variant a few months later.” • Yikes.


“Long COVID Now Looks like a Neurological Disease, Helping Doctors to Focus Treatments” [Scientific American]. “The most common, persistent and disabling symptoms of long COVID are neurological…. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is new, but postviral syndromes are not. Research on other viruses, and on neurological damage from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in particular, is guiding work on long COVID. And the recognition that the syndrome may cause its many effects through the brain and the nervous system is beginning to shape approaches to medical treatment. ‘I now think of COVID as a neurological disease as much as I think of it as a pulmonary disease, and that’s definitely true in long COVID,’ says William Pittman, a physician at UCLA Health in Los Angeles, who treats Ghormley and many similar patients. Although 16 million U.S. sufferers is a reasonable estimate of the condition’s toll, there are other, more dire assessments. A meta-analysis of 41 studies conducted in 2021 concluded that worldwide, 43 percent of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 may develop long COVID, with about 30 percent—translating to approximately 30 million people—affected in the U.S.”

Elite Malfeasance

“Doctors will be encouraged to issue fewer sick notes and instead help employees carry on working in bid to reverse the rise in workers who stay home due to long-term ailments” [Daily Mail]. “Help”? “A Government source told The Daily Telegraph: ‘The mental health benefits of work are well-established. We want to do all we can to encourage as many people as possible to stay in work with the relevant support in place.'” • Dude, you’re a Tory.

“Elite” being a relative term:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings:

Of course, Covid is asymptomatic. It follows that clinicians should wear masks at all times.

The Jackpot

“The Antonine Plague and a clue to the future” [Nate Bear, ¡Do Not Panic!]. “Not since 1959 and the great famine in China has global life expectancy fallen for two years in a row. Up until 2020, global life expectancy had dropped one year only twice since the mid 1960s…. Like those dips, the cause of this more-than-a-dip is also a virus. It’s covid. There is no other candidate…. You wouldn’t know it from media coverage of collapsing life expectancy, which is covered as a curiosity, rather than as a clue to the future, but we are at a civilisational waypoint…. You wouldn’t know it from media coverage of collapsing life expectancy, which is covered as a curiosity, rather than as a clue to the future, but we are at a civilisational waypoint… Ancient Rome in 165 AD was at its peak. Roman power was spread to its farthest reaches under the reign of the last so-called Good Emperor, the warrior-philosopher Marcus Aurelius…. From the East the soldiers brought back many of the spoils of war – and also smallpox. Many historians see the Antonine Plague as having created the conditions for the decline and subsequent end of the Roman Empire. There were no more Good Emperors after Marcus Aurelius and with the Roman Army decimated by disease, conscription was introduced, rattling Roman society. Two years after the first wave of plague, Germanic tribes (who hadn’t suffered nearly as much from the outbreak) defeated the Roman army and crossed the Rhine for the first time in more than 200 years. Tax income declined as the population fell, the death of artisans disrupted local economies and food shortages became more frequent as skilled farmers died. Spirituality and religiousness grew as a cathartic response to mass death, creating the conditions for the spread of monotheistic religions, such as Mithraism and Christianity. A virus played a big role in ending an empire. Like Ancient Rome, this plague is hitting the US empire particularly hard.”

“The Antonine Plague and the decline of the Roman Empire” (abstract only; translated) [Le Infezioni in Medicina]. “The extent of the epidemic has been extensively debated: the majority of authors agree that the impact of the plague was severe, influencing military conscription, the agricultural and urban economy, and depleting the coffers of the State. The Antonine plague affected ancient Roman traditions, also leaving a mark on artistic expression; a renewal of spirituality and religiousness was recorded. These events created the conditions for the spread of monotheistic religions, such as Mithraism and Christianity. This period, characterized by health, social and economic crises, paved the way for the entry into the Empire of neighbouring barbarian tribes and the recruitment of barbarian troops into the Roman army; these events particularly favoured the cultural and political growth of these populations. The Antonine Plague may well have created the conditions for the decline of the Roman Empire and, afterwards, for its fall in the West in the fifth century AD.” • Here is the original, for those of you who can read Italian.

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from February 13:

For now, I’m going to use this national wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published February 14:

0.2%. Still on the high plateau, equal to previous peaks.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,140,401 – 1,140,209 – 1,140,017 = 192 (192 * 365 = 70,080 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). 192 again, I did doublecheck. What are the odds?

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. (Though CDC may be jiggering the numbers soon. Lower, naturally.)

• The lucky country:

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NY Empire State Manufacturing Index climbed 27.1 points from a month earlier to -5.8 in February 2023, easily beating market expectations of -18.0 and suggesting business activity in New York State contracted at a softer pace.”

Manufacturing: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “Industrial Production in the United States increased 0.8% year-on-year in January of 2023, the smallest increase since the pandemic recovery started in March of 2021.”

Capacity: “United States Capacity Utilization” [Trading Economics]. “Capacity utilization in rate in the US fell to 78.3% in January of 2023 from a downwardly revised 78.4% in December and well below forecasts of 79%. It is the lowest rate since September of 2021 and 1.3 percentage points below its long-run average.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “GSK was warned repeatedly about Zantac impurity but played down risks: Bloomberg” [Fierce Pharma]. “Facing tens of thousands of lawsuits over cancer risks on the popular heartburn drug Zantac, GSK has argued there’s ‘no consistent or reliable evidence’ that the medicine causes any cancer. But a new report in Bloomberg Businessweek says GSK’s own scientists have long known about the risks. Wednesday, the publication reported that over the span of multiple decades, GSK was warned by its own scientists and independent researchers about potential cancer-causing impurities in the drug. Over the years, GSK supported “flawed research” aimed at downplaying risks, and it opted against making any changes to its supply chain or storage procedures that might’ve mitigated the issue, Businessweek reports. The team reviewed “thousands of pages,” including court filings and studies, to report the story.” • Just like climate.

Tech: “Are we racing toward AI catastrophe?” [Vox]. “”It’s important *NOT* to ‘move fast and break things’ for tech as important as AI,” [DeepMind founder and leader Demis Hassabis] wrote on Twitter in September. The usual Silicon Valley spirit — try things, see how they fail, try again — has brought us some incredibly cool consumer technology and fun websites. But it’s not how you’d build a skyscraper or a manned rocket, and powerful AI systems are much more in the latter category, where you want robust engineering for reliability.”

Tech: “TikTok’s Talks With U.S. Have an Unofficial Player: China” [Wall Street Journal]. “Beijing has increasingly signaled its desire to protect Chinese technology. It recently proposed to amend a regulation restricting the export of Chinese-created content-recommendation algorithms, which lawyers say is a reminder that Beijing has a hand to play in any deal. TikTok is at a crossroads, as U.S. concerns about its Chinese ownership grow. Some officials have explored the idea of forcing a sale to a U.S. company. In 2020, when the Trump administration pushed for a sale of TikTok’s American operations, China added the algorithms into an export-control list. ByteDance at the time said any sale would need approval from Chinese authorities, which it sought but never received, official records show. The idea of a sale eventually fell by the wayside.” • Why not just outlaw recommendation algorithms entirely? On every social media platform I’m familiar with — Twitter, YouTube, Facebook — the recommendation algorithm is a clickbait-infested, i.e. revenue-generating, cesspit. Content from accounts I subscribe to, in reverse chronological order. So far as I know, the very first example of social media, the blogosphere, did exactly that (as does it’s ally and comrade, RSS). None of the social pathologies of “the platforms” have, to my recollection, ever been attributed to the blogosphere. Why? No recommendation algorithm.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73 Greed (previous close: 73 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 73 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 15 at 1:21 PM EST.

The Gallery

She started painting at the age of 78:

Zeitgeist Watch

Yeah, whatever happened to that?

Our Famously Free Press

“It’s True What They Say About the NYT” [RealClearPolitics]. “This examination, undertaken by Jeff Gerth, a decorated investigative journalist formerly with the Times, was published by Columbia Journalism Review. It’s a tour de force! Having taken a year and a half to research and write, and at a length of 24,000 words in four installments, Gerth utterly destroys whatever is left of the lie that Trump was in league with the Russians, and of the extraordinary lengths the media went to spread that smear…. there is the shock of Columbia Journalism Review as the publisher. This small circulation magazine, published by the Columbia Journalism School, operates at the heart of the media establishment. More than this, both CJR and the journalism school have many ties with the Times. The current chairman of CJR, for instance, was until recently the deputy managing editor of the Times. That CJR’s editor/publisher, Kyle Pope, would agree to publish such a study elevates him to a kind of hero status that few editors or publishers have attained. … [G]iven that neither the Washington Post nor the Times have publicly addressed the gaping hole Gerth’s reporting has torn in their credibility – and the muted reaction of most of the rest of the corporate media to Gerth’s exposé, we seem to have entered a new era. In today’s brave new journalism world, objectivity and even truth have been abandoned in favor of a journalism that simply reflects whatever political or ideological narrative is prevalent at the time.” • Yep. Although I would say “hegemonic” rather than “prevalent,” and add that hegemony, like bread, must be made.

“The rise of the Trump-Russia revisionists” [Vox]. “[In CJR, Jeff] Gerth argued that major news outlets’ Trump-Russia coverage “includes serious flaws” and proceeded to lay out what he claimed those flaws were. Trump-Russia revisionism is on the rise.” I guess “revisionism” is what we call reporting these days. Heck, though, maybe it’ll catch on! More: “the Russian government really did intervene in the 2016 election by hacking leading Democrats’ emails and having them leaked.” This is very sloppy writing, and this Prokop dude should take some lessons from Gerth. who writes: “(The Justice Department, in 2018, charged twelve GRU officials for the Podesta and DNC hacks, but the charges have never been litigated.” Prokop, of course, links to a Vox article, no doubt not choosing to engage Gerth directly, a wise move. A sad excuse for a hit job!

Class Warfare

“The plateauing of cognitive ability among top earners” [European Sociological Review]. “[A]long an important dimension of merit—cognitive ability—we find no evidence that those with top jobs that pay extraordinary wages are more deserving than those who earn only half those wages. The main takeaway of our analysis is thus the identification, both theoretically and empirically, of two regimes of stratification in the labour market. The bulk of citizens earn normal salaries that are clearly responsive to individual cognitive capabilities. Above a threshold level of wage, cognitive-ability levels are above average but play no role in differentiating wages. With relative incomes of top earners steadily growing in Western countries (Alvaredo et al., 2017), an increasing share of aggregate earnings may be allocated under the latter regime.”

News of the Wired

“Why is the Oldest Book in Europe a Work of Music Criticism? (Part 1 of 2)” [Ted Gioia, The Honest Broker]. “A key argument of this book is that the shape of Western society even today is the result of a battle in worldviews that took place 2,500 years ago. On the one side, you had the proponents of logic, rationality, and philosophy, and they defeated their opponents who put their faith in songs. It seems like an unfair battle. How can music ever be more powerful than logic? But Plato—and the other leading ancients who laid the groundwork for our rational and algorithmic society—feared music for a good reason. They saw the hypnotic effect of the epic and lyric singers on the masses. For centuries, people learned life skills from songs. They preserved history, culture, and the entire mythos with songs. They tapped into their own deepest emotions with songs. They celebrated every life milestone and ritual with songs. They reached out to the gods themselves with songs. Above all, they used this music to secure personal autonomy and what today we would call human rights. So we should not be surprised that Plato, Aristotle and the other originators of Western rationalism had to displace this dominant worldview of their ancestors—mythic, magical, musical—in order for them to create a more rigorous, disciplined, and analytical society. They won that battle, and we live with the consequences today in our algorithm-driven culture. As a result the richest and most influential musicology in the history of human society has been mostly forgotten. The Derveni papyrus and the tradition it represents is never taught or even mentioned at music schools. But this alternative musicology—which we need more today than ever—hasn’t disappeared completely. Far from it. As we shall see, it still exerts a surprising impact in almost every sphere of human life, but in hidden ways.” • 

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Angie Neer writes: ‘In real life these are about 1/4″ in diameter.’

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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. Samuel Conner

    > moderate politician on China now going rogue for what seems like political reasons, thinking this will help her re-election bid … states that China is “bent on a world war.

    Personally, I think “projection” is a simpler explanation

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Great catch! I did just that at your suggestion and the copy is written perfectly for doing so. In fact, you almost have to use an announcer voice to read it.

      THEY say WE’RE deeFENDING   
      MULL TIPP ULL   
      com PET IT IV
      in states
      O H I O !
      M O N T A N A ! (come on down!)
      a n n n n d    WWW III SSS CON SSSINNN!!!

      This syncs way too well to be accidental. I have to believe that at this stage in their incredibly lame careers, the DNC’s copywriting consultants are feeding pro wrestling scripts, televangelist pitches and special secret dipstate sauce into AI which then does the best it can.

      1. katiebird

        ChiGal, (jumping in to continue a conversation from a few days ago) Yesterday I signed up with Mark Cuban’s CostPlus Pharmacy and had my doctor fax a prescription to them and ordered it.

        So where CostCo was $120 for 1 month of generic Advair. Cuban’s cost was $170 for 3 months. I made sure my doctor’s nurse understood that this os the only prescription I want to switch. Cuban doesn’t carry at least one and the rest are either the same cost or a little more (Metform is free at CostCo and a charge at Cuban’s)

        CostCo prices are either my. Medicare Part D plan or GoodRx. So I’m pretty happy that you got me moving on this.

        1. ChiGal

          glad to hear it, although another commenter first mentioned Cuban’s operation. I am still working on it: turns out my inhaler is Qvar (used to be Advair for the longest!) and there isn’t a generic. The reason it was so high is that it triggered my $500 yearly deductible. But I am in the process of requesting a “tier adjustment” so we’ll see…

          1. katiebird

            Oh, Darn it!! I am sorry about that. Have you checked the GoodRX price on it? Lots of pharmacies accept it.

    1. Utah

      Utah had a good tracker. Hasn’t been updated since January 9. :( Not sure how I’m supposed to assess personal risk without data, except to say I’m not.

  2. Jason Boxman

    No recommendation algorithm.

    It’s organically driven, by linking, linking sharing, and RSS pingbacks and so forth. I mostly ignore social media, but whenever I’ve loaded Twitter, it’s recommendations are entirely garbage. The last time I looked, it was some young tech exec posting about how excited she was finally getting her Porshe SUV. wtf would I care about that? I don’t know how Lambert tolerates Twitter for keeping abreast of COVID and other things. I’d lose my mind.

    1. John

      I find it difficult to even comprehend ‘Porsche’ and ‘SUV’ in the same sentence much less to picture what a ‘Porsche SUV’ might look like and I do not want to find out.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        You guys need to get out more. Not only does Porsche have 2 SUVs (the Macan and the Cayenne), they also have a 4 door sedan (Panamera). Why would they do that? People buy them, of course.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I rarely go out and there’s so much wealth driving through western NC I frequently see these, without having to get out any more than I already do, although the Mercedes is still more popular by a wide margin. Range Rovers as well.

          1. Wukchumni

            Nobody cares what you drive or what clothes you wear here in tiny town. A 4 wheel drive is a nice thing to have, but not necessary, and it doesn’t matter what make of a car-low or high end, the mice are going to get into it (air filters are a good place to be, apparently) as we all pretty much live within the confines of the forest for the trees.

            You’d be hard pressed to do more than 55 mph here on the main drag, and no more than 40 mph on other roads, and its more like 15-20 mph driving the Generals Highway into Sequoia NP… a Citroën 2CV would do fine, a Porsche driver would only get frustrated.

            1. Jeff V

              I live on an island that is 9 miles by 7, with narrow roads and a maximum speed limit of 35 mph. Plenty of people here have Porsches, SUVs or otherwise. There are even Ferraris and Lamborghinis. For some people, practicality has nothing to do with car ownership.

              Our number / license plates are purely numbers. Most of them are 5 digits, and come with the car. If you want, you can pay upwards of 50 thousand pounds for a two digit number, and people do. (The people who own the one digit numbers ain’t selling so they are pretty much priceless.)

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
          Careless driving
          Texting while driving’

          What an idiot. They should dump that wrecked Porsche on the driver’s front yard as a garden ornament to show off to the neighbours.

  3. mrsyk

    “If the knobs are already at eleven in 2023, what will happen in 2024 [shudder]?” Here’s an argument against digital transactions. Imagine how little they might reap if the masses had to write a check and stick it in the mail.

    1. Not Again

      Personally, I’m not giving the Dems any money. Since they already “saved democracy” in 2022, there really isn’t any reason to support them.

  4. Wukchumni

    I was one of about a quarter million on the streets of San Francisco 20 years ago protesting the war, and about the only thing the press mentioned the next day was some hooligan threw a rock through the plate glass window of a brick & mortar business, that’s all that occurred.

    1. Old Sarum

      The cynic in me says that If there was actually a rock thrower, it was an agent provocateur.


    2. The Rev Kev

      Pretty amazing that they could have all those protests all around the world – and the elites knew that they were of no consequence whatsoever and could safely ignore them. Back then, it was a sign to me how much the power dynamic had shifted in their favour.

  5. Karl

    RE: “How the Temperature of U.S. Politics Came Down” (Financial Times)

    I thought this was a pretty astute analysis, overall. I was struck by this quote:

    Partisanship feeds on low stakes.

    Maybe this is somewhat true of foreign affairs, but domestic stakes are higher. I think it’s domestic policy that feeds most partisanship. Poverty, drugs, healthcare, economic inequality, guns, race violence, immigration, are all pretty high stakes to voters — if not to the leadership class. Perhaps the readers of Financial Times might see these as rather low stakes, compared to, say, lowering their taxes and fiscal austerity.

  6. Louis Fyne

    Anyone else see these alleged aerial video around and of the skies over East Palestine, OH? https://t.me/intelslava/44531

    Like an eye of hurricane…but the clouds are pitch black dark for miles around the epicenter.

    I don’t know where the original video came from. And curious if this video is legit.

    DC Democrats and media are 10,000% pro-environment….unless it makes Biden or the first LGBTQ+IA cabinet member look bad.

    1. midtownwageslave

      I sincerely hope this catastrophe can be used to argue for the nationalization of freight rail in the US.

      Otherwise I’m afraid its only a matter of time until a 200 car train carrying radioactive material wipes us all out…

    2. Pnwarrior_womyn

      I sent an email to my local state legislators this morning asking “What’s the plan?” since we’ve already had multiple train accidents here in Pierce County, Washington. The last chemical spill was February 2011, when hazardous chemicals spilled from a derailed freight train onto the banks of Puget Sound. “Only” 50 gallons of highly corrosive sodium hydroxide, or lye, hit the shore in University Place near Tacoma. Four tank cars, each containing about 15,000 gallons of lye, were derailed near the shore. Only one car leaked, from two places, a valve and a hatch. Emergency crews were able to seal and reduce those leaks to a drip. The chemical lye is used in industry to unclog drains and regulate the pH levels of water, but it can be hazardous and cause breathing problems and burns.

      None of the cars went into the water, and none of the lye appears to have spilled directly into the water, state hazmat guy said at the time. No evacuations were ordered, though there are some homes in the area.

      The accident occurred as a 103-car BNSF train was heading north from Portland, Oregon. The train derailed, and some of its cars struck a freight train traveling in the *opposite* direction. Twelve cars on the northbound train derailed, as did two on the southbound train. The hazardous chemicals were pumped out of the tank cars and into trucks and hauled away.

      The State Department of Ecology fined BNSF a mere $3,000.

      My friend who used to work in the state legislature reflected that he worked on rail safety issues his first year down in Olympia when oil trains were exploding every year. “Problem is railroads are generally the feds turf and that makes it tough for states to wield much power.”

      I grew up 37 miles north of East Palestine, Ohio.

    3. The Rev Kev

      That photo was apparently taken by a passenger aboard a plane but it looks like a witch’s brew to me. Real evil stuff. But the people of East Palestine had to return home as the local economy was suffering.

      1. JBird4049

        Well, funerals and memorials are economic activities. Wouldn’t that be good for the economy? From a certain viewpoint?

        1. JBird4049

          I just want to add that this is meant to be satire or humor like The Onion, but is it really? We already know that our economy has been reconfigured as as not so metaphorical abattoir; they blew up and set fire to improperly labeled train cars full of already dangerous chemicals, which made the dangerous chemicals even more toxic and long lasting; my understanding is that at least 1-in-10 Americans will probably be suffering from various ailments including, but not limited to various cancers, still births, and deformed babies for decades if not centuries. If you want to see an actual example, read up on Agent Orange and it effects on Vietnam even three generations later.

          Maybe I am being hyperbolic, but my God, even if people are not deliberately consuming and then excreting the lives of others including the places that they live those lives, what is the difference? The area around West Palestine was already an economic wasteland full of disposable people. Now they and their town have been poisoned. But busy funeral homes do add to the GDP.

      2. griffen

        Fundraising is encouraged this week, occasionally but not around the hour, for relief efforts in the earthquake impacted regions of Turkey and Syria. At least on ESPN, I want to say it’s for sending your donations to the American Red Cross. Yeah, nothing of the sort for those impacted here by this carnage.

    4. flora

      I’ve wondered at the silence from both parties and nearly all the MSM about this train disaster. Why the silence? Did they think we wouldn’t notice, wouldn’t care? Why was everyone hiding from this story. Why wasn’t anyone talking about investigations, or re-examining the transportable load rules and safety requirements, or maintenance and staffing? Or talking about it at all?

      I saw this segment of Breaking Points with Ryan and Emily talking with a railroad safety guy. It’s a slow interview but worth listening carefully to, imo. utube.

      Rail Worker EXPOSES Corruption Behind Ohio Train DISASTER | Counter Points

      After watching that, it seemed to me all the pols in both parties and the MSM are afraid of big money; not just friendly with or cozy to big money, they’re afraid of big money, to the point of cravenness toward big money even in the face of disaster. If the current pols and govt do nothing toward better safety after this disaster, then they all need to go, in both parties.

  7. agent ranger smith

    China would not be a “problem” in a Fair Trade Protectionist environment. It is the Forced Free-Trade environment which created the vacuum which the American Overclass conspired to fill with China, by dismantling America’s economy and shipping the parts and pieces to China and rebuilding it there.

    The same people who seek to distract us with the diversionary fake-problem of “China” are the same people who conspired to destroy the American economy with Free Trade and make China into America’s thingmaking platform to begin with.

    Great communicators on an FDR-Reagan level would figure out how to offer “condensation nucleii” to people whose thoughts are already prepared to crystalize around such a nucleus. China is the “distraction abroad”. Free Trade supporters are the Enemy within.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Check out the recently released movie “White Noise”.
      Some residents of East Palestine were actually extras in the movie.

  8. pjay

    – “The rise of the Trump-Russia revisionists” [Vox]

    In a generally quite favorable review of Gerth’s series in Consortium News, Patrick Lawernce, who has been an importance voice of sanity on Russiagate (and Russia) from the beginning, pointed out that one of the flaws in Gerth’s effort was his failure to deal with the e-mail issue. The result is allowing hacks to say things like this:

    “Though it’s inconvenient for the revisionists’ narrative, the Russian government really did intervene in the 2016 election by hacking leading Democrats’ emails and having them leaked. Much of the coverage of the scandal now derided as “Russiagate” was about the investigation into whether anyone associated with Trump was involved in that Russian effort, treating this as an open question to which we simply didn’t yet know the answer.”

    Reading on, the author builds his whole defense of the “investigation” on this. As Lawrence noted, not only was the bogus IRA social media “manipulation” scam discredited (this was addressed by Gerth), but there was extensive evidence calling the “Russian hacking” story into question as well. This included the closed-session testimony by the head of Crowdstrike admitting that it *did not actually have any evidence* of a Russian “hack”! Conveniently, this was kept classified for two years, then memory-holed by the media.

    The other big thing in this “anti-revisionist” piece is pretty ironic. It is the history of media persecution *of the Clintons* under the “Clinton rules”! Pretty funny. There was a bit of this in the 1990s, and it is true that Gerth was part of it. It is also true that while the media did slobber over Whitewater and, of course, Monica in the 1990s, it has completely ignored some much more serious crimes by this family who became an important part of the Establishment. And nothing the Clintons faced can hold a candle to the absurd extremes of Trump derangement, not least of which includes being accused of treasonous collusion with a foreign power.

    What a piece of …

    1. fresno dan

      We are simply now in the realm of dogma and faith based belief that Trump is the devil. Now, I can’t abide Trump but I wish people who can’t stand Trump would realize that so much of possible world war is supported by villainizing Putin, based on nothing more than bogus charges that Russia interferes in our elections. really, much worse than McCarthism…

  9. fresno dan

    “It’s True What They Say About the NYT” [RealClearPolitics].
    …. That CJR’s editor/publisher, Kyle Pope, would agree to publish such a study elevates him to a kind of hero status that few editors or publishers have attained. … [G]iven that neither the Washington Post nor the Times have publicly addressed the gaping hole Gerth’s reporting has torn in their credibility – and the muted reaction of most of the rest of the corporate media to Gerth’s exposé, we seem to have entered a new era. In today’s brave new journalism world, objectivity and even truth have been abandoned in favor of a journalism that simply reflects whatever political or ideological narrative is prevalent at the time.” • Yep. Although I would say “hegemonic” rather than “prevalent,” and add that hegemony, like bread, must be made.
    Agendas and dogma are what you are reading if you bother to peruse the Main Stream Media. It is too bad, because sometimes it takes large resources to devote the manpower and time to delve into events. I understand that for most of our history, newspapers were nothing more than organs of a political party, and it seems we are going back to that. But maybe now a days there are more options for objective reporting than there was 100 or more years ago.

  10. Wukchumni

    We’ve come full circle in 50 years as far as interest rates go, I remember the joy I received when my savings passbook with $364.52 went to $366.76, this compound interest thing could be big!

    The idea that a house in LA was worth $50k back then utilizing those interest rates and the same tired house is now worth a million, only emphasizes how silly everything became since.

  11. notabanker

    I have always found it fascinating that there is daily story on the performance of the stock market, either how it performed today or how it is going to perform tomorrow. Millions and now billions of trades take place amongst tens of thousands of stocks and “the market” is up or down because of this report, or that announcement or the Fed or yada yada yada. It really is utter bull family blog.

    Reading the politics section, it finally dawned on me we have now made that transition to the news and politics as well. The whole political landscape of the entire country of 330,000,000 people can be boiled down to a series of paragraphs because the NYT or WaPo or in this case the FT (which isn’t even a US institution) says so.

    I look forward to the brain chip implant so we can just bypass this whole having to read thing.

    1. Wukchumni

      The way the reporting goes with Dow Jonestown, is they’ve done their best to turn it into a sports score, where presumably we cheer for wins but say little about losses, or how it really doesn’t mean anything to the average Joe or Jane, but you’d think it had this outsized importance in everything we do.

    2. griffen

      I like to think of markets in the context of a fictional film like Trading Places. With one piece of data, the Duke brothers can fathom how much richer they become (and they were already rich but really it’s just never sufficient). Only they get the tables turned on them. Plus the timeless quotes. “Mr Valentine sets the price.” “Pork bellies!” “Turn the machines back on!”

      By the bye, the sports section is much akin to this hyper hyping and 2 minutes of dreck aspect as well. Tom Brady! Aaron Rodgers, what will he do today / where is he going? Me, I always loved Michael Jordan from his college hoops days where head coach Dean Smith famously kept his scoring average under 20 points per game. Or that’s how the story gets told.

        1. Alex Cox

          Raquel Welch was of Nicaraguan heritage and spoke out against the Contras during the Reagan/Bush presidency. A good woman!

  12. upstater

    Some good news of slapping down blue dog Hochul, but assertive democrats in the state senate

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Breaking a weekslong impasse, the New York State Senate rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s nominee to lead the state’s highest court, holding an unexpected floor vote on Wednesday that capped a dramatic battle that had roiled Democrats in the State Capitol.
    The vote — the first time that the State Senate has rejected a governor’s pick for chief judge — amounted to an extraordinary repudiation of Ms. Hochul at the start of her first full term as governor.

  13. Noah Bodhi


    Yeah, whatever happened to that?

    Coordinated protests against the Iraq War took place across hundreds of cities around in the world #OnThisDay in 2003, with more than one million marching in London alone.

    Stuffs happening, you just gotta look…

    February 19, 2023, in a city near you, but the big one in D.C.


    1. Skip Intro

      What fraction of the people who marched through SF against a war based on lies (who were proven 100% correct) are now shrieking for more war and trusting the State Dept. and Pentagon completely. I’m guessing >70%.
      Trump-shock inflicted borderline personality disorders onto them, converting them into rabid authoritarian followers.

  14. Wukchumni

    After two weeks of intense outreach and citywide hand-wringing over the future of the homeless campers at McPherson Square, the National Park Service fenced off the downtown D.C. park and evicted dozens of people from their tents Wednesday morning. (WaPost)

    Our National Parks might be one of the few places you don’t see any homeless in the USA, the tyranny of distance in getting there, plus $20-35 admission fee to get in, its a no go.

    1. JustTheFacts

      “Sir” Keir disgusts me as much as Baerbock does.

      I have no idea who stands for actual structural reform anymore. We’re surrounded by smooth talking yet incompetent managers, woke hatred, and war mongers. Anyone who has any ideas that could reform the structure of society to stop all benefits accumulating among the hands of the few, is pushed out from any central party that might have a chance of winning. Democracy? Hah! It’s all just Kabuki theatre, and the same cabal captures all the gains.

    2. Jeff V

      The Guardian report on this mentions that if Corbyn does stand for election as an independent, anyone who campaigns for him or supports him will be expelled from the Labour Party, and implies this may be an attempt to get rid of Momentum.

      The BBC seems pretty sure Corbyn won’t stand as an independent. I wish he would, just for the entertainment value, but he cares much more about the Labour party than I do.

  15. Glen

    So how much am I bothered by the Chinese spy balloon? Well, you know what, if I could get my cell phone service cheaper from Chinese spy balloons, I’d be temped to switch from T-Mobile to Chinese Spy Mobile. Because T-Mobile is selling my data to everybody or having it stolen:

    T-Mobile to join AT&T, Verizon in selling customers’ data

    Data of 40 million plus exposed in latest T-Mobile breach

    But I’m listening to independent reporting on that train wreck in East Palestine, about people feeling sick, tasting chemicals while in their houses. And then hearing about more wrecks/spills, and THAT has me worried. The railroad workers wanted to FIX this but Biden BLOCKED THEM.

  16. Reader_In_Cali

    Hello wonderful commentariat! Take a listen if you have time to Sy Hersh’s interview on Radio War Nerd (unlocked Patreon episode, skip forward to about the 13 minute mark). I think he is trying to give a big hint at his secondary sourcing being from someone or players in our domestic pipeline industry. Listen closely and you’ll hear it. Excellent interview. I love how cranky he is :-)

  17. The Rev Kev

    “In Trump probe, US seeks to pierce attorney-client privilege’

    The fun and games start when in court the lawyer for the prosecution says ‘The prosecution wishes to call the lawyer for the defense to the stand on the grounds of possibly having vital information for the case for the prosecution.’

    The US tried to pretend that at Guantanamo Bay that it was a legal-free zone so that they had the right to listen in on attorney-client conversations secretly. And when you allow stuff like this, it is only a mater of time till it feeds back to the US mainland’s legal system. But removing attorney-client privilege is a radical step that has dangerous implications.

    1. marym

      Use of the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege wouldn’t be something new to US law. It’s about client communications seeking the services of the attorney in furtherance of a crime or fraud, not about “vital information” in general. The prosecution has to make their case to the trial court judge for why they should be able to exclude those communications from privilege.


  18. Randy

    There used to be something called the “level of incompetence” the idea being a person who was competent got promoted until they reached a level of responsibility that they were unable to handle.

    Mayo Pete is way past his level of incompetence in just one promotion.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Oh, there still is such a thing! The United States is an exemplar of it! A shining city on a hill!

      It may be that the purpose of your country is merely to serve as a warning to others.

    2. Wukchumni

      Was watching the SOTU with the dartful codgers who chimed in with disturbing fawning praise for Mayor Pete when the camera panned his way, and if you can hoodwink most of the people all of the time, you’re on the primrose path to political success in these not so united states.

      Knowing Pete, he’ll come up with a voucher for 40% off the next derailment, of all trains that is.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Mayor Pete has finally surfaced and said that blame for that derailment lies with – wait for it – Trump.

      ‘Insisting his agency had improved railroad safety through “historic investments,” Buttigieg claimed the Department of Transportation was nevertheless “constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration)” in a tweet on Tuesday. Ten days earlier, the 150-car train carrying 10 cars of hazardous materials derailed, allegedly due to a mechanical issue with a rail car axle and an emergency brake failure on a straight stretch of railroad.

      The braking rule in question required trains carrying some hazardous materials to use high-tech electronically-controlled pneumatic brakes. It was rolled back in 2017, after a law passed in 2015 – long before Trump became president – initiated a requirement for cost-benefit analysis for new safety regulations.

      The Department of Transportation explained in a statement on Wednesday that the 2015 legislation “makes it challenging to reinstate the rule in its previous configuration – due to threats of litigation and opposition in Congress.” The agency nevertheless promised to “evaluate action to prevent this from happening again.”’


      Then Pete went on leave for the next coupla weeks.

      1. lambert strether

        So that would be a reason to erase the hot box; that erases PSR. We have the pneumatic brakes story instead. It always seemed inorganic to me.

      2. cnchal

        Pete Buttitchitch at his McKinsey Mouth best. Clearly, the DOT is on the side of Wall Street, the beneficial profiteers that own the railroad.

        Too bad the dead zone caused by their greed isn’t concentrated on Wall Street. Offering $25,000 compensation when the fines and lawsuits should total $500,000,000 or ten years of profits, whichever is greater is a testament to Wall Street stinginess for the victims of their greed.

        Yes Lambert, the fix is in. The MSM is in on it. They are ventriloquist dummies for the elite. Look, air monitors taped to traffic signs, the air is good to go, while pointing to a black box.

        The entire system is demented, the root cause being insatiable greed.

  19. southern appalachian

    Thank you for the essay, KLG. Appreciate the work. Will admit this was not a site I thought I’d run across the names of Walter Brueggemann and Wes Jackson but then again, not surprised at all. Hard to read this morning, I often ride one of my bikes to work and the trucks these days. It’s not going to be smooth, the coming time.

  20. The Rev Kev

    That reporter that was arrested in Ohio? All charges have been dropped, mostly because any good lawyer would have a field day on all the injustices that took place with that event. Here is body-cam footage and it was unreal. I think that he was arrested for having a go at the head of the National Guard though footage elsewhere showed that it was the head Groundsman that physically assaulted him. They threw him on the ground and to my inexperienced eye put his wrist in a painful position while telling him to ‘stop resisting’. Personally I hope that that reporter sues them for all that they are worth-


  21. VietnamVet

    The razor’s edge is getting sharper. A East Palestine Ohio protester’s sign says “The EPA Nuked a town to open the Rail Road!”. That’s what the black mushroom cloud rising above the town from the intention chemical burn does look like. Also, WaPo says that the USA was tracking the Chinese balloon from the day it lifted from its base on Hainan Island and that U.S. officials are trying to assess whether it was, in fact, blown off course. The radar filters were changed and last weekend three more balloons were shot down and a half million dollar missile failed and sank into Lake Huron. The first balloon most likely would have been ignored but civilians saw it floating over Montana.

    These are all symptoms of a government that is not working. The best interests of Americans are simply not important. Increasing corporate profits is. The high plateau of COVID deaths in the chart above is another symptom of malfunction – the termination of public health across the globe by the NGOs seizure of the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    1. Jason Boxman

      The latest concern trolling over Chinese COVID deaths in the NY Times points at models showing between 800k and 1.5 million dead. My first thought it is, wow, a country with scores more people than the United States possibly failed to kill as many people as the United States, Trump, Biden, and Walensky have so far.

      Congrats to all!

  22. Jason Boxman

    Zantac’s Maker Kept Quiet About Cancer Risks for 40 Years

    In one trial in Britain during the summer of 1981, 11 healthy men were given 150mg of ranitidine twice a day, in the morning and evening, for four weeks. Glaxo scientists were looking to see if long-term use of ranitidine could affect gastric bacteria, specifically bacteria that could create more nitrite, which could allow nitrosamines to form. They found that it could. And they concluded the importance of that wasn’t clear. In a summary later reviewed by the FDA, Glaxo scientists wrote that yes, high levels of nitrite could form nitrosamines, almost all of which are carcinogens. But the animal studies conducted so far hadn’t shown that ranitidine was carcinogenic, so the level of human risk couldn’t be estimated. Also, patients weren’t meant to take the drug for long. “Ranitidine is recommended only for short-term use,” the scientists concluded, “and carcinogenic risk, if any, should thus be minimized.”

    Many people would end up taking Zantac for months, sometimes years, even decades.

    Fun times. As usual, no one’s going to jail.

    1. c_heale

      I remember the late 80’s, when I started working (my boss was taking it), so many people were on Zantac, mainly for stomach ulcers. Then they found the cause of stomach ulcers was Helicobacter pylori, and I didn’t really hear Zantac mentioned after that.

  23. flora

    Diana Johnstone on Consortium News.

    Demonstrate Together

    A bunch of people who disagree with each other on a lot of things have actually gotten together to organize a big antiwar rally in Washington next Sunday. I say, Bravo!

    In a nation as divided as the United States is today, a large rally of people who agree with each other on everything is hardly imaginable.

    A rally by people who disagree with each other gives hope that a movement to stop war can grow, and even shake the political system paralyzed by the military industrial congressional complex and confusion spread by its servile media.


    1. Chuck Harris

      Thanks Flora, I also thought the Johnstone essay was very good. I’d be at the rally if I was able to get to DC for the day. Chris Hedges also had a good article about it and the controversy that has some people upset.

  24. Wukchumni

    For what its worth dept:

    We’ve had many hundreds of F-35 overflights here the past decade, but I can’t remember a sortie @ night, like tonight.

    Something is up…

      1. Daryl

        And maybe get under a desk and put on a helmet, in case the F35s (aka the nissan altimas of the sky) drop any parts near you.

  25. griffen

    Above article on why DeSantis may be a better candidate than Jeb Bush. Well there is the marketing aspect for another run by a member of the Bush family, so put one into the column for DeSantis there. DeSantis may be the one candidate that Trump can’t eliminate or undermine in the manner and pace of what Trump accomplished in 2015 – 2016. I say maybe and might, since who really knows what DeSantis believes on foreign policies. Best guess, it looks a lot like a Trump foreign policy or standard Republican foreign policy.

    Winning big as he did so in 2022, gives him an advantage on bragging over a Nikki Haley (by comparison) from the get go. Cobble together a few decent talking points on the domestic front and he could make a serious run for President in 2024. His talking points on the environment will likely prove a dead end but that’s likely not a stopper.

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