2:00PM Water Cooler 3/6/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Robin, Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge; Deadman Lake, Alaska, United States. “Song.” Spring approaches.

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“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


“Crisis Pregnancy Centers Like Problem Pregnancy Disguise Anti-Abortion Stance With Pro-Choice Messaging” [Teen Vogue]. “Google ‘pregnancy services Worcester MA’ and on the first page you’ll find a link to the website for a place called Problem Pregnancy. It may even be the first result. On its homepage, you’ll find a seemingly inviting message: ‘Unplanned pregnancy? The choice is yours. We can help you navigate your pregnancy decision.’ But this messaging is vastly different from the organization’s roots. Even in Massachusetts, where abortion is a protected right, access in the past was far from the settled business we perceive it to be today. Problem Pregnancy is a crisis pregnancy center — the anti-abortion movement’s answer to Planned Parenthood clinics and other abortion-providers. Crisis pregnancy centers, which currently outnumber abortion clinics more than three to one, are places that may be perceived as medical clinics. While some do offer medical-seeming care, they are heavily focused on discouraging abortion, and may not give patients medically-accepted information about their sexual and reproductive health. According to Planned Parenthood, many of these centers are not legitimate medical clinics. Problem Pregnancy is not listed as a licensed medical clinic in Massachusetts.”

Biden Administration

“DHS has a program gathering domestic intelligence — and virtually no one knows about it” [Politico]. “For years, the Department of Homeland Security has run a virtually unknown program gathering domestic intelligence, one of many revelations in a wide-ranging tranche of internal documents reviewed by POLITICO. Those documents also reveal that a significant number of employees in DHS’s intelligence office have raised concerns that the work they are doing could be illegal. Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about anyone in the United States. …. The inner workings of the program — called the ‘Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program’ — are described in the large tranche of internal documents POLITICO reviewed from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Those documents and additional interviews revealed widespread internal concerns about legally questionable tactics and political pressure. The documents also show that people working there fear punishment if they speak out about mismanagement and abuses. One unnamed employee — quoted in an April 2021 document — said leadership of I&A’s Office of Regional Intelligence “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government.'” • Do tell. How much you wanna bet that the Democrat response will be to point to 1/6 and expand the program?


“Biden reelection bid faces resistance from some Democrats” [Associated Press]. “Steve Shurtleff was at Joe Biden’s side in 2019 when he filed papers in the New Hampshire State House to run for president. He repeatedly trekked across the state with Biden to court primary voters. And when Biden ultimately won the presidency, it was Shurtleff, then the Democratic state House speaker, who proudly sealed the envelope that carried New Hampshire’s four electoral votes — including his own name — to the U.S. Senate. But on the eve of a new election season, Shurtleff, like a majority of Democrats across the country, feels that one term is enough. ‘In my heart of hearts, no,’ Shurtleff said when asked if he wants Biden to run again. ‘I think a lot of people just don’t want to say it.’ Democrats across New Hampshire are upset with the Democratic president for trying to end the state’s status as home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. But their concerns about Biden run much deeper, in line with a majority of Democratic voters nationwide, who question the 80-year-old president’s plans to soon launch his reelection campaign. Just 37% of Democrats nationwide want the president to seek a second term, according to a poll released last month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That was down from 52% in the weeks before last year’s midterm elections.”

Marianne Williamson asks for my vote:

“Newsom shouldn’t run for president, California voters say” [Politico]. “Seven out of 10 said they would not like to see him make a bid for the White House in the next election, per a new Quinnipiac University poll of registered California voters. Even a majority of Democrats (54 percent) still say he shouldn’t run next year. ‘A resounding thumbs down from the home team as California voters tell the governor: if you have designs on the big job beyond Sacramento, we’re not on board,’ said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. The poll didn’t ask voters to give a reason for their decision, but we have a few ideas as 2024 starts to come into focus. First, President Joe Biden’s stock is up…. Furthermore, a 2024 bid for Newsom would mean he’d have to abandon his job halfway through a second term. Of course, there’s always the chance that some voters just don’t like Newsom, and don’t see him as presidential material. The polling on that front, however, isn’t conclusive. The same Quinnipiac poll gave the governor a 44 percent approval rating among California voters. A separate poll, from the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, reported 54 percent approval for the gov — the highest among six of the top California politicians.”

“The Democrats’ SOS Candidate Keeps His Options Open” [New York Times]. “Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois sat comfortably in an office board room high above the Loop on Monday and halfheartedly batted away the notion that he was preparing a run for the White House. The billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune may be seen by some Democrats as the “in case of emergency break glass” candidate, one of the few prominent politicians who could stand up a White House run at a moment’s notice. …. Politicians hate hypotheticals, or say they do to dodge questions, but if Mr. Biden cannot or will not run, the Democratic Party would have 3.6 billion reasons — Forbes’s most recent estimate of Mr. Pritzker’s net worth — to turn to the Illinois governor…. And while Mr. DeSantis has created a conservative bastion in Florida over the wishes of millions in his diverse state, Mr. Pritzker’s policies have rankled much of Illinois beyond Chicagoland. Under his leadership, the legislature has approved a $15 minimum wage, legalized recreational cannabis, ended cash bail, guaranteed access to abortions and gender-affirming care and banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines…. [Pritzker] is open about his political ambitions. He is not the Illinois Democratic Party’s chairman, but he sees himself as its head and his political organization as its muscle. His money travels well beyond the state lines, but with strings attached. He intends to shape the party in his image.”

“The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI)” [The Tablet]. From 2022, still germane: “One of the most powerful yet unremarked-upon drivers of our current wars over definitions of gender is a concerted push by members of one of the richest families in the United States to transition Americans from a dimorphic definition of sex to the broad acceptance and propagation of synthetic sex identities (SSI). Over the past decade, the Pritzkers of Illinois, who helped put Barack Obama in the White House and include among their number former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker, appear to have used a family philanthropic apparatus to drive an ideology and practice of disembodiment into our medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions…. The creation and normalization of SSI speaks much more directly to what is happening in American culture, and elsewhere, under an umbrella of human rights. With the introduction of SSI, the current incarnation of the LGBTQ+ network—as distinct from the prior movement that fought for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, and which ended in 2020 with Bostock v. Clayton County, finding that LGBTQ+ is a protected class for discrimination purposes—is working closely with the techno-medical complex, big banks, international law firms, pharma giants, and corporate power to solidify the idea that humans are not a sexually dimorphic species—which contradicts reality and the fundamental premises not only of “traditional” religions but of the gay and lesbian civil rights movements and much of the feminist movement, for which sexual dimorphism and resulting gender differences are foundational premises. Through investments in the techno-medical complex, where new highly medicalized sex identities are being conjured, Pritzkers and other elite donors are attempting to normalize the idea that human reproductive sex exists on a spectrum.” • Like I’ve been saying, 2024 is going to be ugly.

Trump asks for my vote (1):

I don’t know if he will, or is able to… but this is a bell — a firebell in the night, if you will — that, once rung, cannot be unrung. I know Trump has his own plane, not a small one, and I hope he knows his mechanics and pilots personally (and none of them have suddenly acquired any expensive toys from unknown sources).

Trump asks for my vote (2):

“Trump will stay in 2024 presidential race even if indicted, tells CPAC crowd: ‘I am your retribution'” [ABC]. • I’d love to see Trump running from jail. I think he’d win.

“Trump wins CPAC straw poll as Republican 2024 frontrunner in a landslide” [New York Post]. “Trump was the preferred candidate of 62% of attendees who voted in the right-wing confab’s annual poll. As he has in past years, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second place with 20% percent support. Two other declared GOP candidates, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, garnered 3 and 1 percent of the vote respectively — and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, who ran a Super Bowl ad for his long-shot campaign for the GOP nomination came in third with 5% of the vote.” • CPAC is not the CPAC is was during its glory days; OTOH, maybe those who stayed away did so because they knew Trump would thrash them?

Trump doing what he does best:

“Tiny D” works for me!

Republican Funhouse

“CPAC 2023: Conservative conference suffers from low attendance and lack of sponsors” [Washington Examiner]. “The Conservative Political Action Conference’s return to the nation’s capital has proved to be less than triumphant, with the mainstay political conference suffering from lower attendance and fewer high-profile sponsors. The conference, once a mandatory stop for aspiring Republican presidential candidates, saw several notable Republicans such as former Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and numerous other governors skip the high-profile convention. Meanwhile, longtime attendees noted a sea-change in the number of attendees and sponsors. Vickie Froehlich, an attendee who said she had attended the conference multiple times, noted the lower attendance and said the absence of Fox News in the media hub and the exhibit hall likely contributed to the event’s inability to draw presidential aspirants. ‘It’s been a huge difference that Fox is not here,’ Froehlich said. ‘Fox helped get the candidates out here to be interviewed, so it’s noticeable to me that they’re not here.’ Several other attendees the Washington Examiner spoke to similarly noted the smaller crowd. The absence of high-profile attendees was exacerbated by the Club for Growth’s donor retreat, which is drawing many of the notable figures who skipped out on CPAC. And further complicating the conference’s image are sexual assault accusations leveled against its Chairman Matt Schlapp by a former male staffer of Herschel Walker’s Georgia senate campaign. Schlapp has denied the allegation.” • Hmm. FOX. What’s up with FOX?

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.

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The trope of liberal timidity or “spinelessness” has been around since I started blogging in [sighs wearily] 2003:

But I don’t think Willis, a Democrat partisan, is being fair to his Party. Just look at the achievements! Obama normalized torture, domestic surveillance, and kept Gitmo open. He also brought back the FIRE sector, just like it was before, after the Great Crash. And Biden has not only destroyed public health as an idea, he’s slaughtered 700,000+ people with his policy of mass infection without mitigation, without causing any riots or, indeed, any political reaction at all. And that’s before we get to Biden fomenting war with two nuclear powers at the same time! These are not the achievements of timid people!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Political and Social Drivers of COVID-19 Prevention and Climate Change Behaviors and Attitudes” [Climate]. “The measures of COVID-19 skepticism, antipathy toward political correctness, the belief that COVID-19 vaccination should be a personal choice, vaccine hesitancy, COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs, the proportion of Republicans in one’s social network, and antipathy to Democrats were all strongly positively correlated with each other, and all were negatively correlated with concerns about climate change. Although the associations were attenuated when controlling for political orientation, all correlations remained statistically significant, which suggests that these associations are not simply a result of political ideological orientation. These correlated factors can be viewed as reflections of a hegemony that centers on individualism and reinforces distrust of governmental institutions [19]. These factors are not only aspects of people’s political ideologies; they also influence ideas about how society should function (i.e., individualistic or communitarian), the sources of information to which people are exposed, and the type of people with whom they interact. Aligning with Gramsci’s work, these findings suggest that acceptance of particular ideas around skepticism, conspiracy beliefs, individualism, and political conservativism may reflect hegemonic ideologies in the United States that influences both COVID-19 and climate change attitudes and behavior.” • Which all sounds great, until you look at what liberal Democrats actually did; Biden’s policy of mass infection without mitigation is completely compatible with the Great Barrington Declaration, the worst of the worst, and relentlessly platformed by the so-called liberal media.

“The New Anarchy” [The Atlantic]. “What happened in Portland, like what happened in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, was a concentrated manifestation of the political violence that is all around us now. By political violence, I mean acts of violence intended to achieve political goals, whether driven by ideological vision or by delusions and hatred. More Americans are bringing weapons to political protests. Openly white-supremacist activity rose more than twelvefold from 2017 to 2021. Political aggression today is often expressed in the violent rhetoric of war. People build their political identities not around shared values but around a hatred for their foes, a phenomenon known as “negative partisanship.” A growing number of elected officials face harassment and death threats, causing many to leave politics. By nearly every measure, political violence is seen as more acceptable today than it was five years ago. A 2022 UC Davis poll found that one in five Americans believes political violence would be “at least sometimes” justified, and one in 10 believes it would be justified if it meant returning Trump to the presidency. Officials at the highest levels of the military and in the White House believe that the United States will see an increase in violent attacks as the 2024 presidential election draws nearer.” • Hmm. See on DHS under “Biden Administration”; I can see this article circulating there. I’m interested in what readers think of this. What I notice is that “social murder” is, apparently, not a category of “political violence.”

“A Random Group of People Could Solve Seattle’s Problems Better Than Its Politicians” [The Stranger]. “Seattle voters are staring down the barrel of a big shake-up on the City Council. But does anyone believe that a new group of inevitably self-promoting individuals, each scheming against the others to try to win the empty seats, can deliver the solutions the city needs? As a former journalist and Congressional staffer who’s had a close view of the electoral machinery, I’d like to propose a novel solution: Take Seattle’s political class out of the equation. And, as a corollary, no more hand-wringing from citizens about whoever they voted for not fixing everything for them. What do I mean by this? While ranked-choice voting might be a modest improvement on the existing system, there’s a deeper, truer form of democracy that we should consider, one that is rapidly gaining traction in Europe and elsewhere. While some might try to cast this proposal as a radical change, it’s really a return to democracy’s roots. Among its greatest strengths is that it is extremely easy for anyone to understand. It guarantees interest groups cannot secretly influence outcomes; it contains no bickering politicians or parties; it does not favor the telegenic, rich, well-connected, or highly-educated. Votes cannot be bought or sold, and big piles of campaign cash have no place in it. The potential for corruption is massively reduced. If this sounds too good to be true… well, it isn’t. The idea is called a Citizens’ Assembly—also known in political theory as sortition, democracy by lottery, or deliberative democracy. Citizens are chosen by stratified random selection, creating a miniature representative sample of our society without bias or favor, to rotate into lawmaking bodies, in much the same way as they are selected for juries in our court system. We are given the chance to represent others, and to be represented in turn. It is democracy by your peers—and if selected by chance—by you. In fact, this is what ‘democracy’ actually is.” • Intriguing, but I’d need to be shown it scales. Vermont town meetings are pretty great, but Vermont towns are small towns in a small state.


Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data).

• Readers, thanks for the push. We are now up to 38/50 states (76%). Could those of you in states not listed help out by either with dashboard/wastewater links, or ruling your state out definitively? Thank you! (I think I have caught up with everybody I missed.)

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard), Marin; CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, Joe, John, JM (6), JW, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (4), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3). (Readers, if you leave your link in comments, I credit you by your handle. If you send it to me via email, I use your initials (in the absence of a handle. I am not putting your handle next to your contribution because I hope and expect the list will be long, and I want it to be easy for readers to scan.)

• More like this, please! Total: 1 6 11 18 20 22 26 27 28 38/50 (76% of US states). We should list states that do not have Covid resources, or have stopped updating their sites, so others do not look fruitlessly. Thank you!

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Look for the Helpers

Lambert here: Everybody knows the word Schadenfreude; joy in another’s misfortune (for which neoliberalism provides many occasions). But why don’t we have the word Freudefreude? Joy in another’s joy? Assuming that’s proper German, of course.

“Do You Have Coronaphobiaphobia? Ask Your Doctor if Notmybizumab is Right for You.” [Science-based Medicine]:

Are you a doctor who has written multiple articles saying “now is the time to stop living in fear?” Did you say cautious people were not “truly not actually living right now“, months before anyone had been vaccinated? Are you engulfed with white hot rage by the handful of people who still wear masks in crowds? Have you relentlessly mocked them on your podcasts and Twitter feed? Have you called them “idiots“, “STUPID“, a “bunch of fools” “total morons” “delusional” and “off their rocker“? Did you mercilessly shame anyone who wanted a booster just weeks before the Omicron variant ripped through the population? Do you actively encourage strangers, whose lives you know nothing about, to repeatedly expose themselves to a new, mutating virus with unknown long-term consequences? Do people who are still trying to avoid SARS-CoV-2 remind you the pandemic didn’t end in 2021 as you said it would? Have you coined new terms to stigmatize anyone who doesn’t want to repeatedly get sick with COVID for the rest of their lives?

If so, you may have coronaphobiaphobia, an inexplicable fear of and inappropriate obsession with total strangers who want to avoid COVID.


Notmybizumab™ can help you adjust to a painful, challenging world where people you’ll never meet don’t want to get COVID over and over again. Doctors who take notmybizumab™ are 75% less likely to meltdown after seeing a stranger with a mask, and they are 87% less likely to berate them on social media. Even though society has adopted 100% of your preferred COVID policies, hearing about someone who is still trying to avoid the virus may make you feel as if all your podcasts and YouTube videos were for naught. Notmybizumab™ will allow you to finally relax! You’re free to get COVID as many times as you want, and unvaccinated children are still getting really sick with COVID exactly as you intended.

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Finding like-minded people on (sorry) Facebook:

“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.

Covid Is Airborne

This ad is from Australia. Has anyone seen the equivalent in the United States?


“Opinion In a crowded place, a face mask or respirator keeps the virus away” [Editorial Board (!), WaPo]. Amazingly, WaPo attacks the piece-of-garbage Cochrane study: “But the Cochrane study has been criticized for several big flaws. A commentary published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota noted that it used the traditional definition of virus transmission through symptomatic coughing or sneezing that spreads larger droplets, and suggests it did not focus sufficiently on the key risks of small-particle, airborne transmission. The Cochrane authors also “incorrectly combined studies where people wore masks or respirators infrequently with those where they were worn all the time,” the commentary points out. There has also been separate criticism [wrong] of a Bangladesh study on masks that comprises more than half the population data in the new trials examined by the Cochrane review. Here is the bottom line: Loose-fitting face masks and surgical masks have a purpose, but when it comes to covid transmission, they are like wearing goggles with holes. Respirators are far superior in a viral pandemic, given what is now clear about airborne particles and the role that asymptomatic infection has played in transmission. Wearing face masks — but especially respirators — in crowded public enclosed spaces with poor ventilation is undoubtedly better than nothing. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that ‘consistently wearing a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings reduces the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection.’ The pandemic has shown that the transmission route from one person to another is the air we breathe. Effective methods to block the virus, particularly respirators, are widely available. It is just a matter of using them.” • And WaPo accepts aerosols and airborne transmission! Sure, they accept CDC as an authority, but baby steps.

Greenhalgh’s nuanced position on masks:

Key paragraph:

Greenhalgh is fighting the good fight, but I disagree with her on this point. (1), the idea of public health administrators turning the mask knob down to zero and then up to eleven when needed just isn’t going to work, certainly not in the United States, even assuming CDC is acting in good faith (the infamous “Green Map” shows its not). There will always be time lags between the spread of the virus and turning the knobs, and people will suffer and die in those lags. And since a pandemic when it’s getting going exhibits doubling behavior, lags are something you really don’t want. (2) the goal should be a cultural norm: Universal masking, as in most of Asia. A system with public health adminsitrators twiddling knobs won’t do that; in fact, it’s the very reverse of that. A goal of universal masking may seem quixotic now, but it’s going to seem a lot less quixotic when the next respiratory virus rolls along (pandemics every seven years or so). Just make masks the default in 3Cs settings. Simple and easy.

From the The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, some maslk data, stopping in July 2022, sadly:

Imagine somebody looking at this chart in January 2021 and thinking there’s a problem….

Nice metaphor:

Everybody knows some mosquitos get past the screens. So why do them at all? And speaking of screen doors:

Somebody call a wh-a-a-a-m-bulance:

Scientific Communication

So much for “herd immunity” (1):

“Herd immunity” being, in its own way, another form of “scientific communication.” Sorta like “based on a true story,” except not.

So much for “herd immunity” (2):

As readers know, I’m very much “a helluva high equilibrium level” guy. I see it in case counts, positivity, deaths, and in the ER. I might not see it in hospitalization, but there are so many confounders there (like hospitals being bankruptcy-risking death traps, for example).


The damage is cumulative:

“Why it’s so hard to get answers on long Covid” [Vox]. “In the last few months, the first in a series of studies from the Inspire group (Innovative Support for Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infections Registry) have been published, and offer painstakingly collected data aimed at answering big questions about long Covid…. Inspire — a CDC-funded collaboration among eight US academic medical centers — is in many ways better designed than many other long Covid studies…. The Inspire study originated in 2020 as an effort to understand the lived experience and broader impact of Covid-19…. rather than using data gathered from electronic medical records, the study uses data gathered from surveys administered directly to participants. “Electronic health record data is often relatively restricted,” said Michael Gottlieb, an emergency medicine doctor at Rush University who co-led the study. Information about key symptoms is often missing, depending on what questions clinicians asked each patient and what each patient reported to their provider.” Yes, because electronic health record data tracks profit, not health. So it goes. More: “Results the group published in January showed that while more people with Covid developed persistent symptoms if they were infected before the delta variant emerged, it wasn’t because of differences between variants. Rather, it was because of social or demographic factors, like preexisting conditions, hospitalization for Covid, and race and ethnicity. Additionally, they found vaccination was protective against developing long Covid after infection. Researchers had suspected that preexisting conditions and vaccination played into long Covid risk. So this all made sense…. In the January study, people who tested negative for Covid actually had higher rates of severe fatigue three months after testing than people who had Covid. They also experienced many other symptoms — like fever, headache, runny nose, and sore throat — at rates comparable to or higher than Covid-positives. Also confusing were findings detailed in an earlier publication by the study group, which reported poor well-being more often among Covid-negative patients than among people who tested positive — 54 percent compared with 40 percent. What to make of this?”

Elite Malfeasance

Another victory for Hospital Infection Control:

Aren’t there enough Hospital-Acquired infections already? For example:

I don’t understand why there haven’t been lawsuits against hospitals who force people to discard protective masks, and replace them with less protective ones:

Ah, the ol’ argument from authority:

Not to trash the exceptional physicians that we know, but the answer to “What do you know that hundreds of doctors don’t?” is “How to protect myself from Covid.”

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Such tender care for the “strong”, “recovering” market; one might almost think it’s a living thing:

* * *

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!

Case Data

NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from March 2:

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.

• “COVID call centers and testing sites close in further sign US is moving past the pandemic” [ABC]. The deck: “Several COVID data trackers have also recently shut down.” More; “Hospitalizations and deaths, both of which are traditionally lagging indicators, have also been trending downward. Over the same period, weekly deaths have fallen from 4,448 to 2,407, according to CDC data.” • 2,407 * 52 = 125,164, not worth tracking, so the eugenicists have added another tranche of normalized lethality on top of deaths of despair, etc. Mission accomplished, and only good ol’ Scranton Joe could have done it. I wonder where the next tranche will come from?

☆ NW ☆ Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from February 25:

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Anyhow, I added a grey “Fauci line” just to show that Covid wasn’t “over” when they started saying it was, and it’s not over now.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published March 6:

-2.2%. Still high, but at last a distinct downturn.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,146,740 – 1,146,630 = 110 (110 * 365 = 40, 150 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).

Stats Watch

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Mr. Market: “This Department-Store Stock Has Trounced Apple, Amazon and Tesla” [Wall Street Journal].

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 54 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 6 at 1:47 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Floods. “It has been very wet in the US” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

Zeitgeist Watch

“Scientists find that people use emojis to hide, as well as show, their feelings” (press release) [NewsWise]. “Liu recruited 1,289 participants, all users of the most-downloaded emoji keyboard in Japan, Simeji, to investigate how emojis were used to express or mask emotions. Previous research had established that people use emojis as functional equivalents of facial expressions, but not the relationships between emotions expressed and experienced. This is when display rules can prove problematic: if the dissonance between the emotions that you experience and the emotions that you can express is too great, emotional exhaustion can develop, although members of different cultures experience this differently…. Liu found that people chose to express more emotions with emojis in private contexts or with close friends. Respondents expressed least emotion towards higher-status individuals. Intense expressions of emotion came with matching emojis, unless people felt the need to mask their true emotions: for instance, using smiling emojis to mask negative emotions. Negative emojis were used only where negative feelings were very strongly felt. Expressing emotions with emojis was associated with higher subjective wellbeing compared to masking emotions. ‘With online socializing becoming ever more prevalent, it is important to consider whether it is causing us to become more detached from our true emotions,’ said Liu. ‘Do people require a ‘shelter’ to express their genuine emotions, and is it possible to break free from pretense and share our true selves in online settings?'” • Hmm. Lot of assumptions there.

The Gallery

Here is a Van Gogh I have never seen:

And another:

I really like the first one, the way the patchwork fields seem to be trying to align themselves with each other, but not quite succeeding. It’s nice to look at a Van Gogh as a painting, as opposed to “a Van Gogh.”

Class Warfare

“Of Innocence and of Experience” [TANK Magazine]. “I’m now a writer publicly associated with ‘family abolition,’ a centuries-old anti-capitalist idea that aims to create a grass- roots-led deprivatisation of care, childcare and education.” • There are some details to address, however.

Bourdieu sighting in the wild:

News of the Wired

Moar play:

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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. ambrit

    Van Gogh, the Saint of Tortured Souls.
    The top back is a wonderful lesson in contrasts. The clouds in the sky, (very top of canvas,) are little regular rectangles, peacefully floating. The steam and smoke from the train, (just below,) trailing all across the canvas, as if following the engine, (far right,) is a writhing tempest of movement. The apparent focal point of the canvas, almost dead centre, is a big red carriage wheel. Was Van Gogh working towards an early form of Dynamism?

    1. Bugs

      Highly recommend a visit to Auvers-sur-Oise to anyone who is in Paris and appreciates Van Gogh. His and his brother’s graves are in the back of the little cemetery and the walk up from the inn where he took his life is like being inside his paintings. You’ll also see the house of Dr. Gachet. It’s not on the usual itineraries so do some reading up before you go.

  2. Henry Moon Pie


    It’s a very complicated family. Here’s a basic family tree of the three sub-patriarchs (note the source). J.B’s first cousin, James/Jennifer, is herself trans. Perhaps she’s the major source of the family’s support for trans causes, etc.

    Then there’s what Lambert might call the woo-woo wing. James/Jennifer’s sister is Linda, also known as Lama Tsomo. She’s an ordained lama. Her daughter Rachel is one of the original signatories of the Ecomodernist Manifesto and founder of Breakthrough Institute, the kind of organization that advocates shooting sulfur in the sky every two years as a solution for the climate crisis.

    I first heard of the Pritzkers in the 90s when we lived in Chicago and our eldest attended a Gold Coast private school (on scholarship obviously) with the Pritzkers’ name all over it. I’ve always thought of Chicago as being essentially a Midwest city. Maybe not.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I believe — and this is just a thought, I haven’t done serious research — that the really, really wealthy oligarchs organize themselves as clans (and that’s how to think of them, not families as dull normals think of them). The Koch brothers are another example. (I would bet that many of the American gentry organize themselves in clans as well.)

      Shooting sulfur into the sky, BTW, seems to be the premise of Stephenson’s latest. I preferred the part about the feral hogs.

      As for Chicago being a Midwest city, I think it’s a global city, like all “our” big cities.

      1. Cresty

        Appreciate your covering of the pritzker clan. In my opinion they are driving this identity crisis for the benefit of pharma companies whose profits were cut due to cancer and heart disease fears from
        Menopausal and low_t campaigns being killed due to regulatory pressure. That may be a little too hot for family blog. Keep up the good work

      2. Lex

        Oligarch clans are the preferred organization of oligarchs all over the world. Russia in the 90’s absolutely had clans of oligarchs. All of Ukrainian presidential political history is essentially the story of a couple of oligarch clans fighting for the ability to loot from the presidential seat (in Ukraine they’re organized roughly by geography).

    2. LawnDart

      They (Pritzkers), and Loyola University, have been making a lot of investments in the Rodgers Park neighborhood of Chicago. If they’re successful, in less than a generation’s time you’ll see a solid, gentrified strip from downtown to the North Shore.

      Now, this has been tried by other investors before, but with little success. I visit that neighborhood a few times a year, and now the changes that I see there almost seem remarkable, and it’s obvious other investors are climbing aboard– on one (former?) drug corner (Ashland and Jonquil), I can specifically point at 4-5 buildings that were owned by slumlords but have recently changed hands and are now being rehabbed; the gunshots are more infrequent and further away, and the everpresent clusters of congregating and patrolling youths seem to have dissipated– even Howard Street is looking… not like the Howard I remember.

      I think the Pritzker’s will make bank on these investments.

      1. Etrigan

        Thank you for posting this. Identitarian neoliberalism overlaps with trans rights but it overlaps with every sexual and gender identity. That idiotic squillionaires are funding dumb orgs and campaigns does not mean trans rights are solely a divide and conquer strategy. The right’s strategy is to use extreme anti trans legislation as an umbrella issue and as a wedge to further roll back gender and sexual rights for all Americans, and to kill transgender people. The centrist liberal position is to exploit trans existence to check a box or as an op-Ed sacrifice to prove they’re not leftists. These dubious and dangerous positions don’t mean trans people are fake, delusional or mentally ill.

    3. pjay

      I remember a time when billionaires used to buy politicians. At some point, big money became so blatant and accepted that the billionaires decided to cut out the middle men and just run for office themselves. I also remember a time when the CIA (sometimes referred to as Wall Street’s private army) used to manipulate their media assets. At some point, the manipulation became so blatant and accepted that intelligence officials decided to cut out the middle men and just become media “analysts” themselves.

      The New Feudalism is becoming uncomfortably blatant and accepted today. The new aristocracy battle among themselves, exhibiting their various eccentricities. The rest of us can only watch. No wonder so many are attracted by the notion of a Trump disruption.

    4. Duke of Prunes

      Strange world… maybe 10 years ago I read about the Pritzkers being behind much of the gender fluidity push on some disreputable website, and I discounted it as creative, yet typical billionaire bashing (like there’s not already enough to bash them about, let’s make up wild and crazy stories – but as crazy stories go this one was novel). No more speaking in dark (internet) alleys in hushed tones, it’s right out there for all to read. So many wild rumors have been found true in the last decade that I might just have to revisit the lunar landing.

        1. ambrit

          You will definitely enjoy “Red Harvest.” It is supposedly the source for Kurosawa’s film “Yojimbo.” It is also supposedly based on actual events during a miners union strike that Hammett, then a Pinkerton agent, was involved with. The utterly brutal and bloody nature of the events described are true to life for America around the turn of the Twentieth Century. Heaven forbid that we return to those days, but, I fear that such is the aim and desire of the Oligarch Elites today. They should be careful of what they wish for. They might have their wishes granted.

  3. griffen

    Rational thoughts for increasing the Rapture Index to hit an all time high in the coming 18 to 24 months. This is America, and a person can dream. The following scenarios are not wishful hypothetical ideas or even suggestions. Just to say, consider our options.

    A. Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg win the White House.
    B. Donald Trump and Nikki Haley win the White House.
    C. Ron DeSantis and whomever wins the White House. (maybe Hawley or Cotton ?)
    D. Joe Biden wins reelection, and within 12 months becomes deceased of natural causes.

    1. Cassandra

      You don’t even have to wait for the elections. If the Ukrainian expat mob decides that conventional weaponry isn’t sufficient to topple Putin and break up Russia, the Rapture Index could go right through the stratosphere in a matter of minutes.

    2. clarky90

      (1) War, (2) Euthanasia, (3) Abortion: The progressive trinity

      I have four grandchildren. I visit the older two, every school holidays. I usually spend all day with them. They are a 9yo boy and an 11yo girl, We go to the swimming pool, parks, the beach, op-shopping, grocery shopping, the library, museums……

      I am anti-war, anti-euthanasia and anti abortion……..


      “To wage atomic war is to commit suicide by killing one’s opponent. This is why the more suicide is contrary to the logic of a culture, the more credible is the classical deterrence (renunciation of killing for fear of dying) on the part of a state structured by this culture. It is thus understandable that, if suicide enters in a quasi-normal way into the logic of a culture, the economy of deterrence is profoundly disturbed.

      If, in a nuclear power state, suicide becomes the normal way for the individual to leave life, its opponents have reason to be alarmed. Indeed, the reasoning that “no one wants to commit suicide” loses much of its force. ……”

      1. JBird4049

        I could be called a progressive. The Progressive Movement of a century ago was about improving society for everyone. I think that much of what they advocated could be called socialism.

        Policies like healthcare for all, housing for all, a decent education for everyone, and ending all the wars that we started, chopping the security/police state in half would reduce the need for any of your trinity. But that would end the gravy train and reduce prestige, for many people.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    I don’t believe Trump needs a trademarked DeSantis diss. DeSantis doesn’t have a voice for the ages and he’s under 6 foot. It takes care of itself. I mean he can beat Charlie Christ, but they were vying for who was the biggest weenie Republican.

    In short, I thought he could play the Shrub part, but then I heard him speak.

    1. Benny

      One of DeSantis’ first acts as governor was to hold his first state cabinet meeting–
      in Israel. Just what we don’t need, another pro-war neoconartist.


      For all his defects, Trump remains the best choice of any of them. Except maybe Tulsi, who would make a fine V.P., having achieved something real in life, unlike Kamala, or perhaps a Defense Secretary.

      Avoid your brain turning to steam in a nuclear blast at all costs, including women feeling devalued.

      1. tegnost

        For all his defects, Trump remains the best choice of any of them.

        A truly frightening thought…

    2. pjay

      Trump may not *need* a trademarked diss, but the idea of Trump “workshopping nicknames for DeSantis” made me laugh out loud. I say bring it on!

  5. Louis Fyne

    —-Double page ad in today’s newspaper for air purifier—

    The infuriating thing about air purifiers is finding replacement filters after a few years of purchase. (in addition to the mark-up on the filter media) You either buy a lot of replacements when you buy the filter and/or cross fingers that the purifier is still supported as it ages.

    I use the “lazy man’s Corsi box” as an air purifier/white noise machine in the office.

    A 3M 20×20 furnace filter taped onto a 20×20 box fan. 3M’s best filter (MERV 13) supposedly has decent efficacy against viruses. (the filters go on sale regularly at the Mega-Lo-Cost Warehouses.)

    Not only do you want the highest MERV value possible, the filter also has to be able to let are pass through at the appropriate rate. Not all filters can do that.

          1. kareninca

            Thank you for posting that; it looks very promising. I have Blue Air machines which cost a fortune (but because they use so little energy they make sense financially; my Honeywell was a terrible energy hog). But this would be worth trying if one of them breaks.

        1. thoughtful person

          Justa reminder, I believe you ideally keep the box fan set to low in that single filter design, as higher will pull things through the filter instead of trapping. Thus the cube/ box design which does allow for high on the fan (but is louder).

          Personally our household has found peace in the latest computer cooling fan (arctic brand) based designs that are impressively quiet and use 2 filters.

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    Van Gogh. The road in Auvers after the rain.

    Oddly, the first painter who comes to mind for me is Grant Wood.


    Naturally, the painting at the National Gallery is “not on view.” Which means in the warehouse:


    I am wondering what similarities there are to see: I am detecting palette, point of view, and geometry. Hmmm. Wood spent enough time in Europe to know Van Gogh’s work, too.

    1. Jeff W

      I thought of Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses—like maybe this painting (The Pond)?

      I’m not sure if Moses knew much about Van Gogh but she might be seen as being the Vermont “variant” of the American Regionalism movement, which Grant Wood was definitely a part of.

    2. Late Introvert

      Thanks. I live about 6 blocks from Grant Wood’s last house (it’s beautiful), and about 15 miles from Solon.

  7. Ignacio

    OFF TOPIC, something funny I read today you might have already:

    Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs.
    Now, we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs.
    Please, don’t let Kevin Bacon die!

    1. Bart Hansen

      They must have checked on the death of Bob Hope, as I was going to correct you, but the guy lived to be 100 and died in 2003.

  8. C.O.

    Covid zeitgeist where I am on the Canadian westcoast: I was on the bus, fully masked up in a proper N95. 1 other similarly masked person, a couple of poorly fitted surgical masks. Two people in front of me were chatting, evidently work colleagues who regularly commute on the same bus. No masks for them. They started talking about how upset they were that so many of their friends and colleagues had just died, just died out of the blue, what was up with that?

    I felt badly for them.

    1. Ann

      Vitacore Industries, Burnaby, British Columbia:


      CAN99 for adults and children, plus other useful products. Recommended by me, retired nursing professor in Kamloops.

      NOBODY in red-conservative-to-the-core Kamloops is wearing a mask. They look at me as if I’m a freak.

  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Notmybizumab“: Brilliant!

    On a practical note: What is it with drug naming that there seem to be lots of -umab endings to names these days? Is it now in fashion, the way people’s names cycle around, or is there some science-y method, or is it just a woo woo decision that somebody gets to make?

    (may have to get a pet, just to name it Umab)

  10. Jeff Stantz

    “Mosquitos keep coming in my house!
    Maybe put screens on your open windows.
    But, freedom!!!”

    I do not believe that is an apt metaphor. Wearing a mask is much more difficult and uncomfortable that putting a screen on a window. I can walk around my house and never notice the screen. I only need one screen for many years. I never have to take the screen down to function in my needs (drinking, eating).

    I think we need to be more careful with these metaphors if we want to see more mask wearing. Being realistic about the problems associated with wearing a mask might be more helpful.

    1. Bart Hansen

      I grew up in Chicago shortly after the earth cooled and we had a set of Storm Windows for the Winter and screens for the Summer. The former I’m sure were single glazing.

      1. Martin Oline

        The thing I miss about putting up screens in the spring, and which I only realized recently, is full window screens allowed you to lower the top window and raise the lower window. This way hot air in the room exited the upper while cooler outside air entered the lower window. Can’t be done with combination storm windows.

        1. Late Introvert

          We have double-hung windows in our ca. 1942 house, but they’ve been painted shut over the years!

  11. Jason Boxman

    So, I gotta say, we essentially eliminated the Flu and other airborne pathogens during our initially leaky lockdowns and restrictions in 2020!

    No one with any actual power in public health or federal or state government seemed to think, holy s**t, if we wear masks in public spaces for a few months in the winter, we can end 20-40k deaths annually from the Flu!

    Nope, not in this, the stupidest timeline. Instead we hear about how unbelievably oppressive participating in society is, by having people wear respirators for awhile. Love thy neighbor this is not. So much for being a Christian Nation, eh.

    1. Cassandra

      There you go, applying logic again.

      It’s observations like yours that lead me to the conclusion that policy makers really do have accelerated depopulation as a goal.

        1. jsn

          It’s not that they want you to die per se.

          It’s that they want to make money from your ill health and any other misfortune they can foist on you or trick you into.

          And of course, they’ve purchased the government they need to make this “the market.”

          1. tegnost

            It’s not that they want you to die per se.

            well… they don’t mind…and still think it’s the “others” who will go down…and they are probably mostly right
            It’s a whose economy are you talking about thing. Landlords love base rent to be equal to a 40 hour min wage.The ones that don’t are selling to the ones that do. It’s a race to the bottom, and we’re not there yet, kind of like you’re fine when you jump from a high place, it’s the landing that’s problematic.

    2. Etrigan

      Beyond Christian ethics, it’s truly bananas that mask wearing could have turned into a huge cash cow and productivity increase. The owners of our lives could have made gobs of money, instead they went with the former plan, child labor, goods price ”inflation” and medical debt.

  12. Ana B.

    It’s really bizarre and telling that attacks on transsexuals are becoming about “evil billionaire families working in secret to undermine traditional values” given that 1) the majority of transsexuals live at or below the poverty line, and 2) LGBT people in general and trans people specifically are famously prone to being abandoned by their families. It reminds me of the point Andrea Dworkin made back in the 80s about how attacks on transsexuals have more than a little in common with European antisemitism pre-WW2. You have this tiny, powerless minority (less than 1% of the population) who is already subject to massive criminalization and stigmatization being scapegoated on grounds that aren’t even internally consistent in their logic (transsexuals are simultaneously trying to abolish biological sex but also somehow are reinforcing the sex binary by transitioning… because reasons). The sad reality is it doesn’t need to make sense, either. Scapegoating works precisely *because* the victims are powerless and easy targets.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Donkey Show could see Roe vs Wade going away so they grabbed hold of a proxy issue sure to cause consternation, as the evangs hate hate hate anything trans, and rancor file!

    2. semper loquitur

      “It’s really bizarre and telling that attacks on transsexuals are becoming about “evil billionaire families working in secret to undermine traditional values” given that 1) the majority of transsexuals live at or below the poverty line, and 2) LGBT people in general and trans people specifically are famously prone to being abandoned by their families.”

      No one attacked “transsexuals”. The article was about the billionaire families who are pushing the transition hustle across a variety of fronts: academic, political, social, and medical. Not to mention their paid “activists”. You are straw-manning because you cannot refute the article’s claims.

      “It reminds me of the point Andrea Dworkin made back in the 80s about how attacks on transsexuals have more than a little in common with European antisemitism pre-WW2.”

      Really? Why, exactly? That’s a strong claim, and one I’ve heard before by the pro-“trans” ideologue. Of course, it’s merely a smear of anti-Semitism.

      “(transsexuals are simultaneously trying to abolish biological sex but also somehow are reinforcing the sex binary by transitioning… because reasons). The sad reality is it doesn’t need to make sense, either.”

      Again, it’s the powerful families and Big Pharma who are accused of that here, not “transsexuals” per say. But you are correct that a lot of this doesn’t make any sense. It is simultaneously true that there is a concerted effort to erase biological sex and also to reinforce sexual stereotypes as somehow being one’s innate, ineffable true self. There are no such things as biologically defined women and men, goes the “reasoning”, but a man in a wig and dress is somehow definitively a women. But that is a logical problem for the “trans” ideologue, and not the only one by a long mile….

      1. Martin Oline

        Thank you for the link yesterday to Jennifer Bilek. It was very interesting and I see there are a number of different videos where she is interviewed on EweTube. I have been reading a lot lately so it is refreshing to listen for a change. It is amusing and so human when she loses track of the question or her chain of thought during a response. It reminds me of someone but, as a friend used to say, I can’t see him from here. (Cranes head around)

        1. semper loquitur

          It’s my pleasure. There is another channel, Women’s Declaration International, you may find interesting. It has some great talks and interviews as well.

      2. JBird4049

        Transgenderism is being used as a weapon by both major parties and through their various allies. One side’s extremists are pushing the elimination of biological sex and the imposition of whacked, even insane idea about biology onto society, while the other side’s extremists are starting to bring up eliminationist ideas for suppressing anyone not strictly orthodox conservatively both socially and sexually. More specifically, their idea of what that is.

        I could say that the social extremists of both sides are eliminationist. A big problem is that the more moderate supporters or defenders of both ends conflate the more modest, reasonable, even rational beliefs of the other side’s with the evils espoused by the extremists. Claiming that everyone on the other side wants to mutilate prepubescent children and eliminate all distinctions of biological sex or social gender, and the other side hates all transgender people and wants to send the homosexuals to concentration camps does not help even though there are a very small groups of minorities who would be fine with one or the other.

        Really, the subject is getting hot now because of the need of some people to distract everyone from issues like the collapsing economy, the pandemics, and the massive corruption. This not to say that the discussion does not need to happen or is not important, but the more homeless people there are and the more food banks are needed, the louder, more hateful, and distracting these social issues are. Somehow having a growing of the poor, the hungry, the unsheltered, or just dying from lack of medical care does not create the same passion.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          While I do not doubt that some people do push for the abolition of biological sex – there is no idea so outlandish that someone would not argue for it – I really wonder if such people actually exist in any appreciable numbers, and have much to do with the bulk of trans rights activism. That sounds more like transhumanism than anything else. Simply accepting the idea of transition or the practice of sex change does not abolish biological sex as a concept.

          1. JBird4049

            It is not necessarily about numbers of people, but numbers in money. Money can get you a vast amount of influence and can convince enough knotheads to accept almost anything to be dangerous at least for a while.

        2. ashley

          “I could say that the social extremists of both sides are eliminationist.”

          no, theyre not. trans people arent trying to eradicate cis people. but the monsters on the far right are salivating at the thought of exterminating trans people.

          LGBTQ people (particularly trans) were one of the first groups the nazis went after, FYI. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institut_f%C3%BCr_Sexualwissenschaft

          the famous images of book burnings by the nazis are images of them burning books from there.

      3. Etrigan

        The contradictions of gender presentation, for self and within society, and identity are well-explored in queer theory art writing and history. Biology is a category like any other, it is not adamantine fact upon which the sum of reality hangs. That would be physics. It’s somewhat disappointing to see a lack of curiosity and inquiry into this particular aspect of human existence in this space.

      4. Matthew G. Saroff

        The fact that the Pritzgers are at the forefront of TG politics is not surprising. One of the family is trans.

        As the old saying goes, “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

        As to Bilek, the pinned tweet in her Twitter profile reads, “Instituting gender identity as a legal construct deconstructs what it means to be human at core: a biologically, sexually dimorphic species. This is the point. Think about this carefully. Gender is an obfuscation. The state is deconstructing sex,” which implies a bit of an obsession on the issue, as does their blog. (There is a video from Christofascist Hillsdale College on the front page)

        Discussions of trans issues from a myriad of good faith perspectives is useful, but Bilek fails the “good faith” test.

    3. Daniil Adamov

      The wedges in that article are a bit different. It is at least as concerned with “traditional values” as with “the old LGB and women’s rights movement” (that said, I am no expert, but it seems to me that transsexual rights have been a part of that even before 2013, as your mention of Dworkin would suggest). I can see the parallel though – the majority of Jews weren’t rich either, but because some of them were rich and others were seen to benefit from the activities of the rich, their enemies could see themselves as standing up to the rich and powerful, rather than bullying a tiny, powerless minority.

  13. Rick

    On the SARS-2 information – since the variant trackers have be dropped, I haven’t kept up with this. Interesting to note that XBB.1.5 has indeed taken over as expected.


    Walgreens (second and third panels)

    1. thoughtful person

      Not to worry, apparently xbb variants are doing “well” and will soon be replacing xbb1.5

      Below is link from TACT email fwiw


  14. t

    Doctors are, I think, perceived to be working in a practice that they own or in a hospital run by medical professionals- which is not typically the case. Even in a non-profit. They might as well be flipping burgers for all the decision-making power they have.

    Meanwhile, nurses are threatening to strike in CA.

    1. earthling

      True. Yet if doctors had ever had the humility and courage to form a union to fight the insuro-financialization of health care, we would not be in this horrible situation.

  15. Lex

    The whole masking thing is a level of frustrating to me that I have a hard time formulating a response.

    The purpose of masking in a public health situation is not to protect the wearer but to limit the potential spread of infectious agents from the infected and into the environment. It’s the reason why doctors and nurses wear masks during surgery and why East Asians put on masks when they’re sick with colds. It’s not perfect and it does work better with larger droplets than with truly aerosolized virus particles. However, the way it works in a situation like Covid is that it only works when everyone wears one.

    This is because exposure is concentration of the virus and time spent in a contaminated environment. If everyone’s wearing a mask, it’s a well established method of reducing (not necessarily eliminating) the ambient concentration. The lower the ambient concentration, the more effective masks or respirators will be at stopping infection. It’s the same reason ventilation is important: it reduces the concentration of contaminant in the air. Everyone wearing masks (almost any kind of mask) to reduce concentrations in the air is a form of engineering control. However, once mask usage drops below probably 95% the whole thing falls apart.

    And at that point you’ll need to wear some form of respirator to provide personal protection. An N95 or similar respirator will also limit the spread of your infectious material if you have it, but a half-face with exhalation valve (or an N95 with an exhalation valve) will not capture viral particles exhaled by the wearer. But since a respirator of the type we’re talking about will have a maximum protection factor of about 10 in the real world, it means that you’re not actually eliminating the infectious agent but reducing by a factor of 10 for you. (it will be significantly less if there’s any problem with the fit)

    Most of the discussion, and even what little i’ve seen of the Cochrane study, uses masks and respirators interchangeably. Which is both wrong and disingenuous. They serve complimentary but different purposes. And for vulnerable populations, their respirators would be much more effective if everyone else was wearing a less restrictive mask.

    The other thing about this that just pisses me off is that for a brief, glorious moment we could all go into a bank wearing a mask and sunglasses and not get dragged out at gunpoint. The one thing that could really throw a wrench in the plans of total surveillance and facial recognition was widespread adoption of masking as a normal behavior. ….so maybe there’s another reason why the powers that be were on board with ending masking ASAP.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “The purpose of masking in a public health situation is not to protect the wearer but to limit the potential spread of infectious agents from the infected and into the environment.”
      I am not sure how you arrived at that conclusion. I wear a P100 respirator mask to protect me. It has an exhalation value. If I go somewhere where a lot of people are wearing masks, I carry a cheap procedure mask to wear over the exhalation value — although given how little I go out and how consistently I have worn my mask, I doubt that I am spreading much. As far as I know the filtering materials in N95 or procedure masks filter the same in both directions in and out.

      1. BlakeFelix

        I’m just guessing but I think he’s calling cloth-surgical masks and kn95-p100 respirators. I think P100s with valves protect other people less but still better than single layer cloth and maybe on par with surgical or good cloth. Valveless kn95 are what I usually use, personally, although I have other types for planes and things.

  16. antidlc

    Vital Statistics Reporting Guidance
    Report No. 3 ▪ Released April 2020 – Expanded February 2023

    Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to
    Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Expanded in February 2023 to Include Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to
    Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19

    However, patients who recover from the acute
    phase of the infection can still suffer long-term effects (8).
    Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), commonly referred
    to as “long COVID,” refers to the long-term symptoms, signs,
    and complications experienced by some patients who have
    recovered from the acute phase of COVID-19 (8–10). Emerging
    evidence suggests that severe acute respiratory syndrome
    coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19,
    can have lasting effects on nearly every organ and organ system
    of the body weeks, months, and potentially years after infection
    (11,12). Documented serious post-COVID-19 conditions include
    cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, renal, endocrine,
    hematological, and gastrointestinal complications (8), as well as

    So the CDC admits long COVID includes a number of complications, yet the CDC doesn’t see to have any problem with letting it rip.

    These people are monsters. I hope they rot in hell.

  17. JBird4049

    >>>said leadership of I&A’s Office of Regional Intelligence “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government.’”

    Runs “like” a corrupt government? Okay.

    I would like to note that if Trump has something happened to him, like say a bolt of lightning hits him, there will be war. Doesn’t matter if it was an innocent lightning bolt. People will never believe it. $”Heck, neither would I, and even for many Never Trumpers that will be a bridge too far. And in the United States, inconvenient people tend to die usually by lead poisoning, but not always. Our politics tends to be more violent than many realize. It is too bad that the Empire has always preferred this method and by that, I mean the ruling class including the police.

    I agree with Lambert here. Unfortunately. Buckle up people.

  18. Samuel Conner

    The clean room masking thing isn’t an argument against current public health practices; it seems to me that it illustrates them:

    In a clean room setting, people not wearing masks would cost the Company (in this case, the employer of the people not masking) money by contaminating sensitive production processes.

    In the public health setting, people NOT not wearing masks would cost the Company (well, “companies”, as in “pharma and other medical-related companies”) money by reducing COVID market demand for medical products and services.

    To my eye, the thing is perfectly consistent.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>In the public health setting, people NOT not wearing masks would cost the Company (well, “companies”, as in “pharma and other medical-related companies”) money by reducing COVID market demand for medical products and services.

      So, it’s like modern American wars? The point is not to win the war, but to continue the living hell of it, or a pandemic, because it is profitable to do so? But of course it is.

      I am trying really hard to maintain my equilibrium. I have read far too much about the costs of even the mildest of civil unrest, forget about civil wars, to even think it. The protests after George Floyd despite their size were nowhere near as violent as the ones in the 1960s.

      However, I must ask when does being civil become being suicidal? When does one insanity outweigh another insanity? And we only seem to have different insanities to choose from aside from some fantasies of having a decent life in a good country inside a functioning civilization. But that last is crazy talk, isn’t?

      Or is my family doomed to the insanity that some would impose upon us all, using violence, if necessary, to do so? Despite the violent tendencies of the ruling class, and they will sleep well afterwards, isn’t there a way for peaceful change?

      1. semper loquitur

        “isn’t there a way for peaceful change?”

        I, for one, don’t think there is. The wealthy and powerful will happily take us and even themselves straight to Hell if only to cling to their privilege. It’s like the Iron Law of Institutions on a societal scale. It’s going to have to break up, perhaps due to some kind of natural disaster. And then it will be chaos anyway before something new congeals. I hope to be up over Yonder Mountain before that comes to pass.

        1. tegnost

          yes, the wealthy and powerful think everything is great, never been better, so collapse is the only way out at this point… I still think it’ll take a confluence of events to precipitate.

          1. JBird4049

            I think that we are reaching that level of brittle dysfunction when there does not need to be a confluence although that is likely, but merely a single trigger, better say a single pebble causing the landslide. There is almost no flexibility, forget competency, left in the system.

            Something like a heart attack for Trump. Or Biden’s brain finally cracks from the meds and he spontaneously starts chanting “Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn!” live on television. Maybe a train derailment incinerates and irradiates most of Boise right before leaked documents showing most of Congress taking bribes donations from Norfolk Southern right before indemnifying it from all criminal charges, lawsuits, or fines for anything, anywhere. Then there is something coming out of Covid like cancer increasing 300% from the mRNA vaccines and yes, IIRC Congress has already indemnified the vaccine manufacturers. It was part of the deal to go “warp speed” with the vaccine development.

            My guess is that it is something that has already happened. We just have not found out because of the corruption and dysfunction of everything especially the media. Covid or maybe the railroad companies are what I would make book on.

      2. ashley

        “isn’t there a way for peaceful change?”

        no, and saying so has gotten me banned from every social media platform. im not directly encouraging violence, i am stating fact.

        every right average people have won has been fought and won by blood. late stage capitalism is mass violence against the public, and we’re expected to respond by taking the high road with “nonviolence”?

        americans are the most propagandized people in the world. “protest” here is getting a permit to have a group stand around in a “free speech zone” waving impotent signs for a few hours. what a free country with freedom of speech, freedom of redress, freedom of assembly! so free!

  19. Jason Boxman

    These people really are stupid.


    Mr. Krellenstein and Garrett Wilkinson, a health policy expert at the nonprofit Partners in Health, examined the world’s readiness for an H5N1 pandemic and identified several “important gaps,” according to a report they shared with The New York Times. With a two-dose regimen, the United States could need at least 650 million doses of H5N1 vaccine for use in humans, and the report said it was unclear how the country could reach that figure with its current manufacturing capacity.

    Why would this work any better then other flu shots?

    1. ambrit

      “Why would this work any better then other flu shots?”
      The annual flu shot is developed from several variants that are guessed at being the predominant varieties circulating in the population for the year indicated. For the H5N1 flu variety, that ‘vaccine’ would be targeted specifically at that variety, and so, effective at the fighting of that particular variety. The ‘annual flu’ vaccine would probably miss that H5N1 variety as being of low incidence in the Terran human population previous to any ‘breakthrough’ event.
      If H5N1 does manage to evolve a ‘Terran human to Terran human’ crossing variety, then heaven help us. Add this particularly virulent virus to those already immunocompromised by the coronavirus Pandemic and we have a “perfect storm” brewing.
      The Jackpot proceeds apace.

      1. notabanker

        Deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties, I think we all know Covid was not the main attraction, but simply the warm up act.

        1. thoughtfulperson

          Revolutions podcast guy Mike Duncan (if memory serves) would say “Precursor”


  20. semper loquitur

    re: Liberal timidity

    I suspect this notion springs from the need of the $hit-lib to constantly appear to be the reasonable, mature voice in the room. $hit-libs don’t fight, they talk in smooth NPR tones and try to level logic and facts in the face of spittle flecked savages on the Right. For Lefties, it’s just outright dismissal with a sneer. “How ya gonna pay for all that?”

    Of course, it’s all none-sense. $hit-libs are vicious and cruel. They lash out when confronted. The Clintons come to mind.

  21. Camelotkidd

    I love the campaign Trump when he rails against the Republican version of the national security state, like in 2015-16? when he condemned the Iraq invasion, and now when he taunts the “deep state”
    Like Lambert says–he better watch his six

      1. LawnDart

        If he can stomach decades of Big Macs, I wouldn’t put it past the guy to use Novichok as dipping-sauce for his fries.

  22. The Rev Kev

    Local report here. So I was at the hospital here in Oz two nights ago and as far as mask were concerned, it was not good. They are no longer mandatory going into the hospital and very few patients and staff had any on so I guess that it was a matter of a personal decision. As a hospital is by definition a place where sick people gather, I thought this insane but here we are. The responsibility for public health has now been outsourced from the government to all us mops.

  23. Ed Miller

    “mops” vs. mopes..

    Thinking about it I’m not sure that was a typo – wiping up the floor with us mops makes sense.
    NC is making me twisted, at least from the Overtop Window perspective.

  24. kareninca

    ” In the January study, people who tested negative for Covid actually had higher rates of severe fatigue three months after testing than people who had Covid. They also experienced many other symptoms — like fever, headache, runny nose, and sore throat — at rates comparable to or higher than Covid-positives. Also confusing were findings detailed in an earlier publication by the study group, which reported poor well-being more often among Covid-negative patients than among people who tested positive — 54 percent compared with 40 percent. What to make of this?””

    Antibodies from a covid infection are effective against other infections? Or, some other bodily response to a covid infection is protective against other infections? Or, naturally sickly people try to avoid catching something that is extra deadly?

    This fits with what I am seeing, anecdotally. Many people whom I know who have caught covid then got a burst of energy after they recovered from (at least the initial) covid infection. A number of people I know who have never caught covid (and I think it is true that they haven’t) are feeling intermittent exhaustion. I am reminded of the grasshoppers whose brains are parasitized and who then energetically and enthusiastically hop to their deaths.

    The volunteer coordinator of the nonprofit I help at recently razzed one of my fellow volunteers for still wearing a mask at events (a real N95 in his case). This coordinator would consider herself to be extremely socially advanced. My fellow volunteer and I agree that this is the point in the zombie movie where the zombies try to infect those who are not yet zombies. Yes, the volunteer coordinator has had covid at least once. Three people in the small section of my organization (in Silicon Valley) have caught it in the past six weeks; it isn’t going anywhere.

    1. ambrit

      What worries me is your observation that the virus keeps infecting people, and multiple times. This looks suspiciously like the lab technique of “serial passage” done ‘in the wild.’ “Serial passage” is, if I have read correctly, the lab method for ‘creating’ newer and often stronger varieties of virus. As far as I have read, the coronavirus is basically endowed with a limitless permutation allowance. No natural end in sight.
      Alas it is true that there is one method of stopping a dreaded pathogen that generally works; killing off the host species.
      Stay safe and emigrate to a Lagrange Colony at your earliest possibility.

  25. skippy

    Hay Lambert I thought this link was a nice summery of neoliberalism from some lass down under and a good link for readership to share with others ….


    You know you can’t fight an ideology created out of whole cloth by focusing on its Manufactured widgets and cogs … eh … you know I might as well fight/argue with a bolt of cloth and not the owners/investors that created it …

  26. britzklieg

    Nice work if you can get it: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2023/03/07/ftx-bankruptcy-special-counsel-and-advisers-bill-38-million-for-january/

    “The army of professionals working on the FTX bankruptcy case has billed a collective $38 million plus expenses for the month of January, according to court records…

    interim CEO John J. Ray III said that the exchange had a “complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information.”

    Ray, who oversaw the liquidation of Enron and Nortel Networks, called the FTX situation “unprecedented” and something he had never seen in his career.

    Ray, for his part, submitted a bill for $305,565 for his work during the month of February.”

  27. XXYY

    [T]he goal should be a cultural norm: Universal masking, as in most of Asia.

    Some relevant parallels here are:

    (o) Car seatbelts.

    (o) Bike and motorcycle helmets.

    (o) Construction site hardhats and other PPE.

    (o) Ski helmets.

    Those of us who are old enough remember the introduction of all of these. In every case, there was a long period (10-20 years) where they became gradually accepted norms, with a greater or lesser amount of pushback during the process, sometimes from wearers, other times from employers, manufacturers, and people who had to pay for them.

    At this point, the idea of going without any of these things seems absurd. In no case is their tortured reasoning about whether or not to wear one based on the likelihood of hitting your head or crashing your vehicle. People just wear them, more or less without thinking about it.

    But this didn’t happen overnight. Far from it.

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