2:00PM Water Cooler 4/20/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Hermit Thrush, Tahoe National Forest; Yuba Pass; North of Sno-Park, Sierra, California, United States.

* * *


“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

“Manchin slams Biden for ‘deficiency of leadership,’ applauds McCarthy debt limit plan” [The Hill]. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who faces reelection in a Republican-leaning state, on Thursday slammed President Biden for showing ‘a deficiency of leadership’ on a potential national default and applauded Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for proposing a plan to raise the debt limit. Manchin, who has feuded with the Biden administration over implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which Congress passed last year, took the president to task for not sitting down with McCarthy to negotiate fiscal reforms in exchange for raising the debt limit. McCarthy says his plan would reduce the deficit by an estimated $4.5 trillion over 10 years by capping discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, cancelling Biden’s student debt-relief plan, and reclaiming unspent COVID-19 relief funds. It would also roll back several aspects of the Democrats’ signature Inflation Reduction Act. Manchin called on Biden to respond with his own proposal.”

“Biden’s Labor Secretary Pick Seeks to Win Over Skeptical Democrats” [Wall Street Journal]. “President Biden picked Ms. Su for the cabinet post earlier this year. She was confirmed to take the No. 2 position at the Labor Department in 2021, but confirmation for the top job isn’t assured in the closely divided Senate. Some Democrats haven’t said if they would support her. Ms. Su needs near universal support from Mr. Biden’s party if Republicans are united against her. Ms. Su is opposed by some business groups who say they fear she will push similar policies at the federal level as those she worked to implement as a top labor official in California. Business groups said those policies hurt the economy by restricting gig jobs and making it more difficult to operate franchises. The Labor Department is currently revising its guidance on how companies should determine whether a worker is an employee or a contractor. In her testimony Thursday, Ms. Su said the department wouldn’t use a specific California test in classifying workers and said that a rule aimed at making corporations responsible for their franchisee’s employees wouldn’t be on the department’s agenda. She also said she is ready to work with both companies and workers.” • Sounds like Biden put no muscle behind Su at all.

The Supremes

“Durbin asks Roberts to testify in Congress amid Thomas controversy” [The Hill]. “Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Thursday asked Chief Justice John Roberts to testify in Congress about the court’s ethical standards amid a controversy surrounding Justice Clarence Thomas. Durbin vowed to hold a hearing on May 2 on ethical rules at the high court after a ProPublica investigation revealed that Thomas took various luxury trips over the years paid for by Harlan Crow, a Dallas-based real estate developer who has donated millions to conservative causes. ‘The time has come for a new public conversation on ways to restore confidence in the Court’s ethical standards. I invite you to join it, and I look forward to your response,’ Durbin wrote in a letter to Roberts on Thursday, also inviting him to designate another justice in his place… If Roberts does not voluntarily appear, Durbin said the absence of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sits on the committee, would prevent Democrats from subpoenaing the chief justice.” • A sternly worded letter!

“So What Could Congress Actually Do To Hold Clarence Thomas Accountable?” [Slate]. “An easy first step could be for Congress to extend the Judicial Conduct and Disabilities Act to apply to the Supreme Court. That’s a code of conduct that details standards of behavior that all federal judges in lower courts across the country must adhere to. It bans judges from accepting gifts or engaging in any and all behavior that would hurt public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and any violations incur steep fines. It also allows the public to submit complaints if they believe a federal judge has engaged in behavior detrimental to the court or is unable to execute duties of the judicial office…. As eager as Congress may be to step in and hold Thomas accountable for his questionable ethics, the Supreme Court is a self-governing body, and there are limitations on what legislators can do. All the experts I spoke to said that having the court choose to implement reforms of its own accord is one of the strongest solutions. The most obvious starting point would be for the court to adopt an ethics code.” • We don’t need no steenkin’ ethics codes….


“Hunter Biden Probe Is Being Mishandled, IRS Supervisor Says” [Wall Street Journal]. “An IRS supervisor has told lawmakers he has information that suggests the Biden administration is improperly handling the criminal investigation into President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and is seeking whistleblower protections, according to people familiar with the matter. … According to the letter, the employee previously disclosed his information internally at the IRS and to the Justice Department’s inspector general. He is restricted from sharing some of the information due to privacy laws that shield Americans’ tax return information, the letter said. While taxpayer information is largely protected from disclosure, the tax code allows the chairs of the tax panels, including the Ways and Means Committee, to request and receive any tax returns from the IRS. Democrats used that tool to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns last year after a yearslong legal and political standoff.” • What goes around…. The letter:

“Ex-prosecutor in Trump probe ordered to testify before US Congress panel” [Reuters]. “A former prosecutor who once led the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into former U.S. President Donald Trump must testify before a congressional committee, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat whose office’s investigation led to a grand jury indicting Trump in the first criminal charges against a former president, last week sued Republican Representative Jim Jordan to block a subpoena for testimony from the former prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz. The subpoena came from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which Jordan chairs. Pomerantz’s deposition is scheduled for Thursday. After hearing arguments in federal court in Manhattan on whether to block the subpoena, U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil issued a written ruling approving the subpoena but encouraging the parties to reach a compromise as to how the subpoena of Pomerantz would proceed.”

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.

* * *

“Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey to set up legal defense fund amid criminal probe” [NBC]. • What, again?


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

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

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. We are now up to 50/50 states (100%). This is really great! (It occurs to me that there are uses to which this data might be put, beyond helping people with “personal risk assessments” appropriate to their state. For example, thinking pessimistically, we might maintain the list and see which states go dark and when. We might also tabulate the properties of each site and look for differences and commonalities, for example the use of GIS (an exercise in Federalism). I do not that CA remains a little sketchy; it feels a little odd that there’s no statewide site, but I’ve never been able to find one. Also, my working assumption was that each state would have one site. That’s turned out not to be true; see e.g. ID. Trivially, it means I need to punctuate this list properly. Less trivially, there may be more local sites that should be added. NY city in NY state springs to mind, but I’m sure there are others. FL also springs to mind as a special case, because DeSantis will most probably be a Presidental candidate, and IIRC there was some foofra about their state dashboard. Thanks again!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); 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, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (9), JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

* * *


“Long COVID: pathophysiological factors and abnormalities of coagulation” [Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism]. “Acute COVID-19 infection is followed by prolonged symptoms in approximately one in ten cases: known as Long COVID. The disease affects ~65 million individuals worldwide. Many pathophysiological processes appear to underlie Long COVID, including viral factors (persistence, reactivation, and bacteriophagic action of SARS CoV-2); host factors (chronic inflammation, metabolic and endocrine dysregulation, immune dysregulation, and autoimmunity); and downstream impacts (tissue damage from the initial infection, tissue hypoxia, host dysbiosis, and autonomic nervous system dysfunction). These mechanisms culminate in the long-term persistence of the disorder characterized by a thrombotic endothelialitis, endothelial inflammation, hyperactivated platelets, and fibrinaloid microclots. These abnormalities of blood vessels and coagulation affect every organ system and represent a unifying pathway for the various symptoms of Long COVID.” • As IM Doc has been saying from the beginning, Covid is a vascular diease. (Though I’d raise a hand for thinking about the gut, too.)


Because Freedom:

Elite Malfeasance

“Long COVID Is Being Erased—Again” [Ed Yong, The Atlantic (MR)]. “Most Americans simply aren’t thinking about COVID with the same acuity they once did; the White House long ago zeroed in on hospitalizations and deaths as the measures to worry most about. And what was once outright denial of long COVID’s existence has morphed into something subtler: a creeping conviction, seeded by academics and journalists and now common on social media, that long COVID is less common and severe than it has been portrayed—a tragedy for a small group of very sick people, but not a cause for societal concern. This line of thinking points to the absence of disability claims, the inconsistency of biochemical signatures, and the relatively small proportion of severe cases as evidence that long COVID has been overblown. ‘There’s a shift from ‘Is it real?’ to ‘It is real, but …,” Lekshmi Santhosh, the medical director of a long-COVID clinic at UC San Francisco, told me. Yet long COVID is a substantial and ongoing crisis—one that affects millions of people. However inconvenient that fact might be to the current “mission accomplished” rhetoric, the accumulated evidence, alongside the experience of long haulers, makes it clear that the coronavirus is still exacting a heavy societal toll.” More: “As it stands, 11 percent of adults who’ve had COVID are currently experiencing symptoms that have lasted for at least three months, according to data collected by the Census Bureau and the CDC through the national Household Pulse Survey. That equates to more than 15 million long-haulers, or 6 percent of the U.S. adult population. And yet, ‘I run into people daily who say, ‘I don’t know anyone with long COVID,” says Priya Duggal, an epidemiologist and a co-lead of the Johns Hopkins COVID Long Study.” • If someone says “I don’t know anyone with long COVID,” that means people near them who do have long Covid don’t trust them enough to tell them about it. (This certainly applies to managers and others in positions of financial hegemony.) This article is well worth reading. Ed Yong comments:

“The NIH has poured $1 billion into long Covid research — with little to show for it” [STAT]. That’s hardly fair. A lot of PMC kids went to college! More: “The National Institutes of Health hasn’t signed up a single patient to test any potential treatments — despite a clear mandate from Congress to study them. And the few trials it is planning have already drawn a firestorm of criticism, especially one intervention that experts and advocates say may actually make some patients’ long Covid symptoms worse. Instead, the NIH spent the majority of its money on broader, observational research that won’t directly bring relief to patients. But it still hasn’t published any findings from the patients who joined that study, almost two years after it started. There’s no sense of urgency to do more or to speed things up, either. The agency isn’t asking Congress for any more funding for long Covid research, and STAT and MuckRock obtained documents showing the NIH refuses to use its own money to change course. ‘So far, I don’t think we’ve gotten anything for a billion dollars,’ said Ezekiel Emanuel, a physician, vice provost for global initiatives, and co-director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘That is just unacceptable, and it’s a serious dysfunction.’ Eric Topol, the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said he expected the NIH would have launched many large-scale trials by now, and that testing treatments should have been an urgent priority when Congress first gave the agency money in late 2020.” • Of course, if you view Covid as the capital’s way of culling the unfit, everything falls into place!

“Control Issues” [Science]. “Science’s investigation reveals [that GISAID is] at odds with several major players in the global health community, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIH, the Wellcome Trust, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” Many more people should be at odds with those people! But at the beginning, we see that Peter Bogner, GISAID’s “perplexing creator and overseer,” seems to have invented an alternate personal, Steven Meyers, and that “Meyers” had long email and telephone conversations with other scientists. This is a long and detailed article, but what makes me concerned about it is that players like CDC and NIH are not to be trusted one iota, ditto the Gates Foundation, and of course there are ruthless players in Big Phama as well. I wouldn’t quite characterize the Science article as a hit piece, but when I wrote, earlier this month, that “A Fragile Institutional Foundation Means Genomic Surveillance Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen” it looks like I was on point.

* * *

Infection Control whacks a few more of the unfit:

* * *

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: I’m getting the feeling that the “something awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau (with, of course, deeper knowledge of the sequelae “we” have already decided to accept or, rather, to profit from). That will be the operational definition of “living with Covid.” More as I think on this. In addition, I recurated my Twitter feed for my new account, and it may be I’m creating a echo chamber. That said, it seems to me that the knobs on Covid had gone up to 13, partly because science is popping, which demands more gaslighting, and partly because that “Covid is over” bubble maintenance is, I believe, more pundit-intensive than our betters believed it would be.

Case Data

NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from April 18:

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.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, April 15, 2023. Here we go again:

Lambert here: CDC has redesigned its chart to combine actual data with NowCast model projections (which readers will recall I refused to use, because CDC’s models have a wretched track record. Worse, the press always quoted the projections, not the model). Because the new chart design makes it clear what’s data and what’s projection (though that “weighted estimate” gives me pause) I’m using it. Looks like XBB.1.16 is rolling right along.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from April 15:

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. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


A kind reader discovered that Walgreens had reduced its frequency to once a week. So, we shall see…


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,158,684 – 1,158,347 = 337 (337 * 365 = 123,005 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).

Lambert here: WHO turned off the feed? Odd that Walgreen’s positivity shut down on April 11, and the WHO death count on April 12. Was there a memo I didn’t get?

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published April 2:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. I”m not sure how often this updates, and if it doesn’t, I’ll remove it. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 5 thousand to 245 thousand on the week ending April 15th, the most in one month and above market expectations of 240 thousand. The result was in line with a batch of data for March that suggested some softening in the US labor market, breaking the long streak of data pointing to a tight labor market despite aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.” • Awesome. At last we’ve thrown some people out of work!

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US fell to -31.3 points in April of 2023, the lowest since May of 2020 from -23.2 in March. It marks an eighth consecutive negative reading, missing market expectations of -19.2.”

* * *

Commodities: “What If Your Tesla Could Run on Sodium?” [Wall Street Journal]. “If sodium is the new lithium, investors may need to rethink a favorite energy-transition trade. One of the most potentially disruptive snippets of news to come out of the Shanghai auto show this week wasn’t from Tesla or one of its flashy Chinese competitors but from a company that doesn’t make vehicles at all: CATL. The world’s largest battery producer said its first sodium-ion battery would power electric vehicles built by Chinese brand Chery, though it didn’t say when. This adds to a drip-drip of signals that cheaper sodium-ion battery chemistry is moving out of the science lab and onto streets. Another one: Chinese EV leader BYD on Tuesday launched a hatchback, the Seagull, one variant of which may run on a sodium-ion battery, according to some reports that the company hasn’t confirmed. If the Seagull doesn’t use the new chemistry, other coming BYD models likely will… New technologies usually seep into the car industry from the top end, where consumers can afford the latest gadgets. Battery innovations, where the big goal is reducing cost, are shaping up differently…. The new technology is less powerful than the latest lithium batteries. But it matches the older generations of lithium batteries that are in EVs today, so consumers might not care. And it has other advantages—being less fire-prone and more capable in freezing temperatures.”

Tech: “‘AI First’ To Last: How Google Fell Behind In The AI Boom” [Forbes]. “Two years earlier, Amazon had blindsided Google by releasing its voice assistant Alexa. Now a household name, it was a coup that particularly aggrieved Google. “Organizing the world’s information” had long been the company’s mission, and a service like that should have been the company’s birthright… Seven years later, Google finds itself in a similar position, again beaten to market in a field it should have dominated. But this time it’s worse: The usurper is OpenAI, a comparatively small San Francisco startup, and not a deep-pocketed giant like Amazon. The product is ChatGPT, a bot that can generate sitcom plots, resignation letters, lines of code, and other text on almost any subject conceivable as if written by a human—and it was built using a technological breakthrough Google itself had pioneered years ago. The bot, released in November, has captured the public’s imagination, despite Google announcing a similar technology called LaMDA two years ago. What’s worse, Google’s chief search engine rival, Microsoft, is nourishing OpenAI with $10 billion and on Tuesday announced a new version of Bing with AI chat features even more advanced than ChatGPT—a potentially existential move for the future of internet search.” • Existential for “search” given what Google has made of it, perhaps. How on earth do you get reliable search results from a bot that makes shit up, and at best is a distillation of conventional wisdom?


Of course, there are other social relations than transactional ones.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 20 at 1:13 PM ET.


“This Mom Didn’t Know She Was In A $250K Candy Crush Tournament, But She’s Killing It” [Kotaku]. “Erryn Rhoden is an ordinary person who works at her family’s roofing company in Columbus, Ohio. She’s also the top-ranked player in her semifinal bracket for the Candy Crush Saga All Stars Tournament, the biggest Candy Crush tournament in history, which she entered by accident. That makes her one of the most successful esports athletes in the entire country right now.” You can read about her accidental entry in the article; these paragraphs I found more interesting:

“I have three kids, [and] I’m 48 now. I used to play a lot of video games,” Rhoden told me over a Zoom call with her son Xane. “When I quit [like smoking?], I just started playing Candy Crush. Because I have ADD, I kind of need to have ten things going on at once. It’s just something to fill my mind and keep me focused. I started playing it like 10 years ago.” Rhoden runs a roofing company with her husband, so she normally works from her home office. There, she would play the game late into the night, but still refers to herself in our conversation as a gamer in the past tense.

Rhoden played PvP games when she was younger, where she relished in “demolishing” her opponents for the adrenaline rush. However, she didn’t like the person she became while playing such competitive games. Candy Crush “satisfied her urge to win without feeling like [she was] doing anything to anybody else and causing rage.” In a single-player puzzle game, the only opponent was herself.

But she isn’t just innately skilled at Candy Crush. The game requires a lot of practice and actual strategy, so she’d watch videos that conveyed the core strategy of each level to up her game.

Not everyone was supportive of her dedication to the Candy craft. “[My husband] mocked me for playing Candy Crush my whole life.” She suggests that his mocking came, partly, from her regularly playing the game until the wee hours of the morning for the last decade. Despite pushback from loved ones, Candy Crush became embedded in Rhoden’s regular routine, eventually leading to her entering the All Star tournament by mistake.

Maybe this old codger isn’t reading the right sources. But again, here we have an enormous cultural phenomenon that is never described in the mainstream press. Odd!

The Gallery

The AI and NFT art I have seen has been repellent and hideous, without exception, and not simply because of eight-fingered humans. Here’s another one:

At best, it’s college dorm room-level crap. That’s probably the training sets. But what does that say?

News of the Wired

A popularization of how adjectives are ordered in English:

Of course, somebody has to come up with an exception. Going meta:

This is fun. I should play around, break some rules. What they’re made for. The scholarly view–

“Big bad modifier order” [Language Log]. From 2016, still germane. “On a similar topic, you might take a look at Cooper and Ross, “World Order” (1975)…. They consider a wide range of cases like ‘cat and mouse’, ‘then and now’, ‘here and there’, ‘long and short’, ‘ham and eggs’, ‘meat and potatoes’, etc. You could also take a look at some of the 378 works that cite ‘World Order.’” • Gin and tonic. Mutt and Jeff. Tooth and nail. High and dry. Husband and wife. If we had some ham, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some eggs (Frank Herbert).

* * *

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

KW comments: “San Damiano, Lake Monona, Monona, Wisconsin, and Tenney Park, Lake Mendota, Madison, Wisconsin.” Readers, my mailer doesn’t respect attachment order. If you want me to put pictures in order, change the file names, as in 1_lake.jpg, 2_lake.jpg, or lake_monona.jpg, lake_mendota.jpg.

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Jeff Stantz

    On COVID: “As IM Doc has been saying from the beginning, Covid is a vascular disease.”

    What does that mean? Vascular diseases are caused by non-COVID triggers as well, yes? Is there some underlying mechanism we are missing? To say something is a “vascular disease”, I feel, over simplifies it.

    1. IM Doc

      It has been very obvious from the beginning that not only is the COVID virus causing issues with the mucosa in the upper airways and the lungs ( although this has greatly and significantly decreased in severity compared to the beginning) – but it is also intimately involved with the endovascular system as well.

      During 2020, with my very own patients, there were all kinds of endovascular complications going on – blood clots in very strange places, pulmonary emboli, strokes. This certainly did not happen in every patient and certainly not even the majority. But it was enough that it was very concerning and fascinating at the same time. It is in these unusual or unexpected findings where critical answers often lie.

      Another aspect of this that I have noticed since the beginning is the D-dimer test. That test measures the breakdown products of a critical protein needed for blood clotting. If elevated, it is a sign that there is at least some degree of clotting going on in the body somewhere. Repeatedly, over and over, in many many COVID patients, this number has been elevated with no clinical evidence of clots or DIC(disseminated intravascular coagulation) which is another manifestation of overwhelming acute infectious disease of many kinds. I have noted this to be elevated for weeks and months later in many patients, especially those still having symptoms. I have also noted this to be elevated for no obvious reason in patients with possible vaccine injuries.

      There is something going on in the vascular space with COVID. We have not fully characterized this. It will likely be years before we know the basics. It took us decades to even be comfortable with the basics with HIV. I know we live in a world that seems to think we can know everything NOW, but that is not going to happen. And to make matters worse, so much of our research now is geared to pharma. Issues regarding any infection that are not going to be profitable are largely put on the back burner. As the excellent post this AM pointed out, that is the science we have in our world today.

  2. John Beech

    Silly me thought the Supreme Court was one of three co-equal branches of government. Thus, able to tell Congress to pound sand. I am referencing this article;

    So What Could Congress Actually Do To Hold Clarence Thomas Accountable?”

    This brouhaha will be interesting as we the people are riled using the press expressly to shape a story based on what is certain to be selective bits of the real story. And of course, we’ll respond exactly as expert psychological manipulators are paid to know.

    We keep falling for the same old thing; Watch the little birdie in this hand . . .

    1. Jason Boxman

      They aren’t co-equal. For a different take, I recommend reading “A necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government” by Garry Wills. The Constitution does list legislative branch first. You’ll also find “checks and balances” doesn’t show up anywhere in the document. There wasn’t even a federal court system until Congress passed a law creating it as such:

      The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the federal court system separate from individual state courts. It was one of the first acts of the First Congress. President George Washington signed it into law on September 24, 1789


      What Congress creates, Congress can destroy.

      1. Bob White

        A Supreme Court justice can also be impeached…
        It happened once – in 1804, Samuel Chase – but was acquitted by the Senate.
        In 1969, Abe Fortas became the first—and, to date, only—Supreme Court justice to resign under the threat of impeachment.
        Not seeing it happen anytime soon, though…

      2. fjallstrom

        Far as I can tell the current division of powers in the US is:

        Congress gets bribed to prevent new laws.

        The supreme court gets bribed to change laws.

        The executive gets bribed to make sure some people are above the laws.

  3. petal

    Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one, announced in our daily morning email from the college. Remember Jankowicz was head of Biden’s disinformation board.

    Subject: How to (Really) Lose the Information War, Nina Jankowicz

    Wright Center Fake News Lecture Series hosts Nina Jankowicz, VP of the Centre
    for Information Resilience on May 2, 5pm Oopik Auditorium to discuss ideas and
    best practices for efforts to counter disinformation both within and outside of
    government structures, as well as predictions for the future of the problem.

    1. ambrit

      The ‘Wright Center Fake News Lecture Series’ sounds awfully like a tutorial on how to propagate said “Fake News.”
      You have caught it perfectly as a “[don’t] know whether to laugh or cry” situation.
      The term “Fake News” itself is an example of ‘shaping’ at it’s best. No references as to the standards to be used in making the determination. Just, “..you are one of us. Join with us as we forge ahead into the brave new world.”
      Stay safe.

      1. petal

        I guess I should probably go to it and report back to you guys, huh? It’s at the end of the street, 2 minute walk, on a Tuesday night. Though after the day I’ve had today and the tasks and life difficulty ahead of me, I don’t know if I will be able to tolerate her smug, comfortable, lying, neoliberal self.

        1. skippy

          Did you like the opening line of I’m a Fulbright/Clinton Fellow and then my real name shtick …

    2. JTMcPhee

      Is “Oopik” a variant of “Oosik,” which I believe is an Inuit word meaning “whale penis bone”? Just curious…

  4. ChrisFromGA

    Gone neo-con

    (Sung to the tune of “Gone country” by Alan Jackson)

    Shes been playin’ with matches, on the steppe for ten years in Ukraine
    Every day we get news that suggests, she’s got pudding for brains
    She’s been readin’ about quintupling down, and emptying NATO cupboards
    She says “Silly simpletons, if we lose, I’ll just fail upwards”

    So she casts her spell on government chumps
    And skates through hot wars, kinda like Forrest Gump

    She’s gone neo-con
    Look at her loot
    She’s gone neo-con
    Back to her roots
    She’s gone neo-con
    Turn Berlin to Beirut
    She’s gone neo-con – here she comes!

    Well, John McCain’s dead, but Lindsey’s holding out in the swampland
    He’s got his warmonger on, saying let’s all sport those nuclear sun tans
    He says, we can take on both bears and pandas, just for schnitz, grins and giggles!
    But if you ask him who’ll be doin’ the fightin’, he squirms and he wiggles

    I hear over there its changed, you’ll see!
    We’ll just wow ’em with our nifty technology!

    He’s gone neocon
    Look at him loot!
    He’s gone neocon
    Back to his roots
    He’s gone neocon
    Turn Taiwan to Beirut
    He’s gone neocon – here he comes!

    He commutes to D.C., but he’s got a house in the Valley
    But the bills are pilin’ up and the tech scene just ain’t on the rally
    And he says, honey, I’m a serious conservative, schooled in Bush and Kirkpatrick
    Selling arms to the world pays the bills, and I just have to fool geriatrics
    Lord, it sounds so easy, it shouldn’t take long
    Worst case scenario – no jail time at all

    He’s gone neo-con
    Look at him loot!
    He’s gone neo-con,
    Back to his roots
    He’s gone neocon,
    Makin’ governance moot
    He’s gone neocon – here he comes!

    Yeah, he’s gone neocon, he can sure do the talk
    He’s gone neocon, but he can’t walk the walk
    He’s gone neocon, look at ’em loot
    He’s gone neocon, oh, back to Straussian roots

    He’s gone neocon
    He’s gone neocon,
    Everyone in DC loves neocons
    Yeah, we’ve gone neocon
    The whole world is gone – thanks, neocons!

  5. LawnDart

    Nice to read some of the good news in Water Cooler!

    Battery-tech is advancing at light-speed, and thank whatever gods may be for that: AMLO ought to sacrifice a goat or something in thanks, because the sodium-ion battery might be one less reason for invasion or it’ll at least help keep the US military away from Mexican lithium deposits in Sonora.

  6. Tom Stone

    I was curious enough to look at how the “Bruen” decision was being implemented to take a look and see who in the 25 states which restrict the carrying of concealed weapons ( The right to bear arms) was deemed worthy and who was deemed unworthy.
    Here in California it is County by County and in Sonoma County the right to bear arms is restricted to those who otherwise qualify and who can afford to pay $3,000 and take a full day off work.
    This is not something most can afford, the right to bear arms is confined to the well to do in the wine Country
    In Lake County it’s $300 and that pattern pretty much matches the rest of the State.
    A large underclass and a large disparity in wealth = no Gunz for the unworthy poor who are the main victims of violent crime.
    Take a look at any “Blue” large metro area with historically restrictive gun laws and you see the same thing, if you have $ you have the right to bear arms, if you are poor you are not worthy to have the means of self defense and it is not subtle…
    In the 25 Constitutional carry States ( Florida the newest, Vermont the first) poor people can carry a concealed weapon if they can lawfully possess one, in the “Blue” States only the well to do have the right to bear arms…
    It’s as clear a demonstration of class differences in America as I can think of.

    1. scott s.

      The legislature is still working on a bill here in Hawaii that looks to be about along the lines you suggest: bearing arms is for the well-off. Besides the cost, there are also character attributes that a potential carrier would have to meet. Unfortunately that fits all too well with the history of Hawaii. As a commercial class of largely expat Americans and their descendants came to dominate the Kingdom the desire to control immigrant labor needed due to the decline in the Hawaiian population was a foremost interest. That only became more acute after declaration of the Republic in 1894 where the fear was counter-revolution by royalists. At annexation, the commercial class was all too happy about getting the economic benefits of the US Constitution (other than Brit big-5 firm Theo Davies and outsider sugar baron Claus Spreckels) but not interested in the liberty and freedom requirements that also went with it. Hence the delay from annexation to passage of the organic act in 1900. Even as a Territory, the commercial class (later joined by the US military) together with the Congress operated to keep the majority population under tight control, including restrictive firearm laws.

    2. Jason Boxman

      A large underclass and a large disparity in wealth = no Gunz for the unworthy poor who are the main victims of violent crime.

      How would this reduce violent crime, rather than simply lead to shootouts and dead bystanders? We already have this in inner cities, where gun laws don’t deter those that want a gun from getting them, as you’ve probably pointed out, and the result just seems to be cycles of violence as everyone is packing heat.

      Exporting this model to every corner of America doesn’t inspire me with confidence.

      1. JBird4049

        I think that the point is not about a particular right, but that increasingly having a right means being wealthy or at least upper class, and of the right race. In California, the first major state gun control law is often called the Black Panthers gun control law. In the South gun control laws laws were passed with the understanding as well as the reality that they would not be used on whites especially upper class ones.

        If guns are too hot a topic, look at free speech. Even now our right of free speech is strong, but in the past talking in support of communism or against the current war of the time could and did get you arrested. Restated, speaking out against the interest of the wealthy especially if poor or working class got you fired or arrested.

        Look at any of the rights listed in the Bill of Rights and you will see that all of them have been denied to the poor and protected for the upper classes because reasons. Those reasons being money decides who deserves having any rights at all.

  7. cfraenkel

    Existential for “search” given what Google has made of it, perhaps. How on earth do you get reliable search results from a bot that makes shit up, and at best is a distillation of conventional wisdom?

    You’re still hoping that ‘reliable search results’ has anything to do with usefulness for yourself. (or any intelligent adult, for that matter) ‘Reliable search results’ means getting gullible people to buy more crap, so advertisers spend more on ads. I suspect ChatGPT and it’s brethren will perform spectacularly!

    Seems like it’s going to take another decade of ‘enshitification’ before our expectations catch up to reality.

    (a less snarky response might be ‘what can we expect the opportunity to look like created by the increasingly obvious user betrayal by the search engines? The tech evolution has been 2 way links (Bush/Englebart) succeeded by 1 way links (www) succeeded by page rank search. What comes next?)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Google doesn’t give reliable search results in any case. They have logarithms to hide links, to down-rank them several pages down and whatever else to do their part in upholding the required narratives. We saw that with Twitter and what the old Twitter did to so-called free speech. If Google puts together a ChatGPT based on their own results, it will incorporate that search results bias.

      1. BeliTsari

        Google has been SO bad for so long, it kind of drives you crazy, when you have to use it. So childishly, sneeringly, ostentatiously obvious about SEOing you ONLY where they’re paid to send you and disapparing consensus reality down their memory hole. Wanted to find an interesting article on Jeffery Tucker of AIER, GBD, Brownstone Institute infamy; and Google ONLY sends you to his up front eugenicist libertarian bullshit factory; no dissent, no alternate perspective. It’s simply a matter of if you’re buying ANYTHING, it’s Amazon. hIf you’re trying to survive unremitting, utter fucking cheerleading for a exponentially lethal set of circumstances, this slavering sociopath sells to force us into indentured gig-serfdom, re-re-reinfection, undiagnosed or treated lethal PASC system damage… Google ONLY feeds you to The Atlantic, WaPo, MSNBC, NYT, CNN… spewing the exact same libertarian think-tank horseshit (which questioning can cost your medical license, your phony-baloney academic standing, W4 job, rent-stabilized hovel or beloved family member’s home, lives’ savings… soon, no doubt, Debbie Wasserman Schultz will have you too, rounded up for thought crimes? Contempt?


  8. Synoia

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

    Very clever statement. What does it mean?

    1. Social reactions and normal?
    2. Social reactions and defensive?

    and: What is symbolic Capital?

  9. Matt Alfalfafield

    Re: word order in pairs, as an English teacher, I’ve always explained that we say the word with the more relaxed/front-of-mouth vowel first, and then the more tense/back-of-mouth vowel second. Compare “Mom” and “Dad” for a very clear example. Not sure where I picked that up but it works very consistently.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats a nice simple rule.

      By coincidence, just before reading that I was watching a YT conversation between the Japanese language maven Matt vs Japan and the linguist Stephen Krashen. Krashens theories are pretty controversial (as he points out, if he’s right, the language publishing industry would be in big trouble). He maintains that its simply impossible to ‘learn’ any language rule in a meaningful way – we acquire the rules subconsciously – conscious learning actually impedes language acquisition rather than helps it. His advice is to ditch the rules, just read and listen, read and listen.

      1. britzklieg

        My experience with languages conforms with Krashen. As in music, the most important component is the ear. If one doesn’t hear how a language works in actual use, fluency, and even conversational adeptness, is futile. I’m proud that my father (prof of Spanish Language and Literature, speaker of 5 languages) was instrumental for the development of “language labs” in the late 50’s and early 60’s – a separated booth with headphones and a telephone-like rotary dial for listening to native speakers. But the virtue of learning a foreign language has been mostly dismissed in the US, along with the invaluable “junior year abroad” elective. The college where he taught for 35 years dropped the language requirement in the 70’s and it was the most depressing moment of his professional life.

    2. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      Whenever I see this rule I always wonder what practical use it has in spoken language. I can’t imagine a time I would use such a long list of adjectives in a conversation. In fact, I can’t spontaneously generate a noun phrase of this complexity. And I can’t imagine a context where I would need to. Usually in conversation we use adjectives to distinguish among nouns, i.e. I want the blue shovel not the red shovel. Perhaps in telling a story when we’re being descriptive but other than that I can’t really see when you would do this. It feels very written language to me.

      1. Jorge

        Do you say “the old French man” or “the French old man”? I would have trouble believing that any native English speaker would not PING on hearing the second.

  10. Judith

    I lived near Tenney Park a long time ago (during the Guerrilla cookie era) when I was a student in Madison. Sun bathing in the summer, ice skating in the winter.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    I didn’t see Elon’s rocket go boom live, but I learned about it soon after from CNBC morning anchor Morgan Brennan who was almost tearfully telling us about it. Most had apparently watched a live-feed provided by SpaceX full of cheering and other enthusiastic rah-rah. Brennan replayed the fateful last moments from the SpaceX telecast, so I watched as the audio of wild cheering clashed with the visual of the exploding rocket. A voiceover of two people oscillated between reading the script describing the rocket’s progress and the hosts’ growing confusion and consternation over what they were seeing on the screen. David Faber remarked dryly that it was odd to hear that cheering as one watched something obviously go wrong.

    It was impossible not to remember the Challenger and the way that mission control continued charting the progress to orbit as the picture showed the spacecraft disintegrating. But there was no cheering i Houston that day as those people lost their lives.

    Here’s the SpaceX video starting with launch. It runs about 5 1/2 minutes. It’s a pretty good metaphor for the way the PMCs are acting re: Covid, Ukraine, climate, falling life expectancy, growing violence and lawlessness, etc. “Stick to the script! Stick to the script!”

    1. Carolinian

      He said it might blow up and his very first rocket blew up two or three times before it finally made it into orbit (and before he ran out of money). It’s not really a unique thing to happen with these flying bombs. Hopefully there will be some escape mechanism when people get in it.

      When Yuri Gagarin made the first space flight he had an ejection seat and used it before the capsule, also on a parachute, hit ground too hard for humans. They had to go out and look for him.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Any theories on what went “boom” over Kiev last night?

      Baghdad Bobification of the Ukrainian ministry of truth ?

      A meteorite?

      Russkie wunderwaffen?

        1. ChrisFromGA

          That would be a lot of ground to cover, from the Gulf of Mexico to Ukraine.

          Baghdad bob would be proud.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      While I’m glad the issue is getting some notice, since my daughter was affected by this, I never did find out the answer of why these results were ignored. The author couldn’t be bothered to note that pretty much any negative side effects were ignored so as not to put a dent in corporate profits for Pfizer and Moderna, which is pretty damn obvious given that they were also exempted from any liability due to adverse side effects ahead of time.

      The author did prove to be a real champ at twisting themself into knots so as not to mention what type of person it is who gets a period though. Just who might those “menstruating people” and “people with uteruses” be?!?

      Another day, another risible woke verbal atrocity from the corporate media. Hopefully I got the adjectival order correct. ;)

  12. Paradan

    Just saw an interesting bit of trivia, by 1957 the US had 15,000 deliverable nuclear weapons. Here’s why I’m bringing this up, in 1945 we had enough plutonium and HEU for 3 bombs, that took us 4(?) years to produce. Urainium refinement is a capital/labor intensive process, and yet over the next 12 years we produced 15,000. Today, we make 2 pits a month, and just barely at that. To double the production of stingers,javelins,GLMRS etc it’s gonna take like 10 years. These flippin numskulls want to start a new cold war but they havent got a god dam clue how much we lost by de-industrializing.

    btw…I noticed that Bolton called for us to restart nuclear testing during his rant. This issue keeps coming up. So I gonna guess that the Plutonium half-life issue is actually a problem, and they want to set off half a dozen to see how badly the yield has degraded. The other option might be that they lost the instructions for making the foam stuff in our hydrogen bombs, and they need to do a test to see if they got it right.

  13. Carolinian

    How on earth do you get reliable search results from a bot that makes shit up

    I vaguely remember an old toy called “the eight ball.” You’d ask it questions and then turn it over and answers would appear in a little window. Ouija boards similar.

    So in answer to your question entertainment beats accuracy–the story of our world!

  14. Carolinian

    Turley on Huntergate.


    The timing of the letter itself was notable. For years, the Democratically controlled committees blocked any investigation into allegations of corruption and influence peddling by the Biden family. Before the takeover by the Republicans in the House, this whistleblower would have had little reason to seek protection from a Committee with demonstrably little interest in such allegations.

    The coverup is worse than the crime?

  15. Ranger Rick

    One for the zeitgeist watch: apparently the dread specter of the West Wing is refusing to go away. I just spied a review of some new show, The Diplomat, that claims the series is “West Wing without the smug self-satisfaction.” That’s a pretty bold claim.

  16. Jason Boxman

    McCarthy says his plan would reduce the deficit by an estimated $4.5 trillion over 10 years by capping discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, cancelling Biden’s student debt-relief plan, and reclaiming unspent COVID-19 relief funds.

    No, his plan will cause a deep depression as it drains the non-governmental sector of currency. I can’t wait. Shrinking public spending while population grows, and ages, is a recipe for stupidity. We haven’t kept up with population growth as it is. Certainly Social Security is understaffed, as is the IRS, clearly our regulators are understaffed!

    1. nippersdad

      Defunding the populace to the benefit of corporations. The song never varies.

      Apropo of prolly nothing, I was watching The Duran today* and was graced with yet another tittering about “Rinos”. Does anyone actually know what those are? I, personally, cannot see anything evidenced by the modern Republican party that has not been a direct consequence of the ongoing Republican project since the New Deal. They have achieved all of the objectives of the Powell Memo to the degree that they can now complain of a somehow woke “leftist” uniparty preventing anyone from being “real” conservatives when they have a Democratic president jailing 81 year old black socialists for daring to point out that the Democratic party is full of McCarthyites.

      How can they be all up in arms about corporatism when that has been their sole objective for as far back as anyone can remember?


  17. Jeff W

    I’ve been driving my car exclusively on roads for 3 years, and it’s really wearing on me. Isn’t it time I be allowed to drive my car on sidewalks and in bike lanes?

    Brings to mind what may be my favorite New Yorker piece, “In the New Canada, Living Is a Way of Life,” (which I’ve mentioned before here and here, so it will probably seem familiar to some readers), Bruce McCall’s pitch-perfect satire of the “anthropological” style of journalism popular in the mid-1970s through early 1980s. (Think Hedrick Smith’s 1975 The Russians.)

    Now visible as our plane descends toward the airport are the familiar antlike legions of motor-powered cars that are the sole means of private transport for most Canadians. They swarm across the landscape in columns so regimented that none dares stray from its place on the paved strip laid down by the authorities to head off across the open country all around.

    These are the new Canadians, on their way to work in this, the new Canada.

    That “none dares stray from its place on the paved strip laid down by the authorities” bit never fails to make me laugh, close to four decades later.

  18. The Rev Kev

    I’ll just drop this Tweet here-

    ‘Revolutionary Blackout Network🥋
    Glenn Beck and Tucker Carlson are speaking out against Black Socialists being targeted by the Biden administration meanwhile Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman are silent

    What does this say about the state of the progressive left???’


    We now also have a situation where the people who should be main stream commenters can now only get a gig on Tucker Carlson and the like.

    1. skippy

      I would advance the notion that its just a skins vs shirts comp, where depending who is in power the opposite side automatically embraces the leftover diaspora e.g. useful morass of non mainstream flotsam and when the roles change it just reverses.

      I mean everything during the Bush Jr. years – just wow – and the push for ethnic/esoteric purity by the collective right including media of which Fox was a dominate force. Internal political failure was exported too the bad guys in the ME and the outcry’s about being over run by birth rates of its dominate esoteric backdrop. All of which enabled the endless wars which have both weakened/wrong footed the military, but more important diminished the notion, nay, took the veneer off the sale pitch of a shining light on the hill for what is really was ….

      So today we are lead to believe these very same people and organizations have now magically transformed into some place that the ideologically unwelcome, considering their past push for corporatism, is now a safe haven for expressing non orthodox corporatism views. Come on back not long ago these sorts would all be broad brushed as freedom/liberty/anti creator stealing commies.

      As such Beck and Carlson are just the front house faces of others agendas because they are concerned about being thrown into the pit they built yonks ago for everyone else and now find themselves at its precipice.

      Its almost a drowning man thingy …

      1. The Rev Kev

        When you are drowning in an ocean of bs, you don’t ask if the one guy throwing out a life line has the same morals or ideas that you have. Carlson will have a Jimmy Dore on his program because Dore has been totally banned by CNN, MSNBC, etc. so I am cool with that. Can’t stand Tucker Carlson normally because you can see the fake front and hidden agenda but that is just me.

        1. skippy

          Its just positioning in the currant environment to gain eyeballs and nothing else, Carlson is just taking advantage of the power dynamics to build eye share for his betters and nothing else. Otherwise he would be looking for a new job and in it he would be malleable to its expectations of him … its just a performance for some people to fall for and when it goes poof supply the next set of expectations on for the unwashed to endlessly attach themselves too.

          You completely ignored the whole Bush Jr episode wrt to fox and now present the argument that it can be trusted just by airing a few protagonists and thus wrap themselves post facto past deeds as being trustworthy considering the man that owns it and his agendas – not on your life.

          Furthermore people like Dore et al are seeking too be the next Carlson and make the big money, Dore would flip in a moment when the $$$$ gets real and then like all the dem/progressive sorts will sell out as they have done for decades because underneath it all they want riches and individual power – see Obama et al, bonus points for remembering the whole Bono event/s. All of them right, left, or center in this paradigm are just selling a commodity in the ***social market palace*** and once your market share is high enough you might enjoy getting your lifeboat ticket punched.

          So amazing that in the land[tm] of post Judaic esoterica that the concept of false prophets is just a dim memory. Per se I would not go on either fox or the opposing sides platforms for ethical reasons alone …. A. would not want to be paid to speak truth to power because that would not only be unethical, but would vindicate their proposition that everything is sale or just a transaction if society.

          B. in speaking truth to power I make myself a maypole for others to wrap their ill informed desires around and then have to contend with the whole ego trip aspect.

          D. did I mention the prevailing dramas is about personal egos and the currant dynamics incentivizing any non agreeing partys to become a commodity and then sell yourself to the highest bidder … gasp look all the machinations in media today.

          E. you know what mate … might just be me thingy … but I’m not waiting around for some media person/political figures too arrive like the Calvary to save the day as that is just a media myth.

          D. life line to what – ???? – manipulated environmental biases and post use date tropes …

          1. pretzelattack

            looks to me like Dore is not interested in betraying his principles. where is the evidence he’s only in it for the money? there is real money in bootlicking the democrats and pretending the Squad is for real, see Mehdi Hassan, Rachel Maddow and others. why not just stay with the Young Turks and keep sucking up?

            1. skippy

              First of all everyone mentioned has an income that proceeds any so called principles, psychiatry noted, I personally don’t allow my mind to captured by any of them because I don’t follow others … or give myself up to any of them … especially since the 90s.

              The system is not worried about him and then if he does gain market share can be ascended like Carlson, ex skin player gone shirt thingy ….

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                Without judging the principles or value of any of the persons mentioned in this thread, I agree with you, skippy, about the corrupting influence of the need to make a buck. If you’re on the hamster wheel, you’re on the hamster wheel, and eventually that will show up in a person’s output. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But eventually.

                I have been convinced, going back to my personal experience with blogging back in the Oughts, when I was repeatedly exposed to the pressures to sellout or get out, that the only way to really push change is to reduce one’s material needs to a minimum and secure what income is still needed to something dependable but unconnected to one’s political work. Developments since then have made it even clearer that in the long term. no one truly committed can depend on life supporting income from political work. The reader-supported Naked Capitalism is the best model available, but even it is ultimately dependent on a platform, i.e. Internet access that can be shut down. And PropOrNot reminded us that there are plenty of well-financed assholes looking for excuses to shut sites like this down.

                The St. Petersburg case raises the stakes even more. I watched Dore and Max Blumenthal on Jimmy’s show and thought at the time, I hope both of you guys are extraordinarily careful about with whom you meet and the sources of your money. The St. Petersburg folks have been engaged in critiquing and tweaking the Establishment for years, but the need for money may have led them into a trap laid by the Feds.

                Things are getting more real every day. Those we rely on to gain a window on the world are under extreme scrutiny and surrounded by traps. Getting caught by one of the traps used to mean a loss of income from Youtube or whatever. Now it can mean 10 years in Leavenworth.

                1. skippy

                  In days of old on NC the corruption of many people and groups was discussed in detail, Sierra club, History/Discovery channel, original TED, national geographic, and so much more and now black lives matter, AOC, and the only thing for certain is more will be corrupted.

                  Personally I think as the so called Establishment is having a harder time getting what it wants externally it will invariably focus its needs internally. So any bright starts that don’t have the knowledge and experience about how the game can be played might be in for a surprise. Not to mention being immersed in the Establishment Pool for long periods has a funny way of altering peoples perspectives, have watched that dynamic too many times and when pulled up people say I’ve got to live some how …

    2. ChrisFromGA

      How is taking money to organize a protest a criminal offense?

      Wouldn’t that implicate the democrats and the GOP?

      What about the Israel lobby?

      That darned rules-based order strikes again. The rules are whatever we want them to be, in any given situation.

      Oh how I yearn for an honest judge to send the DoJ a message.

  19. flora

    This is a serious step too far from a Congressional Dem. Suggesting prison for a journo they don’t like. From Lee Fang:

    House Democrat Threatens Twitter Files Journalist with Prosecution and Imprisonment
    Rep. Plaskett, citing MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, floats prison time for Matt Taibbi


    Rephrasing Martin Niemoller’s famous quote:
    First they came for Alex Jones I said nothing because
    I did care about Alex Jones. …

    1. flora

      Be sure to give a look at the article’s linked “exclusively obtained” letter Taibbi received.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Take a look at Plaskett’s Wikipedia entry as it is very interesting. Use to be a Republican until she switched to being a Democrat as she realized that there was no difference. Was born and raised in New York so ran as a rep for the Virgin Islands. Was also helping organize to impeach Trump as a House impeachment manager. She is at present on some spook committees so expect to hear a lot of her in the coming years-


Comments are closed.