2:00PM Water Cooler 4/21/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Hermit Thrush, Pierson Park, Larimer, Colorado, 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


“Ex-CIA chief spills on how he got spies to write false Hunter Biden laptop letter to ‘help Biden'” [New York Post]. “Joe Biden’s presidential campaign prompted former acting CIA Director Mike Morell to ‘help Biden’ by organizing 50 colleagues to sign a letter in October 2020 falsely claiming that damning emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop published by The Post were Russian disinformation. In private sworn testimony, Morell told the House Judiciary Committee that Antony Blinken, now secretary of state, was the senior campaign official who reached out to him ‘on or before’ Oct. 17, 2020, three days after The Post published an email from the laptop suggesting Hunter had introduced his Ukrainian business partner to his father, then-Vice President Biden. Morell, identified as a potential CIA director under Biden, said he organized the letter to ‘help Vice President Biden … because I wanted him to win the election.’ Until Blinken’s call, Morell told House investigators, he had no intention of writing any statement exonerating Biden. But he agreed that the conversation with Blinken ‘triggered … that intent’ in him.” • That’s fair. Blinken triggers me, too. (Ukrainian irredentist Blinken, associated with a long train of policy disasters, was Biden’s national security advisor during the campaign.)

“Why It Matters That Trump Is Leading The 2024 Primary Field In Endorsements” [FIveThirtyEight]. “Since the modern primary era began in 1972, there have been 17 Democratic or Republican primary fights that did not feature an incumbent president. The candidate with the most endorsement points3 on the day before the Iowa caucuses won 11. That’s a better track record than polls have at the same point in the election: Since 1972, the leader in national polls4 on the day before Iowa has won the nomination just 10 out of 17 times.” • Interesting.

“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warns against ‘system of socialism for the rich’ as 2024 campaign launches” [FOX]. • Both Williamson and Kennedy are taking this line. But President Wakefield? No thanks.

Republican Funhouse

“GOP leaders scrambling to unite skeptical Republicans behind debt limit bill” [The Hill]. “House Republican conservatives and moderates alike are grumbling about the newly unveiled debt limit bill, leaving GOP leaders — who have just four votes to spare in the slim majority — rushing to shore up support as the House left Washington on Thursday for the long weekend…. ‘I want the anticipation,’ McCarthy said. ‘I want you to see as the clock goes up. I want you to write stories like, I’m teetering, whether I could win or not, and the whole world hangs in the balance. And then I want to write a story after it passes: Would the president sit down and negotiate?'”

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.

* * *


I guess the “Send us more money so we can hire a decent designer” pitch was considered and rejected. On the bright side, at last I know why the negative white space between red and blue in the Democrats’ stupid logo is placed where it is. Pretty sexist if you ask me.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Full audio released of Oklahoma sheriff discussing killing journalists” [The Oklahoman]. “A southeast Oklahoma newspaper has released the full audio recording it captured of county officials talking about killing journalists and lynching Black people. The McCurtain Gazette reported that the new audio includes more talk of harming journalists, as well as discussion of intimidating the local prosecutor. The Gazette published a summary in its Thursday edition, which hit newsstands Wednesday night. The newspaper does not have a web edition. The entire recording, which was captured March 6, lasts three hours and 37 minutes, the newspaper said. The Gazette said it is publishing the full audio to be transparent and to show the importance of public records.” • That’s quite a long meeting. I was looking for the musical, but here we are:

Good job, guys. Anyhow:

“They’ve gone about as fur as they can go.”

Did the Top 40 list exist in the late Nineteenth Century? I don’t think so. Nevertheless:

So I think, historically, this tweet is intriguing but wrong. But intriguing!

“Axios Finish Line: Normal America” [Axios]. “After two speeches I gave this week, several audience members told me they struggled to understand why they felt like strangers in their own land. They described feeling like a normal person: They work hard, volunteer, and hang out at neighborhood parties, not on Twitter. But they also felt trapped in the abnormal, toxic political and media world surrounding them. New Gallup polling suggests they’re hardly alone in feeling estranged. Turns out, 49% now call themselves independents — the same amount as self-described Republicans and Democrats combined.” • Opportunity!


“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).

* * *

Look for the Helpers

Another world is possible (1):

Another world is possible (2):

Let the children make the classroom safe!


Masks work:

The whole thread has lots of good hints, but I think the central lesson is develop a good protocol and stick to it (for example, I think I’m more lax than Kennedy on his second rule, but I’m also very disciplined with nasal an oral sprays (gotta buy mouthwash. I’ve always hated mouthwash because of the shaming ads on TV when I was growing up).

Someone who knows more about probability than I do can clarify whether it’s possible to “save up” risk. I don’t think so.


“Intranasal Xylitol for the Treatment of COVID-19 in the Outpatient Setting: A Pilot Study” [Cureus]. From 2022, still germane. N = 50. From the Abstract: “It is well known that acute COVID-19 infection can present with a variety of symptoms, including fever, cough, rhinitis, loss of taste, and the cardinal sign of loss of smell (anosmia). Recently, nasal irrigations with saline and other agents have shown promise for the treatment of COVID-19. Xylitol has been shown to display virucidal effects against SARS-CoV-2. … Results demonstrate that both xylitol and saline were equally effective in decreasing the time of symptom resolution and preventing hospitalizations, yet, persistent anosmia was only seen in the SAL group. Intranasal xylitol might play a pivotal role in preventing persistent olfactory abnormalities in post-COVID-19 patients.” • Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener available at retail. Here are some brands. At this point I should mention that I am totally not a medical professional, but this seems like a low-cost, low-risk intervention. Unfortunately, no mechanism is suggested. Can qualified readers comment?


Eugenics (1):

FInally, somebody said it in the mainstream. (It strikes me that the conflicts over Covid in Canada — home of corrupt eugenicist Bonnie Henry — are far more open and brutal than they are in the US, like hockey vs. football. I mean, American football is brutal, but Canadian hockey spawned the phrase “bloody Chiclets.” Can anybody conversant with politics in both great North American Republics confirm?)

Eugenics (2):

I hope the therapist’s silence means they were rethinking some things….

* * *



Oof. However, I think we can all agree that Ghandi has a lovely smile!

Elite Malfeasance

“Infectious particles of the SARS-CoV-2 virus isolated from hospital air” [News Medical Life Sciences]. “Quebec scientists have succeeded in isolating infectious particles of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from air samples collected from hospital rooms of COVID-19 patients and kept frozen for more than a year, a new study shows… Published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection, the study provides insight into a scientific field that has been little explored [(!!!)] since the beginning of the pandemic: airborne transmission of the virus causing COVID-19…. Audray Fortin, a researcher on Nathalie Grandvaux’s team and the first author of the study, developed a unique cell culture method to amplify traces of viruses collected by Caroline Duchaine, a Canadian bioaerosol specialist, and her team. That was another scientific feat, requiring samplers-;a series of collection devices placed inside the rooms of patients with COVID-19-;that were used to maintain the virus infectivity and protect it during storage. Using the aerosol samples from one patient’s room, the team of scientists was able to identify the presence of replicating virus particles. ‘Thanks to our method, it is yet possible to retrospectively evaluate the presence of infectious SARS-CoV-2 in samples collected during the different waves of the pandemic,’ said Nathalie Grandvaux. ‘This data will help us better understand the importance of airborne transmission of the virus and implement adapted preventive strategies.'” • Of course, you know what the response of the Hospital Infection Control Community will be: Dig in, keep unmasking, ignore the science, smear the scientists and, if need be, get the Brownnote Institute to gin up more fake studies for them, hopefully from the Cochrane Institute.

* * *

“Hospitals dropping mask mandates tell patients to stay home if they feel unwell” [The Beaverton]. “‘I don’t think it’s really that big a deal,’ said administrator Helen Howe, wringing a dirty mop into a bucket and then using the bucket to refill the hospital’s water cooler. ‘Any other workplace, if you’re sick you don’t come in. Why should patients be different just because some of us went to school to learn how to cure them?’ Miss Howe wasn’t the only representative of the hospital to feel the request was reasonable. ‘It’s just basic respect,’ said surgeon Dr Eleanor Watts, digging around in the abdomen of an unconscious six-year-old for the ketchup packet that came with her order of french fries. ‘I wouldn’t show up to your newsroom with a cold, people shouldn’t show up at this place of business with life-and-death medical needs?'”

“COVID-19 outbreak hits large Bay Area hospital, prompting new mask rules” [San Francisco Chronicle (MR)]. Hospital Infection Control whacks a few more of the unfit: “Physicians and staff at one of the Bay Area’s largest hospitals are required to mask up again following a sizable COVID-19 outbreak. Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center has reinstated a temporary mask mandate after more than a dozen hospital workers and patients at the medical center tested positive for the coronavirus this week, officials confirmed. Kaiser officials issued a written statement stating that doctors and staff must wear masks while providing direct care to patients in the Santa Rosa hospital and emergency department. There are approximately 3,500 health care workers at the facility. Visitors are also required to wear face coverings inside the hospital.” • Now, what kind of masks? Baggy Blues? N95s? And please, not “face coverings.” First, gaiters are face coverings, and they’re ineffective. Second, masks are not “face coverings” because — follow me closely — the eyes are part of the face, and not even Darth Vader masks cover them. I so hate that locution. “Face coverings” stinks of mindless administrators make up jargon, besides being disinformative.

Hospital 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.

Lambert here: On “something awful,” see the WEF’s “Global Risks Report 2023” under Class Warfare. Elites think Covid is going fine, just fine.

Case Data

BioBot wastewater data from April 20:

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


From CDC, April 22, 2023. Here we go again:

Lambert here: Looks like XBB.1.16 is rolling right along. Though XBB 1.9.1 is in the race as well.

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.

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. No updates in more than a week, however.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,158,842 – 1,158,684 – 1,158,347 = 158 (158 * 365 = 57,670 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

* * *

The Bezzle:

But who, exactly, is breaking out of jail? Or what…

Tech: “Your Share of the $725 Million Facebook Settlement Will Be Tiny” [Wall Street Journal]. “In December, Meta Platforms Inc. greed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the social-media company of allowing data firm Cambridge Analytica and other third parties to access private information about millions of users. Cambridge Analytica was a top vendor for former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. This week, people can start signing up to get their cut of the settlement. You need to have been a Facebook user in the U.S. at some point between May 2007 and December 2022 to qualify. Eligible users can submit a claim online or by mail by following the instructions on the Facebook User Privacy Settlement website. Legal settlements like these can mean big bucks for lawyers and some participants. But as in past cases, after administrative costs, payouts and other fees are taken out, most Facebook users will get a tiny fraction of the millions…. A similar situation happened when Equifax Inc. agreed in 2019 to pay as much as $700 million in a settlement. A breach had exposed the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans. Many users expecting to receive $125 reported receiving less than $25 by the time the funds were dished out—more than two years later.” • Deadline August 25.

Tech: “Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter alternative Bluesky hits Android” [TechCrunch]. “Looking to leave the Twitter ecosystem? Bluesky, the Twitter alternative backed by Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, has now rolled out to Android users. The app, which promises a future of decentralized social networking and choose-your-own algorithms, initially launched to iOS users in late February and remains in a closed beta. The exclusivity is driving demand for the newer social network to some extent, but so is having Dorsey’s name attached. For many, Bluesky represents the hope of a Twitter do-over — where the core concepts around short-form posts and a shared timeline remain, but the problems around moderation and centralized control are addressed.” It would be enough for me if Bluesky didn’t hate its users, as many feel pre-Musk Twitter did. More: “Bluesky aims to give users algorithmic choice, letting them eventually choose from a marketplace of algorithms that let them control what they see on their own feed, instead of having it controlled by some central authority. At launch, however, Bluesky remains a pared-down version of Twitter without many of the features that make the social network what it is today, including basic tools for tracking likes or bookmarks, editing tweets, quote-tweeting, DM’s, using hashtags and more. It’s also building in decentralization with its own protocol — the AT Protocol — instead of contributing to the existing work around ActivityPub, the protocol powering the open source Twitter alternative Mastodon and a range of other decentralized apps in the wider ‘Fediverse’ — the name for these interconnected servers running open software used for web publishing.” • Dorsey has always seemed like one of the less sociopathic billionaires to me, so perhaps the do-over concept is on point. Algorithmic choice is a good idea. I’m not sure if devising a separate protocol was a good idea (though it does create a market for tools to map one protocol to the other). I’m on the wait list, of course. We shall see!

The Media: “BuzzFeed News to be shuttered in corporate cost cutting move” [Associated Press]. “Pulitzer Prize winning digital media outlet BuzzFeed News is being shut down as part of a cost-cutting drive by its corporate parent that’s shedding about 15% of its entire staff, adding to layoffs made earlier this year. In a memo sent to staff, Buzzfeed Inc. co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said Thursday that in addition to the news division, layoffs would take place in its business, content, tech and administrative teams. BuzzFeed is also considering making job cuts in international markets. BuzzFeed has about 1,200 total employees, according to a recent regulatory filing, meaning about 180 people will be losing their jobs in the latest cuts. Peretti said in his memo that he ‘made the decision to overinvest’ in the news division, but failed to recognize early enough that the financial support needed to sustain operations was not there.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64 Greed (previous close: 63 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 21 at 12:55 PM ET.


“New bipartisan bill would let the U.S. Mint alter the metal content of coins to save money” [CNBC]. • I don’t have time, but somebody should look into whether this legislation messes with the verbiage that allows the Platinum Coin to be minted (#MintTheCoin).

The 420

“Part party, part call to action: A look at pot holiday 4/20” [Associated Press]. “Activists this week urged Biden to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and to take steps to undo the harm the drug war caused communities of color, such as by directing agencies to stop using state marijuana convictions to deny federal benefits or to trigger deportation.” • And let everybody in jail for marijuana — after all, they built the market — out of jail, and scrub their records. This isn’t hard. Surely “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” doesn’t apply only to tech bros?

The Gallery

Repellent Valley:

Class Warfare

“Global Risks Report 2023” (PDF) [World Economic Forum]. • What global capital thinks about risk:

“Everything’s going according to plan.” Periodically I play this tune (hat tip, Mark Ames) because it’s so on point:

News of the Wired

“Arcade Game Typography” [Daring Fireball]. “Exhaustively researched by author Toshi Omagari (a celebrated typeface designer at Monotype UK) Arcade Game Typography gathers together 250 pixel typefaces, all carefully chosen, extracted, redrawn and categorised by style, and each with an accompanying commentary by Omagari. The title also features 4 illustrated essays on videogame typography theory and practice, documenting the unique advantages and challenges presented to designers of these bold, playful and often quirky alphabets.” • From the book:

I never even entered an arcade. But I’m sure these typefaces bring back memories for some readers!

English not as a first language, but the First of Languages:

* * *

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 AM:

AM writes: “Crocuses next to the playing field on Pier 25, in TriBeCa at about 7:00 pm on March 21. Still light out. It was a bit difficult to cut out the astroturf and side walk but keep the flowers in the frame.”

Readers, I am still in need of plant photos. Any of you out digging in the garden yet?

* * *

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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. petal

    I can’t remember if I posted about this before, so sorry if I did. It is today at 430 so I can’t go, but I found it amusing in that laugh/cry kinda way like about the Nina Jankowicz announcement.

    “Empowering the Reasonable Majority: Rejecting Division, Defending & Repairing
    American Democracy — A Conversation with Former Congressman Adam Kinzinger

    Speaker: Rep. Adam Kinzinger
    Frmr. Congressman & CNN Political Commentator

    Host: Jason Barabas
    The Rockefeller Center

    Congressman Kinzinger recounts his time in public service.”

    1. Not Again

      Congressman Kinzinger recounts his time in public service.

      War in Afghanistan – For it.
      War in Iraq – For it.
      War in Ukraine – For it.
      War in Georgia for regime change – For it.
      War in Syria – For it.
      War with Russia by imposing “no fly zone – For it
      Chemical and Biological weapons – For it

      Maybe he really is a Democrat?


      1. petal

        omg I don’t know if I can watch this. It’s like 2 minutes in and he’s so flipping obnoxious I want to vomit. So full of himself.

        1. notabanker

          The world needs more Congressional Ted Talks. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars that piece of advice cost.

      2. ambrit

        Heavens! You posted the comment at 4:20, an appropriate number for such an enterprise.
        Delusion has become mainstream, or should that be mainline.
        Don’t harm yourself just because some of us out here in Byteland have political prurience problems. We’ll understand.

        1. petal

          Thank you, ambrit. I just couldn’t do it. Turned him off, turned on some Dead, and ate dinner. He really is a piece of work. Thankfully did not run into him while walking the dog on campus though I would imagine he is being feted in the ballroom at the Inn this evening.
          However, it was recorded, so now everyone can watch it(at that same link)!

  2. Carolinian

    Kunstler on RFK Jr.—a bit of a gush, states as fact that Allen Dulles killed JFK, claims RFK Jr. has said the same.

    I think RFK, Jr. sees very clearly the historical moment he represents. He’s keenly aware of the shade thrown over this land by the murders of his father and President Kennedy, and he has said flat-out in so many words that our own CIA was behind the dastardly acts


    This isn’t good promo IMO. Perhaps a more persuasive selling point is that his name isn’t Biden, who of course believes in plenty of his own CT. But isn’t making unproven assertions the thing we are trying to get away from?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Kunstler is much better at tearing down than building up. When it comes to invective you really can’t go over the top but the same is not true of praise and less would have been more.

    2. Martin Oline

      The definition of assertion is “a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.” The definition of a fact is “a thing that is known or proved to be true.” He has spent enough time exploring the facts that are available to reach his own conclusions. When organized crime, Dulles’ private circle, or CIA freelancer’s complicity in the assassination of major figures in the United States is a proved to be true, it will be much more than an assertion. It will be a crime of the highest order and this is why the records remain sealed. Without the facts there is no proof. Move along, there is nothing here to see.
      I believe that Robert will have a fairly mainstream approach to foreign policy in general as his domestic platform will ruffle more than enough feathers. This will disappoint many but will be the logical approach.

      1. Carolinian

        “Assertion” is my characterization, not his (based on my own skepticism). Kuntsler in the article is saying Allen Dulles killed Kennedy–no qualifications–and claiming that RFK Jr. has said this as well (has he?). Kennedy Jr.has also questioned all child vax due to the autism allegation. I’d say this is flakier (saying so from no authority whatsoever) than the Covid vax allegations which I’d tend to agree with.

        In general I don’t think we need a return of the Kennedy cult to replace the Obama/Biden cult. Politicians are very very rarely saints. Even FDR had his dark side.

        What we do need to do is eject the lunatics currently in power. Almost anyone–even Trump–would be better.

    3. Bsn

      Yes, Kunstler can be kinda over the top, or what have you, though he’s provocative at least. I just started watching Kennedy’s announcement speech on C-SPAN and “boy howdy” did I get a bit upset (in a good, emotional way). My first political memory is John Kennedy being shot and how we were about to watch a film – a special thing at the time – in our class in first grade. Teacher opened the curtains, announced that the president had been shot, and that school was closing for the day. Everyone was upset.
      After about 5 minutes of his speech, I stopped it and will watch it with hubby after work today. If you are of a certain age, or certain ilk, it will bring helium to your heart. He’s gonna be hard to beat. The video is here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?527511-1/robert-kennedy-jr-announces-2024-presidential-campaign

      PS, his smile is just like his dad Bobby’s.

    4. IM Doc

      Long time Dem here. As Taibbi says – The Democratic Party has lost its mind. I prefer to think of it as moving to The Heart of Darkness.

      My elders were all New Deal Dems. I grew up in a household where FDR Truman and JFK were revered as heroes. My dad as a young man was a big time worker for the Bobby Kennedy and McGovern campaigns.

      There is absolutely nothing left in the Dem Party of today of what my elders worked for and valued in the party of old. It is an absolute husk of its former self. Until the “liberals” realize that the identity politics crowd is neither “Left” nor “liberal” – they are doomed. It is also part of my job’s burden every day to deal with the absolute disasters in young people’s life that Dem policies like Obamacare have inflicted upon the nation. I am done.

      After years of betrayal and outright crazy that voting for the lesser of two evils has wrought, I have now come to realize that I need to vote FOR someone.

      Accordingly, there are but a few Dems that have a functional brain and a set of balls and are not literal whores to corporations. That would include RFK Jr and Tulsi Gabbard. The rest of them can rot in hell. They are an absolute disgrace to my family members’ memory. Every single one of them.

      Just yesterday we were treated to the spectacle of having actual Dem members of Congress in session decrying the fact that we did not have female and transgender test crash dummies. The GOP may be out of control as well, but at least they were in charge to stop that before it could humiliate the nation any further. It is so common now to listen to stuff coming out of Congress and think you are listening to The Onion or The Twilight Zone. Unfortunately, most of this is coming from the Dems.

      Those are the two I will vote and support for President. I will not even consider any of the others. In the general election – we will see what the GOP comes up with and I may just sit it out. There will be no more voting for the lesser of two evils for me. If we allow this to happen again, once the decision is made, it will be up to each of us to prepare for the collapse however we can.

      I cannot believe what has happened to this country. But here we are.

      1. Carolinian

        I didn’t vote last time but if the next election comes down to Biden versus Trump then I will vote for Trump. The Husseini RFK post that I linked the other day had a more balanced view and he wondered whether all of these out of the mainstream candidates like Bernie and maybe now RFK Jr are “sheepdogging”–consciously or not.


        He makes the main point which is that the goal is to break the duopoly which is certainly not what Sanders’ goal was. It’s entirely possible that the aging Biden won’t make it to the nomination but if that happens then I can’t see the Dems turning to an outsider like RFK Jr to replace. RFK Jr is tilting at windmills–admirably and strategically one hopes but most likely forlornly.

      2. JBird4049

        >>>…decrying the fact that we did not have female and transgender test crash dummies.

        Wut? Really? Never mind the collapsing of everything.

        Thanks. I needed the chuckle. It is not funny funny, but as someone once told me, sometimes you have to laugh, so as not to cry, when disaster hit.

      3. Pavel

        Great post, IM Doc.

        My parents were always democrats and my mother was (is) a true progressive, listening to WBAI back in our NY days in the 60s and 70s. I worked on the McGovern campaign as a high school kid. But now the Democrats actually seem a true Fascist party (ironic, as they are the first to call Trump a “nazi” and a “fascist”) by colluding with Big Tech and Big Pharma (and now Raytheon et al over Ukraine) whilst actively censoring and prosecuting dissidents. That Biden et al have the absolute gall to criticise Russian anti-press actions as Assange sits in a UK maximum security prison at the USA’s behest… a pox on all their houses.

        This latest transgender madness is just bewildering. As many have suggested, it may just be the latest culture war dreamed up by the elites to distract the masses from paying attention to the oligarchy/kleptocracy.

        I certainly support RFK Jr and shall give him a few dollars. I find much to admire about Tulsi but her own military background rubs me the wrong way.

      4. some guy

        If Tulsi Gabbard attempts to re-enter elective office politics, it will be as an Independent or New Named Party or as a Republican.

        After the Democratic Double Cross she experienced, she may well want comprehensive revenge on them. And that would rule out running as one of them.

  3. Jeff W

    “…somebody should look into whether this legislation messes with the verbiage that allows the Platinum Coin to be minted…”

    Well, the version of the bill that was introduced in 2021 didn’t so I doubt the latest one does. It does not refer to the provision of 31 U.S.C. 5112(k), which allows for the minting and issuance of platinum coins, at all. (In addition, by its terms, the proposed bill refers to the modification of ”the metallic composition of circulating coins” [my emphasis]—I’d very much doubt that 31 U.S.C. 5112(k) is intended for circulating coins.)

  4. Sub-Boreal

    both great North American Republics?

    Or are you referring to the U.S.A. and the adjacent constitutional monarchy to its north?

    It’s interesting that Tamara Taggart was the one to break out of the PMC bubble on this. Her credentials are impeccable – former TV newsreader & unsuccessful 2019 federal Liberal candidate in a Vancouver constituency – but she does have a child with Down syndrome, and has survived cancer herself.

  5. RoadDoggie

    I know it feels impossible to avoid COVID these days, but I just traveled for 4 weeks, took 10 flights, gave 4 in-person presentations, and attended 3 conferences without catching COVID… and you can too.

    Yes, You can avoid getting covid while traveling! It is possible!
    Mrs RoadDoggie and I took a cross country drive during Omicron wave a year ago, and we took a 13 hr international flight in Jan 2023, tested negative through the whole thing.
    The other country we visited to see family, and this country practiced near universal masking even outdoors unless eating or drinking. So lots of transmission chains being broken.

    Because Twitter is erroring on that thread currently, here is the protocol we followed:
    1. N95 when indoors in shared public spaces
    2. Cloth Mask or N95 when indoors with loved ones we were visiting in USA.
    3. Air circulator/cleaner when indoors with loved ones for any period of time.
    4. Constant Xylitol nose spritzing.
    5. On a 13 hour flight you gotta drink some fluids, so I’d pull my mask up to take a sip or grab a bite of food, but keep it on otherwise. Not great. But people around us were all coughing and there we were 3 days later still testing negative.
    6. Never eating indoors in public spaces, even in the foreign lands. We were very lucky that this country we visited had temps in the mid 60’s F in Jan so very comfortable to be outside and any hotel we stayed in very graciously set us up with outdoor seating.
    7. Upgrading your seats on the plane. This is horrifyingly expensive and I am lucky to be in a place in my life where we can afford it, so I put it last on the list. But this allowed us to be surrounded by half as many coughing boomers/children on the plane.
    7a. Drive where you can, instead of fly. I am lucky to have the time to take three days crossing the country in a car instead of one day in an aluminum can in the sky. Not for everybody, but I am the RoadDoggie I love driving and it exposes you to probably about 1000 less humans by not crossing airports/airplanes.

    Credit to Mrs RoadDoggie for creating the protocol. I just followed it, and still have never tested positive for rona. It’s possible I had an asymptomatic infection of course. But even yesterday we were talking in the car about how crazy it is that we made it through that even though on the flight back we were surrounded by unmasked coughing boomers. Very lucky in my opinion, but also every precaution you take lowers your risk by another little bit.

    Hopefully it keeps working for me and hopefully it helps anyone new to this space. You don’t have to get rona, its out there and it’s a risk, but we can mitigate that risk through precautionary principals.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’m still amazed that three years in, elastomeric masks are rarely modeled. I just don’t understand it. They’re more effective, and fit is even easier to achieve, and it lasts for, well I’ve had mine 9 months now. My glasses never fogged again.

    2. britzklieg

      That tweet and the comments are from almost a year ago, in 2022, which might explain the erroring (did you mean erosion?) you mention. The circumstances have changed though, as in, variants, new strains being much more contagious. That said, I’m glad you were successful and covid free during your excursion and complement you on the thorough precautions you took. Personally, I’m not getting on a plane anytime soon, which admittedly is as much about my disdain for flying and the entire experience (TSA!) it entails. Still, there are friends in Europe I need to see before exiting the mortal coil, which will only happen if I fly so I may have to bite the bullet and just do it. A nasal vaccine offering mucosal immunity would go far to alleviate my hesitancy.

      1. RoadDoggie

        I agree on all points, I have to settle for coating my mucus membranes with Xlear nasal spray in lieu of a vaccine that is actually worth a damn.

        “erroring” as in, twitter was broken this morning and just giving me an error.

        I hated the experience of flying prepandemic, sharing potentially lethal air with other passengers just hammered the point home. I looked at cost/time of taking a boat across the pacific, but that didn’t pan out for me. Maybe across the Atlantic would be doable though, I haven’t looked into that.

        I am reasonably confident though not overly confident in the protocol. Our air-travels were during the last wave in Jan 2023. A commenter above suggested elastomeric mask and the only reason I didn’t is because an N95 would give me a slightly easier time to take a sip of water on a 10+ hr flight. But an elastomask is an upgrade I am willing to use if necessary. Like you say every variant is more infectious than the last.

        1. Late Introvert

          I don’t think settling for Xlear is accurate, it has kept my daughter safe at high school, along with consistent masking (she is one of a handful) and Povidone Iodine throat rinse.

          Shout out for Xlear, but I think I’ll start making it myself. Ingredients: purified water, Xylitol (pretty cheap), USP Sodium Chloride, Grapefruit seed extract. Anyone have a recipe/ratio?

  6. Samuel Conner

    > whether it’s possible to “save up” risk

    didn’t read the thread, but it sounds like he’s talking about an “exposure budget”, which is a defensible way of compromising between safety and “normality,” provided that the budget is not too permissive in terms of “number of expected infections over one’s lifetime.”

    I have ended some relationships because the other person refused to protect my health by protecting their own. I’ll sadly respect their right to court their own long-term debilitation as the cost of their own convenience, but the disregard for my safety is an indication that it’s a “friendship” that is not actually friendly from the other person’s point of view.

  7. Rick

    I’m curious about the use of the word eugenics. It feels wrong because the word is defined as improving the gene pool, not disposing of expensive or inconvenient individuals.

    I want to be clear – yes, whoever is directing mass information does not care if many people die in the service of ‘the economy’ or ‘my next election’, but they aren’t doing it to improve the gene pool. Given that a great deal of the inconvenient and expensive people targeted are old and past reproductive age like me there must be a better word.

    I don’t know of a word that refers to improving the economic or political pool through intentionally letting people die.


    Apologies for the nerd word talk.

    1. chris

      But, “they” are doing it to affect the population, a la eugenics. The people pushing this idea are creating a situation where the poor, the sick, the weak, will die or be so greatly affected that they will be incapable of surviving. They’re also killing off the elderly poor. These decisions are putting us through a social and genetic bottleneck that could be every bit as serious as the one which gave us cheetahs. When all the people who remember there was a different way are dead, and when all the people who are immunocompromised have been ostracized, and when no one who needs the government expects the government to assist or protect them, then their experiment will be complete.

      To a certain point of view this is absolutely going to improve the breeding stock of the country. But I would caution those people to remember what else they’re selecting for. A nation of physically fit psychopaths can’t be easy to rule.

    2. hemeantwell

      Good point! They fall into the useless eaters, unnutzloser Essers, category. The nahtzees (ducking filter) killed them to free up resources. That could be linked to eugenics because the resources might help Aryans to triumph, but in itself it is not eugenicist.

    3. Watt4Bob

      It feels wrong because the word is defined as improving the gene pool

      The problem is, there are a variety of things you can do to “improve the gene pool“.

      It shouldn’t be hard to understand that although some of things are morally reprehensible, they do in fact “improve” the gene pool, if statistical ‘improvements‘ are what you want.

      IMHO, the only proper application of eugenics is in animal breading and in educating your children to marry well, and carefully.

      Eugenics as practiced with the aim of improving a nation’s population is where the psychopathology begins.

    4. Art Vandalay

      Perhaps “Depraved Indifference Democide” would be closer to the linguist’s mark, but that hardly rolls off the tongue.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I’ve been a fan of using the word genocide, but the connotation isn’t quite right either.

        I sort of like the phrase casual murder.

    5. davejustdave

      I agree – eugenics is not quite the right word. The genetic characteristics of the surplus population are not the issue. Reducing the population size by removing those organisms who are ill can be referred to as “culling” the population. This is done to control the size of the population by removing weak or sick individuals – especially those beyond their working years. This is the demonstrable effect of the lack of measures to minimize transmission. Is it the INTENDED effect? One could be considered paranoid to think so – and so I don’t say so out loud – but I think, for some people, yes, it is.

    6. t

      “Everything’s going to plan” covers it. Because your right, not about exterminating undesirables. Just doing what benefits regardless of the cost to others.

      Difficult to explain to a therapist but the best I’ve got.

      1. Paleobotanist

        I believe that the phrase in Nazi Germany was something like “culling useless eaters”.

      2. VietnamVet

        To fit the “greed is good” ruling global ideology, the apt phrase is “Culling the Worthless”.

    7. chris

      The war in Ukraine must be going badly. It seems like the rush of articles and features discussing it have largely dropped out of the news compared to previous coverage.

    8. eg

      I’m not sure what to call it, but America is a place where callous indifference to its “disposable peoples” is an ongoing scandal of which the COVID period is merely the latest episode.

  8. nippersmom

    Just wanted to mention to anyone considering the Xylitol option to be sure to keep anything containing or in contact with Xylitol away from your pets. It is highly toxic to dogs in particular, even in extremely small quantities.

  9. Jason Boxman

    My Equifax settlement was $28. I’m still waiting on significant (any?) jail time for executives.

  10. Boomheist

    Re: The breaking 50 former intelligence officials letter alleging Russian disinformation. This may have legs, but what strikes me about this are several things: there is nothing wrong for private citizens to write letters, or take out ads, supporting one candidate or another. Think Trump’s ad in the NYT about the Central Park 5. So if all these former officials are now retired, they are not acting improperly. Then there is the idea that somehow Blinken got these 50 people to write this letter knowing it was wrong as a way to beat Trump. We have not heard interviews with any of these people yet. I bet all of them really believe that the Russians were involved, in some way or another. And maybe the Russians were involved to some degree, too. The blame-Russia narrative is incredibly deep and generally bipartisan. And, don’t forget Comey’s last minute announcement which delivered the 2016 election to Trump. There are lots of MAGA people in the FBI, or pro-Trumpies, or at least right wing conservatives, and you can be assured that the FBI would have countered this if they could have. Not saying the 50 were correct, but I bet they all believed what they wrote, and believe it still. Maybe I will be proven wrong, but I doubt it.

    1. britzklieg

      “There are lots of MAGA people in the FBI, or pro-Trumpies, or at least right wing conservatives, and you can be assured that the FBI would have countered this if they could have.”

      No, I can not be assured of anything regarding the FBI. It just arrested an 81 year old socialist for the crime of constitutionally protected freedom of speech…

      ..and do you have any links to support the assertion regarding “MAGA people?”

    2. Skip Intro

      Comey’s announcement gets blame from people who didn’t realize that Clinton was already doomed for fundamental reasons.

      1. Pat

        Comey’s announcement actually helped the Clintons and got AG Loretta Lynch out of a tight spot. It may have been mealy mouthed both sides pandering but it essentially ended any discussion of the half assed investigation. It didn’t do anything but annoy people who got it, who weren’t going to vote for Clinton anyway. It wasn’t going to convince people with questions she was guilty of something. And Pretty much anyone without a clear understanding that it wasn’t undisclosed emails but the massive disdain of security protocols displayed by HRC and utter lack of security her server provided was a massive illegal breech along with the fact that it eliminated the fact that people who had committed much smaller security breeches had gone to prison were now able to dismiss it as a “nothing burger”.

        No way did Comey cost her the election. Clinton, and her hand selected campaign team, screwed the pooch by arrogantly assuming they couldn’t lose. And in a decision stunning in its level of incompetence choose not to really campaign in the rust belt after the convention. Comey, like Putin, didn’t force them to forget how the votes are counted in the Presidential election and ignore the need to make campaign appearances and convince voters that they will be best represented by HRC in states they didn’t want to go to if they wanted to get elected. Nope that was all them. The arrogant and incompetent Hillary Clinton lost it on her own.

    3. The Rev Kev

      It should be pointed out that those 50 former intelligence officials have, at one time or another, attended courses in how to lie as part of their duties. And once a spook, always a spook. So these 50 people will do whatever is required of them and claim that they are doing it as a matter of a public service. The British use to call people like that as part of the ‘old boy network.’ Shouldn’t be surprised that Blinken had his grubby mitts involved so perhaps he got the job of US Secretary of State as a reward for helping to bury the Hunter Biden laptop story.

  11. JBird4049

    >>>I asked Bing for a painting of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival in the style of a WPA mural.

    WPA, my foot. This are WPA murals in Coit Tower. They were nice to see before the repairs, but have seen before after that.

    We have plenty of Americans who already have the ability to do art like this. There are many more who like to get the ability, we do not need some AI grift for real art, when there are so many people begging to be artists.

    1. ambrit

      The base issue for all Neo-liberal transactions is funds flow. So, if AI can do a reasonable fascimile of “art” for cheap, a proper Neo-liberal will prefer the AI over some physically needy, more expensive ‘Meat Worker.’ AIs will work for energy inputs and licensing fees. ‘Meat Workers’ need food, shelter, and a myriad of “non-essential” inputs.
      I have seen a couple of Southern examples of the WPA mural program, up close and personal, and I can attest that the ‘originals’ possess a complexity and ‘meaning’ that machine made works of “art” do not. For instance, the WPA mural I saw in the Post Office in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, had discernable brush strokes and actual faces on the people depicted.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Those WPA murals that you linked to kill the junk mural that Bing came up with. But yeah, they will go with AI art as it will be cheap and instant and if anybody complains that it is actually bad art, will retort that the appreciation of art is ‘subjective’.

  12. Mark Gisleson

    You’ve got these Democrats.org mailers pretty much sussed, Lambert. The center looks like generic art to be replaced in a website template, “You’ve Got The Power” uses a shade of green I’ve never seen used by a Democrat to reinforce the party brand, while orange and blue are most typically associated with the Florida Gators intercollegiate sports teams and vacation postcards.

    Is it possible one of the DNC’s crony/nepo hires uses Amazon Turk to do their work (thinking it’s AI)?

  13. Wukchumni

    It doesn’t surprise me it cost twice the face value of low denomination coins, to produce.

    The last time I saw something like that was in Yugoslavia in the early 80’s in that their lowest denomination coin was similar.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I still have East German coins made out of aluminium. Strange the first time you see them.

        1. britzklieg

          Yes, I’ve a few of those. They are so light in weight too, huh?! And quite a different sound when they jingle against each other, it’s not a metallic sound, not really a “jingle” at all, it’s more like plastic poker chips.

  14. Samuel Conner

    Today’s Yougenicist annual death count is not that much higher than the annual death toll in automobile accidents. It would seem to fit in to the Spirit of the Age to repeal mandatory seat-belt wearing for adults. The mandate could be reinstated in localities where the community level of automotive fatalities was above some (high) thresh-hold. This would improve driver and passenger comfort, and would doubtless have incalculable downstream benefits on mental health and in other areas of life.

    1. JBird4049

      Both both guns and autos are each roughly fifty thousand per year, or a total of just over one hundred thousand which makes that total Covid deaths worth a decade of gun and auto deaths, or twenty years of each cause.

      And no one has any convincing reason, that I have seen, for why the first two years of the Covid pandemic can’t come back.

      This is just like all those deaths from medical accidents, from poverty, or lack of healthcare, most often the poor or working classes. Some deaths are more equal than others especially those that generally conceived as affecting the upper classes, which gun deaths are, but the others not so much, and the Gods of Free Market Capitalism must be appeased with human sacrifice.

      I ain’t really joking for that is what it appears and what I would write on any cultural anthropology paper I would write if seeing this for the first time. Eugenics as a regulated religious sacrifice does make some sense.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > … the Gods … must be appeased with human sacrifice

        hmm, there is a widespread sense, in some segments of the population, that “America is a Christian nation.” Jesus died to save sinners and, in America, his followers can die to save the Markets.

        Perhaps that’s a contemporary interpretation, or application, of Romans 8:29, “predestined to be conformed to the image of [Christ]”


        > why the first two years of the Covid pandemic can’t come back

        Methinks they may come back, but through the back door, as COVID-caused health damage becomes widespread in the population. All cause mortality will rise, and the presenting causes of death may not be acute CV, but predisposition to adverse outcomes of every other condition and comorbidity.

        I don’t see how this is avoided on the present policy trajectory.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Both both guns and autos are each roughly fifty thousand per year

        I think of these as tranches of lethality, one laid on top of the other, in an order determined by power struggles within the ruling class families and clans (their own quests for advantage, given their portfolios). See the WEF chart under Class Warfare. Covid is a tranche now laid in place, doing its work for the forseeable future. Who knows what the next tranche will be? Antibiotic resistance? Something in the water? The soil? Cordyceps? The possibilities are limitless!

  15. Old Sarum

    Re: Grandma napalm exploit:

    Now somebody should do a high (perhaps the highest) Vatican Official (In memory of all those Nazis who made it to South America after WW2).


    ps Correction to a previous post of mine in Links (that someone actually noticed):

    Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just please to see me?

    Neither, but I do have a thick scar from an accidental discharge.

  16. Lee

    “… But they also felt trapped in the abnormal, toxic political and media world surrounding them. New Gallup polling suggests they’re hardly alone in feeling estranged. Turns out, 49% now call themselves independents — the same amount as self-described Republicans and Democrats combined.” • Opportunity!

    Or “power lying in the street” but more like a gun shot victim rather than a latent opportunity it seems these days to me.

    From Pew back in 2014: The Party of Nonvoters. Fundamentally, not that much has changed. Or maybe I’m just having a bad day.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Or “power lying in the street” but more like a gun shot victim rather than a latent opportunity

      For some. It has occurred to me that wheeling gurney after gurney of Long Covid victims from the National Mall though the halls of Congress might be one effective piece of political theatre. Or actual die-ins. I mean, if or rather since one must, why not leverage it?

  17. fresno dan

    In the 1990s, the Soviet Union collapsed. The United States prevailed. Everywhere freedom appeared to be on the march and authoritarianism in retreat. And a good part of the American intelligentsia decided that this was the natural order of things—this was nature taking its course—this was History with a capital H reaching its logical conclusion.

    This was the End of History. And the End of History was not the victory of the nation-state. But the victory of a global market.
    And that New World Order required a revolution in American policy. It meant major changes to our trade policy. Major changes to our monetary policy. And that’s what they gave us with NAFTA. Then GATT. Then the WTO and Most Favored Nation status for China.
    And so they gave us a massive, permanent presence in the Middle East, and later, two twenty-year long wars in the Middle East. They committed America to a forever-presence in Europe. And they gave us decades of constant conflict—everywhere, on nearly every continent—constant intervention around the globe.
    Thirty years on, the verdict is in. The New World Order has failed. The pursuit of economic globalism has failed. The pursuit of empire has failed.
    But worse even than that, the politics of New World Order has cost us a way of life, a working class way of life. The economic policy of the last thirty years has hollowed out American industry. Sent millions of jobs overseas. Blue collar jobs that once provided a good living for a family.

    The problem is, it wasn’t just the new Marxists attacking working people. It was Republicans too. The Republican Party’s embrace of New World Order politics decimated working-class jobs and families. It ravaged working-class culture. After we let China into the WTO, our trade deficit exploded. Over three million jobs vanished. But not on Wall Street. In those working-class communities.
    Let’s strip China of normal trade relations. Let’s require our most critical goods be produced in this country. Let’s balance trade. Let’s strengthen Buy America. Let’s break the backs of Big Tech, Big Pharma, and the biggest and most abusive monopolies. We must restore the economic and cultural power of working people. This is how we will save our culture. This is how we will renew our civil society. This is how we will save this nation.
    Wow… Of course, anybody can say anything. Most republicans support Ukraine, and most are fine with big companies making big money.

    1. Late Introvert

      And if you or I said the same they would call us commies. They are not serious, they want all that with the rich still in control.

    2. Pat

      Not if our Democratic leadership has anything to say about it. At the rate they are attacking free speech this would get you arrested in a year or two even if you had been in Congress.
      (To switch up a favorite reaction usually to Trump. Hawley is asking for my vote.)

  18. Jason Boxman

    Yep, “SARSCoV2 Variant Dashboard – USA | 15-DAY TRENDS” shows XBB1.16 at 9.54% and XBB1.9.1 at 4.66%. We’re very much off to the races again, and this will be well underway by the time July rolls around, and Memorial Day will likely seed as well.

    Great day to be an American, as always.

  19. Jason Boxman

    A class action arguably worse than Equifax is still pending, apparently. The Blue Cross Blue Shields massively overcharged, and the settlement allows one to recoup some of the over billing, but only with significant documentation, otherwise you get a token payment, relative to the amount you were robbed, and worse still your (former) employer gets the rest, even if you paid for more than the settlement stipulates for your insurance, even all of it! So some employers are getting straight up free money.

    Reminds me of HAMP a little, where at the end, Obama just shut it down, and people get random payments for whatever data had been collected to date. Probably one of the biggest dumps taken on the America people in recent years, not unlike the whole student loan forgiveness for people going into public service, where no one bothered to structure the program intelligently, or execute with any competence.

    It’s almost as if our elite cannot be bothered to govern well, and they have a point, what exactly are we to do? Vote for the other guy? Two factions of the same elite. What you gonna do, revolt? Heh, not with the firepower our state has. And these people have no shame, and lack any civil virtue, or sense of obligation to rule their lessors, like at least the British gentry did. It was a burden that they accepted; our elite can’t even be bothered to try, and couldn’t if they did. And Obama was supposed to preside over the most technocratic and competent liberal Democrat executive in recent history! What a joke.

    And then we have the Pandemic response, or lack thereof. Which reveals that public health is just another liberal Democrat virtue signaling playground, with no designs on any public aspect of public health at all. It is just more credentialism. Were public health to take itself seriously, it would tackle the public part of health, determinants of health, including poverty, poisons in our waterways, our air, and so on, and this aligns nicely with the strain of wokeness that permeates the PMC, but it’s all empty virtue signaling, as we’ve seen.

  20. ambrit

    If the therapist mentioned in the “eugenics” tweet above is a Freudian trained apparatchik, then the silence is integral to the therapy. {You have to figure it out. The Therapist just chooses the questions to pose. [That’s why many Therapists are called “poseurs,” they pose the questions.]}

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter alternative Bluesky hits Android”

    But will it have an edit button?

  22. The Rev Kev

    Oh my god, the humanity-

    As a former bluecheck journalist today is a difficult day. Despite my relatively low follower account I’ve been able to share verified information for important conversations. What Elon Musk did, removing blue checks, is no different than what the Nazi party did to journalists.’


    Somebody pointed out that people like this are not used to having things taken away from them. Some of the replies are pretty funny.

    1. Daryl

      Honestly the followup tweet from the same account is pretty good.

      > Could you imagine 9/11 had twitter under Elon existed, every confused, scary moment, with nothing to seperate fact from fiction. In some ways it would be worse than the attacks. As the Washington Post says “democracy dies in darkness” unfortunately the lights at twitter are off.

      Yeah misinformation following 9/11 would’ve been a real nightmare. Thank goodness we had verified sources of good information like the NYT to tell us about *checks notes* Saddam Hussein’s WMD program.

    2. flora

      Poor baby. That blue check was everything. / s

      Speaking of that villainous party and things being taken away, I came cross this old 1947 US govt short film I agree with. (Note to congress critters: threatening reporters with jail because you don’t like their reporting isn’t a good look.) utube. ~17 minutes.

      Don’t be a Sucker


    3. marym

      I don’t think an anonymous account with a comic drawing for a profile picture would have had a blue check. Here’s some follow-up


      In any case, former blue checks accounts I’m familiar are mostly laughing about it, or pointing out in a less exaggerated way that it was useful to know that tweeters were who they said they were. As a non-blue-check lurker I agree with that.

  23. Sea Sched

    Re: xylitol
    20 yrs ago I remember the teacher for my EENT course told us that his son would get frequent sinus infections during the school year every year but after his son started chewing xylitol gum and/or sucking on xylitol mints the sinus infections stopped.
    Xylitol itself is inherently antimicrobial…but it is also a biofilm buster- I assume SARS, like most pathogens, easily hide in biofilm and then all the oral antibiotics/anti-virals are rendered much more ineffective; meanwhile, the virus is happily replicating in the safety of the biofilm layer in the mucous membranes.
    Nasal sprays, and oils as well, such as the ayurvedic tradition of using nasya oil regularly for overall health, also create a barrier between environmental triggers and your mucous membranes- it likely buys your immune system some time to mount a response since the virus can’t as easily adhere directly to your nasal passages if a layer of xylitol or nasya oil is sitting there.
    From the beginning of the pandemic, I have recommened to everyone I know to use Xlear nasal spray before and after being with groups of people or working indoors one on one with people. Some don’t seem to understand or care to bother but I do think it is an important layer to the preventative approach since masking is imperfect and most places infuriatingly do not give a damn about ventilation.

    1. Late Introvert

      Thanks, I commented above about the benefits to my daughter. She got sick 6-8 times a year before we started masking, rinsing, and spraying. Since then just 2x over 3 years, and mild colds at that.

      1. Sea Sched

        That is really great your daughter gets sick less frequently! I think what’s nice about my EENT’s anecdote re: his son is that it is from 20 yrs ago so there were no pandemic precautions such as masking, extra hand washing/sanitizing, etc. to confound his little n=1 xylitol case study.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > chewing xylitol gum and/or sucking on xylitol mints

      Awesome anecdotes. I think combining the xylitol with any of the mouthwashes we have discussed (the ones with Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)), would be a reasonable addition to my protocol?

      1. Sea Sched

        Personally, I think we should be wary of using harsh antiseptics on a regular basis since it will disrupt a healthy microbiome and going scorched earth can lead to other issues, such as potential for antimicrobial resistance. Xylitol + CPC at the same time seems redundant but rotating them week to week or month to month could be one strategy, or saving CPC for higher risk exposure days and xylitol for day to day prevention, another. And as far as toothpaste goes, maybe it would be slightly less effective since you are not swallowing it (and thereby receiving a lower dosage/shorter length of time for it to be in contact with your oral cavity), but it does help w dental health so why not use it?

  24. ambrit

    Mini E-Zeitgeist observation.
    I looked through the apps on our android based phone, (supplied by the carrier after they did away with 3G service, thus killing our flip phone’s usefulness,) in hopes of culling the majority of them. We do not play games, compose panoramas, or cruise the web on our phone. The phone is strictly for verbal communications, with the occasional incoming text. {The amount of spam received is breathtaking.}
    In so doing, I had recourse to scroll through the wi-fi sources available to the device. A few were ‘live’ and also locked. Good enough. Then came a scrolling list of a few dozen other ‘items’ potentially available(?) I know not whether it was a prank or not, but one ‘source’ listed in the wi-fi list was “FBI surveillance van.” Has anyone else met the dreaded FBI surveillance van in their wi-fi lists?
    I’m still bemused.
    Stay safe. Learn to (speak in) code. It’s a survival skill today.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks. Perhaps this is an example of IT humour. I could also see someone naming their wi-fi device “FBI surveillance van,” just for kicks, like using “Mystery Machine,” or “Go Go Gadget.”
        This being ‘South Deploristan,’ I encountered several gun themed wi-fi device names.

    1. petal

      Yes, it’s a joke. We had one in our grad student housing for a while. Good for a chuckle. Some people are quite creative with their wifi names. “Panic At the Cisco” was one of my favourites, along with a neighbour’s current “yer a wifi harry”.

  25. some guy

    I saw Nola Aboelata’s Tweet. She raises an interesting question which I can’t answer because I am not on Twitter. But I can say what my answer would have been if I were on Twitter.

    Here is the tweet . . . ” How it started…how it’s going.

    At least 36 people infected at this BC hospital and extended care facility not even 2 weeks after ditching masks.

    Can someone please explain to me how this isn’t negligent? ”

    And here would have been my answer if I were on Twitter . . . ” Yes. I can explain to you how this isn’t negligent. The reason it isn’t negligent is because it is deliberate. The policy makers who got that facility to de-mask did it in order to give all those people covid. Deliberately and on purpose. No negligence involved.”

    Maybe if someone who is on twitter wants to answer her question, they can give her a version of that.

    Not negligence. Jackpot Design Engineering.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Jackpot Design Engineering

      Or, as the cognoscenti call it, “JDE.” Soon there will be seminars.

      I think that JDE is in some sense fractal. A hospital infection control department acting solely within the limits of a line item for mask expenses, with articles like that fake Cochrane study to salive their consciences, would perform a miniature version of the larger, eugenic societal function without the need for command and control from elite Bond villains* (along the lines of “working toward the Fuhrer).

      I don’t think it’s necessarily because they hate patients. Though I have known librarians who hated books. Too much trouble!

      NOTE * There certainly are elite Bond villains. I just don’t think they operate via command and control. They have people like that. The Bond villains rule, and the PMC governs on their behalf, within the parameters they set.

      1. ambrit

        The ‘informed’ JDE apparatchiks do not go to seminars. they use webinars, etc. Said Elites also have underlings to do the actual ‘meet and greet’ functions. I would venture a quip and call them “Compromised Compradors,” but that would be an oxymoron, right?

  26. will rodgers horse

    “But President Wakefield?”
    ad hominem the best you can do? that is the second time you have used this joke. Anyone laughing?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        It’s not just vaccinations. I listened to his announcement speech up until he started taking about lockdowns. He sounded like Great Barrington Declaration meets Rand Paul, going on about the effects of increasing unemployment on social social distress. There a solution to that called money, and while completely inadequate due primarily to our dysfunctional unemployment system, that solution was actually used by Trump with some success.

        What were they supposed to due in New York when this first hit? Treatment consisted of ventilators, there were no vaccines, and there were not enough quality masks for health workers, much less the rest of us. As it was, people were dying in hospital hallways unattended and life expectancy in New York dropped nearly 5 years. A more intellectually honest criticism would have been that the “lockdowns” were no such thing, halfway measures at best.

        I was very disappointed to hear that crap from RFK, Jr.

        And while I’m on a rant, when Andrew Yang interviewed Williamson, he asked her how she liked living in DC, implying that he had not enjoyed it when he lived there. It appears to me that DC’s effects on Marianne have been anything but benign. She’s throwing around the term “fascist,” buying the warmongers’ lies about Ukraine, chasing after every new thing like the Tennessee Three and sounding more and more like a conventional politician.

        1. lambert strether

          > I was very disappointed to hear that crap from RFK, Jr.

          But not at all surprised. Too bad about Williamson.

      2. will rodgers horse

        The last measles death in the United States occurred in 2015 according to the CDC

  27. Tommy S

    That Madison guy thread is whacked. IMO. First place top 40 was always directly involved with payment schemes, label payoffs etc. Soundscan helped much in 1991, But even that was limited to big stores that did inputs. Still, the top 40 NEVER represented a majority ‘like’ of music. Payola. And people are going to ‘like something’ more if its…just one tasty bit offered on one small plate. Also he says all adults act just like teenagers. Man, maybe he should change his friend group or something. All the old people I know in SF, are serious, and angry as hell. And sick of being force-fed childish crap. Even those doing ‘ok’.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > top 40

      I thought Bourdieu would like that image a lot. The key function of the Top 40 list is not the songs, but reinforcing the authority — and integrity! — of those who “author” the list! (Almost exactly on point for a long discussion in Forms of Captital:

      One reason I’m pleased with the #Musk + #Twitter mishegoss is that it gives me the opportunity to present and expound upon the following definition of “social capital” (Bourdieu stans please comment). From Pierre Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital” (1985):

      Social capital is the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition—or in other words, to membership in a group—which provides each of its members with the backing of the collectively-owned capital, a “credential” which entitles them to credit, in the various senses of the word.

      Payola being one crass example of “institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.”

      Symbolic capital, if I have this right, is a subset of social capital. A certificate on the wall, personal branding, good teeth, etc.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Stoller wrote about this from a different angle, when discussing how the regulated industries will give awards to regulators, who in some cases are not at all shy about receiving them, because our elite generally don’t do shame or self reflection. It’s all “in the club”, after all, so it’s totally cool.

  28. Late Introvert

    re: Arcade Game Typography

    the kerning on that page burns my eyes, and the fonts themselves are super ugly, I dropped quarters at mall arcades from the late 70s through the mid 80s and I feel no love whatsoever

  29. britzklieg

    Watching tonight’s Grayzone was time well spent. It begins with the Taibbi affair and includes a good review of Fang’s defense, including the takedown of Hasan as a blatant plagiarizer coupled to a stunned questioning as to why a “liberal” would steal, almost word for word, an essay advocating the beating of children. Then they move on to the so-called (non-voting) congressperson Pleskett, who might had better considered the skeletons in her closet – a newly released family video, which I haven’t seen but reportedly includes nudity and an appearance by her cross-dressing husband (no offense to classic drag – my ex-boyfriend is widely considered Finland’s most famous transvestite)… she’d had better to stay outta the spotlight. There’s a great excerpt of Omali Yeshitela from a recent anti-war protest, where he makes the point that Black Americans don’t need any instruction from Russia as to why they might be dis-satisfied with the American dream and reminds the spooks who swat team assaulted him and zip-tied he and his wife in front of their house, that he has been a critic of the us government for most of his 81 years. Mate and Max both comment on the blatant racism, the assumption that black voters are stupid and need to be taught by Russian spies to be dismayed with the status quo.

    But what most interested me was the final excerpt about RFK, jr. I had my doubts, as I had read that he was essentially on board with Biden regards Ukraine. Not so, and he spoke powerful words with some bullseye rhetoric. He has unfortunately a shaky voice but, at least to me, his speech overcame that deficit, I’m pleased to say. I heard no anti-vax elements, though it was only an excerpt. The gathered audience was vocally ecstatic. Real energy… and the DNC will be out to destroy him because of it.

    Aaron and Max are superb.


  30. Samuel Conner

    > (2) Don’t not wear a well-fit N95.

    This is important. As I was working yesterday in the rear of my backyard next to the boundary line — unmasked — the neighbor’s dogs approached from the other side of the fence to investigate. I retreated hastily and masked up, but this was a potential transient exposure. I think one needs to be masked even when one expects to encounter no-one.

    I wonder if rabbits and squirrels can transmit the CV to humans.

    We really are in a dystopia.

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