2:00PM Water Cooler 5/15/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Red-headed Bunting, Barbanda Pond and Surroundings, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India.

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“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

“Some U.S. Solar Makers Criticize Biden’s Tax Credits as Too Lax on China” [New York Times]. “The Treasury Department, in guidance issued on Friday, said it would offer a 10 percent additional tax credit for facilities assembling solar panels in the United States, even if they import the silicon wafers used to make those panels from foreign countries. Under the Biden administration’s new climate legislation, solar and wind farms can apply for a 30 percent tax credit on the costs of their facilities. Senior administration officials told reporters on Thursday that they were trying to take a balanced approach, one that leaned toward forcing supply chains to return to the United States. But China’s dominance of the global solar industry has created a tricky calculus for the Biden administration, which wants to promote U.S. manufacturing of solar products but also ensure a plentiful supply of low-cost solar panels to reduce carbon emissions.”


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Ron — not Don — and an act of God descend on Iowa” [Politico]. “Ron DeSantis declined to go after Donald Trump directly on Saturday during his most high-profile swing through Iowa to date. Fortunately for the Florida governor, the prospect of a literal tornado kept Trump away — and out of the spotlight…. After an onslaught of negative coverage about DeSantis’ campaign tanking before it takes off, sliding poll numbers and Trump reveling after his primetime CNN town hall Wednesday, the Florida governor finally caught a break this weekend. There was no sold-out rally across the state to which DeSantis’ crowd size would be compared. Trump, that night, wouldn’t get another televised speech. DeSantis, meanwhile, tried to subtly make his case against Trump…. DeSantis’ attempts to connect with voters in Iowa — including making an unannounced stop at a Pizza Ranch restaurant — show he is at least attempting to up his game ahead of his anticipated launch. Trump, meanwhile, has been greeted by adoring crowds during impromptu stops at restaurants and fast-food establishments on his recent campaign travels.” • The video from Politico:

DeSantis’s affect — the sing-song, lecturing tone — reminds me of… Al Gore. Quite probably he doesn’t always sound like this, but a happy warrior he is not.

“Ron DeSantis tiptoes around Iowa as Trump cancels visit amid tornado threat” [NBC]. “But DeSantis, who is on the verge of triggering campaign finance requirements for making his bid official, declined to say definitively that he will run — or answer questions about abortion and whether, like Trump, he would be inclined to pardon people convicted in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection [sic].” • No, not a happy warrior. Weird. Didn’t they teach him anything at Yale?

“The Ratcatcher” (interview) [Ron DeSantis, The American Conservative]. Not an interview as most would understand it, but a long analysis of Disney’s Reedy Creek fiefdom with quotes from DeSantis interspersed. This caught my eye: “‘Does an absence of government necessarily mean free market?’ DeSantis asked rhetorically. ‘I would say, sometimes, absence of government could just devolve into corporatism, and I think too many people on the right have basically been corporatists over the years.’ ‘What even is the free market is exactly the right [question],” [Oren] Cass said when I told him about DeSantis’s comment. ‘The analogy I’ve started drawing that I think makes sense, is what do we mean by democracy? By democracy, we don’t mean everybody just votes on everything. Democracy is shorthand for actually a very sophisticated system of institutions with constraints and checks and balances.’ ‘Why is it that well intentioned, smart, free-market advocates have such a problem with what DeSantis is doing with Disney?” [Heritage Foundation President Kevin] Roberts asked. ‘It’s because they’re conflating the free market in theory, or the free market as an ideal, with mostly what we have in the United States today, which is corporatism.’ From Roberts’s perspective, ‘Disney, like so many other Fortune 500 companies, has just lived at the trough of corporatism for too long, and then they shield themselves in the fake armor of the free market, when in fact, it isn’t the free market at all.'” • Hmm.

“The View from Inside the Room” [Political Wire]. Quoting Puck: “When I turned on my phone after the event, the text messages came flying in. You saw the coverage afterwards. People thought it was more of a rally than a town hall—maybe at one point even a debate between Kaitlan Collins and Donald Trump. But in that room, I remember walking out and people in the front row were like, He’s talking some crazy stuff, and I think a lot of these lawsuits are adding up. There was heavy skepticism. He kind of lost the audience at some point when he was rambling about January 6th and the back and forth around the tweets. And then there were some people that were like, This is vintage Trump. I’m so happy to see him stick it to CNN right in their face. So it was a mix. Unfortunately, I think that when people hear applause on TV, they just assume that the entire room was on his side, but that just wasn’t the case…”

“If Biden Bows Out, How About Michelle Obama?” [Douglas Schoen and Andrew Stein, Wall Street Journal]. “A Zogby Analytics poll released last year found that if Mr. Biden were to bow out in 2024, Mrs. Clinton would be a distant third choice for Democratic primary voters, behind Ms. Harris in second place. The favorite is the only Democrat with broad national appeal: Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama is popular within the Democratic Party. She left the White House with a 68% favorability rating nationally and was one of the most admired women in the U.S. from 2018 through 2020, according to Gallup polls. With a broad network of supporters and the ability to resurrect Barack Obama’s political organization, she would be the strongest candidate by far. While Mrs. Obama has expressed no desire to seek national office, she may be persuaded to jump in if Mr. Biden can’t run and Mr. Trump appears close to returning to the White House.” • Love the bios: “Mr. Schoen was a senior adviser to Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign, a White House adviser (1994-2000) and an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Mr. Stein, a Democrat, served as New York City Council president, 1986-94.”

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“America’s State Media: The Blackout on Biden Corruption is Truly “Pulitzer-Level Stuff”” [Jonathan Turley]. “Now that the House has released corroboration in actual money transfers linking many in the Biden family, the media is insisting that this is no scandal because there is no direct proof of payments to Joe Biden. Putting aside that this is only the fourth month of an investigation, the media’s demand of a direct payment to President Biden is laughably absurd. The payments were going to his family, but he was the object of the influence peddling. The House has shown millions of dollars going to at least nine Bidens like dividends from a family business. As a long-time critic of influence peddling among both Republicans and Democrats, I have never seen the equal of the Bidens. The whole purpose of influence peddling is to use family members as shields for corrupt officials. Instead of making a direct payment to a politician, which could be seen as a bribe, you can give millions to his or her spouse or children. Moreover, these emails include references to Joe Biden getting a 10 percent cut of one Chinese deal. It also shows Biden associates warning not to use Joe Biden’s name but to employ code names like “the Big Guy.” At the same time, the president and the first lady are referenced as benefiting from offices and receiving payments from Hunter.” • Bank records here and here. From the first link:

I don’t have to untangle the entire yarn diagram to know there’s no good reason for these particular knots. Payments from a shell company to multiple members of the Biden clan? For what services rendered? (This money flow is from China. There’s a similarly structured money flow from Romania. Certainly the Biden clan has global reach!) And:

At least the Clinton’s had some originality: They set up a foundation. That’s classy! All the Bidens did was set up a bunch of shell companies. Guys, come on.

Paging Karl Rove:

Not all that new: RFK Jr. to appear with Kucinich in Ohio governor’s race AP. I don’t know if Kucinich has any managerial abilities….

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

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

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

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

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Somebody’s gotta clean the granite countertops and take little Madison to violin lessons:

I missed this when it came out….

“America Is An Out-Of-Touch Gerontocracy, And I’m Glad I Don’t Live There” [Dianne Feinstein, The Onion]. “Seriously, can you imagine actually having to live in the United States? Their miserable citizenry must be furious with their ancient, dementia-addled representatives, who keep a stranglehold on power and prevent widely beneficial and popular policies from ever coming to pass. Listen to everyday Americans, and you’ll hear common desires for basic security and opportunity, yet they’re stuck with leaders who prioritize their own careers and bank accounts over the common good. Every day, I’m relieved I have nothing to do with that sinking ship of a country or its government and am instead a carefree 27-year-old French street musician in love with her accordion.”

“Someone’s working in Denmark” [Politico]. “The head of one of the most influential Latino organizations in American politics does not live in America. Nathalie Rayes, the president and CEO of Latino Victory, has been running the organization for the past few years from her home in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to four people familiar with the situation.” • Oh.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Autogynephilia and the Sexualization of Shame” [Wesley Yang, Year Zero]. A long introduction to an article that was too turgid for me to begin, let alone finish. “The transgender dogmas being taught to elementary schoolchildren and inscribed into law and policy by most of the governing institutions of the Western world strictly cordon off cross-gendered identification from any association with sexual desire. The dogma holds that each of us has an internal subjective sense of being male, female, both, or neither, that may or may not align with our sexed anatomy. This sense is innate, immutable, knowable only to ourselves, and knowable to others only through our own personal testimony, which is held to be dispositive of the question of who we really are, and indeed have always really been. This ‘gender identity,’ a non-observable disembodied essence within each of us (that in practice is always reducible to our degree of conformity to gendered stereotypes), should in turn dictate which intimate spaces we can access, against whom we compete in athletics, and how we are to be addressed by others, both in our presence and in our absence, as a matter of courtesy and decency, and ultimately — for this is the goal that transgender activists have already obtained in certain jurisdictions and are seeking everywhere — as a matter of law.” • Fron the title, autogynephilia: “a male’s propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female,” the theme of “Circe,” chapter 15 of Joyce’s Ulysses (published 1920).

“Why Some Companies Are Saying ‘Diversity and Belonging’ Instead of ‘Diversity and Inclusion'” [New York Times]. • Terminological churn = fees, new book deals, etc.

“Independents are just delusional partisans, episode 12” [Carl Beijer]. “the largest political faction today is not self-identified Republicans, and it isn’t self-identified Democrats; it’s Pseudo-Independents, people who call themselves independent but who are just as partisan as everyone else. Only about 10% of people who call themselves independent actually think, vote, or see the world differently from your average Democrat or Republican. Pseudo-Independents are the largest voting bloc in our country, and if you miss that you aren’t going to have any idea what’s actually going on…. ‘Independent leaners’ aren’t really independents: they’re just pseudo-independent partisans. ‘Independents’ who kinda maybe a little lean Republican look at the economy exactly like Republicans do, and the same hold true among Democrats.” • I think the most important way to slice the population is not by party affilation, but by voting/non-voting (or electorate/non-electorate). Now, what to do about that….


“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), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

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Look for the Helpers

Covid Is Airborne

ASHRAE’s new standard looks good, amazingly enough. Kudos to the engineers:

And this is very good news:

Covid is airborne, especially when you flush the toilet:

Lots of good data in that thread. And more pictures!



The Darth Vader masks need to be resigned with decoration as a requirement. Masks need to get out of the medical appliance (sick, abnormal) box into the fashion (fun, normal) box.

Testing and Tracking




“Is coronavirus a disease of the blood vessels?” [British Heart Foundation]. A good review of the literature in plain language, well worth a read. But we end up here: “Luckily, existing drugs can help prevent or limit blood clotting after Covid-19, including ones which have been safely used for many years. Based on the current evidence, UK guidelines for the treatment of Covid-19 recommend that all people admitted to hospital with severe Covid-19 should, where possible and appropriate for the individual, receive the blood-thinning drug heparin to help prevent clotting complications. Further research is being done to find out whether other drugs, such as aspirin, might also help. Unless it’s on medical advice, you shouldn’t start taking aspirin or any other blood thinner during or after Covid-19 infection. If you have coronavirus and are already prescribed a blood-thinner to manage your existing heart condition (such as aspirin or clopidogrel), keep taking it unless your doctor recommends otherwise. …. Early research shows that certain commonly used medications could do just that. In the UK, the HEAL-COVID trial is examining whether patients who have been hospitalised with Covid-19 benefit from taking the statin atorvastatin after being discharged from hospital.” • Statins? Really?

Science Is Popping

“Feature Article: New Tech Makes Detecting Airborne Ebola Virus Possible” [Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security]. From 2021. “In an aerosolized form, the Ebola virus can survive for over an hour. Additionally, laboratory experiments have demonstrated that inhaling small amounts of Ebola virus can be fatal, and there are examples of Ebola virus disease being transmitted between individuals in close proximity, even though they had never been in direct contact with each other…. NBACC researchers assessed and compared multiple devices designed for collecting microorganisms from the air. They concluded that filters made of gelatin were the best for collecting infectious Ebola virus from the air and were also the easiest and safest type of sampling device to use. The researchers utilized a cell line, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an assay designed to measure the amount of infectious Ebola virus present in a sample. The cell line glows when infected by the virus, which enabled the researchers to differentiate Ebola virus infection from other causes of cell death. After testing various sampling and assay methodologies, the NBACC researchers found that the combination of the gelatin filter samplers and improved assay was easier to use, more reliable, and nearly ten times more sensitive than the previous methods utilized to measure the amount of infectious Ebola virus in air samples. The results of these experiments have been published in two peer-reviewed journal articles, which will enable researchers at other institutions to understand and utilize these newly developed sampling and assay methodologies.” • 2021. Why the heck wasn’t this technology repurposed for Covid? Heck, why wasn’t it commercialized. Do note that former Biden Chief of Staff Klain was Obama’s ebola Czar, and so would or should have known about this.

Elite Maleficence

MGH Infection Control strikes back:

MGH isn’t even following its own rules:

Alert reader LB writes:

Thanks for making me feel I’m not alone in masking and caution. Went to an orthopedic doc today – waiting room was packed and the air was warm and musty so I doubt there was any ventilation….. Was put in little waiting room with this message taped up. No masks but wash your hands?

Especially ironic since Semmelweiss, the pioneer of antiseptic procedures like handwashing, was mocked by others doctors and locked up in an insane asylum (where he died), and his ideas were adopted only years later (when Pasteur discovered a mechanism — germs — and Lister gave antiseptics another go. Well, we have a well-understood mechanism for airborne infections, but as we see, some doctors won’t listen.

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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. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson).

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from May 11:

Lambert here: Unless the United States is completely, er, exceptional, we should be seeing an increase here soon. UPDATE Still on the high plateau.

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, May 13, 2023:

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

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from May 6:

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. 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.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, May 8:

Lambert here: I’m very much afraid Walgreens was up to clean out the last of the test kits before Biden threw us all to the wolves on May 11, when the public health care emergency ended.


Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 7:

Lambert here: So this data feed, er, came alive again.

Total: 1,162,701 – 1,162,693 = 8 (8 * 365 = 2920 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: Whatever number is right, 8 isn’t that number. Looks like WHO data, unsurprisingly, is bad.

• Never have I seen so many minimizers, not even for climate:


Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published May 9:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. (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. )

• How to game excess deaths:

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NY Empire State Manufacturing Index unexpectedly sank to -31.8 in May of 2023 from 10.8 in April, compared to forecasts of -3.75. It is the lowest reading in four months, pointing to a sharp drop in manufacturing business activity in the New York State, after a big rebound in April.”

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Commodities: “The World’s Biggest Gold Miner Bets Big on Copper” [Wall Street Journal]. “Newmont NEM said it has agreed to acquire Australia’s Newcrest Mining for $17.5 billion, concluding weeks of talks over a sweetened offer by the U.S. company that wants to complete the largest-ever M&A deal in the gold-mining industry. Newmont’s pursuit of Newcrest illustrates how gold producers are seeking to make deals as the industry is struggling to make large discoveries of the precious metal. It also extends a battle for control among miners for commodities essential for making electric vehicles and renewable-energy infrastructure, as Newcrest’s gold mines also produce significant amounts of copper.”

The Bezzle: “Vice Media files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the latest in a string of digital media setbacks” [Boston Globe]. “Vice Media is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest digital media company to falter after a meteoric rise. Vice said Monday that it has agreed to sell its assets to a consortium of lenders — Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital — in exchange for $225 million in credit. Other parties will also be able to submit bids. The company expects the sale to conclude in the next two to three months. During the process, Vice’s media brands will continue to produce content and the company will keep paying its employees and vendors, according to a Monday press release.” • Once “worth” $5.7 billion.

The Bezzle: “Crypto’s Most Influential Companies Often Follow Their Own Rules — Even After FTX’s Collapse” [Bloomberg]. The deck: “A review of practices at 60 of the sector’s most influential companies found many lack basic guardrails.” • There’s that darn “guardrails” trope again. I don’t know why it annoys me so much, but it does.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 60 Greed (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 15 at 1:24 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Oil Supply/Price. “Oil prices are back up” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! I wonder where that’s coming from?

The 420

“Pot Acceptance Is Climbing Even as Illicit Market Has Grown” [Bloomberg]. “More people report using marijuana, while naysayers are dwindling, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis consulting firm….. An estimated 42% of US consumers have used cannabis and plan to use it again — up from 39% a year ago, the report found. On the flip side, only 30% said they had never used it and never would, down from 34% a year ago. More people were also open to trying it for the first time, while only 13% said they’d never use it again, a percentage point lower than in 2022…. The data shows rising approval despite the fact that legalizing marijuana hasn’t panned out as planned. Creating state-licensed sales was supposed to create a safe supply and get rid of the health risks and organized crime that came with the illicit market. Instead, underground sales of the drug have grown over the past few years, rising to $77 billion in 2022 from $70 billion in 2020, according to New Frontier estimates.”

Sports Desk

Everybody’s all excited about the Lakers but come on:

I remember when basketball was basketball!

Zeitgeist Watch

“Why can’t I paint my door yellow? The psychology of community decor diktats” [Financial Times]. From the UK, but here we have Homeowner Associations. And, of course, social media. “The canopy quarrel calls to mind the 1972 case of Amabel Wellesley-Colley, a resident of Bath’s Royal Crescent who painted her front door primrose yellow instead of the customary cream. A tribute to her great-grandfather the Duke of Wellington and his favourite colour, it was deemed a “most regrettable choice” that, in the eyes of Bath Preservation Trust, diminished the desirability of the Grade I-listed Ionic Georgian row…. Despite notices insisting it be repainted — the Town & Country Planning Act 1968 and listed buildings laws of the time prohibited alteration without permission — Wellesley-Colley put up matching yellow blinds. She sunbathed in a yellow bikini on her balcony. The ensuing legal dispute led to a public inquiry — and she attended in a yellow suit. After the secretary of state for the environment weighed in, Wellesley-Colley won, and the yellow door remains — a prized part of the local history it was once said to be tainting.” • So by all means turn your front yard into a prairie.

Class Warfare

“Sunday Reads: The Cost of Being Human” [Lyz Lenz, Men Yell at Me]. “Single mothers do less housework and have more leisure time because they simply are not married to a man. Becoming a single mother made me less resentful of the labor, and less frustrated by the mess, simply because the labor is easier and court-mandated at 50/50, and the mess isn’t there. I wrote about this for Glamour in 2020, about how I thought single motherhood would be more work and I was shocked to discover it was the equality I’d been looking for. Before I had kids, I never believed women when they said they didn’t want anything for Mother’s Day, but now I know that’s true. I don’t want anything except to sit beside the two people I love the most in this hard, beautiful life. I want to ponder the curves of their cheeks, which every week are becoming less and less babyish. I want to hear them talk about their hopes and dreams and TikTok videos that they love. I want to listen to my son babble about Pokemon and my daughter rant about injustice. I want to jump with them on the trampoline and then, when they are in bed, I want to sit on the porch and just feel how full my heart is.”

“Life-making or Death-making?” [Midnight Sun]. “Clearly, the capitalist economy has learned to ride out this deadly pandemic. Even if many businesses have gone under, and even if today’s economic recovery turns out to be shallow, as some critics warn, the system as a whole did not implode. Nor is its collapse imminent. That’s because – as the pandemic has made crystal clear – in the trade-off between economic health and workers’ health, capitalism sides with the former, which is another way of saying that capitalism sides with death over life. While regularly defended as a system of individual freedom, capitalism is first and foremost a system of profit-making. And profits can be generated only by thwarting our efforts to live full, meaningful, healthy lives, and by degrading, policing, and surveilling the lives of some people more than others. In other words, violence is necessary for the production of profit. In this violent process, the state is a faithful partner. It regulates workers’ life-making activities in ways that minimize the risk to capital’s ability to dispossess and exploit those over whom it rules. And the pandemic provides us with myriad concrete examples of how state-led social reproduction regimes, or what might be called ‘life-making-from-above,’ offer only ambivalent and uneven support for life while routinely intensifying the vulnerabilities of the oppressed. Yet it also provides us with other, more uplifting examples – examples of ‘life-making-from-below,’ in which ordinary working-class people organize to meet individual and community needs, and to enhance their lives by expanding their control over their social reproduction.”

News of the Wired

“Larry Page Missing as Google Founder Faces Jeffrey Epstein lawsuit’ [Newsweek]. “The U.S. Virgin Islands is struggling to find Google co-founder Larry Page in order to subpoena him as part of a lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase. According to federal court documents filed on May 4, the Government of the United States Virgin Islands has been attempting to find a physical address of Page to subpoena him. The documents state that the government identified four possible addresses, none of which were valid. Prosecutors are now requesting the federal government allow Page to be summoned via Alphabet, Google’s parent company, due to the fact he still remains a board member despite stepping down as Google’s CEO. The initial subpoena documents to Page were issued on April 11…. Other high-profile billionaire businessmen to be subpoenaed in connection to the lawsuit include fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Hyatt Hotels chairman Thomas Pritzker, media magnate Mortimer Zuckerman and former CAA talent agency chairman Michael Ovitz.” • Hmm.

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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 PF:

PF writes: “This picture was taken with a phone camera. British Columbia.” Phone trees, eh? I always wondered what one looked like.

* * *

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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. antidlc

    RE: Masking

    Some good news!

    Our PCP decided masks were no longer mandatory a few weeks ago.

    Family member went to the PCP last week, taking along a Westinghouse portable air purifier and wearing an N95 mask.

    A maskless nurse came into the room and asked if the purifier and mask were a because of concern for getting COVID. After family member repiied, “YES!”, the nurse asked if family member preferred the nurse to mask up. Nurse went to get a mask and put it on and when the PCP came into the room, the nurse explained that the patient preferred masking and the PCP went to get a mask and put it on.

    I guess all is not lost.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > I guess all is not lost.

      Miracle Max comes to mind: ” mostly dead is … slightly alive!

      Thanks for the encouraging field sighting.

    2. Lee

      Similarly, when my 4 month old granddaughter was taken in for a routine medical check-up, Momma was masked, and staff then donned theirs. Since there was some chance that baby was exposed, I’m wearing my Darth Vader mask when in her presence for the next several days. I told her in my best Darth Vader voice, “I am your grandfather.” But she already knew that in spite of the mask. She smiled.

      1. marcyincny

        I have been amazed how I can still get smiles from very young children when I’m only ‘smiling’ with my eyes. It has helped make masking much easier.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I guess all is not lost.

      I think the low point has been hit on anti-masking idiocy. The flash point is Hospital Infection Control, and medical offices generally. I am also seeing a ton of, er, innovation at the grass roots level.

  2. Wukchumni

    NBA Skindex:

    You wont find any tattoos in that 1984 video of the Lakers plotting revenge in 1985, and NBA players do show a lot of skin, and what do I know having watched 3 recent playoff games after not having seen any regular season games?

    Tattoos are finally becoming passé, quite a few players are unadorned.

    1. griffen

      The move to send Kurt Rambis to the floor would be a bench clearing event! But back then, they were performing a service some might identify as “defense” and freedom of movement was but a gleam in some future players’ eyes.

      Always liked those LA teams, primarily because of Magic Johnson but also a UNC Tar Heel named James Worthy from Gastonia, NC. ESPN was yesterday doing a rerun for the Last Dance and the closing 2 episodes. I have trouble identifying or following with any particular interest what gets played in today’s NBA. Don’t get me started on the Load Management baloney !

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The move to send Kurt Rambis to the floor would be a bench clearing event! But

        My favorite moment is at 0:03-0:04 where Bird ***-checks a Laker back into the crowd. Power move!

        I remember watching the last of that game in Harvard Square, where an appliance store — they had them there in those days — had a TV in its window showing it. Quite the little crowd gathered round!

    2. KLG

      Showing my age…That is the most recent NBA final I have watched. Basketball, indeed! Bird and Magic were, well magical. But the supporting cast was also all-World.

      1. Judith

        I remember going to Knicks games in the Garden during the Walt Frazier -Earl the Pearl Monroe era, as a young person. Truly wonderful team playing.

  3. ThirtyOne

    re: The Blackout on Biden Corruption
    The low-hanging barn doors are closing in on the other side of the fence! /s

    1. Tom Stone

      The Biden family has been brazenly corrupt for decades, being totally corrupt is one of the essential qualities of any successful Presidential candidate.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Hilariously liberal Democrats don’t care about corruption; Trump was obviously conflicted, maybe even corrupt, with dignitaries staying in his various hotels, but liberal Democrats never took this direct route to go after him, right out of the Constitution itself, because it hits way too close to home for them. Instead Pelosi comes up with some truly stupid level offenses to impeach, almost as if discrediting impeachment is the goal.

      2. Questa Nota

        Thank our lucky stars that crack investigative journalists are on the case. Of course, not one of those journalists works at a big, acceptable outlet, thereby becoming dubious.

        Turley, Ngo, Stoller, Taibbi, Hersh and so many others who have been marginalized for too long will get more recognition, even if grudging from the more, er, conventional media. Some may not care for one or more, but be glad that they exist and continue to investigate and manage to get published.

        Pulitzer Prizes just ain’t what they used to be. A new category of Honest Journalism is needed, alongside Legitimate Peer Review and related radical concepts.

      3. Michael Fiorillo

        Interesting to wonder, since The Big Guy reportedly received financial help from Obama to help pay for son Beau’s medical treatment, did he hustle Barry, too?

        1. Pat

          I don’t often cut Obama a break, but considering how much Joe fabricates when he tells the public something I think the more likely scenario is this was meant to be misdirection where he fell back on one of his bs “I am one of you” stories. One that also painted his ex boss in a good light. It never happened. Someone else, who no one wants to talk about, paid anything above the covered bills. (And it wouldn’t surprise me if that person was one of Beau’s marks, because there is no way he wasn’t part of the family business.)

            1. ambrit

              Oh my! Delaware! The Clearing House of Empires.
              To completely deconstruct Diaz; “Poor Delaware! So far from Heaven, so close to Wall Street.”

  4. Wukchumni

    “Pot Acceptance Is Climbing Even as Illicit Market Has Grown”
    That’s a backwards headline, in that the finished product has gotten so cheap (you can buy an ounce of 27% thc flower here for $42) that i’ve read many growers are abandoning their illicit crops as there is no money in it anymore.

    That same ounce of marijuana fetched $300 to $400 around the turn of the century, and in 1970 terms figured for inflation, probably around $10 now-the cost of the mythical 4-finger-lid of its era.

    TV sets are the other big deflationary item, saw 55 inch HD ones for $255 @ Wal*Mart last week.

    1. Phenix

      The illicit marker is alive and well in the northeast. Legal pot is too expensive and of poor quality.

      Federal legalization will create regional winners and put the northern growers out of business. You simply can not compete with the sun.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My first year roommate tells a story about his pot plants in upstatenew York when he was in high school, trying to keep them going.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Cali growers must be selling it on the east coast – retail price of legal weed here is about the same as the street price before it was legal. An ounce was around $240 last time I was doing price discovery a few weeks ago (for a friend of course!), and I’m not sure if you’re even allowed to buy more than a 1/2 ounce at once.

      You can’t swing a cat without knocking on the doors of about a half dozen weed stores around here – still waiting for one of them to figure out they could put the rest out of business by dropping the price.

      1. some guy

        Maybe all of them just want to make a living and none of them wants to make a killing.

        Maybe they all realized they could either make a lot of dollars or a lot of sense, and they decided to make a lot of sense.

      2. .human

        Fat Freddy says, “Pot will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no pot.”

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Seconded. Regarding #7, I will admit to deliberately putting on Mercouris’ report in the late evening to fall asleep to. His dulcet tones are really quite the soporific.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I will admit to deliberately putting on Mercouris’ report in the late evening to fall asleep to.

          That is my system too. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts, but sadly keeping up with the war news has usurped my pre-sleep time slot.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Biden’ Benjamins–

    Things have sure changed since FDR’s first VP, John Nance Garner of Uvalde TX, appraised the value of his office as less than that of a bucket of warm spit. It took Joe Biden to show how you could really rake it in as Obama’s second fiddle.

      1. tegnost

        don’t forget the miracle of compound interest….jared only did one short term…bidens been grifting for most of my life

        1. griffen

          There always seem, to me, grubby little fingers for all the extra servings made available as though on offer when it comes to DC. Think of the hungry grandchildren of A, B, or C. How else will they get into Harvard, on their merits?!?

          I wish that were sarcasm. But it’s the reality of this system. The Bush dynasty has an ugly past, the Clinton dynasty-pending did quite well post White House, and so on. You don’t need bootstraps quite as much when the bootstraps are handed to you because of a last name.

  6. Samuel Conner

    > some doctors won’t listen

    trying to be charitable, perhaps a not-yet-widely-recognized CV sequela is damage to the auditory system.

    Oh, … wait.


    Interestingly, since the beginning of the pandemic, my tinnitus has become noticeably more noticeable, and I don’t think it’s due to loud noises, as I diligently self-protect when using noisy objects. Maybe I had an unnoticed low-symptom infection and I have some sequelae of my own.

  7. Anon

    Here’s a piece from Harpers, asking the important question:

    Why Are We In Ukraine?

    What, after all, would be America’s reaction if Mexico were to invite China to station warships in Acapulco and bombers in Guadalajara? For the past several years a civilian military analyst who has worked on international security issues with the Pentagon has put this question to the rising leaders in the U.S. military and intelligence services to whom he regularly lectures. Their reactions, he told us, range from cutting economic ties and exerting “maximal foreign policy pressure on Mexico to get them to change course” to “we need to start there, and then use military force if necessary,” revealing just how reflexively these military and intelligence professionals would defend America’s own sphere of influence.

    Typifying the egocentrism that governs the U.S. approach to the world in general and relations with Russia in particular, not one of these future military and intelligence leaders has thought to connect, even in this past year, what they believe would be Washington’s response to the hypothetical situation in Mexico with Moscow’s reaction to NATO’s expansion and policy toward Ukraine. When the analyst has drawn those connections, the military and intelligence officers have been taken aback, in many cases admitting, as the analyst reports, “ ‘Damn, I never thought out what we’re doing to Russia in that light.’ ”

    Our elites, everyone!

    1. Late Introvert

      I have had a subscription to Harpers since the mid to late 90s, right about the time I was more and more disgusted with The Nation, which I eventually canceled. Despite the obvious failures at Harpers, the elitist cloistered academics are clearly in charge, articles like this still break through.

      My wife reads it too, as selectively as I do these days, I’m hoping she will read this article. I was making similar arguments over a year ago now, and her and my parents were scoffing at me. Evil Putin did too invade.

      1. Bsn

        Remember the Harper’s Index? Top notch. I’m sure Lambert has enough to do, but an NC Index?

        In my dreams :-)

  8. Jason Boxman

    So why do excess deaths matter? After all, these deaths will be caught in the new baseline, right?

    It matters because most of these excess deaths were probably COVID-related; Once we have a new baseline, all these deaths are rolled up into a new normal, and aren’t linked to COVID any longer by the wasteland of death it cuts across the land. This eventually normalizes the increase in preventable death, going forward, while masking it behind “known” causes, like heart disease, for which COVID happens to be a risk factor.

    If more people are dying, but we can ascribe it to some cause other than COVID, is COVID actually killing anyone anymore? Now the Establishment can say, no, it isn’t COVID. COVID no longer kills anyone, trust us.

    Stay safe out there.

    1. curlydan

      Next stat due for a re-do: life expectancy. Maybe they can make that one go magically in the right direction, too.

      1. jsn

        With shorter years, we’ll all live longer: that 365 days a year thing is a patriarchal exploitation that shortens our lives needlessly.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > once we have a new baseline, all these deaths are rolled up into a new normal

      Exactly. The whole thing reminds of me of when Promontory put the lid on foreclosure fraud with robosigning, and that was that (if I have the story correct; it’s been a long time).

      Deaths lag, so the end game of crapping up that data stream lags too.

  9. DGL

    Statins are beneficial for arterial health. Statins also help prevent plaque from breaking off from arterial walls. Many strokes and MIs are caused by a “clot” that is a piece of plague that detached from an arterial wall.

    A quick search found this article:
    “Statins help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, in the blood. They draw cholesterol out of plaque and stabilize plaque, Blaha says. Plaque is a waxy substance consisting mainly of cholesterol deposits that can build up within the walls of the arteries, interfering with blood flow to and from the heart and leading to heart attack and stroke.”

    1. Yves Smith

      From KLG, a professor of biochemistry:

      The current dogma is (still) that excess cholesterol leads to plaque formation and that interfering with the activity of the enzyme responsible for the first committed step in the very energy-intensive, multi-step process of cholesterol synthesis will lower plasma cholesterol and eventually lessen the burden of plaques in blood vessels. This enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, is inhibited by statins. This makes sense intuitively. The clinical data supporting this hypothesis are not as strong as generally believed, however, which is true of many biochemical intuitions. A corollary to this is that dietary cholesterol is the culprit. USDA stopped recognizing dietary cholesterol as a legitimate concern, in 2015 IIRC. This did not make the cover of Time magazine, which is where cholesterol had its star turn.

      As for a “broken off piece of plaque” being a blood clot, that is not what happens. A ruptured plaque that exposes the endothelial lining of the blood vessel to clotting factors in the blood can lead to clot formation at that site. An ischemic stroke or heart attack could result from that, following normal pathways of hemostasis/clotting. The idea of good and bad cholesterol is also a biochemical intuition that has become dogma. It may be true at the margin. But it is also true that as much as half of every cell membrane in our bodies is cholesterol, which is essential for the integrity and fluidity of those membranes. Interfering with this is not likely to be a good idea, though little recognition of this is present in the clinical literature.

      I would also note that in the article from HopkinsMedicine is slightly more subtle than the extracted quote. And that other meta-analyses of the statin/heart health literature are much more equivocal about statin therapy. The entire diet-heart hypothesis that led to the demonization of dietary fat (and cholesterol, which is not a fat/lipid) rests on very shaky ground. The replacement of healthy fat calories (yes, healthy) with mostly refined carbohydrates in the so-called Western Diet beginning in the 1960s and 1970s coincides with the “diabesity” epidemic in the US. No, correlation is not causation, except where a plausible mechanism for the correlation exists. One exists here. Systemic inflammation is a concomitant of obesity, and chronic inflammation is very bad for the cardiovascular system.

      NC has covered this in more detail here, but a self-reference might be a bridge too far here:
      Looking back, I could have made a better case in both posts! But that is always true. Having spent almost 5 years at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, these kinds of articles get on my last nerve (for our eyes only). Harvard Medical School is worse, and their expensive such newsletters are worthless. Something I learned the hard way, and not because I know what most of the words mean.

  10. Ranger Rick

    They should have anticipated how the phrase (DEI) would be received. It’s a common meme these days to see Diversity, Equity and Inclusion reordered into a new acronym, DIE, by people who think it an exercise in neoliberalism. Or the vanguard of the Great Replacement, depending on who you ask.

  11. in_still_water

    For Boston sports fans (we are people too!) – a fairly informative/serious/sticklers site is sonsofsamhorn.net

    For the Celtics, it’s the fourth ever time they’ve won a Game 7 with only 3 10+ point scorers:

    2008 vs. Cavaliers: PP, KG, PJ Brown
    1984 vs. Knicks: Bird, DJ, Parish
    1962 vs Lakers: Sam Jones, Ramsey, Russell

    All three prior Boston teams not only won the Finals that year but did so over the Lakers in the Garden. Foreshadowing?

    1. petal

      One of the biggest days of my life was seeing Robert Parish out in public. I had only ever seen him on tv. Couldn’t believe it.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I like Denver. AD is good, but but Jocic (sp) is really good, as in best player ever good per dad (knew Sam Jones and isn’t one of those old guys yelling at clouds when it comes to basketball). I don’t think LA makes it through.

      Dad has called me twice this weekend to gripe about the Heat. He was more worried about the Heat series than the Cs being down 3-2 to tge 76ers.

      1. pretzelattack

        hmm, I think AD is better defensively, Jokic better offensively; I’ve read that AD does a little better head to head. I hadn’t even thought of either of them being in the best player ever conversation yet.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Boston sports fans may be people, too, but they’re even more obnoxious than NY sports fans, and that’s really saying something…

      That said, all props to Robert Parrish, Larry Bird and those mid-80’s Celtic teams (even the love-to-hate ‘im Danny Ainge!)… though I was rooting for the Lakers – All Hail Lew Alcindor and Power Memorial High! – I always had nothing but respect for those Celtic teams.

      Don’t get me started about Bill Lambier, though…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for that – not surprisingly, I hadn’t even heard it was released.

      While I haven’t read the whole thing yet, this would seem to be the major takeaway –

      “As set forth in greater detail in Section IV .A.3 .b, before the initial receipt by FBI
      Headquarters of information from Australia on July 28, 2016 concerning comments reportedly
      made in a tavern on May 6, 2016 by George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy advisor to
      the Trump campaign, the government possessed no verified intelligence reflecting that Trump or
      the Trump campaign was involved in a conspiracy or collaborative relationship with officials of
      the Russian government. 21 Indeed, based on the evidence gathered in the multiple exhaustive
      and costly federal investigations of these matters, including the instant investigation, neither U.S.
      law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence
      of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

      In other words, as those paying attention were already aware of, the whole thing was some grade A banana republic bulls**t.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I found things got very interesting at page 80 and on. The way it reads to me, the FBI learned of a Hillary-approved Clinton Plan to tie Donald Trump to Russia in a attempt to distract voters from her server problems. The information traveled up the channels until Obama, Biden, Brennan and Clapper were all in a room deciding how to handle this. A CIA/FBI Fusion room was created (similar to the one used by the CIA to protect their 9/11 assets?), and a clamp was put on the information. Even the FBI people working on Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation of Steele Dossier and the alleged Trump/Russia ties were not informed that the whole thing originated in the Clinton campaign.

        McCabe, Strzok, Page are soldiers in this Clinton cover-up, suppressing investigations into the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Plan.

        Pretty hot stuff.

        1. jax

          RussiaGate – I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I heard Hillary Clinton talk about Trump’s “Russia Problem” during a debate. Since then, it’s all been kabuki.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > surprisingly, I hadn’t even heard it was released

        Surprising indeed! (My view is that if the Durham Report were, as we now say, weaponized*, it would have been released either earlier (for the midterms) or later (for the Presidential election, perhaps when the countdown clock reaches 425 days, early September 2023 (ffs)). But mid-May? Whatever for?

        Meanwhile, the Trump lawsuit train always leaves on time!

        * I hear this is what Blue Maga is whinging about.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          It’s clear that Dunham’s real charge, as with his “investigation” into torture at Guantanamo, was to exonerate the Security State of interference in the election and its aftermath.

  12. ChrisRUEcon

    #Walgreens #COVID19

    Just hit refresh, and it’s now showing 5/5 to 5/11 as the current period.

    Surprise! Surprise!

    A Sea Of Red

    1. kareninca

      You beat me to it.

      Yes, it looks pretty bad. I know someone in Ohio right now (bright red) who has a fever and a pesky cough. I wonder if our July surge will come early.

      I was in the pharmacy today here in Silicon Valley, and a lady in an N95 in front of me in line had her little boy with her (no mask on the kid); she had just discovered he was allergic to amoxicillin and was getting a substitute. This may not be a good time to need commonly used meds.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I don’t know what to make of it; With so little testing, who really knows? Is there a sample bias here? If so, how big? If true, our national positivity rate has never dipped below 20% since Biden’s triple-demic. Disturbing, to say the least.

  13. Wukchumni

    It’s the Ides of McCarthy for My Kevin (since ’07) and he’s Thelma-holding on by the caucus, whom we will call Louise.

    Kev is also the metaphorical ’66 Ford T-Bird (born in 1965)

  14. Angie Neer

    On “Independents”: in the context of contemporary US politics, I interpret that very narrowly: not registered as an official member of one of the dominant parties. But that doesn’t say much about ideological affinities. I grew up in an area and era where the R party was so dominant that my liberal D parents registered as R just so they could participate in primaries.

    1. Ranger Rick

      “Politically homeless” used to be a popular way to describe the phenomenon. Partisan, if not for everything they disagree with the parties about. Sometimes it might not even be policy, or law, but the character of the party’s candidates. The main criticism, if you can call it that, is the inability of such voters to influence candidate selection in states without open primaries. In a very cynical way the independent voter is the ideal participant in a republic’s election process: able to vote for a candidate but unable to select one for the ballot.

      1. KD

        In a very cynical way the independent voter is the ideal participant in a republic’s election process: able to vote for a candidate but unable to select one for the ballot.

        Is that how you would, in a very cynical way, describe the 2020 SC primary? The voters selecting their candidate?

        Elections serve to ratify the selection. The exception, Trump, demonstrates the rule, which is why Trump was such as threat to “democracy.”

  15. Barbara

    You don’t know if Dennis K has any managerial skills? HELLO! We should be so lucky as to have RFK and DK teamed up together. If I were the Dem cabal and every sadistic/hawkish string Obama is pulling, I’d be nervous. More truth, the kind that the American people are looking for, you know the kind we’re too dumb and ignorant to understand according to the elitist regime running most everything for the time being (god help us all), might slip out.

    1. truly

      Surprised this hasn’t been mentioned yet. DK is an MMT guy. Or at least MMT adjacent.
      The story as I recall it- Elizabeth, his wife now, came to USA to talk to congress critters about alieviating global poverty. She has been working as an aid worker in some poverty racked nations, and knew that the piecemeal work done by aid groups could not solve issues without changing monetary policy. Someone tipped her off that DK would be a sympathetic listener. She made an appointment to meet with the then US house rep.
      When they met that first time it was love at first sight. He was indeed interested in her views on how to address poverty on a global scale. And she was impressed that he was “the genuine article” on these issues.
      This site being MMT friendly maybe someone knows more details on that. Not sure if his version of MMT is of the Kelton, Wray and Mosler type. Or one of the adjacent views. I know others worked on this concept independently.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > DK is an MMT guy… maybe someone knows more details on that

        No, he’s really not.

        That’s two commenters excitedly leaping to Kucinich’s defense with unsubstantiated claims (one of which, upon my performing the requested research, turns out to be false).

        I am not encouraged. Let’s not keep this up, mkay?

      2. Yves Smith

        No, his wife is a Positive Money adherent. I am convinced Positive Money having seen Positive Money evangelizers try for months on end to disrupt and take over our Occupy Wall Street meetings that it is designed to discredit MMT. It uses similar terminology and employs about 2/3 of its concepts. But 1/3 are a total crock, with followers mouthing prescriptions they don’t understand, like wanting only “debt free money”. Sorry, people create credit and related money all the time. A store account or an open bar tab are debt and money.

        I am told by someone who knows Kucinich personally that is merely going along with his wife and is not very interested in this topic.

        And I am sorry, managerial skills count a ton in running a campaign. Acting like they don’t matter is foolish.

      1. fjallstrom

        Years ago I picked up that he was a mayor way back when, he came into conflict with the banks and the mob but stood his ground. Later worked odd jobs for a bit.

        My takeaway is that he has some management experience from being mayor and perhaps more importantly is not for sale (so unlikely to backstab RFK Jr for a board seat or an ambassadorship). His experience from his own campaigns should also be useful.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          As Mayor of Cleveland, during the urban fiscal and austerity struggles of the 1970’s – the 1975 Banker’s Coup in NYC being the opening bell of Neoliberalism – he successfully opposed the privatization of the city-owned electricity system.

  16. Wukchumni

    They like me, they really like me, dept:

    Just got the yearly bill for cabin insurance and it went up 30% which is no biggie if I count percentages in Fed dog years (it only went up 5% according to them) or more importantly that they still want me as a customer, a lot of friends have been canceled.

    1. flora

      Inflation is working its way into insurance rates now. My car insurance went up a lot. Same car. No claims. The cost of any potential repairs has gone up. Insurance cos take that in to account, I guess.

  17. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding Covid and blood vessels, am I the only one who thinks that the description sounds like a milder version of Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain?

    Attack on the blood vessel lining, uncontrollable clotting, etc.

  18. skippy

    Ref – Jayapal video …

    All I could hear was ***the mobile theory of labour*** as drank from the micro/macro neoclassical models and presented as a special plea … who do you think does all the chores around here and were would – you – be without them …

    Ahhh …. 95 before the big liquidity implosion …

    “Both micro (neoclassical) and macrostructural theories of migration are re-viewed. It is argued that the neoclassical theory of migration is often unjustly criticized and is sufficiently robust to incorporate those structural considerations which are at the core of macrostructural theories. Moreover, the neoclassical theory, with slight modification, can incorporate the “new economics of migration.” The major empirical problem confronting models of international labor migration is that migration flows are constrained by immigration policy.”

    I mean does she have a rubber mask on and worship the nuke [model] as salvation – ????

  19. flora

    re: “little Madison to violin lessons…”

    The PMC class might have to pay decent wages to workers who already in the US for domestic help? Oh, the humanity! Import cheaper help!

    What would Hattie McDaniel say to Miss Scarlet? (Never thought of Jayapal as a Miss Scarlet, but she’s auditioning for the role.) / ;)

      1. flora

        adding, Vivien Leigh as Miss Scarlet was perfect in the role of the spoiled, self-indulgent, rich girl. / ;)

    1. JBird4049

      I had high school classmates who worked in construction, family that did gardening and factory, and long ago did agricultural work. I do not think that anyone would have stuck with the fields, as even in the best of times, it is very low paying and extremely hard work. I think that they just about ran when options other than agricultural work presented themselves, but everything else? My Dad told me that he switch from the auto assembly line despite the pay was that he could see what was likely to happen. So, off to college.

      There is a reason why all those California contractors switched to hiring undocumented workers and it wasn’t from the goodness of their hearts. I first notice American labor being laid off and unions being busted decades ago when the meat packing unions in the Midwest and the janitor’s unions in Southern California were busted. IIRC, the mainly Black workers in California were not making that much, but they were more expensive than the imported labor; the mainly white meat packers were making a decent living. Both were gotten rid of.

      I get that many people, particularly Americans, are enthusiastic about hard labor that wears out the body and often does not pay all that much. Somehow, the fact that in the lifetime of the Millennials Americans were forcibly ejected from the various occupations requiring such work especially if they wanted enough to live on is forgotten. Partway through this, all the factories were shipped off, and then the cost of college went crazy, and after that started, student loan debt became almost undischargeable. All of this as well is ignored, but that Americans are lazy and don’t want to be educated is considered the gospel truth.

      People keep blaming the victims for the drugs, guns, and other problems, but really, just who are the problem ones? The people that destroyed the economy that employed all the parents of the latest generation of whacked Americans, or the wealthy jackasses’ parents who got wealthier doing the destroying?

      I really wish I could ask some of representatives these questions to their faces.

  20. Benny Profane

    I want to repost that Onion Feinstien piece, but I’m afraid to offend some close relatives in that zone. Brutal.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Larry Page Missing as Google Founder Faces Jeffrey Epstein lawsuit”

    Maybe the Justice Department can put his face on the side of milk cartons. I like the way that they pretend that they just can’t find him when all it would take would be a phone call to the spooks to ask where he is right now. If Larry Page is on his mobile, then they can pinpoint where he is. This is just theater and it’s not like page will duck out to Russia so that he cannot be called to testify.

    1. Acacia


      Then again, there might not be many people who’d mind if Larry got schlupped by aliens and just went missing permanently.

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘Robert F. Kennedy jnr’s full tweet-

    ‘Agreed. The Neocons used 9/11 to ram this bill through congress laying the groundwork for the emerging surveillance state. In a break with all precedent individual Congressmembers we’re not provided copies of the 350 page bill. Only one copy was available at the clerks office and the only member of Congress to actually read the bill was my now campaign manager Dennis Kucinich. Two US Senators, Patrick Leahy, and Tom Daschle, lead the crusade to block the bill. At the height of the debate, both of their offices received letters containing weaponized anthrax. The neocons falsely blamed the Anthrax attacks on Saddam Hussein and rushed the Patriot act to passage during the week that Congress was closed due to the anthrax attacks. After a two-year investigation, the FBI concluded that the highly sophisticated powder in those envelopes was weaponized Aimes Anthrax which could only have come from the joint, CIA/Pentagon Lab at Fort Detrick.’

    Anybody think that this episode will one day be part of an official history book? Yeah, not bloody likely.

    1. some guy

      It is good that someone with broad name recognition and a potential following is bringing up the anthrax attacks.

      1. Paradan

        Has anyone here read Whitney Webs investigation into the anthrax attacks and the stuff that went down with the anthrax vaccine?

    2. tegnost

      Anybody think that this episode will one day be part of an official history book?

      Depends on who wins the impending world war….

    1. tegnost

      Lotta money in sickcare…I’m sure sales are only just now climbing out of the tank…


      One of the few positives stemming from the pandemic was the impact on other infectious diseases. Due to lockdowns, masking, and social distancing, there was a solid decline in non-COVID infectious diseases. One study found a 65% drop in the Netherlands in respiratory, gastrointestinal, and travel-related diseases between mid-March and mid-October 2020 compared to the previous three years. In Germany, cases of infectious diseases were down 86% compared to 2016. While a net positive on public health, this led drops in sales for antibiotics, antifungals, and therapies for other infectious diseases.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Yep. It is extraordinary. You’d think for this reason along, we’d adopt universal masking in some places and at least season masking in other places. And a cultural norm when someone’s sick.

        Instead this huge public health victory is entirely ignored.

  23. WRH

    what does this mean exactly?
    “The court documents go on to state that Larry Page is a high-net-worth individual who may have referred or attempted to refer to JPMorgan”

  24. some guy

    Are some of the non-electorate consciously rejecting voting to the point where they may be called a “boycottorate” ?

    1. Late Introvert

      I always fit in the <5% categories, vegetarian, anti-war, non-religious, no smart phone, no party, anti-capitalist, hate pro sports, the list goes on.

  25. Jason Boxman

    We keep losing trees at the lake; I can’t identify species, but this last tree of maybe 8-10ft fell over, broken where the trunk meets the ground. Inside, it was mostly dried out, with a few areas of foamy moisture in the exposed trunk. Some kind of rot?

  26. Eclair

    RE: Representative Jayapal’s, perhaps unwitting, revelation of truth. The US Capitalist system absolutely needs an underclass to exploit.

    Back in the day, when the nation was a productive economy, with coal mines, and factories producing stuff from woolen cloth to furniture to glass to steel, the owners squeezed enormous profits out of the mill workers’ long days and minimal pay. Now, as a service economy, the country needs those nannies, maids, gardeners, roofers, drywallers, restaurant dishwashers, janitors, so the overclass can work, unhampered, in churning money around and skimming off enormous profits.

    Oh, and because we still haven’t found a way to get that organic broccoli and fresh raspberries and grass-fed beef to the plates of the PMC without the intervention of human hands, Big Ag needs an unending supply of brown people to labor in the fields and orchards and slaughter houses.

    What happens when the exploited underclass realizes that they will die, on average, 20 years earlier than their employers?


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